Tag: Australia Travel

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What Everyone's Buying in Tasmania: Single Malt Whisky

April 17, 2014 at 10:34 AM | by | Comments (0)

Welcome to "What Everyone's Buying," a new series on souvenirs, wherein we investigate what tourist trinkets are the hottest selling in hotspots around the world.

Open the duty-free catalog in your seatback pocket. Flip past the cosmetics, watches and cigarettes, and what's left? Booze, and lots of it.

Alcohol and travel have gone hand-in-hand throughout history, from rum runners in the West Indies to the Highland Malt Whisky which was, at times, the only thing keeping Ernest Shackleton's men sane during their expeditions in the Antarctic.

Speaking of Antarctica, Tasmania's location at 42° S latitude puts it into a last-stop-before-Antarctica position, and the climate and terrain is reminiscent of the Scottish highlands. In other words, it's ideal for the production of what's become a Tasmanian mainstay: cask-aged, single malt whisky. Tassie whisky even took the top spot in the World Whiskies Awards 2014, which didn't come as much of a surprise to Tasmanians who've always known they're drinking the highest quality.

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This Banana Vending Machine Proves That Not Everything in Australia is Trying to Kill You

Where: Australia
April 15, 2014 at 9:15 AM | by | Comment (1)

Who says vending machine food needs to be full of salt, high in fat or generally unhealthy? Definitely not the brains behind this little gem we found while walking through a shopping center in Brisbane. Forget the Chex Mix or even granola bars, as this machine went straight for the super-healthy stuff with bananas.

This little bit of genius, called the Banana Bar, offers up small bunches of the sweet tropical fruit for just a few dollars. A bunch of three go for $3, and a bunch for sharing scores a little discount at $4 for five bananas. That's already cheaper and more convenient than the basket of single bananas Starbucks keeps next to their registers, for impulse healthy breakfast buys. And if you're not too familiar with how these prices compare to a grocery store, the mark-up isn't terrible at just about $.50 per piece; it's all about convenience and eating-on-the-run.

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First Time to Australia: What's a 'Nullarbor' Flight?

Where: Australia
April 10, 2014 at 12:05 PM | by | Comments (0)

When we brought you our introduction to Aussie slang last month, we may have forgotten one very important travel term unique only to Australia. We knew that some words would be new to us on a trip down under, but we'd never think about taking a "Nullarbor flight."

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What Everyone's Buying on Christmas Island: Cheap Liquor and Special Stamps

April 8, 2014 at 1:36 PM | by | Comments (0)

Welcome to "What Everyone's Buying," a new series on souvenirs, wherein we investigate what tourist trinkets are the hottest selling in hotspots around the world.

As you may have already gathered from our previous posts, Christmas Island has a good lot to offer when it comes to nature, beaches, diving, and endemic species. When it comes to souvenirs, however, the island runs a bit dry unless you're looking for crab toys, crab t-shirts or books about crabs. So the majority of visitors, both long- and short-term, opt to head to the island's supermarket and its duty-free liquor variety.

The selection is excellent, including even "traveler edition" flavors of Absolut, and prices are half that of mainland Australia, so wine and liquor is a huge score for those wanting to imbibe without breaking the bank.

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From Caves to Waves: What to Do on Christmas Island

April 7, 2014 at 1:59 PM | by | Comments (0)

A tiny stamp of land in the Indian Ocean, Christmas Island is a haven for crabs, birds, and, as a territory of Australia, even for asylum-seekers. Why would anyone pay the expensive airfare and trek so far to visit Christmas Island? This is the question we'll be answering all week.

Now that you've reached the island and braved the native crabs, what else should be on your itinerary while spending some time surrounded by ocean? Naturally you'll want some beach time, but there's also snorkeling or scuba diving, nature walks and animal-spotting.

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Crabs, Crabs Everywhere But Not a One to Eat: Spotting the Christmas Island Locals

April 3, 2014 at 4:40 PM | by | Comments (0)

A tiny stamp of land in the Indian Ocean, Christmas Island is a haven for crabs, birds, and, as a territory of Australia, even for asylum-seekers. Why would anyone pay the expensive airfare and trek so far to visit Christmas Island? This is the question we'll be answering all week.

Yesterday we showed you how to get to the distant tropical paradise of Christmas Island, so it's about time we highlight what's actually worth doing on the island.

Along with rocky shorelines, killer sunrises and sunsets, the island is home to a plethora of exotic animals. The most popular of these, and certainly the most visible, is the red crab, which migrates across the island to spawn and hatch their young once a year. Although the island is completely taken over by the crabs in the Southern Hemisphere's early summer, rest assured spotting the crabs isn't a difficult feat any other time of the year. These little red decapods can be found all over the place, mingling with plenty of other crab varieties, like robber, blue, hermit, little nipper and ghost crabs.

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Good Riddance to United's 747s Between the US and Australia

Where: Australia
April 2, 2014 at 3:23 PM | by | Comments (0)

April 1 may be known for April Fools' Day pranks, but the United 777s that dotted the tarmac at Sydney Airport were no joke. Yesterday marked the first day for United's regular LAX and SFO service to Sydney to be operated by all 777-200s, instead of the older 747-400s. The last UA 747 to depart Sydney said "so long" on March 31, and with it goes the worst plane to fly between the US and Australia, in terms of passenger comfort and entertainment.

Our friends at Australian Business Traveller detailed the change after it was announced, and noted that this means fewer seats in all classes. Overall, however, the news is excellent for travelers on the 14-hour non stop flights.

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How to Travel to Christmas Island, Australia's Indian Ocean Oasis

April 2, 2014 at 12:59 PM | by | Comments (0)

A tiny stamp of land in the Indian Ocean, Christmas Island is a haven for crabs, birds, and, as a territory of Australia, even for asylum-seekers. Why would anyone pay the expensive airfare and trek so far to visit Christmas Island? This is the question we'll be answering all week.

Even though Christmas Island is a legal bit of Australia, it's actually a 4-hour flight out and nearer to Indonesia. The population is a mix of Aussies, Chinese, Malaysians and more, all peacefully coexisting amongst nature on this hunk of extinct volcano, 63% of which is protected national park land. Most widely known for its annual red crab migration (November or December), the island does offer a variety of natural wonders and endemic species to warrant such a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

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When Bad Airline Meals Happen to Good Flights

Where: Australia
March 31, 2014 at 9:54 AM | by | Comments (0)

We've been pretty fortunate to score some delicious in-flight meals both in the front and back of planes, and you know by now that we're not afraid to snap some photos and share these with the world.

Nonetheless, with the good comes the bad, even in business class. We recently hopped aboard a Virgin Australia A330 from Brisbane to Perth for an evening meal and a little relaxation.

Brisbane to Perth is not only the country's longest non-stop flight, but it's also a key battleground for competition for customers. All the more reason why a bland meal was such a shocker on our flight.

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We Found A Little Bit of Coney Island Down Under in Australia

Where: Australia
March 24, 2014 at 1:32 PM | by | Comments (0)

Wandering around Sydney and Melbourne, travelers will eventually look to grab a postcard to send home to friends and family. Amongst the shots of beaches, kangaroos, and the Opera House, one relatively scary image is that of Australia's very own amusement park, Luna Park.

The iconic gate tempting thrill-seekers of all ages can be found across Sydney's Harbour Bridge at Kirribilli as well as the sea-side shores of St. Kilda in Melbourne. Pass through Mr Moon's delightfully scary mouth and head into a small park that is more like a flashback into yesteryear of roller-coasters, sideshows, and games than the modern-day monoliths of Six Flags and Universal.

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The Tastiest Exotic Fruits to Try in the Southern Hemisphere

March 19, 2014 at 2:02 PM | by | Comments (2)

Apples and orange and pears, oh my! More like oh boy, as these fruits are only the tip of the iceberg for tastiness, and travelers to the Southern Hemisphere know this well.

Exotic fruits on the other side of the world are a serious attraction for the culinary adventurer, and we're not talking about dragonfruit, lychee or papaya; instead we're looking further afield to what can be found beyond the Equator:

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Wish You Were Here: A Not-So-Secret Secret Island in Sydney Harbour

March 19, 2014 at 11:37 AM | by | Comments (0)

Ask any Sydney tourist where to go for the best views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, and they’ll most likely recommend a trip on the Manly Ferry, which departs from Circular Quay near the base of the bridge. It’s a bit like Sydney’s version of the Staten Island Ferry in that it’s packed with both commuters and tourists, and it tirelessly plies the Harbour’s waves day in and day out.

While the Manly Ferry is certainly a great idea, we’ve got a better one: Fort Denison.

You see, Sydney Harbour is the largest natural harbor in the world. As such, it’s going to have a few surprises like islands and forts, or, in this case, a combination of the two.

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