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Alright you guys, listen closely because we have the some of the best news ever for travelers with Down Under on the to-do list. This very second is the best time to make moves on planning that trip to Australia.
Today may be the first official day of summer in Oz and sure, the temps are already very warm, but there's plenty season left for you to take advantage of the latest news: the Aussie dollar has hit a 4-year low against the U.S. dollar.
Basically what this means is that your money can now go much further than it has in the past 4 years. To be honest, we have battled with unfavorable exchange rates for about 8 years now. Looking at the numbers, each of our hard-earned greenbacks buys about $1.18 AUD, which turns out to be just under 25% more than in 2010. This can only mean one thing: souvenirs, tours and hotels booked in AUD are nearly 20% less expensive, and if you've been to Oz before, you know this is a helpful "markdown."
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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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Last week we got pretty excited about United's news to bring some 787 Dreamliners across the Equator for the long trip from Los Angeles to Melbourne, beginning in fall 2014. While this won't mark the first flight from SoCal to Australia's cultural capital, it is the first for the US airline; United used to first stop in Sydney, then hit the sky again to Melbourne.
If MileagePlus isn't your preferred loyalty program, there are plenty of other options to hop on the nearly 16-hour flight down under. In fact, there are two other airlines running here nonstop from the US, making that long way over the Pacific.
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If you've been lucky enough to head Down Under, you know well that Australia most definitely speaks their own version of English. You've also likely found that the Aussie lexicon contains an innumerable variety of slang terms used on an everyday basis. For tourists or any sort of non-local, however, these terms may take some repeating and explaining.
For those of you who've not yet taken that long flight down to Oz, allow us to highlight some of our favorite colloquialisms. And, even if you're a regular to the continent, you might pick up a few new sayings to throw out during dinner with new Aussie friends.
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Yesterday, we gave you a first hand account of our Aussie contributor's impressions on his first ride in a Dreamliner. Now we can finally show you the photos inside and out of the newest Jetstar aircraft to take to the skies.
This is the first 787 for Australia and it has understandably created much fanfare down under. For the first few weeks, the plane will be carting Aussies around the country between Melbourne, Cairns, and the Gold Coast, but will then transition to flights to Bali-Denpasar.
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Last week we brought you the inaugural of Jetstar's newest little toy, a shiny Boeing 787 Dreamliner. As the first 787 in Australia, the plane is affording a new batch of travelers their first taste of modern aviation innovation, and our Aussie contributor is one such flyer. Here, he shares his impressions of a first flight on the Dreamliner:
As soon as Jetstar announced their newest bird would be flying from Melbourne to the Gold Coast, I jumped online and purchased tickets, psyched to finally fly this state-of-the-art aircraft for myself, after watching what felt like every other continent get their chance. My base in Brisbane is an easy drive to the Gold Coast Airport, and I jump at any chance to visit Australia's culture capital of Melbourne, so the decision was an easy one.
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This has been quite the week for stray animals wandering into airport facilities. First, there was the story of the adorable kitty cat who took an unintended ride in a SWISS plane from Athens to Zurich, surviving the ordeal and finding a new home in the process. Now, there's the equally cute tale of a small kangaroo who, likely attracted by the red roo logos of Qantas, showed up at Melbourne Airport.
The little guy wasn't there on vacay, however, but he actually hopped into a pharmacy in the terminal after suffering minor injuries from being hit by a car outside. After subduing the animal, airport workers kept him cozy in a Qantas blanket.
To update passengers and the curious on the incident, Qantas then took to their Instagram:
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If you didn't make it to this past weekend's Open House New York festival and are salivating over your friends' (or our own) cool shots of some hidden gems, don't fret. All is not lost. NYC is not the only city to swing open its doors and invite the public into spaces that usually never see the light of day, or at least the flash of cameras.
Open House Worldwide is a project that started in London in 1992 by Open-City to profile the effect that excellent design, planning and regeneration of the contemporary city can have on the quality of people's lives. Celebrating its 21st birthday this year, the program has expanded toyou've guessed it21 cities across the globe.
Here's what Open House events are coming up next:
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Some tourism boards just "get it." And by get it, we mean thinking outside the box creatively and attracting tourists in flocks to their city, state or country en masse. With its latest campaign, Melbourne can now head to the top of that list of boards that just nail it.
The folks behind Tourism Victoria, the Aussie state that Melbourne calls home, have developed a campaign of two remote-controlled tourists that are outfitted with helmet-mounted cameras, microphones, GPS and some clever mobile live streaming technology to document their every step in the city. This gives the chance for fans of Melbourne to "go before you go," possibly giving some inspiration for a first hand visit to the city.
From October 9 through the 13th, armchair-tourists controled each traveler at home by logging onto the website and sending their human webcams to any location they desired in the Australian "second city." Audiences were able to interact with the tourists and send them on mini-adventures or challenges that are unique to Melbourne.
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When a destination like Australia comes up in conversation, what's usually called to mind are activities of the summer months, like surfing, beaches, snorkeling, and numerous other outdoor activities. Because of a little thing called global tilt, however, winter has just begun in Oz, but don't let that deter you from visiting the largest island on the planet.
Here's just a few reasons why winter is perhaps the best time to cross the Equator and head 'down under':
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Seems that when anyone scores tickets to some talk show, the chance they walk away with swag are high. About a week ago, Ellen played the perfect philanthropic TV personality and gave her audience a huge trip to Australia as part of her own trip down under in March.
We've seen it all before, talk show host announces a free trip to Australia and the audience goes absolutely bananas with screams of joy and free-flowing tears. The scene wasn't too dissimilar to Oprah's announcement in 2010.
Yesterday, we gave you a birds-eye view over Melbourne and today our feet are firmly planted on the ground. With only a day remaining, let's explore the little nooks of the city: the iconic laneways!
First, a little background. The city is considered the culture capital of Australia and with that comes the love of fashion, food and a general joie de vivre. The weather can get quite chilly here (the mercury, abnormally, hovered around 75 degrees for our visit), so the style is that of more Northern Hemisphere flare.