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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.
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Yesterday we filled our belly all around Melbourne and, at the end, hinted about getting high. Today we continue to explore while avoiding any hint of the Australian Open, since there's so much more to this city than tennis.
Our alarm went off earlier than we would like to admit, all in prep for a morning filled with flying high over the city via a hot air balloon. Since the balloons are very dependent on weather patterns, the early morning is the best time to head out and enjoy fresh air from in the air.
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This might be the world's largest group handle
Last week we headed down to Melbourne, Australia's second city, for a quick trip chock-full of revisiting old favorites and picking up new ones. Our trip can be considered a whirlwind tour as we were on the ground for just about 72 hours, keeping our explorations non stop.
Typically at this time of year, the city has one thing on its mind: tennis! You see, the Australian Open started this week and has quickly engulfed the city in a tennis fever that is hard to shake. Let's explore what the city has to offer besides tennis.
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If you're not one to pass up a flute of bubbly then you probably know the name Moët & Chandon, the 250+ year old French house that churns out some of the best Champagne on the planet. Well, the sparkles are not limited to the French region with the expansion of the house into other grape-growing regions across the globe. Aside from the vineyards in Napa Valley, Argentina and Brazil, we bring you the grapes of Australia.
Back in the 1960s, M&C began to explore areas for taking their operations abroad. In 1986, they settled on a little plot of land just about 90 minutes north of Melbourne in the Yarra Valley. The site was a former dairy and housed some of the best soil for ideal viticulture. It's now home to Domaine Chandon. Along with an expansive variety of non-bubbly wines, the winery is a certified producer of the méthode traditionelle sparkling wines with a regional flare.
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Travelers are flocking to Australia to do more than pet a kangaroo or snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. Apparently the majority of tourists are going Down Under to scream "Winner, winner, Chicken Dinner!" Yeah, we're talking about placing big bets.
Gambling and casinos are legal in Australia and the pastime has become part of the fabric of the culture. Think of it as a smaller-scaled Vegas, but an entire country. Just like their counterparts in the US desert, many casinos in Oz are mega-resorts that attract the entire family, but with areas dedicated to high-rollers wanting more than the thrill of winning (or losing).
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10 Days on the Island - Ringing the Changes
In a nation that has perfect weather almost year round, there's always reason to celebrate. If you're planning on heading down under next year, we recommend keeping this guide to the best Australian festivals the nation has to offer.
· We've talked about the famous Sydney Mardi Gras before, so if you have a need for fabulous debauchery, check it out. The city offers much more than glitter with Vivid Sydney where the buildings and cityscape become the backdrop to colored light to bring the city alive. The festival features installation light-art pieces from late May to the middle of June.
Dust off your fascinator or air out your seersucker suit, because it's Melbourne Cup time! The most prestigious horse race in Australia is just around the corner and this one is big. It's so big that Victoria, the state that hosts the cup, gets a public holiday to enjoy the races and maybe place a few bets.
In its 152 years, the Emirates Melbourne Cup has maintained its status as the Aussie horse race with most spectators, highest prize winnings, and most outrageous hats. Not everyone has their binoculars on the thoroughbreds; just like it's Kentucky counterpart, this is the event to see and be seen in your best spring fashion.
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Travelers flying through Melbourne on Virgin Australia will have a much more pleasurable experience when checking in and heading to their gate. Currently, the terminal is a bit tired and in definite need of a spruce up andhey!they're giving it one.
Virgin's Aussie airline has already commenced works on the shiny new terminal and hopes to have it completed by the end of the year. Of course, the redesign of the space will be a modern facelift to create a more contemporary and spacious feel. This is just part of the massive overhaul we have been witnessing with the Virgin Australia brand for the past 12 months.
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The whole of Australia is consumed with the Summer tennis circuit currently touring around the country, and the pinnacle of the tennis season down under is marked by the Australian Open played in Melbourne. As the only grand slam tennis tournament held in the Southern Hemisphere, the city is showcased not only as a sport capital, but the cultural capital of Australia.
Melbourne is located on the southeastern Aussie coast and it boasts a vibrant cafe society and an avant garde fashion scene. Originally established during the Australian gold rush, Melbourne's rich history and causes it to be called the "Paris of Down Under." If your plans bring you to the city for tennis, plan to soak up more experiences than just seeing top seeded Novak Djokovic or Caroline Wozniacki.
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New Years Eve plans don't have to include ways to stay warm while singing Auld Lang Syne, or fighting for a cab in a snowstorm. it's summer down under in Australia! And some time spent with friends and family on a beach or dining alfresco while watching a fireworks display of Olympic proportions can surely be on your December 31st agenda.
Australia is one of the first countries to ring in the new year. Each city center hosts a myriad of events showcasing the individuality of each region, while drawing domestic and international visitors alike.
Please make sure you leave the fireworks to the professionals, however, as they are illegal throughout the country. Here's what's going on, plus our own tips for what to go if you find yourself in Australia this weekend:
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ST. ALi is the latest Antipodean transplant to London's burgeoning coffee scene, a veritable sanctum to champion blends and artisinal brews. The cafe/restaurant, located in fashionable neighborhood of Farringdon, originated in Melbourne over a decade ago, a city well regarded for its commitment to quality coffee and exporting talented baristas.
As London's pint- and tea-centric culture ever so slowly evolves into one dominated by Clover fanatics and espressionites, ST. ALi may prove to be a key player in said change. Jaunted recently had the opportunity to sit down for brunch and a hearty helping of caffeinated beverages at ST. ALi, in addition to interviewing its Director of Coffee, Tim Williams. Where exactly is London's coffee industry heading, and how can you brew the perfect cup at home? Read on for more, and for photos from our visit.