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ARGENTINA

Buenos Aires Travel Guide

Buenos Aires blends the laid-back ambience of a European capital with the fiery passion of a Latin-American barrio, a combination that makes it an irresistible travel destination.

The capital and largest city in Argentina, Buenos Aires is home to roughly 40 percent of the country’s population. This bustling metropolis is as cosmopolitan as it gets, with a diverse population energetic in its enthusiasm for enjoying city life.

Buenos Aires is consistently rated among the top holiday destinations in the world, and it’s easy to see why. Visitors looking for a party will find countless pumping bars and nightclubs, with tango dancing spilling out into the streets; night owls can drink mate or dance into the early hours of the morning.

Buenos Aires is also the shopping capital of Argentina, with plenty of shopping malls and markets for buying souvenirs.

The restaurants in Buenos Aires offer the best in Argentinean cuisine, which means succulent steaks are the specialty of most houses. Restaurants range from al paso (walk through) to fine dining, with plenty of small restaurants offering a range of cuisines representing the local immigrant communities. As Argentina is known for its excellent wine, visitors can take the time to sample the local varietals.

This coastal city offers no end of entertainment for all visitors, young and old. Passion combined with a sophisticated outlook makes Buenos Aires a travel destination that will not soon be forgotten.

Best time to visit Buenos Aires

Autumn (March to May) and spring (September to November) are good times to visit Buenos Aires, as the weather is ideal. Summer (December to February) tends to be crowded with tourists, though locals flee the city heat for the beaches and restaurants and museums have reduced hours. October and November is the best time to visit, as the purple jacaranda trees are in full bloom. Read more on Buenos Aires’ Climate and Weather.

What to see in Buenos Aires

-Watch the street performers of La Boca and the Plaza Dorrego.

-See the ostentatious Casa Rosada, former home of Juan and Eva Peron.

-Wander around the elaborate monuments of La Recoleta Cemetery.

What to do in Buenos Aires

-Navigate your way across Nueve de Julio Avenue, the widest street in the world.

-Learn to tango in one of Buenos Aires’ trendy nightclubs.

-Take the kids to the Buenos Aires Zoo or the Botanical Gardens.

-Catch a polo match or take a lesson.

Beyond Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is the gateway to Argentina, as most international flights land here. From Buenos Aires, travellers can spend the weekend at the fashionable beach resorts of Mar del Plata, 230 miles (400km) to the south. Many travellers head north to Cordoba and the rolling plains of the Pampas where the gauchos (cowboys) roam, and further north to the spectacular Iguazu FallsMontevideo, across the border in Uruguay, is also accessible from Buenos Aires by ferry.

Getting there

Ezeiza Ministro Pistarini International Airport is located 14 miles (22km) southwest of Buenos Aires, and is connected to the city via shuttles, taxis, and buses. Direct flights to Buenos Aires are available from a number of cities worldwide, including London, Miami, Santiago de Chile, Istanbul, and Moscow. Get more information on Buenos Aires’s Airport.

Did you know?

-The Spanish spoken in Buenos Aires is coloured with local slang called Lunfardo, and differs from that spoken in other parts of the country.

-The standard greeting in Buenos Aires is a kiss on the cheek, whether male or female.

-Buenos Aires has the second largest Jewish population (over 300,000) in the Americas, second only to New York City.

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AUSTRALIA

Canberra Travel Guide

Australia’s capital city, Canberra, had a difficult birth, punctuated by political infighting, wars and the Great Depression, but it is now a thriving modern city which, together with its surrounds, makes up Australia’s Capital Territory. Canberra lies 95 miles (150km) inland from the East Coast, by road 175 miles (280km) from Sydney, and 415 miles (660km) from Melbourne.

Like most capitals of the world, Canberra boasts an architectural heritage in its civic and government buildings, but Canberra is also blessed with some of the loveliest surroundings of any national capital. There are more than 30 Australian artistic and cultural institutions located in Canberra, ranging from the Australian War Memorial to Parliament House, surmounted by a colossal stainless-steel flagpole and set in 23 hectares of gardens. In the centre of Lake Burley Griffin, the impressive Captain Cook Memorial Jet shoots a six-ton column of water 482 feet (147m) into the air, while on the shore the National Gallery of Australia houses the country’s premier public art collection spanning about 5,000 years of international art.

Anyone interested in the history and politics of Australia, and the country’s artistic heritage, will enjoy spending a holiday in Canberra seeing the sights. The city also caters for the more active, offering plenty of recreational opportunities, most centred on lovely Lake Burley Griffin, like kayaking on the lake, or cycling around it. Canberra is also known for its spring festival, Floriade, when the parks and gardens surrounding Lake Burley Griffin explode with colourful displays of massed tulips and other blooms. The city, with its many parklands, is especially beautiful in spring and autumn.

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Sydney Travel Guide

Sydney is Australia’s most popular tourist hotspot, luring millions of holidaymakers every year with the promise of sun, sand, merry-making and culture:

Sydney caters for all ages: Sun-lovers head for the beaches; families can explore the attractions of Darling Harbour; gourmets delight in the restaurants at The Rocks; adventurers can climb the iconic Harbour Bridge; while the less active can stroll the magnificent Botanic Gardens. Sydney is also a popular gay holiday destination, especially during late February when the annual LGBT Mardis Gras takes place.

Sunny Sydney is one of the world’s top holiday destinations, offering stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, superb shopping and delectable restaurants. And beyond the iconic landmarks and cosmopolitan pleasures of the city, many beautiful natural landscapes beckon travellers keen to explore the Australian great outdoors, making Sydney a great travel hub.

Best time to visit Sydney

The most popular time to travel to Sydney is during the summer months, between November and March, when it is constantly hot and sunny. Winter in Sydney (June to August) is mild but damp, and nights can be chilly. Read more on Sydney’s Climate and Weather.

What to see in Sydney

-Explore Darling Harbour, Sydney’s hottest tourist district.

-Interact with some of Australia’s most loveable animals at Featherdale Wildlife Park.

-Catch a show or take a tour of the iconic Sydney Opera House.

-View the city from the staggering heights of the Sydney Tower.

What to do in Sydney

-Bask in the sun on one of the many glorious beaches in or near Sydney.

-Climb the famous Harbour Bridge for stunning views of the city.

-Stroll around Sydney’s beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens.

-Enjoy the good restaurants and historic buildings of The Rocks.

Beyond Sydney

New South Wales is chock full of remarkable natural landscapes and those on holiday in Sydney have an array of daytrip or excursion options: The Blue Mountains and the Snowy Mountains are playgrounds for outdoor enthusiasts; the historic mining town of Broken Hill attracts many visitors; and the vineyards of the scenic Hunter Valley just beg to be explored on a roadtrip. New England boasts many beautiful landscapes, and Byron Bay, on the north coast, promises pristine beaches.

Getting there

Kingsford-Smith Airport, often just called Sydney Airport, is the starting point for many New South Wales holidays. The airport is situated just six miles (9km) south of the city. Get more information on Airports in Sydney.

Did you know?

-The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the widest and tallest steel arch bridge in the world.

-George Street is the oldest street in Australia.

-Sydney boasts the deepest natural harbour on Earth.

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Brisbane Travel Guide

Australia’s third largest city has a relaxed, easy-going ambience that is well suited to its moniker: ‘The City of Sundays’. As the capital of the state of Queensland, however, it has a serious side too, and despite it’s laid-back aura it is filled with the cosmopolitan hustle and bustle of a major urban hub. Brisbane has several interesting districts, a good selection of street cafes, a wonderful riverside park, a very full cultural calendar, and a vibrant nightlife. Culture vultures should head for the South Bank, home to the Queensland Museum with its interactive displays; the Queensland Art Gallery with its magnificent collection; and the Performing Arts Centre, where international theatre companies and performing artists take to the stage.

There is plenty to keep shopaholics busy too, with the designer boutiques and department stores of Queens Street Mall ready to welcome visitors and numerous bustling markets dotted around the city. Sport fanatics, as always the case in Australia, are well catered for thanks to the Gabba sports ground and Suncorp Stadium, where the Wallabies often take on the world at rugby. The city is generally easy to explore on foot, and provides the perfect base from which to make daytrips to popular surrounding areas.

Situated on Australia’s fabled Gold Coast, a holiday in Brisbane means fun in the sun, providing easy access to Australia’s east coast resorts and theme parks on the Pacific Motorway. A sub-tropical climate ensures that a holiday in Brisbane will be a sunny experience no matter what time of year is chosen. Most of the rain falls in summer, but not enough to deter holidaymakers. Most of those who travel to Brisbane come for leisure and pleasure. It is an ideal destination for a family holiday, a surfing holiday, or as a good base for anyone wanting to visit the nearby National Parks.

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Cairns Travel Guide

The cosmopolitan, colourful city of Cairns, in far north Queensland, is a tourist hub and the gateway to two of the world’s most awesome World Heritage Sites, the Great Barrier Reef and the 110-million-year-old Daintree Rainforest.

Cairns started life as a small fishing encampment, which received an injection of prosperity in the 19th century when gold was discovered to the north and tin and timber began to be exploited in the nearby Atherton Tablelands. The harbour and fishing operations increased in importance, and tourism arrived in the early 20th century when marlin fishing became popular, and the world discovered the delights of exploring the Great Barrier Reef.

Aided by its pleasant, warm climate, the relaxed tropical town has now become a frenzied international tourism centre, flooded with visitors most of the year, its streets lined with souvenir stores, eateries and some first class hotels. The harbour is clogged with streamlined pleasure boats, and the offshore islands bristle with resorts. To cater for tourists the city fathers have even created a man-made salt-water lagoon and sandy beach on the Esplanade to replace the original muddy swamp that crowned Trinity Bay.

To holiday in Cairns is to holiday in a city that has a mission to make tourists as happy as possible. Facilities and fun recreation opportunities are excellent, and the city is a relatively inexpensive destination. Anyone who enjoys a sunny beach holiday should travel to Cairns, where the magnificent man-made lagoon offers safe swimming all year round, the sunshine guarantees a suntan, and there are plenty of shops, restaurants and nightclubs to indulge in. A Cairns holiday is also popular among young adventure tourists, with pursuits like scuba diving, skydiving, and ballooning on offer. And, of course, the Great Barrier Reef is just a hop and a skip away.

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Townsville Travel Guide

With a magnetic charm and dozens of fabulous attractions and golden sandy beaches, this laid-back little town oozes with character and takes pride in being the unofficial capital of Queensland. Townsville is located on the shores of Cleveland Bay and with views of the picturesque and idyllic Magnetic Island in the distance it’s not hard to see why people are so strongly drawn here.

Townsville played an active role in World War II, when American and Australian troops were stationed here during the Pacific campaign. Japanese bombs were even dropped in the harbour in 1942, but thankfully there was very little damage to the coastal city. Today an army of local and international tourists visit, drawn to the year-round good weather and varied attractions to suit any inclination.

Take a trip to the magnificent Magnetic Island to explore the National Park, or take the plunge and do some reef diving to discover the famous Yongala Wreck or Great Barrier Reef to the east. Back on land go on a 4×4 trip into the Outback to the west, marvel at the magnificently verdant tropical rainforests dotted with waterfalls to the north, or visit the mango and sugar cane farms to the south.

With numerous restaurants and bars, wonderful shopping opportunities and a quiet cosmopolitan feel, Townsville has something for everyone, though it should be noted that saltwater crocodiles are present in all swimming locations here, including the beach, so caution should be exercised in the water.

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Adelaide Travel Guide

In keeping with its climate, Adelaide, capital of South Australia, has a Mediterranean ambience as it straddles the Torrens River, and is filled with churches, gardens, civic buildings, sidewalk cafes and a plethora of museums, galleries and festivals catering to the culturally inclined. The city was originally laid out in 1836 by Colonel Light in a square mile (three sq km) grid of wide streets with gracious colonial architecture. This has resulted in a compact inner city area, geared for easy exploring on foot, allowing the central area to be surrounded with hectares of parklands, walking trails, sports grounds and picnic areas on the banks of the river. The main boulevard is North Terrace, along which are the restored Mortlock Library, the Art Gallery of South Australia and the South Australian Museum with its spectacular whale skeleton and collection of Aboriginal history. Aboriginal culture is also catered for at Tandanya, a multi-arts cultural centre that has galleries, performance areas and a café serving native cuisine.

Visitors who have had enough of culture can take a cruise or gondola ride on the Torrens River, or ride a vintage tram to the nearby seaside town of Glenelg with its magnificent white sandy beach, popular despite the occasional rumour of sharks. Adelaide’s Central Market is the place to go for foodies. Among the noisy, colourful atmosphere and wondrous smells are fruit and vegetable stores and a large selection of meat and fish along with gourmet specialities introduced by the waves of immigrants who call Adelaide their home. Also popular with visitors is the Adelaide Zoo and Cleland Wildlife Park, which features local birds and animals including koalas and kangaroos.

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Hobart Travel Guide

Tucked between Mount Wellington and the River Derwent, 12 miles (20km) upstream of the river mouth, Hobart is the capital of Tasmania, and boasts one of the world’s most secure deep-water harbours. Hobart was established in 1804 and is saturated in colonial history. It is a sleepy, charming city and a great travel hub for Tasmanian adventures.

The main historical district, Battery Point, is characterised by colonial stone cottages, tearooms, antique shops, restaurants and pubs. The Narryna Van Diemen’s Land Folk Museum at Battery Point depicts 19th-century pioneer life. Here one also finds the Maritime Museum of Tasmania. Like most Australian cities Hobart has plenty of green lungs: the largest is the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, which is known for English-style plantings and trees, and a Japanese garden dominated by a miniature Mount Fuji.

Other amusements for visitors include steam locomotive rides, guided tours of a former women’s prison, tours of the Cascade Brewery, gaming at Australia’s first legal casino at Wrest Point, taking a cruise of the harbour, or sampling the delights of the fudge factory at Island Produce Tasmania. Mount Wellington, which is a 13-mile (22km) drive from the city, offers extensive views across alpine shrubs and the city below.

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Melbourne Travel Guide

Cosmopolitan Melbourne is Australia’s culture capital, with impressive museums, galleries and theatres, and a sophisticated ‘European’ attitude that travellers find beguiling:

Melbourne is a melting pot of different cultures, all brewed together to create a dynamic, stylish city which, though slick and modern, boasts a pleasantly sedate pace of life. Several distinct, characterful neighbourhoods, like Fitzroy and St Kilda, offer restaurants, arts and crafts, and cultural attractions for travellers, and Melbourne is also known for good shopping and a feisty nightlife.

Melbourne’s residents proudly assert that the city offers an incredibly high standard of living and is wonderfully child-friendly. The many parks and gardens, and the nearby vineyards and wilderness areas, promise lots of outdoor fun for adventurous visitors. The city is a lovely destination for family holidays, for active adventurers, and for culture vultures.

Best time to visit Melbourne

Peak seasons for holidays in Melbourne are dictated more by events than the weather, so it is wise to check what’s on and book accommodation early to avoid disappointment. Busy times are late October, when the Spring Racing Carnival and International Festival take place, early March for the Formula 1 Grand Prix, and late January during the Australian Tennis Open. Weather-wise it is best not to travel to Melbourne in winter (June to August), when it is dull and grey. The best season to holiday in Melbourne weather-wise is autumn (March to May). Read more on Melbourne’s Climate and Weather.

What to see in Melbourne

-Visit Cook’s Cottage, a remarkable little piece of 18th-century England in Melbourne.

-Explore the creepy Old Melbourne Gaol, the oldest surviving prison in Victoria.

-Enjoy the galleries, museums, shops, and restaurants of Federation Square.

-Wander through the fascinating exhibitions of Melbourne Museum.

What to do in Melbourne

-Experience the thrill of being high above the city at Eureka Tower.

-Catch a game at the celebrated Melbourne Cricket Ground.

-Meet Australia’s unique animals and many other exotic creatures at Melbourne Zoo.

-Shop at Queen Victoria Market, famous for its fresh produce.

Beyond Melbourne

Melbourne is the gateway to national parks like Dandenong Ranges National Park and Grampians National Park. The city is also the starting point for the spectacular Great Ocean Road, one of the most scenic drives in Australia. The wine regions of Victoria are just beyond Melbourne, and the historic gold rush town of Ballarat is nearby.

Getting there

International flights land at Melbourne-Tullamarine Airport, located 15 miles (25km) north of Melbourne’s city centre. The airport is world-class and easily accessible from anywhere in Melbourne. Get more information on Airports in Melbourne.

Did you know?

-Thanks to colonist John Batman, Melbourne was originally called Batmania.

-The car park of the Queen Victoria Market is built over a cemetery containing some 9,000 bodies.

-Melbourne is said to be home to more foxes than any other city in the world.

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Perth Travel Guide

Most of the two and a half million people who live in Western Australia reside in the sophisticated and scenic state capital. Perth grew on the banks of the Swan River, named after the Scottish city of the same name, and was proclaimed by Queen Victoria as a city in 1856. The discovery of gold in Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie, to the east of the city, in the 1890s led to a dramatic rise in its population and an economic boom. Another boom followed in the 1960s courtesy of iron ore and nickel.

Today the city is characterised by numerous waterways, green parks and a compact central business district. There is plenty to occupy visitors in Perth, including touring the city by tram or bus, enjoying water sports on the Swan River, or just sipping a glass of the famous local wine in a riverside or beachside restaurant. Perth is said to have more restaurants per capita than any other Australian city. Not far from the city is Western Australia’s oldest wine-growing region, Swan Valley, which welcomes tourists to visit the many award-winning family-owned wineries, which offer alfresco and restaurant meals and cellar tastings.

Perth is also the site of the world’s oldest operating mint, and boasts several museums and art galleries, historic buildings, a casino and a good variety of shopping opportunities. Last, but not least, the city offers more than 50 miles (80km) of white sandy beaches. Among the most popular are Cottesloe and Scarborough.

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AUSTRIA

Salzburg Travel Guide

Until 1816 Salzburg was a city-state, independent of the Hapsburgs and ruled by powerful prince-archbishops. It is situated on the northern border of Austria, 70 miles (113km) southeast of Munich, in a picturesque setting surrounded by mountains. Mozart was born here and the city’s fascination with its most famous son is best demonstrated during the Salzburg Festival, which presents world-class performances of opera, drama and concerts each summer. Even the non-musical will find it difficult to resist Mozart’s impression on the town – his image is on every postcard and chocolate box and both his birthplace and family house are now museums offering detailed insight into his life and work.

The city is also the home town of Baroque and the south side of the river is a beautiful Baroque sprawl of charming churches, squares, houses and fountains. The original buildings were cleared in the late 1500s by Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau in order to create a ‘German Rome’. All the main sights are within walking distance of the spacious old city (Altstadt), which is now largely pedestrianised. A few miles to the south of the city are the historic towns of Hallein and Werfen and to the west are the lakes of Salzberger, which are especially worth visiting during the spring and summer when the wild flowers are out.

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Vienna Travel Guide

Known as both the ‘city of music’ and the ‘city of dreams’, Vienna is as romantic as it sounds, and remains one of Europe’s most alluring capital cities for culture vultures:

Vienna is an ornate and stately city where the strains of the great classical composers who lived and worked here seem to seep from the stones along with olde world charm. This is why a holiday in Vienna is enough to inspire anyone to hum the ‘Blue Danube’ and waltz around the sights before they head for the woods to end the day in the cosy atmosphere of a traditional wine tavern. Speaking of taverns, Vienna boasts a booming bar and restaurant scene to complement its many historic and cultural offerings. The city is also home to some wonderful markets which provide great shopping opportunities.

The whole family can find fun and fascination on a Vienna holiday, with plenty of fun activities and diversions from the performing horses of the Spanish Riding School and the thrills of the Prater amusement park to the opulence of the Schonnbrun Palace.

Best time to visit Vienna

The best time to travel to Vienna is in spring (April and May) and autumn (September and October), when the weather is beautiful and the peak tourist season is beginning and ending. Summer, between June and August, is the most popular tourist season and sees hordes of holidaymakers descend on Vienna. Read more on Vienna’s Climate and Weather.

What to see in Vienna

-Enjoy lovely views of the city from the Giant Wheel in the Prater.

-Marvel at the world-famous art collection of The Albertina.

-See the Gothic masterpiece that is St Stephen’s Cathedral.

-Watch the prancing Lipizzaner horses at the Spanish Riding School.

What to do in Vienna

-Visit the beautiful Belvedere and its rewarding museums.

-Get to grips with the world of Sigmund Freud at Vienna’s Freud Museum.

-Explore the world of the Hapsburgs at the Hofburg Palace and the Schonbrunn Palace.

-Take a tour or catch a show at the Vienna State Opera.

Beyond Vienna

Vienna is situated in northeastern Austria and even the Austrian Alps, in the southwest, are within easy reach of the capital. The popular city of Salzburg is less than three hours away from Vienna by car, and Innsbruck, the gateway to the Alps, is four and a half hours away by car.

Getting there

Austria’s main air travel hub, Vienna International Airport is located 11 miles (18km) southeast of Vienna. Trains also wend their way to Vienna from a number of European cities. Get more information on Airports in Vienna.

Did you know?

-The snow globe was invented, by accident, in Vienna, and these whimsical globes make popular souvenirs.

-Vienna contains good vineyards within its city limits, which produce glorious wine.

-More than 200 balls take place in Vienna every year.

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