International Travel

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Michael Schumacher’s new $47 million hideaway

<div class="replay"> <div class="reply_body body linkify"> <div class="reply_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Champion Formula One driver Michael Schumacher is in the process of moving into a $47 million (AUD) mansion located in Majorca, Spain, nearly five years after he suffered a catastrophic brain injury due to a skiing accident.</p> <p>Purchased by his wife Corinna, the mansion was previously owned by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and is an estimated 161,000 square feet.</p> <p>Schumacher, who has not been seen publicly since 2013, was in a medically induced coma for six months after his accident and has been incredibly private about his life since. It is said that he is receiving full-time care at his current home in Switzerland.</p> <p>Schumacher’s lawyer told a court in 2013 that he “cannot walk” after a German magazine falsely claimed he could “walk again”. As a result, they were forced to pay Schumacher $78,000 dollars for invading his privacy.</p> <p>Katia Rouarch, the mayor of Andratx (a municipality in Majorca), confirmed the Schumachers' purchase of the Spanish property to Swiss magazine <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.illustre.ch/magazine/majorque-se-prepare-accueillir-michael-schumacher" target="_blank">L’Illustre</a></em>.</p> <p>“I can officially confirm Michael Schumacher is going to move into our municipality and that everything is being prepared to welcome him,” she said.</p> <p>The mega mansion, which contains two swimming pools, a helipad and guest villa, is surrounded by scenic views and extravagant properties.</p> <p>While it is not confirmed when the German racing legend will arrive, or how long he will stay, the location is memorable to the couple as Schumacher and his wife Corinna spent time on the island before his tragic accident.</p> <p>German tabloid <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.bild.de/" target="_blank">Bild</a></em> claims that Corinna has bought the property in order to spend time with family and friends.</p> <p>Real Madrid president Perez had bought the house for $39 million but decided to sell the property after the death of his wife Mari Angeles Sandoval.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

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10 hotspots in Asia you must visit at least once in your lifetime

<p>Dreaming of an Asia escape? As the largest continent in terms of sheer size and population, as well as being just a short plane trip from Australia, Asia has quickly become one of the top travel destinations for Aussies. In fact, Australian Bureau of Statistics data reveals that 6 out of 10 of the most popular travel destinations in 2017 were in Asia. To help you choose from the plethora of exotic destinations, we’ve teamed up with <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.wendywutours.com.au/?utm_medium=advertising&amp;utm_source=over60&amp;utm_campaign=early+bird&amp;utm_content=native+content" target="_blank"><strong><u>Wendy Wu Tours</u></strong></a>, Australia’s leading travel experts to Asia, to narrow the list to 10 Bucket List places you must visit at least once in your lifetime.</p> <p><strong>1. <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.wendywutours.com.au/china/beijing/great-wall-of-china/?utm_medium=advertising&amp;utm_source=over60&amp;utm_campaign=early+bird&amp;utm_content=native+content" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Great Wall of China</span></a> – China</strong> </p> <p>Walking the ancient Great Wall of China is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience and the highlight of any tour of China. Hailed as one the greatest manmade wonders of the world, the Great Wall of China stretches from the Gobi Desert in the west to the Bohai Sea in the east, and spans a staggering 8,850km. From the capital Beijing, there are many accessible sections of the wall, the most popular being the best-preserved at Badaling, where guests of all ability levels can walk easily along its length. Visit early, it can get busy, especially during high season. To see the mighty wall further off-the-beaten path, head to Mutianyu and Juyongguan for a less-crowded and quieter experience. Beyond, huge swathes of crumbling Great Wall zigzag across the countryside.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7820065/great-wall-020809.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/e1093dcd71b2491aa80d16bd824f65a9" /></p> <p>Wherever you decide to see the Great Wall, one thing that’s certain is that as soon you step foot on the Wall that began life more than 2,000 years ago, you’ll be blown away by its sheer immensity and historical significance. A must on every traveller’s bucket list, make sure you visit this unbelievable feat of mankind at least once in your life.</p> <p><strong>2. <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.wendywutours.com.au/cambodia/siem-reap/angkor-wat/?utm_medium=advertising&amp;utm_source=over60&amp;utm_campaign=early+bird&amp;utm_content=native+content" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Angkor Wat</span></a> – Cambodia</strong> </p> <p>The largest religious monument in the world, Angkor Wat was constructed in the 12th century BC for the Khmer Empire using sandstone rock from over 50km away. Discover the fascinating history of one of the largest hydraulic empires where farmlands, canals, villages and temples were connected by an enormous web of canals and irrigation systems.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7820060/angkor-wat-020809.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/c3b555a54f8a46feb19c646e9d55cab9" /></p> <p>You’ve likely seen countless images of the awe-inspiring temple, but as anyone who has visited Angkor Wat will attest, you just must see the incredible temple with your own eyes. Sunrise and sunset uncover the magnificent symmetry of the Temple complex, and a guide can uncover the history of this ancient civilisation. Only then will you be able to experience both the grand scale and the unique details and intricacies that make Angkor Wat one of the world’s greatest and most wondrous structures.</p> <p><strong>3. <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.wendywutours.com.au/china/xian/terracotta-warriors/?utm_medium=native&amp;utm_source=&amp;utm_campaign=early+bird&amp;utm_content=native+cpy+terracottawarriors" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Terracotta Warriors</span></a> – China</strong>  </p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7820069/terracotta-warriors-020809.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/072c1e854fc04a19abfa4c7690affd7f" /></p> <p>It’s hard to believe if it weren’t for a Chinese farmer fortuitously digging a well just north of Xian in 1974, the Terracotta Warriors might still be buried. But China’s best kept secret is definitely out – with the huge mausoleum now one of China's most popular sights. Ruling in the 3rd century BC, the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, ordered 700,000 workers to build a terracotta army to protect him in his afterlife. There’s thought to be 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which remained buried in pits.</p> <p>But there’s still plenty to marvel at and it’s only with a visit to the necropolis that you can truly appreciate the sheer scale of the greatest archaeological find of the 20th century and admire the thousands of life-sized soldiers, each with their own distinct stance, face and expressions. Full of superstition and mystique, it’s little wonder that the Terracotta Warriors is one of the most sought-after sights in the world.</p> <p><strong>4. <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.wendywutours.com.au/india/agra/taj-mahal/?utm_medium=advertising&amp;utm_source=over60&amp;utm_campaign=early+bird&amp;utm_content=native+content" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Taj Mahal</span></a> – India</strong> </p> <p>For thousands of years, the enchanting Taj Mahal has lured tourists to India like moths to a flame, making it one of the most visited attractions in Asia. Inspiring poets and artists from across the world, the Taj Mahal has been described as a “teardrop on the cheek of eternity” by poet Rudyard Kipling. And with good reason – it is simply breathtaking to behold and certainly lives up to all the hype.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7820067/taj-mahal-020809.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f114f4d78b8449c9affb72b86dd215fe" /></p> <p>A monument to love, the immense mausoleum of white marble was built in 1631 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife. Over 20,000 people worked on the building with specialists being brought in from Europe to produce the impeccable marble screens and decorations. It’s a striking image from a distance (as innumerable tourist photographs have shown) but it’s just as beautiful up close with its intricate carvings, semiprecious stones, and calligraphic verses from the Koran grace. A universally admired masterpiece, a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Taj Mahal is a must. You need to see this iconic monument with your own eyes.</p> <p><strong>5. <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.wendywutours.com.au/japan/cherry-blossom-tours/?utm_medium=native&amp;utm_source=&amp;utm_campaign=early+bird&amp;utm_content=native+cpy+cherry%20blossoms" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Cherry Blossoms</span></a></strong> <strong>– Japan</strong> </p> <p>Cherry blossom season is without a doubt the best time of year to visit the Land of the Rising Sun. From late March to mid-April, Japan’s famed sakura (cherry blossoms) blankets the country in a pastel splendour of pink and white blossoms and transforms both the city and countryside into a sweet-smelling bouquet. Attracting visitors from all around the globe, the cherry blossom is more than just a magnificent spectacle: the country’s national flower is a symbol for renewal and hope, and inextricably tied to Japan’s history, culture and identity.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7820101/cherry-blossom-japan.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/a4dcb61eb4f84219bc55ecce412b3b2e" /></p> <p>Once the blossoms are in full bloom, it’s a time for celebration, and families and friends flock outdoors to appreciate the beauty of the fleeting phenomena. This tradition is so special and important that the Japanese even created a word “Hanami”, which translates to “looking at flower”, to mark the event. The blossoms typically bloom for two weeks every season and tours often book out up to 12 months in advance. With 28 cherry blossom departure dates across a range of tour styles, Wendy Wu Tours sends more Australians to see the Sakura than any other tour operator.</p> <p><strong>6. <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.wendywutours.com.au/china/chengdu/giant-pandas/?utm_medium=native&amp;utm_source=&amp;utm_campaign=early+bird&amp;utm_content=native+cpy+giantpandas" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Giant Pandas</span></a> – China</strong> </p> <p>They’re one of the most-loved animals in the world, so it’s no surprise travellers trek from all over the world to see the iconic Giant Panda in their homeland, China. Once roaming the country freely, habitat destruction has endangered the species and there’s now less than 2,000 pandas living in the wild. However, there’s hope for these furry black and white bears, with numerous conservation projects in China slowly increasing their numbers – in fact, the Giant Panda was taken off the Endangered Species list in 2016!</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7820064/giant-pandas-020809.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/58b9d58fbebd4b3f954f6cb93be8b568" /></p> <p>The best place to meet China’s famous residents is at recognised research facilities. The most highly renowned facility is the Chengdu Panda Research Base, a frontrunner in conservation efforts. With over 80 pandas in residence, you’ll spend hours watching adorable pandas munching on bamboo, sleeping and playing with their siblings across a vast, world-class landscape of rivers, lakes, bamboo forests and caves. March to May is breeding season and there’s even a chance to see the Giant Pandas “falling in love”. Viewing the Giant Pandas in the flesh is a must-see highlight for anyone visiting China.</p> <p><strong>7. <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.wendywutours.com.au/japan/tokyo/mt-fuji/?utm_medium=native&amp;utm_source=&amp;utm_campaign=early+bird&amp;utm_content=native+cpy+mtfuji" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Mt Fuji</span></a> – Japan</strong> </p> <p>With its near-perfect symmetrical conical shape that’s always snow-capped, Mt Fuji is one of Japan’s most iconic images and holds a very special place in Japanese history and heritage. At a height of 3,776m, Mt Fuji can be seen from both Tokyo and Yokohama, and in 2013 was recognised for its physical and cultural contribution to Japanese society receiving UNESCO World Heritage status.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7820066/mt-fuji-020809.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/e166c6db203a4200891ed0676a7ed25e" /></p> <p>An active volcano (last erupting in 1708) and Japan’s highest mountain, Mt Fuji is surrounded by national parks and beautiful lakes. Its rare natural beauty has been revered since ancient times and the sacred mountain holds a near mythical status in Japanese culture. Alternatively, you can enjoy the mountain up close from the Fuji Five Lake Region, located at the northern foot of the mountain. This region is rich with attractions and things to do and is a popular holiday spot for Japanese locals. Don’t forget to bathe in the world famous hot springs, an invigorating experience like no other!</p> <p><strong>8. <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.wendywutours.com.au/china/tours/majestic-yangtze.htm?utm_medium=advertising&amp;utm_source=over60&amp;utm_campaign=early+bird&amp;utm_content=native+content" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Yangtze River</span></a> – China</strong> </p> <p>See China from a whole new perspective by cruising the majestic Yangtze River. At 6,300km, the Yangtze River is Asia’s largest river and has been the lifeline of China for millennia. Flowing east across the entire width of China, the mighty Yangtze River is home to some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7820070/yangtze-river-020809.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/22042fe4b0ce4127a39d21f2299f5688" /></p> <p>The highpoint of any cruise is the journey through the most fabled and famous region – the Three Gorges, a 200km stretch of river, which boasts incredible landscapes of misty mountains, immense gorges and sheer cliffs. From the narrow passes of the Qutang Gorge, to the mountainous vistas of Wu Gorge and the deep trenches of Xiling Gorge, each bend in the river offers a new breathtaking panorama. Witness the energetic determination of modern China via the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest Hydro Electric Power Station. A marvel of modern engineering the Three Gorges dam is said to generate up to 10 per cent of China’s required energy output. All you have to do is relax, admire and appreciate the history, heritage and continuity that defines the great Yangtze River.</p> <p><strong>9. <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.wendywutours.com.au/sri-lanka/?utm_medium=advertising&amp;utm_source=consumer&amp;utm_campaign=early+bird&amp;utm_content=native+content" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Tea Plantations</span></a> – Sri Lanka</strong> </p> <p>Known as the “pearl of the Indian Ocean”, Sri Lanka is one of Asia’s best-kept secrets. Long overlooked by travellers, the island nation’s myriad of appeals has now firmly cemented Sri Lanka as the new must-visit destination. Since 2009 Sri Lanka has progressed at lightspeed with the addition of new infrastructure that makes it easier than ever for travellers to get around. A former British colony, Sri Lanka is known worldwide for its production of Ceylon Tea that was first brought here in the 1880s by the British.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7820068/tea-plantation-sl-020809.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/6c945bb44d56475595c12c2ed9a86e9d" /></p> <p>Make sure you plan a visit to a tea estate – the striking sight of never-ending lush green fields of tea bushes will simply awe you. Stroll through the verdant plains surrounding Nuwara Eliya, affectionately known as ‘Little England’, where British colonialists selected the cool climate to harvest tea and recreate life back home. Tour a tea plantation in Nuwara Eliya and learn all about Sri Lanka’s 150-year-old tea industry, discover the process of tea making from fermenting to grading, and finally end with a delicious cuppa of freshly-plucked tea. Take a train through the lush, rolling, tea-lined hills, from Peradeniya to Nanu Oya. No stranger to accolades, the famous explorer Marco Polo christened Sri Lanka as the most beautiful island in the world!</p> <p><strong>10. <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.wendywutours.com.au/malaysia-borneo/?utm_medium=advertising&amp;utm_source=consumer&amp;utm_campaign=early+bird&amp;utm_content=native+content+borneo" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Orangutans</span></a> – Borneo</strong> </p> <p>Fall in love with the orange-haired, pot-bellied jungle residents of Borneo. We’re talking, of course, about the orangutan (which in Malay means “man of the jungle”). Sadly, these magnificent creatures, which share remarkably similar DNA to humans, are under threat from habitat destruction. Borneo is one of only two places (the other Sumatra in Indonesia) left in the world where orangutans live in the wild.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7820061/borneo-020809.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/555f8ccda03840269e16030c6fc67956" /></p> <p>No trip to Borneo would be complete without an encounter of some kind with the orangutan. Visit a respected rehabilitation centre, like Semmengoh Nature Reserve to get up close and personal with these remarkable animals. For over 20 years the wardens at Semmengoh have trained orphaned and rescued orangutans to survive in the wild. Home to over 28 orangutans, these glorious primates frequently stop by the park’s headquarters to feast on coconuts and bananas. Hour-long feeding sessions between the hours of 9am to 10 am and 3pm to 4pm are an unforgettable experience and one of the only ways to get up close to these colourful characters.</p> <p><em>So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your 2019 trip to Asia now and tick off that bucket list! And if you’re not sure where to start, the easiest way to see all the best sights in Asia is on an escorted tour with Wendy Wu Tours. Check out their <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.wendywutours.com.au/early-bird/?utm_medium=advertising&amp;utm_source=over60&amp;utm_campaign=early+bird&amp;utm_content=native+content" target="_blank"><strong><u>Early Bird Sale</u></strong></a> to save up to $1800pp. </em></p>

International Travel

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The free travel cards in Switzerland you didn’t know about

<p><strong><em>Justine Tyerman is an award-winning travel writer from Gisborne, New Zealand.</em></strong></p> <p>Take a seat… because what I am about to tell you may well leave you weak at the knees.</p> <p>Switzerland, the land of sublime chocolate, heavenly cheese, movie star cows, and scenery that leaves you breathless, is now the land of <em>free</em> transport. Keen to dispel the notion that their country is an expensive place to travel, the clever, resourceful Swiss have introduced free travel cards for hotel guests.</p> <p>I came upon this wonderful concept during my last visit to Switzerland in 2017. When I checked into Les Trois Rois in Basel, I was handed a magical card which gave me free access to the city’s public trains, trams, and buses so I could whiz around the city without paying a single Swiss Franc.</p> <p>But wait, there’s more: the <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.basel.com/en/BaselCard">Basel Card</a></strong></span> also gives holders free Wi-Fi at 17 spots around the city, a ferry ride on the Rhine River, 50 percent off admissions to Basel Zoo, Theatre Basel, a two-hour sight-seeing bus, and a walking tour of the old town and scheduled river cruises. Isn’t that awesome?</p> <p><strong>A card for any season</strong></p> <p>When I was in Bever near St Moritz on a hiking expedition last autumn, Bever Lodge issued me with the Engadin St Moritz Card which gave me free unlimited use of mountain railways, cable cars, and public transport. I absolutely treasured that card because it enabled me to ascend to restaurants perched on 3,000 to 4,000-metre peaks in time for lunch and champagne in the sun and then hike a myriad of high-altitude alpine tracks with ease.</p> <p>In Bern, they’ve gone all-out. The <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.bern.com/en/detail/bern-ticket-free-on-public-transport">Bern Ticket</a></strong></span> not only offers hotel guests free travel on the city’s public transportation, but also airport transfers, rides on the Gurten Mountain Funicular, the funicular Marzilibahn, and the elevator to the Minster Terrace.</p> <p>The <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.lausanne-tourisme.ch/en/P7808/lausanne-transport-card">Lausanne Transport Card</a></strong></span> allows holders up to 15 days of free travel while staying in any hotel in Lausanne. The card also offers special <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://static.mycity.travel/manage/uploads/6/30/53683/299848d6ec04daf5dd16c3ad2c08be3a15b7b138.pdf">discounts</a></strong></span><strong> </strong>at selected shops, eateries, cinemas and theatres, nightclubs, museums, and a wide range of places of interest.</p> <p>The <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.montreuxriviera.com/en/Z4845">Montreux Riviera Card</a></strong></span> offers complimentary welcome drinks at the Montreux-Vevey Tourism Office, 50 percent off the city <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.montreuxriviera.com/en/Z4773">walking tours</a></strong></span> in Montreux and Vevey, a <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.mercuryphoenixtrust.com/studioexperience/">Queen Studio Experience</a></strong></span>, and 50 percent discounts on a series of iconic rail journeys, cruises, and activities in the Lake Geneva Region.</p> <p>The <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.luzern.com/en/free-public-transport-ticket">Lucerne Mobility Card</a></strong></span> entitles hotel guests to free travel on the city’s trains and buses for the duration of their stay, while the <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.myswitzerland.com/en/swiss-travel-pass.html">Swiss Travel Pass</a></strong></span> covers ferry rides, mountain railways, cableways, and free entry to more than 500 museums.</p> <p><strong>Foodie tours</strong></p> <p>Talking of Swiss cities, here’s one for the gourmands out there. Switzerland Tourism has launched a new culinary campaign called <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.myswitzerland.com/tastemyswisscity" target="_blank">Taste my Swiss City</a></strong></span><strong><u>,</u></strong> culinary tours available in 11 cities across the country. Designed to enhance your experience of the city by introducing you to what and where the locals eat, each tour includes up to seven handpicked restaurants, bars, bistros, and cafés all linked by a leisurely walk. Sign me up!</p> <p>The tours will also help visitors gain a better understanding of the local way of life, culture, and the ongoing evolution of the city through the eyes of its residents. At each eatery, you are served a specialty dish or even a drink so that by the end of the tour, you will have consumed the equivalent of a full meal… and a few drinks. You will have also discovered culinary treasures and secret spots that are off the touristy path.</p> <p>The tours are self-guided and take between two and three hours on foot. Priced from CHF60 to CHF130, <em>Taste my Swiss City</em> tours are available in Basel, Bellinzona, Bern, La Chaux -de-Fonds, Lausanne, Locarno/Ascona, Lugano, Lucerne, Neuchâtel, Vevey/Montreux, and Winterthur.</p> <p>For more information, visit <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-au/citytrips.html" target="_blank"><strong><u>www.MySwitzerland.com/cities</u></strong></a> and <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.myswitzerland.com/tastemyswisscity">www.MySwitzerland.com/tastemyswisscity</a></strong></span>.</p> <p><em>Written by Justine Tyerman. Republished with permission of <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.luxuryswitzerland.com/experience/free-travel-cards/" target="_blank">Luxury Switzerland.</a></strong> </span></em></p>

International Travel

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Good news for flyers: Big change coming to this airline

<p>Despite many travellers having a negative outlook on jetting across the world, one airline carrier has announced its new plan to make flying a comfortable experience for its passengers.</p> <p>Virgin Australia has announced this week that it will be bringing back freebies on all of its flights to New Zealand.</p> <p>The freebies include being the only carrier to offer Wi-Fi on all flights from Australia to Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown, Wellington and Dunedin, from October 28.</p> <p>Passengers who travel to New Zealand with Virgin Australia will also receive a “substantial meal and drink” for free during the flight.</p> <p>Every fare type will also include at least 23kg of baggage.</p> <p>Virgin Australia Airlines group executive Rob Sharp said: “Last year, 1.5 million Australians flew to New Zealand and we’re looking forward to making their trip across the ditch even more enjoyable with a meal and drink as well as Wi-Fi so they can keep connected while in the sky.”</p> <p>Mr Sharp said the route to New Zealand was a focus for the airline.</p> <p>"We’re committed to expanding our presence in New Zealand with new services including flights from Sydney to Wellington; Melbourne to Queenstown; and Newcastle to Auckland as well as extra flights to Auckland, all of which commence in the next couple of months.”</p> <p>Velocity Frequent Flyers can also look forward to new benefits, such as earning more points for short international flights.</p> <p>“For the first time, Velocity members will earn points per dollar spent for short haul international destinations, rather than based on the distance travelled,” Velocity Frequent Flyer CEO Karl Schuster said.</p> <p>From October 28, Velocity members will receive a minimum of five points per dollar spent on fares from New Zealand.</p> <p>“Members will earn more Velocity Points when travelling to these destinations and we believe our points offer for New Zealand flights is one of the best,” Mr Schuster said.</p>

International Travel

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Bec Hewitt announces her return to TV with new show

<p>After a long hiatus from TV, former <em>Home and Away</em> star Bec Hewitt is making a return to the screen with Channel 9's new weekly travel series, Hello World.</p> <p>Speaking to <strong><em><u><a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/television/i-think-its-the-right-time-bec-hewitt-is-returning-to-tv-as-host-of-nines-new-series-hello-world/news-story/2a0feee0e9287ed2be7b632bfab7721b">The Daily Telegraph</a></u></em></strong>, the 35-year-old mum of three revealed the new TV gig would see her spend her first night ever away from her kids – daughter, Mia, 12, son Cruz, 9 and youngest, Ava, 7.</p> <p>"I think it's the right time and the right job just to fit in with my other job of being a mum," Bec said.</p> <p>"I've never been away before, so this will be my first trip. I've never gone on a girls' weekend, or anything. The kids are going to be fine.”</p> <p>Bec will host and report for the new series, which also stars Toda Extra’s Sonia Kruger, veteran broadcaster Ray Martin, weatherman Steve Jacobs, and TV presenter Lauren Phillips.</p> <p>Having spent the 12 years as a full-time mum, and cheerleader of husband pro tennis player Lleyton Hewitt, Bec said she’s excited for the upcoming solo trips.</p> <p>"It will be refreshing I guess just to sit on a plane, with no assisted toilet stops or things like that. I will certainly enjoy the experience," she said.</p> <p>Returning to Australia two and a half years ago, Bec has been focused on settling her children but now they’re in the swing of things she’s ready to chase her career dreams again.</p> <p>"All the kids activities are set up, because within the first year of moving to any new town, you're still figuring it out. I'm really happy now and I feel like I've found [them] a great music school, a great dance school, great tennis lessons for Cruz … it's all working out now, we've got our rhythm and routine, so that the household can still carry on if I duck away for work."</p> <p><em>Hello World will debut on Sunday, October 7 at 4:30pm on Nine.</em></p>

International Travel

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Good news: Annoying airport carry-on rule could soon be a thing of the past

<p>Before embarking on an international flight, it is important to be aware of all the rules regarding what you can and can’t pack.</p> <p>Current rules require liquids, aerosols and gel items to be in containers of 100 millimetres or less and packed in a transparent resealable bag.</p> <p>Passengers are then required to remove all of these items when going through security as well as any electronic products.</p> <p>However, new technology means this strict rule may be a little easier to navigate in the future.</p> <p>London’s Heathrow Airport is trialling the use of 3D X-ray scanners, which allows security to see objects inside bags from all angles.</p> <p>The UK Department of Transport said the scanners can also detect explosive devices and would ease the strict packing restrictions on passengers.</p> <p>“If successful, this could lead in future to passengers no longer needing to remove items from hand luggage for screening,” the department said.</p> <p>Similar 3D scanners are also being trialled in New York’s John F Kennedy Airport and Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.</p> <p>In the airports trialling the new technology, passengers are still required to remove items from their luggage upon request from security staff.</p> <p>If the technology comes to Australia, it could alter the recently introduced restrictions on powders on flights.</p> <p>Last month, a new rule was enforced about how much powder product can be packed in carry-on baggage on international flights.</p> <p>Items such as baby formula, protein powders, makeup and talcum powder have to be presented separately when going through security.</p> <p>The rule was made in response to a thwarted bomb plot on an Etihad flight from Sydney last year.</p>

International Travel

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Queen’s Guard soldier shoves tourist at Windsor Castle

<p>Footage has emerged online of the moment a tourist was shoved out the way by a soldier from the Queen’s Guard outside Windsor Castle.</p> <p>The video shows the soldier pushing the tourist while she was standing alone on the wrong side of a roped off area outside the castle.</p> <p>The woman, who was wearing a yellow dress and sunglasses, was pushed forward by the soldier.</p> <p class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-XGOzV6wa3Q" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>After being pushed by the guard, the woman moved to the side as he continued to march in front of the shocked onlookers.</p> <p>The Queen’s Guard are responsible for protecting official royal residences.</p> <p>They are easily identified by their distinctive uniforms of red tunics and bearskin hats.</p> <p>The Guardsmen are fully-trained serving soldiers and have protected the palaces since Charles II took the throne after the English restoration in 1660.</p> <p>There are guidelines in place for guardsmen to deal with nuisances, such as stamping their feet and shouting.</p> <p>Reportedly, raising a rifle is considered a “final warning”, after which the person in question is allowed to be detained.</p> <p>After the tourist was shoved by the guard, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence told <em><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>The Sun</strong></span></a>:</em> “The Household Division is proud to guard Her Majesty and honoured that people come from around the world to watch our ceremonial spectacle.”</p> <p>“The ropes are there to protect both the public and our soldiers; please stay behind them.”</p> <p>In 2015, a soldier was forced to turn his rifle on a tourist who grabbed him outside Windsor Castle.</p> <p>To the entertainment of his friends, a man marched alongside the guardsmen and placed his hand on one of the soldier’s shoulders.</p> <p>The soldier quickly turned around and pointed his gun at the tourist, shouting: “Get back from the Queen’s Guard!”</p>

International Travel

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Carrie Bickmore flaunts baby bump in bikini on Hawaiian family holiday

<p>She's about to welcome her third child but before the new arrival, Carrie Bickmore has headed to Hawaii for some quality holiday time with her family.</p> <p>On Monday night, <em>The Project </em>host took to Instagram to share happy snaps from her holiday album with husband Chris Walker, and two children Ollie, 11, and Evie, three.</p> <p>The 37-year-old showed off her growing baby bump in a striped halter-neck bikini as she frolicked in the surf and sand with her kids.</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height:0px;" src="/nothing.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/7476b50c1819443d8dfcd7f81a644a07" /><img style="width: 500px; height: 416.667px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7819840/carrie-1.jpg?width=500&amp;height=416.6666666666667" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/7476b50c1819443d8dfcd7f81a644a07" /></p> <p>“[I’m wearing] the same bathers I have worn for 3 pregnancies (eek!) but who wants to shop for bathers when pregnant,” she revealed on Instagram.</p> <p>“They are old and crusty and used to be white and now are a mix of fake Tan, sunscreen and salt, but they do the job just fine.”</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height:0px;" src="/nothing.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/0e723385ed9644e8806397b9ab130d79" /><img style="width: 0px; height:0px;" src="/media/7819841/carrie-2.jpg?width=0&amp;height=0" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/0e723385ed9644e8806397b9ab130d79" /><img style="width: 500px; height: 416.667px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7819841/carrie-2.jpg?width=500&amp;height=416.6666666666667" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/0e723385ed9644e8806397b9ab130d79" /></p> <p>Although Carrie is yet to confirm a due date, she revealed she’s finally over the “relentless” morning sickness that has plagued her for months.</p> <p>"Happy Hawaiian holiday over back to work tomorrow. But not complaining. Had such a good break. It was the first week I haven't felt sick in months and I am genuinely pumped to go back to work to jobs I love. Will be nice doing them nausea free!!!" she penned on Instagram.</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height:0px;" src="/nothing.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/01fde0adeea547609cc061f05870041f" /><img style="width: 500px; height: 416.667px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7819842/carrie-4.jpg?width=500&amp;height=416.6666666666667" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/01fde0adeea547609cc061f05870041f" /></p> <p>Capping off her "holiday spam", Carrie admitted she was going to miss not being around the kids every day.</p> <p>"Really gonna miss hanging with the fam 24/7 though. Something nice about the pace of summer holidays. Last holiday as the 4 of us. Next one we'll be outnumbered, anyway last holiday spam I promise."</p>

International Travel

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The Australian passport just became even more powerful

<p>The Australian passport is now even more powerful than it was last year.</p> <p>According to the <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.henleypassportindex.com/assets/PI_2018_INFOGRAPHS_GLOBAL_180709.pdf" target="_blank">Henley Passport Index</a>,</strong></span> which compares each nation for its ease of travelling around the world, Australia ranked sixth alongside Greece.</p> <p>One spot higher than last year, Aussies now have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 183 destinations around the world.</p> <p>The index, which has been running annually since 2013, places us one position above neighbouring New Zealand.</p> <p>However, there were 20 countries with stronger passports than Australia.</p> <p>Topping the list was Japan and Singapore whose residents have access to 189 countries without needing a visa, followed by former number one Germany in second position with 188.</p> <p>Sweden, Finland, Italy, Spain, Denmark, France and South Korea were all ranked joint third with 187.</p> <p><img width="650" height="488" src="https://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/b13af67d3e4132fc79efc8190a1b0742" alt="The global passport rankings by Henley." style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"/></p> <p>Dr Christian H. Kalin, group chairman of Henley &amp; Partners, said a passport is much more than a simple travel document.</p> <p>“It is a gateway to international opportunities or a barrier to those same opportunities,” Mr Kalin said.</p> <p>“The Henley Passport Index enables individuals to assess where they lie on the spectrum of global mobility and helps governments understand the relative value and power of the passports they provide.”</p> <p>The results are based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association.</p> <p> </p>

International Travel

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"The day we’ve been waiting for": Four boys freed from Thai cave

<p><span>Yesterday, four members of a young Thai soccer team were brought to safety after being trapped in a flooded cave system with their coach.</span></p> <p><span>The first four boys to be removed in the rescue mission had arrived at hospital, according to the head of the rescue operation, Narongsak Osottanakorn.</span></p> <p><span>Today, the rescue mission will continue, as experts attempt to bring the remaining eight boys and their coach to safety.</span></p> <p><span>Mr Osottanakorn told reporters that 90 divers, including 50 foreign rescue workers, were all assisting with the time-pressured operation.</span></p> <p><span>"I would like to inform the public at home and those who have been giving us support all along, after 16 days, today's the day we've been waiting for, we are seeing the Wild Boars in the flesh now."</span></p> <p><span>The first boy left the cave at 5.40 pm local time on Sunday.</span></p> <p><span>Mr Osottanakorn said that rescue workers will need “about 10 hours” to prepare for the next rescue operation.</span></p> <p><span>After the four boys were rescued, Thai Navy seals posted on their Facebook page: “Have sweet dreams everyone. Good night. Hooyah.”</span></p> <p><span>Divers have navigated dark and tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents, to rescue the stranded team.</span></p> <p><span>A former Thai navy SEAL had passed out during the operation while making the dive on Friday and sadly died.</span></p> <p><span>The team has been trapped underground for more than two weeks.</span></p> <p><span>Cave rescue experts previously said an underwater escape should be a last resort due to the strenuous and difficult route to safety, however Mr Osottanakorn revealed that mild weather had created prime conditions for an underwater evacuation.</span></p> <p><span>The optimal conditions won’t last if it rains again.</span></p> <p><span>Before revealing the rescue was underway, authorities instructed the crowd of media gathered around the cave to leave.</span></p> <p><span>On June 23, the soccer teams of young boys and their 25-year-old coach set out to explore the cave complex after soccer practice.</span></p> <p><span>An army commander involved in the operation, said rescuing the entire team could take three to four days but is dependent on the weather, reported the <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-08/first-boys-rescued-from-thai-cave/9956044" target="_blank"><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>ABC</strong>.</span></em></a></span></p>

International Travel

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Passport-free travel? New technology changing the airport experience

<p><span>Yesterday, a select number of Australian passengers started using a different type of passport at Sydney Airport.</span></p> <p><span>A trial involving Qantas passengers on selected international flights is testing facial recognition programming instead of the traditional passport.</span></p> <p><span>The new technology will allow travellers to pass through most stages of the airport without a passport or boarding pass.</span></p> <p><span>Their faces will be scanned as they make their way through check-in, baggage drop, lounge access and boarding stages. The only time they need to present their passport is at immigration.</span></p> <p><span>In the future, the biometric technology will also allow for travellers to have mobile check-in and automated border processing.</span></p> <p><span>Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said the new technology will make catching an international flight faster and easier.</span></p> <p><span>“We’re very excited that select Qantas passengers now have the chance to experience this highly sophisticated technology as part of this landmark trial,” Mr Culbert said.</span></p> <p><span>“In the future, there will be no more juggling passports and bags at check-in, and digging through pockets or smartphones to show your boarding pass — your face will be your passport and your boarding pass at every step of the process.”</span></p> <p><span>The face scan will also enable passengers to be tracked through the terminal.</span></p> <p><span>Qantas chief customer officer Vanessa Hudson said the airline was focused on using the technology to improve customer experience.</span></p> <p><span>“There is an increasing need for airlines and airports to offer faster and more convenient airport experiences and we’re excited to see what results the trial produces,” Ms Hudson said.</span></p> <p><span>“Qantas customers will not only be able to check in for their flight using the technology, it is also available for our lounge staff who can create a more personalised experience when passengers arrive.”</span></p> <p><span>Last year, the new airport system was announced along with new counter-terror measures. State premiers shared their support for the measures, saying that public safety was more important than civil liberties.</span></p> <p><span>“Notional considerations of civil liberties do not trump the very real threat, the very real threat of terror in our country today,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said at the time.</span></p> <p><span>“We are going to have to curtail the rights and freedoms of a small number of people in order to keep the vast majority of Australians safe.”</span></p> <p><span>In May, the <a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/580025f66b8f5b2dabbe4291/t/5b0cebb66d2a73781c59100f/1527574029901/Human+Rights+Law+Centre+Submission+to+PJCIS+-+Identity-Matching+Services.pdf" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Human Rights Law Centre</strong></span></a> announced its concerns in regard to using the face scanning technology in Australia.</span></p> <p><span>The Centre's concerns are:</span></p> <p><span>• “The very substantial erosion of privacy that would accompany upscaling government capacity to link and share personal information in the ways permitted by the two bills, including the manner in which the proposed regime would sidestep privacy protections available in federal and state law.”</span></p> <p><span>• “The breadth of purposes — and entities — that the proposed regime would permit as a lawful foundation for use and sharing of biometric information, encompassing uses for which one may readily understand the need to limit privacy as well as other uses that appear far less pressing.”</span></p> <p><span>• “The distinct lack of evidence as to the need for such a broad and permissive regime.”</span></p> <p><span>• “The absence of detail as to how the Government in fact proposes to regulate the capabilities for which it seeks parliamentary approval.”</span></p> <p><span>The safeguards in place to protect the biometric data are unclear.</span></p> <p><span>What are your thoughts on using a face scan as a passport? Let us know in the comments below. </span></p>

International Travel

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British Airways unveils VERY funny safety video – how many famous faces do you know?

<p>In the battle of the airline safety videos, British Airways has delivered a killer blow. </p> <p>Last year, the British airline took direct aim at New Zealand's national carrier, saying "Hey, Air New Zealand, you're not the only one with a star-studded safety video". </p> <p>Featuring Sir Ian McKellan, Thandie Newton, Gordon Ramsay and Rowan Atkinson reprising his role as Mr Bean, the video was full of classic British dry humour and clocked up almost 25 million views. </p> <p>While adopting a similar format, the sequel is arguably even more hilarious. </p> <p>Introducing the pre-flight video, its "director", comedian Asim Chaudhry (aka Chabuddy G), says British A-listers were begging for parts. </p> <p>"Chabuddy, please let us be part of the sequel," he said, mimicking them in a high wine.</p> <p>"It's pathetic really. And sure, they've got their Oscars, they've got their Baftas - but what they really want is a Sista - the Society of In-flight Safety Training Awards. They all want to get their hands on the golden wings... I quite fancy some wings actually. Can someone go chicken shop?"</p> <p>The likes of Sir Michael Caine, Olivia Colman, Naomie Harris, David Walliams and Joanna Lumley are seen "auditioning" in humorous sketches, while simultaneously delivering those essential safety messages. </p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe width="500" height="281" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FQ9Xpzi4qkU?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>The hapless director mistakes three-time Bafta winner Colman, star of <em>The Crown</em> and <em>Broadchurch</em>, for a tea lady and unwittingly offends Lumley.  </p> <p>The <em>Absolutely Fabulous</em> star is required to tell passengers to remove their high heels because they could rip the emergency slide before delivering the painfully cheesy line "Don't worry, you'll all still look absolutely fabulous without them".</p> <p>Giving Chabuddy, who "directs" each sketch, a withering look, Lumley asks whether the line is "strictly necessary". </p> <p>"Yeah," Chabuddy replies. "Otherwise people won't know who you are."</p> <p>But it's not all about giving passengers a pre-flight laugh. Besides delivering the safety messages, the video promotes Flying Start, the global charity partnership between British Airways and Comic Relief which has supported over half a million children in the UK and some of the world's poorest communities since its 2010 launch. </p> <p>Unlike Air New Zealand's sometimes OTT videos (the one launched last July featured skiing down a pavlova, dipping a marshmallow in a boiling mud pit and a giant kea), the British video, which will roll out from this July, keeps things simple. </p> <p>No heavily-edited "fantastical" landscapes a la Air New Zealand, just the all-important safety information delivered with a generous helping of good humour.  </p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe width="500" height="281" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/TEsHqdA9dV0?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Air New Zealand has become increasingly intent on cramming its own safety videos with "celebrities", moving on from local actors and All Blacks to American stars Adrian Grenier, Katie Holmes and Cuba Gooding Jr. </p> <p>While intended to be a light-hearted take on what makes New Zealand unique, they have become increasingly bizarre. In trying too hard to surpass other airlines' videos, or their own, they've lost their sense of humour - to this viewer at least. </p> <p>MREC-TAG-HERE</p> <p>Commenting on the latest video, which shows Grenier on a tour of Antarctica, in a <em>Stuff</em> article earlier this year, Darren Bevan says: "With its collection of bad dad jokes, goofy American tourist vibe and degree of Hollywood privilege, it simply seems to me like the bottom of the barrel being scraped."</p> <p>But you be the judge. Let us know what you think of the British Airways video, or Air New Zealand's, in the comments below. </p> <p><em>Written by Lorna Thornber. Republish with permission of <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Stuff.co.nz.</span></strong></a></em></p>

International Travel

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Inside Oprah Winfrey’s new $11 million hideaway mansion

<p>Billionaire Oprah Winfrey has splashed out on a waterfront property in the United States, on Washington's secluded Orcas Island.</p> <p>Located between Seattle and Vancouver, it's one of the four largest islands that comprise the San Juan Islands archipelago.</p> <p>It's not exactly a well-known location and for a mega-celeb like her, that's probably the point. </p> <p>The twice Oscar-nominated actress and global philanthropist already owns three stately homes – in Hawaii, California and Colorado – but what's another cool $11 million if it buys you a little privacy?</p> <p>Previously known as the Madroneagle estate, Winfrey's new property consists of two waterfront titles combined into a total area of 17.4 hectares, which includes 914 metres of private shoreline, <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://variety.com/2018/dirt/real-estalker/oprah-winfrey-san-juan-islands-compound-1202830035/" target="_blank">reported Variety.</a></strong></span></p> <p>The main dwelling is a plush 678 square metre lodge-style home with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, powder room, soaring exposed beam ceilings in the living areas, kitchen with full-size pizza oven, a games room, library nook with floor to ceiling bookcases, and a wine cellar and tasting room.</p> <p>It's basically the ultimate retreat with everything the media mogul and her entourage could need to relax.</p> <p>Finished internally with rare reclaimed woods, hand-forged iron work and wooden floorboards reclaimed from the old Sears' building in Chicago, the home has a luxurious cabin feel.</p> <p>Additional to the primary home is a contemporary 273 square metre guesthouse with four more bedrooms and three bedrooms. Dubbed "the gallery house", it's not difficult to understand the moniker when you consider its position high on the cliff overlooking the private beach. </p> <p>But wait, there's more. The property also holds an enclosed "tea house" out in the garden, set overlooking the water, plus a large barn that houses a yoga studio and gym downstairs, and a woodworking studio upstairs.</p> <p>According to marketing materials, the property also features a sauna, Asian-style garden, private hiking trails, a pond and a stream.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to get a sneak peek inside Oprah Winfrey’s new estate.</p> <p><em>Written by Anabela Rea. Republished with permission of <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Stuff.co.nz.</span></strong></a></em></p>

International Travel

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Meet the baby boomer backpackers seeing the world on a shoestring budget

<p>Travelling through Turkey in an old VW in the 1980s, Wendy Clark, her husband David and their two travel buddies were treated to an impromptu concert by a woman they had no idea at the time would inspire their future travels.  </p> <p>The couple were in the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, the ruins of which lie near the modern village of Selcuk in western Turkey, when a solo traveller they had recently met - a widowed Australian in her seventies - took centre stage at the 25,000-seater amphitheatre which had once hosted gladiator fights and philosophical debates and began to sing.</p> <p>"She had a beautiful singing voice and she stood and gave us a concert," Wendy, who now lives in Queenstown, says. "I've never forgotten that. I just always thought what a fantastic attitude that was. She was completely at large, she was doing all these wonderful things and she wasn't letting age stop her."</p> <p>Wendy and David, in their early twenties at the time, were on an OE typical of Kiwis at the time: working "black" [illegally] for six months at a time in London to save for jaunts through Europe. Back then, Turkey was far from the tourist magnet it is today. Oscar-winning film Midnight Express - a 1978 prison epic about a young American tourist tortured in an Istanbul prison after being discovered with hash at the airport - had virtually killed the Turkish tourism industry overnight. The Australian widow aside, Wendy and David, originally from Invercargill, had seen few other tourists in their time there. But adventurous travel on the cheap was their jam.</p> <p>"I remember a Contiki bus coming into the campground one day," Wendy says. "We looked completely down our noses at that. What we were doing was very spontaneous."</p> <p>More than three decades on their travel ethos remains largely unchanged. With their children now grown, Wendy and David, aged 56 and 62 respectively, are relishing being able to travel overseas again. And, like a growing number of baby boomers and older travellers, are choosing to stay in budget accommodation such as backpackers and homestays and use cheaper forms of transport.</p> <p>A 2018 study by <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://booking.com/" target="_blank">Booking.com</a></strong></span> of 20,000 travellers around the globe, including 500 New Zealanders, found that 20 per cent of baby boomers - often defined as those born between 1946 and 1964 - are planning a trip involving backpacking. While 35 per cent of baby boomer respondents said they regretted not having travelled more when they were younger, others, such as Wendy and David, think that spending less on accommodation will enable them to spend more time overseas and see more. Just as baby boomers made backpacking through Europe a rite of passage, they are now rewriting the rules of mature travel and retirement.</p> <p>Joshua Nu'u-Steele, Booking.com's New Zealand area manager, said many baby boomer backpackers are making up for lost time, while realising there's only so much time left.</p> <p>"A lot of that age group haven't had the opportunity to travel yet and want to do it while they still can."</p> <p>Like younger travellers, Joshua says they are seeking unique experiences and, while often more affluent than younger backpackers, are open to "alternative accommodation".</p> <p>Charli Bateson, product and marketing manager with Jucy Group, which runs hostels in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch as well as hires out vehicles, thinks the relative ease and affordability of international travel these days is prompting more baby boomers to give backpacking a go. Millennials, she says, are also "re-educating" them about what modern backpacking entails.</p> <p>"Most hostels now have en-suite rooms as well as dorms, just not all the five-star facilities. With the more adventurous older travellers especially, they would rather spend their money on travelling and activities than a room they'll probably only spend a few hours in."   </p> <p>Wendy and David returned to New Zealand in the mid 80s after three years in Europe to find Queenstown in the midst of a building boom.  </p> <p>"We got swept up in it and never left," Wendy says. "We built a house and then another house and had a family so there was no money for travelling. There's a conception that baby boomers have had it all handed to them but we did work incredibly hard - six to seven days a week. Everything we did, we did ourselves."</p> <p>They both still work - Wendy as a creative writing teacher and David as a museum director - and, when they do get time to travel, prefer to spend their money on activities and food than accommodation.</p> <p>"I always think it's a complete waste spending money on accommodation," Wendy says. "I could sleep under a tree but the husband is not so keen."</p> <p>On a five-week trip to Cambodia and Vietnam four years ago, which Wendy describes as "just astounding", they slept in some very basic accommodation.</p> <p>"In Cambodia, we stayed on an island in little huts. Most of the other people there were way younger but it didn't matter. I just love talking to people about their lives."</p> <p>In Vietnam, the couple took a train to Sapa which Wendy says was like something out of the Cold War, sharing a compartment with a young couple on their honeymoon ("poor folks"), before joining a guided trek, staying with members of local hill tribes.</p> <p>"It was muddy, dirty, wet and hot," Wendy says. "The oven was a hole in the floor - it was incredibly basic. I can't imagine a lot of people my age would want to do it but I loved every minute of it."</p> <p>The couple spent their money on visiting attractions such as Angkor Wat, museums and eating everything they had been told not to at street food stalls. Invited out to dinner one night by fellow westerners, they were disappointed to discover the menu was Europeanised.</p> <p>"We asked if they had tried street food and they said "oh no, you'll get sick". I kind of felt a bit sad for them."</p> <p>The couple are now planning a four-month trip to Europe, intending to stay at backpacker accommodation and "call on a few favours" with friends who have stayed with them in Queenstown to keep costs down. They will be travelling with backpacks small enough to take as carry-on luggage on the plane and cooking at their hostels so they can eat as the locals do.</p> <p>At this stage, they think they will begin in Belgium in France, where they will visit WWI and II battlefields, and then travel to Scotland (Wendy has become more interested in exploring her Scottish heritage as she gets older), England, Ireland and perhaps Croatia and Poland.  </p> <p>In some ways, backpacking is less risque than it was back in the 80s, Wendy says.</p> <p>"We use websites to see what's popular and, with reviews, there's a lot less chance of ending up somewhere with bed bugs. In New York [in the 80s], we stayed in a youth hostel that turned out to be the most horrifying place - the rooms were smaller than cells and it was full of prostitutes."</p> <p>As frequent caravanners, Wendy says she and David have no qualms about backpacking.</p> <p>"I just enjoy the energy of young people. If we're in a hostel or backpackers, being among younger people I find it fantastic."</p> <p>Barbara Iverson, a 79-year-old Aucklander, is another whose fond memories of staying in hostels in her younger years prompted her to reconsider it as a more mature traveller.</p> <p>A keen rower for about 50 years, Barbara had always wanted to visit Lake Bled in Slovenia which, in rowing circles is just as renowned for its international regattas as its photogenic church on an islet.</p> <p>Barbara was in town for the World Rowing Masters Regatta last December, an event she has competed in herself in the past, and decided the local hostel "was the best way to go" because of its reasonable prices and close proximity to the lake.</p> <p>Arriving to find she was staying on the top floor, Barbara says she "had to bribe a young rower" to carry up her suitcase, but other than that, had a "very comfortable" experience.</p> <p>"There was a little alcove that looked over the castle. The view was just magical."</p> <p>Barbara says there was a variety of people staying at the hostel, of a variety of ages, and that everyone was "very helpful". While a few of the rower guests liked to party, she said most were keen to get to bed early after a long day on the lake.</p> <p>"It was easy to make your meals and the bathroom was good. You just had to be respectful of other people."</p> <p>Barbara says she would recommend staying at hostels and using cheaper forms of transport to "more relaxed" older travellers, provided they're prepared to "expect the unexpected".</p> <p>"But if things are not right or you need a favour, don't hesitate to ask," she advises.</p> <p>With an aging global population and technology making international travel easier and cheaper than ever before, the baby boomer backpacking trend looks set to continue.</p> <p>To Wendy, this comes as little surprise.</p> <p>"I think they grey tsunami are very fit and active and they've worked hard and now they want to play hard," she says.</p> <p><em>Written by Lorna Thornber. Republished with permission of <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Stuff.co.nz.</span></strong></a></em></p>

International Travel

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Teen’s touching random act of kindness for blind and deaf man during flight

<p>A teenage girl’s random act of kindness has gone viral after she helped a blind and deaf man communicate on a flight.</p> <p>Last week, Clara Daly and her mum boarded an Alaska Airlines flight after their original flight from Boston was cancelled.</p> <p>Clara’s mum, Jane, explained that the pair rushed frantically to board the flight and just made it in time. </p> <p>Shortly after take-off, a flight attendant made an announcement to the passengers, asking if anyone knew sign language.</p> <p>"Clara has been studying American Sign Language so she rang the flight attendant button," Jane wrote on Facebook.</p> <p>"They explained that the passenger was not only deaf, but also blind. The only way you can communicate with him was by signing into his hand."</p> <p>"They thought that he might need something and they weren't sure how to communicate," Clara told <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2018/06/22/calabasas-teen-blind-deaf-man-flight/" target="_blank"><em>CBS Los Angeles</em></a></span></strong>.</p> <p>Clara walked over to the man, whose name she later learnt was Timothy, and signed into the palm of his hand to see if she could help him.</p> <p>"Several times he requested her assistance throughout the flight," the proud mum explained.</p> <p>The Californian teen helped him ask for water and how much time was left for the flight.</p> <p>Clara was happy to get up and help whenever he needed to say something and then, "toward the end of the flight, he asked for her again, and this time he just wanted to talk.</p> <p>She spent the remainder of the flight until landing with him," Jane wrote.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fjane.daly.501%2Fposts%2F10156396022402726&amp;width=500" width="500" height="764" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p> <p>"He didn't need anything. He was just like lonely and wanted to talk," Clara told<em> CBS Los Angeles. </em></p> <p>Clara was overjoyed that she was able to communicate with Timothy but her only concern was that she would spell something wrong when signing into his hand, as she is dyslexic.</p> <p>Since Clara is dyslexic, she started learning sign language about a year ago because she wanted to know a way to communicate without having to read or write.</p> <p>Her parents, Jane and Bill, expressed how proud they were of their daughter, and her mum shared the story after the airline emailed the photos the flight attendants took of Clara and the man.</p> <p>MREC-TAG-HERE</p> <p>Jane and Clara’s original flight was direct to Los Angeles but the new flight they were put on had a layover in Portland. Timothy was flying to Portland and if it weren’t for the flight change, they would’ve never met him.</p> <p>"She'll probably kill me for posting this, but - Proud of my girl," the happy mum wrote about her daughter.</p> <p>After her story went viral, Clara said her random act of kindness was “what anyone would have done”. </p>

International Travel

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4 public transport experiences you must have overseas

<p>I'm still not a convert to those flashy, chugging tour buses that clog the central boroughs of London and the boulevards of Los Angeles. Some people swear by them. A few rounds on one to get my bearings of the arrondissements of Paris made jetlagged bodies feel like we had achieved and learned something, but, tellingly, I've never hopped on such a bus again.</p> <p>Likewise, I'm not a runner (or even a jogger) who shakes off the out-of-sync sleep cycles with a sweat around the neighbourhoods of their hotel or hostel. I do however, recommend getting to know a city like one of its commuters at least once or twice.</p> <p>What's more, if you choose the right methods and routes you can get your own little tour passing some of each cities famous sites, like these options below:</p> <p><strong>London</strong></p> <p>For a tour-bus-beating £1.50 on your tourist Oyster card, board London's heritage red Routemaster bus No 15 at Tower Hill, beside the infamous Tower of London, heading towards Trafalgar Square. Snag a seat on the second level to take in the journey's views of the Monument to the Great Fire of London, St Paul's Cathedral and Fleet St, before finally alighting next to Trafalgar Square to see Nelson's Column and the area's galleries and museums</p> <p><strong>Lisbon</strong></p> <p>Famous for both its steep terrain and trundling yellow trams, avoid one and embrace the other in Portugal's capital Lisbon. The city is one of western Europe's warmest and cheapest – a winning combination. Make it even better value by catching the canary-hued No 28 tram for €2.90 on-board or €6.10 for a city-wide day pass to tackle the hills and see the view. From its start at Square Martim Moniz in central Baixa, through past the narrow alleys and tiled houses of Alfama to the castle near the stop for Portas del Sol, the screeching around corners and heavy braking  is all part of the fun. There is a red tram that follows a very similar view with more guidance and a higher fare. Both are busy with tourists, so head out early in the morning or in the evening and beware of pickpockets who target the route.</p> <p><strong>Hong Kong</strong></p> <p>A trip to Honkers isn't complete without a cross-harbour journey between Hong Kong island and Kowloon on one of the little green Star Ferries that run from 7am to 11pm between Central, Wan Chai and Tsim Sha Tsui piers. For HKD$2.70 the harbour hop is a bargain and the views are spectacular, particularly at night when the skyscrapers light up. This Asian metropolis might have efficient and modern subways and rail networks but the little green boat service launched in 1888 is what you'll remember.</p> <p><strong>New York</strong></p> <p>The Big Apple is awash with tourist hustlers and hop-on, hop-off tours, but avoid them by riding Manhattan's bus route No 1. With a pay-per-ride MetroCard and for about US$5.50 you can enjoy a massive loop stretching from Harlem, past Central Park down to Midtown and <em>Friends</em>-esque Greenwich Village. It uses famous streets Fifth Ave and Madison Ave so you'll pass plenty of chi-chi boutique and big-name stores. Keep an eye out for the Museum of Modern Art (Moma) and crane your neck skywards to see the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Centre. As Fifth Ave bisects Broadway, grab snaps of the Flat Iron building before hopping off at the route's most southerly point to enjoy the grub served up in Chinatown and Little Italy. Or walk a few blocks to stroll the New York High Line – a disused elevated railway-turned-urban garden walkway.</p> <p>Have you had any of these public transport experiences?</p> <p><em>Written by Josh Martin. Republished with permission of <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Stuff.co.nz</span></strong></a>.</em></p>

International Travel

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Stunning photos: 10 places you won’t believe are on Earth

<p>MREC-TAG-HERE</p> <p>No matter how much one travels, there’s always new vistas to be discovered on our blue planet. You know the places - the ones you see on screen in nature documentaries, or the locales that are used to simulate new planets in science fiction films. We’ve chosen 10 of the most incredible landscapes from around the world that we sometimes have trouble believing are really there.</p> <p>1. Travertines, Pamukkale, Turkey</p> <p><img width="499" height="458" src="/media/5430/otheworld1_499x458.jpg" alt="Otheworld1"/></p> <p>2. Red beach, Panjin, China</p> <p><img width="500" height="328" src="/media/5431/otheworld2_500x328.jpg" alt="Otheworld2"/></p> <p>3. Rice terraces, Bali, Indonesia</p> <p><img width="500" height="333" src="/media/5432/otheworld3_500x333.jpg" alt="Otheworld3"/></p> <p>4. Giant's Causeway, Antrim, Northern Ireland, U.K.</p> <p><em>Image credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vincent0923/267377910/">Wenxiang Zheng</a>/Flickr</em></p> <p><img width="497" height="330" src="/media/5433/otheworld4_497x330.jpg" alt="Otheworld4"/></p> <p>5. Giant Buddha, Leshan, China</p> <p><em><img width="500" height="333" src="/media/5434/otherworld5_500x333.jpg" alt="Otherworld5"/></em></p> <p>6. Odle Mountains, Italy</p> <p><img width="500" height="333" src="/media/5435/otherworld6_500x333.jpg" alt="Otherworld6"/></p> <p>7. Tunnel of Love, Klevan, Ukraine</p> <p><img width="500" height="415" src="/media/5436/otherworld_500x415.jpg" alt="Otherworld"/></p> <p>8. "Door to Hell," Derweze, Turkmenistan</p> <p><em>Image credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tormods/6269124988/">Tormod Sandtorv</a>/Flickr</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><img width="500" height="263" src="/media/5437/otherworld8_500x263.jpg" alt="Otherworld8"/></p> <p>9. Cappadocia, Anatolia, Turkey</p> <p><em><img width="500" height="333" src="/media/5438/otherworld9_500x333.jpg" alt="Otherworld9"/></em></p> <p>10. Sossusvlei, Namibia</p> <p><img width="500" height="333" src="/media/5439/otheworld10_500x333.jpg" alt="Otheworld 10"/></p> <p><strong> </strong></p>

International Travel