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The must-visit winter travel destinations

<p dir="ltr">As winter rolls around, many people are looking to flee the confines of their chilly homes and routines in search of sunshine and adventure. </p> <p dir="ltr">Aussies have been already planning their getaways to follow the sun, as <a href="about:blank">Booking.com</a>'s latest search data has revealed the top ten international holiday spots for this year.</p> <p dir="ltr">The results show that while many travellers are heading to tropical destinations this winter, others are searching for a different kind of holiday. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>10. Kuta, Bali</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While Bali has long been a popular tourist destination for Aussies, many chose to head to Indonesia to enjoy the sandy beaches and escape the winter chill. </p> <p dir="ltr">With winter temperatures hovering around 25°C each day, there's no better place to escape the cold.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>9. Paris, France</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">In 2024, Paris is on many people’s travel lists ahead of the Olympics in July. </p> <p dir="ltr">With charming restaurants, trendy boutiques, chic cafes, and amazing museums on offer, as well as warm temps, there’s no better time to head to Paris. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>8. Ubud, Bali</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Another Bali region to make the list, Ubud is an inland paradise amongst rice paddies and lush jungle.</p> <p dir="ltr">The food heaven destination is also known for its gorgeous climate, making it a perfect holiday spot. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>7. Queenstown, New Zealand</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">For those who don’t want to venture too far from home, Queenstown is an amazing spot for anyone seeking an active holiday.</p> <p dir="ltr">As the only spot on the list which isn't about escaping winter, Queenstown - and New Zealand in general - is often visited by keen skiers and those looking to amplify their winter travels. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>6. Canggu, Bali</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Another Bali spot making the list, Canggu is a beachside area surrounded by terraced rice paddies and known for good surf.</p> <p dir="ltr">Accommodation in the area ranges from beachside villas and gorgeous guesthouses, with something for everyone. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>5. Singapore</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While Singapore has long been a default stopover city for travellers on their way to Europe, it's also a great destination in its own right.</p> <p dir="ltr">With a stunning mix of old town charm and modern skyscrapers, it's the perfect place for a mid-week getaway or long weekend.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>4. Legian, Bali</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Legian Beach is right next to the popular spot Kuta, though is a bit more relaxed and laid-back, and perfect for travellers who want to chill out.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to booking.com, Legian has become increasingly popular with travellers in the last year.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>3. London, England</strong> </p> <p dir="ltr">For anyone embarking on a Euro summer, London is a must-see destination for any keen traveller.</p> <p dir="ltr">There's something in London for everyone, from amazing museums and sprawling markets, to iconic landmarks and rich history.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>2. Tokyo, Japan</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While tourism in Japan has surged in recent years, there’s a good reason why, as many travellers are flocking to the nation to experience its rich culture. </p> <p dir="ltr">On top of it being an affordable destination, the unique experience has Aussies heading to Japan in droves, with Tokyo seeing a 25 per cent search increase among Aussies in the last year. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>1. Seminyak, Bali</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Unsurprisingly, a Bali destination has topped the list, as Seminyak offers luxury hotels and villas, high-end dining, and famous beach clubs.</p> <p dir="ltr">Located between Canggu and Kuta, Seminyak has long hosted thousands of tourists looking to escape the cold, with travellers and locals alike basking in the picturesque sunsets. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

International Travel

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"If you cry, I cry!": Pink's emotional visit to children's hospital

<p>In a world often overshadowed by turmoil and strife, moments of pure compassion and kindness help to remind us of the inherent goodness that resides within humanity. Recently, one such instance unfolded at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, courtesy of the incomparable American singer, Pink.</p> <p>Known for her powerhouse vocals and unwavering commitment to making a difference, Pink, or Alecia Beth Moore, as she's known offstage, graced the hospital corridors with her presence, accompanied by her 12-year-old daughter, Willow. </p> <p>In a heartfelt Instagram post, Pink expressed gratitude for the opportunity to revisit the Royal Children’s Hospital, reflecting on a 22-year journey of shared moments and profound connections.</p> <p>"It’s been 22 years since I first visited families at the Royal Children’s Hospital, and it was a privilege to return to @rchmelbourne this week," she wrote.</p> <p>"Thank you to everyone who spent time with Willow and me. Thank you for sharing your stories and letting us play you a couple of songs. We won’t forget this day 💜</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">"Please visit @rchmelbourne to learn more about the vital work they’re doing to help create a world where all kids thrive 💕🙏"</span></p> <p>The emotional resonance of Pink's visit reverberated through the hospital wards, as she serenaded patients with her soul-stirring melodies and shared intimate moments with families, nurses and staff alike.</p> <p>An incredible rendition of her song "Cover Me in Sunshine" echoed through the rooms, offering comfort and joy to those who have found solace in her music during their darkest hours.</p> <p>Yet, beyond the melodies and harmonies, it was the genuine moments of human connection that truly illuminated the hospital corridors. From tender embraces to shared laughter, Pink's interactions with the children radiated warmth and compassion, leaving an indelible mark on hearts young and old.</p> <p>In the comments, fans and followers alike marvelled at the depth of Pink's compassion. "As a mom who has lost a child to pediatric brain cancer, I can’t tell you how much those moments of sunshine mean, both to the child and to the family," wrote one fan. "Willow was born the year I lost my daughter, and I’ve watched her grow up from afar, wondering what my daughter would have become. It’s obvious the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Thank you for being such gracious, and giving human beings."</p> <p>"If you cry, I cry," wrote another. "Now we we all are crying."</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C4ZMmK8S6Uv/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C4ZMmK8S6Uv/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by P!NK (@pink)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>In a world that often seems fraught with division and discord, Pink's visit to the Royal Children’s Hospital serves as a reminder of the profound impact one individual can have when they choose to lead with love and compassion.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Caring

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Most popular Aussie city to visit in 2024 revealed

<p>The most popular city in Australia for 2024 travellers has been revealed, with locals and international visitors alike all adding the capital city to their destination bucket lists. </p> <p>In new research commissioned by the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF), Melbourne has shot to the top the list of most popular cities to travel this year, beating out Sydney, the Sunshine Coast and Adelaide for the top spot. </p> <p>In the TTF report, a sample of 2,000 travellers between the age of 18-65 revealed where they plan on visiting both domestically and abroad in 2024.</p> <p>While Queensland came out on top as the most popular state or territory to visit, followed by NSW and Victoria, Melbourne beat the other capital cities as the most sought after city across the country.</p> <p>“It’s not surprising more Australians are planning to head to Melbourne for a holiday this year, with its thriving music and arts scene and world-famous events year-round,” TTF CEO Margy Osmond told <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-ideas/best-of-travel/australian-city-named-best-in-the-country-outweighing-sydney-and-brisbane/news-story/6e69272d37b62eada10b6bedf2bb88f5" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>news.com.au</em></a>.</p> <p>“Already this year Melbourne has hosted Taylor Swift and the Australian Open and will draw thousands more visitors for the upcoming Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Fringe Festival and much more.”</p> <p>Known for the delicious coffee, abundance of shopping options, thriving food scene and bustling culture and nightlife, Melbourne has long been a hotspot destination for many travellers. </p> <p>The crown is another win for Victoria, with the city of Bendigo walking away with the top prize of ‘best town’ in the annual <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/travel/domestic-travel/why-disbelief-as-best-aussie-towns-crowned-for-2024" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Wotif travel awards</a>.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Vigil held as families visit site where Jesse Baird and Luke Davies' bodies found

<p>In the wake of the devastating loss of Jesse Baird and Luke Davies, allegedly murdered in a shocking incident that has reverberated more than 150km apart, communities are coming together to mourn, support and seek solace.</p> <p>The heart-wrenching discovery of the couple's bodies in the serene landscapes of the Southern Tablelands near Goulburn has sent shockwaves through both urban and rural areas. </p> <p>As news of the tragic discovery spread, family members embarked on a solemn journey south to the Bungonia property where <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/update-on-search-for-bodies-of-murdered-couple" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Baird and Davies were found</a>. Their pilgrimage was met with an outpouring of sympathy and solidarity from friends and community members alike. Meanwhile, in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs, a sombre vigil took place, with dozens gathering at the Bronte Surf Life Saving Club to honour the memories of the beloved couple.</p> <p>The scene at the vigil was poignant yet comforting, with friends embracing one another against the backdrop of crashing waves and flickering candlelight. A portrait of Davies served as a focal point, surrounded by tokens of affection and remembrance.</p> <p>Meanwhile, in the NSW countryside, law enforcement officials worked diligently to unravel the mysteries surrounding the tragic deaths. The sight of police tape being lowered to allow family members to pass through symbolised both closure and the beginning of a long journey toward healing.</p> <p>For the NSW Police Force, the case hit particularly close to home. Deputy Commissioner Michael Fitzgerald spoke candidly about the profound impact of the alleged crime, emphasising the shock and horror felt within the law enforcement community.</p> <p>"It has hurt us because it was one of our own," Assistant Commissioner Fitzgerald remarked. "It was an officer who used a police weapon. It's captured the world's attention, not just Australia's. It's horrendous and horrific."</p> <p>Indeed, the tragedy has sparked a broader conversation about the prevalence of violence and the need for greater support for victims and their families. As communities grapple with grief and loss, there is a renewed commitment to standing together in solidarity and offering support to those in need.</p> <p>While the discovery of Baird and Davies' bodies brings a heartbreaking confirmation of their deaths, it also serves as a catalyst for healing and closure. In the days and weeks ahead, friends, family and communities will continue to come together to honour their memories and seek justice for the lives lost too soon.</p> <p><em>Images: 9News</em></p>

Family & Pets

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The best countries for food lovers to visit

<p dir="ltr">When it comes to travelling, one of the best things about exploring a new place is sampling the local cuisine. </p> <p dir="ltr">From cafes adored by locals and the best of fine dining, to charming markets and unassuming but delicious street food, discovering a country’s culture through their food is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in all the world has to offer. </p> <p dir="ltr">According to TripAdvisor’s 2024 Traveller's Choice Awards, some cities are better than others for foodies, with their top ten list showcasing the best destinations for lovers of food. </p> <p dir="ltr">Coming in hot in the number one spot for foodies to visit is the city of Hanoi, situated in the north of Vietnam. </p> <p dir="ltr">With a plethora of street food, fresh markets, and hole-in-the-wall restaurants, you won't be leaving hungry in this popular tourist destination. </p> <p dir="ltr">The national dish of Vietnam, a noodle soup called Pho, is a speciality for visitors to fall in love with, and compare between the hundreds of restaurants that offer the delicious meal. </p> <p dir="ltr">Other foods to try there include banh mi, rice pancakes, and Bun cha, or Vietnamese meatballs.</p> <p dir="ltr">Check out the entire top 10 list of foodie destinations below. </p> <p dir="ltr">10. Phuket, Thailand </p> <p dir="ltr">9. Lisbon, Portugal </p> <p dir="ltr">8. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA</p> <p dir="ltr">7. Barcelona, Spain</p> <p dir="ltr">6. New Delhi, India </p> <p dir="ltr">5. Florence, Italy</p> <p dir="ltr">4. Cusco, Peru</p> <p dir="ltr">3. Crete, Greece</p> <p dir="ltr">2. Rome, Italy</p> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">1. Hanoi, Vietnam</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

International Travel

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The world’s least visited countries revealed

<p dir="ltr">The world’s least visited countries have been revealed for those who like their holidays to be well and truly off the grid. </p> <p dir="ltr">These 10 countries should be on the travel bucket lists of those who prefer to be away from everyone and everything, and who revel in a crowd-free getaway. </p> <p dir="ltr">According to the <a href="https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/least-visited-countries" target="_blank" rel="noopener">United Nations World Tourism Organisation</a> 2023 report, these ten countries welcome very few tourists for a range of logistic reasons. </p> <p dir="ltr">Some of these remote countries are lying in hard-to-reach corners of the globe, while others are just “too small to host vast numbers of tourists”. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, they're all worth the effort for a traveller after a certain kind of holiday, as they offer golden beaches, crystal clear waters and blissful isolation. </p> <p dir="ltr">The country that came in at number one, as the least visited country in the world, was the country of Tuvalu, which welcomes just 3,700 annual visitors. </p> <p dir="ltr">Tuvalu is located 1,000km north of Fiji in the west-central Pacific Ocean, just below the equator. </p> <p dir="ltr">The three coral islands and six atolls that make up the country have a total land mass of around 10 square miles, making it the fourth-smallest country in the world. </p> <p dir="ltr">Sadly, the future of Tuvalu is uncertain, as the small country is expected to be a victim of climate change, with rising sea levels putting the country and its residents in danger. </p> <p dir="ltr">Tuvalu is also tricky to reach, with no direct international flights, and only three flights a week running to the island from Fiji. </p> <p dir="ltr">Here is the full top 10 list of the least visited countries in the world. </p> <p dir="ltr">10. Guinea-Bissau. Annual visitors: 52,000</p> <p dir="ltr">9. Comoros. Annual visitors: 45,000</p> <p dir="ltr">8. São Tomé and Príncipe. Annual visitors: 34,900</p> <p dir="ltr">7. Solomon Islands. Annual visitors: 29,000</p> <p dir="ltr">6. Montserrat. Annual visitors: 19,300</p> <p dir="ltr">5. Micronesia. Annual visitors: 18,000</p> <p dir="ltr">4. Kiribati. Annual visitors: 12,000</p> <p dir="ltr">3. Niue. Annual visitors: 10,200</p> <p dir="ltr">2. Marshall Islands. Annual visitors: 6,100</p> <p dir="ltr">1. Tuvalu. Annual visitors: 3,700</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Shutterstock</em></p>

International Travel

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“You look like Nicolas Cage!”: Tiny Busselton store shocked by megastar’s visit

<p>Busselton, Western Australia - It's not every day that you walk into your local neighbourhood store and encounter a Hollywood A-lister browsing the snack aisle. Yet, that's precisely what happened to shop owner Annie Liban in her small Asian grocery store in Busselton, when none other than Nicolas Cage strolled through her doors.</p> <p>Cage, known for his eclectic roles and memorable performances, is rumoured to be filming his latest movie, <em>The Surfer</em>, in the scenic Western Australian region. The film apparently revolves around his character's return to his hometown and his unexpected feud with a local gang of surfers. A picturesque backdrop indeed for a film about beach drama, but it seems even Nic Cage needs to restock the fridge occasionally.</p> <p>The rumour mill had been buzzing with whispers of Cage's impending visit for a while now, but these tidbits of information didn't reach Ms Liban until the actor himself, in all his enigmatic glory, was casually perusing her store shelves one sunny afternoon.</p> <p>"I said, 'oh, he looks like Nicolas Cage,' but I was like, 'what's he doing in this store?'" Ms Liban recalled with astonishment <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-10-17/nicolas-cage-sighted-in-busselton-filming-the-surfer-movie/102986390" target="_blank" rel="noopener">to the ABC</a>. "Why is he grabbing some eggs and kimchi? We couldn't stop staring."</p> <p>It seems that even Ms Liban's eagle-eyed staff had a hard time recognising the star at first, but eventually, curiosity got the better of them, and they mustered up the courage to ask the million-dollar question: "Who are you?"</p> <p>Ms Liban described the uncanny clues that finally cracked the Cage case. "<span style="font-family: abcsans, -apple-system, 'system-ui', 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">There were some clues … he was wearing boots in hot weather and a jacket, wearing some Prada sunglasses and the voice as well,</span>" she said. "<span style="font-family: abcsans, -apple-system, 'system-ui', 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">And then when he picked up the oranges in front of the shop we said to him 'we only accept cash' and he said 'I only have US dollars.</span>'" </p> <p>"We said, 'oh you do look like Nicolas Cage' and he said, 'I am.'"</p> <p>It appears that Busselton's small Asian grocery store unexpectedly became a portal to Hollywood for a brief moment.</p> <p><em>The Surfer</em> is expected to feature local surfers from WA's South West and will be shot in the stunning locales of Margaret River and Yallingup. A call-out for the movie even went to high school students a while back, seeking youngsters with the right amount of "attitude" to star in the film.</p> <p>Ms Liban, a fan of Nicolas Cage from her days growing up in the Philippines, is eagerly looking forward to the movie. "We love Nicolas Cage, so I'm excited to see what he's doing here in Australia," she said with a smile.</p> <p>City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley shared his enthusiasm for the unexpected Hollywood cameo in the region. "[These types of productions] have a significant economic impact on the area. Accommodation and costs for a crew of this magnitude, with 100 people here for a month, inject a substantial amount of money into the local economy," he explained.</p> <p>While Busselton has seen its fair share of Australian film productions like <em>Drift</em> with Sam Worthington and the karting-themed <em>Go!</em>, having Hollywood come to town adds a new layer of excitement. "I think this movie clearly has star power to bring someone like Nicolas Cage on board," Mr Henley mused. "It's a higher magnitude than some of the Australian-made films with smaller budgets and distributions. I might just bump into him while he's out exploring the region and having some fun."</p> <p>So if you're in the area, keep your eyes peeled as you stroll the aisles of your local grocery store – you never know when you might bump into a world-famous actor picking up some oranges and kimchi. Cage, with his eclectic filmography, truly knows how to keep us all on the edge of our seats, even when he's just shopping for groceries.</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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When King Charles is planning to visit Australia

<p>King Charles is preparing to make his first visit to Australia as a monarch. </p> <p>According to reports from the British Media, King Charles and Camilla are expected to head Down Under in late 2024. </p> <p>The reports of the visit comes after many have accused the royal family of snubbing Australia, after there was no offical visit from the royal family during the late Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee, despite other royal family members travelling to Commonwealth countries. </p> <p>Prince William has also been called out for not travelling to Australia for the FIFA Women's World Cup final that took place in Sydney, which saw England take on Spain.</p> <p>While Buckingham Palace has yet to officially announce a visit by King Charles and Queen Camilla to Australia, the <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/royals/article-12606099/Charles-monarchy-Australia-King-Sydney-trip.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Mail on Sunday</em></a> has reported that royal aides are busy preparing for a trip to Sydney to coincide with the King's first attendance as the head of the Commonwealth at its meeting in Samoa.</p> <p>A senior Australian government minister told the publication that a royal visit would lead to a "renewed conversation" about the country having its own head of state.</p> <p>Assistant minister for the republic Matt Thistlethwaite said, "The King will always be welcome in Australia and greeted fondly by the Australian people."</p> <p>"But in modern-day Australia his visit will trigger a renewed conversation about having our own head of state who lives with us, represents us and is an Australian."</p> <p>However, shadow defence minister Andrew Hastie said, "The King will be very welcome on his first visit. There is a renewed enthusiasm for the Crown down-under and a sense that we share in something special and historic."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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5 international cities you should never visit alone

<p>It’s no secret that there are plenty of corners of the world that, while incredible to experience as a tourist, aren’t particularly safe to visit if you’re travelling alone.</p> <p>From taxi scams to pickpockets, gang violence and civil unrest, these locations present threats many travellers aren’t aware of when they’re booking their flight.</p> <p>We’re going to look at five cities you shouldn’t travel alone in. If one of these cities finds its way into your itinerary, make sure you bring a friend (and travel insurance)!</p> <p><strong>1. Mexico City, Mexico</strong></p> <p>One of the largest metropolitan areas in the world,<strong> </strong>Mexico City fascinates first time visitors with its size and scope. And while it’s generally easily accessible, the city has something of a violent streak at night with muggings and pickpockets a constant problem.</p> <p><strong>2. Lima, Peru</strong></p> <p>The gateway to Machu Picchu, Lima has a vibrant food scene and many enchanting attractions for anyone looking to experience South America. But, due partly to the high tourist numbers, illegal taxi services and hijackings have become a big problem.</p> <p><strong>3. New Delhi, India</strong></p> <p>Sprawling, chaotic, yet endlessly fascinating, New Delhi is a must-visit location for anyone exploring the ins and outs of the sub-continent. Unfortunately however, it’s not the safest place to visit by yourself, with sexual assaults a huge problem in the city.</p> <p><strong>4. Jakarta, Indonesia</strong></p> <p>A popular destination for many holidaymakers, Jakarta offers travellers a unique tropical getaway. That being said, there are many threats that can turn a dream holiday into a nightmare. Terrorism and kidnappings in the region are particularly problematic.</p> <p><strong>5. Bogota, Colombia</strong></p> <p>The vibrant, historic capital of Colombia produces some of the finest coffee in the world. However, it’s also one of the most dangerous places for western travellers, with terrorist organisations, drug cartels and armed street gangs a persistent problem.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p>

International Travel

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8 fictional places you can visit in real life

<p>Step into the world of your favourite book, movie or TV show with a visit to these fictional locations that represented the original.</p> <p><strong>Hogwarts, <em>Harry Potter</em></strong></p> <p>You won’t see anyone playing Quidditch on the lawns, but Alnwick Castle in Northumberland in the UK played Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter films (with a little digital trickery thrown in). The castle has been the home of the Dukes of Northumberland for more than 700 years and is in high demand with film and TV crews – it also stars in the <em>Downton Abbey </em>Christmas specials.</p> <p><em><strong>Jurassic Park</strong></em></p> <p>The lush jungle foliage and towering waterfalls of the island of Kauai in Hawaii served as the backdrop for Stephen Spielberg’s rampaging dinosaurs in all three <em>Jurassic Park</em> movies. You can rent a four-wheel drive and travel through the national park where the movie was filmed though, sadly, none of the dinosaurs remained behind after shooting wrapped.</p> <p><strong>West Egg, <em>The Great Gatsby</em></strong></p> <p>F Scott Fitzgerald modelled West Egg on Great Neck in Long Island, New York. This area on the north coast of Long Island was known as the Gold Coast because of the huge mansions, polo fields, golf courses and country clubs built there by America’s super wealthy (think Vanderbilt, Astor or Guggenheim). The very grand Oheka Castle in nearby Huntington partly inspired Gatsby’s house.</p> <p><strong>Amity Island, <em>Jaws</em></strong></p> <p>Don’t go in the water! The beach on Amity Island was the setting for the first scene in the classic 1970s horror movie, <em>Jaws</em>. As well as looking the part of the perfect American seaside resort, the shallow water of the bay made it easier for the crew to operate the mechanical sharks.</p> <p><strong>Hundred Acre Wood, <em>Winnie the Pooh</em></strong></p> <p>Just over an hour from London you can walk in the footsteps of Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin through Ashdown Forest. There’s only about 25 square kilometres of wooded area left from what was once a mighty forest, but it is still quintessentially English and one could almost expect Pooh, Tigger and Piglet to come bounding around a shady corner.</p> <p><strong>Greenbow, <em>Forrest Gump</em></strong></p> <p>Life is like a box of chocolates in Varnville, South Carolina, which served as the fictional town of Greenbow in the Oscar winning movie <em>Forrest Gump</em>. The old Southern mansion that Forrest and his mamma lived in was a fake however, built just for production (and torn down right after), and even some of the Vietnam War scenes were shot around Varnville. Thank goodness for special effects.</p> <p><strong>King’s Landing, <em>Game of Thrones</em></strong></p> <p>The historic Maltese capital of Mdina played the part of Kings Landing in the first series of <em>Game of Thrones</em>. The medieval walled city is in the centre of the island and has a population of just 300 – many of whom weren’t happy about the series. Maltese officials complained about the damage done and filming moved to Croatia for the following series.</p> <p><strong>Hobbiton, <em>The Lord of the Rings</em></strong></p> <p>The three Lord of the Rings movies were such a smash hit that the village of Hobbiton was completely rebuilt in the original film location near Matamata in the North Island of New Zealand. You can step inside the tiny hobbit holes, visit the Green Dragon Inn and (of course) buy a souvenir at the gift shop.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

International Travel

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4 seemingly boring cities worth visiting

<p>They might not have all the flashy bells and whistles of the world’s top tourist destinations, but these ‘boring’ cities actually make for excellent travel destinations.</p> <p><strong>1. Geneva, Switzerland</strong></p> <p>Switzerland regularly tops polls for the best country to live in or the happiest country in the world. Yet for many travellers, the fact that it’s a great place to live doesn’t seem to translate into a great place to visit. Sure, a city that’s known for making watches and housing the UN doesn’t sound like it would be much fun, but we think it’s definitely worth a visit. First of all it’s beautiful, strung gently around the shores of Europe’s largest alpine lake. A multicultural population makes for friendly people and good dining, and the high-end shopping is among the best in the world (even if you can only afford the window variety).</p> <p><strong>2. Adelaide, South Australia</strong></p> <p>Poor Adelaide, always the butt of Australian jokes. People claim that it’s woefully backward, has no culture and is full of bogans. The mayor of Melbourne even said it has so little going for it that it should be shut down. We disagree. Adelaide is an elegant colonial capital surrounded by acres of lush parkland and gorgeous beaches, and it’s home to an emerging small bar scene to rival any other Australian city. Then you’ve got the incredible wineries of the Adelaide hills, which are reason enough to put this South Australian gem on your list.</p> <p><strong>3. Brussels, Belgium</strong></p> <p>A TripAdvisor survey found Brussels to be the most boring city in Europe and it’s a sentiment that most experts agree with. As the ‘capital of Europe’ and the seat of the EU, most people regard Brussels as a centre for boring political types and not travellers. Look beyond that though and you’ll find a fascinating city filled with hidden architectural marvels, a buzzing café scene and a contented population living a very good life. And then there’s all the delicious chocolate, waffles and beer you can eat. What’s not to love?</p> <p><strong>4. Toronto, Canada</strong></p> <p>Toronto has always been happy to accept its boringness and leave the flashy, good-time fame to cities like Vancouver or Montreal. Not anymore. The city has undergone enormous growth in recent years and has emerged as a prosperous, stylish, well-adjusted destination that that is emblematic of the ‘new Canada’.  Toronto is one of the country’s most multicultural cities, so you can eat and drink your way around the world, and the shopping is equally good. It’s Canada’s largest city, but still manages to be arguably the safest city in North America.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><strong>Related links:</strong></p> <p><a href="../travel/international/2016/09/10-stunning-shrines-and-temples-to-visit-in-kyoto/"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>10 stunning shrines and temples to visit in Kyoto</strong></em></span></a></p> <p><a href="../travel/international/2016/08/magical-french-region-of-alsace/"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>France’s Alsace is like something from a fairy-tale</em></span></strong></a></p> <p><a href="../travel/international/2016/08/10-of-the-most-enchanting-churches-in-france/"><strong><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">10 of the most enchanting churches in France</span></em></strong></a></p>

International Travel

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Why you should visit Lake Toba in Indonesia

<p><em><strong>Anne Sinclair, 68, was born in England but spent most of her youth in Darwin, Northern Territory. Now in a position to travel and explore the world, Anne looks forward to sharing her personal experience and encourages others to step out and have fun. </strong></em></p> <p>If you are travelling in Indonesia, why not consider visiting Sumatra? Are you perhaps seeking that very special spot for a holiday and soak up peacefulness, then this little gem might be right up your alley?</p> <p>This little jewel of Indonesia, is tucked away within lush green mountainous terrain, and almost perfect weather, lakefront villas and a community of most obliging people. And it’s all here at Lake Toba, the waters surrounding Samosir Island -  an island, within the island of Sumatra.</p> <p>The catastrophe of a giant volcano eruption some 70,000 years ago (as quoted in Wikipedia notes) created this most incredible crater and dare we say, gave mankind this new piece of paradise; a peaceful contrast to its beginnings I would think? Then, in the immense scheme of things we have total enjoyment of nature’s inexplicable creation. </p> <p>According to the Toba Catastrophe Theory, proposed by S.H. Ambrose of the University of Illinois and Urbana-Champaign in 1998 – the effects of the Toba eruption may have decreased the size of human population to only a few tens of thousands of individuals. This hypothesis was not widely accepted though as similar effects on other animals had not been observed.</p> <p>But that was then, and this is now…</p> <p>To get you to this little piece of paradise, is relatively easy. If you do some Google searches you are bound to find an airline heading this way. Probably a morning arrival at Medan (Kuala Namu airport) would best serve your plans, as the drive out to Lake Toba from the airport, is around four hours. Very well worth it! The taxi drivers are very accommodating and will most assuredly stop at a café, or do a wash room stop for you to freshen up along the way.</p> <p>The taxi will likely pass through some very interesting little villages, showing you the mixture of cultures with Mosques and both Protestant and Catholic Churches almost built side by side. Little villages are filled with busy locals adding to the exciting culture of Sumatra. Very attractive structures could coax the camera snapping time, and wonderful cultural villages which could well deserve some memorable photos.</p> <p>Once you arrive at Parapat, the little township where you catch the ferry across Lake Toba, everything is quite organised; with the colourful ferries departing from Parapat mainland almost at every half hour. Ferry crews are very obliging and will assist you and any cases or bags on to the ferry, and safely placed for the half hour journey across this ocean-blue Lake Toba. The Journey could be a little longer, just depending on which attractive Villa you have chosen to be home for your stay.</p> <p>There is an abundance of Villas and Resorts, with prices ranging to suit any budget. Some of the bigger Resorts (like The Carolina) do have swimming pools, but the water of Lake Toba is quite safe and most inviting for a refreshing swim.</p> <p>You will be helped again by the crew as you come ashore on Samosir Island. An Island donned with amazing waterfront villas. My choice for this visit has been Tuk Tuk Timbul. </p> <p>Overlooking the calm waters on Lake Toba, one could well think one was perhaps relaxing and gazing across the cold yet delicately blue water of Lock Ness. But no, the waters of Lake Toba are much warmer than Lock Ness. This body of water is a natural lake occupying the caldera of a super volcano. This Lake is around one hundred kilometres long.</p> <p>The Island of Samosir is unbelievable attractive. With nature providing cool weather all year round with such dynamic views of the mountainous ranges, and waterfront villas in abundance, fresh food and fabulous prices. It’s all here.</p> <p>This grand ocean-blue lake, found high amongst Sumatra’s volcanic peaks, is where the amiable Christian Batak people reside. Their folk dance and villages are excitingly captivating as their Batak buildings still stand, some in reasonably good condition. It’s nice to see this cultural growth with their Batak homes standing proudly alongside more of what we might refer to as, modern structures.</p> <p>Again, whilst you are on Samosir and also worth a visit is the small village of Tuk Tuk which has a great concentration of tourist facilities; and Tomoki village too, being the main village on the east coast of the Island. The people who reside here are very approachable and responsive, and will help you at any time. Many speak English so, it’s easy to communicate and find your way.</p> <p>If you are seeking somewhere extra special with peaceful surrounds, then Lake Toba at Samosir ticks all the boxes for you. Please keep this little story your personal secret, as Lake Toba lazily boasts uniqueness, with its distinction of utter calm and natural beauty - derived from natures force. </p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

International Travel

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"So like your mum": Chloe Lattanzi visits patients at ONJ Wellness Centre

<p>Olivia Newton-John was known for many things: mostly for being a giant of the Australian entertainment industry. </p> <p>But according to her daughter Chloe, her most important legacy was the work she did at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre. </p> <p>Since her mother died in August 2022 after a 30-year journey with cancer, Chloe is determined to continue her extraordinary work, and joined <a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/a-current-affair/the-olivia-newton-john-cancer-wellness-and-research-centre-with-family-and-staff/340a9404-e7ef-46f4-8e49-3d0f2e0fd654" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>A Current Affair</em></a>'s Ally Langdon to visit patients in the centre to hear their stories. </p> <p>Chloe Lattanzi dropped into the centre with her cousin Tottie Goldsmith, where she was greeted by patients who were over the moon to meet her.</p> <p>"Oh my god, you are so like your mum," one patient told Lattanzi as she squeezed her tight in a warm hug. </p> <p>"You're just beautiful like her … she's an Aussie treasure."</p> <p>"She's done so much and I'm so grateful for what she's done here because they (staff) are just amazing."</p> <p>Lattanzi said she first visited the ONJ Wellness Centre with her mum in 2019 and now she's "very passionate" about continuing her legacy.</p> <p>"I am very much looking forward to meeting the people who are here and connecting with them," Lattanzi said.</p> <p>"I hope to bring some kind of comfort and joy … because I know what they're going through."</p> <p>Patients in the centre were quick to praise the work Olivia Newton-John had done in creating the centre, sharing how much of a difference such an environment had while undergoing treatment. </p> <p>"Everything's serene and calm because it's a traumatic time and to have that sort of thing is really marvellous," another patient said.</p> <p>"It's a home away from home," Sergio, who is also a patient at the centre, added. </p> <p>Chloe said that it was an honour to be invited into the centre and felt her mother with her "in spirit". </p> <p>"I feel like she's inside of me and this is my purpose," Lattanzi said.  </p> <p>Director of Austin Health Foundation Debbie Shiell was also at the centre when Lattanzi paid the patients a visit and said "Chloe gave them the gift that Olivia gave them".</p> <p>"Olivia gave them a break from here and love and healing energy and that was really special to witness and I have no doubt that those people you saw today will be beaming tomorrow," Shiell told Lattanzi.</p> <p>"This (wellness centre) is her vision, her legacy."</p> <p><em>Image credits: A Current Affair</em></p>

Caring

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“A ray of sunshine”: Catherine’s heartwarming visit to miracle baby

<p>A mother from West Sussex has recounted the experience of having Catherine, Princess of Wales, meet her young daughter Amaya-Rae. </p> <p>When Amaya-Rae was born at only 23 weeks and classed as a “late miscarriage” in August 2021, her parents were left heartbroken. </p> <p>Amaya-Rae had already beaten the odds by surviving what was described as a traumatic birth, but the family’s medical team didn’t have high hopes for the baby girl, advising her parents to say their goodbyes. </p> <p>Over the course of 360 days in hospital, Amaya-Rae’s family were told on eight separate occasions that she was not going to make it, but she had other ideas. </p> <p>“It’s nothing short of a miracle,” her mother, Mischa, said, “I’m not religious but I really do believe she has had someone watching over her, telling her it’s not her time to go yet, sending her back.</p> <p>“At first, each time we were told to say goodbye to her, our world just crumbled.”</p> <p>Amaya-Rae went on to prove her mum right and her doctors wrong, defying all of the odds in her fight to survive. Now, she is almost eighteen months old, and safe at home with her family. </p> <p>Despite the heartbreak that came with their time in hospital, Amaya-Rae’s mum has opened up about one bright moment in the dark: a visit from Princess Catherine. </p> <p>“When we were in the Evelina Children’s Hospital, we were totally stunned when Catherine, Princess of Wales, made an unexpected visit,” Mischa recalled. “Catherine was so lovely, she listened intently to Amaya’s story, and genuinely seemed so taken with her and asked such a lot of questions.</p> <p>“She seemed totally besotted, complimenting her smiles and her outfit. Amaya couldn't take her eyes off her, she was transfixed. </p> <p>“Someone suggested we take her to see a Disney Princess show at Christmas, but we joked she only deals with actual royalty now.”</p> <p>Amaya-Rae’s need for specialist care saw her transferred to the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, where she stayed for 166 days before getting to go home. It was there, at the children’s hospital, that she came face-to-face with the real-life princess. </p> <p>Catherine, who is the hospital’s patron, was there on the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CnxfEqxs3v2/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CnxfEqxs3v2/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by amayarae_ story (@amayarae_story)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>As Mischa explained, she was “with Amaya and her nurse came in and said we had someone who’d like to visit us. I was stunned when I realised who it was, I kept saying it couldn’t be her because it was the Jubilee weekend.” </p> <p>The nurse, she said, told them that Catherine had come to visit the families who couldn’t be out celebrating, and that after being told about Amaya-Rae, she had requested to meet her. </p> <p>“There were no press there, we didn’t see any bodyguards,” Mischa said of the meeting, “she just popped in to meet the children. She was so lovely.”</p> <p>In an interview with the <em>Mirror</em>, Mischa added, “when the nurses told me she was in the hospital and wanted to meet Amaya-Rae, I completely panicked.”</p> <p>“She was in her nappy. I ran around finding something presentable for her to wear. But as soon as Kate walked in through the door, all the nervousness disappeared."</p> <p>After speaking on Catherine’s calming demeanour, and how Amaya-Rae was “transfixed” with the princess, Mischa reflected on their experience and the surprise introduction, saying, “there are some really dark days in a children's hospital, and for our family - and lots of others - there isn't much to look forward to. </p> <p>“Everybody who met Kate said it gave them such a pick-me-up. She was a ray of sunshine in a really frightening time."</p> <p>Mischa’s miracle, her ray of sunshine, is now home. Though Amaya-Rae will require oxygen for another few months, and faces some underlying conditions that Mischa hopes will be manageable and won’t hold Amaya-Rae back, she is happy to report that her daughter is just like anyone else her age. </p> <p>“She is doing so well. She’s such a happy, chilled out little girl. You’d never know what she’s been through.”</p> <p><em>Image: Instagram</em></p>

Caring

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Family learns they visited wrong gravestone for nearly 20 years

<p>A family from the UK have been left devastated after discovering they have been visiting the wrong grave for almost 20 years. </p> <p>The Bell family, who buried their familial patriarch Thomas back in 2005, regularly visited his gravestone at Holy Trinity cemetery in Wingate, County Durham, for 17 years.</p> <p>According to the <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-tees-63858303?at_bbc_team=editorial&amp;at_format=link&amp;at_medium=social&amp;at_link_type=web_link&amp;at_link_id=C514075C-74A5-11ED-997B-754D2152A482&amp;at_link_origin=BBC_News&amp;at_ptr_name=facebook_page&amp;at_campaign_type=owned&amp;at_campaign=Social_Flow&amp;fbclid=IwAR0hoRUkg38_Q-s8CoEe70ObHtrYX4-QbVvA7KH2hCTmcEd34a28BuYzfeI" target="_blank" rel="noopener">BBC</a>, it wasn't until Thomas' wife Hilda - who was due to be buried beside him - also died this year that the mix-up was discovered.</p> <p>The family discovered that a mix-up at the cemetery has seen Thomas's headstone been "placed on the wrong grave", due to "insufficient process" and "poor record keeping".</p> <p>An inquiry into the incident found "a perfect storm" of problems led to the crushing mistake, believed to be due to the human error of a stonemason.</p> <p>Bob Cooper, the Archdeacon of Sunderland, said that the error was a "great sadness" caused by a number of wrong protocols being followed.</p> <p>"The term 'a perfect storm' is used all too often in modern parlance, however on this occasion it seems particularly apt," Cooper said.</p> <p>"It cannot be guaranteed that historic cases like this will not reoccur because there will be gaps in the records for many reasons in parishes across the Diocese of Durham and further afield."</p> <p>A number of recommendations are set to be implemented within the parish to ensure the mix-up does not occur again.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Google Maps</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Three reasons to visit Stockholm

<p>Stockholm has so much more to offer than bucket loads of beautiful blondes. Known as the cool capital of Scandinavia, from food to fashion and from service to sites, it’s our new “It destination” for a European getaway. Here’s our round-up of must-dos and local treasures.</p> <p><strong>EAT<br /></strong>Swedes are so passionate about coffee and spending time in cafés that the activity has its own verb: fika. With excellent cafés and bars almost everywhere, do not miss the opportunity to relax in true Stockholm style. For breakfast, brunch or lunch, head to Urban Deli. One of a few combined grocery shops, seafood bars and restaurants in the city, its menu runs the gamut from breakfast to traditional dishes including shrimp salads. </p> <p><strong>SHOP</strong><br />From one-off boutiques to slick shopping centres like Mood, it’s no wonder the Scandies are so well dressed. Grandpa is a must-visit with fashion, interiors and a basement full of carefully selected vintage items like old lab bottles, school chairs and biology posters. </p> <p><strong>SEE</strong><br />If you’re not drawn to a bike ride around the parks or taking a boat on the archipelago (both of which are utterly serene experiences), then opt for a stroll around The Old Town. It’s especially beautiful in wintertime with all the Christmas decorations. One not to miss is the remarkable Vassa Museum. This 17<sup>th</sup>-century Swedish warship sadly sank on her maiden voyage with all hands on board, but now sits, 95 per cent intact, in a purpose-built museum. The personal effects and mind-blowing facial reconstructions of the crew are as incredibly moving as they are fascinating and instructive.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Travel Tips

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You could visit the Queen’s residences sooner than expected

<p dir="ltr">In his first major announcement as a monarch, King Charles III has revealed he will be reopening the Queen’s former residences to the public - and it’s sooner than you might expect.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Thursday, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace, and the Queen’s Gallery in Edinburgh will be reopened to visitors following the ten-day period of national mourning for Queen Elizabeth II.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, the late monarch’s home of Windsor Castle will remain closed until Thursday, September 29, potentially due to the royal family continuing their mourning period for another week after the Queen’s funeral.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-1bd59aeb-7fff-b40c-aa50-d4c8e5d09429"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">The Royal Collection Trust has confirmed that the State Rooms and Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace - which is set to become King Charles III’s new London home - won’t reopen this year.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CiuShGctuI_/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CiuShGctuI_/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Royal Collection Trust (@royalcollectiontrust)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">It comes after the commemorative Platinum Jubilee displays at the royal residences were permanently closed following Queen Elizabeth II’s death.</p> <p dir="ltr">The exhibition Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace, currently on display at the Queen’s Gallery, will also be extended until Monday, October 31.</p> <p dir="ltr">It is understood that King Charles III may open more of Buckingham Palace to the public to increase revenue which will help pay for the reservicing of the home.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He will use Buckingham Palace because he knows that is his duty,” a royal aide told The Telegraph.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But he might choose to use fewer rooms and open up more of the building to the public.”</p> <p dir="ltr">It has also been suggested that the 73-year-old could gift Balmoral Castle to Scotland in the near future, making the Queen’s formerly private home open to the public all year round.</p> <p dir="ltr">As well as supporting his plans to slim down the monarchy and increase revenue, royal biographer Penny Junor told the UK newspaper the move would likely be a bid to reduce maintenance costs as well.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I think he might bring in more income from the royal assets because he is quite an entrepreneur,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If he allowed more visitors into Balmoral that would be a good earner.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-70fdc6ee-7fff-fe76-db5a-6954522a5d75"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: @royalcollectiontrust (Instagram)</em></p>

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"Whose nana is that?": Adorable moment kindy kids don't recognise the Queen

<p>In the wake of Queen Elizabeth's passing, an adorable video has resurfaced of Her Majesty's 2000 trip to Western Australia.</p> <p>Out of the Queen's 16 trips to Australia, her visit to Vasse Primary School, Busselton, is being fondly remembered after the resurgence of a video on TikTok.</p> <p>The video has since gone viral, as the hilarious footage shows the monarch being taken aback when several students asked who she was.</p> <p>In the video, the Queen is brought into the pre-primary classroom and is asked separately by two young students, “What’s your name?”</p> <p>On both occasions, the Queen does not reply, and appears quite shocked by the question.</p> <div class="embed" style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; outline: none !important;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; width: 610px; max-width: 100%; outline: none !important;" title="tiktok embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7081233294037110021&amp;display_name=tiktok&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40itnarchive1955%2Fvideo%2F7081233294037110021%3Fis_copy_url%3D1%26is_from_webapp%3Dv1%26q%3Donthisdayitnp%26t%3D1663198266691&amp;key=59e3ae3acaa649a5a98672932445e203&amp;type=text%2Fhtml&amp;schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <div class="embed" style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; outline: none !important;">At the end of the video, a young boy named Jake seemed as equally confused about the identity of the older lady visiting his class.</div> <p>Talking to ABC, the school’s former principal Brian Devereux recalled he heard one student yell out, “Whose nana is that?”</p> <p>“I got sent an article from London from The Daily Telegraph saying that clearly education in Australia was lacking somewhat, because these children at this particular school didn’t know who Her Majesty was,” he said.</p> <p>Devereux said he remembered the shock when he was first told who was going to be visiting the school.</p> <p>“I had only been appointed to this school for a few weeks when I got a phone call from my boss who said, ‘Would you be prepared to host an important visitor?’ And I said, ‘Oh, yes. Who did you have in mind?’,” he said.</p> <p>“He said, Elizabeth Windsor — and I said, ‘Oh, is she in education or something?’</p> <p>“And my boss said to me, after a little bit of a pause, ‘Brian, does the word Her Majesty or Queen ring any particular bells with you?’ I said, ‘Are you joking?’.”</p> <p>Despite the hilarious fumbles from the children, Devereux said it was an incredible day.</p> <p>“It was a particularly special day, I must admit, it was just lovely,” he said.</p> <p>“She was quite personable, she paid attention to everything she was told.”</p> <p>Image credits: TikTok</p>

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Three must-visit Australian gardens

<p>These stunning gardens around Australia are the perfect place to spend the day with family to soak up some of the great outdoors, take in a spot of history and witness some of our country’s award-winning gardening talents.</p> <p><strong>National Rose Garden in Wolmers Estate, Longford, Tasmania</strong></p> <p>Nestled in a sun-drenched corner of the beautiful Woolmers Estate in Longford, Tasmania, this outstanding National Rose Garden, where heady perfume wafts from the flowers, is full of all of the rose families you can imagine and is one of the finest collections of historic roses in the southern hemisphere, ranging from the earliest European and China roses through to the roses of the twenty first century.</p> <p>As one of the most historically significant heritage properties in Australia, the estate is the perfect place to visit to also get a unique and fascinating look at what colonial life in Tasmania was like.</p> <p><strong>Nooroo, Blue Mountains, New South Wales</strong></p> <p>Famous for its magnificent cool climate exotic gardens, at Mount Wilson you can experience its gardens, its avenues of trees, its lookouts and its walking trails and picnic areas. For most people, the best time to visit Mount Wilson is either spring or autumn.</p> <p>Of particular interest if you plan a trip are Church Avenue, Queen's Avenue and The Avenue with their rows of plane trees, limes, elms, beeches, liquidambars and pink cherries. Nooroo is gorgeous and includes a world famous wisteria collection.</p> <p><strong>Araluen Botanic Park, Perth Hills, Western Australia</strong></p> <p>Located in the Perth hills, Araluen Botanic Park is home to many species of Australian and international flora with a range of native wildlife, including marsupials, birds, reptiles and water creatures. With international acclaim for its gardens and some particular species, including Camellias and Roses, visitors can take a bushwalk or stroll around the gardens and may even spot a family of western grey kangaroos or a wallaby.</p> <p>Boasting a unique microclimate featuring loam soils and high rainfall, the gardens enjoy an unmatched opportunity to cultivate exotic and cool climate plants in Western Australia – thus, there are a variety of exotic species in addition to the profusion of native plant species that thrive here.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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