International Travel

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A day on the TranzAlpine

<p><em>Justine Tyerman survives a tornado on the TranzAlpine ...  </em></p> <p>The excitement was at fever pitch as the passengers filed into the spacious carriages of the TranzAlpine train and found their seats beside the huge panoramic windows. On the dot of 8.15am on a bright, cloudless, spring morning, the train glided smoothly out of the station.</p> <p>The twin diesel locomotives pulling the 10 or so carriages quickly gathered speed as we whizzed through suburban and industrial Christchurch at the start of our five-hour journey from the Pacific Ocean on the east coast of the South Island to the West Coast town of Greymouth on the Tasman Sea. </p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="/media/7821376/the-diesel-locomotive-one-of-two-that-pull-the-tranzalpine.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/0b27eb4ddbc4431c8b1b75f7ae69ec34" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The diesel locomotive, one of two, that pull the TranzAlpine.</em></p> <p>Most of the passengers were contented to sit in their comfortable seats watching the ever-changing landscape flicker by but I joined a handful of hardy, puffer-jacket-clad photographers who braved the blustery, dusty and decidedly chilly conditions in the open-air observation car at the rear of the train.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="/media/7821375/open-air-viewing-carriage.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/8ac591c42fb54b13bfc28f2f49b40f5b" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Justine wearing many layers in the open-air viewing carriage.</em></p> <p>The lack of windows certainly enabled photos to be taken without the impediment of reflective glass but the constant rocking and rolling motion resulted in more than a few blurry shots and random views of my boots and the ceiling. Navigating my way around a forest of selfie sticks without being clonked on the head was another challenge. </p> <p>A veteran of many train trips overseas, this was my first such journey in New Zealand and as one of the few Kiwis onboard, I felt inordinately proud of my own land. </p> <p>The grass on the Canterbury Plains seemed greener than ever and the lambs even more frolicksome. There were squeals of delight as foals, calves, alpacas and fawns came briefly into view looking impossibly cute in paddocks alongside the train. Were they placed there deliberately to enchant the passengers? If so, it worked.</p> <p>Giant irrigation lines, some up to a kilometre long, stood ready to pour water onto the pastures as soon as the summer heat set in.</p> <p>The Main Divide was visible in the distance, a seemingly impenetrable fortress of mountains. We’ve travelled to the West Coast via Arthur’s Pass by road a number of times, but after the rural town of Springfield, the TranzAlpine took a completely different route, leaving me feeling quite disorientated.</p> <p>As the train approached the foothills of the Southern Alps, the stunning aqua-turquoise Waimakariri River came into view to a chorus of ‘wows’ and a frantic scramble for cameras by the overseas passengers.</p> <p>The train climbed high above the Waimakariri, crossing the river on steel girder viaducts so high I felt dizzy looking down into the gorge. There are 15 short tunnels and four viaducts, including the 72-metre-high Staircase Viaduct, as the TranzAlpine ascends the Torlesse Range</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="/media/7821379/waimakariri-river.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/e34def7056e541e1a4e8389c4a308e79" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The Waimakariri River far below as the train crosses a viaduct.</em></p> <p>The landscape changed again as the train wound its way along the broad upland plains of Craigieburn where the braids of the Waimakariri spread across a wide silver shingle river bed. The alps, so distant at the start, were now almost close enough to touch.</p> <p>The black-green forested lower reaches of the mountains were a startling contrast to the snowy white peaks and pinnacles above. Lake Pearson sparkled in the spring sunshine and the golden tussocks, tossed by the breeze as the train sped by, were vibrant and glossy. The summit of Mt Bisner looked as though it had been freshly iced, the snow cover was so deep and smooth.</p> <p>I’d like to have leapt off the train to watch as it crossed the iconic, often-photographed long, low bridge over the glacier-fed Waimakariri, heading towards Arthur’s Pass. It’s such a dramatic sight as it spans the river against the spectacular backdrop of the alps.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="/media/7821373/arthurs-pass.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/4098f785d5474ae0bcd26a369a4390d1" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Stunning mountain scenery as the train approaches Arthur's Pass.</em></p> <p>The TranzAlpine stops briefly at the village of Arthur’s Pass (740m above sea level), a popular hub for serious climbers, hikers, snow sports enthusiasts and nature-lovers. Last time I visited, it was snowing heavily, and the mountain tops were shrouded in mist but on this occasion, the little settlement was basking in the warm sunshine under a cloudless, blue sky.</p> <p>A handful of fit-looking trampers disembarked at the pass, laden with heavy packs and climbing boots, no doubt heading into the mountainous national park to engage in rugged outdoor activities. I was sorely tempted to join them.</p> <p>The hiking and climbing trails there are epic. There’s also a backcountry ski field nearby, Temple Basin, where I skied in my younger days. The field is largely unchanged today with ungroomed slopes, three rope tows and a cosy lodge.</p> <p>The timely appearance of a couple of kea, New Zealand’s comical alpine parrot, created a frenzy of selfie sticks among the overseas passengers. Little did they know how mischievous these entertaining birds can be. Many a sandwich has been tweaked out of my hand by a sly kea. They’re also particularly partial to the rubber on windscreen wipers and ski racks.</p> <p>The next phase of the trip took us through the 8.5km Otira Tunnel under the Southern Alps, the backbone of the South Island. The tunnel, completed in 1923, was the final stage of the TranzAlpine railway which began in the 1880s. When it opened, it was the longest rail tunnel in the British Empire and one of the longest in the world.</p> <p>The outdoor viewing carriage and café car were closed as a safety precaution as the train slowly descended from the pass at a steep gradient of 1:33. I wish I’d made it to the café beforehand because the tunnel was the only time during the five-hour trip that I could prise my eyes away from the stunning scenery.</p> <p>Emerging from darkness into light, we found ourselves in a different world. The West Coast never fails to intrigue with its misty rainforests and snow-capped mountains. The train travelled alongside the Otira, Taramakau, Arnold and Grey Rivers as we made our way towards the Tasman Sea, trundling through towns with colourful pasts that sprang up overnight in the gold rush of the 1860s, and other settlements associated with timber milling, coal mining, the Cobb and Co stagecoach and the construction of the road, railway and tunnel.</p> <p>As we passed through Otira, population 45, I happened to be taking a rare break from the viewing car, sitting in my luxurious seat listening to the excellent commentary. Former railway-workers’ houses were lined up neatly along the roadside. They were a hardy lot to live and work in a region with five metres of rain a year and only a few hours of sunshine in the winter.</p> <p>I chuckled as I heard about the ingenious way the local policeman dealt with thefts of coal from the railyards at Otira. He devised small explosives, painted them black, hid them among the coal bins at the station, and when a chimney blew up, he went to the house and arrested the culprits, no doubt caught black-handed.</p> <p>That was the only disadvantage of the perfect weather. I missed 95 percent of the commentary because I was outside in the viewing car most of the time.</p> <p>We skirted lovely Lake Brunner, tranquil and sombre under the slate sky, and the village of Moana with its quaint Kiwi baches. The previous summer we had camped there and spotted the rare whio or blue duck in a tributary. The fishing and walking trails are outstanding, well worth a stopover. You can catch the TranzAlpine on to Greymouth or back to Christchurch the next day … or whenever you are ready.</p> <p>The terrain opens out from Lake Brunner and after a sharp left turn at Stillwater, the train travels along the Grey River into Greymouth … just in time for the lunch I missed while ogling the scenery.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="/media/7821378/the-tranzalpine-at-greymouth-railway-station.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/3479a08c4e88490294860dedbd919226" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The TranzAlpine at Greymouth Railway Station.</em></p> <p>Far from grey, the West Coast’s largest city was bathed in sunshine so after a quick snack and a cool beer at the historic Speight’s Ale House, I strolled along the river bank walkway making mental notes of future hikes and bike trips. I stopped at a beautiful riverside memorial to pay tribute to the coal miners who have lost their lives in a series of disasters in the region: 1896, Brunner mine, 65 dead; 1926, Dobson mine, nine dead; 1967, Strongman mine, 19 dead; 2010, Pike River mine, 29 dead. I vividly remember the Pike River tragedy which is still fresh in the minds of all West Coasters.</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7821377/the-memorial-at-greymouth-to-the-coal-miners-who-lost-their-lives-in-mines-on-the-west-coast.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/b416da7e6e784df5852bb52897a42098" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The memorial at Greymouth to the coal miners who lost their lives in mines on the West Coast.</em></p> <p>A plaque near the train station tells the story of the 1864 goldrush which attracted 29,000 miners to the region and saw three million ounces of gold extracted.</p> <p>The text also reminds New Zealanders:</p> <p><em>“Our gold financed this country’s growth. Westland’s coal fired the furnaces that industrialised New Zealand and our timber helped build the nation.”</em></p> <p>Greymouth is an ideal place to purchase pounamu, also known as New Zealand jade or greenstone. Found in many places on the West Coast, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site known in Maori as <span>Te </span><em>Wahipounamu, the Place of Greenstone, it is t</em>reasured for its spiritual significance, strength, durability and beauty.</p> <p>Most of my fellow passengers headed off to explore the magnificent West Coast glaciers and beaches while I reboarded the TranzAlpine an hour later for what I expected to be a slightly more relaxed return trip seated in my comfy armchair.</p> <p>But the landscape, transformed by the long shadows of late afternoon and a dazzling sunset in the evening, demanded that I return to the viewing car for another blustery episode, dashing from one side to the other to get the best views. But this time I was almost alone, thanks to the near-zero wind chill.</p> <p>And I did find time for a pinot noir with tasty lamb shanks for dinner.</p> <p>My husband, who met me at the station, expressed surprise at my red cheeks, dishevelled appearance, double puffer jackets, gloves and woolly hat, assuming I’d spent the day in the lap of luxury sipping bubbly and dining on fine food while languidly gazing at the scenery through the panoramic windows.</p> <p>“You look like you’ve been in a tornado,” he said.</p> <p>“Yes, nine or 10 hours standing in an outside carriage of a train travelling at around 100km per hour can have that effect,” I replied.</p> <p>“No seats left inside then?” he asked.</p> <p>“Plenty … comfy, warm, luxurious, big panoramic windows, great commentary.”</p> <p>He just shook his head …</p> <p><em>Justine Tyerman travelled courtesy of Rail Plus international rail specialists, and Great Journeys of New Zealand.</em><em> </em></p> <p><strong>FACTBOX:</strong></p> <ul> <ul> <li><em>The TranzAlpine scenic train trip is a daily return service in New Zealand’s South Island between Christchurch on the East Coast and Greymouth on the West Coast, or vice versa, covering a distance of 223 kilometres in just under five hours.</em></li> <li><em>Visit <span><a href="https://www.railplus.co.nz/new-zealand-by-rail/tranzalpine/prices-book.htm">www.railplus.co.nz/new-zealand-by-rail/tranzalpine/prices-book.htm</a></span></em></li> <li><em>for more information on this and other epic train adventures around the world, or phone 09 377 5420</em></li> <li><em>A veteran of many rail journeys organised through Rail Plus, I’ve also travelled on the <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/domestic-travel/what-it-s-like-travelling-across-australia-on-board-the-indian-pacific">Indian Pacific</a>; the <a href="http://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/international-travel/on-the-unesco-world-heritage-bernina-express-from-switzerland-to-italy">Bernina Express</a>, the Golden Pass and Jungfraujoch.</em></li> <li><em>Rail Plus has a </em><span>dedicated</span><em> team of experts to advise you on Great Train Journeys all around the world including the famous Orient Express. </em></li> <li><em>The magnificent <a href="https://www.railplus.com.au/canada-by-rail/independent-packages/snow-train-to-the-rockies/prices-info.htm">Snow Train to the Rockies</a> is next on my list. </em></li> </ul> </ul> <p> </p>

International Travel

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Outrage over controversial new airport rule

<div class="replay"> <div class="reply_body body linkify"> <div class="reply_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Travellers around the world have promised to boycott New Zealand after a controversial new airport rule was revealed where passengers who refuse to give their digital device passwords to authorities will be fined.</p> <p>The law, which comes under New Zealand’s Customs and Excise Act 2018, will be in motion starting from this week, and will give customs officials the right to demand private information such as passwords, PINs and encryption keys to unlock devices and conduct “digital strip searches.”</p> <p>Those who fail to issue their private passwords will be fined up to $NZ5000 ($A4580) and could face the threat of prosecution and the confiscation of their device.</p> <p>In the past, customs officials were able to stop travellers at the border to search their devices, but the law didn’t force those coming into the country to provide their passwords.</p> <p>“We’re not aware of any other country that has legislated for the potential of a penalty to be applied if people do not divulge their passwords,” said New Zealand customs spokesman Terry Brown.</p> <p>Though despite the invasion of privacy, customs will not have access to the cloud.</p> <p>“It is a file-by-file (search) on your phone. We’re not going into ‘the Cloud’,” Mr Brown told <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/travellers-refusing-hand-over-phone-password-airport-now-face-5000-customs-fine" target="_blank">NZTV</a>.</em></p> <p>“We’ll examine your phone while it’s on flight mode.”</p> <p>For officials to demand private information, they must have a “reasonable cause to suspect” the owner or their device. If the suspicions are deemed fair, then the data on the device may be copied and reviewed.</p> <p>New Zealand border officials undertook the task of conducting a preliminary search on 537 devices last year.</p> <p>“The shift from paper-based systems to electronic systems has meant that the majority of prohibited material and documents are now stored electronically,” a New Zealand Customs spokeswoman said.</p> <p>But travellers and civil liberties advocates have not taken well to the new law, as the New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties stated it was a “grave invasion of personal privacy for both the person who owns the device and the people they have communicated with.”</p> <p>“Modern smartphones contain a large amount of highly sensitive private information including emails, letters, medical records, personal photos, and very personal photos,” said chairman Thomas Beagle in a statement.</p> <p>“The reality of this law is that it gives Customs the power to take and force the unlock of people’s smartphones without justification or appeal – and this is exactly what Customs has always wanted.”</p> <p>Social media users were also outraged as many posted about how they refuse to go to New Zealand while the law is in place.</p> <p>“Wow, taking New Zealand from my bucket list,” tweeted one person.</p> <p>“What about those who have confidential information on their devices? New Zealand is trash,” another wrote.</p> <p>One person said: “So now, you and I need to hand over all our data, while professional or suitably motivated wrongdoers can just upload all stuff to the Cloud and buy a new phone after crossing the border. Am I the only one seeing the police state in this? Not travelling to NZ soon.”</p> <p>But while there were many frustrated people, there were also those who saw the reasoning behind the tough new law.</p> <p>“[It’s] people being detained/searched on suspicious activity. It’s not the average traveller,” tweeted one user.</p> <p>“If they then refuse to give the PIN to a device which is believed to have helped in dodgy behaviour they will be fined. They still are able to say no, they just pay the fine.”</p> <p>What do you think of this controversial new airport law? Let us know in the comments below.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

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BREAKING: United Airlines flight makes emergency landing at Sydney Airport

<p>A United Airlines flight travelling from Los Angeles has been forced to make an emergency landing at Sydney Airport after a mayday announcement from the pilot.</p> <p>A full emergency response is underway as the pilot noticed something wasn’t right during the flight, said New South Wales Police in a statement.</p> <p>Police came to know about the incident a little after 6am on Thursday.</p> <p>On board United Airlines flight 839 were 239 passengers, and due to dangerous conditions, the pilot was forced to make a mayday call as they approached Sydney Airport.</p> <p>After listening to the audio, it has been said that response services declared the problem as a level three emergency.</p> <p>“Just to advise we have a full emergency level three for United 787 the call sign is UA839,” said a man on the audio tape.</p> <p>“It has low fuel issues and has issued a mayday.”</p> <p>According to an Airservices Australia spokeswoman, the emergency landing was due to the 787-900 Dreamliner’s fuel as it was lower than the recommended level.</p> <p>Previous reports mentioned an incident where dry ice was leaking into the cabin, but the spokeswoman denied those claims.</p> <p>“Dry ice was not the reason,” she said.</p> <p>While the fuel tank was not empty, the warning served as a precaution, the spokeswoman said.</p> <p>Many major roads near the airport had been closed as a traffic control plan was activated at 6:36am.</p> <p>The plane arrived safely at Sydney Airport and all roads have now been reopened.</p> <p>After firefighters and emergency services investigated the aircraft, it has been declared safe and no injuries have been reported.</p> <p>Passengers were unaware of the chaos until they had passed through customs.</p>

International Travel

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Just like us! Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan spotted catching public transport

<p>The Duchess of Sussex sent social media into a frenzy after she was snapped closing her own car door during her first solo appearance this week.</p> <p>And now, it seems that her normalcy is rubbing off on husband Prince Harry, with the couple spotted catching the train from an event at Loughborough University on Monday.</p> <p>Taking to Twitter to share her excitement, one fan posted a video of the Duke and Duchess departing a train from Loughborough station.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">Bizarrely sharing my train with Harry &amp; Meghan today 🤷‍♂️ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LoughboroughToLeicester?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LoughboroughToLeicester</a> <a href="https://t.co/wStziRomMU">pic.twitter.com/wStziRomMU</a></p> — Jonny Norton (@JonnyNorton_) <a href="https://twitter.com/JonnyNorton_/status/1044265066886041603?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">24 September 2018</a></blockquote> <p>“Bizarrely sharing my train with Harry &amp; Meghan today,” Twitter user Jonny Norton captioned the video.</p> <p>The royal pair were seen holding hands as they walked through the station, surrounded by minders and security.</p> <p>But it’s not the first time the couple have travelled by public transport to an event. The couple also caught a train to their first official visit in Cardiff – which ended up being delayed.</p> <p>“Most of you have freezing cold hands! We’re very sorry we’re late. Blame the trains!” Harry apologised when they turned up an hour late.</p> <p>The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have also been seen getting on the train on a number of occasions, while Meghan was fortunate enough to score a ride on Queen Elizabeth’s luxurious private train.</p> <p>The Duchess of Sussex travelled overnight with the 92-year-old monarch to their first joint engagement together in Cheshire in June. </p>

International Travel

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8 wildly underrated cities in Europe

<p>Sometimes it’s the less popular locales that prove the most spectacular holiday spots of them all.</p> <p><strong>1. Split, Croatia</strong></p> <p>Known for fine dining, excellent shopping and loads of bars to choose from, Split is also home to Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and formerly a retirement palace built for the Emperor Diocletian around the year 300 CE. If that weren’t enough reason to book your trip to Split right now, then the captivating view of the Adriatic from this coastal town will surely do the trick.</p> <p><strong>2. Vézelay, France</strong></p> <p>Before you book your ticket to Paris, consider Vézelay. Built in the 11th century, this ancient city in Burgundy is known for its vineyards, and the famous Basilica of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine. Built on a hilltop, the town is nothing short of picturesque, with fine wine, inspiring architecture and beautiful landscapes.</p> <p><strong>3. Gibraltar</strong></p> <p>The imposing landscape will inspire awe in even the most jaded traveller. Historically, Phoenicians were thought to be the first inhabitants of Gibraltar (around 950 BCE), but new evidence suggests that Neanderthals were here as far back as 28,000 BCE. The Rock of Gibraltar, off Spain’s south coast, is its only official landmark, but the densely populated city is so rich in its own unique culture and history that it never disappoints.</p> <p><strong>4. Porto, Portugal</strong></p> <p>If the name of this city reminds you of wine, your head is in the right place: this is indeed the place where port wine originated. Built during Roman times, this beautiful port city’s architecture, landscapes and history will certainly impress. Soak in the beauty with a glass of the finest wine and you’ve got the recipe for a perfect vacation.</p> <p><strong>5. Bruges, Belgium</strong></p> <p>This city deserves a spot on your travel bucket list. Bruges still has most of its historic architecture intact, preserved better than any other mediaeval city in the world. With its living history, breathtaking landscapes, canals, Flemish art treasures and, of course, world-renowned chocolate, a trip to Bruges is one you won’t regret.</p> <p><strong>6. Prague, Czech Republic</strong></p> <p>The historical capital of Bohemia, Prague, is rich in culture, history and magnificent architecture, both modern and old. Churches, cathedrals and other monumental buildings from the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque eras dot the city, and the locals are friendly and welcoming.</p> <p><strong>7. Dresden, Germany</strong></p> <p>The city of Dresden was largely destroyed during World War II. Since then, the elegant baroque city has been faithfully rebuilt. Home to some of Germany’s largest universities, 50 museums and 60 galleries, with a 700-year tradition of fine music, the city is picture-perfect. In warm weather, enjoy the food and camaraderie in the biergartens – you don’t need to be a drinker as they are family friendly.</p> <p><strong>8. Ferrara, Italy</strong></p> <p>Located in Northern Italy, Ferrara has nearly nine kilometres of Renaissance walls surrounding a city filled with immense cathedrals and castles that date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Home to the powerful Este family, its artists and court, much of the city’s original planning and structure is brilliantly preserved, garnering it a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.</p> <p><br /><em>Written by Maria Barillaro. This article first appeared in <span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/8-Wildly-Underrated-Cities-in-Europe">Reader’s Digest</a></span>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <span><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestsubscribe?utm_source=readersdigest&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;utm_medium=display&amp;keycode=WRA85S">here’s our best subscription offer</a></span>.</em></p> <p> </p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

International Travel

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Princess Mary shows off her fun Aussie humour on royal tour

<p>Crown Princess Mary of Denmark left fans giggling as she struggled to open a can of beer during her visit to New York for UN week.</p> <p>The 46-year-old Aussie pulled a mock grimace as she cracked open a can of Carlsberg, which is one of Denmark’s biggest exporters.</p> <p>The aim of the event was to highlight Denmark’s achievements when it comes to sustainability.</p> <p>Before taking a sip of the beverage, Mary held it up to the crowd for a toast.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">Princess Mary struggles to open beer can during UN Week in New York. 🍻<a href="https://t.co/zYWe4eFYf9">https://t.co/zYWe4eFYf9</a> <a href="https://t.co/KauQEm2i6V">pic.twitter.com/KauQEm2i6V</a></p> — 9Honey (@9HoneyAU) <a href="https://twitter.com/9HoneyAU/status/1044711934686367744?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 25, 2018</a></blockquote> <p>Mary’s down-to-earth attitude at the event was a reminder that she will always be the well-humoured Tassie girl that has won over hearts around the world.</p> <p>In 2001, Mary moved to Denmark to be with the country’s future king, Crown Prince Frederik.</p> <p>Royal experts have speculated that Prince Frederik will become king by the end of the year, which will make Mary the world’s first Australian-born queen.</p> <p>Since becoming a member of the royal family, Mary has used her platform to advocate for issues close to her heart, including sustainability.</p> <p>"I believe that in order to find solutions to some of the most pressing global challenges of today we need to take a holistic approach that requires us to consider the social, environmental and economic aspects and work together in new and innovative partnerships, maybe with people and organisations we wouldn’t have thought about working with before," she told <em>Vogue </em>in 2016.</p> <p>"It will require a continuous effort and patience, and strong and authentic leadership: it takes time to create real and sustainable change."</p> <p>Mary and Frederik have four children together – Prince Christian, 12, Princess Isabella, 11 and twins Princess Josephine and Prince Vincent, seven.</p> <p>The Danish royal couple will join the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in Australia for the Invictus Games next month.</p> <p>David and Victoria Beckham will also be attending the games that will take place from October 20 to 27. </p>

International Travel

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Inside Serena Williams’ $14 million LA mansion

<p>Tennis champion Serena Williams has slashed the price of her six-bedroom, seven-bathroom Bel-Air mansion in Los Angeles, after spending almost one year on the property market.</p> <p>Originally for sale with an asking price of <span>US$12 million (AUD $16.4 million), the price has now been slashed to US$9.99 million (AUD$13.8 million), after not getting any interest in the lavish home. </span></p> <p>Set on one of the largest lots in the local neighbourhood of Stone Canyon, the private, tree-lined residence is equipped with everything a sporting star could need, including a personal gym, a large swimming pool and a number of private hiking trails surrounding the home.</p> <p>However, there is something rather important missing from the property: a tennis court. Perhaps the new mum likes to keep her work and home lives separate?</p> <p>Built in 1935, the 556-square metre traditional home boasts high ceilings, a private salon, bar and numerous delicate chandeliers.</p> <p>Williams purchased the home in 2006 for US$9.5 million.</p> <p>At the time the tennis legend put the sprawling property on the market, she was rumoured to be searching for a new, family-friendly home to move into with her baby daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr, and husband, Reddit founder Alexiz Ohanian. </p> <p>Maybe her new home will have a tennis court this time around? You can view the incredible Bel-Air property in the gallery above. </p> <p> </p>

International Travel

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8 magical reasons to visit Ireland

<p><strong>1. Blarney Castle</strong></p> <p>In County Cork, it is famous for the Blarney Stone – kiss it for the gift of eternal eloquence, legend says. Visitors literally bend over backwards to smooch this fabled rock set into the castle’s wall. The 15th-century castle also offers gardens, caves and battlement views.</p> <p><strong>2. The Guinness Storehouse</strong></p> <p>At the St James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin welcomes over a million visitors each year to the on-site stout-producing plant. The Guinness Storehouse gives a behind the scenes look into the brewing process – over three million pints are brewed here daily. At the end of the brewery tour, visitors can relax with a pint while taking in the stunning 360-degree views of Dublin from the Gravity Bar.</p> <p><strong>3. Brú na Bóinne in County Meath</strong></p> <p>Is a Neolithic site of henges, standing stones and burial chambers, built about 3200 BC. Immensely popular year-round, Brú na Bóinne gets extra attention during winter solstice when, for a few dawns in late December, a beam of sunlight pierces a mysterious opening in one passage tomb, Newgrange, illuminating its chamber for a few minutes. So great is the demand to see the winter solstice sunrise at Newgrange that an annual lottery is held for chamber access.</p> <p><strong>4. The Rock of Cashel</strong></p> <p>(Or St Patrick’s Rock) in County Tipperary dates to the 12th and 13th centuries. The formidable fortress boasts a round tower, cathedral and chapel with priceless Celtic art and medieval architecture. In the fifth century, legend has it that St Patrick converted Aengus, the King of Munster, to Christianity at this very spot.</p> <p><strong>5. Experience the Festivals</strong></p> <p>From St Patrick’s Day to Galway International Arts Festival, Ireland has hundreds of cultural celebrations every year. The most anticipated is St Patrick’s Festival (around St Patrick’s Day, March 17), when parades and a carnival atmosphere will leave you spellbound.</p> <p><strong>6. Visit Dublin</strong></p> <p>The capital of the Republic of Ireland, Dublin buzzes with lively pubs, beautiful architecture and fine museums. A Dublin Pass will gain you entry to more than 30 top Dublin attractions, plus discounts for restaurants, shops, theatre, tours and transportation (and a free guidebook).</p> <p><strong>7. Revel in Irish Folklore</strong></p> <p>The World Heritage-listed Giant’s Causeway on the coast of County Antrim in Northern Ireland was, legend says, built by a giant, Fionn Mac Cumhail (Finn McCool), to keep his feet dry while walking to Scotland. Geologists suggest volcanic activity 60 million years ago created the 40,000 interlocking basalt columns that amaze visitors today.</p> <p><strong>8. Dine on Irish Cuisine</strong></p> <p>Traditional dishes such as Irish stew, soda bread, farmhouse cheese, and colcannon (cabbage/kale and potatoes) are still on the menu, but the new wave of Irish cooking focuses on fresh local ingredients and the catch of the day. Seafood options include wild Atlantic salmon, oysters, scallops and lobster, Dublin Bay prawns, chargrilled swordfish and grilled sole. The Galway International Oyster &amp; Seafood Festival celebrates this bounty every September.</p> <p><em>Written by Jackie Middleton. This article first appeared in <span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/8-Magical-Reasons-to-Visit-Ireland">Reader’s Digest</a></span>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <span><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestsubscribe?utm_source=readersdigest&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;utm_medium=display&amp;keycode=WRA85S">here’s our best subscription offer</a></span>.</em></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

International Travel

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Cathay Pacific's embarrassing blunder

<p>Whoever is in charge of branding Cathay Pacific Airways should probably look into spell check after the award-winning airline let one of its new jets fly the skies with the name “Cathay Paciic” painted on its side.</p> <p>The airline was immediately contacted after travellers at Hong Kong International Airport spotted the sign-writer's blunder.</p> <p>Airline officials responded to the mishap with good humour.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">Oops this special livery won’t last long! She’s going back to the shop!<br />(Source: HKADB) <a href="https://t.co/20SRQpKXET">pic.twitter.com/20SRQpKXET</a></p> — Cathay Pacific (@cathaypacific) <a href="https://twitter.com/cathaypacific/status/1042252802917953536?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">19 September 2018</a></blockquote> <p>“Oops … She’s going back to the shop!” a social media staffer from the company joked on Twitter.</p> <p>The users were quick to respond, gathering mixed reactions of amazement and amusement.</p> <p>While some people found the mistake to be hilarious, others used the example to highlight declining standards across the industry.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">Fixed it. <a href="https://t.co/c8NtP9asRs">pic.twitter.com/c8NtP9asRs</a></p> — Willie Montgomery (@shoxdude) <a href="https://twitter.com/shoxdude/status/1042443023769104384?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">19 September 2018</a></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">If they can get this obviously wrong makes you wonder about the more important engineering on the plane!</p> — HK Phil (@london_phil09) <a href="https://twitter.com/london_phil09/status/1042253263578382336?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">19 September 2018</a></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">No one gives a F anymore, not even the painters!</p> — -.. . .- -. (@thesmartpirate) <a href="https://twitter.com/thesmartpirate/status/1042263511756361729?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">19 September 2018</a></blockquote> <p>While the airline defended its error by stating it was a simple and genuine oversight, many weren’t buying it.</p> <p>“The spacing is too on-point for a mishap,” an engineer for Haeco, a sister company of the airline, told the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.scmp.com/frontpage/international" target="_blank">South China Morning Post</a>.</p> <p>“There should be a blank gap in between letters if it was a real mistake I think.”</p>

International Travel

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The votes are in: Experience the world’s best places

<p><em>Time</em> magazine recently released their inaugural list of the World’s 100 Greatest Places, highlighting new and newly relevant destinations.</p> <p>Editors and correspondents from around the world as well as industry experts came up with nominations across a wide variety of categories, such as museums, bars, restaurants and hotels.</p> <p>The nominees were then assessed for quality, originality, innovation, sustainability and influence.</p> <p>The winners on the diverse list are spread across 48 countries and three categories: where to visit, where to stay, and where to eat and drink.</p> <p>Check out a few of our absolute favourites from Asia and Australia that made the list.</p> <p><strong>1. To visit: ChangChui – Creative Park (Bangkok, Thailand)</strong></p> <p>Whether you’re looking for great food, fun shops, quirky art or just a cool spot to take pretty Instagram photos, this 27,000-square-metre wonderland has it all – even an old airplane smack in the middle of the park.</p> <p><strong>2. To visit: Museum MACAN (Jakarta, Indonesia)</strong></p> <p>The 4000-square-metre museum is the first of its kind in Indonesia, boasting a significant collection of modern and contemporary art from the country and around the world.</p> <p>The name is short for Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara, which is the Javanese word for archipelago.</p> <p><strong>3. To visit: Golden Bridge (Ba Na Hills, Vietnam)</strong></p> <p>The iconic 150-metre long Cau Vang, or Golden Bridge, rises 1400 metres above sea level.</p> <p>It looks like it’s being held up by a pair of giant hands, which have been aged to look like they’ve been around for decades.</p> <p><strong>4. To stay: COO Boutique Hostel &amp; Sociatel (Singapore)</strong></p> <p>The hostel, located in a four-storey conservation shophouse, has 11 rooms and 68 beds.</p> <p>Visitors not only get an affordable place to stay at just US$20 a night, they can also meet fellow guests with similar interests through COO Connect, an online platform.</p> <p><strong>5. To stay: Jackalope, Mornington Peninsula (VIC, Australia)</strong></p> <p>The Jackalope was opened in 2017 and quickly named Australia’s Hotel of the Year at the annual Gourmet Traveller Australian Hotel Guide Awards. The Jackalope features a 143-year-old homestead and winery.</p> <p>Located in Willow Creek Vineyard in the Mornington Peninsula, an hour from Melbourne's CBD, the hotel features two restaurants, a black infinity pool and spa and a room rate starting at $650 per night.  </p> <p><strong>6. To stay: The Collectionist (NSW, Australia)</strong></p> <p>Fancy strolling through a hotel and choosing the room you like best based on artwork, design and personal appeal rather than being allocated one from a cookie cutter layout?</p> <p>Sydney's boutique hotel, The Collectionist, has just that – featuring 39 'sleeping quarters' created by designers.</p> <p><strong>7. To stay: Tribe (WA, Australia)</strong></p> <p>Marketed as 'part collaborative workspace, part social club' the Tribe hotel in Perth offers communal dining and easy check-in without fanfare and has done away with the concierge and room service.</p> <p>Rooms start at $120 per night and feature free unlimited Wi-Fi, a 40-inch flat Screen Smart TV, free movies on demand and free Nespresso coffee and T2 teas.</p> <p><strong>8. To eat and drink: Atlas Bar (Singapore)</strong></p> <p>The bar is located on the ground floor of Parkview Square, which is inspired by the glamourous Art Deco skyscrapers of Europe and New York.</p> <p>It boasts one of the world’s largest collections of gin – some 1000 different varieties – some of which date back to 1910.</p> <p><em>Written by Siti Rohani. This article first appeared in <span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/experience-worlds-best-places?items_per_page=All">Reader’s Digest</a></span>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <span><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestsubscribe?utm_source=readersdigest&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;utm_medium=display&amp;keycode=WRA85S">here’s our best subscription offer</a></span>.</em></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

International Travel

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New $4200 rule for Aussie flyers

<p>Travellers acting suspiciously in Australian airports will have to show identification to police under draft laws introduced to federal Parliament.</p> <p>Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the new identification rule will allow Australian Federal Police to make someone leave the airport or ban them from flying for 24 hours if they pose a security threat.</p> <p>Police will have the authority to “move on” those who refuse to show their ID to police.</p> <p>Mr Dutton said police powers at airports need to be increased as they are one of the greatest targets for terrorism and crime groups.</p> <p>“Police at our airports are highly trained in behavioural analysis and threat assessments,” he said.</p> <p>“However, they don’t currently have the power to check ID unless they can link behaviour to a specific offence.”</p> <p>He explained that suspicious activity could include taking photos or videos of security check areas.</p> <p>Mr Dutton also revealed that the increased powers will allow police to remove bikie gang members from airports for two hours if it is known that an incoming flight has rival gang members.</p> <p>The minister said the legislation would ensure greater safety at Australian airports, adding that travellers could receive a fine of up to $4200 if they do not comply with the check.</p> <p>Police will have to identify themselves before conducting ID checks.</p> <p>Police will be able to use the new powers at major Australian airports including Sydney, Sydney West, Melbourne Tullamarine, Brisbane, Perth, Gold Coast, Hobart, Launceston, Alice Springs, Canberra, Darwin and Townsville.</p> <p>The increased police powers follow a string of new rules being implemented across Australian airports.</p> <p>Earlier this year it was announced that passengers will have to <a href="http://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/international-travel/2018/05/bad-news-if-you-wear-glasses-the-new-passport-rule/"><strong><u>remove their glasses</u></strong></a> in new passport photos taken from July 1.</p> <p>“Research has shown that glasses adversely affect passport facial matching. Matching is more accurate without glasses,” the department said.</p> <p>“A limited exemption for medical reasons may apply where supported by a medical certificate.”</p> <p>From June 30, the government also enforced new limits on how much powder product can be packed in carry-on baggage on international flights.</p> <p>Powders must be presented separately at airport security and inorganic powders must not exceed 350g. </p>

International Travel

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This Italian city is fining people for eating in public

<p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__intro sics-component__story__paragraph">The tourist magnet of Florence in Italy is cracking down on visitors who eat on sidewalks, doorsteps or driveways during lunch or dinner time.</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">Mayor Dario Nardella has said that a new ordinance, calling for fines up to €500 (AUD$813), aims to combat "boorish tourists".</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">The ordinance, which went into effect this week, applies to certain streets in the Renaissance city, including near the Uffizi Galleries, and only from noon to 3pm and from 6pm to 10pm. It's valid through 6 January 2019 to the end of the Italian holiday season.</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">Tourists often eat in the street to avoid paying to dine at cafes.</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">Last year, after a man swam naked in Rome's Trevi Fountain and that city began fining people eating on monumental fountains or bathing in them.</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">Have you visited Florence before? What do you think about this new rule and the hefty fine? Tell us in the comments below. </p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph"> </p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph"> </p>

International Travel

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5 reasons why you need to visit Turkey

<p>Want a holiday with history, relaxation and delicious food? You should consider Turkey. </p> <p>Here are five reasons why: </p> <p><strong>1. Turkish baths</strong></p> <p>Turkey is home to more than 1500 thermal springs. The tradition of soaking in warm water for wellness dates back thousands of years.</p> <p>The most famous thermal town is <a href="http://www.pamukkale.net/">Pamukkale</a>.  At Pamukkale, you can soak in stunning white limestone baths. The water here is high in calcium. Tree branches and stones left in the flowing water turn white in a short time. Locals believe the water has the power to cure high blood pressure, kidney stones, stroke, rheumatism, physical exhaustion and skin disease. No proof exists for these claims.</p> <p>They also believe the pools can make you beautiful. According to Turkish legend, an ugly unmarried young girl tried to take her own life at Pamukkale. She fell into a natural pool as she ran through the plateau. But she did not die. Instead, she turned into a beautiful woman. A passing Lord then happened to ride by, spotted her and fell in love.</p> <p>Even if that isn’t true - it is a stunning place to see. And who doesn’t love a good Turkish bath?</p> <p><strong>2. Istanbul</strong></p> <p>Istanbul is one of the greatest cities in the world. It is the bridge between the east and the west.</p> <p>Istanbul offers a mix of Europe and Asia. It has French streets with cafes, wine houses and boutiques. But it also has an Asian side. Istanbul's Grand Bazaar claims to be the most visited tourist attraction in the world. Here you will find leather goods, spices, jewellery and sweets.</p> <p>The historical peninsula is where you will find most of Istanbul’s must-see buildings. If you have one day in Istanbul - this is the place to go. Walk through the Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia.</p> <p>If you have more time, take a cruise along the Bosporus Strait and dine out at a fresh seafood restaurant.</p> <p><strong>3. Turkish desserts</strong></p> <p>Turkish delight, baklava, keşkül. Need we go on? Turkish sweets are delicious. And this is the place to indulge.</p> <p><strong>4. Gallipoli</strong></p> <p>Of course, no trip to Turkey would be complete without a visit to Gallipoli. Tens of thousands of Australians died on the Gallipoli peninsula in World War One. The disastrous attempt to seize control of the Turkish Dardanelles would give birth to the Anzac Legend. </p> <p>On April 25 each year, an Australian service is held to remember the fallen soldiers. But you can take a tour of Gallipoli at any time of the year. </p> <p>If you go, we recommend reading the personal stories of the men who fought here. You can find a few on the <span><em><a href="https://www.awm.gov.au/learn/schools/resources/understanding-gallipoli">Australian War Memorial Website</a></em></span><em>.</em> </p> <p><strong>5. Sail away</strong></p> <p>Turkey offers a much cheaper way to see the Mediterranean. Cruises here take you to the stunning cities of Bodrum, Kas and Marmaris. Excursions cover the ancient sites and include lazy days on the beach. Expect stunning beaches, warm sunshine and plenty of history. </p> <p><em>Written by Alison Godfrey. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/5-reasons-why-you-need-to-visit-turkey">mydiscoveries.com.au</a></span>.</em></p>

International Travel

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Are you as well travelled as the Queen? Here are the only 5 countries she’s yet to visit

<p>When you’ve been alive for 92 years, it’s safe to say that you would have seen a lot in your lifetime. And when that 92-year-old is the Queen of England, then we can only assume that she’s seen every corner of the world. But believe it or not, that’s not the case. While the Queen is well travelled – 128 countries to be exact, there are still a few places that she has yet to explore.</p> <p>One of the many perks of being a royal is that you frequently get to go on all-expenses-paid trips around the world. Vanuatu, Turks and Caicos, Yemen and Kiribati are just a few of the many countries she has visited. But what about the ones she has yet to explore? Here are a few of the countries the Queen is yet to visit:</p> <p><strong>Argentina</strong></p> <p>Argentina, home to good food and even better entertainment. So why hasn’t the Queen stepped foot inside the nation before? The answer is political conflicts. Argentina has been vocal in the past about their dislike for Queen Elizabeth II, especially after a part of Antarctica was named in honour of her majesty.</p> <p>But despite this fact, there is one royal who has visited the country in the past, and that was Prince Philip in 1962.</p> <p><strong>Greece</strong></p> <p>While the Queen did make a trip to Greece in 1950, this was before she was appointed the royal title. After being crowned, she has never made a state visit to the country. Many find this alarming, as her husband, Prince Philip is a former Greek Prince. But the Prince does not share fond memories of the place, as his father was nearly executed, and a young Philip was forced into exile. The Duke does visit Greece at times, but it’s always a solo trip.</p> <p><strong>Israel</strong></p> <p>There are many obvious reasons as to why the Queen hasn’t visited either Israel or Palestine. One of them is security. Every visit made by the Queen must be approved by The Foreign Office, who advise ordinary travellers to be cautious when visiting the two countries, let alone someone as high profile as the Queen. There is also the war between the two countries over the rights of Jerusalem, and the Queen always avoids getting caught between political matters.</p> <p><strong>Cuba</strong></p> <p>While HRH has seen most of the Caribbean, she hasn’t seen all of it. Named “The Caribbean’s most fascinating country,” by <span><em><a href="http://www.traveller.com.au/are-you-as-well-travelled-as-the-queen-the-countries-you-should-visit-that-she-hasnt-h14bep">Traveller</a></em></span> expert Fred Mawer, Cuba is home to great entertainment, world-class cigars and Spanish architecture. But it’s also run on a communist system, and that, paired with security risks makes the Queen’s visit to the spectacular country unlikely.</p> <p><strong>Mongolia</strong></p> <p>The least populated country in the world is one of the 16 countries in Asia to never have welcomed the Queen. But while the monarch may not be paying a visit, you still can. If you prefer quiet relaxation over loud entertainment, then Mongolia should be next on your bucket list. Terry Richardson from <span><a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/asia/mongolia/articles/could-mongolia-become-the-next-big-travel-destination/">Telegraph Travel</a></span> speaks fondly of the country, saying “this enormous landlocked country of green steppe, vast flat plains, intricately braided rivers, electric-blue highland lakes, snow-licked mountains, dense pine forests and shifting desert is presided over by a skyscape of such bold blue immensity it beggar’s description. It’s not just vast; Mongolia is empty, too. Three times bigger than France, its population is less than a 20th of the UK's – and one in three people live in the nation's sole city, the capital Ulaan Baatar."</p> <p>Have you visited any of these countries before? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

International Travel

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“It’s time for them to go": The travel ritual you'll no longer have to do

<p>Nothing is more frustrating than getting ready to check in for your flight and being hit with the passenger departure card. While you stand there and dream of some alternative universe where you’re able to breeze through security and maybe fit some duty-free shopping into your schedule, the idea of wasting your time filling in departure cards crush those in an instant.</p> <p>First, you must find a location to fill them out, and then you need to rummage around for a pen. Also, looking for your passport and boarding pass because who remembers their flight number?</p> <p>While Australia got rid of the unnecessary form last year, New Zealand was firm on their decision to keep them around – until now. On Sunday, New Zealand confirmed that they would be phasing out departure cards and they will become completely obsolete by November.</p> <p>“This will improve the experience of all travellers departing New Zealand, enabling a faster and smoother process ahead of the busy holiday period,” said New Zealand’s Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.</p> <p>“It will also save more than 100,000 hours of time currently spent by travellers completing more than 6.5 million departure cards per year.”</p> <p>The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern hinted at the notion of getting rid of departure cards when she spoke at the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum in Sydney in March.</p> <p>Representatives came to the agreement that the forms, which are close to 97 years old, are unnecessary and made travel through the trans-Tasman more difficult than it should be.</p> <p>Lees-Galloway said that the move will allow New Zealand to be more in line with other countries who had already gotten rid of the departure cards.</p> <p>And once they become obsolete sometime in November, outgoing travellers will be able to travel between Australia and New Zealand seamlessly, as they won’t have to fill out a card on either side.</p> <p>Lees-Galloway says that the biggest advantage for passengers is that it would save them more time.</p> <p>“It removes inconvenience which isn’t necessary anymore,” he said. “It’s time for them to go.”</p> <p>The cards, which were mainly used for statistical purposes will switch to a new system to gather data according to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/news/106572987/airport-departure-cards-will-be-off-the-table-come-november" target="_blank">stuff.co.nz</a></em>.</p> <p>But while departure cards are getting the boot, arrival cards will remain as they are crucial for assessing immigration and security risks.</p> <p>Do you think phasing out departure cards is a good idea? Let us know in the comments.</p>

International Travel

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Holiday album: Peter Stefanovic and Sylvia Jeffreys' romantic European getaway

<p>After off-screen TV couple Peter Stefanovic and wife Sylvia Jeffreys returned from their sunny getaway to Europe, the pair took to Instagram to share their favourite moments.</p> <p>Posting a series of photos featuring stunning views, Stefanovic posted an image of him and his wife sitting along the seaside in Mallorca, Spain with the witty caption: <span>“Got our Med-icine. Get it? *I’ll get my coat.”</span></p> <p><span><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="/media/7820454/petersylvia1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/5a9c5923e7dc49bd908083804f195f0f" /></span></p> <p>The photo showed Peter lying down beside Sylvia, who was sunbathing in the famous Spanish heat, wearing a pair of sunglasses and a straw hat.</p> <p>Only a few moments before, Sylvia had posted a picture on her Instagram account of the couple posing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.</p> <p>“There’s no one I’d rather block a world class view with @peter_stefanovic. The [time] goes back on tomorrow. See you bright and early @thetodayshow,” she wrote.</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="/media/7820455/petersylvia3.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/c468a4cec02948d696e0d630009c93cd" /></p> <p>The happy couple married last year at the exclusive Ooralba Estate in the Kangaroo Valley, NSW, in front of 160 guests, including <span>Channel Nine co-workers Richard Wilkins and Lisa Wilkinson, and Peter's brother Karl Stefanovic.</span></p>

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>

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