International Travel

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Can you spot the bizarre item on this in-flight menu?

<p>British Airways has shocked a passenger aboard a flight with a bizarre warning.</p> <p>Michael L. Brown was perusing over the in-flight menu when he noticed an unconventional message written in fine print.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">You've got to be kidding me. From the British Airways in-flight menu from London to Chicago. <a href="https://t.co/lfecoXAllk">pic.twitter.com/lfecoXAllk</a></p> — Dr. Michael L. Brown (@DrMichaelLBrown) <a href="https://twitter.com/DrMichaelLBrown/status/1071727461510103041?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 9, 2018</a></blockquote> <p>It’s common for meals to come with words of caution, whether it be allergens or raw food. But one thing that many don’t come across is a warning for bullet fragments.</p> <p>The menu featured a dish called “Home Counties venison stew” and the text written below said: “Due to the nature of the product, there is a very small risk of bullet fragments that could be found in this meal.”</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 408px; height: 307px;" src="/media/7822453/capture.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/411f90063e2d4fc09855a97c4b51dbda" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Photo: <a href="https://twitter.com/DrMichaelLBrown">Twitter @DrMichaelLBrown</a></em></p> <p>Speaking to <em><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/">The Sun</a></em>, Mr Brown said, “I travelled first class from Mumbai to Heathrow, and this item definitely wasn’t on the menu.</p> <p>“On my second flight from Heathrow to Chicago I noticed this item on the menu.”</p> <p>When Mr Brown raised his concerns with staff members, they were surprised and amused by the warning.</p> <p>“The two flight attendants I spoke with had never seen or noticed this before but got a good laugh out of it,” he said.</p> <p>“One joked with me that this warning could be so all Americans on board couldn’t sue them. I told them he could well be right.”</p> <p>But despite Mr Brown’s surprise, many users on Twitter claimed that the warning is fairly common.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">If we buy wild rabbit from Argentina here in Germany you´ll find everytime the information, that there is a small risk of bullet fragments.</p> — Darius Tremel (@Musicmaker2011) <a href="https://twitter.com/Musicmaker2011/status/1073145855895592960?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 13, 2018</a></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">Venison is deer. Maybe they source their deer from local butcher shops/hunters? We live in MS. My husband is a military man of 15 years from Ok. That’s not weird to me 🤷🏻‍♀️</p> — Sis Latta (@cryslatta) <a href="https://twitter.com/cryslatta/status/1071774460942913536?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 9, 2018</a></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">Pretty normal if you’ve ever hunted birds, although it’s not bullets, it’s shotgun beads 😁</p> — Randy Turnbow (@BigRedCurlyGuy) <a href="https://twitter.com/BigRedCurlyGuy/status/1071889826977218560?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 9, 2018</a></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">Usually phrased as buckshot on menus here in the UK and certainly not unusual to see it called out. However, it is a note-worthy inclusion for an in-flight menu, I certainly can't recall it on <a href="https://twitter.com/British_Airways?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@British_Airways</a> before.</p> — Benn Glazier (@bennglazier) <a href="https://twitter.com/bennglazier/status/1072836775880601600?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 12, 2018</a></blockquote> <p>“These warnings are there as a precaution, and are common practice,” a spokesperson for British Airways told<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/can-spot-bizarre-item-flight-menu-030319516.html" target="_blank"><em>Yahoo Lifestyle</em></a>.</p> <p>“We source the best British ingredients for our inflight menu and this is no exception.”</p>

International Travel

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This country now has the world’s most powerful passport

<p>Last year, Singapore was the most powerful passport in world. However, it is now tied in second place with Germany after the United Arab Emirates climbed the ladder this year to be the world’s most powerful passport, as reported by the <span><em><a href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/news/article.cfm?c_id=7&amp;objectid=12170816">New Zealand Herald</a></em></span>.</p> <p>The Middle Eastern state added four new countries to its easy entry destinations, bringing their total to 167 countries.</p> <p>Australia’s passport is in 7<sup>th</sup> place beside Malaysia, Slovenia, Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia and Latvia.</p> <p>Australians are free to travel to 109 countries visa-free and get automatic entry visas on arrival from 52 nations.</p> <p>New Zealand travellers are 6<sup>th</sup> on the list and can enjoy visa-free travel to 112 countries and obtain automatic entry visas in 50 countries upon arrival.</p> <p>Holders of Iceland and Maltese passports can enter 162 countries without a prearranged visa.</p> <p>The reason that the United Arab Emirates has surprised many people is due to the fact that last year the nation wasn’t even listed in the top 10 on the travel list.</p> <p>Dubai’s leader welcomed the news through a tweet stating, “Congratulations to the UAE and it’s people and big thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation’s teams.”</p> <p>The least powerful passports include Iraq and Afghanistan which grant visa-free access to only 32 and 29 countries.</p> <p><strong>Passport power ranks:</strong></p> <ol> <li>United Arab Emirates</li> <li>Singapore, Germany</li> <li>Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Norway, South Korea and USA</li> <li>Belgium, Austria, Japan, Greece, Portugal, Switzerland, Ireland and Canada and United Kingdom</li> <li>Czech Republic and Hungary</li> <li>Malta, Iceland, New Zealand</li> <li>Malaysia, Slovenia, Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Latvia and Australia</li> <li>Estonia</li> <li>Romania and Bulgaria</li> <li>Cyprus and Liechtenstein</li> </ol> <p> </p>

International Travel

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First class passenger's touching act of kindness on flight for mother with sick daughter

<p>A travelling mum has shared the touching act of kindness she received from a stranger on her flight.</p> <p>Kelsey Zwick was travelling from Orlando to Philadelphia in the US with her 11-month-old daughter, Lucy, so her baby could receive treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.</p> <p>Sharing the inspiring story on Facebook, Kelsey said she had boarded the American Airlines flight with her daughter when a flight attendant approached them and said a first class passenger wanted to switch seats.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FKelseyAbbottMcArthur%2Fposts%2F10113814031412134%3A0&amp;width=500" width="500" height="708" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p> <p>“To the man in 2D. Today you were travelling from Orlando to Philly,” she wrote.</p> <p>“I don’t know you, but I imagine you saw us somewhere. I was pushing a stroller, had a diaper bag on my arm and also lugging an oxygen machine for my daughter. We had smiles on our faces as we were headed to see her ‘friends’ at CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia).</p> <p>“We pre-boarded the plane, got cosy in our window seat and made jokes to those around us about having to sit by my yelling-but-happy baby. The flight attendant came over and told me you were waiting to switch seats. You were giving up your comfortable, first class seat to us.”</p> <p>Kelsey said the generous act brought her to tears and she “can’t wait to tell Lucy someday”.</p> <p>Explaining how much she was touched, Kelsey wrote: “Not able to hold back tears, I cried my way up the aisle while my daughter Lucy laughed!”</p> <p>Unable to sufficiently thank the good Samaritan properly as they passed each other in the aisle, Kelsey shared the story on Facebook with the hope of tracking him down.</p> <p>Her post quickly went viral and left many teary-eyed.</p> <p>One reader of the selfless gesture wrote: “To have been seen by this man and for him to extend himself in such a quiet, but significant way absolutely tugs every single one of my heart strings.”</p> <p>Another added: “Oh wow. That brought tears to my eyes knowing there ARE good people in the world.”</p> <p>Although Kelsey has not been able to track down the generous man, she has promised to pass on the kindness she received.</p> <p>“It reminded me how much good there is in this world.</p> <p>“In the meantime … we will pay it forward. AA588 passenger in seat 2D, we truly feel inspired by your generosity.”</p> <p>Have you ever received a random act of kindness? Let us know in the comments below. </p>

International Travel

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Exploring Fiji: How a small ship cruise can give you a big experience

<p>Fiji is unquestionably one of the world’s most magical places. With its pristine azure waters abounding with sea life and colourful coral, stunning islands showcasing breathtaking natural beauty, and the warmth, custom and folklore of the Fijian people, the most challenging part of planning a trip to Fiji is deciding which of its beautiful islands to visit.</p> <p>But why limit yourself? Embark on a <span><a href="http://www.captaincookcruisesfiji.com/annualsale">small ship cruise</a></span> with a tour company like Captain Cook Cruises around Fiji’s unsurpassed waterways and islands, and you can gain access to the real Fiji, exploring regions that larger cruise ships can’t reach.</p> <p><strong>Fun both onboard and off</strong></p> <p>When cruising the Fijian seas on a small ship, it’s definitely as much about the journey as it is the destination. Whether you’re travelling solo, as a couple or with a small or large group of family and friends, you’ll enjoy all the facilities and comfort of a larger cruise ship, such as air-conditioned dining and lounge rooms, cocktail bar, swimming pool, jacuzzi, massage services, gym and a deck for relaxing in the sun, while you feast on fully catered buffets and 3-course meals.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7822208/1-captain-cook-cruises-fiji-ren-dining-girls.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/d46067bca5b94224a0cf96169106b385" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Photo: Captain Cook Cruises Fiji. </em></p> <p>It’s the perfect base from which to relax in style as your cruise of choice sails its way through such <span><a href="http://www.captaincookcruisesfiji.com/annualsale">beautiful destinations</a></span> as the volcanic Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands, the remote Northern Islands or the Lau Islands and Kadavu, parts of Fiji rarely visited by tourists.</p> <p>Whether you opt to go for three days, 11 days, or somewhere in between, you’ll visit a new island or coral reef every morning and afternoon and experience the perfect blend of cultural, land and water activities.</p> <p>Wander through remote Fijian villages, schools and churches, where you can take part in a traditional Fijian sevusevu ceremony, Meke and Lovo feast. Explore limestone caves, captivating waterfalls or hike to the top of mountains to experience heart-stopping views. While on Fiji’s white sandy beaches, swim, kayak and paddle board in turquoise waters, take a tour on a glass-bottomed boat and snorkel or dive in sparkling lagoons full of colourful sea life.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7822213/1-captain-cook-cruises-lau-kadavu-turtle.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/c84ed24112754d59a3ad2477ebe1fd87" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Photo: Captain Cook Cruises Fiji. </em></p> <p><strong>Safeguarding the future</strong></p> <p>Protecting the precious marine environment is something Fijians are passionate about. Amos Abhishek Daniel, one of the newly recruited Marine Biologists at Captain Cook Cruises Fiji, recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science degree from the University of the South Pacific. His passion and insights have brought inventive methods to their marine rehabilitation projects. Through Captain Cook’s Ocean Ambassador Programme, Amos hopes to nurture his career and passion for the marine environment further.</p> <p>Another important way <span><a href="http://www.captaincookcruisesfiji.com/annualsale">Captain Cook Cruises Fiji</a></span> is continuing its environmentally friendly policies is by eliminating as many single use plastic items onboard small ship MV Reef Endeavour and on Tivua Island.</p> <p>“Plastic pollution is a real threat to our oceans and after the success of our Ocean Ambassador Program, we wanted to lead the way environmentally onboard, just like we were doing onshore, and remove all plastic straws and cups from the Reef Endeavour,” says Captain Cook Cruises Fiji’s Managing Director, Jackie Charlton.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7822210/1-captain-cook-cruises-fiji-stateroom.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/a2cf15d0f1824d98b8de51656efcd62e" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Photo: Captain Cook Cruises Fiji. </em></p> <p><strong>Tailor-made travel</strong></p> <p>There’s never been a better time to enjoy the treasures that Fiji has to offer – if you book a <span><a href="http://www.captaincookcruisesfiji.com/annualsale">7-night cruise</a></span> with Captain Cook Cruises, you’ll get three nights free, with all meals and most activities included. Travel in style onboard the 130-passenger, five-level MV Reef Endeavor, with accommodation ranging from Tabua Suites, Family Ocean Staterooms – some of which have an interconnecting door – Ocean Staterooms and Porthole Cabins.</p> <p>There are <span><a href="http://www.captaincookcruisesfiji.com/annualsale">four amazing itineraries</a></span> to choose from. On the Yasawa Island and Mamanuca cruise, you’ll visit Monuriki Island, made famous by the Tom Hanks movie <em>Castaway</em>, and enjoy a complimentary tour to the Sabeto Mud Baths or Orchid Garden of the Sleeping Giant.</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HuFM759DtyA" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>On the <span><a href="http://www.captaincookcruisesfiji.com/annualsale">4 Cultures Discovery cruise</a></span>, you’ll visit a Hindu snake temple and meet people of four different cultures – Micronesian, Polynesian, Indian and Melanesian – as you circumnavigate Fiji’s second largest island, Vanua Levu.</p> <p>On the <span><a href="http://www.captaincookcruisesfiji.com/annualsale">Colonial Fiji Discovery cruise</a></span> to the remote Northern Islands, you’ll visit school children at the UNESCO world-heritage listed Levuka, a time capsule of colonial rule, explore Bouma Waterfall National Park and stand on the 180<sup>th</sup> meridian – the arbitrary dateline between today and tomorrow.</p> <p>On the <span><a href="http://www.captaincookcruisesfiji.com/annualsale">11-night Lau Islands and Kadavu Discovery cruise</a></span>, you’ll see a rugged, untouched Fiji unlike any other. See nesting turtles and an old lighthouse ruin at the northern-most island of Wailagilala, marvel at the mushroom-shaped islands, caves and untouched reefs of Qilaqila, and swim in the crystal-clear lagoons of extinct volcano craters, to name but a few of the many adventures on offer.</p> <p> <img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7822211/1-captain-cook-cruises-fiji-lau-fulaga-beach-boat.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/318be8da848b41179199a4f598154f8c" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Photo: Captain Cook Cruises Fiji. </em></p> <p>You also have the flexibility to adapt the discovery cruises to suit you, so whatever your interest or passion, you can ensure you truly experience the cruise of your dreams. So, what are you waiting for? Explore Fiji on a <span><a href="http://www.captaincookcruisesfiji.com/annualsale">small ship cruise</a></span> with Captain Cook Cruises and you’re guaranteed to have memories to last a lifetime.</p> <p>For more more information on Captain Cook Cruises Fiji’s choice of amazing itineraries, visit:  <span><a href="http://www.captaincookcruisesfiji.com/annualsale">www.captaincookcruisesfiji.com/annualsale</a></span>.</p> <p><em>This is sponsored content brought to you in conjunction with </em><span><em><a href="http://www.captaincookcruisesfiji.com/annualsale">Captain Cook Cruises Fiji</a></em></span><em>. </em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p>

International Travel

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Why you should consider a small group tour for your next holiday

<p>With its wealth of history, beauty and cultural experiences, it’s not surprising that a trip to Europe is at the top of most of our must-visit lists. But with so many riches on offer, knowing where to go and what to see can be a daunting prospect, which is why taking in Europe as part of a <span><a href="https://www.bunniktours.com.au/Europe-Tours/">small group tour</a></span> can provide such a rewarding travel experience.</p> <p>Unlike large group travel tours, a small group of 20 people or less has many added benefits, including camaraderie, less queueing and the chance to experience attractions more comprehensively, rather than a brief glimpse before hopping back on a bus with everyone else.</p> <p>A streamlined approach to sightseeing, small group tours allow you to have more fun, spend less time waiting and have greater flexibility when visiting local points of interest.</p> <p>As Dennis Bunnik, CEO of <span><a href="http://www.bunniktours.com.au/">Bunnik Tours</a></span> explains, touring with a small group also gives you more time with your guide, more room on the coach and better views when sightseeing.</p> <p>“Imagine one guide having to manage 50 people and still answer questions,” he said.</p> <p>“In a smaller group you’ll have more one-on-one time with your guide and plenty of opportunity to ask questions and take advantage of their wealth of local knowledge.</p> <p>“Big groups created the tourist trail – small groups can move beyond it and really discover the essence of the places they visit. We’re also able to support smaller businesses so the benefits of tourism are spread throughout the communities we visit.”</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fABDqZxZ9Fc" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Here are three stunning holiday destinations where small group touring with 20 people or less really excels.</p> <p><strong>1. Croatia</strong></p> <p>The Croatian seaside city of Split is idyllic with its world-famous beaches, alfresco dining, centuries-old architecture and carefree locals.</p> <p>Fans of the <em>Game of Thrones</em> series will also recognise the sights and buildings along Split’s Papaliceva Street – but the <span><a href="https://www.bunniktours.com.au/Europe-Tours/Small-Group-Tours/Jewels-of-Dalmatia">highlight of a Bunnik Tour</a></span> to Split is surely the spectacular azure waters of the nearby beaches – check out Trstenik beach as a priority.</p> <p>For the die-hard <em>Game of Thrones</em> fan the city of Dubrovnik, some three hours away, is home to many famous scenes – including the House of the Undying, the great Sept of Baelor and King’s Landing.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="/media/7822237/1-bunnik-tours-plitvice-lakes-croatia.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/c8177c005ce54b1ab21fae3581299d40" /></p> <p><strong>2. Northern Italy</strong></p> <p>With its stunning alpine views, world-famous lakes and wealth of culture, visiting Northern Italy will leave you with lifelong memories.</p> <p>Bunnik Tours has an organised <span><a href="https://www.bunniktours.com.au/Europe-Tours/Small-Group-Tours/Northern-Italy-Slovenia-Croatia">25-day tour</a></span> where you will travel from Milan to the breathtaking sights of Lago Maggiore before experiencing a walking tour of Italy’s famous Lake Como district and a cruise to the town of Bellagio.</p> <p>When in Italy, one must eat. If you love parmesan cheese and prosciutto, you will enjoy feasting your way through Parma, tasting the famous balsamic vinegar in Modena and sampling your way through the Gelato Museum in Bologna.</p> <p><strong>3. Morocco</strong></p> <p>Another fantastic location that lends itself to a small group tour is Morocco, as you can take in the surrounds, sights and smells at a leisurely pace rather than as a whirlwind tourist pitstop.</p> <p>One Moroccan location worth immersing yourself in is the city of Chefchaouen in northwest Morocco, famous for its blue-hued buildings. The city of Fez is just three hours from Chefchaouen and is steeped in old-world history, with the original city of Fez considered one of the oldest and best conserved cities in the Muslim-Arab world.</p> <p>Bunnik Tours’ <span><a href="https://www.bunniktours.com.au/Europe-Tours/Small-Group-Tours/Spain-Portugal-Morocco">27-day tour</a></span> takes in Spain, Portugal and Morocco, visiting Chefchaouen, Fez and Marrakesh. You’ll be able to take your time around the Saadian Tombs, Bahia Palace, the Koutoubia Mosque and of course Casablanca – home of the central market, Hassan II Mosque and Ain Diab Esplanade.</p> <p>So why just settle for a holiday when you can have the shared experience of a group tour? Make friends, travel safely and have easy access to your own tour guide to ensure you enjoy the best of what these incredible European locations have to offer.</p> <p>Book a Bunnik small group tour to Europe before 21 December 2018 and save $250 per person. Prices include return international airfares, air taxes and fuel surcharges, accommodation, pre-paid tips, extensive sightseeing program and many meals. For more information visit <span><a href="https://www.bunniktours.com.au/Europe-Tours/">https://www.bunniktours.com.au/Europe-Tours/</a></span>.</p> <p><em>This is sponsored content brought to you in conjunction with <span><a href="https://www.bunniktours.com.au/Europe-Tours/">Bunnik Tours</a></span>. </em></p>

International Travel

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The big change coming to airport security in Australia

<p>If you’re a frequent traveller, then there’s good news that’s going to make your life a whole lot easier.</p> <p>A new security technology that conducts a thorough scan of people’s luggage is currently being tested at Melbourne Airport.</p> <p>If successful, passengers won’t find the need to reveal any liquids or gels alongside laptops and other electrical items before boarding the plane.</p> <p>Developed by security company Smiths Detection, the camera takes a CT scan of passenger bags and creates a three-dimensional image of the contents inside. The current airport technology that is in place produces images in 2D.</p> <p>You can also expect security lines to move ahead faster, making going in and out of the airport a lot easier.</p> <p>The technology has been in place since October at Melbourne Airport’s T4 domestic terminal and is being trialled to hopefully allow for a better passenger experience in the future.</p> <p>“Thanks to the pilot program we are able to better understand how in the future passengers can pass through security screening without having to divest their items, which simplifies the start of the traveller journey right from the outset,” said Simon Gandy, Melbourne Airport’s chief of aviation.</p> <p>“As Australia’s busiest 24/7 airport we will continue to find ways to implement new technology and upgrades that will improve the traveller experience from the road to the runway.”</p> <p>Speaking to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-advice/flights/days-of-fumbling-for-your-liquids-gels-and-laptop-at-the-airport-could-be-numbered/news-story/2a1feacccc9ceb4d91ff8592b214d6ac" target="_blank">news.com.au</a></em>, a spokeswoman for Smith’s Detection said that the initiative will continue to be tested at Melbourne Airport for as long as it was required.</p> <p>Other major and regional Australian airports can expect the technology to be put into place in the next few years.</p> <p>“We anticipate mainstream adoption in both domestic and international terminals over the next one or two years,” said the spokeswoman.</p> <p>The new smart lane technology is considered to be 50 per cent more effective than conventional lanes.</p>

International Travel

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Forbidden City facts you should know

<p>You can’t prove you have been to China until you have your photo taken outside the Forbidden City. </p> <p>Or so my tour guide tells me. </p> <p>The towering red walls with the gigantic painting of Chairman Mao are one of the most well-known buildings on the planet. </p> <p>But how much do you actually know about the Forbidden City?</p> <p>Here’s a few facts you should know before you go. </p> <p><strong>It’s huge</strong></p> <p>The Forbidden City is the world’s largest imperial palace. It covers 720,000 square metres, has more than 90 palace quarters and courtyards, 980 buildings and more than 8728 rooms. </p> <p><strong>Check the details</strong></p> <p>The more important the building – the more animals or dragons you will see on the roof ridges. </p> <p>All but one of the gates in the Forbidden City is decorated with a nine-by-nine array of gilded door-studs. Nine implies supremacy and eternity in Chinese culture. The odd one out? The East gate. </p> <p><strong>A home for emperors</strong></p> <p>The Forbidden City was home to 24 Chinese emperors. Construction began with Emperor Yongle, of the Ming Dynasty in 1406. More than 1 million laborers worked to complete the complex which was finished in 1420. Fourteen Ming dynasty rulers held power here until the Manchus took possession in 1644. The Manchus then left the building and moved the capital to Shenyang for a few months.</p> <p>The Qing Dynasty returned power to Beijing and the Forbidden City, and 10 Qing emperors ruled from here until the last in 1912, when the Republic of China was created. </p> <p><strong>A home for his mistresses</strong></p> <p>At the back of the Forbidden City you will find the homes of the concubines. Only the empress was allowed to spend a full night with the emperor. The other mistresses were given just two hours. </p> <p><strong>Useful huge pots </strong></p> <p>Huge metal pots can be seen scattered around the Forbidden City. These were kept full with water and were used to put out fires. </p> <p><strong>The nine-dragon screen</strong></p> <p>The nine-dragon screen was nearly an eight-dragon screen. Erected in 1771 the screen is 3.5 metres tall and 29.4 metres long. It has made from 270 multi-coloured glass tiles. Nine clawed dragons can be seen on a blue and green background. But the third dragon from the left is a different colour to all the others. According to the legend the dragon was not ready when the screen was meant to be unveiled. The emperor had told the craftsmen they would be beheaded if it was not ready in time. A carpenter made a wooden dragon and glued it into place. No one lost their heads. </p> <p><strong>Jade Hill </strong></p> <p>Jade Hill, found in the Hall of Happy Longevity, is the largest piece of carved jade in China. Made from a single six-tonne boulder it stands at 2.24 metres high and is almost a metre wide. It took 1000 people and 1000 horses three years to haul the boulder from Xinjiang Province and more than a year to carve. </p> <p>It depicts the story of the “Days of Harnessing Floods” or the taming of the Yellow River flood waters by Yu the Great in the 21st century BC.</p> <p><strong>Powerful women</strong></p> <p>Ruthless and brilliant, Empress Dowager Cici effectively ruled China from the Forbidden City. She was born November 29, 1835 and died November 15, 1908. Cici was the consort of the Xianfeng emperor (1850–61), mother of the Tongzhi emperor (1861–75) and adoptive mother of the Guangxu emperor (1875–1908). </p> <p>Cici was one of Xianfeng’s lowest concubines, but she bore his only son. When the emperor died, power transferred to the six-year-old boy. State business was put in the hands of a regency council of eight elder officials. However, Cici and Xianfeng’s former senior consort, Ci’an, orchestrated a coup with Gong Qinwang (Prince Gong), the former emperor’s brother. The regency was transferred to Cici and Ci’an. Gong became the prince counsellor. </p> <p>The regency was terminated in 1873 when the Tongzhi came of age. He died two years later. </p> <p>Cici then arranged to adopt her three-year-old nephew, Zaitian (Ci’an’s son), and have him named the new heir. Ci’an and Cici acted as regents until Ci’an’s death in 1881. Cici then became the sole holder of the office. </p> <p>If you are going to the Forbidden City, we highly recommend reading more about this fascinating woman. </p> <p><strong>You can’t see it all</strong></p> <p>Up to 40 per cent of the Forbidden City is off-limits to the public. </p> <p><em>Written by Alison Godfrey. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/forbidden-city-facts-you-should-know-before-you-go/">MyDiscoveries</a></span>. </em></p>

International Travel

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What’s not to love about America’s music cities

<p>Are your vagabond shoes longing to stray? Are your boots scooting? Or have you opted instead for a blue suede variety?</p> <p>Regardless of how they are currently clad, traipsing the music trail in the States is a leap your feet should definitely make once in their lifetime.</p> <p>Step into cities such as Nashville and New Orleans, where the twang of country guitar or sweet serenade of saxophones will be the soundtrack to your holiday. Music will become the perfect tool for prying open decades of fascinating and turbulent history, hitting the nail on the head when it comes to capturing the heart and soul of a region.</p> <p>Those feet of yours will soon be tapping along.</p> <p><strong>All that Jazz – New Orleans</strong></p> <p>Legend has it that jazz was born in New Orleans’ Congo Square, emerging from west African slave rhythms. Congo Square is now dedicated to top-dog trumpeter, Louis Armstrong. On the banks of the Mississippi, the brassy, sultry vibes of New Orleans seduce jazz novices and know-it-alls alike. Bourbon Street is probably the best-known hub of NOLA’s distinctly gritty jazz sound, but for more authentic flavours, stop in at Frenchmen Street and Royal Street.</p> <p><strong>Two types of music: Country and western – Nashville</strong></p> <p>Dolly Parton’s big break, at the tender age of 10, was her first encore at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, where she encountered Johnny Cash. Somewhat of a country music institution, the Opry used to be a radio broadcast hosted at the Ryman Auditorium. It is now a weekly live concert, earning Nashville its fame as the “Music City”.</p> <p>You can still experience the southern country charm, rhinestones and all, at the Ryman Auditorium and other honky-tonk hotspots such as The District. Stop in at the Country Music Hall of Fame.</p> <p><strong>It’s got to be – New York</strong></p> <p>Unique New York is made thus by its diversity. Nowhere else in America is there a broader spectrum of genres in so concentrated a space as in this famously arty city. Disco and punk began on its streets. Hip-hop arose from 1970s block parties in Harlem and the Bronx. From musicals on Broadway to jazz bands in clubs, New York is a great host to concerts and shows. Everyone who is anyone plays at the renowned venues of Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, the Apollo Theatre and the Lincoln Centre. On a side note (pun intended), you can hear the dulcet tones of a conch shell played by staff at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection of musical instruments.</p> <p><strong>Smells like teen spirit – Seattle</strong></p> <p>In the 1990s, grunge crashed on to the music scene out of Seattle. Far from sleepy, this seaside town boasts associations with Pearl Jam and Nirvana, who cut their first demo in a studio on Seattle’s Leary Way. The Washington city was also called home by Jimi Hendrix. At the interactive Museum of Pop Culture, you can trawl through the Hendrix gallery. Worthwhile venues include Moore Theatre and Comet Tavern.</p> <p><strong>The land of the delta blues – Memphis</strong></p> <p>Memphis is all about the rock ‘n’ roll. It is said that Sun Studios accidentally recorded the first rock ‘n’ roll song in 1951 when equipment distorted the sound of Ike Turner’s Rocket 88. Visit Sun Studios, Stax Museum, Gibson Guitar Factory and the legendary B.B. King’s Restaurant and Blues Club on Beale Street.</p> <p>Alongside B.B. King, Memphis’ most famous patron is a different King altogether. You can visit Elvis Presley’s Graceland mansion, where he lived his final years, for a tour. </p> <p><em>Written by Sophie Cullen. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/what-s-not-to-love-about-america-s-music-cities/">MyDiscoveries</a></span>. </em></p>

International Travel

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Fall in love with incredible India

<p>India can be daunting for travellers. With visas to organise, fear of “Delhi belly” and constant crowds. </p> <p>But it doesn’t have to be difficult.</p> <p>Product Coordinator Louise Shuhin spent one week in India in June on a <em>MyDiscoveries</em> tour.</p> <p>The first step was to organise a visa and Ms Shuhin says it was surprisingly easy. Tourists are allowed a visa for India for up to 60 days.</p> <p>“We applied for our Indian visa online,” Ms Shuhin says.</p> <p>“You will need to include a small photo and upload an image of your passport, but it is a simple and easy process that can be done at home with access to a printer.”</p> <p>The tour offered premium hotels and transport, so all Ms Shuhin had to worry about was soaking up the Indian atmosphere.</p> <p>The Taj Mahal in Agra was the highlight for everyone on the tour, she says. The famous white building was designed by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife. He planned to build a black version of the Taj Mahal across the river, a mirror image of the stunning white version we all know, but he died before it could be completed.</p> <p>“The Taj Mahal should be a place that every person visit before they die,” Ms Shuhin says.</p> <p>“As you approach the Taj Mahal you get the feeling that the building is coming towards you and it becomes bigger and bigger.</p> <p>“Once up close you gain an appreciation for Emperor Shah Jahan’s attention to detail – honouring his 22 years of marriage by spending 22 years to complete the mausoleum. You are able to walk up the 22 steps and enter the mausoleum to view Mumtaz Mahal’s grave and pay respects.”</p> <p>The mausoleum is decorated in marble and stunning frescos. Even the gates are a work of love and art. Visitors can also tour the “guest house” and view the foundations of the Back Taj which was intended as Shah Jahan’s Mausoleum.</p> <p>Ms Shuhin’s tour also took her to the Amber Fort in Jaipur. The magnificent fort comprises an extensive palace complex, built from pale yellow and pink sandstone, and white marble.</p> <p>“Once inside we were able to explore the palace, which has key features such as Ganesh Gate, and Mirror Palace displaying the most stunning, fresco and mirror mosaics and coloured glasses,” Ms Shuhin says.</p> <p>Tourists are given the option of taking an elephant ride or a Jeep tour. Ms Shuhin says the Amber Fort was swarming with street vendors selling everything from pens to bags and umbrellas. The tour guide made her feel comfortable to navigate through the crowd and make her way to the fort.</p> <p>Shopping tours offered the chance to learn how precious gems such as ruby and emerald are polished and to learn how marble is crafted, carved and created.</p> <p>India, Ms Shuhin says, is somewhere everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. It’s much less daunting on an organised tour. </p> <p><em>Written by Alison Godfrey. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/my-discoveries-india-tour-review-taj-mahal-a-highlight/">MyDiscoveries</a></span>. </em></p>

International Travel

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6 things you need to see in Beijing

<p>From the moment you step off the plane, Beijing is frantic. You will quickly learn that traffic lights mean nothing, lines move fast, and Beijing is a city of many layers. </p> <p>From the Great Wall to Peking Duck, these are the things you can’t miss in Beijing China. </p> <p><strong>1. The Great Wall of China</strong></p> <p>From Beijing, access to the Great Wall of China is easy. A tour guide will pick you up from your hotel and drive north out of the city. That first glimpse of the wall on the ridge of the mountain is something special. In the spring, the hills are dusted pink with cherry blossoms. </p> <p>The Great Wall is divided into sections marked by watchtowers. Some sections of the wall can be quite steep. Wear sturdy shoes. You can walk easy sections of the wall or choose more challenging routes. Ask your tour guide which section would be best suited for you. We found most tour guides are incredibly helpful and knowledgeable. </p> <p>The best time to go is in the early morning so you beat the crowds. It is possible to snap a photo such as the one above before lunchtime, even on popular sections of the wall. Plan your trip well to ensure it doesn’t coincide with China’s public holidays. We also advise touring the Great Wall on a weekday. </p> <p>Many of the “tourist” sections of the wall have access via a chairlift. That way you don’t have to hike up or down the mountain. </p> <p>Some parts of the wall have been restored, others have been left to the ravages of time. </p> <p><strong>2. The Summer Palace</strong></p> <p>Beijing’s Summer Palace is huge. You will need at least half a day to explore here. Take good shoes. </p> <p>The man-made Kunming lake takes up about 75 per cent of the park. You can cross it by boat to save time. The famous Marble Boat is at the northern edge of the lake and the Moon Gate is best seen by boat. </p> <p>The Summer Palace has actually been destroyed twice – in 1860 by the Angle French Allied Forces and in 1900 by the Allied Forces of the Eight Powers. The Qing Dynasty rebuilt the palace in 1912 as one of their final acts. </p> <p>Head to the Court area near the East Palace gate to see the buildings where Empress Dowager Cixi and Emperor Guangxu stayed and conducted government business. The Garden of Virtue and Harmony contains a three-story theatre with a wooden stage. This is where the Beijing Opera would perform for the Empress. </p> <p><strong>3. The Forbidden City </strong></p> <p>Tour guides will tell you that you can’t prove you have been in China until you have had your photo taken outside the Forbidden City. </p> <p>The towering red walls with the gigantic painting of Chairman Mao are one of the most well-known buildings on the planet. </p> <p>The Forbidden City covers 720,000 square metres, has more than 90 palace quarters and courtyards, 980 buildings and more than 8,728 rooms. It has been home to 24 Chinese emperors until 1912, when the Republic of China was created. </p> <p><strong>4. Temple of Heaven</strong></p> <p>China’s Temple of Heaven was a place for the emperors to worship. It was built in 1420, the 18th year of the reign of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Ming Emperor Jiajing enlarged the building in his reign. In 1988 China opened the temple as a public park. </p> <p>A trip here won’t take too long. The temple of heaven has two encircling walls. The most magnificent buildings lie at the south and north ends of the middle axis. This park is also a local hangout. Expect to see dozens of groups of men and families sitting around and playing games. Many also bring their pet birds with them. 5</p> <p><strong>5. The Hutongs</strong></p> <p>Beijing’s alleyways are known as the hutongs. Inside these old laneways you will find hotels, restaurants and homes. If you love photography – you will love the hutongs. Good tour guides can take you to the best hutong restaurants. Many even have dumpling making courses. </p> <p><strong>6. Peking Duck </strong></p> <p>While not technically a place – you can’t go to China without trying Peking Duck. Seek out a Dadong Duck for an experience like no other. You can order crispy skinned duck dishes in English. If you order the set menu, expect fairy floss on a stick for dessert. </p> <p><em>Written by Alison Godfrey. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/6-things-you-need-to-see-in-beijing-china/">My Discoveries</a></span>. </em></p>

International Travel

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The 5 things you need to do when visiting Morocco

<p>From the twisting, bustling alleyways of the Medina to the fresh sweet taste of mint tea, Morocco is a wonderful assault on the senses. These are the five things you must do in this incredible country. </p> <p><strong>1. Shopping</strong></p> <p>If you love delicate glass tea sets, intricately-woven carpets and expertly-made leather handbags, you will love shopping in Morocco.</p> <p>Sharpen your bargaining skills and head to the markets for the most authentic experience. The Souk Market in Marrakech is the one most often featured in films. Wander through the vast twisting alleys and you will find anything your heart desires from spices and perfumes to leather goods and souvenirs. Be prepared. This is a wonderful assault on the senses. Take good shoes, a bottle of water and a secure bag.</p> <p>Many Morocco tours also take some time to visit a tannery. Here you can see exactly how leather goods are made. To counter what may be an overpowering smell, the owners hand out sprigs of mint. Hold one to your nose as you listen to the workers detail the process of tanning a hide and turning it into luxury goods.</p> <p>Make sure you also seek out a carpet-maker, particularly in Fez. Colourful threads hang from the walls and the intricate Moroccan carpets are woven on-site.</p> <p>Moroccan argan oil is world-famous for making hair shine and heal. The best place to buy it is in Marrakesh. Speak with your tour operator to make sure the oil you find is authentic.</p> <p><strong>2. Ancient ruins</strong></p> <p>The empire of Rome once stretched all the way to Morocco. The best-preserved example of the ancient Roman ruins can be found at Volubilis, between Rabat and Fez.</p> <p>Volubilis was founded in the 3rd Century BC and was once the capital of the kingdom of Mauretania. The Romans saw this isolated city as a strategic outpost for their empire. It grew into a vast city under their occupation from the 1st century AD. Volubilis lies on a fertile plain surrounded by wheat fields. The city’s wealth came from olive production. Grand residences were decorated with beautiful mosaic tiles, marble and bronze. It once had terraced gardens and a triumphal arch. The 42-hectare site is UNESCO-listed.</p> <p>“It is one of the richest sites of this period in North Africa, not only for its ruins but also for the great wealth of its epigraphic evidence,” UNESCO says.</p> <p>Local tribes overtook the city in 285AD. Rome never re-took it.</p> <p><strong>3. Food</strong></p> <p>Moroccan food is influenced by Berber, Jewish, Arab and French cultures. The result? It is delicious.</p> <p>Morocco’s most famous dish, couscous, is made from small steamed balls of crushed duram wheat semolina. The word couscous is derived from the Arabic word Kaskasa which means “to pound small”. In Morocco, the dish is often called seksu or kesksu. It’s served with chicken, lamb or mutton and vegetables cooked in a spicy broth or stew.</p> <p>When in Morocco, you need to try the sweet version, called Stouff – steamed couscous served with almonds, cinnamon and sugar.</p> <p>Tagine is another must-try Moroccan dish. Tagine is served everywhere, from roadside stalls to fancy restaurants. This delicious meat stew is slow-cooked inside a cone-shaped clay pot.</p> <p>Khobz, a crusty bread baked in communal wood-fired ovens is another delicious Moroccan staple. You can buy it fresh from street vendors all over Morocco.</p> <p>The one Moroccan staple you can expect to have every day is mint tea. Simple, fresh leaves steeped in water and served in glass teacups. It’s a ritual you will take home with you. No more mint teabags. Fresh is the way to go.</p> <p><strong>4. Fez</strong></p> <p>Fez is Morocco’s oldest imperial city. Less crowded than Marrakesh, Fez is known as a centre for traditional art and artisans. Fez’s old town, or Medina, is UNESCO World Heritage listed. It’s a maze of narrow streets, bustling souks and shopfronts selling traditional food and crafts.</p> <p>Fez is home to the world’s oldest university – the University of Al Quaraouiyine, founded in 859. The mosque and university are off-limits to tourists. But you can visit the public library, also one of the oldest in the world.</p> <p>If you love Moroccan tiles, head to Medersa Bou Inania. This building was once a theological college. It is the only religious building in Fez open to non-Muslims. Inside you will find breathtaking mosaics, fine lattice screens and incredible stucco-work.</p> <p>Gardeners should check out Jnan Sbil Gardens, just outside the Medina walls. Sultan Moulay Hassan donated the gardens to the people in the 19th century. Wander along the pathways and breathe in the scent of citrus and eucalyptus.</p> <p><strong>5. Hammam scrubs</strong></p> <p>Just as you need to do Turkish baths in Turkey, in Morocco, you need to do a hamman scrub.</p> <p>The traditional bathhouse is quite the experience. The first step is to steam and soak. Guests split off by gender, remove their clothes and head to the steam rooms. Take some water from the buckets inside the room and pour it over your head. Or soak in wonderful pools like the one above. </p> <p>Next comes the scrub. The masseuse will scrub every inch of your body, delighting in the removal of dead skin cells. Once you’ve been scrubbed, head back to the steam room to relax. Our top tip – make sure you pay to have your own scrubbing mat, otherwise, they will recycle. </p> <p>You will never view a massage in the same way again.</p> <p><em>Written by Alison Godfrey. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/5-things-you-must-do-in-morocco/">My Discoveries</a></span>. </em></p>

International Travel

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Why you need to go to Switzerland

<p>Wendy Fernandes is a regular visitor to Switzerland. She has been to the European nation at least two or three times a year for the past 12 years.</p> <p>“I go primarily to visit family, but I also love the country because you feel so safe travelling there, everything is clean and well organised, and it’s breathtakingly beautiful,” Wendy says.</p> <p>Switzerland is a small nation, at 41,277 square kilometres it would fit in New South Wales 10 times. But don’t be fooled by its size. It is incredibly diverse.</p> <p>“Visiting Switzerland is like experiencing three European countries in one as the German-speaking, French-speaking and Italian-speaking areas all have their own unique ambience,” Wendy says.</p> <p>Lucerne is one of Wendy’s favourite cities. This compact city sits on the shores of Lake Lucerne and is known for its medieval architecture. It’s here you will find the lion monument carved into a rock and the Swiss Transport Museum.</p> <p>“The lake is beautiful with picture box wooden pedestrian bridges crossing it,” Wendy says. “You can do boat trips on the lake, it has a pedestrian-only central shopping street and lots of cafes and restaurants.”</p> <p>In Zurich, you’ll find an attractive old town mingled with modern shopping streets. Daily guided walks (in English) leave from the train station in the centre of town.</p> <p>Zermatt is in the French-speaking part of the country and is home to the dramatic Matterhorn mountain.</p> <p>“It’s a year-round resort and thanks to the glacier one can ski for 8 months,” Wendy says.</p> <p>“In the summer there are wonderful walks to suit all abilities with guides available for the more challenging hikes. The town centre is full of places to stay and eat and has a vibrant atmosphere.”</p> <p>If you’re going to Zermatt, Wendy says you should walk across the Charles Kuonen bridge. At 494m it is the longest in the world.</p> <p>What you will really love, Wendy says, is the trains. Swiss trains are known for their efficiency and for the stunning scenery of the countryside they pass through. The Glacier Express is perhaps the most famous Swiss train. It connects Zermatt and St Moritz in the centre of the Swiss Alps and glass roofs offer jaw-dropping views of the mountains.</p> <p>The Chocolate train links Montreux and Broc-Chocolat and the Golden Pass train runs from Luzern to Interlaken and Montreux.</p> <p>“Travelling is easy and public transport operates 352 days a year, runs like clockwork and covers the whole country,” Wendy says.</p> <p>“When buying a ticket at the station they will give you a print out of times/platform numbers and any changes required.</p> <p>“You can buy various train/boat/bus passes such as the Swiss Travel Pass for 3, 4, 8 or 15 days. If you are visiting for longer the Half Fare card on the trains is valid for 30 days.”</p> <p>If you are travelling by car and using the motorways you need to buy and display a Vignette for CHF 40.</p> <p>Australians travelling to Switzerland will appreciate the excellent coffee. Swiss food is wholesome, always homemade and nourishing.</p> <p>“Try Fondue (bread cubes dipped in hot cheese), Alpermagronen (a bake of cheese and potatoes served with apple puree), Bircher muesli (a breakfast dish of oats soaked overnight and then mixed with forest fruits, yogurt and cream), Raclette ( a type of cheese heated to melting point and then dripped over potatoes and pickles) and Rosti which is almost the national dish being potatoes thinly grated and then pan-fried in butter until crisp and golden,” Wendy says.</p> <p>“Wash any of the above down with white wine (which the Swiss keep to themselves) or fresh apple juice.”</p> <p>What more could you ask for? No wonder she keeps coming back.</p> <p>Here are Wendy’s quick tips for Switzerland must-sees:</p> <ul> <li>The large lakes – Geneva, Constance, Lucern, Zurich, Neuchatel and Lugano to name but a few.</li> <li>Mountains – Matterhorn, Pilatus, Rigi or Jungfrau.</li> <li>Rhine Falls at Schaffhausen.</li> <li>Interlaken for chocolate-box views, walks and mountain flowers.</li> <li>Parade of the cows dressed in flowers as they are brought down from the Alpine Pastures in October.</li> <li>Fireworks and bonfire display to mark Swiss National Day on August 1.</li> <li>Sunday is still a day of rest in Switzerland. Shops are closed, and no one hangs out washing or mows their lawn. Trains, boats and buses run as usual.</li> </ul> <p><em>Written by Alison Godfrey. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/switzerland-travel-activities/">My Discoveries</a></span>. </em></p>

International Travel

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The visa change coming to Australia

<p>The Government have revealed that there will soon be important changes to the rules around backpacker and working holiday visas.</p> <p>Backpackers will soon be able to triple the length of their stay in Australia if they do extra agricultural work and they will no longer need to leave their job every six months.</p> <p>The age limit for working holiday visas will be increased to 35 for people from some countries, while Pacific Islanders will be encouraged to remain in the country for three months if they undergo seasonal work.</p> <p>A rule that previously forced some backpackers to work in northern Australia will also be scrapped, allowing them to instead work in a wider range of regions throughout the country.</p> <p>Prime Minister Scott Morrison flagged the changes as he started a bus tour in Queensland yesterday.</p> <p>Mr Morrison also promised a workforce test to ensure Australians get the first chance at claiming a job.</p> <p>Speaking to the <a href="https://www.couriermail.com.au/"><strong><em style="font-weight: inherit;"><u>Courier Mail</u></em></strong></a>, he said: “Australians filling Australian jobs is my number one priority, but when this isn’t possible we need to ensure our farmers aren’t left high and dry with rotting crops, especially in the strawberry industry.”</p> <p>An estimated 419,000 backpackers visited Australia last year, spending $920 million in regional areas.</p> <p>The changes follow the Nationals failure to deliver a promised agricultural visa, and an attempt to force jobless Australians to pick fruit.</p> <p>Last month at the National Farmers’ Federation 2018 National Congress, Mr Morrison defended the idea of an agricultural visa.</p> <p>“We will work to establish an agriculture visa. That is the long-term solution,” Mr Morrison said.</p> <p>What are your thoughts on the visa changes? Let us know in the comments below. </p>

International Travel

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Guess what's the biggest germ culprit at the airport?

<p>You’re all packed for your overseas holiday and you’re doing a last-minute check before catching a taxi to the airport. Passport? Check. Travel insurance? Check. Hand sanitiser? Wait, what?</p> <p><strong>Just one more thing to remember</strong></p> <p>As if packing for a holiday is not stressful enough, now you have to make sure you don’t forget the hand sanitiser when you’re heading to the airport for your overseas trip.</p> <p>Here’s why.</p> <p>According to a new study published in the <span><em><a href="https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/s12879-018-3150-5">BMC Infectious Diseases</a></em></span> journal by experts from the University of Nottingham in the UK and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, the biggest culprit for spreading germs in airports is the plastic tray where you place your personal items as you pass through security checks.</p> <p>Yes, you read that right.</p> <p>Your phone, wallet, keys, laptop, jacket and various other accoutrements have to share a snug, germ-filled receptacle.</p> <p>The team came to this conclusion after swabbing different surfaces at Helsinki-Vantaa airport in Helsinki, Finland, during the winter of 2016.</p> <p>The most common virus detected in the study was the rhinovirus, the cause of the common cold.</p> <p>There were also traces of the Influenza A virus.</p> <p>Other germ-filled culprits include shop payment terminals, staircase rails, passport checking counters, children’s play areas and even in the air.</p> <p>One of the study’s authors advises that “people can help minimise contagion by hygienic hand washing and coughing into a handkerchief, tissue or sleeve at all times but especially in public places.”</p> <p>Or you can keep a travel-size bottle of hand sanitiser handy and clean your hands every time you touch common surfaces.</p> <p>Just remember, if you’re bringing a bottle in your carry-on luggage, make sure you adhere to the rules on liquids and gels – the maximum size for each container is 100ml.</p> <p><em>Written by Siti Rohani. This article first appeared in <span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/flu/guess-whats-biggest-germ-culprit-airport">Reader’s Digest</a></span>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <span><a href="https://www.isubscribe.com.au/Readers-Digest-Magazine-Subscription.cfm">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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The big change just announced for Australian passport holders

<p>Australian passports holders planning a trip to the UK can expect for their journey to become a lot less stressful.</p> <p>On Tuesday, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond revealed that Aussie travellers will be given permission to use electronic passport gates at all UK airports.</p> <p>While making a UK Budget speech, he said: “We’ll open the use of e-passport gates at Heathrow and other airports, currently only available to EEA nationals to include visitors from the US, <span style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit !important;">Canada</span>, <span style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit !important;">New Zealand</span>, Australia and <span style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit !important;">Japan</span>.”</p> <p>Previously, only EU citizens were given the privilege of using the electronic passport gates but in the lead-up to Brexit, the British government is changing its border policy for non-EU travellers.</p> <p>The electronic passport, also known as the ePassport, refers to an embedded electronic microprocessor chip used to authenticate the passport holder’s identity.</p> <p>Reportedly the privilege will be available to the five countries in the middle of 2019.</p> <p>Chief executive of Airlines UK, Tim Alderslade, says he “welcomes the move”.</p> <p>“As passenger numbers continue to rise, UK Border Force must be adequately resourced and adopt new approaches in order to prevent a repeat of last summer, where lengthy border queues were experienced at a number of UK airports,” he told <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/news/108205257/new-zealanders-granted-right-to-fasttrack-at-uk-airports"><em style="font-weight: inherit;">Stuff</em></a>.</p> <p>“This announcement is a welcome step in the right direction, enabling millions more travellers to be processed more quickly.”</p> <p>There are currently 250 e-passport gates at 22 air and rail ports across the UK.</p> <p>Are you planning a trip to the UK? Let us know in the comments below. </p>

International Travel

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When Harry met Harry

<p>It was a case of “When Harry Met Harry” when Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s visit to New Zealand kicked off with an adorable exchange yesterday.  </p> <p>In the crowd, waiting for a glimpse of the royal couple who were visiting Pukeahu National War Memorial in Wellington to lay wreaths, was a ginger-haired seven-year-old holding up a sign painted in bright green, which read, “Hi Harry, I'm Harry.”</p> <p>There was more than a passing resemblance as the Duke of Sussex stopped to greet young Harry who was sporting a vibrant blue bow tie at the front of the reported 5000-strong crowd gathered behind barricades. According to the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6325731/Best-dressed-man-moment-Prince-Harry-meets-seven-year-old-bow-tie-wearing-doppelganger.html" target="_blank">Daily Mail</a>, the Prince went as far as to say that the boy was the “best dressed man here".</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" width="698" height="573" scrolling="no" id="molvideoplayer" title="MailOnline Embed Player" src="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/embed/video/1791640.html"></iframe></p> <p>The little Harry told the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/prince-harry-meets-mini-me-harry" target="_blank">Otago Daily Times</a>  that the Prince noted they had the same colour hair and praised his bow tie.</p> <p>“He said, ‘I like your bow tie and you're a redhead too.’ He asked if I painted the sign and how old I was,” he said.</p> <p>Nicola Smith, Harry’s mum, said that the 34-year-old royal was “really chatty to us and spent time speaking to us,” and that her love of the Royals had “rubbed off” on her son.</p> <p>When asked by the publication if it had been worth the journey to Wellington from the Kapiti Coast for a chance to see the royals, the little Harry was unequivocal, saying "Yup, definitely.”</p>

International Travel

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The surprise city revealed as the world’s most visited

<p>The large European cities such as Rome, Paris and London might initially spring to mind.</p> <p>Or maybe iconic silver-screen exposed American cities such as New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.</p> <p>Some may even think of Asia and the Middle East with popular tourist destinations of Beijing, Tokyo and Dubai.</p> <p>Travellers are constantly searching for the newest place of exploration and riveting experiences submerged in culture.</p> <p>But surprisingly, the Thai capital, Bangkok, is the world’s most visited city for the third year in a row, according to the annual <em><a href="https://newsroom.mastercard.com/press-releases/big-cities-big-business-bangkok-london-and-paris-lead-the-way-in-mastercards-2018-global-destination-cities-index/">Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index</a></em>, pushing London and Paris down the leader board.</p> <p>Mastercard’s executive vice president for Global Cities, Miguel Gamino Jr, told <span><em><a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexandratalty/2018/09/25/bangkok-is-named-most-visited-city-in-the-world-again/#16710fab4071">Forbes</a></em></span>, “London, Bangkok and the other top destinations are all so different yet have one thing in common: they’ve figured out how to capture the imaginations – and dollars – of visitors.”</p> <p>Bangkok is a quarter of the size of New York City, and has never hosted the Olympic Games but, despite this, attracted over 20.05 million international tourists in 2017. However, this is expected to increase further by 9.06% by the end of 2018.</p> <p>Gamino Jr admitted to<span><a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexandratalty/2018/09/25/bangkok-is-named-most-visited-city-in-the-world-again/#16710fab4071"> <em>Forbes</em></a></span>, “Without a doubt, travellers are a critical driver of economic activity in these destination cities.”</p> <p>Mastercard’s process of determining the most visited city considers both leisure and business travellers as well as visitor volume and spending for each of the 162 largest cities.</p> <p>Gamino Jr added, “They’re [tourists] spending on everything from hotels and taxis to restaurants and spas to clothes and other goods.”</p> <p>The city of Dubai was the highest ranked for international visitor spending with a whopping total of $41.9 billion spent in 2017 according to the <em><a href="https://newsroom.mastercard.com/press-releases/big-cities-big-business-bangkok-london-and-paris-lead-the-way-in-mastercards-2018-global-destination-cities-index/">Mastercard Index</a></em>.</p> <p>Dubai was closely followed by Saudi Arabia’s new arrival of the top 20 list, Mecca ($26.03 billion), London ($24.61 billion) Singapore ($24.01 billion) and Bangkok ($23.08 billion).</p> <p>New arrivals on the Top 20 list include Pattaya and Phuket, Palma de Mallorca, Mecca and the Turkish city of Antalya. Whilst major cities Prague, Vienna, Shanghai, Amsterdam and Rome fell from the list last year.</p> <p>In another surprise twist, Australia doesn’t even make the top 20 despite our world-renowned beaches, buzzing metropolises and warm desirable environment.</p> <p><strong>WORLD’S MOST VISITED CITIES IN 2017</strong></p> <ol> <li>Bangkok – 20.05 million</li> <li>London – 19.83 million</li> <li>Paris – 17.44 million</li> <li>Dubai – 15.79 million</li> <li>Singapore – 13. 91 million</li> <li>New York – 13.13 million</li> <li>Kuala Lumpur – 12.58 million</li> <li>Tokyo – 11.93 million</li> <li>Istanbul – 10.70 million</li> <li>Seoul – 9.54 million</li> <li>Antalya – 9.42 million</li> <li>Phuket – 9.29 million</li> <li>Mecca – 9.18 million</li> <li>Hong Kong – 9.03 million</li> <li>Milan – 8.81 million</li> <li>Palma de Mallorca – 8.78 million</li> <li>Barcelona –8.69 million</li> <li>Pattaya – 8.67 million</li> <li>Osaka – 8.42 million</li> <li>Bali – 8.3 million</li> </ol>

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>

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