It’s the summer school holidays here in Australia. Christmas and New Year celebrations are done for another year and it’s time for some R&R with friends and family before we get going for the 2014 work year! Yesterday I caught up with a friend from the other side of town (Melbourne). Studley Park Boathouse was a good half way point to meet. We scored a pleasant summer day to enjoy a gorgeous lunch and a glass of wine on the verandah of the cafe. Families were picnicing by the Yarra River and some were out boating enjoying their holiday time. As you can see from the photos you would never think this little spot is only 6km from Melbourne’s CBD!

Studley Park Boathouse Cafe and Restaurant

Studley Park Boathouse Cafe and Restaurant


Boats at Studley Park Boathouse

Boats at Studley Park Boathouse


The Yarra River at Studley Park Boathouse
The Yarra River at Studley Park Boathouse


Australian Bush at Studley Park Boathouse

Australian Bush at Studley Park Boathouse


A magpie enjoying a drink

A magpie enjoying a drink


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One country’s dusty backyard is another country’s dream vacation, according to Google’s 2013 year-in-review list.

Published Tuesday, the Zeitgeist charts reveal the hottest travel destinations by country.

The data is divided into two kinds of lists. The first reflects the “trending” destinations — those that show the greatest growth in searches when compared to last year — while the second shows rankings of topics with the largest total search volumes.

Google is the world’s most popular search engine, with 71% of the global search engine market share.

The roundup yielded some surprising results – Macau was the most searched destination in India this year, for example.

In Australia the top destination was Disneyland, despite the fact that the closest Magical Kingdom is an ocean away in Hong Kong.

London topped the destination searches in the United Arab Emirates, while those in the UK were planning trips to Rome and New York.

More: The world’s best city is …

Zeitgeist also analyzed the top destination wedding and honeymoon searches coming from the United States.

American couples wanted to head to the warm waters of Mexico, Bahamas and Kauai for their weddings, while New Zealand topped their honeymoon searches. Croatia rounded out the top 10 honeymoon list.

Read the full CNN story.


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As the first chills of winter are beginning to bite our toes, it’s getting difficult for the average folk to leave their beds early in the morning. For kids, winter is synonymous with snowboarding, snowball fights, sledging and Christmas, for adults it’s the perfect time to hibernate. If the thought of hitting a snow-clad peak in the dead of winter leaves you cold, why don’t you fly to Australia? Just follow the sun and explore the top 5 winter-blues busting destinations of Australia.

Why Australia?

Winter activities in AustraliaThe island of Australia, due to its unique climate, offers both cold and warm weather activities for different age groups. Australians experience cold and dry winters in the months of June, July and August.

According to the BBC weather reports, the average temperature of Australia is 46-55 degrees Fahrenheit, during winters. Thus, the mild weather prevailing in the continent makes room for a plethora of wintertime activities.

Top 5 Tourist Attractions

Whitsundays, Queensland

Whitsundays is a group of tropical islands stretching from Bowen to Laguna, over viewing the Great Barrier Reef. Tourists can explore the entire region on a luxury yacht. Book a vessel and let the wild winds inflate your sails. Kick back and relax on the chalky sands of Whitehaven Beach. Snorkel the reef and islands, witness the scenic flight of migratory birds over the islands or simply bask in the heat of winter sun.

Byron Bay, New South Wales

Byron Bay is the hotspot of senior travellers. Here, you can rediscover your inner Zen with spa, mud-baths, Reiki, meditation and yoga. What’ more? You can sign up for surfing lessons, spy humpback whales as they drift towards the northern horizon, kayak with dolphins in a hot-water pool or simply walk around Cape Byron.

Darwin, Northern Territory

While the southern part of the continent experiences chilly winter winds, Darwin enjoys a bright, sunny weather, warm temperatures and cloudless skies. Want to fall in love with Australian lifestyle? Go ahead and survey the Mindil Beach Sunset markets. Browse through 200 stalls and enjoy scrumptious tropical cuisine.

Uluru, Northern Territory

Uluru, in Northern territory is famous for the Lulur-Kata Tujatu National Park, where tourists enjoy camelback riding. Move through the red sand dunes of Uluru and witness breathtaking panorama at the sunset. Dine alfresco under the stars on a rooftop restaurant, enjoy the Sounds of Silence and unfold the mysteries of Anangu Culture.

Broome, Western Australia

A 22km-long camel ride at the sunset tempts vacationers into visiting Cable Beach in Broome. It’s a perfect holiday destination for musicians, artists, families, celebrities, youngsters and backpackers who wish to break from the hectic city life. Watch your favourite movie at the Sun Picture Theatre or dig into the glorious past of Australia at Pearl Luggers.

Things To Do

Tourists enjoy hiking, biking and horseback riding in winters because winter days are quiet, sunny and clear. Just put on your woollen jackets and walk around the park, all the while enjoying the stunning scenery.

Head to the Alpine region of Victoria or visit the lofty, snow-clad peaks in New South Wales. Participate in snowboarding, skiing and mountain climbing activities. If you’ve time, you can visit the Perisher Ski Resort with your family.

Both Perth and Melbourne host international film festival in the honour of Australian Cinema. Visit these cities to get a glimpse of famous celebrities.

If you’re bored of your boring lifestyle, simply catch a flight from UK and land in Australia. Get more information on UK flight arrivals from local tourism companies and book your flights accordingly!

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Travel Photo of the Week: The majestic Alhambra Palace

The huge Arabic fortress on the hill dominating the Spanish city of Granada – the Alhambra – is one of the world’s best-preserved Moorish palaces. Alhambra tours takes in the Alcazaba and Watch Tower dating back to the 9th Century. The Alhambra offers a great display of mosaics and examples of Muslim art. This photo sent through by a regular reader has now been set as my desktop wallpaper! I love Moorish architecture and Granada remains high on my bucket list!

The Alhambra Palace, Granada, Spain

Photo courtesy of Travel Tips Plus reader Lavinia.

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