The blog for you to GETAWAY FROM YOUR EVERYDAY!!!!!

We’ll feature up to 3 destinations each week. If you don’t want to do a package deal then have no fear because we can do most independently for you or what used to be call an ON YOUR OWN package.

Winter is right around the corner and we need to find a place that’s warmer.  Let’s check out a spot where ancient athletes started a world-wide tradition….

 

Greece

The Olympic Games began in Ancient Greece, along with democracy and the fundamentals of philosophy, science and mathematics. Indeed, Greek civilization is renowned for developing many of the West's cultural building blocks. Modern Greece is better known as a great holiday destination, rather than a centre of learning and culture. Today, the country attracts visitors by the thousands. By and large, they come for the country's simple pleasures of delicious food, wine, beautiful beaches, sunshine and quaint villages. In particular, beach lovers relish the seemingly endless lacework of coastline, and small islands stocked with scenic surprises and ancient sites.

 

 

The country exudes traditional charm, particularly on its ever-popular islands, which cling to their traditional ways despite the influx of tourists. Black-clad women still deliver vegetables to island tavernas on panniered donkeys, while bronzed, weather-beaten fishermen sit in the sun, drink thick coffee, and play dominoes or backgammon. The tourist infrastructure has intruded in many respects, but the timeless aspect of whitewashed buildings clustered on hillsides has been retained.

 

 

The myriad islands in the Aegean Sea are easily accessible from Piraeus, Athens' historic harbor. Many of the larger islands also have airports with connections to Athens or seasonally with major European cities. On the mainland, the capital, Athens, is sprawling, overcrowded and polluted. Nevertheless, it enthralls visitors. Thessaloniki in the north is vibrant and modern, with a Byzantine flavour. Athens is dominated by its major landmark, the Parthenon, but the remains of other Classical Greek wonders are found mainly on the Peloponnese Peninsula.

 

All in all, Greece warms visitors with its sun and hospitality.

Key Facts

Language: Greek is the national language, but English is widely spoken.

Currency: The official currency is the Euro (EUR), which is divided into 100 cents. Banks and bureaux de change are widely available and major credit cards are accepted. ATMs are widespread and are generally the cheapest and most convenient method of obtaining euros.

Electricity: Electrical current is 220 volts and 50Hz. A variety of plugs are in use, including the European-style two-pin and the round three-pin.

 

Travel to Greece

Overview

Greece is easily one of the world's best destinations. From historic sightseeing to glorious beaches, visitors truly are in for a treat. Most visitors begin their trip in Athens, where Classical Greece colors the modern capital through famous structures like the Parthenon and the Acropolis. Visitors will also find many wonderful museums. Syntagma Square is the city's social, political and commercial hub.

 

From Athens, most tourists venture out to the islands. Mountainous Crete is the most popular and features sparkling beaches, spectacular green outcroppings, ancient Minoan sites, and the famous Samaria Gorge Trail.

 

Other popular island destinations include Corfu, for its mythic significance, Santorini, for its volcanic history and vibrant nightlife, and Rhodes, which is a World Heritage Site. Many history buffs head to the Peloponnese Peninsula for the region's ancient ruins and battlefields.

 

Climate in Greece

Because of its Mediterranean climate, Greece enjoys long, hot, dry summers and mild winters. Summer temperatures in Greece are tempered by the Etesian northerly wind, which blows across the Aegean Sea, and breezes called 'Meltemia'. However, mercury on the mainland regularly hits the high spots.

 

Winters are mild and wet, though rainfall is generally low in most of Greece. Rainfall is heaviest in the mountainous regions, where snow is likely and temperatures can get severe.

 

Summer (between June and August) is Greece's peak holiday season, when the heat and sunshine attract millions of beach lovers. June and September are also lovely, hot times to visit, and are slightly less crowded. Autumn is generally a pleasant time to visit Greece for travelers who prefer milder conditions. Winter falls between December and February, and sees the coldest, most variable weather. While it's the least popular time to visit, travelers looking to explore Greece's cultural and historical attractions should not be put off.

 

Health Notes

There are no specific health risks associated with travel to Greece, but visitors who plan to walk through forested areas are advised to consider vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis. Yellow fever vaccination certificates are required for those arriving from infected areas. A hepatitis A vaccination may be recommended by some doctors for extended travel in rural areas.

 

Medical facilities in Greece vary. Those in major cities are excellent but many of the islands are some distance from a decent hospital. For this reason, travellers should take along any necessary prescription medication. Food and water are safe, but those visiting for short periods should consider sticking to bottled water. UK nationals are entitled to a refund on emergency hospital treatment under a reciprocal agreement between the UK and Greece, and a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) should be taken on holiday for this purpose. Despite this, all visitors are advised to take out medical insurance.

 

Safety Notes

There is a risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks. Visitors should be vigilant in public places, including tourist sites. Also, austerity strikes have taken place in the past and have been widespread. These strikes can bring the country to a halt, with transport networks being especially hard hit. So far, strikes have inconvenienced travellers without turning violent. Still, tourists are advised to stay away from political gatherings, as there have been clashes between police and protesters.

 

Greece is otherwise a safe destination, though peak tourist season usually sees an increase in petty theft cases, particularly in crowded areas. Visitors should store valuables in hotel safes instead of carrying them. It's also advisable to conceal conspicuous wealth and make sure valuable possessions aren't easily accessible to pick-pockets. Violent crime is infrequent, but there have been incidents on some Greek islands. Lone visitors should not accept lifts from strangers.

 

Entry requirements for Americans:

US citizens must have a passport that is valid three months beyond the period of intended stay. No visa is required for a touristic stay of up to 90 days.

 

 

Here’s some tantalizing tours to see this Mediterranean nation.

Greek Touring

 

 

Best of Greece with 3Day Aegean Cruise Moderate A Summer 2019


Starting At: $ 2984.00

Consider extending your holiday beyond The Best of Greece. Set your sights on the Cyclades and cruise to the idyllic Greek Islands of Mykonos and Santorini.

 

Best of Greece with 6Day Santorini Extension Summer 2019


Starting At: $ 3650.00

The sunsets of Santorini will linger long after you've left the island's whitewashed villages that seem to tumble down the dramatic volcanic landscape.

 

Best of Greece Reverse Summer 2019


Starting At: $ 2125.00

Cast your mind back over millennia, your footprints following those of Alexander the Great, Aristotle and Plato. Explore the mighty kingdom of Ancient Greece, from the Temples of Zeus and Hera, the Parthenon and Delphi on the slopes of Mount Parnassos. Walk the Sacred Way to the 4th century Temple of Apollo and greet the gods and goddesses of Olympia.

 

Best of Greece Summer 2019


Starting At: $ 2125.00

Explore Ancient Greece, from the Temples of Zeus and Hera to the Parthenon and Delphi. Walk the Sacred Way to the 4th Temple of Apollo and greet the gods and goddesses of Olympia.

 

Athens and Aegean Moderate A Summer 2019


Starting At: $ 2054.00

Glide through the azure Aegean sea past ancient cliff-top villages and pretty seaside towns. Shades of cerulean blue, shimmering white and fuchsia line the cobbled villages of Mykonos and Santorini's Oia. Explore the ancient high city of Athens, the picturesque suburb of Plaka at the foot of the Acropolis, and wondrous ancient Ephesus.

 

Vedema, a Luxury Collection Resort, Santorini

 

Starting At: $ 1386.00

Vedema, a Luxury Collection Resort, Santorini brings an unrivaled level of luxury and style to one of the world's most beautiful islands. Here, creativity and perfection meet a world of beauty and mythology. Sleek and spectacular, with unprecedented privacy, Vedema inspires extraordinary journeys for the soul. Spacious, radiant guest rooms are filled with natural Mediterranean sunlight and feature striking sea, village or garden views.

 

9 Day Flavors of the Aegean: Greek Culinary Experience


Starting At: $ 5967.00

Eat your way through Greece on this food-focused tour that touches Athens, Santorini, and Chania. Stand amid the Acropolis' ancient monuments, dine where the locals do on Santorini and Crete, learn to cook from an expert in Chania, and more.

 

Greek Island Hopper


Starting At: $ 2359.00

10 Days, featuring: At Leisure On Santorini

 

Italy & Greece With Aegean Cruise


Starting At: $ 2740.00

16 Days, featuring: Heraklion-santorini

 

Greece & The Aegean


Starting At: $ 2360.00

15 Days, featuring: Athens

 

 

Greece: In the Footsteps of Paul the Apostle featuring a 3-night Greek Islands & Turkey cruise

 

Starting At: $ 3058.00

Retrace the missionary journey of the Apostle Paul, prolific writer of the New Testament letters. Travel through ancient cities and pastoral landscapes. Enjoy a 3-night cruise of the magical Greek Islands of Mykonos, Patmos and Santorini. Visit the ancient Roman city of Ephesus, Turkey. Discover archaeological treasures like the Acropolis in Athens and seek ancient wisdom at the ruins of Delphi. Investigate the dramatic Meteora Monasteries, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the biblical t...

 

Exploring Greece and Its Islands featuring Classical Greece, Mykonos & Santorini

 

Starting At: $ 2999.00

Discover the magnificent ruins of ancient Greece in their tranquil Mediterranean settings. This comprehensive journey explores Greece's most important ancient monuments, like the famed Temple of Zeus, archeological site of Olympia and ancient artifacts of Delphi. Explore Athens your way - choose a tour of the incredible Acropolis, or embark on a walking tour of some of the city's hidden gems. Visit a local farm in the countryside to see how olive oil and wine are produced. Learn how to cook t...

 

Greece: In the Footsteps of Paul the Apostle featuring a 3-night Greek Islands & Turkey cruise

 

Starting At: $ 2967.00

Retrace the missionary journey of the Apostle Paul, prolific writer of the New Testament letters. Travel through ancient cities and pastoral landscapes. Enjoy a 3-night cruise of the magical Greek Islands of Mykonos, Patmos and Santorini. Visit the ancient Roman city of Ephesus, Turkey. Discover archaeological treasures like the Acropolis in Athens and seek ancient wisdom at the ruins of Delphi. Investigate the dramatic Meteora Monasteries, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the biblical t...

 

However, a cruise is a great to see both the mainland and its famous islands....

Greek Island Cruising

 

 

Athens to Athens - Wind Star


Starting At: $ 7299.00
Ship: Wind Star

Wind Star is a sleek, 4-masted sailing yacht accommodating 148 guests. With four decks and a gross tonnage of 5,307, Wind Star feels like your own private yacht. Wind Star features wide open, teak decks-quite unusual for small ships. Guests will find hidden nooks for private moments giving them a feeling of being on their own private veranda.

 

Mediterranean Odyssey


Starting At: $ 7599.00
Ship: Viking Sky

Set sail on a 13-day journey through the storied ages that takes us from sunny Barcelona to the South of France and Tuscany and on to eternal Rome and the magical waterways of Venice.

 

7 Nights Mamma Mia - Athens to Athens


Starting At: $ 1730.00
Ship: Star Flyer

These are true clipper ships reflecting their proud heritage in every inch of their polished brass and gleaming brightwork. Step aboard these unique vessels and discover a new age of sail, where the traditions of the past are happily married to the comforts and amenities of the present day. Star Clipper and Star Flyer are modern cruise ships in every way, created for luxury-loving passengers who also love the traditions and romance of the legendary era of sailing ships.

 

14-DAY GREEK ISLANDS ODYSSEY


Starting At: $ 6499.00
+ 214.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Seabourn Odyssey

Aboard The Yachts of Seabourn, the world is more intimate and more enchanting. Here, you'll explore ports rarely visited by larger ships and meet people who are happy to show you around their hidden corner of the globe. With their unmatched sense of style, elegance and grace, The Yachts of Seabourn beckon you to travel beyond the bounds of the imagination. Aboard Seabourn, every desire is met promptly and with a welcoming smile. Whether it's a warm blanket and a cup of gourmet hot chocolate as you drift along the Norwegian Fjords or a relaxing neck massage poolside, you'll feel that you're a member of a very exclusive club.

 

6 Night Croatia & Greece Cruise


Starting At: $ 762.00
+ 81.76 taxes/fees
Ship: Rhapsody of The Seas

Chart a course for Caribbean thrills. Or set sail for Mediterranean marvels. From the Gulf of Mexico to the Adriatic, Rhapsody of the Seas® delves deeper and adventures further, taking you to shores that most other ships never even visit.

 

9 Night Greek Isles Cruise


Starting At: $ 1255.00
+ 83.25 taxes/fees
Ship: Jewel of the Seas

Jewel of the Seas® delivers some of the world's most sparkling destinations. Whether you're thirsting for the marvels of Mediterranean A-listers. Or craving the vibrant cultures and stunning beaches of the ABC Islands in the southern Caribbean. Discover new shores from Santorini to St. Lucia, and countless adventures in between.

 

12 Night Mediterranean Greek Isles


Starting At: $ 1598.00
+ 123.06 taxes/fees
Ship: Vision of the Seas

Collect cultures across the globe as you gain a whole new perspective on adventure onboard Vision of the Seas®. Get a taste of Cajun-Caribbean fusion with sailings from New Orleans to the Bahamas and beyond. Take some time to get up close with the masterworks of the Mediterranean or the stunning scenery of the Baltic Sea. Or discover all the colors of New England on a fall foliage escape. Wherever you're looking to explore, this is the ship that can take you there.

 

Adriatic & Aegean Medley


Starting At: $ 2409.00
+ 145.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Emerald Princess

Launched in 2007, Emerald Princess is one of the largest ships in the Princess fleet. She offers nearly 900 balcony staterooms from which to take in the colorful sunrise over the ocean, or capture a breathtaking sunset sail-in to a romantic city like Venice. Leisurely days spent onboard in the Piazza-style atrium are relaxing and entertaining, with the nearby International Café and Vines wine bar fulfilling your cravings for warm cookies, toasted paninis, and even hand rolled sushi.

 

12-Day Italy & Greek Isles from Tarragona


Starting At: $ 2679.00
+ 171.89 taxes/fees
Ship: Norwegian Star

Explore Italy and the Greek Isles on this 12-day cruise from Barcelona. Spend a glorious day in Florence taking in the historic Duomo, or "prop up" the leaning tower in nearby Pisa. While in Santorini, visit the beautiful whitewashed hilltop towns of Oia and Fira and their breathtaking views of the caldera below. And discover Kotor, a beautiful walled medieval city of twisting, pink-paved streets, markets and architecture reflecting Byzantine to Venetian influences.

 

9-Day Greek Isles from Venice


Starting At: $ 1699.00
+ 143.57 taxes/fees
Ship: Norwegian Star

Take a voyage through antiquity on this amazing cruise from Venice through the Greek Isles. Discover Kotor, a beautiful walled medieval city of twisting, pink-paved streets, markets and architecture reflecting Byzantine to Venetian influences. While in Santorini, visit the beautiful whitewashed hilltop towns of Oia and Fira and their breathtaking views of the caldera below.

 

Sailing the Greek Isles aboard the Sea Cloud


Starting At: $ 9680.00
Ship: Sea Cloud

While there are many ways to experience the Greek Isles, you'll find that exploring aboard an authentic tall ship offers an unrivaled experience and guarantees you an in-depth encounter with all its wonders. The combination of this peerless ship, and our expedition style of travel-which sends you off exploring in the company of knowledgeable and engaging companions who can illuminate all you'll see-offers you an extraordinary experience.

 

9-Day Mediterranean Legends


Starting At: $ 1499.00
+ 85.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Koningsdam

The first of Holland America Line's Pinnacle-class ships, Koningsdam combines 21st- century elegance and nautical tradition. Inspired by music, her design features fluid lines, light-filled spaces and innovative, new dining and entertainment venues-from the dazzling, two-story World Stage to Music WalkT, with Lincoln Center Stage, B.B. King's Blues Club and Billboard Onboard. Truly a destination all her own, there's much to explore on Koningsdam.

 

7 Days, Greek Isles Fantasy


Starting At: $ 2390.00
Ship: Crystal Serenity

7 Days, Greek Isles Fantasy Known quite simply as the very best cruise ship in the world, Crystal Serenity is consistently awarded the highest accolades by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler, among others.

 

 

Greek Isles Cruise


Starting At: $ 1729.00
+ 121.28 taxes/fees
Ship: Celebrity Infinity

 

Greek Isles Cruise


Starting At: $ 2579.00
+ 108.42 taxes/fees
Ship: Celebrity Constellation

 

Amalfi Coast & Greek Isles


Starting At: $ 3849.00
+ 97.57 taxes/fees
Ship: Celebrity Edge

 

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For some adventure Downunder, let’s go off the beaten path a bit and visit Australia’s largest island. Yep, Australia does have a many islands to see, and this one is its most southern.  It's the island of the devil, Tasmanian Devil that is..... hmm... I seem to remember a character is some of those old Bug's Bunny cartoons that fits that name!

 

Although it’s as large as Rhode Island, it’s very drivable and a great place to Getaway from your Everyday!

 

Tasmania

Tasmania, the southern tip of Australian territory, is an island separated from the mainland by the Bass Strait. It is a place of wild and beautiful landscapes and friendly, relaxed people, with a temperate climate, rich history and a deliciously slow pace of life. There is no hustle and bustle here, even in the cities. No traffic jams and no smog. Encircled by the Southern Ocean, Tasman Sea and Bass Strait, the air is clean, the water pure and the soil fertile.

 

More than one third of Tasmania is preserved in a network of national parks and the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

 

Although best known for its sublime landscapes and the many opportunities for bushwalking, kayaking, cycling and rafting, Tasmania - or 'Tassie' as it is affectionately known - is also celebrated for its gourmet food and wine, and some lovely arts and crafts, and the island now boasts sufficient urban sophistication to ensure a comfortable and culturally-rich visit. The island's European heritage goes back to the early 1800s, but Aboriginals first reached it about 40,000 years ago. This mixed heritage is reflected in Tasmania's culture and the locals tend to be fiercely proud and self-sufficient.

 

Key Facts

Currency: The unit of currency is the Australian Dollar (AUD), which is divided into 100 cents. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are freely available throughout the country. Banks and bureaux de change exchange most foreign currencies. Banking hours are generally 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Thursday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Friday, but some banks offer extended hours and some are open on Saturday mornings.

Electricity: Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Three-pin flat blade plugs are used but are different to those in most other countries, so an adapter is normally required.

 

Travel to Tasmania

Climate for Tasmania

Tasmania's climate is described as temperate maritime, being surrounded by sea, and rarely experiences extremes of temperature. The prevailing weather pattern is from west to east and as a result the west coast is the wettest, while the east coast is almost always warmer and milder than the rest of the state. Summer brings warm days and mild evenings from December to February, while winter can be stormy with snow on the mountain peaks between July and August. Rainfall occurs throughout the year. The weather is most stable from the end of summer to autumn (February to April).

 

Health Notes

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required by travelers over one year of age arriving within six days of having stayed overnight or longer in an infected country. No other special immunizations or medications are required for most trips to Australia; however, insect repellents are strongly advised because of the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses. Another health risk is sunburn, and visitors are advised to take precautions. Medical services are excellent, but can be expensive so travellers should ensure that they have adequate insurance. Australia has a reciprocal health agreement with the United Kingdom providing for free hospital emergency medical treatment; proof of UK residence is required.

 

Safety Notes

The crime rate in Australia is low; however, travelers should be aware that tourists could be targeted by petty criminals. Be vigilant about personal possessions and travel documents, particularly in popular tourist destinations such as along the Gold Coast. Tropical cyclones normally occur between November and April in some parts of Australia, particularly in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. There is a serious risk of bush fires in summer (November to March), especially in Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and ACT. Also during the summer months, the shallow coastal waters of northern Australia and Queensland become infested with marine stingers, commonly known as box jellyfish, whose sting is highly dangerous and can be deadly. Visitors should pay attention to signs on beaches and follow the instructions of local lifeguards to avoid injury.

 

Passport/Visa

A valid passport and a visa or ETA is required for travel to Australia. An ETA is an electronically issued and verified visa, not visible in a passport. ETAs are issued to passengers travelling for touristic or business purposes. Tourist ETAs are usually valid for three months. ETAs are obtainable online at: www.eta.immi.gov.au or through most travel agents. It is highly recommended that passports are valid six months after departure from a holiday destination.

 

Here's some touring ideas for Tasmania.

 

Tasmania

 

 

7 Day Perfect Tasmania


Starting At: $ 2595.00

The island of Tasmania is renowned for its pristine wilderness, abundant wildlife, gourmet food and wine, and friendly locals.

 

10 Day Grand Tasman


Starting At: $ 3195.00

Take in Tasmania's storied past, dramatic scenery and unique wildlife.

 

12 Day Royal Tasman


Starting At: $ 4995.00

12 Day Royal Tasman is an escorted tour including sightseeing in up to 21 locations, expert local guides and more.

 

7 Day Perfect Tasmania


Starting At: $ 2595.00

The island of Tasmania is renowned for its pristine wilderness, abundant wildlife, gourmet food and wine, and friendly locals.

 

9 Day Tasmania Expedition Cruise


Starting At: $ 5399.00

9 Day Tasmania Expedition Cruise package includes 1 night hotel, 7 night cruise, breakfast and more.

 

Also, many Australia/New Zeland cruises make Tasmania a port of call stop on their itineraries.

 

Cruise by Tasmania

 

 

Australia & New Zealand


Starting At: $ 8999.00
Ship: Viking Orion

Gain deep insight into the native and European cultures of Australia and New Zealand. Hear about Sydney's and Hobart's penal past from a descendant of Australia's first settlers. Admire the art deco glories of Napier, the Victorian treasures of Dunedin and the fragrant English gardens of Christchurch and Wellington. Enjoy the earthy sounds of the didgeridoo and the thrilling dances of the Maori. Only Viking brings you this close to the "Land Down Under."

 

6 Night Tasmania Cruise


Starting At: $ 621.00
+ 150.68 taxes/fees
Ship: Explorer of the Seas

Is it adventure you seek, or a restful retreat from life on land? Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas® is home to an array of innovations that give you whatever type of vacation you desire. Climb a rock wall that overlooks the sea, or find your adventure on the basketball court, ice-skating rink or mini-golf course. If it's zen you seek, achieve it poolside or at the relaxing VitalitySM Spa. Liven up your nights on the Royal Promenade, with parades, dancing, and duty-free shopping deals.

 

9 Night South Pacific Cruise


Starting At: $ 811.00
+ 121.93 taxes/fees
Ship: Explorer of the Seas

Is it adventure you seek, or a restful retreat from life on land? Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas® is home to an array of innovations that give you whatever type of vacation you desire. Climb a rock wall that overlooks the sea, or find your adventure on the basketball court, ice-skating rink or mini-golf course. If it's zen you seek, achieve it poolside or at the relaxing VitalitySM Spa. Liven up your nights on the Royal Promenade, with parades, dancing, and duty-free shopping deals.

 

Australia Getaway


Starting At: $ 359.00
+ 75.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Golden Princess

Escape completely on board Golden Princess, a brilliant ray of sunshine in any destination. Pamper yourself with a calming massage in the Lotus Spa® or de-stress as Serenity Stewards offer you refreshing beverages and light snacks in The Sanctuary®. Providing you with a wide array of restful venues on board, including the Piazza and Movies Under the Stars®, Golden Princess is truly a relaxed, rejuvenating retreat at sea.

 

14-Day Australia & New Zealand


Starting At: $ 1199.00
+ 310.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Noordam

Named for the Northern compass point, Noordam features museum-quality art-from 19th oils to contemporary photographs of music greats Dizzy Gillespie and B.B. King. Guests onboard can enjoy cooking shows and hands-on workshops in partnership with America's Test Kitchen. Explore the world's wonders through BBC Earth Experiences. Take yoga or Pilates in our Fitness Center. Savor the sounds of Music WalkT and the delights of our specialty restaurants. Category MM - Flash Special: Book by Sunday 12/16/2018

 

Auckland to Sydney


Starting At: $ 1069.00
+ 76.43 taxes/fees
Ship: Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria is known for her elegance and her graceful splendour. Her unique facilities are amongst the most modern you will find and yet she has a special ambience so evocative of great liners past. With luxurious marbles, woods and rich fabrics she exudes elegance and is adored by her crew and passengers alike.

 

Tasmania and Southern Australia


Starting At: $ 2719.00
+ 89.55 taxes/fees
Ship: Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth, our newest Cunarder, joined the fleet in October 2010. She relives, in modern glamour, the high society events of the 1930s and 1940s. Grace ornate rooms whose rich décor recalls the heritage of the first Cunarder to bear her name. Images and features from her predecessors, Queen Elizabeth and QE2, sit comfortably alongside her modern charm.

 

New Zealand and Tasmania


Starting At: $ 1599.00
+ 180.04 taxes/fees
Ship: Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth, our newest Cunarder, joined the fleet in October 2010. She relives, in modern glamour, the high society events of the 1930s and 1940s. Grace ornate rooms whose rich décor recalls the heritage of the first Cunarder to bear her name. Images and features from her predecessors, Queen Elizabeth and QE2, sit comfortably alongside her modern charm.

 

15-Night New Zealand & Australia Voyage


Starting At: $ 2949.00
+ 566.29 taxes/fees
Ship: Azamara Quest

Get a taste of local island life from the shores of New Zealand to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. We'll take you deeper into these remarkable lands than you ever thought possible. We've packed in restful sea days, too, because you'll want them.From our departure port of Auckland, we make sail for Bay of Islands. Both historic and heavenly, this group of 144 islands is a breathtaking start to your voyage.

 

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SPOTLIGHT CITY

Welcome to Australia's second largest city.

 

Melbourne

Australia's second-largest city, Melbourne, capital of Victoria, is the most European in style, with trams rattling through streets past historic buildings, parks and outdoor cafes. The city centre is laid out in a simple grid pattern, with wide north-south streets gently sloping down to the Yarra River, crossed by a mix of narrow lanes, and the main shopping streets such as Bourke and Collins Streets. The Central Business District is easily navigable by foot, and if a rest is needed after a session of sightseeing or shopping there are numerous pretty parks to rest in, such as the Royal Botanical Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens and Carlton Gardens. The burgundy-colored City Circle tram is free, and taking a ride is a good way to get your bearings upon arrival as well as explore the inner city.

 

Melbourne's population of over three million is made up of a variety of cultures, including Chinese, Italian, Vietnamese, Lebanese and Greek communities, which have all added their flavor to this thriving city. A fierce rivalry exists between the cities of Melbourne and Sydney, but local residents bask in the satisfying knowledge that Melbourne beats Sydney hands-down on the cultural front, noted for its wide variety of high standard performing arts, as well as its sport. The city plays host to world-renowned sporting events like the Melbourne Cup, Australian Open Tennis and Qantas Australia Grand Prix.

 

Beyond the city, within an hour's drive, there are numerous places worth visiting, including the Macedon Ranges, which is Australia's spa capital and boasts world-renowned mineral springs. The spectacular Great Ocean Road winds along the coast, passing stunning rock formations such as the Twelve Apostles. One of the most popular self-drive routes for tourists to follow is the circular Great Southern Touring Route, which includes spectacular scenery and takes in some of Victoria's most beautiful, scenic and cultural attractions.

 

Travel to Melbourne

Climate for Melbourne

Melbourne has a moderate oceanic climate and the city's weather is notoriously changeable. In the hottest months of summer, January and February, temperatures average between 58°F (14°C) and 78°F (25°C), though it can get substantially hotter. In the spring and summer months cold fronts can cause severe weather including thunderstorms, hail, heavy rain and gales. In the winter months, between June and August, temperatures average between 42°F (6°C) and 59°F (15°C). Melbourne experiences some frost and fog in winter, but snow is rare.

 

Melbourne is best visited between November and March, when it is warmer and less rainy, but some rain can be expected throughout the year.

 

Attractions in Melbourne

The second largest city in Australia, Melbourne is brimming with a wide variety of attractions to enthrall just about every kind of traveler. Whatever your taste or interest, there is bound to be something in Melbourne for you.

 

Art lovers will enjoy the National Gallery of Victoria; history buffs will relish touring the Old Melbourne Gaol; and culture vultures will love exploring the Chinese and Melbourne Museums. Those with a fear of heights should steer clear of the Eureka Tower, but thrill-seekers will be in heaven on the 88th floor of Melbourne's tallest building, which offers breath-taking panoramic views of the city. Children of all ages will love the Melbourne Zoo which boasts more than 350 different species of animals, and a day in the Royal Botanical Gardens is not to be missed.

 

Visitors keen on sightseeing will do well to purchase one of the iVenture Cards specific to Melbourne, all of which can lead to huge discounts on attractions and tours when used extensively enough. The cards come in several different categories and can be purchased online.

 

Cooks Cottage

Opening time: Open daily from 9am to 5pm (last visitor admitted at 4.45pm)

Admission: A$6.20 (adults), A$3.20 (children aged 5 - 15). Concessions are available.

This cottage was originally built in the village of Great Ayton in Yorkshire, England, in 1755, by James and Grace Cook, the parents of Captain James Cook. When the cottage was offered for sale in 1933 it was bought by a prominent Melbourne businessman, Sir Russell Grimwade. He arranged for it to be taken apart brick by brick and transported via ship and train to Melbourne. In early 1934 the cottage was rebuilt on its present site in Fitzroy Gardens, East Melbourne. Even the ivy that adorns the cottage was cut from the original plants in England. Today it provides visitors with the opportunity to glimpse what life was like in 18th-century England, a slightly surreal experience in modern Australia. The historic building also provides audio-visual exhibitions about Captain Cook's life and adventures.

Getting there: Tram 48 or 75 from Flinders Street or Swanson Street to stop 9 on Wellington Parade; or City Circle Tram to Spring Street

Address: Fitzroy Gardens, Wellington Parade Street

 

Yarra River

A visit to Melbourne would not be complete without a good look at its main river system, the Yarra River. Often the subject of jokes due to its brownish colour, it is actually not dirty, just muddy. The Yarra has become the focus of much development in the central business district, with many new buildings, walks and parks having been created along its banks in recent years, including the relatively new Riverside Park. For the best view of the Yarra River walk to Princes Bridge, St Kilda Road, or take a cruise along the river from Princes Walk (below Princes Bridge).

 

Otherwise, simply enjoy a stroll or a picnic on the riverbank in one of the public parks.

Website: www.yarrariver.info

 

Old Melbourne Gaol

Opening time: Open daily, from 9.30am to 5pm. Closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day.

Admission: A$25 (adults), A$13.50 (children aged 5 - 15). Concessions are available.

Victoria's oldest surviving remand prison gives visitors a chilling insight into prison life in a model 19th-century gaol. Behind the thick and forbidding walls Ned Kelly, the infamous bushranger, was one of 135 men and women who were hanged on the gaol's scaffold. Visitors can view the Hangman's Box, the Particulars of Execution book, and other exhibits relating to this grim period of Victoria's history, as well as the death masks used in the study of phrenology to predict criminal behaviour. The Women in Prison exhibition reveals the fascinating stories of the crimes committed by the female inmates. There are free performances every Saturday of The Real Ned Kelly Story- Such is Life, and night performances on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday with hangman 'Michael Gately' as he recounts stories of the gaol by candlelight (not for the faint hearted or children under 12 years of age).

Getting there: City Circle Tram No. 24, Stop No. 7 or train to Melbourne Central Station (2 min walk)

Address: Russell Street (between Victoria and La Trobe Street)

Telephone: (0)3 8663 7228

Website: www.oldmelbournegaol.com.au

 

Dandenong Ranges National Park

The famous lyre bird, which has the ability to mimic any other bird, is the most important inhabitant of the Dandenong Ranges National Park, just 25 miles (40km) from Melbourne via Burwood Highway or Canterbury

 

Road. The park, covering 3,215 hectares, plays an important role in protecting the famous birds. Visitors enjoy walking, cycling and picnicking in the park at venues with enchanting names like Ferntree Gully, One Tree Hill or Sherbrooke Forest. The park is rich in wildlife and spectacular mountain ash forests and fern gullies are to be seen. The historic Puffing Billy steam train runs from Belgrave to Lakeside close to the park, and there are numerous craft shops, antique shops, gardens and restaurants in the area. Dandenong Ranges National Park allows visitors to escape from the bustle of Melbourne for a taste of the Australian wilderness just beyond the city.

Address: Monbulk Road

Website: www.parkweb.vic.gov.au

 

Ballarat

This historic town of great elegance and charm is the gateway to the goldfields. The name is an Aboriginal word meaning 'resting place', which is well suited because a tranquil lake and botanical gardens are the focal point of the city. The main Avenue of Honor is lined with 4,000 trees as a memorial to citizens who served in World War I. The city is steeped in the history of the Gold Rush era. Visitors enjoy the Eureka Trail, a two-mile (3km) walk that retraces the route taken by the police and soldiers during the Australian rebellion of the Eureka stockade in 1854, and it is possible to undertake a self-guided Heritage Walk through the inner city's streets. Ballarat is also celebrated for its fresh produce, sold at farmer's markets which occur almost every weekend somewhere in the city.

Website: www.visitballarat.com.au

 

Great Ocean Road

From Melbourne one of the most popular self-drive routes for tourists to follow is the circular Great Southern Touring Route, which includes spectacular scenery and takes in some of Victoria's most beautiful, scenic and cultural attractions. The first part of the route hugs the coastline going south along the Great Ocean Road, renowned for its coastal scenery, passing lush Otways rainforests and on to the magnificent limestone rock sculptures known as the Twelve Apostles in the Port Campbell National Park. Other attractions along the Great Ocean Road include the historic villages of Port Campbell, Queenscliff, Portland and Port Fairy, as well as resort towns and coastal cities such as Torquay, Apollo Bay, Geelong and Warrnambool.

Website: www.greatoceanrd.org.au

Grampians National Park

The lofty summits and ridgelines of the Grampians region provide inspiring natural beauty in a park that is home to a variety of habitats, unique wildlife and more than one third of all the plant species found in Victoria. The park is particularly well known for its colourful displays of springtime wildflowers, which are at their best during October.

 

There is an abundance of wildlife in the lowlands, including emus, kangaroos, possums, koalas, wallabies and more than 200 species of bird. The park also has some interesting Aboriginal art sites among its 167,000 hectares of woodland, heath, swamp, forest and sub-alpine zones. There are campsites and some wonderful overnight walking trails in the park, as well as some shorter walks for those just wanting a pleasant stroll.

Address: 277 Grampians Road, Halls Gap

Website: parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/grampians-national-park

 

Eureka Tower

Opening time: The Skydeck is open daily, from 10am to 10pm; The Edge may be closed in certain weather conditions.

Admission: Skydeck: A$20 (adults), A$11.50 (children 4-16). The Edge: A$12 (adults), A$8 (children). Other concessions and group tickets are available.

 

The Eureka Tower is the tallest building in Melbourne and the tallest residential building in the world, standing at just over 984ft (300m) tall, and offering 360-degree views over the city. There is a public observation deck on level 88, the Skydeck, which affords visitors with a head for heights a testing experience: a chance to be suspended above the city in a glass cube (The Edge) that juts out from the building by 10ft (3m) to hang out over the city far below. On entry into the cube, the glass is frosted and moves out over the edge of the building, but as soon as the cube is in place the glass unfrosts to the sound of smashing glass, revealing the city far below. The Edge is not included in the Skydeck Experience and requires an additional payment, but it is definitely worth it for those wanting extreme views!

Address: Riverside Quay, Southbank

Telephone: (0)3 9693 8888

Website: www.eurekaskydeck.com.au

Queen Victoria Market

Opening time: Opening times vary by day and section - check the official website listed above for details.

If you are planning a picnic at Birrarung Marr or the Botanic Gardens or just looking for some affordable souvenirs, head to the Queen Victoria market, one of the largest open-air markets in the Southern Hemisphere, with almost 50 percent of the market dedicated to the sale of fresh produce, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, chicken, seafood, cold cuts and cheese. A popular meeting place for locals and foreigners, this cosmopolitan market is best visited on a Sunday when adjacent Queen Street is closed down and converted into a sidewalk café area, where buskers entertain passers-by and children's rides are available. Officially opened in 1878, the Queen Victoria Market has been affectionately frequented by Melbournians for more than 125 years and still proves to be the best place for perusing a myriad of clothing, shoes, jewellery, bric-a-brac, antique and toy stalls.

Getting there: Catch any tram heading north along Elizabeth and William Streets. Stop at either Franklin or Victoria Street corner

Address: Corner of Elizabeth and Victoria Street

Telephone: (03) 9320 5822

Website: www.qvm.com.au

Puffing Billy Railway

The Puffing Billy Railway is Australia's Oldest Steam Railway. A century old, the train still follows its original mountain track in the scenic Dandenong Ranges, offering spectacular mountain views and winding through cool fern gullies between Belgrave, Emerald Lake and Gembrook. The whole trip takes two hours in each direction.

 

Tickets can be bought before boarding the train, which departs several times a day, but bookings are essential for the special luncheon or dinner trips, which include a meal in the first class carriage. The train sometimes hosts other fun events, like comedy nights. Family tickets are available and kids will love the novelty of travelling by steam train!

Website: www.puffingbilly.com.au