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Sydney is the heart of New South Wales and the state's capital. A bustling center for industry and business and a major world port, it boasts 3.5 million inhabitants. Spreading over some 670 square miles, the city seems to stretch as far as the eye can see to the west, north and south. Where Sydney's metropolitan area ends, the wide-open bush of New South Wales begins.
Its beautiful harbor is studded with bays and inlets and crowned by the billowing sails of the incomparable Opera House. In 1770, Captain James Cook sailed his ship the Endeavor into Botany Bay, claiming the east coast of the island continent for England and naming it New South Wales. Today this international metropolis has long outgrown the stigma of its convict origins. The harbor is undoubtedly the key to Sydney's splendor. The famous Harbour Bridge spans the bay. Like many of the world's major cities, Sydney is a contrast of old and new.
Set in the magnificent Twofold Bay, Eden’s a sleepy place where often the only bustle is down at the wharf when the fishing boats come in. Around the surrounding area are stirring beaches, national parks and wilderness areas. Migrating humpback whales and southern right whales pass so close to the coast that experts consider this to be one of Australia's best whale-watching locations and the reason behind the region's nickname, the Humpback Highway.
take time to see the Green Cape Light Station, marvel at the wilderness and beauty that surrounds it, hike all or part of the ‘Light to Light’ walk and muse on the area’s connection to Australia’s new saint, Mary MacKillop. For some natural solitude, discover Wonboyn further south, tucked between Ben Boyd National Park and Nadgee Nature Reserve, where the lake empties into the stunning Disaster Bay.
Melbourne is about the same size as Sydney, but there the similarity ends. Where Sydney is a jumble of hills and inlets, Melbourne spreads over a flat plain. Its pace is steadfast and sedate. Tree-shaded parks and gardens, a quiet bay and a proud stateliness become this capital of culture and the arts. Grand municipal buildings and splendid Victorian edifices, which sprang up in the wake of the gold rush, stand proudly along broad avenues.
The heart of the inner city, called the Golden Mile, contains the government and commercial hub of Melbourne, its main shopping street, major hotels and theatres. Many of the city’s landmarks are within walking distance of each other. As Australia’s major fashion centre, Melbourne boasts a number of upscale department stores and designer boutiques.
BURNIE (TASMANIA), AUSTRALIA
Nestled around Emu Bay on Bass Strait, Burnie has been an industrial center for most of its existence. Since the closure of its paper pulp mill, the city has taken a creative approach to promoting itself and the many makers who call it home. You can see local craft and artisans at work is at the Makers Workshop, part contemporary museum, part arts center, gallery and craft workshop. You'll find paper making, cheese making, whisky making, ceramics, textiles, glass, print makers, painters, sculptors and lots more. Burnie has an art deco flavour, with fine architectural examples that you can explore on foot and also produces award-winning cheese and whiskey that can be sampled at the cellar door.
Take a beachside and downtown stroll and find a vibrant mix of shops and eateries serving up fresh coffee, seafood and local produce. Behind the city are several waterfalls and interesting bushwalks, including Guide Falls to the south - look out for the 12-hectare rhododendron garden on the way.
FJORDS OF MILFORD SOUND
Milford Sound is by far the best known of all of the fiords in Fiordland National Park and the only one that can be accessed by road. Established in 1952, Fiordland National Park is now over 1.2 million hectares in size, and encompasses mountain, lake, fiord and rainforest environments. The National Park is administered by the Department of Conservation. Milford Sound is approximately 10 miles from the head of the fiord to the open sea. Visitor to Milford Sound will not be disappointed. It is truly spectacular, with scenery that has remained unchanged throughout the ages. In 1883 Explorer James Hingston wrote "For thousands of feet upwards the eye looks upon straight cut rocky frontages, not worn smooth by time, or by wind or water, but as sharply defined and as fresh looking in all respects as if riven asunder but yesterday by the stupendous wedges of Titanic Masons.“
DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND
At the head of one of New Zealand's loveliest harbors lies gracious, dignified Dunedin. It was envisioned by its Scottish founders as the "Edinburgh of the South." The city boasts a wealth of fine Victorian and Edwardian buildings, complete with spires, gables and gargoyles. Its Scottish heritage is evoked in street names and the sturdy appeal of its handsome stone buildings. Dunedin's unique charm prompted one of its most famous visitors, Mark Twain, to write, "The people here are Scots. They stopped here on their way to heaven, thinking they had arrived." True to its heritage, Dunedin boasts the country's only kilt maker and whisky distillery, as well as a statue of Scottish poet Robert Burns in the heart of the city.
Dunedin is South Island's second largest city after Christchurch. It prospered enormously after gold was discovered in Central Otago in the 1860s. Dunedin's surroundings are equally renowned, boasting magnificent scenery and wildlife. Only a short distance away, the Otago Peninsula provides a breeding habitat for such rare birds as the royal albatross and yellow eyed penguin. The biggest attraction is probably the albatross colony at Taiaroa Head. Nowhere else on the globe do these birds breed so close to human habitation. The colony can only be visited as part of a pre-arranged, guided tour.0
AKAROA, NEW ZEALAND
Just 46 miles from the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, Akaroa is a historic French and British settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano. Akaroa, with its own beautiful bays and harbor, French and English history has an enormous range of activities to keep you busy for days. In Flea bay you will find the largest little penguin colony on mainland New Zealand. Akaroa waters are home to the rarest and smallest marine dolphin and all around you will find fantastic sea kayaking in spectacular surroundings. Akaroa village is home to a great bunch of imaginative chefs, a butcher, baker and chorizo maker creating sensational snacks to degustation dinners using beautiful locally grown and prepared produce including fresh local fish.
NELSON, NEW ZEALAND
Often known as ‘the top of the south’, Nelson Tasman takes up the north eastern corner of the South Island. Established in 1841, it is the second-oldest settled city in New Zealand and the oldest in the South Island, and was proclaimed a city by royal charter in 1858.
Perhaps it’s the sun, perhaps it’s the location, but Nelson, New Zealand, has long been a magnet for creative people. There are more than 350 working artists and craftspeople living in Nelson, traditional, contemporary and Maori. Nelson-Tasman often tops New Zealand’s sunshine hours. It also boasts golden beaches and productive tourism, wine, horticulture and fishing industries. *Photo by Nelson/New Zealand Tourism Board
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND
Located at the southwestern tip of North Island, New Zealand’s capital city derives its character and charm from the wooded hills that curve like a green amphitheater around Wellington’s harbor. Commercial and government buildings rim the waterfront; nostalgic Victorian buildings mingle pleasantly with more modern structures and above the business district, dwellings precariously cling to steep slopes.
The city’s variable climate is generally free from extremes of heat and cold. Bracing winds that funnel through Cook Strait clear the air and add zest to daily life. Despite its steep hills, much of the city can be explored on foot, with stairways and walking paths climbing Wellington’s slopes. Bright red cable cars operate between Lambton Quay and Kelburn, offering magnificent views from the top. New Zealand’s versatile capital provides attractions ranging from historic manuscripts to an assortment of native plants and flowers and a collection of unusual instruments - in short, something for everyone.
NAPIER, NEW ZEALAND
Napier, with its pleasant Mediterranean climate and famous art deco architecture, is a charming and lively seaside resort located on the eastern side of North Island. With a rich farming and horticultural hinterland, Napier is the main center and port of the Hawke’s Bay province. It also is the largest wool-exporting port in New Zealand, while the nearby Hastings area is famous as a fruit- and wine-growing region.
In 1931, Napier was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake. The city was rebuilt in a Spanish mission and art deco style that is unique to New Zealand. Napier’s lovely Marine Parade lures the visitor with a variety of attractions. Performing dolphins and seals can be seen at Marineland, and the Hawke’s Bay Aquarium has a fascinating collection of marine life, including sharks and piranhas. Events relating to the 1931 earthquake are featured at the excellent Hawke’s Bay Museum. One of its best permanent exhibitions deals with the art of the East Coast’s Ngati Kahungunu people. Other displays cover the colonial history and art of New Zealand. Just north of the museum is the Kiwi House, the only such place in the country where it is possible to actually touch and feed the indigenous flightless bird, the symbol of New Zealand.
ROTORUA (TAURANGA), NEW ZEALAND
Tauranga is the principal city of the Bay of Plenty. The founders of Tauranga, 19th-century missionaries, left a legacy of well-planned parks and gardens for today’s residents and visitors to enjoy. The area of the Bay of Plenty is blessed with a good climate and fine beaches. It is a thriving agricultural district, especially noted for the cultivation of kiwifruit, which is an essential export item and vital to New Zealand’s economy. Tauranga also plays an important role as gateway to the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua, known as one of New Zealand’s most famous tourist attractions.
The Elms Mission House and an 1860s military campsite provide some insight into the area’s history. Other attractions include the Waitomo Caves, a vast underground network of water-sculpted, cathedral-like limestone grottoes. In addition to visiting Rotorua, visitors also enjoy such activities as big-game fishing, scuba diving and flightseeing excursions over White Island, site of New Zealand’s most active volcano.
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
Sprawling across a narrow isthmus, Auckland and its far-flung suburbs are divided by two magnificent harbors. At the city's downtown doorstep lies sparkling Waitemata Harbour, separated from the Hauraki Gulf and Pacific Ocean by Rangitoto Island. West of the city, the shallow, turquoise waters of Manukau Harbour funnel into the Tasman Sea. As a dramatic backdrop, numerous cones of extinct volcanoes protrude from Auckland's landscape.
With a population of 1,000,000, Auckland is New Zealand's largest city. Nearly a quarter of the country's inhabitants live here. The "City of Sails," as Auckland is often called, boasts more boats per capita than any other city in the world. With 70,000 powerboats and sailing craft, this means there is one boat for every four households. No one lives far from the sea and Auckland's balmy year-round climate encourages water-oriented recreation.
Some of the city's major attractions stem from its love affair with the great outdoors. Even the downtown area, with its expansive farm-like parks, exudes a sense of spacious beauty. At Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World, exhibits offer a glimpse of the frozen continent and its marine and bird life. Tarlton was New Zealand's most celebrated undersea explorer and treasure hunter.