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As views go, lakes provide a backdrop that is at once soothing and full of mystery. Unlike oceans, these mighty bodies of water are contained. You can row across their surface, dive for shipwrecks, or simply go bird-watching, all in the safe knowledge that land is never too far away. More than anything, lakes can provide a refreshing change of scenery from days spent shopping in town or hiking in the surrounding mountains.
Here are a few lakefront views worth traveling for.
Right now, Air New Zealand operates only two flights out of Singapore’s Changi Airport – to Abu Dhabi and Brisbane – via its partner Etihad Airways. However, by the end of this year, flight capacity between the countries of New Zealand and Singapore will have increased by up to 30 percent, thanks to a new alliance announced between Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand. Under the partnership, tourist-hungry New Zealand will have access to a whole new network of visitors in South and Southeast Asia. But New Zealand’s tourism office isn’t alone in celebrating this deal. Here’s how you can take advantage, too… Read more
Ready to spend some of your holiday money? If you’re looking to get some overseas R&R, two airlines just announced sales, right in time for the New Year.
When it comes to in-flight safety videos, it is an airline’s responsibility to convey all the necessary safety information to passengers who may or may not have watched the same video a thousand times before. But, as an FAA spokesman recently told the New York Times, “We specify the ‘what,’ and it’s up to the air carriers to determine the ‘how.’” As you’ll see in the clips below, some airlines manage the job better than others: Read more
It’s officially summer in the northern hemisphere, which means holidays, road trips, and the urge to visit national parks. But if you’re craving a cooler sort of escape this season, consider a ski trip…to the southern hemisphere. With winter just settling in, places like Chile and New Zealand offer incredible skiing at a time of year when most North Americans are hitting the beach. The best part? Skiing in these destinations can be a bargain. Here are our favorite “summer” skiing destinations.
New Zealand: Cardrona Alpine Resort
Visiting New Zealand is a dream for lots of Americans. If you head down there to see the epic landscapes used as backdrops in the Lord of the Rings movies, consider hitting the slopes, too. Cardrona, New Zealand is easily accessible from Queenstown on the south island. Skiers will find plenty to love, and snowboarders will have a tough time finding better terrain anywhere. At under $100 for a lift ticket, it’s actually cheaper than many of the venues surrounding Vail, Aspen, and other high-end mountains in the U.S. Read more
Set smack dab in the midst of New Zealand’s North Island – and sitting squarely on the notorious Pacific Rim of Fire – Rotorua marks a steaming and bubbling cauldron of dynamic geothermal activity. Oozing with boiling mud, colorful mineral pools, steam-spewing geysers, ancient caldera-capped lakes, and an overall fantastical geography, Rotorua’s geothermal landscape ensures its firmly fixed place on the country’s well-trodden tourism circuit. Visitors here will discover abundant opportunities to contemplate the earth’s raw geothermal power and to ogle its otherworldly landscapes – and will also encounter a spa town culture that maximizes the natural spa features just underfoot.
Think of New Zealand, and chances are images of dramatic natural landscapes spring to mind long before its cultural triumphs do. But for culture vultures swooping in on Kiwi country, New Zealand’s charismatic Wellington capital (affectionately dubbed “Welly”) makes for an engaging urban base to sample the creative local take on Kiwi culture.
The lively little city brims with world-class museums and galleries; quirky outdoor sculptures; a slate of local theaters, live music venues, and performing arts centers (including the Royal New Zealand Ballet, New Zealand Opera, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, to name a few); regular arts and cultural events; and a vibrant film industry (“Wellywood” is the base for Peter Jackson’s international film empire). But you’ll still get that wow-factor true-to-New Zealand natural setting nestled between a picturesque harbor and rolling windswept hills. Plus, a coffee, culinary, and craft beer culture (perhaps best sampled in the Bohemian quarter near Cuba Street) help fuel this urban jewel’s pulsing creative buzz.
Read on for some of the best cultural freebies to ensure your time and money is well-spent in Wellington. Read more
Since the release of the first Lord of the Rings film, tourism in New Zealand has not been the same. All the evidence you need is right there on New Zealand’s tourism site; their biggest tour plug on the homepage states, “Take a journey through Middle-earth.” And boy can you do that. The site has mapped out important spots from all the movies and suggest tours around the films like A Haflings Ramble on the North Island or Elven Magic which is a 10-day tour through all of middle earth (you can hit Auckland, Wellington, Glenorchy and Queenstown, among other spots). Or, tour companies like Hobbiton Movie Set Tours will do all the scheduling for you. But, many of the sites can be seen on your own. Here are three spots we think you should definitely hit: Read more
You might have been waiting all summer for that perfect sunny day, but in the U.S., those rays have turned into a scorcher. With America currently experiencing the hottest summer on record, some of us are wishing for a cooler front. What better time, then, to dream about the Southern Hemisphere, which is going through its winter months? While it may not be easy to book a last minute getaway to these destinations, just lusting over them will hopefully cool you down.
Angel Falls – Venezuela
Venezuela is mostly tropical due to its location just north of the equator, but thanks to its varied geography, pockets of microclimates exist. One such area is the Guiana Highlands, a southern region of the country characterized by imposing plateaus and vast upland plains. From June to early September, the average temperature hits 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 35 degree at night, making this the best time to visit the Angel Falls in Canaima National Park. Renowned as the world’s highest waterfall at 3,212 feet, winter’s torrential rains causes the rapids to swell to their full glory. However, if storm clouds shroud your view, Canaima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a destination in itself, with impressive geological formations and lush greenery.
As you might have noticed, we’ve been a bit obsessed with the beach lately thanks to the East Coast heat wave. We’ve looked at the worst people at the beach, the crazy things that beachgoers do, and The Definitive Guide to Going to the Beach. This all started a few weeks ago when we asked you to share your favorite underrated beaches with us. We put the call out on Twitter and Facebook, as well. It’s clear that you all have firm opinions on the best beaches in the world that don’t get enough attention. With summer in full swing and everyone looking for ways to beat the heat without dealing with obnoxious crowds, traffic snarls, and boring routines, it’s time to take a look at some of your favorite underrated and lesser-known beaches. Read more
We travel bloggers adore making lists of where our readers should go in the new year. But let’s face it, every list, whether it has destinations or groceries on it, is subjective. Which is why, to lend a veneer of objectivity to this list of top family vacation picks for 2012, I consulted the three best-traveled people I know. Read more
Wine regions have long provided the perfect backdrop for romantic endeavors. Visiting is an inspiring way to get a lay of the land, the grapes, and the locals. Plus, these regions typically have a wealth of romantic accommodations – think chic boutiques, luxury castle accommodations, and wine-inspired bungalows. Herewith, six of the world’s most stirring vino-producing areas:
Morocco is a provocative spot and a tip-top choice among honeymooners, yet few travelers think of wine when they think of this Muslim country. It’s time to reconsider: Morocco produces more than 40 million bottles of wine a year and employs 10,000 Moroccans in this booming business.
With white sand, clear turquoise water, and uninhabited islets, the Cook Islands are paradise come to life. Unfortunately, the isolation of these peaceful islands can make airfare prohibitively expensive, often costing over $2,000 per person to fly from Los Angeles.
This great deal offers a round-trip flight from Los Angeles to the Cook Islands, for just $998 per person for travel now through August 28.
Flights land on Rarotonga, the largest of the Cook Islands’ 15. Stay here to explore beautiful beaches, exotic jungles, and mountains, or hop around between the diverse islands. Divers and snorkelers will be in heaven in the Cook Islands, home to one of the world’s largest coral lagoons. Others will love exploring the islands’ fun nightlife, coffee plantations, and black pearl fields. Book by June 10 to get this deal.
THE VALUE: Save over $1,000 per person compared to typical airfares.
THE CATCH: Taxes and fees of up to $58 per person are not included.
THE DETAILS: Click here to book online.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search to find the best hotels in the Cook Islands.
We’re already a month into 2011 (and close to Valentine’s Day), so I’m sure you’ve begun thinking about when you can get away with your sweetheart – for an anniversary or birthday – and where to go. Here’s a roster of my favorite ideas:
January: New Zealand You missed out this year, but that gives you time to save for next year and see one of the world’s most beautiful places. It offers a superb mix of outdoor adventure (from hiking to bungee jumping) and excellent food and wine (amazing lamb and world-class pinot noir). It will be summer, so plan ahead and allot two weeks as the North and South Islands combined are about the size of California.
February: Costa Rica This jungle-meets-beach playground – home to loquacious howler monkeys, luminous blue morpho butterflies, and next Monday’s episode of The Bachelor” – is close enough to enjoy on a five- or six-night getaway. Most flights are into the capital, San Jose, but if you plan to explore the Pacific Coast, you can fly into Liberia. Another option, a seven-night cruise on Windstar (www.windstarcruises.com), which also visits neighboring Nicaragua.
Air New Zealand has announced the pending debut of its “Skycouch” option, which will allow passengers to fold out a row of three economy seats into one flat surface. The airline’s fleet of Boeing 777-300 operating between Auckland and Los Angeles or London will be equipped with 22 Skycouch units, beginning in April 2011. The company plans to make its “cuddle class” an option on all long-haul aircrafts by early 2012. For a couple traveling, buying the middle seat will cost an extra $1,400 per person, but the total cost for the trio of seats (averaging about $7,600), is substantially less than the cost of one lie-flat business class seat (nearly $10,000).
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