Top 3 Excursions Around Sydney

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There are so many things that Australia’s Sydney has to offer. In the midst of all the possibilities and excitement, it can get a bit tricky to organize your time well and actually decide on your itinerary. If you ever happen to be in such situation, you can save yourself a lot of trouble by booking some of the most popular excursion tours around Sydney. The following three are the best of the best and you should definitely try to squeeze them in your schedule.

Hunter Valley Wine Tasting

Enjoying some of the best wines in the country is undoubtedly something most people would enjoy. There are many ways for you to get to the Hunter Valley. You can go by train that leaves from Sydney’s Central Station; by coaches and tours that depart from Sydney regularly; by car or take a bus. It will take you about 2 hours to get there by car, while the bus or train takes longer (around 4.5 hours). Leogate Estate Wines should be your first place to visit in Hunter Valley where you can taste some of their award-winning wines. Afterwards, you can relax and have a delicious lunch at the Hunter Valley Resort. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery as you eat your meal and sip on some wine. Afterwards, make sure to check out McGuigan Wines because they are one of the best in the world. Nothing can complete your day here as much as Hunter Valley Gardens. You’ll be able to shop, spend time in great cafés, taste amazing food and liquor and admire the view altogether.

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Snowy Valleys Way

The beauty of Snowy Valleys Way is only matched in fairy tales. Taking a trip here is absolutely wonderful and pleasant all year round. It will take you almost 4 hours to get there by car if you go on the M31, or around 6 hours via Great Western Highway. Bus rides usually take longer, around 8 hours. Still, even though Snowy Valleys Way is a bit far from Sydney, it is well worth the experience. There are always some cool outdoor activities as well as seasonal events to keep you entertained. From the picturesque Gundagai, your next stop should definitely be at Tumut, which is known for its spectacular autumn colors. Continue to Batlow and Tumbarumba. All through Corryong to Tallangatta and even further, you’ll enjoy some amazing sights and sceneries as well as the rural charm of this region.

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Gundagai

Poachers Way

A three hour drive to Canberra, or almost 5 hour trip if you take the bus, will provide you with the impeccable start to your excursion and exploration of Poachers Way. There are several places that you should visit in this region. Since there will be a lot of important stops during the excursion, it might be better to book a bus charter than to drive yourself. The differences in the travel time are minimal. Murrumbateman, which is around 45 minutes from Canberra is definitely a place to start. Horseback rides, tasty chocolate and numerous cellar doors are just part of the fun. Half an hour further and you’ll reach Gundaroo, where you can soak up on the wine culture and get incredible historical insights. Another half an hour and you’ll reach Bungendore, where you’ll get the chance to visit incredible cellar doors liquor stores, but amazing village antiques and wood works gallery as well. Wrap up this journey with Hall, which is about an hour away. Make sure to try Pankhurst Wines and check out the One Tree Hill Lookout Walk. Finally, end your journey in Yass, that’s only half an hour away, and get a complete picture of the amazing culture that Poachers Way has to offer.

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Bungendore

Be sure to catch the weather forecast before visiting all the mentioned places. Since most of these tours include wine tasting, forget about your diet restrictions and eat proper meals whenever you have the chance.

 

This article was written by Roxana Oliver, a travel enthusiast and an occasional blogger from Sydney, Australia.

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Hipmunk Hotels: Family Fun in Santa Cruz, Carlsbad, Fresno, Costa Mesa and Obispo

The post below was originally published on Sydney Aaliyah Michelle on June 14, 2016 by Sydney.

My family recently had a travel planning session over Sunday dinner. We threw around ideas for the family vacation we take every five years. Our trips are unique because they have to appease everyone from age six to seventy years old. I did my research and suggested the California coast. These are some of the cool destinations I found that would make great family vacation spots.

Santa Cruz, California

Image provided by Ron V. via Trover.com

The boardwalk is an underrated attraction in a beach town. It’s so much fun for people who love the beach but hate the sand. Take a stroll on the Santa Cruz boardwalk and you’ll find that it offers attractions such as local dining and amusement park rides. If you stay on the boardwalk, you have quick access to the beautiful Pacific Ocean beach. I can already taste the salt water taffy.

Carlsbad, California

An upscale ocean town, Carlsbad’s beach side resorts offer family-friendly times for everyone. It’s a vacation where you can all stay in one spot and it has tons to offer, including beautiful beaches with water sports like paddle boarding, jet skiing, and surfing. The golf courses are some of the most pristine and challenge in the world. Some of the resorts also offer children’s programs where adults go one way and the kids go another — great for a mixed aged group like mine. If you have to leave the resort, spend a day at Legoland. The Star Wars models alone are worth the trip.

Fresno, California

Image provided by Stephanie via Trover.com

Fresno, California is a little known gem, and I think you’ll find it a great destination for its festivals alone. If you go in August, check out the Greekfest, the premier Greek food festival. For three days, the family can sample Greek food from famous and local chefs, hear music from Greek musicians and learn more about Greek culture and heritage. The kids will love spending time in the Olympic Village and learning about the origin of the games.

Costa Mesa, California

Image provided by Jon Worrel via Trover.com

While not on the coast, Costa Mesa is close enough to be a great city to centrally locate yourself for a great time in Orange County. The town prides itself on having beautiful parks and golf courses. One of its main attractions every year is the Orange County Fair, which draws millions of people each year. It has everything you want in a County Fair: greasy, fattening food, rides, attractions and cool shows.

San Luis Obispo, California

Further north of the cities I’ve mentioned, in a valley on highway 101, is the little town of San Luis Obispo. I put it on the list because my nieces and nephews, forever glued to their phones and devices, need to set them down and get in touch with nature. I don’t think they’ve ever walked further than a quarter of a mile outdoors. In San Luis Obispo, enjoying the outdoors is the city’s favorite pastime. Beautiful walking and hiking trails cross through this town. The scenery is beautiful and it still close enough to the coast for you to enjoy the beach as well.

Where would you go for a perfect family vacation?

The Past and Present Come Together in Shanghai

A visit to Shanghai is an absolute must and belongs on your bucket list without question. Where else can you blend real history with the present while getting a glimpse into the future as an added bonus?

Shanghai is China’s largest city and the most populous city proper in the world. Its roots date back to the fifth century, and over many years, it has developed itself into a strong economic, financial, and international trade center. Shanghai is also well known for its influence on culture, science, and technology. Shanghai blends traditional culture with today while also blending east with west. It has something for everyone including hotel accommodations, dining, shopping, nightlife, attractions, and more.

Where to Stay 

Image via Flickr by Gokurakuzukan

There is a great choice of Shanghai hotels within the city proper. Hotels blend familiar brand names with modern conveniences as well as old-world service and charm.

Location is everything. Stay in central and downtown Shanghai for easy access to all the city has to offer including restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and clubs; or stay on the outskirts for access to central Shanghai and the entire city.

Dining

Image via Flickr by SteFou!

If you like Asian food, you’ve come to the right place. If you really like Asian food, you’ve definitely come to the right place. Shanghai’s food and restaurants focus on the culinary traditions of Beijing, Sichuan, Hunan, Guangzhou, and Benbang and are among the finest in China. There are so many dining choices — the list is endless. If by some chance you must have Western food, you’ll find a number of Western restaurants in the central downtown area to please your palate.

Shopping 

Image via Flickr by IceNineJon

Shopping in Shanghai is a must-do activity. There are many commercial streets and shopping centers including the must-visit Nanjing Road. The world’s first Barbie Flagship Store has opened in Shanghai, occupying an entire five-story pink building along the shopping mecca of Huaihai Middle Road. Huaihai Road has many upscale and leading fashion designers, while North Sichuan Road meets the demands of more ordinary folk. Jiali Sleepless City, Xujiahui Shopping Center, and Yuyuan Shopping City are busy and popular with tourists and locals.

Nightlife

Image via Flickr by trioptikmal

Shanghai’s decadent nightlife dates back to the 1930s and has become a modern and dynamic party en masse. As the world’s fastest growing city, Shanghai nightlife is fast paced and has many hot spots, clubs, and pubs to party the night away. The Bund is an absolute must stroll for visitors along its promenade. At night, sparkling colored lights are everywhere along the fast-moving Huangpu River, the landmark buildings on the West bank, and the ultramodern skyscrapers on the East bank. An evening cruise on the Huangpu River is a great way to see the city.

Hengshan Road and Xin Tian Di also offer a variety of nightclubs, discos, and bars at a more relaxing pace. For art lovers wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of these spots, the Grand Theater and Oriental Art Center are must-visit places.

Shanghai is really in a class all its own with its rich history and modern world conveniences. It is one of the world’s great cities and a must visit for any world traveler.