Must Visit Locations in Australia

Australia is a big country full of natural wonders, laid-back cities and sandy beaches, and there are certain locations you must visit in order to experience that Aussie atmosphere and beauty. It doesn’t matter if you’re a serious traveler or just a simple tourist, we present to you the top locations in Australia.

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is almost synonymous with Australia. It’s about 2,300 km long, making it a home for some of the rarest and most unique flora and fauna on Earth. Of course, you can’t see every part of the reef, but make sure to visit Whitsunday Islands that are simply gorgeous. Maybe the best way to see the reef is by taking a two- to three-day sailing tour. The Great Barrier Reef is full of scuba diving and snorkeling spots unique to the area and you will remember those sights forever.

Byron Bay

Byron Bay (1)

Byron Bay is not only popular with tourists, but it’s also a beloved vacation destination for many Aussies. It has many kilometers of sandy beaches, beautiful weather, surfing waves, scuba diving spots and many other attractions. Make sure you see the lighthouse in sunset and take some amazing photos or enjoy some music at the range of festivals all over the year. Byron Bay can be a bit crowded at times, but that’s normal for a top destination and a place as beautiful as this.

Uluru

Uluru

If you decide to visit Australia, you just have to see Uluru. Uluru is a huge sandstone formation surrounded by springs, waterholes, rock caves and ancient paintings. It’s a sacred place for the Aboriginal people from that area, full of magic and history, and is simply so magnificent you must see it too. You can take a guided tour from Adelaide that lasts about three beautiful days. You’ll get to see not only Uluru, but explore the natural wonders of Watarrka National Park, see boulders of Kata Tjuta and have beautiful meals under the stars. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Sydney

Sydney

You simply can’t visit Australia and not see Sydney! It offers so many interesting and beautiful sites to see. Enjoy the view of the famous Opera House from the Sydney Harbour, check out the Sydney Zoo and the renowned Mainly beach. If you want to see Sydney from above, visit Sydney Tower and enjoy a beautiful panorama of the whole city. If you’re young (or just young at heart) remember that Sydney’s one of the Australia’s nightlife centers. It has so many different clubs, bars or pubs that everybody will be able to find their favorite spot. When in Sydney, make sure to visit Randwick, especially if you’re a sports lover. Randwick is a suburb in Eastern Sydney that offers all kinds of different activities from chill walks to competitive team sports. But, make sure to take a walk along Randwick’s Coastal Walkway and enjoy wonderful views, and unique flora and fauna of the coastline. If you’re a surfer, you can try out the waves at Maroubra or Coogee Beach or simply enjoy surf carnivals from the shore. There are many Randwick serviced apartments located close to Randwick’s main attractions, so you don’t even have to worry about transport. Relax and have fun!

Melbourne

Melbourne

The indescribable atmosphere, art, multiculturalism, food and nightlife all make Melbourne a must-visit place in Australia. But, you simply must take a drive on the Great Ocean Road. What is interesting about this coastal road are the sights you’ll see on your way. Strong waves and winds over time created giant monoliths of rocks that are called the 12 Apostles. Now there are only eight standing, but are definitely worth seeing.

Australia has so many things to offer, and every traveler will find something to spark their interest. Welcome to the Land Down Under and enjoy!

Exploring London’s Underground Secrets

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Over the past century and a half, London’s Underground has seen two world wars, millions of passengers, and more secrets than we could begin to count. The “Tube” is used by Londoners and visitors to the beautiful city every hour of every day, but most are unaware of the history they’re traveling through.

Once you learn of the 150-years’ worth of secrets and history housed below England’s capital, you’ll earn a completely new appreciation for this feat of engineering and human-kind.

Underground History
In the early 1800s, London was booming. The influx of people bustling about quickly made it apparent that a better method of mass transportation was needed, and fast. The Metropolitan Railway took on the immense challenge of constructing the first underground line below the city. After months of construction, the 3 and three quarter mile railway carried 38,000 passengers safely to their destination on the inaugural ride on January 10, 1863.

For the following five decades, London’s Underground saw changing ownership, builders, and thousands of passengers. However, once World War I began London saw its first air raid, and the tube was transformed into much more than a transportation system. The safe-haven continued on into the World War II.
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Initially, British government officials tried to prevent the tube stations and lines use as bomb shelters. But, after their attempts to keep people from taking shelter there were decisively ignored, they decided to regulate the shelters instead. Trains continued to run on certain lines, bringing supplies, food, and other Londoner’s seeking shelter. A number of unused stations were converted into factories for wartime productions.
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While the Tube was considered by many to be the safest haven, no place in London was completely protected from German Blitzes. Hundreds of Londoner’s lost their lives when the tube was hit by German bombs in 1940 through 1943.
Even in the times of crisis and tragedy, the Underground has remained as a point of togetherness for the people of London. It’s an unmistakable symbol of the ingenuity and strength of Britain as a whole.

Traveling the Underground Today
The Underground lines cover nine zones and stop at more than 200 stations. Even though there are nine zones, tourists typically stay in Zones 1 and 2 because they cover Central London where many of the major tourist attractions and hotels are located.

These days, 11 Tube lines transport locals and tourists throughout Britain’s capital:
 Bakerloo Line
 Central Line
 Circle Line
 District Line
 Hammersmith & City Line
 Jubilee Line
 Metropolitan Line
 Northern Line
 Piccadilly Line
 Victoria Line
 Waterloo & City Line
Generally, the Underground runs are between 5:00 a.m. — 12:00 A.M., Monday through Saturday. Sunday times are reduced by a few hours with later starting times and earlier stopping times.

Secrets Along The Stops
We alluded to the importance of the Underground during the World Wars, and proof of that is beneath 8 of the 11 Tube lines. For under these lines sit deep-level air-raid shelters. The construction of the shelters took place between 1940 and 1942. Originally reserved for government officials, 5 of the 8 shelters opened up to civilians as bombing intensified.

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The shelters that were constructed include:
 Chancery Lane
 Belsize Park
 Camden Town
 Goodge Street
 Stockwell
 Clapham North
 Clapham Common
 Clapham South.
After the war ended, several of the shelters were still used by London’s military. The Goodge Street shelter was used by the army until the 1950s. The Chancery Lane shelter was used for the Kingsway Telephone Exchange during the Cold War years.

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In addition to the secrets you’ll uncover while traveling the Underground, you’ll also see all of the most iconic sights of the region.
 Circle Line – Tower Hill Station
Tower Bridge – Built 120 years ago, the Tower Bridge is an engineering marvel and arguably one of the most recognizable attractions in the world. If you’re feeling brave, trek out onto the high bridges suspended between the bridges towers.

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 District Line – St James’s Station
o St. James’s Park
o Millions of visitors flock to the beautiful St. James’s Park every year. It’s the oldest of London’s eight Royal Parks, and it includes The Mall and the Horse Guards Parade.

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 Jubilee Line – Westminster Station
Big Ben – Is there a more iconic London sight than Big Ben? Lucky for visitors, this sight is right along the Jubilee Line outside of Westminster Station. Whether you’re a history buff or just want to check it off of your bucket list, you need to stop by Big Ben.

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 Northern Line – Waterloo Station
London Eye – The London Eye is a larger-than-life Ferris wheel on the River Thames in London. From here, you will be treated to the most spectacular views of the city and a ride you won’t forget.

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 Piccadilly Line – Covent Garden or Leicester Square Station
Covent Garden – The district of Covent Garden in London is a hub for local shops, delicious food, and incredible street performers. Once you hop out of the Covent Garden station, you’ll have a tough time fitting everything you want to explore into just one day.

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Parts of the Tube’s storied history are somber, but the incredible spirit of London persists and prevails. For once you wander the stations and secret passageways hidden beneath the surface, you’ll never think of London the same way again.

 

The Paris Series (Part 2) – Sainte-Chapelle

Among the many things that Paris is famous for, its collection of museums is second to none. There are over 50 museums and monuments in and around Paris. There are of course many very well known ones including the Musee du Louvre, Musee D’Orsay, Musee Picasso and monuments including the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Chathedral, Chateau de Versailles and more.

One of Paris’ greatest jewels, and often overlooked sites, is Sainte-Chapelle. As you walk down Boulevard du Palais, you’ll see a line of people that appear to be waiting to enter the Palais de Justice (a large building from 1868 that still functions as a court house). Behind the entrance and in the courtyard is what they are actually waiting for – entrance to Sainte-Chapelle. (Unlike some other museum sites, your Paris Museum Pass does not get you queue-cutting access here).

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Sainte-Chapelle is a royal medieval Gothic chapel dating back to the 1200s and Louis the IX of France. Although damaged during the French Revolution, Sainte-Chapelle contains one of the most extensive and beautiful collections of stained glass anywhere in the world. As you enter the chapel, you’ll see some stained glass and a gift shop. Look for the stairs on either side of the room to get up a narrow staircase to the second floor and the main room. It is absolutely spectacular and breathtaking !

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