Stylish, arty Melbourne is a city that’s both dynamic and cosmopolitan, and proud of its place as Australia’s cultural capital. Its stately Gold Rush–era architecture and a multicultural make-up reflect the city’s recent history, while edgy street art, top museums and sticky-carpeted band venues point to its present-day personality.
Oʻahu is much more than just a transit point en route to the Neighbor Islands. It’s the thrill-of-a-lifetime adventure. Here you can surf the North Shore’s giant waves, hike atop knife-edged pali (cliffs), dive into Hanauma Bay’s outdoor fishbowl, go windsurfing or kayak to uninhabited islands off Kailua – and still be back in Waikiki for sunset drinks.
Escape the frenzy of Australia's east-coast with a few days in gracious, relaxed Adelaide. Capital of the driest state on the driest inhabited continent, Adelaide beats the heat by celebrating life's finer things: fine landscapes, fine festivals, fine food, and (…OK, forget the other three) fine wine.
Sculpted by sky-piercing, moss-green peaks and lined with vivid turquoise lagoons, sultry French Polynesia is a place to take it slow and experience warm, laid-back island culture. The Dream Tahiti: just the word conjures up centuries’ worth of images: hibiscus flowers; bronzed dancers in grass skirts; a humid breeze over turquoise sea.
Vanuatu & New Caledonia
Tropical weather, sandy beaches and turquoise waters await you. Locals welcome visitors, with dazzling grins and a chance to peek into their unique Melanesian cultures. Why I Love Vanuatu & New Caledonia By Craig McLachlan, Writer I love colour, especially those hues of aquamarine that dominate the lagoons and seas around Vanuatu and New Caledonia. And it gets better.
The greater Auckland region encompasses the city proper and the gorgeous surrounding towns and landscapes. It's rare that visitors restrict themselves solely to the city area. And why would you? There's plenty to see and do right in the heart of the city, but travelling further afield opens the opportunities considerably.
The Top End is frontier country. It feels wild out here; time spent exploring the region's outer reaches will calibrate your senses away from urban grit. The wildness comes in many forms – from remote Arnhem Land to backpackers letting loose on Darwin's Mitchell Street.
Rarotonga, Samoa & Tonga
Adrift on these daydreamy South Pacific islands – deliciously remote and unhurried – it's easy to get back to the simple pleasures of eating, sleeping and succumbing to holiday whims. Paradise Perpetuated by Hollywood, the paradisiacal reputation of this part of the South Pacific can be traced back to the tales of returned European explorers.
Byron Bay & Northern NSW
Beach towns and national parks leapfrog each other all the way up this stupendous stretch of coast. Inland, lush farmland and ancient tracts of World Heritage–listed rainforest do the same. Providing a buffer between New South Wales' big cities to the south and Queensland's built-up Gold Coast to the north, the North Coast offers an altogether quieter and simpler way of life.
Brisbane & Around
Australia’s most underrated city? Booming Brisbane is an energetic river town on the way up, with an edgy arts scene, pumping nightlife, and great coffee and restaurants. Lush parks and historic buildings complete the picture, all folded into the elbows of the meandering Brisbane River. Brisbanites are out on the streets: the weather is brilliant and so are the bodies.
Cairns & The Daintree Forest
Cairns means R & R – the Reef and Rainforest. Together, they make this far-flung city an East Coast essential. Endless bus- and boatloads of eager beavers shuttle between Cairns and these World Heritage wonders, although upmarket Port Douglas is closer to the outer Reef and the Daintree Rainforest.