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Friday, August 22, 2014

The 10 Best Sights and Attractions in New York City

I've sorted through the city's parks, museums, historic sites and others, and have chosen the 10 best New York attractions to help you prioritize your trip in New York City.

Staten Island Ferry

The price of a harbor crossing between Staten Island and lower Manhattan may be the only activity in New York City that’s cheaper today than it was in 1817. Back then, it was 25 cents; today, it’s free. This 24-hour ferry is a lifeline for commuters making their way from NYC’s southernmost borough, but it’s also a boat trip affording some of the finest views in the world. Keep your eyes peeled for Governors Island to the east and Ellis Island and Lady Liberty to the west as the Manhattan skyline recedes in the vessel’s wake.

Times Square

Manhattan’s heart was once a hub for vice, teeming with sex shops and drug dealers. Over time that notorious reputation has eroded, and now the area can feel like a tourist-clogged shopping mall. Still, changes such as the stairs above the TKTS booth and a pedestrian plaza along Broadway have improved the sightseeing experience…sort of. If the thought of attending the annual glitzy New Year’s Eve celebration gives you hives, you can see the midnight countdown re-created on a smaller scale at the Times Square Visitor Center, thanks to one of the Waterford crystal balls used in years past.

Rockefeller Center

You’ll find plenty of iconic New York sites in this multiblock complex: The ground level alone is home to the tourist-packed ice-skating rink, the bronze Atlas statue and the Today show plaza. Higher up, Top of the Rock rivals the Empire State Building in panoramic city views. You may not be able to access the five private rooftop gardens if you’re not a Saturday Night Live cast member, but you can still peek at the spaces from Saks Fifth Avenue’s eighth-floor shoe department if you’re curious. Special credentials are not required, however, to inspect the Art Deco murals that appear in several buildings. Don’t miss the triptych above the outdoor entrance to 5 Rockefeller Center or the rinkside Prometheus statue; both purportedly contain secret Freemason symbols.

Grand Central Terminal

The 100-year-old transit hub funnels thousands of commuters each day, but it’s a destination in its own right: The majestic Beaux Arts framework is a spectacle of both form and function. Familiar features include the vaulted, constellation-adorned ceiling and the four-faced opal clock topping the main information booth, both located in the Grand Concourse. Meanwhile, ornamentation above the 42nd Street entrance includes a likeness of Mercury, the god of travel (naturally), and an ornate Tiffany-glass timepiece.

Chrysler Building

We won’t argue if you want to call this glimmering pinnacle of Art Deco architecture NYC’s most eye-popping skyscraper. Triangle-shaped windows in its crown are lined with lights, creating a beautiful effect come nighttime. Oozing a moneyed sophistication oft identified with old New York, the structure pays homage to its namesake with giant eagles (replicas of ones added to Chrysler automobiles in the 1920s) in lieu of traditional gargoyles and a brickwork relief sculpture of racing cars, complete with chrome hubcaps. During the famed three-way race to construct Manhattan’s tallest building, the Chrysler added a needle-sharp stainless-steel spire to best 40 Wall Street—but was outdone shortly after its completion in 1930 by the Empire State Building.

Brooklyn Bridge

No mere river crossing, this span is an elegant reminder of New York’s history of architectural innovation. When it opened in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was a feat of engineering: It was the first structure to cross the East River and, at the time, the longest suspension bridge in the world. (It also made use of steel-wire cables, invented by the bridge’s original designer, John A. Roebling.) Now it attracts thousands of tourists and locals, who enjoy spectacular views of lower Manhattan and other city landmarks (such as the Statue of Liberty and Governors Island) as they stroll its more-than-mile-long expanse. Heads up, though: You may run into the occasional cyclist trying to navigate through the crowds on the pedestrian walkway.

New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

The century-old main branch of the NYPL is about as regal a setting for reading—either on your laptop or those old dusty things called books—as you’ll find in the city. Two massive Tennessee-marble lions, dubbed Patience and Fortitude, flank the main portal and have become the institution’s mascots. Once inside, check out the cavernous Rose Main Reading Room, spanning almost 300 feet and outfitted with chandeliers and stunning ceiling murals. Though it’s a classy setting in most instances, it’s also where Bill Murray uttered, “Are you, Alice, menstruating right now?” and “Back off, man, I’m a scientist” in Ghostbusters.

Roosevelt Island

This mostly residential isle (technically part of Manhattan) is full of quirks; for example, the preferred method of getting there involves a four-minute trip on the city’s only commuter tram. There’s plenty to draw in visitors, notably the fancy new Four Freedoms Park (named for the principles outlined in Franklin Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union address), which opened in 2012. A Gothic lighthouse stands at the island’s northern tip, and the creepy ruins of the Smallpox Hospital (which operated from the mid–19th century until the 1950s) at the southern end are a part of Southpoint Park.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Even though it faces off against the imposing Art Deco Rockefeller Center, architect James Renwick's Gothic Revival building holds it own with intricate marble towers, a cavernous ribbed vault, pointed arches and buttresses. But the real treasures are inside this active house of worship, which is bursting with awe-inspiring works. While the stained glass, along with much of the exterior, is currently covered in scaffolding for an ongoing $175-million restoration project, due for completion in 2015, the cathedral is still worth a visit. More than 200 saints are represented throughout the church, with many alters helpfully explaining their stories for those who cut Bible studies class. Seek out the alter of Saint Louis, just north of the Lady's Chapel, designed by the Tiffany workshop and donated by Jackie O's father Michael Bouvier. To the south of Saint Louis is an oversized copy of Michelangelo's Pieta, made by the same sculptor who fashioned the lions outside the New York Public Library on 42nd Street.

Little Italy

The 2010 census didn’t find a single Italian-born resident on or around Mulberry Street, but pasta-and-Parmesan purveyors still line the narrow lanes of Little Italy, and the recently restored Most Precious Blood Church holds fast. Old-world flavors abound at joints like the 120-year-old Ferrara Bakery and Cafe, and every September, the deep-fried-zeppole carts mark the start of the Feast of San Gennaro. But modern joints are moving in too: Hidden under a souvenir shop, the speakeasy Mulberry Project mixes bespoke cocktails in a den dark enough for a mafia don.

Information was taken from:

Recommended hotels in New York City, NY :
The Roosevelt Hotel
Night Hotel Times Square
New York Marriott Marquis
The Pod Hotel
The New Yorker Hotel

Planning a trip to New York City? Visit and to get the best accommodation prices in real time, straight from the 100 best reservation websites in the world!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Discover Some of the Amazing Attractions in Australia

Australia is a unique and diverse country in every way - in culture, population, climate, geography, and history. Australian culture is as broad and varied as the country's landscape. Australia is multicultural and multiracial and this is reflected in the country's food, lifestyle and cultural practices and experience. Australia has an important heritage from its indigenous people, which plays a defining role in the cultural landscape. This diversity of influences creates a cultural environment in Australia that is lively, energized, innovative and outward looking. In this article I will introduce you to some of the best attractions in Australia.

The Maze

Test your problems solving skills and enjoy a day out at The Maze. Lose yourself in 32 acres of gardens and parklands and discover a unique range of games guaranteed to challenge and entertain the whole family! Café Iguana is also open every Sunday morning from 8am to 11am for 'Breakfast with the Koalas'! Bookings are essential. Race your friends through Perth's largest timber Maze; test your mind on the tractor tyre maze or navigate the twists and turns of Tayla's Tangle and make your way through Danae's Dilemma a devious no-left-hand-turn-maze and Phil's Frustration a no-right-hand-turn maze. When you have conquered the Mazes, meet the resident koalas and say hello to the friendly kangaroos and emus or play nine holes of mini golf and then try your luck at the game of disc golf. If you still have energy after all that have a jump on the Giant Jumping Pillow! Bring along a picnic or use one of the many gas barbecues and picnic tables available in the grounds or grab a bite to eat at Café Iguana! Functions, birthdays, special events and groups catered for.


Australian Skydive

Australian Skydive is a leading skydive operator. They operate out of both Torquay Bells Beach and Bridgewater on Loddon. Tandem skydive at Torquay over Bells beach up to 15,000 feet, with a 70 second freefall and five minute canopy ride with amazing views of beautiful Great Ocean Road and Bells Beach. The view will be as mind blowing as the experience. Or tandem skydive over the spectacular Goldfields at Bridgewater on Loddon 15,000 feet. With a great atmosphere and exceptional customer service you will feel more than welcome at both of the drop zones. However, if you want more than tandem skydiving, feel free to take the leap solo. Australian Skydive offer a range of solo skydive training packages at our Bridgewater drop zone. Ranging from the first stage of the course over two days, to the full 'A' licence package over nine days which allows you to skydive solo anywhere in the world. Australian Skydive is committed to providing you with the highest quality skydiving experience that we can possibly deliver. With their products, they offer you 100 per cent adrenaline guaranteed. "The sky is not the limit".


Whale World

Whale World boasts heritage and culture in this unique and educational tourist attraction. They offer an interactive journey through the former site of Australia's last operating whaling station, supported by a series of audio visual displays, artefacts and whaling history. Entrance includes a guided tour, run hourly each day from 10.00am to 3.00pm. There are more than 25 exhibits to view and explore, including stepping aboard the Cheynes IV Whalechaser, viewing the Cheynes III steam engine in operation, or walking into a jaw-dropping exhibit of whale skeletons which includes the state's largest Pygmy Blue Whale skeleton on display. The Spectravision display is not to be missed featuring 'A Day in the Life of a Whaler' presentation. Three previous whale oil storage tanks have been converted into movie theatres, showing 'Australian Whaling', 'Shark' and three dimensional 'Giants Exist', plus there are many photo galleries and whaling artefacts to gaze upon. Picnic facilities available. There is a cafe and gift store open seven days a week. Whale World is a 'must do' when visiting Albany. You don't know Albany until you visit Whale World.


Norah Head Lighthouse

Norah Head Lighthouse was built from 1901 to 1903. Perched on a headland, the lighthouse takes in magnificent ocean vistas and is the Central Coast's most spectacular icon. A walking track skirts around the side of the lighthouse and leads to stairs which climb down to the rock platform below and to Lighthouse Beach. Norah Head Lighthouse celebrated its Centenary on 15 November 2003. Apart from the electrification of the light, few changes have been made to the lighthouse since it was established. Buildings on the headland comprise the Lighthouse, Flag Locker, Head Keepers Quarters and the first and second assistant lightkeeper's quarters as well as stables. Two of the cottages are available to rent for tourist accommodation. Tours of the lighthouse are available from 10am to 1pm seven days per week. There is a fee for the tours. The views from the top of the lighthouse are magnificent.


Paronella Park

Everyone has a dream. José Paronella's dream became a reality. On five hectares beside Mena Creek Falls he built his castle, a picnic area by the falls, tennis courts, bridges, a tunnel, and wrapped it up in an amazing range of 7,500 tropical plants and trees. He even harnessed the waterfall for his electricity. Paronella Park opened to the public in 1935. Today, visitors to the park marvel at the achievements of one man. Admission to Paronella Park is valid for 24 months and covers both the tours. There is a 45 minute guided walk that explains the extraordinary story and takes you through the highlights of the park, as well as the stunning Darkness Falls Tour where the castles and waterfall are flood-lit to allow for amazing photo opportunities. Admission also includes the souvenir guide book, fish food, umbrellas, access to the online photo gallery, as well as a site for one night in the adjacent van park.


Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

Located on Hobart’s historic waterfront, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) has recently undergone a spectacular $30 million redevelopment. The second oldest museum in Australia, TMAG has its origins in the collections of the country’s oldest scientific society, the Royal Society of Tasmania, which was established in 1843. Opened in March 2013, the redevelopment includes more than 2,000 square metres of new public and exhibition spaces, a centralised visitor services hub and a new Courtyard Café. Visitors can now experience more of this unique site than ever before, including a fascinating range of nationally significant archaeological material, some of which has been hidden for over 150 years. TMAG has something to offer visitors of all ages and interests whether you are family seeking an educational and engaging experience with the children, a tourist seeking to discover more about Tasmania’s history or art lover. Join a free guided tour or browse the galleries to experience TMAG's rich blend of permanent collections, touring and temporary exhibitions and special displays. TMAG is open to the public daily from 1000 to 1700, with the exception of Good Friday, Anzac Day and Christmas Day. Admission is free but donations are always welcome.


Luna Park Sydney

With spectacular views of the harbour, Sydney's much-loved Luna Park is a superbly restored 1930s amusement park where everyone goes... just for fun! Take on crazy rides like the Tango Train or nostalgic favourites such as the beautifully restored Ferris Wheel. The little ones love the Space Shuttle and Dad will laugh his socks off on the Giant Slides! There's even more fun and excitement to be had on the hilarious sideshow games! A trip to Luna Park just isn't complete without trying your luck on the Laughing Clowns, Crazy Crooners or Goin Fishin', there are fabulous prizes to be won for all! Enjoy carnival favourites such as hot dogs, fairy floss, ice-creams and more! Salads, sandwiches and other healthy snacks are available from Fish 'n' Sips or if you feel like wetting your whistle, why not drop into the Lavazza Piazza or one of the Park's licensed bars?


Wildlife Habitat

The Wildlife Habitat is Australia's leading environmental wildlife experience, providing visitors the chance to observe up close a huge range of flora and fauna. Experience the three different environments where visitors and animals mix freely, the Wetlands, Rainforest and Grasslands environments. Hand-feed kangaroos and wallabies, observe cassowaries and Lumholtz's Tree Kangaroos, and pat a Koala! Experience the symphony of sounds and colours of wildlife and tantalise your taste buds at Queensland's best tropical buffet, as you enjoy Breakfast with the Birds (daily 8-10.30am) or Lunch with the Lorikeets (daily from 12-2pm).


Pedal Buggies Tasmania

Pedal Buggies Tasmania is located in Ulverstone on Tasmania's beautiful North West Coast. Operating from The Beach Hut – (a relaxed beachside kiosk incorporating a small art gallery featuring Tasmanian scenery), pedal buggies offer a fun outdoor activity suitable for all ages six months to 99 years. You will enjoy some of Ulverstone’s lovely parks as you pedal along the pedestrian/cycle path. You can even choose to hire a Surrey Bike for the trip to nearby Turners Beach using the shared pedestrian cycle way. Pedal Buggies are also suitable for many people with disabilities or special needs. A trailer suitable to take a wheel chair is also available for our family buggy. Sit and have a scoop ice cream as you watch your littlies (up to six years of age) have fun on the mini buggy track complete with road signs and round-a-bout. Contact us for buggy hire which is available even when shop is closed. Open weekends and most public holidays all year round and Tasmanian School holidays. Weekdays (during school holidays) 1000 to 1600 Saturdays 1000 - 1600 Sundays Midday - 1600 Subject to weather Available by appointment outside these times.

Perth Zoo

Just five minutes from the heart of the city, Perth Zoo is a Western Australian icon filled with lush gardens and naturalistic exhibits that are home to more than 1,200 animals from around the world. Walk among Australian animals and get to know your local wildlife in the Australian Walkabout and Australian Wetlands. Explore the Asian Rainforest to see elephants, tigers, Sun Bears and a colony of Sumatran Orangutans, or go on safari through the African Savannah in search of rhinoceros, lions and giraffe. Want to get up close? Book one of the daily Eye to Eye encounters and you could have the chance to feed a giraffe or meet a Galapagos Tortoise. See one of the free Zoo keeper talks or animal feeding presentations and learn about vital conservation work.

Information was taken from:

Recommended hotels in Melbourne, Australia :

Recommended hotels in Sydney, Australia :

Planning a trip to Australia? Visit and to get the best accommodation prices in real time, straight from the 100 best reservation websites in the world!