Domestic Travel

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Russell Crowe shows incredible impact of recent rain on his property

<p>Hollywood star Russell Crowe has shown the incredible difference rain has made on his rural NSW property, only a few months after it was destroyed by a bushfire.</p> <p>Located 25km northwest of Coffs Harbour, Crowe resides in Nana Glen which was affected by the recent bushfires in November last year as it destroyed homes and land along the way.</p> <p>The actor owns 400 hectares of land around the area and said at the time that he was “overall very lucky” that his home was saved.</p> <p>At the time, the fire had left his property completely blackened, as everything from the trees to the grass was burnt to crisp.</p> <p>But due to the heavy rain the state has seen in the last few days, his home has gone through an incredible transformation.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">My place 10 weeks ago after the fire had gone through, and this morning after a big weekend of rain. <a href="https://t.co/oOWz0gG5hp">pic.twitter.com/oOWz0gG5hp</a></p> — Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) <a href="https://twitter.com/russellcrowe/status/1219031928071843840?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">19 January 2020</a></blockquote> <p>Taking to Twitter, Crowe posted photos of the before and after.</p> <p>“My place 10 weeks ago after the fire had gone through, and this morning after a big weekend of rain,” he wrote.</p> <p>The first photo which was taken 10 weeks ago shows the entire area completely burnt, a complete juxtaposition to the most recent photo which was snapped this morning where the grass has turned a vibrant green colour.</p> <p>The Hollywood heavyweight wasn’t in Australia at the time of the fire but returned home to inspect the damage and rally a crew for the clean up.</p>

Domestic Travel

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Devastating scenes for wildlife rescuers at Kangaroo Island

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wildlife rescuers have been left heartbroken as they comprehend the sheer scale and task of helping injured wildlife that have been impacted by the bushfires.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wildlife rescuers were surrounded by burnt-out trees and ground covered with ash and dead animals who passed in the bushfires.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dozens of injured koalas have been arriving at Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park’s makeshift animal hospital in cat carriers, washing baskets or clinging to their carers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, it’s not all positive as many that have been rescued are found to be so badly injured that they must be euthanised. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Steve Selwood, South Australia Veterinary Emergency Management team leader at the hospital said that 46,000 koalas were thought to be on the island before the bushfires. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The fires here were particularly ferocious and fast moving, so we’re seeing a lot less injured wildlife than in other fires,” he tells </span><a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/wildlife-rescuers-find-signs-of-life-among-kangaroo-island-devastation/news-story/869a45d590338135af1254b4f6ec1176"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“A lot of the wildlife was incinerated.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With almost half of Kangaroo Island being ruined by fire, an estimated 80 per cent of koala habitat has been wiped out, which means that once the koalas are healed, they have nowhere to go.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This issue is on the backburner as teams of vets work to save as many native wildlife as they can.</span></p>

Domestic Travel

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Booking data shows new hotspot that beats out iconic Aussie favourites

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to new booking data, a city is set to be the hot spot for Aussie and overseas tourists this year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Online travel agency </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Trip.com</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> has revealed to </span><a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/australian-holidays/western-australia/early-booking-data-has-revealed-australias-new-hotspot-for-2020/news-story/7d7e52ada59c75ffcb998beb252e49c4"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that bookings have already been made for travellers from January 1 to the 31</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">st</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> of December for this year to this one destination.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s Perth.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The West Australian capital has the most hotels pre-booked in 2020 by Australians, which puts it well ahead of usual favourites Sydney, the Gold Coast and Melbourne.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6zvHzTob96/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6zvHzTob96/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">‘Postcard perfection’ from @troy.a.sullivan taken on a recent #Rottnest adventure. The diversity of coral species, marine life and shipwrecks in the clear waters around #Rottnestisland make it a fascinating spot for #snorkelling 🐟🤿! Popular #beaches and #bays to snorkel include The Basin, Parakeet Bay, Parker Point, Little Salmon Bay and Little Armstrong Bay. 📷@troy.a.sullivan #justanotherdayinwa #westernaustralia #thisisWA #rotto #seeperth #indianocean #perthlife #rottnestislandwa #snorkelaustralia #snorkel #summerholidays</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/rottnestislandwa/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Rottnest Island</a> (@rottnestislandwa) on Jan 1, 2020 at 11:10pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Perth is also the number one spot for international visitors booking hotels in Australia. They’re heading to Perth, then Adelaide and then the Gold Coast, according to the data.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One spot in particular is catching the attention of Aussies and overseas travellers alike, as there are some cute and cuddly animals on the island.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rottnest Island, home of the quokka, has tourists heading to Perth in droves.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6g8Y8mIEjR/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6g8Y8mIEjR/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Rottnest Island (@rottnestislandwa)</a> on Dec 25, 2019 at 4:00pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Perth has really come of age, we have a vast area of either brand new or refurbished hotels and are very competitive on price,” Destination Perth CEO Tracey Cinavas-Prosser said in a statement.</span></p>

Domestic Travel

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Prince Charles admits he has watched the Australian bushfires take its course in “appalling horror”

<p>Prince Charles has released an emotional video message for Australians as the country battles bushfires all over the nation - revealing that he has been watching “the appalling horror… in despair”.<span> </span></p> <p>The royal has long made an effort to warn about the effects of climate change, and in this statement said the scope of the loss was “not to be believed possible”.<span> </span></p> <p>He went on to say that both he and the Duchess of Cornwall had kept the “remarkable, courageous, determined firefighters who have done much and worked ceaselessly to exhaustion” in their thoughts.<span> </span></p> <p>In a heartfelt tribute recorded at Birkhall, the Prince’s home in Scotland, he praised the resilience of the Australian people and expressed confidence that “despite the horror” they would “find a way to face it all and win through.”</p> <p>Intense blazes have ruined and destroyed 8.4 million hectares – an area larger than Scotland - of Australian bushland.<span> </span></p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/m8FnorbkJS4" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>The drought and record high temperatures that have contributed to ravage Australia, and have been since the start of its summer have led to the deaths of as many as half a billion wild native animals.</p> <p>To address Australia directing, the Prince said:<span> </span>“I fear this is a hopelessly inadequate way of trying to get a message to all of you that both my wife and myself are thinking of you so very much at such an incredibly difficult time and in such impossible and terrifying circumstances.</p> <p>“Both of us have been in despair the last several weeks watching this appalling horror unfolding in Australia and witnessing so much of what you are having to go through from this distance.</p> <p>“Those of you who have tragically lost your properties, your houses, everything.. to me it is, and to both of us, not to be believed possible. And I know how many houses have been lost.”</p> <p>He added: “Above all, we wanted to say how much we have been thinking of all those remarkable, courageous, determined firefighters who have done much and worked ceaselessly to exhaustion.<span> </span></p> <p>“We feel so deeply for the families of those who have been lost and lost their lives in the course of carrying out their remarkable duties as only they can do.</p> <p>“We also think of all the Australian wildlife that is destroyed in these appalling infernos, let alone everything else.</p> <p>“We both know how incredibly special and resilient the Australian people are.</p> <p>So I know at the end of the day, despite all this horror, you will find a way to face it all and win through.</p> <p>“All I can say is we are thinking of you and praying from you in the most determined way. I’m very proud to know you all.”</p> <p>Prince Charles is launching a new aim sometime throughout January to find solutions to the carbon emissions issue the world is facing.<span> </span></p> <p>The Sustainable Markets Council will bring together leading international figures from the private, public and philanthropic sectors to identify ways of “decarbonise the global economy” and make the transition to sustainable markets.</p> <p>Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall last visited Australia in April of 2018, where they travelled throughout the Northern Territory and Queensland.<span> </span></p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see the royal couple’s travels through Australia in 2018.</p> <p><em>OverSixty, its parent company and its owners are donating a total of $200,000 to the Vinnie’s Bushfire Appeal. We have also pledged an additional $100,000 of product to help all those affected by the bushfire crisis. We would love you to support too! Head to the <a rel="noopener" href="https://donate.vinnies.org.au/appeals-nsw/vinnies-nsw-bushfire-appeal-nsw" target="_blank">Vinnie's website</a>​ to donate!​</em><br /><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker">​</span></p>

Domestic Travel

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Making sense of Australia's bushfire crisis

<p>Bushfires plunder lives and landscapes in myriad ways, but they often start the same way. A bright morning suddenly turns to night. Ash flutters down from the sky, propelled ahead of the roaring fire front. An awful red glow slinks over the horizon.</p> <p>When I awoke in the NSW south coast town of Bermagui on the last day of 2019, I should have twigged straight away. At 8am the sky was a gruesome orange-black, the surrounding bush freakishly quiet. Our mobile phones had no signal. Outside, my car was coated in soot.</p> <p>We knew fires were burning more than 100km up the coast at Batemans Bay, but Bermagui had seemed a safe distance away. Suddenly, it wasn’t.</p> <p>Fire was bearing down on the seaside town, <a href="https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6561329/residents-evacuate-to-beaches-as-south-coast-fires-pose-serious-threat/">burning so fiercely</a> it created its own thunderstorm. Residents evacuated to the beach after emergency text messages at 4am, but with our phone service down we’d slept on, oblivious. When my partner and I woke and worked out what was happening, we too bundled our bewildered young son into the car and fled.</p> <p>Of course amid the devastation wrought this fire season, a disrupted holiday is nothing to complain about. Bushfires have decimated huge swathes of Australia this fire season, taking with them, at the time of writing, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/04/australia-fires-death-toll-rises-and-six-people-missing-as-pm-calls-in-military">23 lives</a> and more than 1500 homes.</p> <p>Thousands of holidaymakers in NSW and Victoria were <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/families-stuck-in-mallacoota-after-navy-ships-discouraged-children-under-5-20200104-p53otm.html">stranded for days</a> in towns with <a href="https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/australias-apocalyptic-bushfire-towns-go-into-panic-stations-as-supermarket-shelves-are-cleared-petrol-stations-run-dry-water-supplies-are-contaminated-and-communities-struggle-without-power/ar-BBYwcd7">dwindling food</a> and <a href="https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6564632/fuel-shortages-slowing-bushfire-evacuees/?cs=14231">fuel </a>supplies. Some were forced to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/01/malua-bay-fire-survivors-tell-how-1000-people-lived-through-a-night-of-flames-on-nsw-beach">shelter on beaches</a>, dodging embers and watching flames creep ever closer. And we cannot forget the animals – <a href="https://sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2020/01/03/a-statement-about-the-480-million-animals-killed-in-nsw-bushfire.html">millions have been killed</a> this fire season, or will soon die from lack of food or shelter.</p> <p>With all roads out of Bermagui closed, we spent New Year’s Eve at a local club which had hastily been converted into an evacuation centre. Many evacuees were from the nearby fire-hit town of Cobargo. Some knew the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-31/father-and-son-patrick-and-robert-salway-die-in-cobargo-bushfire/11835194">father and son</a> who died after staying to defend their property. Many would presumably soon discover their own homes were gone. They watched, hands over their mouths, as the club’s giant plasma screens beamed images of their once-charming town, now a jumble of rubble and corrugated iron.</p> <p>We lay our doonas down between rows of poker machines and lined up for dinner with hundreds of other evacuees. Food supplies in the town had already run short – the shelves of the local Woolworths were all but empty. To feed the hordes, volunteers began rationing dinner portions to just half a sausage and a slice of bread. They had no idea where tomorrow’s meals would come from.</p> <p>All this raises inevitable questions. To what extent is climate change driving these fires, and how much of that is Australia’s fault? Do we need a permanent, paid rural fire-fighting force to deal with this “new normal”? Are our fuel, food and communications systems resilient enough to cope with these disasters? And how do we cope with the deep anxiety these fires provoke, on both a personal and societal level?</p> <p>Over the coming days and weeks, The Conversation will examine the tough issues emerging from this crisis. Our authors, experts in the field, will cut through the political spin and information barrage to help you understand this national disaster, and what it means for our future.</p> <p>Today, the University of Tasmania’s David Bowman examines whether it’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/as-bushfire-and-holiday-seasons-converge-it-may-be-time-to-say-goodbye-to-the-typical-australian-summer-holiday-129337">time to ditch the traditional summer holiday</a>, when thousands of people head to bushy areas in peak bushfire season. And while the fires absorb our attention, Monash University’s Neville Nicholls <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-bushfires-are-horrendous-but-expect-cyclones-floods-and-heatwaves-too-129328">reminds us</a> that cyclones, floods and heatwaves are also likely this summer.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/308512/original/file-20200105-11929-1o23zqy.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption">The aftermath of fires at Cobargo, near Bermagui, where buildings were destroyed and two men died.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Sean Davey</span></span></p> <p>On New Year’s Day, the wind having blown the fires away from Bermagui, officials opened a road out. They warned us to leave before conditions changed again. We had just under half a tank of diesel, and neither Bermagui nor the next town, Tarthra, had supplies. We drove on. No diesel at Bega either, until a local told us of a truck station on the outskirts of town where we filled up.</p> <p>The trip home was slow and smoky, and phone reception patchy. It struck me how vulnerable we are to technology and transport systems that can so easily shut down. We tried to buy a paper map in case of detours, but no service stations stocked them.</p> <p>Our three-year-old son grasped little of what was happening. I suggested a game of I-Spy, but it was soon abandoned – the smoke meant there was nothing much to see. We drove through blackened landscapes where sheep wandered paddocks with the wool burnt off their backs. My son, sensing the mood, asked why his dad and I were so quiet.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/308515/original/file-20200105-11900-15npdpw.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption">Smoke haze in Canberra from the South Coast bushfires has pushed air quality to extremely hazardous levels.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Lucas Coch/AAP</span></span></p> <p>In the days after we arrived back in Canberra, air quality was more than <a href="https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6562383/air-quality-in-parts-of-canberra-20-times-above-hazardous-level/">20 times above hazardous levels.</a> Shops and swimming pools were closed, and mail deliveries were cancelled. A woman reportedly died from respiratory distress after exiting a plane to a tarmac filled with smoke. Babies were <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/ginarushton/baby-delivery-canberra-bushfire-smoke">born into smoke-filled hospital theatres</a>; their parents despaired at what the future holds.</p> <p>When the immediate threat of these fires has passed, many bigger questions will remain. The Conversation will continue to bring you the responsible, evidence-based journalism you need to be properly informed. Thank you for your continued support.</p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/au/team#nicole-hasham">Nicole Hasham</a>, Section Editor: Energy + Environment, <a href="http://www.theconversation.com/">The Conversation</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/making-sense-of-australias-bushfire-crisis-means-asking-hard-questions-and-listening-to-the-answers-129302">original article</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky offer rare glimpse inside $20 million Byron Bay mansion

<p>Hemsworth and his family just moved into their $20 million mansion in Byron Bay.</p> <p>On Wednesday, the Australian actor’s wife, Elsa Pataky, shared a rare look into the lives of the Hemsworths’.</p> <p>The Spanish actress, 43, posted a rare video to her Instagram page of herself helping her three children decorate their gigantic Christmas tree.</p> <p>The couple’s daughter, seven-year-old India Rose, and five-year-old twins Tristan and Sasha – were all seen wearing adorable patching plaid pyjamas.</p> <p>In the clip, one of Elsa’s children offered a candy cane decoration to their mother, which she then placed high on the tree.</p> <p>The Hemsworths' tree was adorned with red poinsettia flowers and gold and red baubles, and also featured a gold star on top.</p> <p>In November, Elsa made a guest appearance on<span> </span>The Kyle and Jackie O Show<span> </span>to address complaints made by neighbours that her famous actor husband’s home “looks like a shopping centre.”</p> <p>“Seriously, it's not that big!” she said live on air.</p> <p>Elsa also added people believed the 4.2-hectare estate appeared bigger on aerial photographs due to the angle it was taken.</p> <p>Elsa married Chris, who reached international fame for playing<span> </span>Thor<span> </span>in the Marvel Universe films, in 2010.</p> <p>The couple had been dating for less than a year at the time.</p> <p>36-year-old Chris purchased their Byron Bay property for $7million in 2014.</p> <p>They began extensive renovations in 2017 and the property is now believed to be worth in excess of $20 million.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see the Hemsworth family. </p>

Domestic Travel

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Australia’s 'Ultimate Bucket List' showcases top travel destinations

<p>Most of us have a list of places we want to see before we kick the bucket, so to speak. With many of those places right here in our own backyard,<span> </span><em>Australia’s Ultimate Bucket List</em><span> </span>is the perfect guide to help you tick them off your list.</p> <p>Authored by Jennifer Adams and Clint Bizzell of Network Ten’s popular travel show,<span> </span><em>Places We Go</em>, the book showcases 100 of the top destinations across the country — all complimented by amazing photography and linked to a map of Australia.</p> <p>It covers every state and territory, and will show you where to swim in hidden waterfalls, walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs, gaze at ancient rock art, drive through red dirt landscapes, and ski mountaintops.</p> <p>WYZA spoke to Jennifer about how and why<span> </span><em>Australia’s Ultimate Bucket List</em><span> </span>came to be.</p> <p><strong>WYZA: You’ve obviously written this book because you love travelling — especially around Australia — and you want to share that with others. What would you say to inspire people who haven’t yet seen much of our country?</strong></p> <p><strong>Jennifer Adams:</strong><span> </span>Australia is one of the biggest surprises! Clint and I travelled so much overseas up until we had [our daughter] Charli and it wasn’t until after she was born that we decided, like so many others, to explore our own backyard.</p> <p>It began with a four-month drive around Australia and we were quite simply blown away. One of the things we couldn’t believe was how much we had been missing. Many of us think we have to go to another country to find different and diverse culture, food, and landscapes, but you can find all of that here — and some of it, the best in the world.</p> <p>We would love more people to consider, for example, a trip to the Red Centre instead of an annual resort holiday overseas. It is equally invigorating, refreshing, educational, inspiring, and rewarding — and gives you a much deeper understanding of who and what our country is.</p> <p>The people you meet around Australia are truly one of the highlights. Get out of the major cities and you will find people that are so passionate about where they live, it is inspiring. Regional travel operators who work every day to bring the unique experiences of their location to life are some of the best people you will ever encounter.</p> <p><strong>WYZA: The book features 100 of the very best destinations across Australia. Was it difficult to cut the list down to 100 places or was it relatively easy to know what had to go in?</strong></p> <p><strong>Jennifer Adams:</strong><span> </span>It actually wasn’t easy at all. There was definitely a group of destinations we unanimously and vehemently agreed on — they were the “no brainers”. But it was surprising how hard it got when we were down to the last twenty or so, to pick the final destinations and stop stressing that we had forgotten or missed something that we would regret later.</p> <p>We also took the public vote into consideration, and looked carefully at those destinations that kept being voted for time and time again. Not only did our fellow Aussies let us in on some fantastic secrets, they also did a lot to confirm our own feelings on places to visit.<br /><br /><strong>WYZA: Do you have your own personal top ten places to visit in Australia or is that just too difficult?</strong></p> <p><strong>Jennifer Adams:</strong><span> </span>That’s very difficult! It changes all the time but we always come back to places in and around the Kimberley region of Western Australia, the Red Centre, Kakadu, the east coast of Tasmania, Cradle Mountain, Wilsons Promontory, Birdsville, the Whitsundays, outback South Australia, and the south coast of NSW. I know that’s not very specific but we love to do road trips so we always consider “regions” to be destinations.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://cdn.wyza.com.au/media/5956276/cradle-mountain-700x400-wyza-com-au.jpg" alt="Cradle -mountain -700x 400-wyza -com -au" width="700" height="400" /><br /><em>Jennifer recommends Tasmania and Cradle Mountain in particular as a must-see!</em></p> <p><strong>WYZA: If someone only has a few weeks to travel around Australia, what would you say are the “must see” places that really define Australia and will leave them feeling they have seen some of the key landmarks?</strong></p> <p><strong>Jennifer Adams:</strong><span> </span>Definitely the Red Centre — including the MacDonnell Ranges, Kings Canyon, and of course, Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Not only are the landscapes breathtaking, the deep history and culture of the area leaves such a lasting impression of “Australia” on your soul.</p> <p>We would also suggest visiting one of our iconic coastlines, like the Whitsundays, Far North Queensland, the northern NSW coast, or the Coral Coast of WA to experience how spectacular our beaches really are and what the typical “Aussie beach holiday” is really like.</p> <p>Also, Sydney Harbour is a treat for any visitor’s eyes, and some of our alpine regions — such as the Snowy Mountains or Grampians. Australia is always considered a flat, desert landscape by overseas visitors, it is good to introduce them to some of our alpine adventures and pristine wilderness.</p> <p>Can we also add Tassie to the mix? The food and wine is such a sublime showcase of what we can produce — certain to impress any visitor!<br /><br /><strong>WYZA: If people have more time, how would you encourage them to use your book? Should they select the type of travel they’re after and then plan according to places which offer this experience and appeal to them?</strong></p> <p><strong>Jennifer Adams:</strong><span> </span>Our first intention is to inspire people. There are so many people out there who don’t have a defined idea of where they want to go and what they want to see and, as we all know, the internet can be a rabbit hole when you start looking.</p> <p>Initially, we hope people will pick up the book, flick through the beautiful pictures, and something will catch their eye. Then there is information including personal stories and “what to do" to confirm their interest enough to keep researching that particular destination.</p> <p>If people do have something in mind, we hope they can flick to that state or particular destination to read further and get some of our insights.</p> <p><strong>WYZA: You often refer to the traditional owners of the areas you’re talking about — the Indigenous people who used to live there or still do. When you were researching this book, was it important to you to learn about the Aboriginal people and their history so you could include this in your book?</strong></p> <p><strong>Jennifer Adams:</strong><span> </span>It was extremely important for us to give a truthful background to every destination including acknowledgment of the indigenous people who originally inhabited and used the land. When we were researching many of the destinations in our book, we added so much to our own knowledge of the area — some of it fascinating, some of it sad, that’s just the truth of it.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://cdn.wyza.com.au/media/5956278/uluru-viewing-700x400-wyza-com-au.jpg" alt="Uluru -viewing -700x 400-wyza -com -au" width="700" height="400" /><br /><em>The sparse beauty of the Red Centre is another part of Australia that cannot be missed (Image credit: <span>FiledIMAGE / Shutterstock.com)</span></em></p> <p>We didn’t want to gloss over that part of our country’s history and only talk about the significance white people have created. Many of the destinations that we chose around Australia, we love for the Aboriginal culture and heritage — such as Kakadu, Mount Borradaile, and many parts of the Kimberley. These stories add so much meaning and depth to a destination, and should be acknowledged.</p> <p>When we have been to these places ourselves, some of the main memories we took away with us were the indigenous stories and people we met — many traditional owners included. We think it’s important that Australian and overseas visitors acknowledge this about any destination where possible — it really does add so much more meaning to your time there and, we hope, helps to bridge the gaps.</p> <p><strong>WYZA: You often refer to the wildlife in an area. Is learning about all the diverse wildlife is one of the interesting parts of travelling to these places?</strong></p> <p><strong>Jennifer Adams:</strong><span> </span>Australia is so incredibly lucky to be blessed with such prolific, diverse, and unique wildlife. It really is one of our true points of difference. Not only should this be an attraction for overseas visitors, but also for Australian visitors.</p> <p>We all get a kick out of spotting a koala in the tree or a kangaroo hopping into our campsite, right? And from speaking to so many travellers around the country, we know it is a key attraction — so we took care to detail what wildlife people will find in certain places because it is all part of the experience!</p> <p><em>'Australia's Ultimate Bucket List' is available now in all good bookstores and <a rel="noopener" href="http://t.dgm-au.com/c/185116/69171/1880?u=https://www.booktopia.com.au/australia-s-ultimate-bucket-list-jennifer-adams/prod9781741175714.html" target="_blank">online</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Written by Pamela Connellan. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/travel/australia%E2%80%99s-ultimate-bucket-list-showcases-top-travel-destinations.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a></em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Travelling on the Ghan makes for a luxury outback experience

<p>Great train journeys have always possessed a romantic attraction, but when you marry that with the mystical allure of Australia’s red heart it becomes a truly extraordinary experience. This captivating combination is ready to be discovered by travellers on<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.greatsouthernrail.com.au/" target="_blank">The Ghan</a>.</p> <p>Slicing through the heart of the nation from<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.greatsouthernrail.com.au/site/the_ghan.jsp" target="_blank">Adelaide to Darwin</a>, The Ghan provides a unique opportunity to absorb the majesty of the great Australian outback. The sheer scale of the journey stirs the imagination as The Ghan relentlessly ploughs through the remote expanse, while you witness its timeless beauty.</p> <p><strong>A transforming experience</strong></p> <p>The journey from top to bottom takes three days and two nights, giving you ample time to become immersed in the grandeur of the endless ochre and red landscape. Whether it’s the sweeping beauty of the Adelaide Plains, the splendour of the Flinders Ranges or theglorious desert sunsets of the centre, the scenery offers a mesmerising vista. At the same time you have all the comforts of a world class train, with gourmet food and wine, personalised service and cosy, private accommodation on board. The gold and platinum service offers that little bit of extra luxury that is well worth the extra cost.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://cdn.wyza.com.au/media/1060/ghan_luxury_outback_experience_497x335.jpg" alt="Ghan_luxury_outback_experience" width="497" height="335" /></p> <p><strong>Encounter uniquely Australian attractions</strong></p> <p>For those who feel adventurous, you can break your journey at Alice Springs and enjoy a few days exploring Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon at your leisure, then return to pick up the train journey when it suits.</p> <p>Alternately, you can take shorter packaged off-train excursions within the one journey. These are available at Alice Springs and Katherine, so that you can sample the local aboriginal culture, colonial history and scenic wonders. Options include a desert park tour, cultural experience tours, a cruise on the Katherine River at Nitmiluk gorge, or if you are feeling more adventurous you can take the thrill of a camel trail ride or helicopter tour.</p>

Domestic Travel

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Discover the delights of rural Queensland

<p>WYZA<sup>®</sup><span> </span>reader Phil Hawkes shares his experience of exploring outback Queensland - from Quilpie to Eromanga.</p> <p><strong>"There’s nothing to do in Quilpie!"</strong></p> <p>That’s what several friends who have been outback all the way to<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.queensland.com/en-us/destination%20information/birdsville" target="_blank"><span>Birdsville</span></a><span> </span>and beyond, said when I told them my plans for a road trip from Brisbane. “It’s a boring highway getting to<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.queensland.com/en-us/destination%20information/quilpie" target="_blank"><span>Quilpie</span></a><span> </span>and there’s nothing exciting happening except for the counter teas at the old Imperial Hotel,” they added.</p> <p>That seemed to be the sum of their own experience, not too promising. Nevertheless we decided to give it a go and the result was anything but dull. If you throw nearby Eromanga and then Windorah into the mix, there’s so much to see and do in that area that we’d willingly go back again.</p> <p>First, Quilpie, which locals describes as “Simply Unique”. That may be a stretch but this small town in the Channel Country has a definite friendly vibe and all the essential services for the traveller. There’s even a couple of coffee shops with good coffee, which is a pleasant surprise if you’ve been drinking only Nescafe in your caravan!</p> <p>Quilpie is famous for its boulder opal mining industry and there’s a beautiful altar at St. Finbarr’s Church made from a collage of boulder opals. You can also go fossicking and maybe get lucky. It’s a fun thing to do and a good reason to stay around for a few days.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img src="https://cdn.wyza.com.au/media/341363/opal-alta-at-st-finbarrs-quilpie_500x333.jpg" alt="Opal -Alta -at -St -Finbarrs -Quilpie" width="500" height="333" /><br />The altar at St Finbarrs is covered with stunning opals</em></p> <p>The Heritage Hotel in the main street is being painstakingly restored by owner Troy Minnett who also runs the nearby caravan park. The hotel rooms are comfortable with aircon, flat TV and a decent shower, and there’s a convivial bar as well as a wide verandah overlooking the street. Troy can also book you on an Eromanga Tour to see the dinosaur fossils, or on one of two mail runs to see the “real outback”. Highly recommended.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://cdn.wyza.com.au/media/341319/phil-hawkes-blady-top-wyza-com-au_500x333.jpg" alt="Phil -hawkes -blady -top -wyza -com -au" width="500" height="333" /><br /><em>Phil Hawkes hit the road to explore something different from the typical Queensland landscape<br /></em></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="http://flyingarts.org.au/gallery-location/quilpie-museum-gallery-visitor-information-centre/" target="_blank"><span>The Quilpie Visitor Information Centre, Gallery and Museum</span></a><span> </span>has daily town tours which take you to Baldy Top lookout and Lake Houdraman with its abundant bird life. Upcoming events include the Polocrosse Carnival 25-26 June; the Quilpie Fringe Festival 1-2 July; and the Quilpie Show and Rodeo on 10 September. Troy says that visitors often stop in Quilpie for a night or two and then stay for a week. There is plenty to do!</p> <p>Next,<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.australianexplorer.com/eromanga.htm" target="_blank"><span>Eromanga</span></a>. It’s just 108 kms from Quilpie and has suddenly become famous because of an extraordinary find. . . dinosaur fossils from 95-98 million years ago. These include the bones of the biggest dinosaur yet discovered in Australia, a Titanosaur named Cooper after his final resting place in the Cooper Basin.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://cdn.wyza.com.au/media/341320/phil-hawkes-royal-hotel-wyza-com-au_500x333.jpg" alt="Phil -hawkes -royal -hotel -wyza -com -au" width="500" height="333" /><br /><em>The Royal Hotel in Eromanga holds a rustic charm<br /></em></p> <p>To add to the prehistoric mystery, at nearby Eulo there have been discoveries of megasaurs, large creatures such as Kenny the Diprotodon. These are all displayed in a brand new building, the Eromanga Natural History Museum which is an absolute must if you’re out that way. Robyn Mackenzie, whose son made the first dinosaur discovery, is extremely knowledgeable and together with her passionate staff will enthral you with a guided tour.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">In Eromanga there’s also the fascinating Natural History Centre and also the Royal Hotel for a counter lunch with the chance to meet colourful locals such as “Giggles” who is an opal miner and a great storyteller. Eromanga is a real outback gem.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://cdn.wyza.com.au/media/341321/phil-hawkes-giggles-wyza-com-au_500x333.jpg" alt="Phil -hawkes -giggles -wyza -com -au" width="500" height="333" /><br /><em> 'Giggles' is an opal miner and one of the friendly locals in Eromanga</em></p> <p>Last stop on the mostly unsealed road to Birdsville is<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.queensland.com/en-us/destination%20information/windorah" target="_blank"><span>Windorah</span></a><span> </span>another friendly, meet-the-locals kind of place. The Western Star Hotel is the social hub of the district and you’re welcome to introduce yourself to locals such as station owners and workers, a teacher, the local cop, an Indigenous elder and various blow-ins over lunch or if you’re lucky, an evening BBQ with excellent food.</p> <p>The Western Star has comfortable motel-style rooms and a camping area, and has won the “Best Outback Hotel” award for the last two years. Managers Marilyn and Ian Simpson exemplify true outback hospitality.</p> <p>Maureen and Helen at the Visitor Information Centre can arrange for local tours around Cooper’s Creek and the red sandhills, or get Jeff to take you out yabbying.</p> <p>And the Outback Store opposite the pub sells the best home-made relishes and preserves you’ll find anywhere. We tried Kim’s tomato relish and it’s almost worth a trip back to Windorah to get some more.<em><br /></em></p> <p>Seeing this beautiful part of the country has given us a taste of the real outback and we’re already thinking about the next trip, and the characters we’ll meet - including Cooper and Kenny.</p> <p><em>Written by Phil Hawkes. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/travel/discover-the-delights-of-rural-queensland.aspx"><em>Wyza.com.au</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Domestic Travel

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How countries can recycle more buildings

<p>More than <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.118710">35 billion tonnes</a> of non-metallic minerals are extracted from the Earth every year. These materials mainly end up being used to build homes, schools, offices and hospitals. It’s a staggering amount of resources, and it’s only too likely to increase in the coming years as the global population continues to grow.</p> <p>Thankfully, the challenges of sustainable construction, industrial growth and the importance of resource efficiency are now clearly recognised by governments around the world and are now at the forefront of strategy and policy.</p> <p>A critical component of the <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/securing-the-future-delivering-uk-sustainable-development-strategy">UK government’s sustainability strategy</a> concerns the way in which construction and demolition waste – CDW, as we call it in the trade – is managed. CDW comes from the construction of buildings, civil infrastructure and their demolition and is one of the heaviest waste streams generated in the world – 35% of the world’s landfill is made up of CDW.</p> <p>The EU’s <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/growth/content/eu-construction-and-demolition-waste-protocol-0_en">Waste Framework Directive</a>, which aims to recycle 70% of non-hazardous CDW by 2020, has encouraged the construction industry to process and reuse materials more sustainably. This directive, which favours preventive measures – for example, reducing their use in the first place – as the best approach to tackling waste, has been implemented in the UK since 2011. More specific to the construction industry, the <a href="https://www.sustainabilityexchange.ac.uk/berr-strategy-for-sustainable-construction">Sustainable Construction Strategy</a> also sets overall targets for diverting CDW from landfill.</p> <p>Policies worldwide recognise that the construction sector needs to take immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, tackle the climate crisis and limit resource depletion, with a focus on adopting a <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-a-circular-economy-29666">circular economy</a> approach in construction to ensure the sustainable use of construction materials.</p> <p>Instead of simply knocking buildings down and sending the CDW to landfill, circular construction would turn building components that are at the end of their service life into resources for others, minimising waste.</p> <p>It would change economic logic because it replaces production with sufficiency: reuse what you can, recycle what cannot be reused, repair what is broken, and re-manufacture what cannot be repaired. It will also help protect businesses against a shortage of resources and unstable prices, creating innovative business opportunities and efficient methods of producing and consuming.</p> <p><strong>Changing the mind-set</strong></p> <p>The mind-set of the industry needs to change towards the cleaner production of raw materials and better circular construction models. Technical issues – such as price, legal barriers and regulations – that stand in the way of the solutions being rolled out more widely must also be overcome through innovation.</p> <p>Materials scientists, for example, are currently investigating and developing products that use processed CDW for manufacturing building components – for example, by crushing up CDW and using it to make new building materials.</p> <p>Technical problems around the reuse of recycled materials should be solved through clever material formulations and detailed property investigations. For instance, the high water absorption rate in recycled aggregates causes durability problems in wall components. This is something that research must address.<span class="attribution"><a href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/manager-engineer-check-control-automation-robot-1104780941" class="source"></a></span></p> <p>Moreover, it is illegal in the EU to use products that haven’t been certified for construction. This is one of the main obstacles standing in the way of the more widespread reuse of materials, particularly in a structural capacity. Testing the performance of materials for certification can be expensive, which adds to the cost of the material and may cancel out any savings made from reusing them.</p> <p>For the construction, demolition and waste management industries to remain competitive in a global marketplace, they must continue to develop and implement supply chain innovations that improve efficiency and reduce energy, waste and resource use. To achieve this, substantial research into smart, mobile and integrated systems is necessary.</p> <p>Radically advanced robotic artificial intelligence (AI) systems for sorting and processing CDW must also be developed. Many industries are facing an uncertain future and today’s technological limitations cannot be assumed to apply. The construction industry is likely to be significantly affected by the potential of transformative technologies such as AI, 3D printing, virtual/augmented reality and robotics. The application of such technologies presents both significant opportunities and challenges.</p> <p><strong>A model for the future</strong></p> <p>As the image below shows, we have developed a concept for an integrated, eco-friendly circular construction solution.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/304567/original/file-20191201-156095-1h42cnl.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption"></span> <span class="attribution"><span class="license">Author provided</span></span></p> <p>Advanced sensors and AI that can detect quickly and determine accurately what can be used among CDW and efficient robotic sorting could aid circular construction by vastly <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.autcon.2018.05.005">improving the recycling of a wide range of materials</a>. The focus should be on the smart dismantling of buildings and ways of optimising cost-effective processes.</p> <p>The industry must also be inspired to highlight and prove the extraordinary potential of this new construction economy. We can drive this through a combination of creative design, focused academic research and applied technology, external industry engagement and flexible, responsive regulation.</p> <p>Only through a combination of efforts can we start to recycle more buildings, but I’m confident that with the right will – and the right investment – we can start to massively reduce the amount of materials we pull from the ground each year and move towards a truly sustainable future.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/126563/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/seyed-ghaffar-500624">Seyed Ghaffar</a>, Associate Professor in Civil Engineering and Environmental Materials, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/brunel-university-london-1685">Brunel University London</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-we-can-recycle-more-buildings-126563">original article</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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New $10 million floating hotel lets you stay in the Great Barrier Reef

<p>A new $10 million floating hotel on the Great Barrier Reef is offering Australia’s first underwater suites, which means tourists are able to wake up to the natural wildlife.</p> <p>The <a href="https://cruisewhitsundays.com/experiences/reefsuites/">Reefsuites</a> at Hardy Reef are set to be a “game changer” for the local tourism industry, according to Tourism Minister Kate Jones.</p> <p>“This will be one of the most iconic tourism projects in the world,” she said in a <a href="http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2019/8/1/new-attraction-to-bring-thousands-of-tourists-to-the-whitsundays">statement</a>.</p> <p>“We want to invest in tourism attractions that we know will attract more visitors to the Whitsundays and support local jobs – this project will achieve just that.”</p> <p>The two exclusive suites sit four metres below the surface, with just three inches of glass separating you from the reef life outside.</p> <p>At night, outside lights illuminate the waters so you can see what happens in the reef after dark.</p> <p>Floor to ceiling windows are a part of the experience so you don’t miss anything.</p> <p>The project began in 2017 as the pontoon was reconstructed after damage from Cyclone Debbie. The project was developed by Cruise Whitsundays and the Queensland Government.</p> <p>“Today is a landmark moment for Australia,” says Luke Walker, from Journey Beyond, the parent company of Cruise Whitsundays.</p> <p>“We are extremely privileged to have access to such a truly breathtaking and remote part of Australia and to provide both local and international guests the chance to gain a deeper appreciation of our wonderful Great Barrier Reef,” he says.</p> <p>Each Reefsuite has a two-person capacity, but guests can also camp under the stars as the roof of the pontoon is set up to accommodate a dozen queen beds in custom-built canvas canopies. Up to 28 visitors at a time can be on the pontoon.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see the pontoon and how the suites will look underwater.</p> <p><em>Photo credits: <a href="https://cruisewhitsundays.com/experiences/reefsuites/">Cruise Whitsundays</a></em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Mums slam "secretly underwhelming" tourist attractions

<p>Mumsnet is a forum where mothers gather together and voice their opinions on a range of topics, including what tourist destinations are “secretly underwhelming”.</p> <p>This topic spread like wildfire, and the answers will either have you agreeing or shaking your head in disapproval.</p> <p>In a thread titled “What famous landmark or must visit place/thing were you secretly underwhelmed by?”, Mumsnet user Midge1978 elaborates on her provocative question.</p> <p>“I went to Stonehenge this year and whilst I was trying to get in touch with my inner druid, trying to project historical importance and mystery onto the place, I just couldn’t escape the feeling that I was just looking at some very old stones and it was actually (whisper) a little bit boring!!” she said.</p> <p>“My husband thought it was all marvellous though so I have never told him!!!”</p> <p>Others were quick to voice their opinions, even knocking the Great Barrier Reef.</p> <p>“The Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef,” said one mum, declining to elaborate.</p> <p>Another mum seconded her, “Yes, Great Barrier Reef – sadly, and only because there is so much coral die back it is depressing. Genuinely disappointing as diving here was a long-held dream of mine.”</p> <p>Paintings were even on the list, with some mentioning <em>The Scream</em>.</p> <p>Midge agreed and shared her experience of seeing <em>The Mona Lisa</em>.</p> <p>“Oh gosh yes The Mona Lisa – queued for bloody ages to see a small dull painting that I had already seen emblazoned over every item in the gift shop!” she said.</p> <p>“The pyramids/sphinx,” said another mum. “I expected a mystical, magical place in the desert. I got … lots of beggars/sales people/McDonalds. Gutted.”</p> <p>Another mum agreed: “Yep Midge, sorry. I have a fabulous photo that everyone aaahs over of the sphinx with a pyramid behind it and a clear blue sky. When I look at it all I can think is “I was standing in front of McDonald’s when I took that …”</p> <p>However, some comments called out the lack of culture in Australia.</p> <p>“The whole of Australia frankly – no culture at all apart from the Aboriginal history,” someone wrote.</p> <p>“The Aborigines were treated like sh*t by the white Australians which disgusted me. Didn’t hear a single one have a good thing to say about the indigenous population – notice how there’s never any on Australian TV.”</p> <p>New Zealand made the list too.</p> <p>“Another vote for the various different landmarks in New Zealand. I went expecting awe-inspiring views and to be blown away by the scenery, but I wasn’t,” one said.</p> <p>“It’s all really nice, don’t get me wrong. But the mountain views aren’t as good as those in the European Alps, the fjords aren’t as good as Norway’s, various bits of Scotland etc. It’s like a 7 out of 10 of everything all in one country, compared to 9 or 10 out of 10 of other things scattered around the world.”</p>

Domestic Travel

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Surprise Aussie destination makes National Geographic’s “most exciting” destinations to visit in 2020

<p>National Geographic has surprised and delighted many by including another region in Australia on their “<a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/features/best-trips-2020/">best trips to take in 2020</a>” list.</p> <p>Usually, it’s expected that cities like Sydney, Melbourne or even the Gold Coast appear on these lists, but National Geographic included the region of Tasmania.</p> <p>Tasmania came in at number 16 on the list of 25, as the destination has quickly become a hotspot for domestic and international travellers.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B5Pf8LQgkYk/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B5Pf8LQgkYk/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Discover Tasmania (@tasmania)</a> on Nov 24, 2019 at 12:53am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The 2019 figures indicate that the region has experienced the biggest growth in international visitors in the country.</p> <p>The latest figures released from Tourism Research Australia showed that 307,000 international visitors explored Tasmania in the 12 months to September last year. This is a 15 per cent increase on the previous 12 months.</p> <p>Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said to the <em><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-09/tasmania-tourism-boom-driven-by-chinese-tourists-report-says/10701274">ABC</a></em> that the growth has largely been driven by visitors from China.</p> <p>“Part of the lift in Tasmanian tourism can be attributed to (having a) high profile in China, associated with President (Xi Jinping’s) visit to Tasmania over the last couple of years,” he said.</p> <p>“That just shows how every little thing helps in terms of growing tourism.”</p> <p>However, Luke Martin from the Tourism Industry Council in Tasmania has said that the boom is putting pressure on the environment.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4y2iV-APky/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4y2iV-APky/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Discover Tasmania (@tasmania)</a> on Nov 12, 2019 at 9:52pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>"Those areas are jewels for Tasmania and Australia … frankly they haven't had the investment they should over time," he said.</p> <p>"We're seeing about $80 million spent on Cradle Mountain.</p> <p>"That will help with conservation challenges and its role of key tourism icon in northern Tasmania," he explained.</p> <p>"Sustainable tourism is the discussion topic for the next couple of years.</p> <p>"We've got more lead time than other countries, so we need to work out how to protect and provide access."</p>

Domestic Travel

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3 can’t miss places in Australia according to Chris Hemsworth

<p><span>Chris Hemsworth quickly rose to fame after his appearance in superhero film Thor which solidified his place in the Marvel universe.</span></p> <p><span>However, despite the atmospheric rise to fame, he still calls Australia home and loves to explore when he gets an opportunity.</span></p> <p><span>He sat down with <em><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/places-to-visit-in-australia-according-to-australians">Travel + Leisure</a></em> and spoke about his favourite places around the nation.</span></p> <p><span>“Australia has some of the most diverse, vibrant, and pristine coastlines in the world,” says Hemsworth. </span></p> <p><span>The quality of life here is second to none; plus we have some of the most unique marine wildlife. There are places where the red dirt meets crystal turquoise water, and you can go days exploring the coast without seeing anyone else. </span></p> <p><span>“You can be in the heart of a buzzing city, like Sydney or Melbourne, with great restaurants and beaches just around the corner.”</span></p> <p><span>However, his three favourite places are as follows:</span></p> <p><strong><span>1. The Kimberley</span></strong></p> <p><span>Hemsworth recently went to the Kimberley in the Northern Territory and was in awe of the natural wonders there. </span></p> <p><span>“In The Kimberley, we went fishing in one particular spot that rivalled Jurassic Park — there were crocodiles, snakes, buffalo, and an abundance of other amazing native wildlife. Sunset dinners in The Kimberley are another absolute must. </span></p> <p><span>“The colours of the skyline there are as rich and vibrant as anywhere I've seen, and it is pretty special to see the millions of stars of the Australian outback’s night sky. We stayed at a beautiful place called Berkeley River Lodge, having dinner each night on a sand dune, barefoot in the desert sand was pretty cool.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B35W_PRFPbY/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B35W_PRFPbY/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by The Berkeley River Lodge (@berkeleyriverlodge)</a> on Oct 21, 2019 at 3:00pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span>“And one of the best afternoons in The Kimberley was swimming in a secluded waterhole at the base of a waterfall. We helicoptered down along the winding Berkeley River and then boated across to this really private spot. It's something I'll never forget.”</span></p> <p><strong><span>2. The Whitsundays</span></strong></p> <p><span>The Whitsundays are a must-see if you’re interested in seeing the Great Barrier Reef, which is the world’s largest coral reef at 2,300kms long. </span></p> <p><span>“In the Whitsundays, we stayed at One&amp;Only Hayman Island, which was a real highlight. Amazing food and wine, it overlooks the reef — plus, they have an awesome kids club, with face painting, fish feeding, jewellery making, and some great swimming pools for us to chill out as a family,” Hemsworth remembered.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B47KYzXh1Qm/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B47KYzXh1Qm/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Małgorzata Stępińska (@mstepinska67)</a> on Nov 16, 2019 at 3:20am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span>“On the Great Barrier Reef, I went scuba diving for the first time, which was amazing. It’s like visiting another planet. We also had an afternoon at Whitehaven Beach, which was absolutely stunning—it has the most pristine white sand and crystal-clear water. </span></p> <p><span>“The next day we took the kids for a picnic and a bit of beach cricket on Langford Island, just off Hayman Island. The kids loved running along the sand and playing in the shallows.”</span></p> <p><strong><span>3. Uluru</span></strong></p> <p><span>Hemsworth said that the first time he saw the rock monolith was “really awesome”.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B5TeWgwn5r-/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B5TeWgwn5r-/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Anna Gibson (@annacatherinegibson)</a> on Nov 25, 2019 at 1:56pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span>“</span>We had the very special experience of meeting with Sammy Wilson, a local Anangu Traditional Owner. Listening to the local Indigenous people speaking with us about the cultural and spiritual significance of Uluru was fascinating and inspiring.</p> <p>“The kids loved running around the base of the rock and exploring all the little caves and trails.”</p>

Domestic Travel

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Australia named Travel + Leisure’s Destination of the Year for 2020

<p>Australia has taken out the title for the 2020 Destination of the Year from Travel + Leisure Magazine.</p> <p>The title of the Destination of the Year goes to places that the magazine says captures the travel zeitgeist of the moment, whether that’s cultural relevance, energy or experiences.</p> <p>Editor-in-chief Jacqui Gifford explained “why now” in a statement to <em><a href="https://news.yahoo.com/australia-named-travel-leisures-destination-2020-164952069.html">Yahoo News</a></em>.</p> <p>"Why Australia? And why now? It's always been considered a 'bucket list' spot, a place that people would reserve for a once-in-a-lifetime trip when they had a longer window of time to travel," she explained.</p> <p>"In today's 24/7-connected world, we want you to switch off and take that time. If the thrill of travel is to be pushed, mentally and physically, to discover something new -- and to appreciate the simple, awe-inspiring beauty of this earth -- Australia and its seven states deliver and then some."</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B444MuRjJeH/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B444MuRjJeH/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Dreaming of visiting our 2020 Destination of the Year, Australia? We've teamed up with @blacktomatotravel to create a one-of-a-kind journey that will take you to Sydney, Alice Springs, Melbourne and more. Find out how to book at our link in bio! #tlpicks courtesy of @incyvincyspider</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/travelandleisure/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Travel + Leisure</a> (@travelandleisure) on Nov 15, 2019 at 6:02am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The magazine has released travel guides for all seven states of Australia, which focus on some of the natural wonders that the nation has to offer. However, it was also the culinary delights available in Australia that tipped the scales in the country’s favour.</p> <p>“New experiences and hotels have opened up less-frequented destinations. Innovative chefs and winemakers are putting a global spin on native ingredients,” according to a statement on <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/destination-of-the-year">their website</a>, which was key in helping Australia win the top spot of Destination of the Year.</p>

Domestic Travel

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Kevin the Kookaburra's killer receives maximum penalty

<p>The man who tore the head off a kookaburra at a Perth pub has been fined the maximum penalty of AU$2,500.</p> <p>WA Police and RSPCA WA began an investigation following accounts from patrons at the Parkerville Tavern, who said they witnessed Daniel Welfare rip the head off Kevin the kookaburra after the bird took food from his plate.</p> <p>The $2,500 fine is the maximum penalty for the offence of “unlawful take of fauna”.</p> <p>According to the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Welfare was the first person to be fined the maximum amount for the offence since new laws came into force on January 1.</p> <p>“Even though kookaburras are not native to Western Australia, they are classified as fauna under the Act, which means people must not take or disturb them without lawful authority,” a spokesperson said.</p> <p>The kookaburra had been well-known to pub staff and regulars prior to the attack, with a notice featuring a photo of Kevin on display at the tavern.</p> <p>“Meet one of the locals (he’s still out there). He has a love for the Parky Steak Sandwich and fish. He is loathed to buy his own and whenever possible, will sneak up and steal yours,” the sign warns.</p> <p>“Please be mindful of your precious steak sandwich and meals in the garden and in the meantime, we shall continue our negotiations with this chap in the hope that he learns some table manners.”</p> <p>A customer told <em><a href="https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/wildlife/kookaburras-head-ripped-off-in-barbaric-attack-at-parkerville-tavern-ng-b881364437z">PerthNow</a> </em>that Welfare “grabbed” Kevin after the bird flew down onto his plate.</p> <p>“I went ‘Oh my god, he’s got him’ and then he sort of just hesitated for a moment, like seconds, and then put his hands under the table and just ripped his head off,” the customer said.</p> <p>“The thing that got me is he just threw the bird on the floor, he just ditched it.”</p> <p>Investigations with the RSPCA and the Department of Primary Industries and Development are still ongoing.</p>

Domestic Travel

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Qantas lands historic non-stop flight from London to Sydney

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Qantas has done the unthinkable and touched down in Sydney after departing from London on a shocking 20-hour flight.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The journey was 17,800 kilometres long and this means that Qantas have successfully landed its second ultra-long-haul research flight as a part of Project Sunrise.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s the second time the route has been flown by a commercial airline, as the first time was back in 1989.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Project Sunrise is studying ways to combat jetlag for those on board and the flight carried just 52 passengers and crew.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s not the first test flight that Qantas has done, as they did another non-stop flight trial that connected New York and Sydney last month.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite the London-Sydney flight being 1500 kilometres further than New York-Sydney, it takes a shorter journey due to tailwinds.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said that Qantas wants to make the non-stop journeys a reality within the next few years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We know that travellers want room to move on these direct flights, and the exercises we encouraged on the first research flight seemed to work really well,” he said to </span><em><a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-advice/flights/qantas-to-add-move-and-stretch-zones-to-ultralong-haul-flights/news-story/b8359f1b6cb804809567ed253fd0578a"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“So, we’re definitely looking to incorporate on-board stretching zones and even some simple modifications like overhead handles to encourage low impact exercises.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Joyce also mentioned that the non-stop Perth to London flight has boosted confidence in the longer proposed journeys.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It had the highest customer satisfaction rating after a year of any route on our network, and it’s been the most successful launch of a new route,” he said.</span></p>

Domestic Travel

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How bushfires create their own ferocious weather systems

<p>As the <a href="https://theconversation.com/drought-and-climate-change-were-the-kindling-and-now-the-east-coast-is-ablaze-126750">east coast bushfire crisis unfolds</a>, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Rural Fire Service operational officer Brett Taylor have each warned residents bushfires can <a href="https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6486857/nsw-fire-emergency-what-all-the-terms-mean/">create their own weather systems</a>.</p> <p>This is not just a figure of speech or a general warning about the unpredictability of intense fires. Bushfires genuinely can create their own weather systems: a phenomenon known variously as firestorms, pyroclouds or, in meteorology-speak, <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/pyrocb.html">pyrocumulonimbus</a>.</p> <p>The occurrence of firestorms is increasing in Australia; there have been <a href="https://www.bnhcrc.com.au/news/2018/predicting-fire-thunderstorms">more than 50 in the period 2001-18</a>. During a six-week period earlier this year, 18 confirmed pyrocumulonimbus formed, mainly over the Victorian High Country.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/301180/original/file-20191112-178498-1f0m8xr.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption">A pyrocumulonimbus cloud generated by a bushfire in Licola,Victoria, on March 2, 2019.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Elliot Leventhal</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></p> <p>Its not clear whether the current bushfires will spawn any firestorms. But with the frequency of extreme fires set to increase due to hotter and drier conditions, it’s worth taking a closer look at how firestorms happen, and what effects they produce.</p> <p><strong>What is a firestorm?</strong></p> <p>The term “firestorm” is a contraction of “fire thunderstorm”. In simple terms, they are thunderstorms generated by the heat from a bushfire.</p> <p>In stark contrast to typical bushfires, which are relatively easy to predict and are driven by the prevailing wind, firestorms tend to form above unusually large and intense fires.</p> <p>If a fire encompasses a large enough area (called “deep flaming”), the upward movement of hot air can cause the fire to interact with the atmosphere above it, potentially forming a pyrocloud. This consists of smoke and ash in the smoke plume, and water vapour in the cloud above.</p> <p>If the conditions are not too severe, the fire may produce a cloud called a pyrocumulus, which is simply a cloud that forms over the fire. These are typically benign and do not affect conditions on the ground.</p> <p>But if the fire is particularly large or intense, or if the atmosphere above it is unstable, this process can give birth to a pyrocumulonimbus – and that is an entirely more malevolent beast.</p> <p><strong>What effects do firestorms produce?</strong></p> <p>A pyrocumulonibus cloud is much like a normal thunderstorm that forms on a hot summer’s day. The crucial difference here is that this upward movement is caused by the heat from the fire, rather than simply heat radiating from the ground.</p> <p>Conventional thunderclouds and pyrocumulonimbus share similar characteristics. Both form an anvil-shaped cloud that extends high into the troposphere (the lower 10-15km of the atmosphere) and may even reach into the stratosphere beyond.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/301195/original/file-20191112-178516-1qzj1pp.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/301195/original/file-20191112-178516-1qzj1pp.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">NASA image of pyrocumulonimbus formation in Argentina, January 2018.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">NASA</span></span></p> <p>The weather underneath these clouds can be fierce. As the cloud forms, the circulating air creates strong winds with dangerous, erratic “downbursts” – vertical blasts of air that hit the ground and scatter in all directions.</p> <p>In the case of a pyrocumulonimbus, these downbursts have the added effect of bringing dry air down to the surface beneath the fire. The swirling winds can also carry embers over huge distances. Ember attack has been identified as the main cause of property loss in bushfires, and the unpredictable downbursts make it impossible to determine which direction the wind will blow across the ground. The wind direction may suddenly change, catching people off guard.</p> <p>Firestorms also produce dry lightning, potentially sparking new fires, which may then merge or coalesce into a larger flaming zone.</p> <p>In rare cases, a firestorm can even morph into a “<a href="https://theconversation.com/turn-and-burn-the-strange-world-of-fire-tornadoes-11193">fire tornado</a>”. This is formed from the rotating winds in the convective column of a pyrocumulonimbus. They are attached to the firestorm and can therefore lift off the ground.</p> <p>This happened during the infamous January 2003 Canberra bushfires, when a pyrotornado tore a path near Mount Arawang in the suburb of Kambah.</p> <p><em><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5H1eVy6O3Fo?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> </em></p> <p><em><span class="caption">A fire tornado in Kambah, Canberra, 2003 (contains strong language).</span></em></p> <p>Understandably, firestorms are the most dangerous and unpredictable manifestations of a bushfire, and are impossible to suppress or control. As such, it is vital to evacuate these areas early, to avoid sending fire personnel into extremely dangerous areas.</p> <p>The challenge is to identify the triggers that cause fires to develop into firestorms. Our <a href="https://www.unsw.adfa.edu.au/science/research-clusters/applied-and-industrial-mathematics">research at UNSW</a>, in collaboration with fire agencies, has made considerable progress in identifying these factors. They include “eruptive fire behaviour”, where instead of a steady rate of fire spread, once a fire interacts with a slope, the plume may attach to the ground and rapidly accelerate up the hill.</p> <p>Another process, called “vorticity-driven lateral spread”, has also been recognised as a good indicator of potential fire blow-up. This occurs when a fire spreads laterally along a ridge line instead of following the direction of the wind.</p> <p>Although further refinement is still needed, this kind of knowledge could greatly improve decision-making processes on when and where to deploy on-ground fire crews, and when to evacuate before the situation turns deadly.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/126832/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-badlan-884363">Rachel Badlan</a>, Postdoctoral Researcher, Atmospheric Dynamics, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-1414">UNSW</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/firestorms-and-flaming-tornadoes-how-bushfires-create-their-own-ferocious-weather-systems-126832">original article</a>.</em></p>

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The reason why fires are lighting up the east coast of Australia

<p>Last week saw an unprecedented outbreak of large, intense fires stretching from the mid-north coast of New South Wales into central Queensland.</p> <p>The most tragic losses are concentrated in northern NSW, where 970,000 hectares have been burned, three people have died, and at least 150 homes have been destroyed.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fdr-and-tobans">catastrophic fire warning</a> for Tuesday has been issued for the Greater Sydney, Greater Hunter, Shoalhaven and Illawarra areas. It is the first time Sydney has received a catastrophic rating since the rating system was developed in 2009.</p> <p>No relief is in sight from this extremely hot, dry and windy weather, and the extraordinary magnitude of these fires is likely to increase in the coming week. Alarmingly, as Australians increasingly seek a sea-change or tree-change, more people are living in the path of these destructive fires.</p> <p><strong>Unprecedented state of emergency</strong></p> <p>Large fires have happened before in northern NSW and southern Queensland during spring and early summer (for example in 1994, 1997, 2000, 2002, and 2018 in northern NSW). But this latest extraordinary situation raises many questions.</p> <p>It is as if many of the major fires in the past are now being rerun concurrently. What is unprecedented is the <em>size</em> and <em>number</em> of fires rather than the seasonal timing.</p> <p>The potential for large, intense fires is determined by <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1466-8238.2009.00512.x">four fundamental ingredients</a>: a continuous expanse of fuel; extensive and continuous dryness of that fuel; weather conditions conducive to the rapid spread of fire; and ignitions, either human or lightning. These act as a set of switches, in series: all must be “on” for major fires to occur.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/301032/original/file-20191111-194628-1xowzaz.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/301032/original/file-20191111-194628-1xowzaz.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <em><span class="caption">L</span></em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><span class="caption">ive fuel moisture content in late October 2019. The ‘dry’ and ‘transitional’ moisture categories correspond to conditions associated with over 95% of historical area burned by bushfire.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2016GL0686140" class="source">Estimated from MODIS satellite imagery for the Sydney basin Bioregion.</a></span></em></p> <p>The NSW north coast and tablelands, along with much of the southern coastal regions of Queensland are famous for their diverse range of eucalypt forest, heathlands and rainforests, which flourish in the warm temperate to subtropical climate.</p> <p>These forests and shrublands can rapidly accumulate bushfire fuels such as leaf litter, twigs and grasses. The unprecedented drought across much of Australia has created exceptional dryness, including high-altitude areas and places like gullies, water courses, swamps and steep south-facing slopes that are normally too wet to burn.</p> <p>These typically wet parts of the landscape have literally evaporated, allowing fire to spread unimpeded. The drought has been particularly acute in northern NSW where record low rainfall has led to <a href="https://biocollect.ala.org.au/acsa/project/index/77285a13-e231-49e8-b212-660c66c74bac">widespread defoliation and tree death</a>. It is no coincidence current fires correspond directly with hotspots of <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/drought/">record low rainfall and above-average temperatures</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/301040/original/file-20191111-194650-458t68.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/301040/original/file-20191111-194650-458t68.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em> <span class="caption">Annual trends in live fuel moisture. The horizontal line represents the threshold for the critical ‘dry’ fuel category, which corresponds to the historical occurrence of most major wildfires in the Bioregion.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Estimated from MODIS imagery for the Sydney basin Bioregion</span></span></em></p> <p>Thus, the North Coast and northern ranges of NSW as well as much of southern and central Queensland have been primed for major fires. A continuous swathe of critically dry fuels across these diverse landscapes existed well before last week, as shown by damaging fires in September and October.</p> <p>High temperatures and wind speeds, low humidity, and a wave of new ignitions on top of pre-existing fires has created an unprecedented situation of multiple large, intense fires stretching from the coast to the tablelands and parts of the interior.</p> <p><strong>More people in harm’s way</strong></p> <p>Many parts of the NSW north coast, southern Queensland and adjacent hinterlands have seen population growth around major towns and cities, as people look for pleasant coastal and rural homes away from the capital cities.</p> <p>The extraordinary number and ferocity of these fires, plus the increased exposure of people and property, have contributed to the tragic results of the past few days.</p> <p>Communities flanked by forests along the coast and ranges are highly vulnerable because of the way fires spread under the influence of strong westerly winds. Coastal communities wedged between highly flammable forests and heathlands and the sea, are particularly at risk.</p> <p>As a full picture of the extent and location of losses and damage becomes available, we will see the extent to which planning, building regulations, and fire preparation has mitigated losses and damage.</p> <p>These unprecedented fires are an indication that a much-feared future under climate change may have arrived <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0222328">earlier than predicted</a>. The week ahead will present high-stakes new challenges.</p> <p>The most heavily populated region of the nation is now at critically dry levels of fuel moisture, below those at the time of the disastrous Christmas fires of 2001 and 2013. Climate change has been predicted to <a href="https://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF08133">strongly increase</a> the chance of large fires across this region. The conditions for Tuesday are a real and more extreme manifestation of these longstanding predictions.</p> <p>Whatever the successes and failures in this crisis, it is likely that we will have to rethink the way we plan and prepare for wildfires in a hotter, drier and more flammable world.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/126750/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ross-bradstock-1495">Ross Bradstock</a>, Professor, Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachael-helene-nolan-179005">Rachael Helene Nolan</a>, Postdoctoral research fellow, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/drought-and-climate-change-were-the-kindling-and-now-the-east-coast-is-ablaze-126750">original article</a>.</em></p>

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John Travolta's in Australia and posts rare pics of kids Ella and Benjamin

<p>Iconic<span> </span>Grease<span> </span>star John Travolta has shared a rare photo with his two children, 19-year-old Ella and 8-year-old Benjamin enjoying a fun day out.</p> <p>Travolta, 65, took the family out to the Featherdale Wildlife Park in Australia, where they hung out with koala bears and spent time with kangaroos.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4vBY9hHRwE/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4vBY9hHRwE/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">At the @featherdalewildlifepark with the kids</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/johntravolta/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> John Travolta</a> (@johntravolta) on Nov 11, 2019 at 10:10am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>He captioned the sweet snap “at the Featherdale Wildlife Park with the kids”.</p> <p>He also posted another photo of Benjamin at the cockpit of a commercial flight and joked that his son was following in his footsteps.</p> <p>“My son Ben is taking my place! His first A380 @qantas flight,” he captioned the photo.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4qCoxLHdLv/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4qCoxLHdLv/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">My son Ben is taking my place! His first A380 @qantas flight</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/johntravolta/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> John Travolta</a> (@johntravolta) on Nov 9, 2019 at 11:45am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Travolta often shares photos including his children, but there is rarely an opportunity for a group photo like the one he posted at Featherdale.</p> <p>It is currently unclear if his wife, actress Kelly Preston, joined the family on their trip Down Under.</p> <p>The pair have been married for 28 years and met on the set of the 1989 film<span> </span>The Experts. Although Kelly was married at the time, she has since clarified that she was not “happily married”.</p> <p>“Well, I was not that happily married, let’s put it that way,” Kelly explained to Andy Cohen on<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://people.com/movies/kelly-preston-fell-in-love-with-john-travolta-while-married/" target="_blank">Watch What Happens Live</a>.</em></p> <p>“I was really with the wrong person.”</p> <p>Travolta has often said it was love at first sight.</p>

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