International Travel

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The secret to Robert De Niro’s hospitality empire

<p><span>In recent years, celebrity business brands sprout up as fast as they dissolved. But this has not been the case for Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro, who just celebrated the 25<sup>th</sup> anniversary of his restaurant and hotel brand Nobu.</span></p> <p><span>The beginning of the business could be traced back to 1988, when De Niro visited Matsuhisa, a Los Angeles restaurant headed by celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa. </span></p> <p><span>“The food was amazing,” De Niro recalled to <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/robert-de-niro-nobu-matsuhisa-hospitality/index.html"><em>CNN Travel</em></a>. “Japanese food traditionally in New York and in my experience even in London was very by the book, but it wasn’t what Nobu was doing.”</span></p> <p><span>As he fell further for the food, he reached out to the chef and proposed to help Matsuhisa open a second outpost of the restaurant in Manhattan, New York. Although Matsuhisa rejected his offers, De Niro continued to patronise his business.</span></p> <p><span>Four years later, De Niro called Matsuhisa and put the idea back on the table. “He had been waiting four whole years! My experiences … had made me extremely wary of entering into partnerships with anyone, but his willingness to wait showed me that I could trust him,” Matsuhisa recalled in his book <a href="https://www.eater.com/2017/11/13/16599812/nobu-matsuhisa-robert-de-niro-memoir-excerpt"><em>Nobu: A Memoir</em></a><em>.</em></span></p> <p><span>Matsuhisa finally agreed to establish Nobu, an upmarket Japanese-Peruvian fusion restaurant in New York in 1994 with De Niro and two other partners.</span></p> <p><span>Other cities soon followed, including London, Las Vegas, Cape Town, Mexico City and Beijing.</span></p> <p><span>In 2013, they expanded the Nobu brand into the hotel business.</span></p> <p><span>Today, De Niro, Matsuhisa and investor Meir Teper have 39 restaurants and nine hotels across five continents under their name. According to the group, Nobu Hospitality is looking to earn US$1 billion in revenue in the next five years.</span></p> <p><span>Teper said their approach is focused on ensuring customers’ needs are fulfilled. </span></p> <p><span>“Many times, Nobu says that if you had to divide [it up], what is more important, service or food? He would say 60 per cent service, 40 per cent food. Because people remember service,” he said. “We adapted the same philosophy for the hotel.”</span></p> <p><span>“It’s not so easy to be partners for 25 years, but we are close to each other,” said Teper. “We only want to do what is right, in the right location, with the right people.”</span></p>

International Travel

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15 breathtaking places to visit before they disappear

<div id="page1" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>With many of the world’s amazing destinations under threat due to climate change and neglect, it’s not surprising that last-chance tourism is on the rise. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and head to one of these gorgeous destinations before it’s too late.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/15-breathtaking-places-to-visit-before-they-disappear/"><strong>1. The Maldives</strong></div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page2" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>In 2017, yet another study published in<span> </span><em>Nature</em><span> </span>determined that climate change has accelerated the rate at which the sea levels are rising. So it stands to reason that the destination most at risk is the lowest-lying country in the world, an island nation comprised of a series of atolls formed from coral in the Indian Ocean. Go now, while the Maldives are still a tropical paradise with year-round temperatures in the low 80s, crystalline waters, and beaches that glow in the dark.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div data-fuse="21833175956"><strong>2. Everglades National Park, USA</strong></div> <div id="page3" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>The beautiful and unique wetland wilderness at the southern tip of Florida contains the Western Hemisphere’s largest mangrove ecosystem and largest continuous stand of sawgrass prairie. It is home to an exceptional variety of wading birds, reptiles and numerous threatened species, such as the Florida panther and manatee. Urban development, industry and agriculture pressures have destroyed more than half of the original Everglades and what remains has been on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger since 2010.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/15-breathtaking-places-to-visit-before-they-disappear/"><strong>3. Venice, Italy</strong></div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page4" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>If your bucket list features a romantic gondola ride on picturesque canals, there’s no time like the present to book a trip to Venice. Due to rising sea levels and natural tectonic processes, the stunning “Floating City” is sinking at a rate of one to two millimetres per year, according to a study by Scripps Institution of Oceanography. That translates to around 8cm over the next two decades.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div data-fuse="21833175500"><strong>4. Great Barrier Reef, Australia</strong></div> <div id="page5" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>The world’s largest and most breathtaking coral reef is dying at the hands of humans. Climate change and pollution have led to acidification, extreme weather and starfish outbreaks. Spikes in water temperature have caused large-scale coral bleaching episodes, in which vast swathes of colourful corals turn a sickly white. More than half of the reef’s coral cover has disappeared since the 1980s, according to the Australian Institute of Marine Science, and experts say the rest could be lost within two decades.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/15-breathtaking-places-to-visit-before-they-disappear/"><strong>5. Antarctica</strong></div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page6" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Ready for your next big adventure? During summer in the southern hemisphere, the sea ice shrinks, allowing cruise ships access to a vast white wilderness larger than Europe and home to a wonderful assortment of species, including penguins, leopard seals and orcas. In 2017, a study published in<span> </span><em>Nature</em>predicted that the world’s permanent ice caps are on track to shrink by nearly 25 percent by the end of the century and most of this will occur in the Antarctic Peninsula. This will irreversibly change the continent’s fragile ecosystem.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page7" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-title"><strong>6. Great Wall of China</strong></div> <div class="slide-description"> <p>China’s most famous monument stretches more than 20,000 kilometres in its entirety, but according to<span> </span><em>Smithsonian Magazine</em>, less than nine percent of the Great Wall remains in good condition. Much of the Ming Dynasty portion of the wall had disappeared at the hands of erosion and human damage from tourists who walk on it, locals who pilfer bricks for their own use, and graffiti artists who use it as a canvas. While some restoration of the Great Wall is happening, a lack of substantial government funding to protect the landmark means its future will continue to be threatened.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/15-breathtaking-places-to-visit-before-they-disappear/"><strong>7. Vienna, Austria</strong></div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page8" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>From rococo palaces and Baroque castles to famed coffeehouses, world-class museums, and labyrinthine-like alleyways, Vienna’s appeal has endured for millennia. But last year, UNESCO added the beautiful historic centre of the Austrian capital to the List of World Heritage in Danger due to a boom of high-rise projects that will change the city’s skyline forever.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/15-breathtaking-places-to-visit-before-they-disappear/"><strong>8. Madagascar</strong></div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page9" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>When a hunk of land split off from the African continent 160 million years ago, the result was Madagascar – an island with distinct ecosystems and an extraordinarily diverse collection of plant life and wildlife. An astounding number of Madagascar’s reptiles and mammals exist nowhere else on Earth. Sadly, most of Madagascar’s forests have been destroyed by deforestation, which remains the biggest single threat to the island’s wildlife. A 2017 study found that Madagascar’s remaining forests are being destroyed at the rate of about one percent each year.<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/15-of-the-worlds-spookiest-travel-destinations/" target="_blank"></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page10" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-title"><strong>9. Patagonia, Chile</strong></div> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Just like in Antarctica, the Patagonian ice fields in the Southern Andes range that straddles Argentina and Chile are shrinking at a shockingly fast rate due to global warming – so adventure seekers should visit before they disappear. In a 2015 study, scientists from UC Irvine found that Patagonia glaciers are receding at rates of up to 10 kilometres per year.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/15-breathtaking-places-to-visit-before-they-disappear/"><strong>10. The Caribbean</strong></div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page11" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>A 2011 report by the United Nations predicted devastating effects of rising sea levels on the Caribbean islands by the end of this century, detailing a grim vision with more than 300 tourist resorts wiped out along with the airports, power plants, roads and agricultural lands at many popular destinations. What’s the timeline? The Third National Climate Assessment, released in 2014, projected a sea level rise of 30-120cm by 2100.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page12" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-title"><strong>11. Dubrovnik, Croatia</strong></div> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Can<span> </span><em>Game of Thrones</em><span> </span>be too much of a good thing? The HBO mega hit has made the ancient Croatian city so popular that it is literally turning tourists away. Dubrovnik is blessed with idyllic weather and a stunning coastline on the Adriatic Sea. But its starring role as the mythical King’s Landing has led to a sustained influx of tourists that threatens the World Heritage Site’s character, particular in the pedestrians-only Old Town. Last year the city’s mayor, Mato Franković, capped the number of visitors at 4,000 per day – half the limit allowed by UNESCO – and told<span> </span><em>The Telegraph</em><span> </span>he also planned to curtail the number of cruise ships stopping in port.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/15-breathtaking-places-to-visit-before-they-disappear/"><strong>12. Bordeaux Wine Country, France</strong></div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page13" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Dreaming of touring one of France’s most beloved wine-growing regions? It might be smart to do it sooner rather than later. Bordeaux is facing a two-thirds fall in production over the next 40 years due to climate shifts that affect rainfall, temperature and hours of sunshine. According to<span> </span><em>Wine Spectator</em>, at the Vinexpo conference in Bordeaux in 2017, Harvard professor John Holdren predicted that the land suitable for grape-growing will potentially shrink by 23 percent by 2050.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page14" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-title"><strong>13. Glacier National Park, USA</strong></div> <div class="slide-description"> <p>More than three million people visited Montana’s Glacier National Park in 2017, making it the busiest year in park history. The record-setting attendance was all the more notable given that this pristine park is rapidly losing its eponymous glaciers. A report released by the U.S. Geological Survey found that over the past 50 years global warming has caused the shrinking of the 26 remaining glaciers in the park – a number down from 150 in 1850. At this rate, scientists predict there will be no ice left by the end of the century.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/15-breathtaking-places-to-visit-before-they-disappear/"><strong>14. Komodo Island, Indonesia</strong></div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page15" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>One of over 17,000 islands that compose the Republic of Indonesia, Komodo Island is a national park devoted to the world’s largest lizard, a protected species (with a venomous bite) that can grow to 2.6 metres and run at speeds of up to 19 kph. So many tourists flock to the island to get up close and personal with a Komodo dragon that tourism officials have sounded alarm bells. In April 2019, they announced that they were closing Komodo Island for a year, starting in January 2020. The decision came in response to an alleged smuggling ring that removed 41 Komodo dragons from the island and sold them abroad for about $US35,000. During the closure, the Indonesian government also plans to launch a conservation program for the dragons. The rest of the national park, which has beautiful scenery and snorkelling, will stay open, however.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/15-breathtaking-places-to-visit-before-they-disappear/"><strong>15. The Dead Sea</strong></div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page16" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>A tourist draw for over two millennia, this landlocked salt lake between Israel and Jordan is located at the lowest point on Earth, nearly 425 metres below sea level. The Dead Sea’s other unique feature is the remarkably high salinity of its water, which is said to have healthful benefits and makes swimming more like floating. Unfortunately, the future is less than idyllic. Since 1960, the Dead Sea has lost a third of its surface area and continues to shrink about one metre per year, according to the environmentalist group EcoPeace Middle East.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Suzanne Rowan Kelleher</span>. This article first appeared in </em><span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/15-breathtaking-places-to-visit-before-they-disappear/" target="_blank"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a rel="noopener" href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V" target="_blank"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

International Travel

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Fergie leaves Balmoral Castle early amid dispute with Prince Philip

<p>The Duchess of York has reportedly cut her trip to Balmoral Castle short, where she was staying as a guest of Queen Elizabeth.</p> <p>Sarah Ferguson arrived at the estate late last week but has already begun her journey back home from the Scottish Highlands.</p> <p>According to the<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/auhome/index.html" target="_blank"><em>Daily Mail</em></a>, Fergie made a quick getaway after Prince Philip arrived at the castle, a few days earlier than originally expected.</p> <p>The pair have had a rocky relationship ever since she and Prince Andrew divorced in 1996, with insiders claiming that the Duke of Edinburgh refuses to be under the same roof as the Duchess.</p> <p>Ferguson was spotted arriving at Balmoral on Thursday after travelling from London to Scotland via a commercial flight.</p> <p>Prince Andrew on the other hand came via private jet. It is assumed the reasoning behind the separate travel arrangements is due to rumours circulating around Andrew’s relationship with Fergie, as many hope the pair are back together.</p> <p>The Duke of York was spotted for the<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/queen-elizabeth-supports-prince-andrew-amid-jeffrey-epstein-sex-scandal" target="_blank">first time in public on Sunday </a>after news broke of Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide over the weekend.</p>

International Travel

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Singapore's historic Raffles Hotel reopens its doors

<p><span>Singapore’s iconic Raffles Hotel has finally reopened its doors to the public after two years of extensive revamp and restoration.</span></p> <p><span>The historic 132-year-old grand dame, which was designated a national monument in 1987, returned to business earlier this month with new updates and additions such as revitalised guest suites, fresh coating and marble flooring, and a new lineup of restaurants.</span></p> <p><span>General manager Christian Westbeld said while the scale of the overhaul was unprecedented, the hotel retained its neo-Renaissance architectural style. </span></p> <p><span>“The hotel is a lot fresher. Areas look a lot brighter, they look a lot lighter, they look a lot more inviting and approachable, which is something that we wanted to achieve,” Westbeld told <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/singapore-raffles-hotel-reopening/index.html"><em>CNN Travel</em></a>. </span></p> <p><span>“[But] we didn’t lose the architectural charm, the colonial heritage … That’s the biggest plus and I think the thing people will notice first. Yet at the same time we’ve modernized in a way that is deserved for the current Singapore time and era we’re in.”</span></p> <p><span>He told <a href="http://www.traveller.com.au/raffles-the-toast-of-singapore-and-its-sling-h1gnws"><em>Traveller</em></a>, “Raffles Singapore is one of the few remaining great 19th century hotels in the world.</span></p> <p><span>“[Its] restoration has been carefully designed to preserve its unique historic charm, while creating extraordinary experiences for our esteemed guests.”</span></p> <p><span>The multi-million-dollar renovation project was led by design firm Champalimaud. Edmond Bakos, managing director at the firm told <a href="https://www.asiaone.com/lifestyle/new-old-raffles-hotel-reopens-after-2-year-renovation-heres-how-it-looks-inside"><em>The Straits Times</em></a>, “The goal was to bring the hotel to the next chapter, not to completely change it.”</span></p> <p><span>The hotel now has 115 suites, up from 103 before the renovation. Westbeld said apart from “more comfortable” rooms, guests will also now be assigned a butler as their main point of contact for services ranging from spa appointments to restaurant reservations.</span></p> <p><span>Raffles’ food and beverage lineup has also been shaken up. The famous Royal Blue China and The Halia were replaced with new concepts such as contemporary Chinese outlet Yi from chef Jereme Leung and Mediterranean sharing and grill restaurant BBR by Alain Ducasse. </span></p> <p><span>The dining space previously hosting Raffles Grill has also been transformed into La Dame de Pic, opened in partnership with decorated French chef Anne-Sophie Pic.</span></p> <p><span>Old favourites making a comeback include The Long Bar, Tiffin Room, The Lobby, Writers Bar, Raffles Courtyard, and Ah Teng’s Cafe.</span></p>

International Travel

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Royal fun in the sun: Princess Mary poses makeup-free during relaxing holiday

<p>Denmark’s Crown Princess Mary never steps a foot out of line when it comes to looking impeccably polished.</p> <p>So, it’s only fitting that when the royal is on holiday, she opts for a more casual appearance, choosing to go makeup-free as she spends time with her family.</p> <p>The 47-year-old was glowing in a recent photograph posted to the Danish royal family’s Instagram page, as she stood by her husband Prince Frederik’s side aboard the family yacht.</p> <p>Sporting a fresh face and a paisley-print dress, Mary soaked in the afternoon sun.</p> <p>The Crown Prince shared a series of snaps on the Danish royal family’s official social media page, documenting their summer break in Denmark. </p> <p>Frederik and Mary, alongside their children Prince Christian, 13, Princess Isabella, 12, and twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine, eight, have been exploring the country that they call home by visiting several locations on board the yacht.</p> <p>They recently visited Kongsore, in Denmark’s north, where the entire family took part in an obstacle course. Having trained at that same location during his time in the Danish navy, Prince Frederik wrote on Instagram that he “had the pleasure of showing the whole family my former workplace”.</p> <p>Another photo shows Prince Christian bravely diving from the deck of the yacht, showing off his penchant for adrenaline-filled activities.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to see Princess Mary and her family having fun on their summer break.</p>

International Travel

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San Francisco International Airport to ban plastic water bottles

<p><span>Travellers flying out of San Francisco International airport will no longer be able to buy plastic-bottled water before their flight.</span></p> <p><span>Starting August 20, the airport (SFO) will only allow water to be sold in glass, recycled aluminium or certified compostable materials. The new rule will apply to the airport’s convenience stores, restaurants and vending machines.</span></p> <p><span>While travellers are still prohibited from bringing filled water bottles from outside, they can bring empty disposable plastic water bottles to refill at one of over 100 water hydration stations installed at the airport. </span></p> <p><span>The move, which follows the ban on single-use food utensils in March, is part of SFO’s goal of becoming the world’s first <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2019/08/02/business/plastic-water-bottle-ban-sfo-trnd/index.html">zero-waste airport</a> by 2021. </span></p> <p><span>“We waited until now because a few years back there was really no market in place to provide an alternative to water in a plastic bottle,” said Doug Yakel, SFO’s public information officer.</span></p> <p><span>“This is a big move for the airport … it just further supports our green initiative.”</span></p> <p><span>Yakel said he hopes the rule can encourage more manufacturers to use <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/aug/02/san-francisco-international-airport-plastic-water-bottle-ban">plastic-free packaging</a>. </span></p> <p><span>“We’re hoping that as the demand from retailers increases, there’s an increasing supply of water that’s bottled in something recyclable,” Yakel said. “We’re hoping to drive that industry as well.”</span></p>

International Travel

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Why you should stay hydrated on the plane

<p><span>The airplane cabin does strange things to your body – it can hurt your sinuses, <a href="http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150112-why-in-flight-food-tastes-weird">dull your taste buds</a>, <a href="https://www.allure.com/story/skin-on-a-plane">make your skin flaky</a> and even induce nosebleeds at times.</span></p> <p><span>These problems all have the same root: Dryness. </span></p> <p><span>A <a href="https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/53284046.pdf">2013 study by the University of Palermo</a> found that the humidity levels on a variety of aircrafts – including Boeing 767, Airbus A320 and A340 – range between 1.8 and 18.5 per cent. As the plane reaches higher altitudes, the atmosphere in the cabin grows increasingly dry, even drier than most deserts.</span></p> <p><span>For comparison, the relative humidity in the Gobi Desert in May averages 23 per cent, while Maria Elena South – which is widely considered as the driest area of the hyper-arid Atacama Desert in Chile – holds a relative humidity of 17.3 per cent.</span></p> <p><span>The dry cabin environment is indeed not ideal – according to the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nationalasthma.org.au/news/2016/indoor-humidity" target="_blank">National Asthma Council of Australia</a>, the ideal humidity to deter airborne viruses is between 30 and 50 per cent.</span></p> <p><span>Staying hydrated is a great way to minimise the negative effects of low humidity such as <a href="https://rockymountainurgentcare.com/why-higher-altitudes-are-hard-on-the-skin/">skin sensitivities</a>, <a href="https://www.smartertravel.com/low-airplane-humidity/">exacerbated jet lag</a> or <a href="https://www.askthepilot.com/questionanswers/cabin-air-quality/">increased susceptibility to illnesses</a>.</span></p> <p><span>So next time you get onboard, do not hesitate to ask the flight attendant for an extra bottle or two – your body needs it.</span></p>

International Travel

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Europe's best river cruises

<p>Europe is a cultural tapestry waiting to be explored.</p> <p>Forget worrying about accommodation and transport – just jump aboard a European cruise and go rolling down the river past castles and cathedrals galore.</p> <p>Our three picks of Europe’s best rivers for cruising can be swallowed whole or in bite-sized chunks – choose the destinations and duration that best suits your family.</p> <p><strong>The Rhine</strong></p> <p>The Rhine River meanders through Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France and the Netherlands.</p> <p>Art-lovers will want to head to Basel, Switzerland which is packed with design museums, including a Paper Museum beside a canal in an old paper mill.</p> <p>The grandiose architecture of Strasbourg will sweep you off your feet. Fans of chocolate and sport will find much to love under the Gothic spires of Cologne.</p> <p>In Amsterdam, you can cruise the famous canals and explore cottages, cafes and markets. We recommend whizzing through the city by bike and exploring popular gems such as Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum.</p> <p>The Rhine joins up with a network of other waterways and tributaries, so your exploration of Europe’s rivers does not have to end there.</p> <p><strong>Danube</strong></p> <p>Though it might not be as blue as the song suggests, a cruise down the Danube certainly is colourful. Expect to see a vibrant, varied view of Europe.</p> <p>On a Danube River cruise port stop, you can Duel with Dracula in a Gothic castle, create music like Mozart in an Austrian church, and explore the wares at the Christmas Markets.</p> <p>Labelled by Napoleon as the “Queen of Europe’s Rivers” the Danube is the second longest river on the continent. It flows through ten countries, including Austria, Germany and Croatia.</p> <p>Highlights include the Turkish Baths and Parliament buildings of Budapest, the baroque palace and Spanish Riding School of Vienna and the Bavarian cathedrals and sausage kitchens of Regensburg.</p> <p><strong>Rhône-Saône</strong></p> <p>Tumbling over the Swiss Alps, through vineyards and lavender fields, and into Mediterranean seas near Marseilles – this is one wicked waterway.</p> <p>Most cruises will start from the ocean and head inland, beginning at Arles, where you can hear the echoes of long-gone gladiators amidst the Roman ruins. Make sure you try a traditional Provence feast on a shore excursion.</p> <p>This is a river cruise for history lovers. The journey will take you through medieval Avignon, Vienne, and onto Cluny, where you can delve into the centuries-old Benedictine Abbey, built just after Charlemagne’s reign.</p> <p>Grown-ups will love wine-tasting in Burgundy, and foodies will flip out in the famous city of Lyon.</p> <p><em>Written by Alison Godfrey. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/europes-best-river-cruises/"><em>MyDiscoveries</em></a><em>. </em></p>

International Travel

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13 wild New Zealand walks from beginner to advanced

<p>New Zealand has many spectacular walkways and tracks providing access to unique wilderness areas and virgin forests.</p> <p>Energetic hikers (or trampers) can discover glacier-carved valleys and traverse mountain passes, while more sedate day-walkers can explore golden beaches, bush walks and other sites of scenic, historic and cultural interest.</p> <p><strong>National parks</strong></p> <p>About one-third of New Zealand’s sparsely populated land has been set aside in national parks or reserves for the enjoyment of the public and increasing numbers of eco-tourists.</p> <p>While opportunities for exploration exist all over the country, nine destinations are recognised as significant and have been designated ‘Great Walks’ by the Department of Conservation (DOC).</p> <p>Apart from the coastal Abel Tasman track in the north of the South Island, the tracks are in high country or mountain areas. Ranging in duration from two to six days, the tracks cover a variety of landscapes on safe, well-maintained pathways.</p> <p>All tracks offer guided tours for which bookings are essential. Accommodation is generally in basic huts or lodges, but some guided talks offer luxury options. The high season starts in October (late-Spring) and lasts until April (early-Autumn).</p> <p><strong>South Island Great Walks</strong></p> <p>Five of New Zealand’s ‘Great Walks’ are in the South Island; a sixth is further south on Stewart Island.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Milford Track</strong></li> </ul> <p>The Milford Track in Fiordland – New Zealand’s largest national park – is the most famous. Visitors spend four days / three nights following historic Maori routes through a dramatic landscape of forest-covered valleys, mountains and steep fiords from Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound. For this much-demanded route, bookings are necessary well in advance, for both independent and guided walks.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Routeburn Track</strong></li> </ul> <p>The Routeburn Track, another famous South Island track, has some of the most diverse scenery: forests, alpine flora, lakes, several waterfalls and panoramic views. The three-day trek covers 39km (24 miles).</p> <ul> <li><strong>Kepler Track</strong></li> </ul> <p>The Kepler Track follows a loop that begins and ends at the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre in Te Anau. It takes four days and traverses lakeside forest and open tussock grasslands, with one day spent walking along the mountain tops above the bush line.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Rakiura Track</strong></li> </ul> <p>Wilderness explorers wanting to experience the ‘end of the earth’ head for Stewart Island, New Zealand’s southernmost and least populated island. The Rakiura Track has the most birdlife, least predictable weather and conditions but planked walkways keep feet dry and ensure the three-day walk is possible year-round. It has gentle gradients – never more than 300m above sea level – and two huts provide accommodation.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Heaphy Track</strong></li> </ul> <p>The Heaphy Track, in the northwestern corner of the South Island, has undemanding gradients over 80km (around 50 miles). The walk takes about five days. The track is accessible year round, but winter snows can make the higher sections chilly. Attractions on the Heaphy Track include the nikau palm-lined beach at its western end, red tussock downs, lush beech forests and fields of alpine herbs.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Abel Tasman Coastal Track</strong></li> </ul> <p>The Abel Tasman Coastal Track, at the top of the South Island, only requires light walking shoes for the 50km (31 miles) route lined with miles of golden beaches. Along the way, five huts and 21 campsites offer accommodation, but transport has to be arranged from one end or the other.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Pike29 Memorial Walk</strong></li> </ul> <p>New Zealand’s nine great walks became 10 in 2018 with the announcement of the Pike29 Memorial Track. The 45-kilometre walk is to be constructed through the Paparoa National Park on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island. The national park will be extended by 3971 hectares to include the Pike River area as a memorial to the 29 men who perished in the 2010 mining disaster. The track will travel from Blackball to Punakaiki and include part of the existing Croesus and Pororai River tracks.</p> <p><strong>North Island Great NZ Walks</strong></p> <p>Three ‘Great Walks’ are in the North Island: Tongariro Northern Circuit, Lake Waikaremoana Track and Whanganui Journey. Each offers a distinctive landscape and challenges for energetic walkers.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Tongariro Northern Circuit</strong></li> </ul> <p>The Tongariro Northern Circuit is a loop track of three to four days, starting and finishing at the foot of Mount Ruapehu. Few places equal the drama of this active volcanic region with its lava formations, tussock grassland, fumaroles and geysers, and emerald green mineral lakes – the setting for the scenes in New Zealand director Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Ringstrilogy. Altitude and climatic conditions mean the Tongariro circuit is best walked from late November to March. The Tongariro Crossing – one section of the circuit – is one of New Zealand’s most renowned day walks.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Lake Waikaremoana Track</strong></li> </ul> <p>Lake Waikaremoana is situated east of the central volcanic plateau, in one of the North Island’s most remote regions. The 46km (28 miles) track encircles the lake, providing a four to five-day walk. Apart from one day climbing a steep bluff, the track follows a leisurely path through rainforest.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Whanganui Journey </strong></li> </ul> <p>Included as one of New Zealand’s ‘Great Walks’, the Whanganui Journey is more correctly a 145km kayak or canoe journey down the Whanganui River. Beginning in Taumarunui, this journey takes about five days to complete and provides an early New Zealand history experience. For hundreds of years, the Whanganui River was an important Maori route; later, in early European settlement days, it became a steamboat highway. The winding river and surrounding lowland forest is now a national park.</p> <p><strong>Day walks</strong></p> <p>Not up for a long hike? New Zealand has plenty of day walks through areas of unique flora and fauna.</p> <p><strong>The Coromandel Peninsula</strong><span> – l</span>ocated two hours’ drive south of Auckland – offers forest and coastal walks. The virgin rain forest that once covered much of the peninsula was heavily logged in the late 19th century, and visitors can see the remains of enormous dams and tramways used to transport logs of the giant and much-prized kauri trees. The regenerated forest is spectacular and the coast has isolated bays of exceptional beauty.</p> <p>Day-walkers not wanting to leave the city far behind can set out from Auckland with a map of the<span> </span><strong>Waitakere Ranges</strong><span> </span>which fringe the western city. These tracks skirt high cliffs and cross wild beaches of black sand.</p> <p>In<span> </span><strong>Kahurangi National Park</strong><span> </span>– in the northwestern corner of the South Island – the Oparara Track offers 31km of pathways through virgin rainforest and access to a series of spectacular limestone caves, home to some of New Zealand’s unique fauna and flora.</p> <p>Further south,<span> </span><strong>Central Otago’s Rail Trail</strong><span> </span>is a unique recreational facility preserving an important part of New Zealand history. The 150km section of old railway route has been redeveloped for walkers, cyclists and horse riders who can enjoy the unique Central Otago scenery and experience the South Island’s remoteness and history.</p> <p><strong>Walker information</strong></p> <p>New Zealand’s sparse population and huge wilderness areas mean that most walking tracks are remote from many of the comforts of civilisation. Facilities at the 900 huts maintained by DOC are basic, and walkers need to equip themselves with adequate food and clothing.</p> <p>Weather conditions can change rapidly, especially in the mountains, and it is essential, even in summer, to carry warm, waterproof clothing. No hike should be undertaken without consulting a detailed guide book and a map.</p> <p>For any of the ‘Great Walks’, bookings are required for accommodation in huts, but permits or admission fees are not required for day walking. Bookings are made through the Department of Conservation.</p> <p><em>Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/new-zealand-walks/" target="_blank"><em>MyDiscoveries</em></a><em>. </em></p>

International Travel

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Australia’s Chernobyl: Why tourists keep heading to this deadly Aussie town

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As the region of Pilbara in Western Australia works hard to grow tourism to the area, which has rare flora and fauna as well as rich Indigenous culture, there is one place that the Western Australia government is trying to keep people away from.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The destination is so deadly that the name has been removed from maps and signs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The former country town of Wittenoom lies abandoned as the decaying town is considered the most contaminated site in the Southern Hemisphere. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are more than 2,000 deaths linked to the town’s blue asbestos mining operations in the ‘60s.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mining was formally shut down in 1966, but the asbestos fibres left behind have rendered the area permanently unsafe for human habitation according to experts who spoke to </span><a href="https://travel.nine.com.au/latest/australias-most-contaminated-town-wittenoon-abandoned/b7752071-b209-452a-bdfb-442a73b66c25"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Travel Nine.</span></a></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/B0M1PHJI3mX/" 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/B0M1PHJI3mX/" target="_blank">Reports that tourists are visiting Wittenoom - an abandoned, Western Australian town once home to a large blue asbestos mine - are extremely concerning. The town and surrounding areas are still highly contaminated by asbestos - and pose a huge health risk to anyone who visits. The area is so contaminated that it has been dubbed 'Australia's #Chernobyl". It's not worth your health or life for a social media photo. Link in bio to read the story and please - stay away. ☠️☠️☠️ ... ... ... ... #asbestos #asbestosremoval #asbestostesting #asbestossafety #beasbestosaware #wittenoom #blueasbestos #mining #blueskymine #westernaustralia #abandonedtown</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/asbestos_safety/" target="_blank"> Asbestos Safety</a> (@asbestos_safety) on Jul 21, 2019 at 6:24pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The area is so contaminated that it’s been dubbed “Australia’s Chernobyl”. Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Lands Ben Wyatt has described the fallout from the contamination as one of “the saddest chapters in WA history” and one the town would never be able to recover from.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"It is important to understand that when the Wittenoom mine closed there were 3 million tonnes of asbestos tailings left behind in the gorge and surrounding area," he told </span><a href="https://travel.nine.com.au/latest/australias-most-contaminated-town-wittenoon-abandoned/b7752071-b209-452a-bdfb-442a73b66c25"><span style="font-weight: 400;">9Honey</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Exposure to a single fibre of these tailings could prove fatal. Therefore, as disappointing as it is, it is virtually impossible to clean the area to a level where it would then considered safe for human habitation."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, the strict warnings haven’t stopped people from travelling there, despite the well-known and documented risks of asbestos. </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/Byo_wwpnHiA/" 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/Byo_wwpnHiA/" target="_blank">Wittenoom gorge free camp with @zeke.holt.1 and @megcarmen. Pretty epic spot apart from all the asbestos! 😷</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/emmet_f/" target="_blank"> E.</a> (@emmet_f) on Jun 12, 2019 at 11:52pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wyatt has serious words and a simple message for those who want to visit Wittenoom.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"I have a simple message for anyone thinking of travelling to Wittenoom. Don't. These warnings signs are not there for decoration or to add your Instagram collection. They are serious warnings about serious health consequences.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"I can't stress enough that it is particularly foolish to travel to Wittenoom. There are plenty of gorges in WA which do not bring with them the threat of a fatal consequences."</span></p>

International Travel

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How your holiday photos could help save endangered species

<p>Animal populations have declined on average by <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2018/11/animal-decline-living-planet-report-conservation-news/">60 per cent since 1970</a>, and it’s predicted that around <a href="https://theconversation.com/revolutionary-change-needed-to-stop-unprecedented-global-extinction-crisis-116166">a million species are at risk of extinction</a>. As more of the Earth’s biodiversity disappears and the human population grows, protected landscapes that are set aside to conserve biodiversity are increasingly important. Sadly, many are underfunded – some of Africa’s most treasured wildlife reserves operate in <a href="https://www.leonardodicaprio.org/more-than-usd1-billion-per-year-needed-to-secure-africas-protected-areas-with-lions/">funding deficits of hundreds of millions of dollars</a>.</p> <p>In unfenced wilderness, scientists rarely have an inventory on the exact numbers of species in an area at a particular time. Instead they make inferences using one of many different survey approaches, including camera traps, track surveys, and drones. These methods can estimate how much and what kind of wildlife is present, but often require large amounts of effort, time and money.</p> <p>Camera traps are placed in remote locations and activated by movement. They can collect vast quantities of data by taking photographs and videos of passing animals. But this can cost tens of thousands of dollars to run and once in the wild, cameras are at the mercy of curious wildlife.</p> <p>Track surveys rely on specialist trackers, who aren’t always available and drones, while promising, have restricted access to many tourism areas in Africa. All of this makes wildlife monitoring difficult to carry out and repeat over large areas. Without knowing what’s out there, making conservation decisions based on evidence becomes almost impossible.</p> <p><strong>Citizen science on Safari</strong></p> <p>Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world – <a href="https://www.atta.travel/news/2019/04/an-analysis-of-africas-tourism-market-for-april-2019/">42m people visited</a> sub-Saharan Africa in 2018 alone. Many come for the unique wildlife and unknowingly collect valuable conservation data with their phones and cameras. Photographs on social media are already being used to help <a href="https://www.thenational.ae/uae/chimp-facial-recognition-technology-to-target-wildlife-traffickers-1.832456">track the illegal wildlife trade</a> and how often <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-social-media-can-help-sustainable-nature-tourism-100112">areas of wilderness are visited by tourists</a>.</p> <p>Despite this, tourists and their guides are still an overlooked source of information. Could your holidays snaps help monitor endangered wildlife? <a href="https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(19)30626-8">In a recent study</a>, we tested exactly this.</p> <p>Partnering with a tour operator in Botswana, we approached all guests passing through a safari lodge over three months in the Okavango Delta and asked them if they were interested in contributing their photographs to help with conservation. We provided those interested with a small GPS logger – the type commonly used for tracking pet cats – so that we could see where the images were being taken.</p> <p>We then collected, processed, and passed the images through computer models to estimate the densities of five large African carnivore species – lions, spotted hyenas, leopards, African wild dogs and cheetahs. We compared these densities to those from three of the most popular carnivore survey approaches in Africa – camera trapping, track surveys, and call-in stations, which play sounds through a loudspeaker to attract wildlife so they can be counted.</p> <p>The tourist photographs provided similar estimates to the other approaches and were, in total, cheaper to collect and process. Relying on tourists to help survey wildlife saved up to US$840 per survey season. Even better, it was the only method to detect cheetahs in the area – though so few were sighted that their total density couldn’t be confirmed.</p> <p>Thousands of wildlife photographs are taken every day, and the study showed that we can use statistical models to cut through the noise and get valuable data for conservation. Still, relying on researchers to visit tourist groups and coordinate their photograph collection would be difficult to replicate across many areas. Luckily, that’s where wildlife tour operators could come in.</p> <p>Tour operators could help collect tourist images to share with researchers. If the efforts of tourists were paired with AI that could process millions of images quickly, conservationists could have a simple and low-cost method for monitoring wildlife.</p> <p>Tourist photographs are best suited for monitoring large species that live in areas often visited by tourists – species that tend to have high economic and ecological value. While this method perhaps isn’t as well suited to smaller species, it can still indirectly support their conservation by helping protect the landscapes they live in.</p> <p>The line between true wilderness and landscapes modified by humans is becoming increasingly blurred, and more people are visiting wildlife in their natural habitats. This isn’t always a good thing, but maybe conservationists can use these travels to their advantage and help conserve some of the most iconic species on our planet.<!-- 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/118085/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>Written by <span>Kasim Rafiq, Postdoctoral Researcher in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Liverpool John Moores University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/heres-how-your-holiday-photos-could-help-save-endangered-species-118085"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

International Travel

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Michelin impossible: Why this outback KFC restaurant is chasing the highest food honour

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A KFC restaurant in Alice Springs, Northern Territory is pushing for one of the highest international dining honours available: A Michelin Star.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sam Edelman, who owns the Alice Springs KFC, told </span><a href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/bangkok-thailand-30-mg-price-2018-1044552979?src=mTnFWWy_AkbDyqiK7wAn_w-1-2&amp;studio=1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Yahoo News Australia</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> he runs the “most remote KFC in the world” and meets the criteria for the star.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"> “My store serves people who travel from 500 to 1000km away,” Mr Edelman said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“That’s part of the criteria - the food is worth a detour, worth a journey to enjoy.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Edelman came up with the idea after watching a documentary on Netflix.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In order to get a Michelin star, the restaurant has to use quality products, have a “mastery of flavour and cooking techniques”, the chefs must have personality, it should be value for money and the food has to be consistent.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, the guide for the star has been met with criticism as people think it’s biased towards French cuisine and technique.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In 2016, it awarded a star to a cheap Singapore street food outlet known for a braised chicken dish in a welcome break from tradition.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Edelman is hoping to get the attention of the Michelin judges to a variety of quality restaurants across Australia.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It’s a bit of Michelin: Impossible, but let’s make it possible,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“As I say to my staff sometimes, ‘bucket, why not?’”</span></p>

International Travel

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Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla make exciting announcement

<p>Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla will visit New Zealand later this year, Clarence House has revealed. </p> <p>The exciting trip 'down under' from the UK will be the couple’s third time visiting New Zealand and their first revisit in four years. </p> <p>"I am delighted to welcome Their Royal Highnesses back to New Zealand," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said of the news.</p> <p>"I know that the couple have greatly enjoyed New Zealanders’ warm hospitality and manaakitanga when they visited previously."</p> <p>Manaakitanga is a Māori word meaning 'hospitality' and 'kindness'.</p> <p>"The Prince of Wales has been a strong advocate for the environment, conservation and sustainability for many years.  </p> <p>“This visit will provide opportunities for him to engage with New Zealanders on those subjects, and to learn more about the ways in which New Zealand is preparing for the future."</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/BwRiymiga17/" 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/BwRiymiga17/" target="_blank">A post shared by Clarence House (@clarencehouse)</a> on Apr 15, 2019 at 4:14am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The pair are planning to visit Australia’s neighbouring country at the request of the New Zealand government and this exciting trip extremely close to home will be sure to be a particularly important one for Prince Charles who has worked a lot to aid conservation and environmental efforts. </p> <p>The couple are not the only ones to announce a royal tour, as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are jetting off to Pakistan in the UK Autumn time and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will visit Africa.</p> <p>While more details are yet to be revealed about the tour, it doesn’t seem likely Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla will be making a pitstop to Australia. </p> <p>They toured parts of the country back in April 2018 when they attended the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.</p>

International Travel

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Would you drink this $900 pot of tea?

<p><span>The Brits are serious about their tea, but a hotel overlooking Buckingham Palace has taken things to the next level with its new offering: a NZ$313 cup of tea. </span></p> <p><span>The Rubens at The Palace is now serving what is touted to be the most expensive cuppa in the United Kingdom. </span></p> <p><span>The rare blend, named “Ceylon Golden Tips”, comes from specialist tea merchant PMD Tea. Produced in the highlands of Sri Lanka, the tea buds are handpicked at sunrise and sundried on a velvet cloth, which is claimed to turn them from silver to gold. The tea is <a href="https://www.luxurytraveladvisor.com/hotels/london-hotel-now-serving-uk-s-most-expensive-cup-tea">described</a> as having a “smooth, light, mellow texture with hints of fruity notes”.</span></p> <p><span>The special tea is prepared in a special way – first, the leaves are picked with gold tweezers and weighed “with precision”. They will then be infused using still natural mineral water and poured out from a silver tea set.</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/Bz-_yL_hs2Z/" 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/Bz-_yL_hs2Z/" target="_blank">The UK’s most expensive Tea. Find it @rubenshotel by Buckingham Palace. Hand picked, high grown Golden Tips, served with a White Glove service. #pmdtea #rubens #rch #tea #luxury #goldentips #ceylontea #london #service #hospitality</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/pmdtea/" target="_blank"> P.M.David Silva &amp; Sons</a> (@pmdtea) on Jul 16, 2019 at 9:27am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span>The tea, which is offered exclusively at the hotel’s Palace Lounge, is priced at £500 (around NZ$928) a pot, or roughly NZ$313 a cup. The hefty price tag also covers sandwiches, scones and pastries to enjoy alongside the drink.</span></p> <p><span>Forking out over $900 for a pot of tea may seem excessive – but according to <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/uk-most-expensive-pot-of-tea/index.html"><em>CNN</em></a>, a pound of the tea was priced at the equivalent of NZ$2,200 in 1891. </span></p>

International Travel

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iPad-controlled superyacht hits the market for $22 million

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Looking for an addition to your vehicle collection? This might be up your alley – a $22 million superyacht, which can be controlled by an iPad, just hit the market. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Created by John Shuttleworth, the 140-foot (42.5 metre) Adastra has won numerous design awards thanks to its environmentally friendly construction. It only consumes 14 per cent of the fuel used by the average yacht with the same specs. This is due to the design that allows only 20 per cent of the lightweight glass and carbon boat to be submerged in the water, reducing drag and improving efficiency.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Inevitably, there has to be a trend for reducing fuel consumption – and I think superyachts will have to look something like this in the future,” Shuttleworth told </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">CNN</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in 2013. </span></p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9" style="text-align: center;"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UmdWW54DK8s"></iframe></div> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The yacht boasts five bedrooms, four bathrooms and an open-air bar, and can be controlled by an iPad from up to 50 metres away. It can travel 4,000 miles at 17 knots.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Anto Marden, billionaire shipping tycoon and owner of the superyacht said he and his wife Elaine are selling up because their cruising days have come to an end. Since its launch in 2012, they have taken Adastra to </span><a href="https://www.boatinternational.com/luxury-yacht-life/owners-experiences/on-board-with-anto-marden-owner-of-trimaran-superyacht-adastra--35603"><span style="font-weight: 400;">various destinations around the world</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, from the Philippines to Mallorca and the Atlantic. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“After seven years, we’ve pretty much cruised to all the places we want to cruise,” he told </span><a href="https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/high-tech-trimaran-yacht-adastra-120057508.html%5d"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Robb Report</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Now she’s just not getting enough use. We have another yacht at home, so it’s time to sell.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While the vessel is “priced to sell”, it was valued at US$15 million in 2013.</span></p>

International Travel

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“Probably going to get criticised”: Lisa Wilkinson doesn’t hold back in interview with NZ PM Jacinda Ardern

<p>Despite the recent popularity of NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, veteran news reporter Lisa Wilkinson wasn’t flustered and didn’t hold back in asking the difficult questions in a new interview on<span> </span><em>The Sunday Project</em>.</p> <p>The question was about Ardern’s thoughts on Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s stance on deportations.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">Jacinda Ardern was propelled into the world stage because of an unspeakable atrocity, and the way she reacted to it.<br />A lot’s happened since then, and<a href="https://twitter.com/Lisa_Wilkinson?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Lisa_Wilkinson</a> sat down with the NZ PM to talk life, love, and of course, politics. <a href="https://t.co/3zkgDVV0jm">pic.twitter.com/3zkgDVV0jm</a></p> — The Project (@theprojecttv) <a href="https://twitter.com/theprojecttv/status/1152871393006149638?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">21 July 2019</a></blockquote> <p>“You’ve described Scott Morrison’s stance on deportations as ‘corrosive’,” Wilkinson started.</p> <p>The question immediately flustered Ardern as she went into damage control mode.</p> <p>“Oh look I think we should be fair the, the deportation policy has existed for a while and…” Ardern stated.</p> <p>Wilkinson helped out Ardern and branded Morrison “the architect” of the policy that Ardern has described as “wrong” and “unjust”.</p> <p>“That is, that is correct,” Ms Ardern said. “When you are friends as we are, you can speak frankly with each other you know.”</p> <p>Ms Ardern added, “I think it speaks to the strength of it that we do speak so openly." </p> <p><em>The Sunday Project</em> interview was filmed shortly after a meeting between Ardern and Morrison, where the two leaders discussed the implications NZ citizens living in Australia have faced since the laws have tightened back in 2014.</p> <p>Ardern spoke candidly to NZ media, according to the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-19/dutton-dismisses-ardern-demands-to-stop-deporting-new-zealanders/11324382" target="_blank">ABC</a>.</p> <p>“If something’s wrong and if something is not fair and is unjust, you don’t let it go,” the NZ Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“I totally accept that it is within Australia’s rights to deport those who engage in criminal activity in Australia. But there are some examples that will not make any sense to any fair-minded person.”</p> <p>Luckily, Wilkinson switched to a lighter note and asked Ardern about how she’s going with motherhood.</p> <p>Ardern revealed that she’s not “this Wonder Woman” and gets a lot of help from her fiancé Clarke Gayford.</p> <p>“No one needs to see anyone pretending it’s easy because it’s not and so I’m not going to go around pretending I do everything,” she said.</p> <p>“I’m not, it’s hard and women who are both working and raising children deserve to have help and support and so we shouldn’t pretend it can be done alone.”</p>

International Travel