AFL grand final fever – five places to stay in Melbourne

By Australia / Melbourne /

STAR footballers retiring, others being given the flick, a coach sacked and season over for 8 Australian Football League teams. Yep, it’s the end of the home and away season in the AFL and it all turns a little stir crazy as the other 8 teams are a chance in this year’s finals – it’s time to find some accommodation and snap up a bargain rental car at Melbourne Airport for that big day on October 1 when the MCG comes alive for a full day of entertainment and footy action.


Pullman on the Park

Upscale hotel right opposite the “G” and Fitzroy Gardens. If you want to be right on top of all the action for both the pre GF parade and the big game the next day then you probably need to get in quick for Pullman on the Park. Only 24km from the airport, the hotel is also smack bang in the middle of Melbourne’s sports precinct.

10 words or less: Swish hotel and everything is within walking distance.


Airport Tourist Village Melbourne

Let’s face it, if you’re flying into Melbourne from interstate, sometimes it’s easy to park your wheels somewhere close for when you arrive and when you depart. While ATVM is a budget option for a stay in Melbourne, it’s convenience with a capital C and “just plane handy”, as the ATVM say. It’s a mixed bag of studio units, executive apartments, deluxe or standard cabins. Simplicity, clean and tidy, and undercover BBQ facilities. modern park, centrally located just minutes from Melbourne’s domestic and international airports, and an easy trip by car or public transport from Melbourne’s CBD.

10 words or less: Super close to the airport, simple, tidy, close to CBD.


Grand Hyatt Melbourne

Another one right near the footy action. It’s also a five minute walk to Federation Square, 15 minute walk to the National Gallery of Victoria and all the other attractions Melbourne’s CBD has to offer. Throw in the fact the facilities are five star magic, stunning floor to ceiling windows, service of the highest standard and you’ll be sleeping like a king or queen when you’re not screaming support for your favourite footy club.

10 words or less: sheer luxury in the heart of the city.


The Olsen Hotel

Adorned with beautiful artworks from artist John Olsen, close proximity to trendy Chapel Street and less than 3km from the MCG – the Olsen is a special kind of place to experience unique accommodation in the heart of Melbourne.

10 words or less: Quirky, quality, trendy and THE best bed and pillow combo around.


Crown Towers

Lavishly appointed guest rooms, suites and villas in beautiful Crown Towers in Southbank. Just a kilometre from historic Flinders Street Station, it’s a hive of activity right near the Yarra River, which snakes its way with accompanying walking tracks up to the mighty MCG where the two best teams in the AFL will battle it out for the big one. An ideal hotel for those looking for all the magic of Crown casino.

10 words or less: glitz and glam by the riverside in beautiful Southbank.

Also try Spring Sensations In Melbourne or  What’s Hot on the Melbourne Food Scene







Great road trips from Paris


Most people travel to France to see Paris, one of the world’s most famous cities. But few take advantage of the chance to hire a car in Paris and discover this beautiful country by road at their own pace.

Here are five great road trips from Paris. Remember, allow extra time because you’re sure to come across plenty of unexpected wonders.

Normandy (pictured)

Travel two and a half hours west of Paris and you’ll discover one of the country’s most beautiful coastal drives. There are several landmarks, from the famous island monastery Mont-Saint-Michel to the so-called D-Day beaches where some of the most dreadful scenes of World War Two took place. Another place to stop includes the colourful town of Honfleur, which inspired impressionist arists like Claude Monet.


Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is a popular resort area near the border of Italy and Switzerland. Mont Blanc is the highest summit in the Alps, making it the ideal place for snow-based activities, while also offering panoramic views. It’s a six hour drive south-east of Paris. Along the way, stop at Avallon. It’s a quaint community, situated at the edge of the Moran Forest, and it comes alive when the market comes to town on Saturdays. You can also make a short detour to Lyon, a large city with architecture up to 2000 years old.

Loire Valley

The stunning Loire Valley is located in central France, just two hours south west of Paris. This region is famous for its beautiful and extravagant palaces, which were once home to kings, queens and others from the noble class. These structures are so magnificent, that they’ve earned the Loire Valley the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site. The region is also famous for its wineries.

French Riviera

Travel seven and a half hours south on your way to the beautiful French Riviera and you’ll come across the lovely city of Montpellier. There are plenty of sites to see, from museums, gardens and historic monuments. Continue further south and drive along the coast to Nice. Along the way you’ll go through the Camargues, which are home to great vineyards and famous white wild horses. Then you’ll pass picture perfect towns of Marseille and Cassis, before making your way to the famous Nice or Monte Carlo nearby.


The trip to this tiny European country, which is bordered by Belgium, France and Germany, is well worthwhile. It’s a three and a half hour drive west of Paris, taking you through the lovely Champagne-Ardenne region. You’ll want to spend days at your destination. But some of the highlights along the way inclue the city of Reims, which is at the heart of the Champagne wine-growing region, and Verdun. Situated along the banks of the Meuse River, Verdun is home to one of the most famous battles of World War One. The Douaumont Ossuary in the town is home to the remains of more than 100,000 soldiers.




Adelaide’s unmissable events in Spring

By Adelaide / Australia /

Adelaide is known for its amazing food, wine and culture. Spring is the best time of year to visit Adelaide, as the city comes alive to celebrate those things.

Hire a car from the Airport and get ready for these spring events.

OzAsia Festival (pictured)

The OzAsia Festival has been touted as Australia’s premier Asia-focused arts festival. It runs between September and early October. It offers the latest in dance, music, film, theatre and visual arts out of Asia. Its flagship event is the Moon Lantern Festival, where thousands of people will gather to watch Australia’s largest lantern parade.

Royal Adelaide Show

South Australians will flock to the Royal Adelaide Show every September. It’s one of the state’s biggest entertainment events of the year. There’s something for everyone at the show. Mystery showbags, live entertainments and thrilling rides are always popular. Every night there are fireworks to celebrate this iconic event on the city’s calendar.

Adelaide Fashion Festival

This fashion festival celebrates innovative design and style. The festival runs over five days in October. It showcases established and up-and-coming local designers. There are several designer runways hosting 20 events. The focus is on creativity and unique style – something Adelaide designers never shy away from.

Adelaide Film Festival

This international film festival was established in 2003. It’s held over two weeks in mid October every second year. It showcases some of Australia’s best new talent. It also launches new films and art to international audiences. This event continues to grow every year.

Victor Harbour Rock ’n’ Roll Festival

This September you can literally dance the weekend away at Victor Harbour. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Festival runs in the heart of one of South Australia’s most gorgeous seaside towns. This free festival is just a short drive from Adelaide. It boasts live rock ‘ n’ roll music over three stages. It also has more than 500 vehicle displays, market stalls, memorabilia and more.

Also discover 5 things to do near McLaren Vale or Fly to Adelaide and drive to 5 great regions



Spring sensations in Melbourne

By Australia / Melbourne /

Spring is one of the most sensational times to visit Melbourne. Not only are the flowers across the city’s gardens in full bloom, but the sun starts to come out after a long, cold winter. Hire a car from Melbourne Airport and explore one of these events.

AFL Grand Final (pictured)
After a season of suspense, every footy fan in Australia has their sights set on the AFL Grand Final. The big game is full of excitement and drama, with the two top teams battling it out in front of a packed area. Be one of the 100,000 screaming fans watching the game unfold inside the MGG.

Royal Melbourne Show
The show is perhaps Victoria’s most iconic event. There are colourful lights, exhibits, rides and 450,000 people who pack the Melbourne Showgrounds for eleven days in September. There are exiting activities, plenty of competition and pop up restaurants of some of the city’s finest eateries. Of course, no visit to the show is complete without walking away with a show bag.

Melbourne Cup Carnival
The Melbourne Cup is one of Australia’s (and the world’s) most prestigious horse races. The first Tuesday of November sees people from all over flock to Flemington Racecourse for not only one of the world’s best horse races, but also the fashion. Colourful designer frocks light up the field. This event is also steeped in history, with the first race dating back to 1861.

Melbourne Festival
The Melbourne Festival is one of the country’s leading international arts festivals. Every year in Spring it lives up to its reputation as showcasing the latest and most creative in the arts. From theatre, music and dance to visual arts and multimedia, the festival showcases innovation and vision. The event runs for 17 days every October.

Melbourne Marathon Festival
The Melbourne Marathon kicks off at the perfect time of year. It has a full marathon, half marathon, and also a few smaller races. The Melbourne Marathon has been going every year since 1978. These days, thousands of people participate in the marathon.



Hervey Bay Ocean Festival

By Australia / Queensland /

Hervey Bay Ocean Festival arrives next week with oceans of fun and a jam-packed 9 day program of events highlighting the Fraser Coast’s deep connection with the sea, according to the region’s tourism body. World famous whale-watching experiences, renowned mouth-watering seafood, a seaside lifestyle, music and cultural activities are all heroes of this gigantic showcase from August 13.

Pick up your Sunshine Coast car rental and head north for a whale of a time!

Festival highlights:

The Blessing of the Fleet opens the even, which the Fraser Coast’s famous fleet of whale watch vessels undergo a centuries old tradition at Hervey Bay Marina to ensure a safe and prosperous season. Visitors can tour the vessels, wander through market stalls and enjoy delicious wine and cheese tasting, a sail past, fabulous fireworks and live entertainment.

Hervey Bay Seafood Festival launches the next day, August 14, the event serves up a host of fresh and delicious wild-caught ocean produce, loads of entertainment, competitions, cooking and catching tips and more at Fishermen’s Park, Urangan Boat Harbour. Highlights include tasty morsels such as cooking demonstrations from leading chef Javier Codina from Moda Restaurant, prawn eating competitions, bumper artistic, music and cultural program with performances by 8 Ball Aitken, The Rain and Wal Neilson plus more.

Whale Parade and Concert in a big drawcard and features an enchanting spectacle of lights and floats representing the humpback’s annual migration, followed by a fabulous free concert with local artists.

MEANWHILE, Hervey Bay’s world renowned whale fleet is famous for providing visitors with soul-stirring, intimate encounters with the gentle giants. This year an estimated 22,000 humpback whales have migrated from Antarctica to the warm northern waters to breed.

The humpies are on their return journey and will be making their annual migration stop-over in Hervey Bay until early November. The proud new parents and the cutest calves on earth are making a temporary home in the tranquil marine environment of the Great Sandy Straits, creating a wonderland of intimate and interactive whale activity.

Get on board with one of these leading operators for a whale experience to live long in the memory.

Blue Dolphin has exclusive full day whale encounters including limited passenger numbers for great viewing; eight hours touring on board the luxury eco-friendly vessel; morning, afternoon tea and quality buffet lunch with free drink. If the conditions are right, passengers can immerse themselves with the whales in the water on the boat’s purpose-built platform. Passengers benefit from a highly educated crew with more than 30 years’ experience in marine animal behaviour.

Hervey Bay Whale Watch Quick Cat II has a full day Whales and Fraser Island experience including light breakfast, morning tea and hop off at Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island for lunch. Quick Cat ll offers four levels of viewing decks and full wheelchair access around the entire vessel. Underwater cameras and hydrophones add to the interactive experience, but for that once in a lifetime experience, Hervey Bay Whale Watch also offer a swim with whales experience that is not to be missed.

Whalesong are whale and dolphin specialists at Hervey Bay providing an ideal way to explore the pristine waterways and diverse wildlife between Fraser Island and the Fraser Coast. Discounted rates for teenagers (up to 18) makes for an affordable day out on the water, while fresh local produce prepared onboard will delight the tastebuds. Whalesong can also assist you with exploring Fraser Island while you’re here.

Freedom III is a family owned and operated business which offers longer days on the water and small to medium passenger numbers to provide a relaxed experience. Rated number one on TripAdvisor, it is clearly a popular choice, and with the delightful menu on offer including homemade morning tea, buffet lunch fresh fruit and cheese platter, it’s no wonder people keep going back for more.

Spirit of Hervey Bay is the largest and fastest whale watch vessel in Hervey Bay, offering the biggest underwater viewing room in the fleet and a hydrophone to listen to the whales. The Spirit has a range of well-priced tours complete with courtesy transfers, souvenir whale DVD and more. Five levels of viewing decks means you can catch the whales’ antics from every angle.

Tasman Venture offers multi-lingual guides, advanced eco certification, free onboard Wi-Fi and an immersive platform allowing guests to get closer to the humpbacks than ever. Tasman Venture is also the only operator permitted to access the North West Coast of Fraser Island, taking visitors to pristine, isolated locations.

For more visit



7 ways to discover Belfast

By UK /

Northern Ireland’s capital, Belfast, is a destination with plenty of discoveries to be made. Hire a car from Belfast Airport and enjoy these seven great activities.

Hike through Cave Hill
Cave Hill Country Park offers magnificent panoramas of Belfast. There are walking trails suitable for all people of all fitness levels. It also has five caves on the side of its cliffs, which are full of archaeological and historical attractions, such as Belfast Castle. The most famous feature is Napoleon’s Nose, which locals say inspired Jonathan Swift’s story, Gulliver’s Travels.

Pub hopping
Spend a night hopping from pub to pub. After all, the Irish are known for their ability to drink whiskey! There’s plenty to choose from but if you’re stuck for ideas, start your pub crawl at the Crown Liquor Saloon. Then make your way to The Duke of York, which is set on one of the city’s oldest streets and decked out with original mirrors and memorabilia.

Tour Parliament Buildings
Parliament Buildings are open to the public Monday to Friday and when the Assembly is sitting there are free half hour public tours available. This will take you to the historic Senate Chamber and teach you about the story behind the incredible architecture. While here, make sure you check out the beautiful surroundings of Stormont Estate.

Go browsing at St George’s Market
It took six years to build St George’s Market from 1890. To this day it remains the city’s only surviving covered Victorian market. There are hundreds of stalls selling a variety of favourites, from seafood and specialty foods to locally made art and crafts. There’s also live music to entertain as you walk through one of the UK’s best markets.

Step back in time at Grand Opera House
The opera house opened its doors in 1895 and has been delivering world-class entertainment ever since. It regularly hosts operas, dramas, musicals and comedies, to name a few. You can discover the history behind these walls and the story of theatre architect Frank Matcham with a group tour.

Visit Crumlin Road Gaol
The Crumlin Road Gaol was one of the most advanced prisons of its time. It opened in 1845 and was designed to house 500 prisoners. However, during the height of the Troubles it housed up to 900 people. Take a tour of the prison, which includes a visit to the execution cell, the flogging room and the underground tunnel to the courthouse. There’s also a Paranormal Tour at night.

Explore the city in an old-fashioned taxi
This is a tour unlike any other. With Belfast Black Taxi Tours you get to spend an hour and a half in a traditional black cab, discovering the highlights of Belfast. Drivers pick you up from any location and take you to see the so-called Peace Walls, murals and Catholic Falls Road. The driver will also give you a good rundown of the history of these places.



5 reasons to head for the hills on the Gold Coast

By Australia / Gold Coast /

The Gold Coast is one of Queensland’s premier destinations. With sun, sand and surf waiting for you all year round.

Ignore the beaches, hire a car from Brisbane Airport and head for the hills on your next trip to the Gold Coast. Drive thirty minutes inland from the beaches and you’ll find the Hinterland, which is full of rainforests, farms and vineyards.

Here are five things to do when you’re there.

Sip some wine
The Gold Coast Hinterland is a fantastic destination for wine-lovers. It’s one of Queensland’s fastest growing wine regions, thanks to the range of micro-climates creating perfect growing conditions for a variety of grapes. Mount Tamborine (pictured), Mount Nathan, Lamington and Canungra are full of top-notch wineries. Some wineries that we recommend include Albert River Wines and O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards.

Hiking in Springbrook National Park
Hiking is a popular pastime in Springbrook National Park. The track to Natural Bridge, which has formed over millions of years from water pounding onto the roof of a basalt cave, is one of the most popular. It’s the perfect place for a picnic. At night in summer, the cave is equally enchanting. Take a guided tour to see amazing glow-worm colonies, fireflies and even luminous fungi.

Visit the Cheese Shop and Factory
Just an hour from Brisbane and in the heart of Mount Tamborine is The Cheese Shop and Factory. Deliciously soft and hand-made cheeses are waiting to be sampled and bought. The factory proudly produces small batches of high quality cheeses and other dairy products, such as ice cream. This amazing destination could keep you tied up all day!

Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk
Walk 30 metres above the ground through the rainforest canopy. Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk is an exciting eco-adventure that’s suitable for all ages. The 1.5km long path at Skywalk treats you to views of lush rainforest leads you to the crystal clear rock pools of Cedar Creek. During the trip, you’ll encounter rare butterflies and other rainforest animals.

Get up close with Alpacas
The Mountview Alpaca Farm is an exciting destination for people of all ages, especially kids. Not only is the beautiful view of Tamborine Mountain and the Gold Coast likely to inspire you, but you can cuddle and pat alpacas! For just a few dollars you can buy a large bag of food and feed these friendly animals. There’s also a gift shop, where you’ll find unique alpaca-themed goods from Australia and South America.

Also check out Romantic drives … Coffs Harbour to Crystal Castle, Byron Bay



Six ways to enjoy an escape to Sorrento

By Australia / Melbourne / Victoria /

HOLIDAYS hot spots in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula don’t get much more glam than stylish Sorrento, about an hour and a half drive in your Melbourne rental car from Melbourne’s CBD and wedged in between Portsea and Rye.

But you don’t have to be a high flyer to live it up in Sorrento, a beachside haven with cosmopolitan cafes, shopping strip and beautiful boulevard to explore. Here are six ways to make it all happen.

STAY: And the winner is Sorrento Holiday Accommodation at where you have a choice of two absolute gems – The Erlandsen Entertainer sleeping 16 and the Sorrento Avenue option sleeping 12. Both have the aim of suiting two families who can share a holiday together. The bigger option is a classic 5 star Sorrento beachhouse (100m from the beach!) sleeping up to 16 adults and additional trundles for two children. There are three living zones – this is a whole lot of house focussed on a great entertaining courtyard with a mid sized pool to cool off in with solar heating. There is stunning outdoor furniture to watch pool swimmers have fun. Dine on the outdoor table after cooking on the gas Webber. For other options think about Hotel Sorrento in Hotham Road for anything from around $190 a night or a luxury BnB like Eastcliff Cottage in the historical district and only minutes from the local golf club.

PLAY: Speaking of golf clubs, Sorrento Golf Club is a beauty with its rolling hills. One problem is if you’re a visitor (not a member) you’ll have to fork out $120 for a round of 18. Other activities to enjoy are the beautiful beach walks (and FREE) on the front beach and stunning back beach for splendid sunsets and plenty of rock pools. Sorrento Museum is worth an hour or so to check out the history of the area which includes shipwrecks, horse-drawn carts and the old steam train that roared through town. Manyung Gallery is always chock-full of terrific work by local artists.

EAT: For breakfast, lunch or dinner head for an authentic Italian experience at where the accents are thick and the food sensational – cured meats, Italian cheeses, great pizza, salsas, gnocci, calzone, ravioli … yum. Oh yes, the coffee is the best in town, too. For Asian, try Chopstix Asian Bar (which has home delivery, by the way) in the main street with great munchies like Shanghai dumplings and chicken satay bites, while mains include noodle dishes like pad thai, Singapore noodles, as well as rice dishes, soups, salads and great numbers for “little people” such as Teriyaki noodles with hicekn and colourful veggies.

WATCH: With a feel of yesteryear and great mod cons for quality movie watching, Peninsula Cinemas is a great way to spend a night after a bite out on the town. This one’s a long-running picture house screening new releases, plus recordings of opera and theatre productions.

RIDE: Get your motor running and your adrenalin pumping with a scenic ride from the back of a late model solo or sidecar Harley Davidson as you are chauffeured around the Mornington Peninsula with Andy’s Harley Rides.

SWIM: Beautiful beaches means Sorrento swimming and lazing in the sun is a breeze. But go a step further, take the plunge and do something different like swimming with dolphins. Moonraker Seal and Dolphin Swim Tours is a snorkel adventure like no other. Bottlenose dolphins and naughty Australian Fur Seals join in the action for what is an unforgettable experience.


Also try One Hour From Melbourne: 5 Amazing Things To Do or Dive Into Heavenly Hot Springs


What’s hot on the Melbourne food scene

By Australia / Melbourne /

Food brings friends together for memorable experiences. True foodies know exactly where to head on Melbourne’s food scene to uncover some of the city’s most delicious treats. Hire a car from Melbourne Airport and add these five tasty experiences to your list.

Flower Drum (pictured)
This Chinese restaurant oozes fine dining and Cantonese cuisine. Situated in Market Lane in Melbourne’s CBD, the restaurant’s executive chef Anthony Lui ensures fresh ingredients are purchased daily from the nearby market. They’re then skilfully served onto your plate. Make sure you try the signature dish, the Peking Duck. It’s a delicious combination of plum sauce, spring onion, cucumber and tender pieces of roast duck.

Republica is seaside dining at its best. This casual restaurant sits on the waterfront in the St Kilda Baths and boasts central open fireplaces. Enjoy modern Australian cuisine while admiring views of Port Phillip Bay. There are many flavorsome entrees to choose from. We’d highly recommend the chilli tiger prawns or the grilled Victorian lamb for the main course.

Piggery café
Shannon Bennett’s Piggery Café draws people from all over Melbourne. Some of the café-bakery;s best offers include charcoal barbecue chicken, Wagyu burgers and zesty salads. Grab some delicious breads and pastries from the adjoining Burnham Bakery. Sit inside this rustic venue and enjoy flavours from around the world. Only then will you wonder why you didn’t discover this place sooner.

Italian Wine and Food Festival
Flavours of Italy will fill the Royal Exhibition Building for one day only in May. This Italian feast is like heaven! Choose from creamy pastas and gourmet pizzas to homemade meatballs that melt in your mouth. There are also little treats, including gelati. But wine-lovers unit! There are more than 250 wines to sample and there’s even a wine masterclass.

Good Food and Wine Show
Make the most of the Good Food and Wine Show this year. It’ll run from June 3-5 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Purchase a general admission ticket and you’ll be able to browse hundreds of local and international exhibitors. Famous culinary experts will also take the stage. Watch closely as they share tips and cook delicious dishes live.


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On the road out of Vegas – 5 hot spots within two hours

By Las Vegas / United States /

The glitzy strip and bright lights of Vegas are like magnets for all of America’s fast cars and even faster women and men, but if you can look away and beyond there are some great short trips just around the corner. Here are five within an hour once you jump in that car rental and hit the open road.

Valley of Fire (pictured)

Meander through the mesmerising Valley Of Fire, Nevada’s oldest state park, with countless moments of nature’s beauty smacking you in the senses. The park earnt its name from its fiery red sandstone, formed from fossilised sand dunes more than 150 million years ago by a shift in the Earth’s crust, faulting and wind and water erosion. Today, only wild animals dwell within Valley of Fire year-round. Rattlesnakes, kangaroo rats, kit foxes, coyotes, bighorn sheep and the white-tailed antelope ground squirrels are just a few. Oh, and cougars, of course, “but only at night”, as my highly entertaining guide Mike Franklin pointed out, “as opposed to the Strip – these particular cougars are hard to spot given they’re minus the bright red lipstick and high heels.”

Lake Mead and Callville Bay Resort & Marina

Monster-sized man-made Lake Mead is a major recreation area in addition to being a major water artery for the region, originally formed by the building of Hoover Dam on the Colorado River in 1935. Callville Bay Resort and Marina hums with houseboats, jet skis, and speed boats. The big drawcard is the ultimate houseboat adventures on offer providing a visual feast of desert/water contrasts, mountains and canyons. All Forever Houseboat rentals include a waterside, barbecue, kitchen and a top deck with canopy; deluxe widescreen TVs and stainless steel kitchens. Wildlife comes out to play up around the banks and I was lucky to get close to a coyote, eagles, mallards, grebes and hummingbirds. If you’re lucky, a bighorn sheep may wander down for a drink.

Red Rock Canyon

Conditions are hot and dry in summer so load up on bottles of water. The fast pace of the Strip quickly subsides once out on the highway as scenery smacks you in the senses. Copper-coloured mountains leap out from the desert floor highlighted by Red Rock Canyon’s bluffs, cliffs and petrified sandstone boulders. Time really does stand still out here. These mountains were formed by geological forces including fractured faults where the earth’s crust collided over millions of years and fossilised sand dunes. Some cliffs reach a kilometre high. It really is breathtaking. The 20km round-trip tourist route at the actual site is a must-do.

Hoover Dam

Let’s see, we’re back in 1929 in a harsh climate, remote location and facing solid rock. So why not build a massive arch-gravity dam? Something with 2.4 million cubic metres of concrete, spillways, the lot? Crazy but brilliant, and also serving the dual purpose of being a film set for great flicks such as Transformers and more recently San Andreas. The sheer size of this man-made but essential engineering masterpiece really is hard to put into words, so taking a guided tour of the powerplant and passageways within Hoover Dam itself is highly recommended to gain an understanding of the purpose this mighty Nevada icon serves.

Boulder Brewing Co

Let’s face it. Any drive in the desert is thirsty work, so this is a must stop-off point. The small township of Boulder is where the craft beers are cold and tasty and the atmosphere warm and addictive. Practically a museum in itself, Boulder Dam Brewing Co is a few minutes down the road on the return to Vegas. Mementos such as axes, picks and gauges used in the construction of the dam adorn the inside walls and in the beer garden. Owner Lisa explains the brewpub is Boulder City’s hot spot for music which can be “anything from bluegrass to rock ’n’ roll and old-fashioned country”. Get stuck into the food menu, too, which is a mix of naughty but nice treats including battered pickles and cheese-loaded pretzels, burgers, salads and pub fare. The beers, of course, are the focal point. Boulder Dam Brewing Co brews everything from European pilsners to happy pale ales to rich, creamy stouts.




Let’s go shopping in New York’s best shopping strips

By New York / United States /

GIRLS from all over the world go to New York for the labels and, because of the seemingly never-ending shopping districts, it’s the perfect place where you can shop til you drop! NYC boasts some of the world’s finest districts, which will keep you busy for days.
Check out these five amazing shopping districts, and do you fancy a hire car so you don’t have to lug around all your heavy shopping bargains? Hire a car from JFK airport with DriveNow to make your shopping holiday more enjoyable.

Fifth Avenue Shopping District
Find yourself in the heart of Manhattan’s shopping heaven, where shopping is bliss! Think Tiffany’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Abercrombie. That’s enough to keep your legs – and your wallet – busy for hours. Then there are also the mega-stores, such as the Disney Store, Apple and Niketown.

Madison Avenue Shopping District
Welcome to what’s known as the most expensive retail real estate in the world. The list of high-end, luxurious retailers go on and on – from Gucci to Changel, Vera Wang, Armani, Jimmy Choo, Ralph Lauren and Prada. That’s just the beginning of the list! The glitz and glamour of Madison Avenue Shopping District attracts celebrities from all over the world, so you might just run into your idol!
Time Warner Centre
Set in the heart of Manhattan at Columbus Circle, the Time Warner Centre is at the top of every traveller’s list. It’s one of New York City’s most iconic destinations, known for being the place for dining, entertainment and shopping. It’s home to a 60,000ft market selling Whole Foods, and more than 40 specialty shops. You’ll find Hugo Boss, Swarovski and more.

Soho Shopping District
High-end boutiques are waiting to be explored inside Soho’s historic buildings, along with huge brands you’ll find just about anywhere. Bloomingdales is always popular with the locals and visitors and so is Victoria’s Secret, H&M and Prada’s flagship store. There’s also Pearl River Mart, the first Chinese American department store. Along Broadway you’ll find many more fabulous foreign additions.

North of Little Itally is one of the hottest shopping strips in all of New York. Along Elizabeth, Mott and Mulberry streets you’ll find stylish shops at every turn. They specialise mostly in high-quality, expensive fashion, but you’re also find niche clothing designs and accessories from all around the world, but they won’t necessarily be at the high prices you’d expect.



Snuggle up at these five cosy B&Bs in the Yarra Valley this Autumn

By Australia / Melbourne / Victoria /

The Yarra Valley region makes for a relaxing weekend away at any time of year. Pick up a rental car from Melbourne Airport ( and drive only 60 minutes to explore everything the Yarra Valley has to offer.

When you arrive, pick from one of these five cosy B&Bs to stay. It’s the best in Yarra Valley accommodation.
Bonza View
The owners proudly say Bonza View bed and breakfast apartment offer the best views in the Dandenongs. During the day you have a sweeping scene of the Port Phillip Bay to Mount Macedon and the Warburton Ranges, even the Lilydale Lake. At night you have a spectacular 180 degree view of the city lights. Your private, undercover deck also has a bubbling hot tub – perfect on those chilly nights.

Valley Guest House
Experience country living at its best. At Valley Guest House, you’ll wake up to a beautiful sunrise and the sound of native birds. You’re also surrounded by lush gardens with neat gardens full of roses, camellias and wisterias. Natural light fills your studio, which has tall, wide windows and a private balcony. Or you can opt for the Honeymoon suite, which has its own private courtyard, heated spa and fireplace.

Yering Gorge Cottages
Not only does this property offer incredible views of the Yarra Valley from your bedroom window, but it also treats you to plenty of luxuries, such as free Wi-Fi, your own private spa bath and a beauty centre. Yering Gorge Cottages are also located close to popular fishing spots and cycling trails. Perfect for a romantic weekend away!

Dalblair Bed and Breakfast
Ever dreamed of your own luxurious suite with a large veranda, spacious living area and pool? Then Dalblair Bed and Breakfast is the right kind of place for you. It’s set of 30 acres of colourful gardens with picturesque views of the surrounding Warburton Ranges and vineyards. Dalblair makes for the idea location for a peaceful getaway.

Sanctuary Park Cottages
Hire out one of these rustic cottages for a romantic weekend away. They’re perfect for any time of year – in the warmer months you can relax by the lake, while in the cooler months you can admire the changing colour of the landscape or relax in the hot spa. Majestic mountains surround the property, which you’ll never want to leave.