Monday, November 27, 2006

Australian Wines 101: Travel Australia in Just One Sip

Okay, we admit, Australians are generally a beer-guzzling nation. Aussies like beer with everything—or as it is called there, piss. One almost automatically thinks the Auld Lang Syne is always sung while lifting a mug of piss.

But Aussies are also a wine-loving nation. In fact, when it comes to wine-making, Australia is the New World, with its undeniably gorgeous offering to world: the Shiraz wine. Named after that city in ancient Persia (now Iran), which 7,000 years ago transformed the local grape into a magnificent sparkling beverage, the Australian shiraz is a delicate, subtle, yet powerfully spicy experience swirling in a long-stemmed glass.

In Australia, Barossa Valley is where the most uninhibitedly full-bodied Shiraz wine comes from. From a mere five vine cuttings of the Shiraz brought to the country by James Busby in 1832, the Shiraz wine has indeed come a long way. A taste of the Shiraz wine is always an amazing plunge into something sophisticated and at the same time laced with the wilderness. Sophisticated wilderness. Which is perhaps why the world has come to equate the shiraz wine with all things Australian.

The shiraz wine is a carnival of notes, from the fruity to the spicy to the earthy. Every sip of this deep red wine tells a bold story, puts forward a complex but brilliant statement. If anything, the whole point of the Shiraz wine is a reminder not to deprive yourself of the best and most exquisite things life has to offer.

When you travel Australia then, don't just get enamored with beer. Sit down to a lovely goblet of bubbly shiraz, take a bottle or two with you back home for your relatives, and tell them about one of the wondrous wonders you've discovered about the Land Down Under.

It's about time you travel Australia and get drunk in its loveliness.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Travel Australia, and then Bargain Hunt at its Many Wondrous Markets

Chances are, when you're visiting Australia, Sydney's the first place you'll be landing at. After all, Sydney is the first port of call for ships and is home to the major airports in the world. Of course, you simply must tour the unmissable and spectacular Sydney Opera House, and the parks too, and the museums—with matching photos and footage caught on cam. But after that, what's next?

It's time to hit the markets, mate! Here's a rundown of some of the finest and most flocked markets in the city.

Bondi Market
Bondi is most famous for its luminous beach and amazing waves. But when you're not doing any surfing/sailing/swimming, you might want to consider the good 'ol Bondi Market to catch up on your shopping. Bondi Market has just about everything in one go. Bargains abound there, from knick-knacks to second-hand books, from kitchenware to carpentry tools. As the cliche goes, there's something for everyone. And there's also always a friend to meet and get to know, fellow shoppers and shop owners. Just be conscious of how you spend; you'll realise soon enough you want everything on site.

Balmain Markets
The Balmain Markets has that frenzied bazaar air, just like Bondi. Regularly held at the grounds of the local church, the Balmain Markets are an eclectic and dizzying collection of pre-owned goods. Figurines, boomerangs, pottery, hand-knitted merino wool, leather boots, books, booze, etc, etc. (Yes, there are booze too, of course. Although in Australia, beer is called piss.) So when you're done shopping, grab a hearty lunch at any of the cosy bars and pubs within the market, and be prepared for the Big Burp.

Paddy's Markets
This is Sydney's biggest market so far, although somewhat more mainstream than the Bondi and Balmain markets. More new items are sold here than the used ones, sometimes directly coming from the retailers themselves. But because there's no overhead costs of shop rent, they manage to keep their prices pocket-friendly. The Paddy's Markets is the bargain-hunter's mecca.

Sydney Fresh Markets
Of course, the best thing about being situated right next to the ocean is the fresh catch of fishes. And you can be sure all of Sydney's great restaurants and wondrous chefs know how to transform these wriggling, fresh-as-fresh-can-be seafood into a gastronomic carousel on your plate. How do you say sumptuous and mouth-watering, again? Or if you want, you can bring home a fresh catch yourself straight from the market and whip up a nice recipe no cookbook can ever reproduce.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Most Happening Places You Shouldn't Miss When You Travel Australia

When you travel Australia, you aren't just a straw-hatted, sandal-footed tourist daintily stepping out of your comfort zone. Of course, you can be like that, but once in Australia, you'll realise soon enough that you want to be someone else braver.

To travel Australia is to be an explorer, brave, daring, uncompromising, and wide-eyed at every new thing that'll come your way. To travel Australia is to loosen your belt and jump into the unknown. Here's your itinerary mate!:

The 12 Apostles
One of Victoria's pride, the 12 Apostles are magnificent towers of limestone rocks jutting out of the ocean, formed over thousands of years ago by waves at their feet. They can be seen along Great Ocean Road, although currently, only eight of the original 12 Apostles remain.

The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the last frontiers on earth. Both mysterious and generous, it consists of more than 1,000 islands, from sandy cays to rainforest isles. The Great Barrier Reef is home to a diverse and kaleidoscopic marine life amidst a expanse of perfect and serene blue water that is worth plunging into any time. You haven't really snorkeled or scuba dived unless you've been in the Great Barrier Reef.

Kakadu National Park
East of Darwin, the Kakadu National Park is a throbbing, pulsating menagerie of wildlife set in a rich backdrop of waterfalls and sandstone cliffs. Herons, ospreys, jabirus and many other creatures greet you with their unabashed freedom. As well as snoring crocodiles and flighty Jacana birds flitting from one lusciously green lily pad to another. Be in your own National Geographic episode every time you travel Australia.

Uluru (Ayer's Rock)
Uluru is a behemoth stone mountain located in the centre of Australia, changing colors at different times of the day. Spanning 3.6 kilometres long, 2 kilometres wide, with a 9.4 kilometre circumference and made of arkosic sandstone, Ayer's Rock undoubtedly has a flair for color and exhibition. For one silent giant of a rock, that's quite a feat.

Bungle Bungles
Simply beholding the Bungle Bungle in Purnululu National Park is both stupefying and ticklish to the senses. The Bungle Bungle is an unabashed waltz of orange and black stripes of silica and algae, flanked by beehive-like mounds posing with their chins up. A crazy but wondrous trick of geography. Bungle Bungle breathes new meaning to the word “marvelous.“

Daintree Rainforest
One of the oldest rainforest in the planet, the Daintree Rainforest is home to an inexhaustible number of plants and wildlife; 65% of Australia's bat and butterfly population roam freely here. The Daintree Forest lies north of Cairn and spans some 1,200 square kilometres.

Tasmanian Wilderness
The Tasmanian Wilderness is as grand as its official name goes: Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Spanning 1.38 million hectares, it is one of the largest conservation reserves in Australia. Simultaneously, a true refuge, a playful temple, and solemn carnival of rare and endangered wildlife.

Fraser Island
When the camping bug strikes you, then head for Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world accessible by a ferry and a four-wheel drive. With its immaculately white pure silica beaches, incredibly pristine lakes, and stunning rainforests, Fraser Island is the perfect campsite. Don' t forget to ask the locals about the legend of the island according to the aborigines!

So there! Eight miraculous and breathtaking places to dive into when you travel Australia. Don't just get settled in Australia; go for the unsettling.

Australia Tourism

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