A Tale of Four Cities

March 13, 2010 by  
Filed under magazine, News

For our Issue 02 of the magazine, we share with you travel tales from four cities all over Asia – Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Seoul – and much more!

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In this issue
+ Shanghai Hip
+ Singapore’s Dempsey
+ The Heart of Seoul
+ Sydney’s Culture Capital
+ Tasty Taiwan
+ The Art of Humanity
+ Asia’s Little Dragon
+ Wellness for the Soul
+ Chic Melbourne
+ Jakarta Capital Treats
+ Bali, Romance in Paradise

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Sydney’s Circular Quay

June 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Attractions, Enchanting Oceania, Nature

While (almost) everyone knows that Canberra is Australia’s political capital, the amount of tourist attractions and diversity of entertainment options available in Sydney’s Circular Quay (pronounced like “key”) makes it a capital region of a different kind. Home to two of the city’s icons – the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House – this is one of my favorite places to just walk along the shoreline and soak up the sunshine and atmosphere. Here are a few of the best experiences.

Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Photo credit - recoverling.

Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Photo credit - recoverling.

Walking the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Walking along the lower span the bridge from one side of the cove to the other is enjoyable enough. But did you know you can actually walk along the top girders of the bridge? It is the only bridge in the world with such an offering, and its one of the safest things you can do in the city. The company running the tour, called Bridgeclimb, offers two different climbs each lasting about three and a half hours. It is such a wonderful way to spend the afternoon and the views from atop the main arch – despite being terribly windy – is surreal. The skyscrapers of the Sydney CBD seem smaller and it is practically impossible to see any pedestrians on the shore below.

This books out weeks in advance so be sure to put in your reservation well before you travel to Sydney. Sunrise and sunset tours are slightly more expensive, and for good reason – but keep in mind you can’t take your camera up with you.

The Rocks. Photo credit - kevgibbo.

The Rocks. Photo credit - kevgibbo.

Eating and Drinking at The Rocks

The Rocks is where the first settlers to land in Sydney arrived, making it the oldest part of the city. The recent refurbishments to the area have given it a bit of a sterilized feeling, but fortunately there are some tasty restaurants left to quench any hunger pains you might have. From places like Pancake on the Rocks to Löwenbräu Keller, you’ll find quite a diversity of cuisines similar to the rest of Sydney. Wolfies Grill has one of the best views barring the towering viewpoint from the Altitude Bar, which sits atop the Shangri-la Hotel on the 36th floor.

The Royal Botanic Gardens. Photo credit - chromolux.

The Royal Botanic Gardens. Photo credit - chromolux.

Sitting in Mrs. MacQuarie’s Chair

This isn’t so much a chair as a stone bench that was carved out of the rock back in 1810 for then-governor Lachlan Macquarie’s wife, Elizabeth. It sits at the end of a small peninsula that is part of the Royal Botanic Gardens, one of Syndey’s main parks. With the city skyline dominating just beyond, the gardens are full of beautiful ponds and lakes as well as the perfectly manicured flora. The end near Mrs. MacQuarie’s chair is particularly quiet and a great place to sit and reflect quietly, although I suggest sitting over near the shoreline itself, unless you want to be in the photo albums of the many tourists that come to photograph the chair.

The view from the ferry to Manly. Photo credit - george.

The view from the ferry to Manly. Photo credit - george.

When you’re Finished

After you’re done in Circular Quay, the icing on the proverbial cake is to take one of the frequent ferries out to Manly. This 30-minute (each direction) ferry service offers some of the same great views of the tourist boats but is far less expensive. Sydney is its most beautiful from the sea, so regardless be sure to get out on the waters and get some perspective.

About the Author. Andy Hayes. Andy Hayes is a freelance travel writer and photographer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. When not crossing the world to have his next Asian travel adventures, he is hitting the walking trails near home. To get in touch or see Andy’s other travelogues, visit his website, Sharing Experiences.

7 Quick Sidetrips in Australia

From the magical Three Sisters to the beautiful Victoria Harbor, the land of the Kangaroo offers a wide variety of attractions for travelers of all age and interest. Other than the spectacular West Coast and its natural scenic beauty, there are plenty of choices – but with so much territory to explore, how do you narrow down your itinerary? Here are some side trip suggestions for your trip down under!

Boxing Kangaroos. Photo credit - aardvaark.

Boxing Kangaroos. Photo credit - aardvaark.

Up Close and Personal with a Roo

The Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park in Calga, New South Wales is a prime destination for those interested in native Australian animals, plants, and culture. About a short 50 minutes drive north from Sydney harbour bridge,the park offers you an interesting journey back into a time where you can see animals (some endangered) roam about freely – kangaroos, emus, pademelons, reptiles, koalas.

You can choose from guided tours geared toward your interests, such as seeing kangaroos and koalas, discovering Aboriginal culture, boomerang throwing, animal feeding or learning how to survive in the bush. Or you can simply choose to go it alone to discover your own personal favorite.

Dreamworld, the Australian version of Disney World. Photo credit - tinrey.

Dreamworld, the Australian version of Disney World. Photo credit - tinrey.

Theme Park Adventure at Dreamworld

Kind of like the Australian equivalent of Disney World, Dreamworld (in Queensland) is Australia’s most popular amusement park and offers thrills for all ages. Whether you live for wild rollercoasters or your kids are dying for a Wiggles fix, Dreamworld can keep you all occupied for several days. Apart from the wide variety of rides, the 30 hectares Dreamworld also includes the Tiger Island, White Water World, riverboat cruises and an IMAX theatre.

Village life at Kuranda. Photo credit - steel-wool.

Village life at Kuranda. Photo credit - steel-wool.

Village Life

Immerse yourself in a rainforest village. In northern Queensland is the mountain retreat of Kuranda, a picturesque mountain retreat just 25km northwest of Cairns in Far North Queensland. Surrounded by World Heritage Rainforest, visitors can observe wildlife, learn about indigenous culture and art from Aboriginal residents, or go on a forest walk.

Kuranda has come a long way from its initial origins as a centre for those choosing an alternative lifestyle in the late 60’s. Historic Buildings from the villages past now house a variety of upmarket restaurants, cafes and bars. It is still laid back, but with a style and sophistication that sets it apart from other Cairns Highlands Venues and Attractions.

Sydney Opera House. Photo credit - blentley.

Sydney Opera House. Photo credit - blentley.

Tour the Sydney Opera House.

Even if you’re not an opera buff, a visit to this quintessential Australian landmark is a must-do during one of your lazy afternoon. Tour guides will give you an insider’s peek at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the rich history of this remarkable architecture, as well as the moving story behind its creation, mainly the saga between client and architect, which to some degree signifies a battle of foreign and local talent.

Australia's Surfer's Paradise. Photo credit - dannyben.

Australia's Surfer's Paradise. Photo credit - dannyben.

Surf it up!

For those heeding the call of the waves, the Surfer’s Paradise on the Gold Coast is simply heaven on earth (pun intended). It’s one of the most popular holiday destinations in Australia where you’ll find the perfect fusion of city and beach lifestyles set amidst a spectacular skyline and a brilliant stretch of coast. Ride the perfect waves, tan your body on the sandy beaches, or take a surfing lesson from some of the world’s best teachers.

Marine life at the Great Barrier Reef. Photo credit - Leonard Low.

Marine life at the Great Barrier Reef. Photo credit - Leonard Low.

Dive the Great Barrier Reef

There are skilled companies all over Queensland ready to take you on the dive of your life. As the largest coral reef system in the world, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the top scuba destinations anywhere in the world. Dive enthusiasts simply must reserve the time to explore this undersea phenomenon. Base yourself at one of the many beautiful islands scattered around the 300,000 square kilometres of coral cays and reef systems.

Australian Vineyard. Photo credit - Steve Lacy.

Australian Vineyard. Photo credit - Steve Lacy.

Sip some vino.

Australian wine? The very thought would have raised eyebrows in the not-too-distant past, but Australian wines are well respected today. The Australian wine industry is the fourth-largest exporter in the world, exporting over 400 million litres a year to a large international market. For the wine aficionados, there are plenty of vineyards to explore and wines to taste. Some of the best include the Saltram Wine Estate in South Australia, Stringybark Winery in Western Australia, and Yering Farm Wines in Victoria.

About the Author. Char Magalong. Char Magalong, freelance web designer and programmer, spent two years living, working and traveling in Singapore. Another two years stint right after that in Malaysia led to homesickness, after which she promptly returned to the Philippines. With her myriad of treasured experiences for apt comparison, she comments regularly on the beauty of Philippines and its surrounding country side.