Recommend May 2014 - (Page 82)

southpacific onsitereview D E C E M B E R 2 0 13 Twelve Apostles Marine National Park. johnalee johnston melbourne: the laneway less traveled From the 23rd floor of the Crown Metropol Hotel, Melbourne looks like a quirky and highly innovative pop-up book. The geometric and creative buildings introduce travelers to the idea that they are part of an ever-evolving story. Down on the streets, a melange of fashion, indelible spirit and pure culinary bliss add to the plot. It's truly a sensory explosion-and it follows you wherever you go in Melbourne (and throughout much of Australia). The city, a 1.5-hour flight from Sydney, rests on a well-designed grid that allows pedestrians to wander off the beaten path onto vibrant laneways that crisscross in-between streets. Funky boutiques, shopping arcades, cafes, bars and eateries huddle along the edges of cobblestone streets, and graffiti art is proudly displayed by artists who have transformed some of these paths into living canvases. "Sometimes, the best part of visiting a new city is when you leave the tourist trail," asserts Samantha Holmes of Tourism Australia. "While the big attractions can be great fun, often it's the subtler 'insider' experiences that leave you feeling really satisfied." Taking this advice, we meandered through Melbourne's laneways, which are, by all standards, quirky, fun and truly magical. But don't take our word for it-their charms also prompted Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle to nickname them the "land of in-between." And if your clients do happen to lose their bearings as we did from looking up, down and sideways at all of the tucked away treasures, no worries-Melbournians have you covered. "It's truly a community," says Karen Bolinger, CEO of the Melbourne Convention Bureau. "Melbournians are fiercely proud of the city and know where to shop, where to eat, where the festivals are-they own the city." 82 may 2014 When in doubt, tell your clients to partner up on their walkabout with a laneway tour guide like Hidden Secrets Tours to get the location and scoop on Melbourne's hard-to-find businesses and experiences. It's so much easier to soak up the area's addictive energy and sites when they're not wrapped up in the worry of getting lost. But then again, in Melbourne, getting lost is half the fun. We went treasure hunting through the massive Melbourne Central shopping center and eventually stumbled against the Bourke Street Mall, the city's retail heart only accessible by tram and foot. We also ventured out for Walkin' Birrarung, an aboriginal culture tour of the city. The tour began with a smoking ceremony along the Yarra River's north bank with Dean Stewart, education manager at the Koorie Heritage Trust. The 2-hour tour winds along the river, shedding light on Colonial Melbourne before dropping anchor in Federation Square, a hub for architectural flair and history. It's a really great way to see the city while getting your feet wet on Melbourne's history. Fed Square is like a city unto itself and a trendy spot made for design aficionados with galleries, shops and restaurants. We explored Aboriginal exhibits at the Ian Potter Centre, which when combined with the walking tour, made for a pretty intricate personal crest painting in an upstairs classroom later. The center houses 20 museums with customizable classes, workshops and tours. queensland: the grand arrival Kangaroo fur is softer to the touch than we somehow imagined it would be. This thought crosses our mind as we gently stroke the jill before us after a hike along the timber boardwalks and pathways at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures. It's wedged against recommend.com TOURISM AUSTRALIA AUSTRALIA http://www.recommend.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recommend May 2014

Editor's Notes
Hotel Desk: Le Meridien
Tour Talk: Contiki Vacations
Tee Off in Spain
Tee Off in Scotland
Jerusalem & Tel Aviv: A (Short) Tale of Two Cities
AmaWaterways Sails into Myanmar
American Cruise Lines is on a Roll
Venturing Through Bordeaux With Viking
Martinique Travel Planner
Ecuador Goes Luxe
Mexico Destination Weddings & Honeymoons
Saint Lucia
Australia
Salamander Resort & Spa, Virginia
PGA National Resort & Spa, Florida

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