3 Amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Australia

Australia is more than the Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef and cute koalas. One of the first nations to become a member of UNESCO, nowadays it has no less than 19 sites listed in the famous heritage list.

5 Reasons Why Africa Should Make It To Your Bucket List

Unlike many travel destinations around the world, Africa is not as widely visited as it should be.

3 Fabulous Romanian Castles You Must Visit At Least Once

Romania has an alluring collection of castles of haunting beauty, but these 3 are my personal favorites.

Traveling on a Shoestring Around Vietnam

Vietnam is a country of diverse cultures and splendid contrasts. It’s a good idea to work out what you would like to see before arrival and this will help you stick to your budget.

5 Camino de Santiago walking tips

People embark on the Camino de Santiago or the Way of St. James for any number of reasons. But if you look at the Camino de Santiago as a holiday, it will be the cheapest holiday of your life.

3 East European Destinations On A Budget

As new cheap flight routes are tailored, interesting and affordable destinations are unlocked on Europe's map, destinations not available to the budget conscious traveler a few years back.

10 cultural attractions along the turia gardens, valencia

One of the best itineraries Valencia has to offer are the Turia Gardens. Some of the city’s greatest cultural attractions are placed along these spectacular gardens, the largest in Spain.

Urban bike sharing makes any city affordable to explore

Every decent European city has bike rental stands and there are nearly 300 organized bike sharing programs worldwide. Bike sharing is quickly becoming a new form of public transport.

5 Great Romantic Destinations

With Spring on the horizon, pollen isn’t the only thing in the air. That buzz that’s been going around town is none other than the sweetest of sweets, love. So it’s the perfect time to start thinking about where you and your loved one can spend a romantic getaway. Here are five great places to start.

1) Abisko, Sweden

What’s more romantic than huddling under a blanket with your loved one as you watch the Northern Lights dance above you? Days are spent exploring the Swedish wilderness, while at night your dinner is accompanied by a show of colours in the sky. Be quick though, as the Northern Lights are not as visible after the end of March.

2) Paris, France

The stereotypical romantic getaway, it got that way for a reason. Parisians know how to celebrate love, and it shows. From long walks along the bank of the Seine to picnics in a park, it seems like all activities in Paris are tinged with romance. A kitschy, but nonetheless fun, tradition is the love bridge. Here you and yours bring a lock, and after writing your names on it lock it up and throw away the key.

3) Charleston, South Carolina

There is something particularly romantic about Charleston. The combination of moss draped trees, cobbled roads, and laid back lifestyle lend to an ease not found in big cities. This American treasure is laid back, with beaches and horse drawn carriages dominating the landscape. You can enjoy a taste of their famed oysters, all while experiencing a town that is the definition of southern charm.

4) Phuket, Thailand

A romantic holiday list isn’t complete without at least one beach destination. Thailand is known for its nightlife, and that rings true for Phuket. However, where this destination really stands out is the quality of their beaches. Their coastline is divided into small bays, which then form intimate beaches. You can relax and get a massage right on the beach, all while the warm sun shines down. Plus, Thailand is great if you’re looking for cheap holidays, so you get the added benefit of saving money.

5) Prague, Czech Republic

This capital city gives Paris a run for its money when it comes to romance. The backdrop is spectacular, with castles, spires than shoot toward the sky, and a central river running through. With a backdrop like this, it’s easy for that romantic mood to be set. Nothing beats an evening boat ride through the city lights with your loved one by your side.

Top Historical Places to Visit in Edinburgh

From old to the new part of the city, there is a lot of history in Edinburgh. Thankfully, the city has done a pretty excellent job preserving it for the benefit of visitors. The name of the Scottish capital probably stems from the Gaelic Din Eidyn, meaning “fort on a hill slope.” Not counting any prehistoric villages that are believed to have sprouted on the city’s several knolls, the settlement of Edinburgh can be traced to the site of Edinburgh castle, atop a sloping rocky outcropping where a 6th-century hall is thought to have stood.

Georgian House

This historic town house on the north side of the square displays the furnishings of upper-class 18th century Edinburgh, including classic Chippendale chairs, a dining table set with fine Wedgwood china, and the piss pot that the men passed around once their womenfolk retired.

Edinburgh Castle

Its earliest history is a bit vague, but in the 11th century, Malcolm III and his Saxon queen, later venerated as St. Margaret, founded a castle on this spot. In 1542, the castle ceased being a dedicated royal residence, having already begun to be used as an ordinance factory. Instead, the monarchs favoured Holyroodhouse when staying in Edinburgh. For my taste, the focus of this attraction’s exhibits is too heavily weighted toward the military, as the castle still barracks soldiers. Still, visitors can see the Great Hall, where Scottish Parliaments used to convene and the Scottish Crown Jewels.

John Knox House

John Knox (1510–72), the acknowledged father of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, lived during the Reformation, a time of great religious and political upheaval. While some regard him as a prototypical Puritan, he actually proposed progressive changes and apparently had a sharp wit. Even if you’re not interested in the firebrand reformer, who may have never lived here anyway, you should visit this late-15th-century house, which is characteristic of the homes of its time.

Gladstone’s Land

This 17th-century merchant’s house gives a clear impression of how confined living conditions were some 400 years ago, even for those who were quite well-off. On the second level is a sensitively restored timber ceiling, looking suitably weathered and aged, but still bearing colourful paintings of flowers and fruit.

Greyfriars Kirk

Dedicated in 1620, this was the first “reformed” church in Edinburgh, where the National Covenant, favouring Scottish Presbyterianism over the English Episcopacy, was signed in 1638. Among many restorations, one in the 1930s used California redwood to create the current ceiling.

St. Giles’ Cathedral

Its steeple is a key city landmark, visible across central Edinburgh, and this is where Scotland’s Martin Luther, John Knox, preached about reform. Also called the High Kirk of St. Giles, which is the correct post-Reformation name, the building combines a dark and brooding stone exterior, the result of a Victorian-era restoration, with surprisingly graceful buttresses.

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Most of the palace’s current structure was built at the behest of King Charles II in the 1670s, although he ironically never stayed here. The reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth, however, does whenever she’s in town, and you can see the reception rooms that she uses, such as the Throne Room. The real highlight of the tour, however, is in the oldest surviving section of the palace, constructed in 1530, where Mary Queen of Scots lived on the second floor. Be sure to check out some of the queen’s needlework, which depicts her cousin, and the woman who had her beheaded, England’s Elizabeth I, as a cat, and herself as a mouse. The audio tour is good, and the staff is knowledgeable, so don’t hesitate to ask questions.

Tip: The cheapest time to travel is off-season: Late October up to Easter (excluding Christmas and New Year). Rates for hotels hit their peak in the high season from June through September, and particularly in Edinburgh during the Festival in August rates at some hotels rise noticeably. Mid-July and August are when many locals take their holidays, which are increasingly spent inside the U.K., so besides the higher prices, you’ll have to deal with bigger crowds and greater demand for hotel rooms. Independent on the time you chose to visit, Hotel Direct is a great place to start planning your visit. During the Edinburgh Festival from late July to early September the hotels, guesthouses, hostels, and B&Bs fill up. If you’re planning a visit at that time, be sure to reserve your room as far in advance as possible. Otherwise you may end up in a town or village as many as 40km (55 miles) from the city center.

The Most Interesting Places to Eat and Drink in Spain

If you want to enjoy a wonderful culinary adventure in Europe, then you should pack your bags and head off to Spain. The regional diversity of the country’s cuisine is extraordinary and you’ll soon discover that you’ll need to take much longer than anticipated to savour all the local delights.

Spanish food, a well-kept secret

If you’re looking for a competitively priced trip so that you can leave resources for your gastronomic enjoyment, then go online and select the best travel deals. You could look at http://www.directholidays.co.uk/holidays/spain/ as an example.

Most people connect Spanish food with Paella and although very tasty you’ll soon discover there is so much more to Spanish food.

If you love smoked ham, then a holiday in Andalusia will be perfect. For fresh fish or mouth-watering desserts then Valencia should fit the bill.

Spain a country of many regions and traditions

From Galicia in the north of the country to Andalusia in the south, each of the Spanish regions has its own recognisable gastronomic identity. You could always enjoy your Spain holidays using the country’s food as your guide.

Galician chefs are said to dominate the kitchens of the world but you should travel to this area if you wish to sample Octopus a feira. You could always time your trip to coincide with one of the 300 food festivals that continue throughout the year in Galicia.

Ham dominates Spanish cuisine; the famous film director Bigas Luna even made a film that used ham in its title, Jamon Jamon, which also acts as a metaphor for Spanish culture and the country’s love of food.

Catalonia, a foodie’s delight

Whether you are visiting the Catalan capital, Barcelona, to engage with the city’s vibrant art scene or just spending a short time there to enjoy some retail therapy, it would be a crime not to enjoy a few examples of Catalonia’s regional gourmet delights.

Butifarra, the local type of Cumberland sausage is delicious. You should also sample Escudella, the regional stew that comprises meat, vegetables and potatoes.

Salted cod is also very popular in Catalonia and you should try Esqueixada in order to enjoy a salad of cod, peppers, onions and red wine vinegar. It’s absolutely divine!

Puddings are also on the menu in Catalonia

Of course, no trip to this region would be complete without sampling the local Crème Catalana. This wonderfully tasty dish is made from egg yolks, cinnamon and sugar – YUM!

Photo by smalljude via Flickr Creative Commons

Boating in The Galapagos Islands For The Trip of a Lifetime

The Galapagos Islands are one of the most famous wildlife spotting destinations in the entire world and one of the best ways to see them is by boat. Let's take a look of some of the must see sights that the islands have to offer and how to experience them by boat without blowing your budget!

Galapagos Land Iguana

An Overview of The Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are situated right on the equator, approximately 620 miles from Ecuador and were the inspiration behind Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection. The islands are home to a unique ecosystem with landscapes that include lava formations, lush green forests and tropical beaches. The resident wildlife ranges from penguins and sea lions to giant tortoises and hundreds of species of birds.

Why Visit By Boat?

In truth, the only practical way to visit the Galapagos Islands is with a boat that can double up accommodation. This is simply because of how remote the islands are and the need to travel between islands. There are currently around 80 vessels which are licensed to operate within the archipelago which is very strictly controlled to protect the islands and wildlife. The majority of ships will go ashore twice daily and will travel between the islands overnight. This means that on a 10 day cruise you can expect to go ashore up to 20 times on various islands within the archipelago.

It sounds expensive, but if you make the trip within what is known as 'shoulder season' you will be able to get as much as 30% off the usual price of a Galapagos cruise. However, some activities may not be available during this time so do research what is included with your discounted cruise. The shoulder season runs between April and June then between September and December.

Traveling Independently

It is possible to travel to the Galapagos Islands independent of a cruise, but it is a little bit more complex. In the majority of areas visitors are required to be accompanied by a licensed guide. However, there are some activities which you can do on your own and which do not require an admission fee. The extremity of the regulations may shock some visitors but it is necessary to protect the unique eco-system. Visitors can only disembark at designated landing points on the islands and may only walk on the marked trails.

Galapagos Crab

Must See Features of The Galapagos

No matter what time of year you choose to visit you are sure to see some amazing sights courtesy of the local wildlife, but some of the highlight include the following :
 January is egg laying season for the green turtles.
 May to September is the best time to enjoy swimming among the penguins.
 June sees the arrival of the humpback whales.
 July to September sees the most activity among the seabirds.
 August is pupping season for the sealions.
 December is when the giant tortoise eggs begin to hatch.

Galapagos sea lion nursing two pups, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Where you go will dictate which of the sights you get to see, but without a doubt one of the stars of the Galapagos Islands has to be the giant tortoise which can be seen in the highland areas of Santa Cruz, Alcedo Volcano and Isabela. There are also smaller groups found in San Cristóbal, Santiago, Española and Pinzón. These tortoises have been known to grow to almost 6 feet in length and can live for over 100 years in the wild. The size and shell shape of the tortoises vary between islands depending on their climate.

A trip to the Galapagos Islands is the experience of a lifetime. There is nowhere else lie it in the world. Travelling by boat will give you a perfect combination of life on the open sea coupled with the exploration of this amazing archipelago.

About the Author: Tim Baker has incurable wanderlust. He loves traveling the world and often shares his experiences on a number of websites. He also has a keen interest in boats and is a regular contributor of maritime resources for some online publications.

Five Worthwhile Destinations On A Budget

Staycations are great for taking a break from the daily routine and not breaking the bank at the same time. But let's face it, there is only so much to see and do within a few hours’ drive from home. The good news is, there are several destinations around the country that are very budget-friendly making a trip there quite affordable such as the following five.

Cowee Mountain Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway (MM 430)

#1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

North Carolina and Tennessee share the most visited national park in the United States. The area is beautiful in the spring, summer and early fall. Admission to the park is always absolutely free. Free activities include hiking, fishing, touring historic sites, scenic drives and wildlife watching. Camp out or stay in an inexpensive motel well within driving distance.

#2. Chickasaw Country, Oklahoma

Variety is the spice of a great vacation, and that is just what you will find in Oklahoma's Chickasaw country. Drive the scenic and colorful Route 66 for a variety of terrain to enjoy. Along the way, you will find camping or cheap, clean accommodations. This part of Oklahoma has many great discount coupons for travelers as well as free attractions. You may not have thought of taking an Oklahoma vacation before, but here’s an opportunity to re-think that. It won't be hard to find amusement parks, aquariums and low-entrance fee state park throughout the Chickasaw Nation. If that sounds too family-oriented for your taste, rest assured you will find great nightlife and casinos too.

#3. Western South Dakota

For a taste of the Wild West, head for Western South Dakota for a budget-friendly vacation full of Americana. You will feel at home on the range where buffalo still roam free at Custer State Park. Modern and primitive campsites, cabins and lodges provide very affordable accommodations. Historic sites and museums are all packed into about a 100-mile range. Visit Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial. For the best deals, plan your trip for late August or early May when the weather is still comfortable.

#4. Niagara Falls

Around eight million people each year marvel at 700,000 gallons of water per second cascading over the falls at Niagara Falls for free. Additionally, dozens of free events and attractions are scheduled throughout the year. For even greater savings and fun, the Niagara Falls State Park sells a USA Discovery Pass for admissions to attractions like the Maid of the Mist boat tour and Cave of the Winds observation deck. The key to saving on accommodations is to stay further out for downtown and visiting during the slow season which includes April, May, September and October.

#5. Washington, D.C.

Surprisingly, our nation's capital is the ultimate budget vacation. That's because you are only going to be spending money on meals and accommodations. All of the attractions that people want to visit in the District of Columbia are completely free. These attractions include the 19 Smithsonian Museums, Capital Hill and the National Zoo. Rates and accommodations are lowest December to February. Enjoy free concerts and ice skating at the National Mall during December. The Capital City has many stay-two nights-third-night-free deals around town.

Enjoy a well-deserved vacation. Take advantage of free and low-cost activities such as these. With some smart planning, some great deals can be found. Expand your horizons and set out to see the country.

Photo by Mary Anne Baker via Flickr Creative Commons

Five Must-Do Activities in Greenwich

London is a city which is packed full of things to do. Visitors to the city are often keen to travel from one end of the city limits to the other in search of things with which to fill their time but the truth is that travelling such distances really isn't necessary.

There's a lot of fun to be had in every single part of the capital city.

Greenwich is one of the most interesting parts of London and certainly has no shortage of things to do. Here, we take a look at five things you must do while in the area.


1. The park

Greenwich Royal Park is worth a visit wherever you are in London but for those looking for something to do in the Greenwich area it should be right at the top of your list.

Not only is it a beautiful environment in itself, it also offers some spectacular views over the city. For this reason, it's worth saving a trip to the park for a clear day. A beautiful summer's day can be spent with a picnic on the grass with absolutely no regrets.

2. The market

Historically, Greenwich is no stranger to markets. Today, it is still possible to visit the market site which has been operating since the early part of the 19th century.

There are a number of well known markets around London but Greenwich really is among the best.

3. Cutty Sark

The Cutty Sark is a clipper ship which does a great job of illustrating some of the country's history. Visitors to Greenwich are unlikely to miss the ship which is now on display in the area.

A new glass surround might not please the eye but it does make it possible to stand underneath the ship, making for a quite an experience. Choosing hotels in Greenwich London close to this site is highly recommended.

4. National Maritime Museum

If there's one thing Greenwich is famous for it's the time zone. But if there are two, then the second would undoubtedly be its maritime history.

As well as the famous Cutty Sark, visitors interested in the history can visit the sizeable National Maritime Museum.

5. Emirates Air Line

The Emirates Air Line is a cable car which takes people across the Thames. In addition, you can learn a thing or two about aviation from the station which includes the chance to use a flight simulator.

Tips for Proper Etiquette at Your Business Conference

If you’re seeking a location for your next conference that is picture-perfect and is bathed in the sub-tropical sunshine, you should consider Umhlanga for your upcoming business meeting. When you want your business associates to be motivated, energized, and rejuvenated for the work that lays ahead, this prestigious location with pristine beaches is the ultimate in conference venues. Not only will you want your conference attendees to have the experience of a lifetime but also you’ll want them to have the opportunity to be a true professional outside the workplace environment. They are the visible representatives of your company so you’ll want to offer them tips for proper etiquette so that your company will only receive positive attention.

Proper attire should be expected at your conference. Business casual clothing might be accepted but you should inform your business associates what you expect them to wear and the dress code that is acceptable for them at the business meetings. By letting them know what is expected in advance, they will be able to pack the proper clothing and shoes to bring with them to the conference.

Your employees should be encouraged to plan ahead. They need a list of things to take with them to the conference that will make their lives easier and that will keep their technology working properly. They’ll need mobile device chargers, pens, paper, and supplies that will make taking and keeping notes easier. You might suggest that they pack a brief case to house all of the equipment that they will need.

Remind them of proper business etiquette. This includes shaking hands, greeting colleagues and guests, and conducting themselves with the proper behaviour at all times. They should speak in a positive manner about the company and guard their reputation by paying attention to details.

The conference attendees should be professional during the conference. This means that they arrive on time for meetings, they are focused during presentations, they ask relevant questions, and they clean up the area in which they have been sitting if they’ve snacked or had anything to drink during the meeting.

Business cards are a must at your convention. Each employee needs to have a supply of business cards on hand in case they connect with someone with whom they want to speak with later. If your employees gather cards from other professionals, remind them to store the card in a safe place for future use.

As you begin to search for affordable accommodation for your conference, you’ll want to pull together some communications that inform attendees about the location, the proper attire, and guidelines for their behavior during the conference. They will appreciate all of the helpful tips that you offer them so that their conference experience is enjoyable. When dealing with the concierge on hotel specials that provide your staff with sightseeing trips and excursions, they should always represent your company in a positive and professional manner.

While at the hotel in Umhlanga you’ll want your employees to treat the staff with respect and tip properly those who offer exceptional service. Good manners are always in style and knowing the proper etiquette for a convention is paramount to the satisfaction that your employees will have with your conference.

7 Exclusive Cheap Eats in London for Less Than £10

Dining out in London will not break the bank for you, only if you know where to go. The capital city is full of cheap eats, offering meals exclusively for less than £10-£15. For tourists who are on a budget, here are some famous eateries serving meal at affordable prices. The city serves variety of cuisines and you can satisfy all your taste buds here at mrandmrsfood.co.uk.

Only thing you need to consider is booking a stay in London near to these cheap eats. An accommodation in the right area will always keep you happy under budget.

From fast food to burritos, and burgers, these cheap eats serve you the best across the world:

Meat Liquor

For best burgers in London, head straight to Meat Liquor. Opened in 2012, this restaurant serves you delicious American style burgers for less than £8. It is one of the coolest eating joints in the city, offering graffiti décor and hippy vibes. The delicious meaty burgers on Welbeck Street include patty with 1005 beef, topped with cheese, red onions, pickles, chillies, and dead hippie sauce. Other amazing items on the menu are sweet and spicy Buffalo wings, chilli dogs, coleslaw, and fried pickles.


Hottest noodle bar in Central London, Koya serves you just the right taste from Japan. Enjoy some fashionable food like Udon noodles and flavoured soups. Chewy, thick white noodles, Udon are made using wheat flour imported from Japan. They are served both hot and cold, with hot soup and cold sauce. You can even try their rich variety of rice dishes along with impressive salads and sides.

Franco Manca

A simple and chic restaurant in Brixton, Franco Manca serves high quality Italian food on budget. The menu here is basic, but it is perfectly executed for travellers. You get a wide range of Italian pizzas, salads, and beers, all under £10. Ingredients are sourced within Britain, but the cooking is authentic Italian style. For pizzas, they use slow-rising sourdough, and bake them in a brick oven onsite. Extra pizza toppings are available from £0.50 TO £1.95.


For all vegetarian travellers and one who love Indian food, Sagar is the place to be. Centrally located in Covent Garden, Sagar is a mini chain for yummy South Indian vegetarian cuisine. Their vegetarian menu is vast, with famous 30cm masala paper. If you are hot on taste and love spices, then this one is a must try. Dosas like Rava Masala, Mysore Masala, and Paper Masala are hot favourites among Indian travellers to London. Best of all they come for just less than £9.

The Begging Bowl

It is a colourful Thai restaurant, which offers unusual, imaginative and yet tasty twists to your meal. Located in Peckham, The Begging Bowl is a real modern and sociable place to eat. The Begging Bowl brings Thai street food to the restaurant, including some unusual grills, stir-fries, salads, and curries. For cooking these, they use authentic Thai ingredients, such as long beans and pea aubergines. They also have high chairs, baby changing facilities, and special children’s menu for family travellers.

Piebury Corner

Piebury Corner on Holloway Road, London is more than just a pie ‘n’ mash shop. Food here costs a little less than £5-£6, satisfying all frugal travellers to London. Its location near Arsenal football ground makes it a hotspot among people coming here to cheer for their football team. All their pies are named after favourite football players. Interesting right! And, all are served with a choice of gravy, roasties, and mash.

Roti Chai

It is a famous Indian street kitchen and dining room, offering Indian dishes at economical prices. The extended menu at Roti Chai includes street food snacks, homely staples, and light curries. A modern street themed interiors and location near Marble Arch tube station makes it ideal for a lovely shopping break. The street kitchen on the ground floor offers tasty dishes, such as samosas, chicken lollipops, Hakka chilli paneer, and papri chaat. Dining room in the basement is newly opened to serve butter chicken, paneer pasanda, Chettinad chicken, chicken 65, and much more.

These cheap eateries in London welcome all types of travellers. But, if you are on a budget, then do try any of these for less than £10.

Author’s Bio: Arun Shankar is a genuine foodie and travel junkie, who enjoys his job as a travel writer. Get best hotel deals on this site to enjoy a comfortable stay in London.

A Day Out in Australia's Hunter Valley

Australian wine is world-famous for its diversity and full bodied temperament. One of the most notable wine producing regions to explore is the Hunter Valley, located 150 kilometres to the north of Sydney. Its close proximity to Sydney makes it ideal for a country day trip, allowing you to enjoy the fresh produce, gourmet restaurants, and walking trails in the area. Naturally, you'll also want to pay a visit to some of the 150 wine producers that call this region home.

Hunter Valley Wine Region

Getting There

One option is to visit the Hunter Valley with an organised tour. These tend to depart from Sydney on a daily basis, and will vary in terms of itinerary and budget. A self-guided tour lets you further customise your trip to the Hunter Valley, however, so you can see the sights at your own pace and enjoy a leisurely drive through the countryside. The most direct route is via the F3 freeway, taking about two hours if departing from Sydney. Drivers can follow this highway to the Cessnock/Hunter Valley exit. Another option is to take the tourist route T33, which is a more scenic journey passing through the historic village of Wollombi and scenic mountain ranges along the way. The roads are well tended, so you won't need a 4X4 to access this region. In fact, you may want to check the Chopper scooters prices on Bikesales and explore the Hunter Valley in true European style on the back of a scooter!

What to Do

As mentioned above, one of the top draws to the Hunter Valley are the wineries and cellar doors. Many of these are open to the public, allowing you to drop by and taste the local Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon that has made the region famous. If you plan on driving back to Sydney in the same day, don't forget to spit out the wine after you've tasted it or you may find yourself unable to drive. This fertile region is also known for its fresh fruits and vegetables, locally produced cheese, and olives. The Pukara Estate makes a variety of olive oils on-site, including flavoured blends with wasabi or garlic. You can stop and taste a range of these olive oils after touring the factory to see how this local oil is made. Cheese lovers won't want to miss a visit to the Hunter Belle cheese factory, located on the New England Highway on the path to Muswellbrook. Learn how the local cheese is made, try some samples, and purchase a wedge to complement your olive oil and wine.

Fine wines at Hunter Valley (Australia 2010)

The Hunter Valley is also a region rich with arts and culture. For something a bit different, pay a visit to the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre. This gallery features photography from local artists as well as indigenous paintings. Travelling exhibitions are also displayed in this arts centre, which provides insight into local mining culture. For those interested in exploring the great outdoors, there are numerous bushwalks in the area. However, one of the most intriguing is up Burning Mountain. This formerly active volcano still retains a smell of sulphur, and walkers are rewarded with panoramic views over the Hunter Valley from the top.

Whether you only have an afternoon or a full week, there's plenty to see and do in the Hunter Valley. Don't forget to stock up on all of the lush local gourmet products to bring back home.

Photos by lockthegate and paularps via Flickr Creative Commons

Istria Gourmet Festival – Truffle Days 2013

If you are a serious foodie, or perhaps like to sample the finer things in life, why not come over to Croatia this October for some gastronomic delights? All throughout October you will be able to sample some of the best of Istrian cuisine whilst enjoying a beautiful culture. The festival is centred on the amazing black and white truffles that are to be found in this area, once tasted, never forgotten. Talented chefs from the region use these amazing ingredients to celebrate the culture and food of this stunning region, come along and you’ll soon see why so many people fall in love with Istria.


How to Get There

Croatia is no longer the best kept secret in European tourism and direct flights are now a regular occurrence. You could view what First Choice or Thomson have available as well known holiday operators. We suggest that you fly to Dubrovnik, the heart of Istria and kick back for a day or two and then head off to Buzet. This is where the Istrian truffle ‘Bermuda Triangle’ begins and along with Pazin and Buje, you will be knocking on the door of some of the best truffles in the world. Croatia has a lovely climate and this time of the year is very popular for travellers. ‘Days of Truffles’ are a series of truffle-theme events that take place all over October, and if you follow these events you will surely see the best of Istria.

What and where is Istria?

Okay, here is the history and geography lesson all rolled in one for you lucky readers. The Istrian peninsula is located at the head of the Adriatic Sea and is between the Gulf of Trieste and the Bay of Kvarner. Istria is actually shared between three countries:
- Croatia
- Slovenia
- Italy

The name ‘Istria’ originates from the Castellieri culture and this dates right back to the ancient Greeks. The area was highly desirable and the subject of many wars, eventually it became split between the 3 countries mentioned earlier.

The Istrian Peninsular has some amazing sights

The Truffle is the Star

Croatia is a popular holiday destination in its own right, but what’s so special about the truffle? Well, to some people, the truffle is just an odd shaped fungi with a very unique smell. And pigs seem to be rather good at sniffing them out. If you have more than a passing interest in cooking and experiencing high end food, you may already know a little about these things. The facts are that truffles are inextricably linked with quality and class, and when it comes to cooking, you’d better believe it. The ‘Days of Truffle’ festival encompasses some fantastic gastronomic displays and you will see a collection of world class chefs like you’ve never seen before. All of this and the gorgeous weather and countryside of Istria are something to behold.

Croatia as a Destination

Croatia has become such a popular choice for modern holidaymakers, especially those who are looking beyond the usual places such as Italy and Greece. As well as a huge and gorgeous Mediterranean coastline, you also have a rich and varied culture to enjoy, and then there are the truffles…

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