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Turquoise lagoons, soft white sands, and deep tangerine sunsets set the scene for romance on the island so nice they named it twice. Mingle with tropical fish as you flutter around Coral Gardens or Tupitipiti Point, or relax in a self-driving tour as you take in beautiful views of the once-volcanic Mount Otemanu. At the Lagoonarium you can watch shark feedings and swim with turtles. Cap it all off with a succulent meal at one of the island’s fine French restaurants, then sip a tropical cocktail under the stars.
Sydney offers plenty of historical and contemporary Australian flavor. The marvelous Sydney Opera House looks like a great origami sailboat, floating peacefully in a harbor. Wander the narrow cobblestone streets of The Rocks and then take in a street performance on the Circular Quay before heading into the Museum of Contemporary Art. The views from the Sydney Tower Eye observatory are epic – use this chance to get to know the layout of the city from high above.
Staggering beauty and heart-pumping thrills await in the resort town of Queenstown, which is also known for its Hobbits—much of the Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed in the area. Outdoor enthusiasts flock to Queenstown for the kayaking, bungee jumping, jetboating, white-water rafting, hiking and skiing. More mild-mannered adventurers can take a quiet cruise through nearby Milford Sound, part of the Fjordland National Park World Heritage area, or sample South Island pinot noir from one of the region's 75 wineries.
This small island encased in a triangular barrier reef boasts incredible lagoons. Relax with a intimate picnic on the alabaster beach of one of Aitutaki’s minor islands, uninhabited and lined with swaying palm trees. Despite its heartbreaking beauty, Aitutaki isn’t (yet) flooded with tourists, due to its relatively difficult-to-reach location. For off-the-beaten-sandbar vacationing, Aitutaki is a prime destination, especially for those seeking unbridled romantic ambiance.
Lovely, laid-back Melbourne has something for everyone: family fare, local and international art, haute boutiques, multicultural dining, Australian and Aboriginal history, spectator sports, and pulsing, swanky nightlife. Cruise on the free City Circle Tram loop to check out unique attractions like the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Healesville Sanctuary, which buzzes with local animal species.
The pink sands of Champagne Beach spill into warm waters filled with wrecks and reefs begging to be explored by Espiritu Santo vacationers. Rinse off with a dip in one of the island’s many freshwater blue holes. Trek over a bamboo bridge to visit the bats and swallows of Millennium Cave, who nap among spectacular rock formations. Divers can wave hello to "The Lady," one of the many intact artifacts of the wreck of the SS President Coolidge.
The world's largest coral reef eco-system actually consists of 3,000 separate reefs. The island of Moorea serves as the perfect base camp for snorkelers and scuba divers seeking to come face-to-face with the diversity of life that darts among the coral. Non-swimmers can enjoy the same parade of astounding creatures from the dry perch of a glass-bottomed boat. Formed when half of a monolithic volcano crumbled to the blue-green sea, Moorea is an achingly exquisite heart-shaped island that is simply paradise found.
On Vanua Levu, you can pick your pleasure: a rainforest hike, a coconut plantation tour, a relaxing soak in a Savusavu hot spring. Locally run adventure tours will have you river tubing through jungle valleys, mountain biking along sandy trails and snorkeling the coral sea mount of Split Rock. Jean-Michel Cousteau (son of Jacques) runs an ecologically responsible dive center that offers courses and packages for divers of all levels of experience.
Sure, it’s a bit rainy here. But a lush tropical paradise needs water—otherwise you wouldn’t see such brilliant flowers everywhere. The black-sand beaches provide contrast to the riot of color everywhere else. Nature-lovers can see many of Fiji’s indigenous species, especially in Bouma National Heritage Park (where you should also stop at Bouma Falls).
Noosa is a world-famous surfing destination, known for its expansive beaches and colorful bays. Hike across Noosa National Park's cliffs and forests, canoe through the Noosa River Everglades, kayak across the open sea or just bask in the sunshine on golden sand that stretches and sparkles for miles. A day trip to nearby Fraser Island, a World Heritage Site where lush rainforests mingle with dry sand dunes, is a unique experience not to be missed.
Sample the beloved vintages of the Marlborough Wine Region in Blenheim, an agricultural town in the heart of New Zealand’s renowned wine hub. More than 20 wineries are just a hop, skip and a corkscrew away from Blenheim, where a stream of cafes and restaurants serve up tasty, artisan fare. One of the sunniest towns in New Zealand, Blenheim is the perfect destination for foodies and wine lovers who love to soak up the sun while sipping the fruits of a vineyard’s labor.
Margaret River is both a region and a bustling market town famed for its wine, incredible surfing, gorgeous coastline, multi-chambered caves and mysterious karri (eucalyptus) forests. Award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Semillon vintages are produced at the area’s more than 200 vineyards. The annual Margaret River Wine Region Festival is a vintner’s paradise, attracting gourmet enthusiasts from around the globe.
The South Island town of Wanaka appeals to both adventure lovers and relaxation-minded travelers. Situated on the crystal-clear waters of New Zealand's fourth-largest lake, just a short drive from Mount Aspiring National Park, Wanaka is an ideal spot to go fishing, hiking, skiing, wine-tasting or golfing. The city also hosts Warbirds Over Wanaka, the largest three-day air show in the Southern Hemisphere.
Tuck into succulent five-star meals in Port Douglas, the culinary gem of Queensland, or suck down a killer cocktail at a casually swanky lounge. A perfect base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef, the rainforest at Daintree and the beaches at Cape Tribulation, this Queensland town has an out-of-this-world setting. Sunbathe on the golden sands of Four Mile Beach, then melt into perfect pampering at one of Port Douglas’ glorious day spas for the ultimate in relaxation.
Artists and free-spirits mingle with the rich and famous on this blissful island, a haven of beautiful beaches, gastronomical treasures and small wineries. Browse the dozens of art galleries and craft stores of the Waiheke Arts Trail between dips in the emerald waters. Soar above the landscape on a chartered scenic flight, then refuel your engine with a casual beachfront café meal or an upscale, multi-course affair. Waiheke boasts several boutique vineyards, perfect for sipping, sampling and savoring New Zealand’s fine wines.
The gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Airlie Beach is the main hub for all Reef activities and access to the Whitsunday Islands. Stunning views by day give way to a vibrant nightlife. The Airlie Beach Lagoon is a popular spot to relax and unwind. Visit nearby Conway National Park and Cedar Creek Falls to discover quiet coves, beaches and tropical rainforest.
Fiji's largest island, home to capital Suva, offers some wonderful beaches. Palm-fringed Natadola Beach, reputed to be one of the best beaches in the world, is a picture perfect crescent of powdery sand leading to dramatic cliffs. Coconuts hang overhead and the striking azure lagoon entices swimmers.
The lush parks and golden beaches of Tauranga make it a popular destination for outdoorsy folks and watersports lovers. Here on New Zealand’s North Island, you’ll find a variety of opportunities for surfing, white water rafting, kiteboarding, hiking and golfing. Take a refreshing dip in the swimming holes by Kaiate Falls, which cascade beautifully over the bluffs. Families might like to visit one of Tauranga’s amusement park, take a guided nature tour or swim with dolphins in the Bay of Plenty.