Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand (II)

Author: George Augustine

Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand (II)

Nestled away in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, are the islands of New Zealand. Often overshadowed by its large neighbor, Australia, this is a country that should be singing its natural rugged beauty. Instead, it quietly carries on — knowing that every day, a few thousand new visitors fall in love with it.


There's a wealth of beauty to discover here — and these top magical places to visit in New Zealand are just a few of our favorite places.


The North Island, home to the capital Wellington and boasting great rolling hills, dense rainforests, fruitful wineries and steaming geothermal lakes, was the stunning setting for The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films. Volcano cones dot the countryside — some extinct, others still bubbling. The South Island is best known for its spectacular scenery — vast blue lakes, world-famous glaciers, rusty red mountain ranges and dramatic fjord land.


4. Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand: Napier

In February 1931, an earthquake measuring a 7.8 magnitude reduced Napier to rubble. The positive Kiwi attitude meant local authorities saw a blank canvas and gave Napier an Art Deco facelift.

Now, the town's sleek, low-rise, pastel-colored houses brighten palm-fringed streets. The Deco houses of Marewa and the extraordinary Art Nouveau-style National Tobacco Company building shouldn't be bypassed. Explore, on foot, or book a 1930's vintage car tour for the whole 'Great Gatsby' experience.


5. Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand: Hawke's Bay

A few miles south, New Zealand's wineries come to life. Spend the day tasting reds, whites and rosés from family-run Craggy Range, before heading to Hakakino where Maori tribe, Ngati Kahungunu, welcome guests with legends of their ancestors. Learn the traditional 'hongi' greeting, before sitting down to a 'Food of the Chiefs meal, which serves fresh crab and vegetables as well as the Maori delicacy, sea urchin.


6. Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand: Christchurch

The earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 devastated Christchurch, with many buildings, including the town hall and cathedral, left severely damaged. Nearly three years on, the city is rebuilding itself, with a restoration plan, in full swing, at the cathedral. Every local has a story of where they were on those fateful days. Spend time talking to them, and you'll be in awe of their fighting spirit.

See this beautiful, hopeful city while punting along the River Avon. Although there are still 'Red Zone' reminders, posters declaring 'Tomorrow starts here,' line car-park walls. An earthquake-friendly shopping mall, created out of old shipping containers, has already been built.


Top 10 Destinations in South America (IV)

Ole! Besides salsa, sombreros and tequila, South America is a feast for one’s senses, with something for every kind of traveler. The continent is a patchwork of remarkable sceneries, with its snowcapped massifs, dangerous jungles, dreamlike deserts and spectacular mountain ranges, with many of its wonders remaining largely undiscovered.


South America offers rich experiences to travelers seeking natural wonders, ancient ruins, and vibrant cultural experiences.


Any of these Top 10 Destinations in South America would make a fascinating trip on its own, or you could combine some or all of them for a memorable tour.



Top 10 Destinations in South America: Atacama Desert, Chile


Known to be the driest desert on Earth, there's a reason this destination figures in the top 10 places to visit in South America. There's a host of adventure activities to undertake here – from hikes and bike rides to camping and night walks, there's something for every kind of adventure junkie.


But the desert also offers just as many activities for those looking to not strain themselves too much physically. If you rise early enough, you must visit the geysers at sunrise. The chill of the desert and the warm steam rising from the geysers will leave you refreshed and energized all day long! Head to the hot springs for a dip immediately after that, and recover from the icy cold of the desert air. Make sure to pack your towels and change of clothes to use once you're out of the water.



Top 10 Destinations in South America: Atacama Desert, Chile


If you're a water baby, you will definitely enjoy swimming in the lagoon. It contains a higher concentration of salt than even the Dead Sea, so you can float in it all you want. The swim could leave you with a tingly sensation on your skin, thanks to all that salt though — but ifs perfectly normal.


In addition, there are many breath-taking natural wonders in the Atacama Desert to experience, starting from the changing colors of the Salt Mountains to the Pukara de Quitor — ancient forts built by the atacamenos people to defend themselves from sieges.


Most Beautiful Beaches in Lefkada, Greece (Part 3)

Everyone is looking for a great beach, but they all have different criteria. Cheap Travel Hunter brings you the most beautiful beaches in Lefkada, Greece:


11. Kalamitsi

Close to the village of Kalamitsi there are three sandy beaches with turquoise waters, white pebbles, sand and rocks. They all have canteens, few sun beds and umbrellas.


12. Kathisma

Kathisma is just 14km east of the capital of Lefkada. A favorite for campers and nudists, Kathisma is one of the most beautiful beaches in Lefkada, organized with umbrellas, sun beds, a beach bar and restaurants. It’s a broad beach with white pebbly sand and blue-green waters that steeply deepen (as do most beaches on the west side of the island). On the right side of the beach there are rocks, which complement to the beautiful scenery and are ideal for great jumps into the blue waters. Take caution during the summer months as winds can get very strong creating huge waves.


13. Limonari

A small but very beautiful pebbled beach with turquoise waters. It is located in a small bay, 2km away from Katomeri and has a small canteen.


14. Milos

Milos Beach is situated in the northwestern part of Lefkada Island, nearby the village of Agios Nikitas. If you want, you can get there by car and leave it in the parking lot of Agios Nikitas, which is free. Once there, you should search for the wooden sign nearby Poseidon tavern, which will lead you to the pathway from Agias Nikitas to Milos Beach. To get to this amazingly beautiful beach you must walk about 15 minutes on a hiking trail over a hill and through some trees and shrubs. The path might get steep at certain points, but overall it is not extremely difficult to walk. Once you get on the top of the hill, the landscape is stunning, as you can admire the entire beach of Milos from above. Alternatively, you can take a “taxi boat” which departs regularly from Agios Nikitas. The beach has neither stores nor canteens; therefore it is advisable to take along with you whatever it is you may need during your stay. And you will stay, because Milos is definitely one of the most beautiful beaches in Lefkada if not entire Greece.


15. Nidri

The beach of Nidri is small but very beautiful. It has small pebbles and an amazing view of the cosmopolitan town of Nidri as well as the islands of Scorpios, Heloni and Madouri across, that leaves the visitor speechless. The beach of Nidri is recommended for water sports too. It is also the starting point of the annual Ionian Sailing Championship that takes place in September and is one of the biggest sailing events of the Mediterranean. You shall find bars, restaurants, cafeterias and a range of accommodation in the surrounding region.


To be continued..

Lodging in Berkeley, California (II)

3. Lodging in Berkeley, California: Doubletree Hotel – Upscale Bay waterfront lodging


The Doubletree Hotel offers an entirely different hotel experience, away from the downtown properties. 


It is on the Bay waterfront at the end of University Avenue, surrounded by sailboats. You are assured of cool ocean breezes and quiet environs, with a walking path running through the property.


The establishment is both kid-friendly and pet-friendly, and is close to the Berkeley Pier and Cesar Chavez Park, both choice outdoor walking and hiking places.


This upscale property has its Bay Grille and Lounge, good for a steak or grilled fish. Participating in the current trends, it is a certified green hotel.


Horn blower Yachts offers excursion from the hotel on selected occasions.


4. Lodging in Berkeley, California: Downtown Berkeley Inn – Newest lodging in Berkely


Downtown Berkeley Inn is among the newer downtown lodgings in Berkeley. The property is a straightforward motel-style structure with all modern amenities and close proximity to your parked car.


The name says it all. This lodging places you close to the campus; the downtown, the Arts District on Addison, and the BART train. All are only a short walk away.


This modern and new-built facility has self-service details you would expect of a large, corporate hotel, but the operation is more intimate and small scale. 


The inn has the latest TempurPedic foam mattresses and 42" Hi-Def. plasma TVs. Rooms have free high-speed DSL.


5. Lodging in Berkeley, California: Rose Garden Inn – A sprawling B&B in a landmark mansion


Rose Garden Inn is a sprawling B&B on Telegraph Avenue, centrally located in Berkeley. It's big enough to be considered a boutique hotel, housed in a residential mansion and outlying buildings, surrounded with fountains and gardens. 


There is a friendly, homey feel to the place, good for a romantic getaway or a family stay. Amenities abound, starting with a breakfast buffet. There are fresh-baked cookies at 1 pm-3 pm. Coffee and a selection of teas are available 24 hours. There is free wireless and free off-street parking.


Look over the range of room selections on the website (see below) and you will get a sense of the home-like atmosphere of the place.


Top 10 Destinations in South America (III)

Ole! Besides salsa, sombreros and tequila, South America is a feast for one’s senses, with something for every kind of traveler. The continent is a patchwork of remarkable sceneries, with its snowcapped massifs, dangerous jungles, dreamlike deserts and spectacular mountain ranges, with many of its wonders remaining largely undiscovered.


South America offers rich experiences to travelers seeking natural wonders, ancient ruins, and vibrant cultural experiences.


Any of these ten destinations would make a fascinating trip on its own, or you could combine some or all of them for a memorable tour.



Top 10 Destinations in South America: Puerto Iguazú – Iguacu Falls


Puerto Iguazu is city in northeast Argentina, which borders on both Brazil and Paraguay. People come mainly to visit the nearby Iguacu Falls, one of the great natural wonders of the world, and on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.


The Falls are an awe-inspiring sight. Vast torrents of water throw themselves over cliffs, and the mist rises in the surrounding jungle. The falls are taller than Niagara Falls, and twice as wide!


Although the majority of the falls are in Argentina, visitors get a better overview from the Brazilian side. There are many vantage points for viewing the falls, however, including trails and boat trips. Plan to spend at least a full day on each side of the falls because you'll have different experiences on each.


Accommodation and meals are available close to the falls, or you can return for the night to Puerto Iguazu.



Top 10 Destinations in South America: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Rio is a huge city on the South Atlantic coast of Brazil, famous for its spectacular beauty, beach culture, and of course, the annual carnival—the world-famous Carnevale takes place in March every year.


Rio has some of the world's most beautiful beaches, wide and clean with soft white sand. Corcovado Peak and the hills of Tijuca are considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. Excursions up Corcovado and also Sugar Loaf Mountain offer jaw-dropping beauty, particularly at sunset.


As a city that contains mountains and an actual forest within its limits, it also has lots to offer for hikers.


Greatest Beach Towns on America’s East Coast (III)

The eastern US offers plenty of vacation destinations that you and your family may want to consider this coming year. From Maine and the cool waters of the Northern Atlantic to the majestic Gulf of Mexico and the towns that dot its perfect sandy beaches, and every place in between, there are beach towns that have become quite good at catering to those looking for the good-life along the sea.


5. Greatest Beach Towns on America’s East Coast: Singer Island / West Palm Beach, Florida — Heading down the Atlantic coast of Florida travelers come upon the West Palm Beach area. For over one hundred years, the rich and famous have migrated to South Florida, with West Palm Beach and Singer Island being two of their favorite destinations. Singer Island, which is located just north of West Palm Beach, was named in honor of the Singer sewing machine family Beautiful white beaches play host to high-end resorts like the Marriott Resort and the Beaches Resort & Spa along the eastern shore of Singer Island. On the western side of the island, the marina region has some cool restaurants and libation-stations. Moving south into West Palm Beach, the vibe changes from laid back to energetic. Developed in 2000, City Place brought life back into what was a struggling downtown area in the 80s and 905. Complete with popular restaurants, clubs, and theaters, City Place also has high-end condos sitting above the businesses on street level. Just a few blocks away is the famous "Rodeo Drive of the South," otherwise known in West Palm Beach as Worth Avenue. Over the next few blocks sits high-end restaurants, exclusive designer stores, and everything else that screams elegance. With winter temperatures hovering around 75 and summer highs reaching into the 90s, the Singer Island / West Palm Beach region is one of the finest locations to enjoy everything that is "beach life."


6. Greatest Beach Towns on America’s East Coast: South Padre Island, Texas— Known for its dolphin watching, extensive water sports, and just plain old fun in the sun, South Padre Island is enjoyed by millions each year. A traditional college Spring Break destination during March and April, the island welcomes families to its shores the rest of the year. Situated along the Gulf of Mexico, South Padre Island experiences subtropical temperatures most of the year with winter highs near 70, and summer temps reaching into the mid-90s. Resort hotels, condominiums, and single-family residences line the shore of the Gulf. One of America's most impressive waterparks is located on South Padre Island. The Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark draws thousands of visitors every year who want to experience some of the most amazing water rides to be found anywhere. South Padre Island has been a victim of many storms over the years, but time after time this beach paradise has righted itself and come back even stronger And with that in mind, "SPI" is experiencing a popularity growth like never before, and it's quite easy to see why.



Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy (VII)

Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy: Lancelot – Small family hotel, Great location


This family-owned hotel is just down the street from the Coliseum and the Roman Forum. The rooms are spacious and each one decorated differently, and some have terraces and views of the Coliseum. But what truly sets this hotel apart is the extraordinary cheerfulness and graciousness of the staff, who seemingly speak just about every language. The location is near enough to walk to many sites, and right near both the metro and many bus lines. Set on a small side street, the rooms are very quite at night.



Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy: Monti Home – Cool Little Apartment in Monti


This elegant flat is located in the Monti neighborhood in Rome, one the best places to stay while you are visiting. The apartment is within walking distance of most of Rome’s major monuments, and the Coliseum and Roman Forum are just down the street.


The apartment is located on a very quiet street and enjoys bright sunshine. There are restaurants, bars and shops all within walking distance.


The apartment is made up of one double bedroom, entrance hall, living room, kitchen and bathroom. The living rooms are furnished with a convertible sofa, which sleeps two comfortably. Both bedroom and living room have doors, which makes this the perfect apartment for a couple, two couples, or a family.


There is a small balcony off the kitchen. Tenants can use the roof top terrace on the 6th floor. 


Please note: The apartment is located on the second floor (1st floor European) and there is no elevator.


The apartment enjoys the following amenities: Air Conditioning, Ceiling Fans, Broadband Internet, Wi-Fi, Television, Telephone, Full bathroom with shower, Washing Machine, Fully equipped kitchen, iPod Speaker Dock, iPod connection to TV, Hair dryer.


Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy: Relais Palazzo Taverna – Stylish B&B near Antique Shops


This is actually two small townhouse B&B;s, located near each other and right off Via dei Coronari, known for its antiques shops. Both hotels are little gems. Rooms are spacious and stylish. Piazza Navona is only a short walk away, as is the area of Campo de’ Fiori. But since the hotel is on a small side street, all the rooms are quite. Breakfast is served in the room and there is always someone on staff.

Top 10 Destinations in South America (II)

Ole! Besides salsa, sombreros and tequila, South America is a feast for one’s senses, with something for every kind of traveler. The continent is a patchwork of remarkable sceneries, with its snowcapped massifs, dangerous jungles, dreamlike deserts and spectacular mountain ranges, with many of its wonders remaining largely undiscovered.


South America offers rich experiences to travelers seeking natural wonders, ancient ruins, and vibrant cultural experiences.


Any of these ten destinations would make a fascinating trip on its own, or you could combine some or all of them for a memorable tour.



Top 10 Destinations in South America: Cusco, Peru

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Cusco was the capital of the Incan Empire. It is a fascinating old city, and makes an excellent departure point for visiting the ruins of Macchu Picchu, the sacred Valley of the Incas, and other Inca sites.


Cusco has a rich and complex history; it was the center of the indigenous Quechua culture in the Andes, and in the main square are Spanish colonial buildings erected directly on top of Inca walls.


Cusco attracts many tourists and has a lively nightlife. The city itself, although small, has myriad museums, shops and restaurants. If you're looking for adventure, try while water rafting day trips on the Rio Urubamba / Vilcanota, or three or four day rafting trips on the Rio Apurimac, 'the true source of the Amazon', and one of the top ten rafting rivers in the world.



Top 10 Destinations in South America:  Buenos Aires, Argentina


The capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires is one of the largest cities in South America, with a population of more than three million. It is geographically enormous, and it would be impossible to explore all 48 of its neighborhoods (barrios) in a single visit.


If you come to Buenos Aires, don't miss historical San Telmo, which preserves colonial-style houses along narrow cobblestone lanes, and has an exciting, underground nightlife scene. Visitors also love La Boca, the city's most colorful and picturesque neighborhood: everywhere you look, greens, yellows, reds, and purples highlight the urban scenery.


If you're seeking thrills Buenos Aires offers exhilarating skydiving activities in its vibrant blue skies. To become immersed in the local culture, attend a football match or watch some authentic tango in a Milonga.


Tourist Objectives in Lefkada, Greece (IV)

Lefkada is a Greek Island in the Ionian Sea, on the west coast of Greece, which is linked to the mainland by a long road and a floating bridge. It has many beautiful beaches and amazing landscapes. This article series covers the best tourist objectives in Lefkada, Greece. Subscribe to our Blog and make sure you don’t miss any of our travel news & updates!



8. Asomaton Monastery


The monastery is located just outside the village of Vaukeri. To access the monastery, you drive through a beautiful route of wild nature. The establishment of the monastery is believed to be during the 16th century, and according to historian K. Mahairas, it was established way before 1681. In the past, it used to be one of the richest and most distinct monasteries of the island, experiencing great prosperity during the 18th century, during the Venetian rule, with 19 cells, much land and animals in its ownership. The ruins of the cells, the guest rooms, the storage spaces, the stables and the olive mills are samples of remarkable architecture and evidence of its great economic prosperity.


The initial temple was a small single spaced room with a saddle wooden roof that was completed by low cells. At the church’s ledger, significant frescoes created towards the end of the 16th century – beginning of the 17th century and that covered the entire surface, still survive.



9. Castle of Santa Maura


Built on a strip of land, the Castle of Agia Maura is the symbol of Lefkada and stands imposing on the island’s entrance. It is an exceptional example of defensive architecture of its time. It was built around 1300 by the Franc ruler Ioannis Orsini, who received Lefkada as dowry for his marriage to the daughter of the Despot of the Mainland  Nikiforos I.


The castle protected the capital of the island and was an important defense against pirates and other enemies from the beginning of the 14th century up until 1684. In 1479 it was conquered by the Turks who built a large arched bridge, with 360 arches that stretched across the lagoon, from the beach to Kalikani, supporting the pipes of the aqueduct that brought water to the castle. This project that characterized the entire region was destroyed by earthquakes. Some traces survive today under the lagoon’s water.


Best Hotels in Milan, Italy (III)

A city like Milan offers hundreds of accommodations, ranging from hotels to hostels. Normally it should be no problem to find a place, except when a big fair is going on. In this series of the best hotels in Milan, Italy, we carefully selected a range of accommodations to meet your needs, and in general the not too expensive ones. We chose those that are rated by clients to be good value for money.


9. Hotel Cristoforo Colombo (Best Hotels in Milan, Italy)

This Best Western hotel is situated in a completely renovated historical building at the beginning of Corso Buenos Aires, in front of Porta Venezia subway station. It offers 116 newly refurbished and soundproof rooms. 

Facilities at Hotel Cristoforo Colombo include: 24h Reception, Lobby, Bar, Restaurant, 3 meeting rooms, elevators, American style breakfast, International newspapers, Concierge, Internet point, Wi-Fi in the entire hotel, 24h laundry service, Parking area with fixed rates at 100 meters, Limousine service, Luggage storage.

The rooms come with wood flooring, air conditioning, minibar, safe, modem line, Wi-Fi connection, LCD satellite TV and pay per view.

There is also a 400 square meters wellness area (fee applies) with a hammock, sauna, Turkish bath, chromo therapy shower, Vichy shower, and pool with salt water.

In the restaurant l’Uovo di Colombo you can get a 15€ or 30€ menu with the MilanoCard, which also gives you a 10% discount on a stay at this hotel.


10. Hotel Italia (Best Hotels in Milan, Italy – Sleeping at the monastery)

This hotel is not located in Pavia proper, but a few km north in Certosa di Pavia, near the convent that is the number one sight of the entire province. 

The hotel is situated in an ancient farmhouse and furnished in the arte povera style. The restaurant-pizzeria offers dishes of the Campania region.

Services and facilities at Hotel Italia include: air-conditioning, satellite TV, safe, Internet, bar, laundry service and parking.


11. Hotel Susa (Best Hotels in Milan, Italy)

Hotel Susa is one of the better 3-star hotels to be found in Milan and is located east of city center. It has 19 rooms.

Facilities at Hotel Susa include: bathroom with bathtub or shower, hairdryer, satellite TV, internet access, free minibar, telephone, safe, self regulated air conditioning, fitness room, parking, newspapers and magazines, quick laundry service and multilingual tourist information.