Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne

Located in Kings Domain on St Kilda Road, Melbourne, Australia Shrine of Remembrance was constructed as a memorial to the men and women of Victoria who served in World War I and is now a memorial to all those Australians who served in war. One of the largest war memorials in Australia it is a site of annual observances of ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day. The shrine has been built in classical style based on the model of the Tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassus and the Parthenon in Athens.

Built from Tynong granite the Shrine originally had a central sanctuary surrounded by the ambulatory. The stone used to build the shrine was granodiorite quarried from Tynong. The internal walls use sandstone from Redesdale; and the black marble columns used stone from Buchan. A square structure roofed by a stepped pyramid and entered on the north and south through classical porticos, each of eight fluted Doric columns supporting a pediment containing sculpture in high relief. Wide steps lead to the porticos rising in stages to the podium on which the Shrine sits. The east and west facing fronts are marked at the corners by four groups of statuary by Paul Raphael Montford, representing Peace, Justice, Patriotism and Sacrifice. The Art Deco style and motifs are influenced by Greek and Assyrian sculpture. Beneath the sanctuary lies the Crypt that contains a bronze statue of a father and son representing the two generations who served in the two world wars. The Entrance Coutyard leads to the shrine. The garden Courtyard features the Legacy Olive Tree and a seating area. The gallery of Medals has a 40-metre-long (130 ft) wall displaying around 4000 medals, each symbolically representing 100 Victorians who have lost their lives in war and peacekeeping operations, and six who have died. The Remembrance Garden has a pool, waterfall and Harcourt granite wall containing names of the conflicts and peacekeeping operations in which Australia participated following World War II.

shrineofremembrance

Night view of the Shrine of Remembrance

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Visiting Cairns

Cairns in Australia is a paradise for visitors coming to this amazing place. The Great Barrier Reef is an added attraction to this place that draws a large number of tourists from different parts of the world. The city lies in the backdrop of rainforest mountain ranges. The Cairns City Esplanade is a beautiful promenade that stretches over 2.5kms and offers its visitors swimming lagoon, waterfront boardwalks, BBQ areas and a children water park. The most popular sightseeing places in Cairns are listed below.

Daintree Rainforest is a tropical rainforest situated on the northeast coast of Queensland lying north of Mossman and Cairns. Daintree is the largest tropical rainforest stretching over 460 sq.m the coastline north of the Daintree River. Daintree Village founded in 1880s supports the local timber industry and dairy farmers. A part time provisional school also runs here. It has a population of 100 people and thriving centre for cattle and sugar farming. 35kms from the Daintree River Ferry at the end of a sealed sealed road lies Cape Tribulation. Visitors can enjoy here many activities self-guided trails, guided walks, horse rides, kayaking and even a flying fox.

Palm Cove, Queensland is a beach community 27km north of the city of Cairns in the far north of Queensland. It has a population of 1,215. A calm and relaxing village by the sea famous for the centuries old “paper bark” Melaleuca trees is a thriving centre for tourism with world class beach resorts, restaurants and spas. There are plenty of activities like trip to the Great Barrier Reef, rainforest excursions, beautiful golf courses, kayaking, water sport activities, paying a visit to the nearby wildlife zoo, etc.

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is a scenic cableway that runs above the Barron Gorge National Park from the Cairns suburb of Caravonica to Kuranda, Queensland. It stretches over 7.5kms and halts at two mid-stations. Interpretive information is provided here through guided boardwalk tours, signage and an interpretive centre. A passenger may avail a one way or a return journey. A one way journey takes about 1.5 hrs while a return journey may take 2.5 hrs. On offer are packages where visitors can return from Kuranda via the Kuranda Scenic Railway or also visit the Tjapukai Aboriginal and Cultural Park.

Barron Gorge National Park a part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is a national park in Queensland, Australia located 1,404 km northwest of Brisbane and 2 km from Kuranda. Barron Gorge formed where the Barron River passes over the eastern escarpment of the Atherton Tablelands. The park has many fascinating walking trails namely – McDonald’s Track, Douglas Track, D-jina Wu, Smith’s Track, etc.

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Monarto Open Range Zoo, South Australia

Being a 1,500 hectare open-range sanctuary, Monarto is the largest open range zoo in Australia. Monarto is about 45 minutes (70 km) away from the South Australian capital of Adelaide. Being just 15 minutes away from the Murray River, Monarto offers you a gateway into the most picturesque Murraylands region. This open-range sanctuary undertaking plays a major role in national as well as international breeding programs for some of the world’s rarest and most endangered species. The open-range zoo houses Australia’s largest herd of Giraffes and also the South Australia’s first ever southern white rhino.

monarto open range zoo

If you are around Adelaide, you can enjoy a full day tour through the scenic Adelaide Hills to this fantastic open-range zoo. The tour runs on Monday and Thursday and is operated in the supervision of Zoos South Australia. The zoo tour guide will join you as you enter the zoo and take you to the Visitor Centre. From here you can take the Zu-loop shuttle bus that departs at regular intervals into the zoo’s heartland. The shuttle bus ride enables you to get on and off at various viewing platforms from where you can watch animals like Meerkat, Tasmanian Devil, Rhino, Giraffe, African Painted Dogs, Lion, Chimps and a variety of insects, birds and reptiles. You will also get an opportunity to observe Antelope, Ostrich and other wildlife creatures including the Australian varieties of Kangaroos and Emus that roam freely across the open-range sanctuary.

The walking tracks of about 10 km that meander throughout the zoo’s mallee bushland can be integrated with Zu-loop shuttle bus service to experience a flexible exploration within Monarto. The zoo also offers some of the most interesting behind-the-scene experiences like ‘Working with Wildlife’, Meet our Lions’ and ‘Meet our Cheetah’ that provide you a varying levels of interaction with the zoo animals.

The zoo is open between 9:30 am and 5:00 pm on everyday of the year. The last entry is at 3 pm and the zoo will be closed only on those days in which the forecast temperature in the zoo area is 40 degrees or over that. While the Zu-loop shuttle bus services run at regular intervals, the Keeper Presentations begin from 11:05 am. The zoo facilities include the Tour Desk, Coach Parking, a licensed Café and the Restaurant, Viewing Platforms, Walking Tracks, Child activities, Guide services, Picnic area, Public toilet, etc.

Monarto Zoo is a fantastic full day experience and it is recommended that you arrive here early enough to make the most of your visit. A minimum of 4-5 hours stay gives you a better opportunity to get around most parts of the zoo area.

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Infinity Attraction in Gold Coast

If amusement parks do not seem to amuse you anymore, maybe you have outgrown the old school concept of themed parks. It’s a good thing that the Surfers Paradise in Gold Coast took the amusement park experience to a whole new level. Their latest phenomenal attraction is the awesome special effects fun house knows as Infinity.

Infinity is a one-of-a-kind experience that is designed not only for the entertainment of eight year olds, it is a fun-filled journey for the entire family as well. It is like a maze filled with 20 fantastic multi-sensual environments with futuristic special effects and groovy music. Infinity is composed of many different rooms with exits leading from one room to the next. Each room has a different theme which is totally unique and equally exciting with the rest.

How To Really Enjoy Infinity Fun-house

  • If you are taking kids with you, be sure they are totally fine with the dark and overwhelming flashy lights.
  • Do not go alone. Some rooms have exits which are really hard to find – apparently a part of the challenge. If you go there on your own, you’ll definitely have a hard time looking for doors leading to the next room.
  • Schedule a convenient season for visiting the place. Do not go there during the busy seasons of the year. Infinity is the most-visited attraction at the Surfers Paradise and you may not enjoy your experience if the place is too crowded once you go in.

Probably one of the best things about the Infinity fun-house is that you still get to enjoy it even during the rainy seasons. Aside from that, there is no other place that offers the kind of entertainment that you experience in Infinity. It is a refreshing, one-of-a-kind experience that is totally safe and very much affordable.

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State Theatre in Sydney

Located at 49, Market Street the State Theatre in Sydney is undisputedly a unique and magnificent building. This heritage-listed building has been built on the site of the former offices of the “Evening News” newspaper. The construction had begun in 1927 with an estimated budget of £400,000. With a seating capacity of 2775, the theatre was opened in 1929 as the “Palace of Dreams” and ‘The Patriot’ an Ernst Lubitsch film was the first to be featured here. Another theatre with the same name in Melbourne seats 3371, but the theatre at Sydney is more ornately and lavishly designed.

The splendid interiors of the theatre feature impressive fixtures and rare artworks of significant importance. The theatre has been designed by Sydney architect Henry Eli White and guided by the American architect John Eberson. The theatre has incorporated diverse and impressive elements like Italian, Gothic, and Art deco designs. The theatre boasts of holding one of the three 21 Rank Wurlitzer Organs and a Kohinoor Cut crystal chandelier, the second largest on earth, which weighs over four tons. Listed on the Register of the National Estate, the interiors of the building feature rare paintings by renowned artists of the class as Julian Ashton, Charles Wheeler and William Dobell.

sydney state theatre

The Gothic-styled shopping block built over the theatre during 1930 is now used as various offices. The newsreel theatre, which was a first of its kind in Australia, was opened in the basement of the theatre in 1932. This is being used as a screening room now. The State Theatre hosted premier shows of several blockbusters during 1960s and 1970s.  The theatre has been hosting the Sydney Film Festival for two weeks each June since 1974. The 1990s saw the return of the Live Theatre, with acts of the caliber of Shirley McClain, Shirley Bassey, Harry Connick Jr. and Whoopi Goldberg and musicals such as Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar. In 2012-13, the plans to renovate the theatre and create a backstage area and an orchestra pit to enhance the capability of live shows were made.

Featuring a sublime blend of traditional and contemporary architectural styles, the State Theatre has established itself as Sydney’s most versatile entertainment and event venue since its inception. With a wide variety of events, the theatre has been a venue of choice even with the most discerning of the clients. Since its first performance, the State Theatre has been an essential part of Sydney’s cultural fabric. The unparalleled history of the State Theatre aptly reflects the city’s changing face and stands as a testimony to Sydney’s cultural progress since a century.

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James Craig Tall Ship in Sydney

James Craig is Sydney’s own 19th century, amazing heritage Tall Ship. You can sail the Sydney Harbor and host your next event aboard the James Craig! This square rig-tall ship is available for day sails and can accommodate 30 to 200 guests during your next event or function. The James Craig Tall Ship is maintained and operated by Sydney Heritage Fleet that owns one of the largest operational fleet of heritage vessels in Australia.

james craig tall ship

The James Craig barque was built in 1874 in Sunderland, England by Bartram, Haswell & Co. Her original name is Can Macleod and her first ever voyage was to Peru. After plying along the trade routes for 26 years and rounding the Cape Horn 23 times, she was purchased by Mr. J. J. Craig of New Zealand in 1900. She served as a general cargo carrier on the Trans-Tasman trade route and was renamed as James Craig in 1905. After 1911, she was laid up as it was extremely uneconomical to manage sailing ships in against the more convenient and competitive steam ships. Very soon she was sent to New Guinea and stripped off to be used as a copra hulk.

The end of the First World War marked an acute shortage for cargo ships and thus James Craig was again towed back to Sydney from New Guinea for re-fitting. After 1925, she was again reduced to a coal hulk in Tasmania. Her moorings were broken in a storm during 1932 and she was abandoned and beached the same year. In 1972, some volunteers from the Sydney Heritage Fleet refloated and towed her to Hobart in 1973 for some initial repairs. In 1981 she was towed to Sydney and the restoration work was commenced. The fully restored hull of James Craig was re-launched during February 1997. On a glorious sunny February day in 2001, James Craig hoisted all of her 21 sails once again after a gap of almost 80 years and became fully operational.

Berthed at the Wharf 7 Pyrmont, James Craig is open for public guided tours in between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm everyday. James Craig sails almost every weekend, either on Saturday or on Sunday.

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Melbourne’s Best Restaurants

Restaurants and dining is a delightful experience in Melbourne with so many restaurants specializing in different kinds of cuisines. In the following section we have briefly discussed some of them.

The Moor’s Head
This restaurant is famous for serving a large variety of pizzas. This and crisp pizza bases are served with Middle Eastern toppings. Joseph Abboud is the owner and master chef of this restaurant. The specialities in the menu include – “ Golden Terrace ”, “ Omar Sheriff ”, manoushé which is a Lebanese style round pizza or a pide which is a Turkish style boat shaped pizza. Arak which is an anise flavoured spirit is served here apart from local Lebanese beers. One must also try fatayer pizzetta that has banana and halva as the main ingredients.

Beatrix
It is a tiny café in north Melbourne that houses the best cakes and sandwiches in town. The café is owned by Net Paull. The must-try sandwiches are namely – Sydney Road and Fry-Day. The other items include Gluten-free bread, sweet baked goods, red velvet quadruple layer cake, pink grapefruit éclairs, potato brioche doughnuts and Moroccan Snickers tarts. The Elvis will leave you craving for more which is a mega-cupcake made from banana buttercake, peanut-butter butter cream and smoky bacon praline.

Gypsey & Musquito
A cosy café in Richmond. You will enjoy here all day breakfasts on all seven days a week. The most remarkable thing about this café that it uses all Australian ingredients like – finger limes, riberry confit, lemon myrtle hollandaise, etc. You can order the open omelette with double hot smoked salmon and native saltbush or choose your pick from camel, emu, wallaby or crocodile sausage. Apart from coffee you can try six varieties of bush tree.

La Tortilleria
This restaurant specializes in Mexican cuisine which makes tortillas using the traditional Aztec nixtamal method. You can take it home or enjoy sitting at the canteen as tacos, sopes and quesadillas.

Middle Fish
Located close to Melbourne University this, eatery is run by Pla and her Aussie partner David specializing in authentic southern Thai food. The restaurant is open fronted having high ceilings displaying artworks by contemporary Thai artists. Specialities here include – tamarind pork-neck skewers and tiger-prawn spring rolls, kang prik, etc. You can enjoy here Thai tea and very good coffee too.

Moroccan Soup Bar
Moroccan Soup Bar, despite what the name suggests, is neither popular for its soups nor is there any trace of alcohol. Here you will get good and cheap North African food. Menu is strictly vegetarian served along with mint tea. Some of the special delicacies are – chickpea bake, a rich and crunchy grilled flatbread, tahini yoghurt, boiled chickpeas, almonds and an abundance of butter.

Bottega
Bottega is a restaurant that specializes in Melbourne’s best modern Italian food. The restaurant has a cosy ambience plush leather seats & soft lighting. The menu is extensive and consists of a premium selection of local & imported wines.  Specialities include – Housemade strozzapreti with clams,  Chargrilled Tasmanian lamb rump or mussels, prawns and calamari eggplant purée, basil pesto, etc. The restaurant has seating arrangement for as many as 60 heads.

bottega

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Interesting Festivals in Australia

Australia has an endless number of festivals in which people participate with great enthusiasm and zeal. These festivals are related to different spheres like nature, sports music and arts. Given below is a discussion on some of the popular festivals.

Perth International Arts Festival
A festival of international acclaim it is Australia’s premiere cultural event and longest running arts festival. Over the past 50 years it has welcomed greatest living artistes from all parts of the world. Founded in 1953 by Professor Fred Alexander, Dean of the Faculty of Arts the festival features program features contemporary and classical music, dance, theatre, opera, and visual arts.

Melbourne Comedy Festival
One of the three major comedy festivals the world Melbourne Comedy Festival was launched in 1987 by Barry Humphries and Peter Cook. It will give you an opportunity to enjoy finest comedy from around Australia and the world and to explore the city’s abundant comic talent.

Sydney Festival
It is a 3 week long festival of music, theatre, dance and visual arts. Held in January every year on Australia Day it is the largest and most attended cultural event. The event has seen performances by world famous artistes like Chaka Khan, Amanda Palmer, Lee Ronaldo and Mike Patton to name a few. It features a variety of music from rock, folk, roots, country to disco, bluegrass and  indie. 80 events including performances by 500 artistes from Australia and abroad.

Adelaide Fringe Festival
The largest annual arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere that goes on for 24 days and nights in February and March. It is an annual open-access festival featuring over 4,000 artistes from Australia and other parts of the world. Over 900 events take place at different locations like parks, warehouses, lane-ways, theatres, hotels, art galleries and cafes. Performances related to cabaret, comedy, dance, film, theatre, puppetry, music, circus and physical theatre, visual art and design take place.

River Festival
Held in September every year River festival is a 10 day festival celebrating the natural landscape and water resources. Programmes are held long the riverside at various places.

Floriade
Derived from the latin word ‘floriat’ it implies the design of flowers. It is a flower and entertainment festival held in mid-September at Canberra’s Common wealth Park every year that exhibits over 1 million flowers. In 1988 the first Floriade was held as part of Australia’s bicentenary. Exquisite sculptures are on display too. This festival is also popularly known as the “Australia’s Celebration of Spring”.

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Great Destinations For A Family Vacation In Australia

In many ways, Australia is a great travel destination, attracting a large number of tourists. It has a lot to offer its visitors from beaches, desserts, forests and wildlife. Given below are some of the popular tourist attractions in Australia.

  • Byron Bay, New South Wales – Situated at the meeting point of Coral Sea and Tasman Sea, these are Byron’s legendary, lighthouse-dotted, white sand beaches that are clean, unpolluted where you can spot spot bottlenose dolphins, rays, whales and sea turtles.
  • Great Barrier Reef, Queensland – Situated in Costa Rica. it is famous for beach holidays. Here one must visit the Manuel Antonio’s amazing crescent of sand, with its sky-blue waters and jungle at its back or and Playa Dominical which is famous for surfing.
  • Surfer’s Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland – Located 48 miles away from Brisbane on Australia’s east coast is Surfer’s Paradise. As the name suggests it is the destination of swimmers, novice and advanced swimmers.
  • Perth, Greater Perth, Western Australia – It is an active beach having two main stretches. One is the Civilized Cottesloe located south of the town frequented by families, swimmers and snorkelers. The other is Scarborough located north of town, which is frequented by surfers and is great for clubbing at night.
  • Uluru – Also known as Ayers Rock it is a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory in central Australia. It is known for it’s scenic beauty. It is a large magnetic mound located on a major planetary grid point similar to the Great Pyramid in Egypt. What is worth noticing about Uluru is its homogeneity and lack of jointing and parting at bedding surfaces, leading to the lack of development of scree slopes and soil.
  • Hilsong Church – Established in 1983 it is a Pentecostal mega church affiliated with Australian Christian Churches and located in Sydney. It has international branches in international branches in London, Kiev, Cape Town, Stockholm, Paris, Moscow, and now New York City.
  • Warner Bros. Movie World – It is a famous movie related theme park situated on the Gold Coast in Australia. It originally belonged to the Time Warner and thereafter taken over by Village Road show. Children can enjoy rides like Scooby-DooSpooky Coaster, Superman Escape, Green Lantern Coaster, Road Runner Rollercoaster, etc.
  • Taronga Zoo – It is the city zoo of Sydney and is located on the shores of Sydney Harbour in the suburb of Mosman. It is situated on an elevated land along the waterfront overlooking the Sydney Cove, Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
  • Kangaroo Island, South Australia – Famous for it’s wildlife you will find here a variety of animals like koalas, bandicoots, goannas, echidnas, swamp rats and brushtail possums, along with six species of  both bats and frogs. Vivionne Bay that has been declared Australia’s top beach by Sydney University in terms to clarity and cleanliness lies here.
  • Mt. Hotham, Victoria – It is the only snow resort in Australia with it’s own snow resort. It gets the highest snowfall. Children aged between 6 – 14 yrears of age can learn skiing and snowboarding in the Hotham Kids Snowzone. Snowman-building competitions, dress ups, treasure hunts and mini snowmobile rides are other attractions.

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Chinese Garden of Friendship, Sydney

chinese garden of friendship

The Chinese Garden of Friendship was designed and developed by Guangzhou, the Chinese sister city of Sydney. The gardens developed on a site in the south end of Darling Harbor near Chinatown perfectly complement the surrounding areas already rich in Chinese culture and heritage. These gardens were officially opened in 1988 to mark the bicentennial celebrations of Sydney. The gardens were named as “Chinese Garden of Friendship” to commemorate the bond of friendship established with China.

There are very few such public Chinese gardens outside China offering a rare insight into traditional Chinese culture and heritage. These gardens take you back into the times of the Ming Dynasty and let you experience the great solitude among the ancient Chinese buildings and their symphony with nature. Elements like stone, water, plants and architecture have been aptly used to develop these magnificent gardens.

Running water, cool lagoons with colorful fish, ibis and lotus plants, towering willows, Chinese temples and the serene environment make this an idyllic spot to spend your time reading a book or just sit about to recharge yourself. Among the busy and most happening Sydney’s set up, this place takes you “Far From the Madding Crowd.” The garden has a number of interesting features like Dragon Wall, the Twin Pavilion, the Water Pavilion of Lotus Fragrance, the Rock Forest, the Gurr, the Penjing and the Tea House that serves traditional Chinese refreshments and tea. The jasmine tea offered here is renowned for its flavor and you can see confident sparrows sharing crumbs from the people’s hands.

The entry fee is comparatively low considering the heavy entry fees charged in other popular Sydney locations. Adults are charged at $6.00 and children/seniors/ Concession and Students are charged at $3.00 each. A family of four with 2 adults and 2 children are charged $15.00. The gardens are open for public from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm everyday, except on the Christmas Day. The gardens are just a 10-minute walk from the Town Hall Railway Station. You can also take the Monorail or the Light Rail from the Central Station; get down at the Haymarket and walk for just 5 minutes to reach this place.

This place has now grown as a popular wedding venue offering numerous striking milieus for photographs. A lot of sheer planning and artistry has gone into creating such a wonderful garden. Do not deny yourself a chance to spend some time here on your next visit to Sydney.

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