Category Archives: Travel

THURSDAY ISLAND – ‘THE ONE THAT COUNTS’

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THURSDAY ISLAND, Queensland, Australia – A sign over the doorway of a saloon called the Torres Hotel declares modestly: THIS IS THE TOP PUB IN AUSTRALIA. Why? “Because I’m here,” says the barmaid named Tammy, a fetching blonde. A man quaffing a beer at the bar, Bob Gilmour, shakes his head and laughs. “With all …

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NOOSA: NICE AND NATURAL

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NOOSA HEADS, Queensland, Australia – One moment you’re sauntering along Hastings Street, peering into high-fashion shop windows littered with Italian-labeled throw-me-ons of insubstantial life expectancy but substantial price. Maybe you’ve had a swim in the South Pacific, near enough to sometimes flood Hastings, the town’s main artery. And followed that by brunch on the sidewalk …

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CLIMBING A VOLCANO IS FUN, FOR SOME

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WHAKAPAPA, New Zealand – Because it’s there, I know I shouldn’t be. “It” is the volcanic Mount Ruapehu, looming and with the appearance of a gigantic molar with cavities. “Looks like a sweet climb,” enthuses my friend, Aurelio, who would never deny that a mountain goat teeters somewhere on some altitudinous limb of her family …

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A WISE WAY TO SETTLE THE “GIRL’S WAR”

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RUSSELL, New Zealand – An elderly survivor, a 33-foot whaleboat, is cradled in the yard of the local museum, and Russell does have the look and air of a small, unrushed New England whaling town. Old, well-risen-and-wide-reaching trees guard the handsome white frame houses that stand behind whitewashed picket fences lining the quiet waterfront. But …

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VERONA – HOME TO TWO LOVE-BUGGY KIDS; IN THE HEARTS OF LOVERS, ROMEO AND JULIET LIVE ON IN THIS ENCHANTING TOWN

VERONA, Italy – Are we sitting where they sat? “Why not?” says my friend, Aurelio, nothing if not a romantic. “Right here, I’ll bet . . . those two love-buggy kids, Juliet and Romeo.”   She pats the weathered-gray tier of Verona’s ancient Roman Colosseum-style stadium called the Arena, an imposing pen that has witnessed …

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POETRY, AS RECITED BY BANJO BLUNT; IN THIS OUTBACK WATERING HOLE, HE REELS OFF A LIVELY TALE OF A HUNTED HORSE THIEF

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LONGREACH, Queensland, Australia – Stoplights do not exist in these parts, but Longreach is justly pleased with its traffic roundabout (rotary). “First one west of the Great Dividing Range, maybe a couple of hundred miles,” says Alan “Banjo” Blunt. “And don’t miss the sign that tells where the Tropic of Capricorn runs through town.” It’s …

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A DELICIOUS DAY IN NZ; A PICNIC NEAR LAKE WANAKA FOLLOWED BY FLORAL DISPLAY

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WANAKA, New Zealand Delicious.Everything about the afternoon is just that: delicious.The picnic lunch was served on the sun-streaked and terraced green hillside of the Rippon Vineyard.Vivaldi-on-tape and the resident Chenin Blanc-from-bottle blended softly with the sapphire blue of Lake Wanaka a short walk below, and the big-brothering mountains beyond. “This scene . . . this …

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GOLD AND GHOSTS IN BENDIGO

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BENDIGO, New Zealand — This is an easy-score stopover for wayward census-takers or pollsters. If anybody can find the place, here are the questions and answers: Predominant profession? Mining. Favorite song? “I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You.” Favorite movie? “Ghost Busters.” Favorite TV show? “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.” Favorite book? …

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