24 Hrs in Melbourne

Melbourne is officially the most tourist-friendly city in the world. A list of things you can do in Oz's cultural capital.
     Print Edition: Oct 26, 2014
24 Hrs in Melbourne
Take a hot air balloon ride to get the best view of Melbourne

If there are two places in the world you can expect a polite response to your humble plea for directions, it's Melbourne in Australia and Auckland in New Zealand.

Voted the friendliest cities in the world by the readers of a popular travel publication, they scored 86 points each - in the process dethroning last year's winner, Florianopolis. So, here are some things you can do the next time you find yourself in Melbourne for a full day.

Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride

They depart early in the morning, so you can take in the beauty of the city as the sun rises.

Visit Queen Victoria Market
Here, you get everything from knick-knacks to souvenirs from every corner of the world.

Ride the Great Ocean Road
Stretching over 243 km along the Victorian Coast, it offers the best views yet.

Drop by Phillip Island
Just the place to visit if you share our love for penguins.

Embraer E2, high on space
Tired of having to stuff your baggage into the overhead bin (breaking your delicate chinaware in the process) every single time you go travelling? Here's news. The interiors of the Embraer E2 make passenger comfort a priority in terms of luggage space as well as leg room. As for seating, the E2's seats have a whopping 36 inches of pitch - that's two more than the current best in the industry. Want more? The new plane's swankiness continues with built-in tablet holders, and the clever placement of acoustic curtains in its swanky lavatories. Now, that's high-flying luxury.

Now, check in through FB
Checking in couldn't possibly get more convenient. South African Airways has introduced 'Social Check-In', an innovative method that allows travellers to manage an online check-in through their Facebook profiles. What's more, you can even share your own profile and check those of other passengers - therefore selecting seats based on matching interests. A simple procedure, Social Check-In requires guests to check in online on www.flysaa.com or m.flysaa.com and input their flight details. Log on to www.flysaa.com for more details.

Cruise the spice route
In ancient times, traders crossed the Indian Ocean - their ships filled with cinnamon, cassia, cardamom and turmeric. Today, centuries later, Azamara Club Cruises takes you through this very route on a 13-day voyage covering Mumbai, Goa, Kochi, Maldives, Colombo, Galle and Chennai. If there's one thing the cruise has no shortage of, it's variety.
Embark on the luxury holiday from the heart of Maximum City, and cruise along gorgeous beaches and spice plantations to reach the colonial extravaganza of Goa. A few days later, experience the surreal beauty of the Kerala backwaters and watch a mesmerising Kathakali performance before leaving for the unblemished sands of Maldives. This trip, which covers seven UNESCO sites as well as other historical sites, costs $4,249 per person. Are you game? Price Rs2.58 lakh for a 13-day journey.

Wreck diving in Andamans

Infiniti, India's first and only live-aboard service, is organising a special wreck diving trip at the Andamans that promises to be a hit with every adventure sports enthusiast worth his salt. As part of this expedition, to be undertaken in November over a period of five days, you can explore the Inkjet - a Japanese ship that was scuttled near Duncan Island during World War II. But why get off the couch, you ask? Well, if marine life interests you, rest assured that shipwrecks usually become an artificial reef that provide many kinds of aquatic creatures - including butterfly fish, trevallies and sea anemones - with a habitat. Don't care much for gills and fins? Get down there for the adventure anyway.

Price Starts at Rs 89,999

Luxury train from 2015

Worldwide Rail Journeys has chartered the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels to launch a luxury train called Unity Express in India. The railway project, with state-specific
carriages and cultural shows, promises to celebrate the diversity of India in a way that no tourist has experienced before. The launch of the Unity Express has been planned
for March 29, 2015, in a manner that will not disturb the regular itinerary of the Royal Rajasthan. Meanwhile, talks are on with the Indian Railways to acquire a dedicated train of its own. "For the first phase trial in March, the train will cover Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh," a company spokesperson said.

Price Rs 38,045 per night

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