Why We Love Australia

Hugh Jackman, Ayers Rock, the didgeridoo, Nicole Kidman, kangaroos and the Great Barrier Reef are just a few reasons why we love Australia.

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Taal Volcano
Taal Volcano

Taal Volcano

Located on the island of Luzon (31 miles south of Manila), Taal Volcano is the 2nd most active volcano in the Philippines. The volcano -- part of what is known as the Pacific Ring of Fire -- and Taal Lake is one of most picturesque views in the country. 960 1280

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Diniwid Beach

Diniwid Beach

Visit the upscale Diniwid Beach on Boracay Island, Philippines. Of the 13 beaches on Boracay, Diniwid Beach is perfect for travelers looking for an upscale stretch of sand that’s private, quiet and less populated with beachgoers. 960 1280

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Chocolate Hills

Chocolate Hills

Located in the Philippines’ Bohol Province, the Chocolate Hills are 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 20 square miles. This geological site and popular tourist attraction -- normally covered in green grass -- turns chocolate brown during the dry season. 960 1280

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Boracay Island

Boracay Island

Boracay is a small island located almost 200 miles south of Manila. This island paradise is emerging among the top destinations for a relaxing vacation and exciting nightlife scene. In 2012, Travel + Leisure picked Boracay as the best island in the world. The island is also a great spot for travelers who enjoy water sports, including scuba diving, snorkeling, helmet diving and cliff diving. Visit during Amihan season (usually from September to June) to get the best trade winds for windsurfing, kiteboarding and kitesurfing. 960 1280

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Manila

Manila

Manila is the second largest city in the Philippines with a total population of more than 1.6 million people. Recommended sights to visit include Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Rizal Park, Fort Santiago, Star City, Manila Ocean Park, Café Juanita and the Marikina Shoe Museum, for those fascinated by the footwear of the Philippines’ controversial former First Lady, Imelda Marcos. 960 1280

Mark Holloway / iStock / Getty Images  

Shangri-La's Boracay Resort & Spa

Shangri-La's Boracay Resort & Spa

Arrive at Shangri-La’s secluded Boracay Resort & Spa on a speed boat. Guests can choose to stay in one of the resort’s 219 rooms, suites or villas -- all with a spacious balcony and some with a stunning oceanfront view. Don’t pass up being pampered at Chi, The Spa, or using the resort’s health club, tennis court, dive center or swimming pool, one of the largest free-form swimming pools in the country. 960 1280

Shangri-La's Boracay Resort & Spa  

Banaue Rice Terraces

Banaue Rice Terraces

Commonly referred to by Filipinos as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” the Banaue Rice Terraces are 2,000-year-old terraces carved into the mountains in the Ifugao Province of the Philippines. Locals still plant rice and vegetables on the terraces despite the steady decrease in number of young farmers. We also recommend take a fun road trip to the Batad Rice Terraces. 960 1280

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Cebu

Cebu

Cebu is an island province in the Philippines, consisting of the island itself and 167 surrounding islands. It is one of the most developed provinces, with Cebu City as the main center of commerce, trade, education and industry. In 2007, Conde Nast Traveler named Cebu the 7th best island destination in the Indian Ocean-Asia region. Cebu is also a great spot for shopping. We recommend shopping at local markets like the Carbon Market or Tabo-an Market. 960 1280

Tom Cockrem / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images  

Snorkeling in Cebu

Snorkeling in Cebu

Spend hours snorkeling and exploring the marine life along the coast of Cebu. Mactan Island and Moalboal Cebu are some of the best spots for an underwater adventure to explore the 4-armed chocolate, blue linckia starfish, black sea urchin, manta rays, barracuda, whalesharks and beautiful coral gardens. 960 1280

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Rizal Park

Rizal Park

Take a stroll through Rizal Park, a historical urban park located along Roxas Boulevard in Manila. This iconic park consists of open lawns, lush gardens, paved walks and wooded areas with monuments that recognize national Filipino heroes like Jose Rizal. On Sundays, locals and visitors can sit back and listen to live entertainment, for free, in the open-air auditorium as part of the Concert at the Park series. 960 1280

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Sensual Spa Treatment

Sensual Spa Treatment

There’s no better way to unwind and relax than to hit the spa for a therapeutic massage to help release the stress sitting in those tight muscles and joints. From a hot stone massage to foot reflex therapy, the Philippines have a several resorts that have their in-house spas and services that cater to its guests’ needs. 960 1280

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SM Mall of Asia

SM Mall of Asia

Go shopping at the SM Mall of Asia! Located in Bay City, Pasay, this mega-sized mall attracts about 200,000 people every day, and it is one of the largest malls in the world. If you still have satisfied your shopping fix after visiting the SM Mall of Asia (pictured); then you can’t miss out on shopping at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong, Philippines. It’s the 3rd largest shopping mall in the world. 960 1280

Roberto Verzo, flickr  

White Beach

White Beach

Welcome to one of the finest, stretches of white-sand beachfront in the world. Lined with coconut palms, White Beach -- located on Boracay Island -- is 3 miles long and has a strip of bars, restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops that cater to millions of tourists. The beach is divided into 3 sections from north to south: stations 1, 2 and 3. Station 1 has the widest stretch of sand with pricey hotels. Station 2 is the place to be for eating and shopping, and the Station 3 is the place to go if you’re looking for a quiet place to relax. 960 1280

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Sydney Harbor Bridge
Sydney Harbor Bridge

Sydney Harbor Bridge

The British firm, Dorman Long and Co Ltd. of Middlebrough, built and designed the Sydney Harbor Bridge. It’s the tallest steel arch bridge, and the 5th longest spanning-arch bridge in the world. The Bridge opened in 1932. Adventurous travelers can climb the bridge. Prices range from $200 to $300, depending on the day of the week and time of day. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Koala Park Sanctuary

Koala Park Sanctuary

Cuddle with a koala at the Koala Park Sanctuary, a safe environment for these friendly, furry creatures, since 1930. More than 70 years ago, founder Noel Burnet decided to create the sanctuary after a high numbers of koalas were killed for the large export fur trade. Visitors can learn about the koala and see them living in the rainforest, eucalyptus groves and gardens, with other Australian native animals and birds. 960 1280
Hyde Park

Hyde Park

This large park, named after London’s Hyde Park, was once the hot spot for rugby games, boxing matches, horse racing and cricket. Located on the eastern side of Sydney’s central business district, Hyde Park’s centerpiece is the Archibald Fountain, designed by Francois Leon Sicard. Take a stroll through the park’s northern end to see the Nagoya Gardens, which features a giant outdoor chess set. 960 1280

Getty  

Sydney Tower

Sydney Tower

The Sydney Tower is the city’s tallest free-standing structure and the second tallest in Australia. Make sure you go to the top of the 1,014-foot tower for a great view of the city. Afterwards, shop at some of the stores located at the base of the popular tourist attraction. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Sydney Olympic Stadium

Sydney Olympic Stadium

ANZ Stadium, a multi-purpose stadium located in the Sydney Olympic Park, hosts national rugby games and also hosted the 2000 Summer Olympics. It holds 110,000 spectators, making it the largest Olympic Stadium ever built as well as the largest stadium in Australia. We suggest tourists check out Olympic Park, and take advantage of dozens of outdoor activities offered there, including extreme biking on the BMX and Mountain X Monster track. 960 1280

Getty  

Sydney Harbor

Sydney Harbor

Sydney Harbor, also called Port Jackson, is located on the East Coast of Australia. It’s also the location of the famous Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge. You may not know it, but there are several islands inside the harbor, including Shark Island, Cockatoo Island and Berry Island. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Cronulla Beach

Cronulla Beach

Catch some sun on Cronulla Beach, located on Bate Bay. This beach is the birthplace for the first surf club in Australia. The Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club, established in 1907, is one of the largest and strongest clubs dedicated to providing beach safety and rescue. 960 1280

Getty  

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Art lovers should visit the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the 4th largest museum in Australia. It’s free to get into the general admission space, which displays Australian, European and Asian art. 960 1280

David Han, Flickr   

Coogee Pool

Coogee Pool

Visit Coogee, a beachside suburb of Sydney. Take a refreshing dip into the Coogee Tidal Pool, just inches away from the beach. 960 1280

Brent Pearson, Flickr  

Australian Reptile Park

Australian Reptile Park

Get up-close and personal with some of Australia’s indigenous animals, including wombats, death adders, kangaroos, cockatoos, dragons, dingo, crocodiles, flying fox bats and more! The Australian Reptile Park offers tours and children’s parties, too. 960 1280

Australian Reptile Park  

Sydney Observatory

Sydney Observatory

Located on Observatory Hill, the Sydney Observatory is a fun museum where visitors can observe the stars and planets at night, through a modern telescope and a historic telescope, built in 1874. 960 1280

Greg O'Beirne, Wikimedia Commons  

Sydney Wildlife World

Sydney Wildlife World

It’s more than just a zoo; it’s Australia’s most unique park. Wild Life Sydney has interactive displays, entertaining shows, daily-feeding sessions and close encounters with some of the most loved and feared animals that call Australia home. Wild Life Sydney is located on Darling Harbor, next to the Sydney Aquarium. 960 1280

Wild Life Sydney  

Vanucluse House

Vanucluse House

Visit the Vanucluse House if seeing historic sites suits your travel taste. It’s one of the most treasured estates, and it has picturesque gardens and grounds stretching down to Sydney Harbor. The sandstone mansion, built in the 1830s, was the home of barrister and explorer William Charles Wentworth and his family. 960 1280

Richard Scholz,Wikimedia Commons  

Photos

Sydney Harbor Bridge

Sydney Harbor Bridge

The British firm, Dorman Long and Co Ltd. of Middlebrough, built and designed the Sydney Harbor Bridge. It’s the tallest steel arch bridge, and the 5th longest spanning-arch bridge in the world. The Bridge opened in 1932. Adventurous travelers can climb the bridge. Prices range from $200 to $300, depending on the day of the week and time of day. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Koala Park Sanctuary

Koala Park Sanctuary

Cuddle with a koala at the Koala Park Sanctuary, a safe environment for these friendly, furry creatures, since 1930. More than 70 years ago, founder Noel Burnet decided to create the sanctuary after a high numbers of koalas were killed for the large export fur trade. Visitors can learn about the koala and see them living in the rainforest, eucalyptus groves and gardens, with other Australian native animals and birds. 960 1280
Hyde Park

Hyde Park

This large park, named after London’s Hyde Park, was once the hot spot for rugby games, boxing matches, horse racing and cricket. Located on the eastern side of Sydney’s central business district, Hyde Park’s centerpiece is the Archibald Fountain, designed by Francois Leon Sicard. Take a stroll through the park’s northern end to see the Nagoya Gardens, which features a giant outdoor chess set. 960 1280

Getty  

Sydney Tower

Sydney Tower

The Sydney Tower is the city’s tallest free-standing structure and the second tallest in Australia. Make sure you go to the top of the 1,014-foot tower for a great view of the city. Afterwards, shop at some of the stores located at the base of the popular tourist attraction. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Sydney Olympic Stadium

Sydney Olympic Stadium

ANZ Stadium, a multi-purpose stadium located in the Sydney Olympic Park, hosts national rugby games and also hosted the 2000 Summer Olympics. It holds 110,000 spectators, making it the largest Olympic Stadium ever built as well as the largest stadium in Australia. We suggest tourists check out Olympic Park, and take advantage of dozens of outdoor activities offered there, including extreme biking on the BMX and Mountain X Monster track. 960 1280

Getty  

Sydney Harbor

Sydney Harbor

Sydney Harbor, also called Port Jackson, is located on the East Coast of Australia. It’s also the location of the famous Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge. You may not know it, but there are several islands inside the harbor, including Shark Island, Cockatoo Island and Berry Island. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Cronulla Beach

Cronulla Beach

Catch some sun on Cronulla Beach, located on Bate Bay. This beach is the birthplace for the first surf club in Australia. The Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club, established in 1907, is one of the largest and strongest clubs dedicated to providing beach safety and rescue. 960 1280

Getty  

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Art lovers should visit the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the 4th largest museum in Australia. It’s free to get into the general admission space, which displays Australian, European and Asian art. 960 1280

David Han, Flickr   

Coogee Pool

Coogee Pool

Visit Coogee, a beachside suburb of Sydney. Take a refreshing dip into the Coogee Tidal Pool, just inches away from the beach. 960 1280

Brent Pearson, Flickr  

Australian Reptile Park

Australian Reptile Park

Get up-close and personal with some of Australia’s indigenous animals, including wombats, death adders, kangaroos, cockatoos, dragons, dingo, crocodiles, flying fox bats and more! The Australian Reptile Park offers tours and children’s parties, too. 960 1280

Australian Reptile Park  

Sydney Observatory

Sydney Observatory

Located on Observatory Hill, the Sydney Observatory is a fun museum where visitors can observe the stars and planets at night, through a modern telescope and a historic telescope, built in 1874. 960 1280

Greg O'Beirne, Wikimedia Commons  

Sydney Wildlife World

Sydney Wildlife World

It’s more than just a zoo; it’s Australia’s most unique park. Wild Life Sydney has interactive displays, entertaining shows, daily-feeding sessions and close encounters with some of the most loved and feared animals that call Australia home. Wild Life Sydney is located on Darling Harbor, next to the Sydney Aquarium. 960 1280

Wild Life Sydney  

Vanucluse House

Vanucluse House

Visit the Vanucluse House if seeing historic sites suits your travel taste. It’s one of the most treasured estates, and it has picturesque gardens and grounds stretching down to Sydney Harbor. The sandstone mansion, built in the 1830s, was the home of barrister and explorer William Charles Wentworth and his family. 960 1280

Richard Scholz,Wikimedia Commons  

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Disney's The Little Mermaid comes to life at the Voyage of the Little Mermaid attraction at Hollywood Studios in Orlando. The live-action show tells an abridged version of the Disney film complete with actors, a 12-foot Ursula and, of course, water. 960 1280

Disney  

Mermaid Beach

Mermaid Beach

On the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia, sits Mermaid Beach, famous for its "millionaire's row" of extravagant beachfront property. It's not named for other, more mythical inhabitants, though. It was named for the explorer John Oxley's HMS Mermaid which he sailed in 1823 when he discovered the nearby Tweed and Brisbane rivers. 960 1280

Henry Lawford, flickr  

International Mermaid Pageant

International Mermaid Pageant

A relatively new affair with its inaugural event in 2011, the International Mermaid Pageant at the Silverton Resort in Las Vegas consists of 2 parts: a mermaid round where contestants show off their best mermaid attire, and a regular pageant round, which is a little more familiar to most of us. 960 1280

Silverton Casino Hotel   

Dive Bar

Dive Bar

Dive Bar in Sacramento, CA, is actually the total opposite of a typical dive bar, with its chandeliers and leather, high-back chairs. Dive Bar features a (human-sized) aquarium behind the bar, where mermaids and mermen make occasional appearances. 960 1280

Juan Fernando  

MerPalooza

MerPalooza

Your go-to for all things mermaid, Vegas' MerPalooza is the biggest (only?) mermaid convention. With mermaid and pirate awards, over 70 vendors (including tail-makers) and a panel of speakers, MerPalooza is a must-see for mer-enthusiasts. 960 1280

Silverton Casino Hotel  

Silverton Casino Hotel

Silverton Casino Hotel

Home to the International Mermaid Pageant, the Silverton Casino in Las Vegas continues the mermaid appreciation year-round with its Mermaid Restaurant & Lounge and an 117,000-gallon aquarium that has been dubbed Vegas’ best free attraction, with mermaid performers and an interactive fish feeding show. 960 1280

Silverton Casino Hotel  

Mermaid's Casino

Mermaid's Casino

On the Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas, the Mermaid's Casino is a throwback to the classic days of Vegas -- it’s one the few remaining casinos with machines that pay out in actual money (as opposed to the vouchers at newer casinos). The casino also serves deep-fried Oreos and Twinkies, so watch your mer-figure. 960 1280

Time_anchor, flickr  

Weeki Wachee Springs

Weeki Wachee Springs

A Florida state park, Weeki Wachee Springs is famous for its mermaids. The daily underwater spectacle features a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid, and is just one of the attractions offered at the park. 960 1280

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park  

The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid is an iconic statue in Copenhagen, Denmark, that was inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale. At only 4 feet tall, the bronze statue was unveiled in 1913. 960 1280

Bert Kaufmann, flickr   

Mermaid Inn

Mermaid Inn

The New York-based Mermaid Inn has 3 locations: the East Village, the Upper West Side and an oyster bar in Greenwich Village. All seafood, all the time, the small restaurants make it easy, and trendy, to eat like a mermaid. 960 1280

The Mermaid Inn  

Moscow

Moscow

Performers -- donned in green -- happily dance during a St. Paddy's Day parade in central Moscow.   960 1280

REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin  

Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland

A girl with her face painted in Ireland's national colors attends the St. Patrick's Day parade in Dublin, Ireland. 960 1280

REUTERS/Victor Fraile  

Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia

Even Down Under goes green for St. Patty’s Day. The Sydney Opera House is lit with green lights during St Patrick's Day celebrations. 960 1280

Reuters  

London, England

London, England

Children get into the spirit in a St Patrick's day parade in London, England. Thousands of people lined the streets for the parade and a concert in Trafalgar Square. 960 1280

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images  

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Revelers dressed as Leprechauns take part in a St. Patrick's Day Parade in Tokyo on. More than 1,000 people took part in the parade to commemorate the Irish patron Saint Patrick. 960 1280

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images  

Brisbane, Australia

Brisbane, Australia

Irish bagpipers march during the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Brisbane, Australia. 960 1280

David Hardenberg  

Chicago

Chicago

Workers dye Chicago River green as part of the city's annual St Patricks day celebrations in Chicago. 960 1280

Reuters  

London, England

London, England

A boy holds a Republic of Ireland flag during a St Patrick's day march in central London. 960 1280

Reuters  

New York City

New York City

Irish step dancers participate in the Saint Patrick's day parade on Fifth Avenue, in New York. 960 1280

Reuters  

Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland, New Zealand

A bartender at O'Carrolls Irish pub in Auckland, New Zealand, spins the glass before preparing to pour a Guinness during St. Patrick's Day. 960 1280

Sandra Mu/Getty Images  

London, England

London, England

A man, wearing a costume of Saint Patrick, shakes parade-goers' hands and entertains the crowds during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade through central London. 960 1280

Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images  

Munich, Germany

Munich, Germany

An actor dressed as Saint Patrick walks in the parade at Ludwigstrasse in Munich, Germany. With about 10,000 spectators, the Munich St. Patrick's Day Parade is one of the largest outside Ireland. 960 1280

Johannes Simon/Getty Images  

New York City

New York City

New York City's streets and pubs are crowded with people celebrating after the annual St. Patrick's Day parade. 960 1280

Getty Images  

St. Charles, Illinois

St. Charles, Illinois

A man dressed as a leprechaun performs mini motorcycle stunts along Main Street in St. Charles, Illinois March 10, 2007 for the town's St. Patrick's Day Parade. 960 1280

Reuters  

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Members of the Irish Setter Club and their dogs take part in a St. Patrick's Day Parade in Tokyo. 960 1280

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images  

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