MEM­PHIS RE­MEM­BERS

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - GADGETS TRAVEL NEWS - ROBYN IRONSIDE

Two huge an­niver­saries are coming up in Mem­phis, Ten­nessee, mak­ing it the US city to visit over the next 12 months. Au­gust 16 will mark the 40th an­niver­sary of Elvis Pres­ley’s death and, to mark the oc­ca­sion, a host of events is planned.

From Au­gust 11-19, record crowds are ex­pected to pass through Pres­ley’s famed Mem­phis man­sion Grace­land, which re­cently un­der­went a $137 mil­lion ex­pan­sion.

A can­dle­light vigil will be held at the gates of Grace­land from 8.30pm on Au­gust 15, con­tin­u­ing into the wee hours of the 16th. Then the mood will lighten with the 40th An­niver­sary Cel­e­bra­tion con­cert event at the FedExFo­rum, fea­tur­ing a sym­phony orches­tra ac­com­pa­ny­ing Elvis on the big screen.

Next year brings an­other his­toric an­niver­sary – 50 years since the as­sas­si­na­tion of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Com­mem­o­ra­tive events will be held at the Na­tional Civil Rights Mu­seum (formerly the Lor­raine Mo­tel) where the civil rights leader was murdered on April 4, 1968. MLK50.CIVILRIGHTSMUSEUM.ORG

TRAVEL BY TASTE­BUDS

Food re­mains one of the big­gest rea­sons for overseas travel, and new re­search has re­vealed just how big.

A sur­vey of more than 2300 users of on­line din­ner-reser­va­tions site OpenTable found 84 per cent of Aussies chose travel des­ti­na­tions based on their culi­nary scene. That in­cluded 59 per cent who said they had “flown for food” in the past five years with Florence in Italy named the top “dream din­ing” city.

Paris, Tokyo, Barcelona and New York rounded out the top five most sought-af­ter cities in which to eat.

Lisa Hasen from OpenTable said that Aus­tralian trav­ellers were also more open to new foods when trav­el­ling. “Eat­ing abroad awak­ens a diner’s ad­ven­tur­ous side, with 88 per cent of Aus­tralian hol­i­day­mak­ers stat­ing they were more likely to try new dishes and din­ing ex­pe­ri­ences

GRACE­LAND

when eat­ing out while away from home,” Hasen says. “Women were only slightly more will­ing to be dar­ing than men, in an ef­fort to ex­pe­ri­ence a destination like a lo­cal.”

DARE­DEVIL DIVE

Tak­ing a dip with some of the big­gest sharks in the world may not be on ev­ery­one’s bucket list – but it can be.

Red Devil Fish­ing Tours in the Top End pro­vides the only travel ex­pe­ri­ence in the world where guests can dive with tiger sharks. As some of the big­gest sharks on the planet (they grow up to 7.5m) tiger sharks are so named be­cause of the dark ver­ti­cal stripes on ju­ve­niles.

For thrillseek­ers want­ing to get up close to the crea­tures, Red Devil runs daily tours to shark ter­ri­tory, 90 min­utes from Dar­win, where groups of four are se­cured in a baited cage over the side of the ves­sel. The cost is $350 for adults, and $250 for chil­dren, or $300 for those who just want to watch the fun. DARWINREDDEVILCHARTERS.COM.AU

IN­SIDE STORY

Ex­plor­ing a destination “like a lo­cal” is the buzz phrase of travel to­day, and hav­ing well-in­formed guides is the best way to do it.

Even a tourist-cen­tric city like Paris can take on a new flavour with some in­sider knowl­edge, such as that doled out by Is­abelle and Fabian Breteau. The French cou­ple run Paris on the Way, spe­cial­is­ing in per­son­ally tai­lored tours of the French capital, as well as Nor­mandy and Bordeaux. Among the itin­er­ar­ies are the best mu­se­ums for kids, a guided choco­late and pas­try tour of St-Ger­main-des-Pres or a Parisian pic­nic by the Eif­fel Tower.

A range of walk­ing tours are avail­able plus some un­usual ones like roller-skat­ing, wa­ter­ski­ing, or a dis­cotheque for seven to 13-year-olds. PARISONTHEWAY.COM

HERO HEAVEN

New York City is un­de­ni­ably the su­per­hero of cities, so where bet­ter to stage a “Su­per Tour” than the Big Ap­ple? Run­ning every Satur­day and Sun­day from noon, the 3½-hour tour starts in Times Square, and cov­ers all the places sig­nif­i­cant to su­per­heroes such as Su­per­man, Spi­der-Man, Bat­man and the Avengers.

Among the high­lights are the NY Daily News Build­ing used in Su­per­man; the Flat­iron build­ing fea­tured in Spi­der-Man; the scene of the Bat­tle of New York from The Avengers; and Grand Cen­tral Sta­tion, which housed Lex Luthor’s lair. Wrap­ping up at the Statue of Lib­erty – from X-Men and Su­per­man: The Movie – the tour in­cludes photo op­por­tu­ni­ties, a bite to eat and the city’s top sights. Book­ings are nec­es­sary, from $63 a per­son. ONLOCATIONTOURS.COM

GOOD LOOK AT COOK

What bet­ter way to en­joy the crys­tal clear wa­ters of the Cook Is­lands than in a glass-bot­tom kayak? The mod­i­fied ves­sels are avail­able from Ariki Adventures on Raro­tonga to ex­plore the world-renowned Muri La­goon with its bril­liantly-coloured trop­i­cal fish and coral for­ma­tions.

Guests need only swim­mers, sun­block and hat as they ven­ture out to islets nes­tled within the la­goon. Rates range from $59 for sin­gle kayaks to $99 for dou­bles.

Guests can also be towed through the wa­ter on a sea scooter, trav­el­ling at 4km an hour.

PICTURE: SUP­PLIED

Elvis Week in Mem­phis in Au­gust is ex­pected to draw the largest-ever crowd to Grace­land, to mark the 40th an­niver­sary of the king's death .

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