PLACES YOU NEED TO VISIT BE­FORE YOU’RE 30

Af­ter that, it gets tough.

Woman's Era - - News - By In­der Raj Ah­luwalia

While you’re young and en­er­getic, don’t miss vis­it­ing some out­stand­ing des­ti­na­tions world­wide that of­fer the very best of ‘out­door ad­ven­tures’ and ex­cite­ment.

Coober Pedy

By any ac­count, Coober Pedy is dif­fer­ent from any other town in the world. In which other place in the world do 75 per cent of the lo­cals ac­tu­ally live un­der­ground, sim­ply be­cause it’s ‘cool’? Sum­mer tem­per­a­tures hover near the 50 de­grees Cel­cius mark.

The Aus­tralian Out­back’s lead­ing min­ing town and the opal cap­i­tal of the world, it is also a unique and ex­cit­ing tourist des­ti­na­tion. The opal brings min­ers, traders and buy­ers, and the ro­mance of all this brings in the tourists, who also get to en­joy a taste of gen­uine ru­ral Aus­tralian life­styles and stun­ning land­scapes.

Apart from get­ting a taste of gen­uine Aus­tralian Out­back life, vis­i­tors get a first-hand look at the unique style of un­der­ground liv­ing in old mines now con­verted into com­fort­able homes. There are sev­eral in­ter­est­ing places to drop in – such as the Un­der­ground Art Gallery, Dugout Mo­tel, Dusty Ra­dio Sta­tion or the Opal Cave Look­out with its splen­did town views.

Vis­i­tors can also opt for in­ter­est­ing pack­ages, like Martin’s Night Sky Pre­sen­ta­tion and Ghost Busters, a pack­age that in­cludes star-gaz­ing out in the dark­ness of the Moon Plains Desert.

IT’S A TOWN WORTH VIS­IT­ING. ONE FINDS UN­SPOILT NA­TURE IN THE HEART OF THE VAUDOISES ALPS, WITH MA­JES­TIC SUM­MITS, RE­LAX­ING FORESTS, GREEN PAS­TURES AND, IN THE MIDST OF ALL THIS VERDURE, A VIL­LAGE THAT DE­VEL­OPED JUST ENOUGH TO AC­COM­MO­DATE ITS FRIENDS IN A DIG­NI­FIED MAN­NER.

Les Di­ablerets

Sit­u­ated be­tween the beau­ti­ful pas­tures of Anzein­daz and the Vallee des Or­monts in Switzer­land, the sum­mit of Les Di­ablerets has al­ways been con­sid­ered a dan­ger­ous and damned area (damned since the day a mean­hearted shepherd re­fused its help.) Af­ter that the pas­tures of the Tsan­fleu­ron (flower field) changed and the once pretty flow­ery field be­came to­day’s icy desert on the glacier.

Hearing the ghosts and evil spir­its play­ing games with the rocks, shep­herds in the south­ern val­ley said that the devils were play­ing skit­tles – hence the name (Devil’s Skit­tle) given to the tower-shaped rock at the south­ern end of the glacier of Les Di­ablerets.

It’s a town worth vis­it­ing. One finds un­spoilt na­ture in the heart of The Vaudoises Alps, with ma­jes­tic sum­mits, re­lax­ing forests, green pas­tures and, in the midst of all this verdure, a vil­lage that de­vel­oped just enough to ac­com­mo­date its friends in a dig­ni­fied man­ner.

A visit to Glacier 3000 – so known be­cause of its height – is a re­gional high­light, pre­sent­ing an ex­pan­sive world of snow and ice. One can look down on Lake Geneva and the Jura Moun­tains, and see Mont Blanc, the Mat­ter­horn and the Alps.

There’s only one way to de­scribe Les Di­ablerets: ‘Qui­etly rest­ful’. One can walk or drive around, or just watch the tow­er­ing peaks that hem the val­ley in. But amidst the quiet, there’s plenty to do. In sum­mer there is moun­tain climb­ing, bungy jump­ing, snow­board camps, minigolf, mud-bik­ing, paraglid­ing, fish­ing, and snow scooter­ing.

Inns­bruck

Inns­bruck is one of Aus­tria’s prides and joys. The abun­dance and prox­im­ity of na­ture and the grandeur of its high moun­tains are en­hanced by the ever-present con­trast be­tween an­cient tra­di­tions and the vi­tal­ity of a mod­ern city.

The Alps lie lit­er­ally at your doorstep, of­fer­ing snow, a brac­ing cli­mate and a wealth of sports. You can go climb­ing, walk the moun­tains, moun­tain-bike, or paraglide. Six at­trac­tive and pop­u­lar ski re­gions, some 53 lifts, 112 km of pistes, over nine km of high-altitude cross-coun­try tracks, two ski passes, and fun parks ex­plain why Inns­bruck was twice cho­sen to host the Win­ter Olympics.

Cul­ture is the other great lo­cal at­trac­tion, with a vivid his­tory con­tain­ing great names like Maria There­sia and Max­i­m­il­ian 1. Eight cen­turies sep­a­rate the com­ple­tion of the first bridge over the inn at ‘Yn­sprugg’ and to­day’s sky­line.

For a moun­tain town, there’s plenty go­ing. Vis­i­tors can savour the charms of Ty­rolean folk evenings, brass bands, baroque op­eras, and tra­di­tional leder­ho­sen and din­ner jack­ets.

The town rep­re­sents a cross­cul­ture of sorts, with stylish churches, red roofs, crafted ar­chi­tec­ture and cas­cades of light. A must-see is the ro­man­tic, Re­nais­sance-style Am­bras Cas­tle.

Gent­ing High­lands Nes­tled on the top of Pa­hang’s Ulu Kali range, Gent­ing High­lands Re­sort is Malaysia’s fore­most re­sort for leisure, en­ter­tain­ment and out­door ac­tiv­i­ties.

This is a world of lux­u­ri­ous ho­tels and con­do­mini­ums, recre­ational and sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties, nou­velle din­ing and ex­cit­ing gam­ing.

The Gent­ing sum­mit is home to sev­eral large ho­tels and apart­ment com­plexes. Thou­sands of ho­tel rooms and dozens of food out­lets make for big-time busi­ness.

There’s plenty to do. The Gent­ing In­ter­na­tional Show­room hosts in­ter­na­tional-class acts and shows, and Arena of Stars stages con­certs and ex­hi­bi­tions. The lo­cal en­ter­tain­ment show­piece, the Gent­ing Theme Park, is di­vided into out­door and in­door sec­tions. The out­door theme park is a thrillseeker’s idea of par­adise. The in­door theme park con­tains a rich va­ri­ety of skill and other games.

Sun City

If one’s look­ing for a sur­prise of the op­u­lent va­ri­ety, noth­ing quite comes close enough to Sun City. Just two hours’ drive from Jo­han­nes­burg, South­ern Africa’s best-known and most lux­u­ri­ous leisure re­sort en­ables vis­i­tors to re­lax, unwind and in­dulge in a host of ac­tiv­i­ties.

Founded by ty­coon Sol Kerzner as a ful­fill­ment of his dream of build­ing a world-class re­sort in the African Bush, Sun City is now known the world over as an ex­otic re­treat with fun and frolic to be en­joyed in an ex­otic set­ting.

The city com­plex has ev­ery­thing va­ca­tion­ers could de­sire. Open­ing their doors to guests are sev­eral deluxe ho­tels in­clud­ing the famed Palace of the Lost City. Then there are the casi­nos, a bingo lounge, shops, cin­e­mas, bars, restau­rants, video game ma­chines, sports and rac­ing bet­ting fa­cil­i­ties, and two 18hole cham­pi­onship golf cour­ses. There is also the stun­ning Lost City com­plex, a fan­tasy park that recre­ates the an­cient lore of the lost city and fea­tures sev­eral at­trac­tions. Top­ping off the enor­mous list of recre­ation fa­cil­i­ties are croc­o­dile farms and game parks.

Ber­gen

Ev­ery tourist town has a claim to fame. Ber­gen of Nor­way has sev­eral. Snow-clad moun­tains mir­rored in clear lakes, wa­ter­falls cas­cad­ing from rocky knolls, emer­ald green fields etched against rugged gran­ite, and the stun­ning majesty of the fjords, Nor­way’s great­est at­trac­tion.

Ber­gen’s year-round tourist pop­u­lar­ity stems from the fact that it is the gate­way to Nor­way’s leg­endary fjords, no­tably, Har­dan­ger­fjord Sogne­fjord, and Geiranger­fjord. Hemmed in by seven moun­tains, the lit­tle coastal town lit­er­ally clam­bers up the moun­tain­sides, of­fer­ing gale-force winds and spec­tac­u­lar views.

Ever since King Olav Kyrre be­stowed ‘town sta­tus’ on this Vik­ing har­bour in 1070, the city has been part of his­tory. To­day, one

roams through liv­ing his­tory in a mod­ern set­ting that is just a whis­per away from Nor­way’s might­i­est and most scenic fjords.

Noth­ing charms more than Bryggen, the old trad­ing wharf nestling by the in­ner har­bour of Va­gen, that re­flects Ber­gen’s cul­tural her­itage.

A leisurely walk will take you me­an­der­ing around old streets and al­ley­ways, past small wooden houses that lie hig­gledy-pig­gledy, and up cob­ble-stoned step-ways that climb steeply.

The town isn’t short on views, but the one from the Ul­riken, the city’s high­est moun­tain, is worth a thou­sand pho­to­graphs.

A brac­ing cli­mate, trendy restau­rants and bou­tiques, and the ‘Fjord’s cap­i­tal city’ tag, all en­sure Ber­gen doesn’t have to waste time try­ing to be or­di­nary.

Ka­toomba

The spec­tac­u­lar hues of the moun­tains’ fo­liage, breath­tak­ing views, rugged table­lands, sheer cliffs, deep val­leys and wet­lands, lit­tle towns with his­tory and char­ac­ter, won­der­ful bush­walks, his­tor­i­cal at­trac­tions, gal­leries, craft and an­tique shops, scenic drives, cave ex­plo­rations, ad­ven­ture ac­tiv­i­ties, Vic­to­rian and Ed­war­dianstyle build­ings, and cafes of­fer­ing the deca­dence of Devon­shire teas with lash­ings of cream.

It all sounds out­landish but is re­al­ity here.

So named be­cause of the haze cre­ated by the eucalyptus oil in the air above the moun­tain gum forests, the Blue Moun­tains and the ad­join­ing re­gions of Oberon and Lith­gow pro­vide rare and spe­cial times. Com­pris­ing eight con­ser­va­tion re­serves cov­er­ing about one mil­lion hectares – in­clud­ing the Blue Moun­tains Na­tional Park, the Greater Blue Moun­tains Area is a listed World Her­itage site.

And a good place to en­joy all this is Ka­toomba in Aus­tralia.

The views are the thing! Scenic World is among Aus­tralia’s most pop­u­lar pri­vately owned tourist at­trac­tions. Lo­cated at Ka­toomba on the edge of a 200 me­tre cliff over­look­ing ‘The Three Sis­ters’ – the re­gion’s most recog­nised land­mark - the estab­lish­ment com­prises three fantastic rides: The Scenic Rail­way - the world’s steep­est in­cline rail­way; The Scenic Sky­way - a cable car ride over the spec­tac­u­lar Jami­son Val­ley 200 me­tres above its floor; and the new

Scenis­cen­der, Aus­tralia’s steep­est cable car ride, a 545-me­tre odyssey into the Blue Moun­tains.

The Three Sis­ters look down on you as you alight from the rail­way. Carved from the sur­round­ing sand­stone cliffs over mil­lions of years by ero­sion, the ‘Sis­ters’ are steeped in leg­end.

Ev­ery­thing is put into proper per­spec­tive by The Edge, a 40 – minute Imax pre­sen­ta­tion that makes one ex­pe­ri­ence wa­ter­falls, parks, caves, forests, flow­ers and val­leys.

A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not dis­cov­ered the value of life.

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