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VIP NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2013

VIP DESTINATION: TOP 2013 DESTINATIONS

www.visitedplanet.comIt's a new year and that means exploring and finding fun new travel destinations, or visiting a few old favourites. Here's some we recommend for 2013.

Feel free to add more to our blog page here.

Hobart | Darwin | Christchurch | Kandy | Riga | Patagonia | Montreal | Paris | San Francisco | Rotorua 

HOBART, TASMANIA

Salamanca markets, Hobart - www.visitedplanet.comThe harbour city of Tasmania has become one of the hippest towns to visit downunder. Not only does it lie along a lovely waterfront but there's the famed Salamanca Market with the best of Tassie produce, plenty of good restaurants and cafes and now the world class MONA museum that should impress and shock. Those into more outdoor pursuits can climb nearby Mt Wellington, enjoy bike and walking tracks around the harbour or sail the Derwent River.

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DARWIN, NORTHERN TERRITORY

Darwin's deckchair cinema - www.visitedplanet.comDarwin is another Australian city that has come of age in recent times and quite possibly is the top destination for most working visa travellers downunder. There's cafe, bar and restaurant work or even opportunities in the mining and agricultural industry. The weather is particularly good in the winter making it a good choice for a year round summer. Apart from all that Darwin is bursting with leisure activities - there's a number of weekly markets including the famed ones of Mindil beach, the amazing Deckchair Cinema for viewing recent films by the harbour, the wavepool in the Wharf Precinct and excellent dining almost everywhere you turn from the town to the harbours and jetties.

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CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND

Although pummelled by earthquakes and repeat aftershocks in 2010 and 2011, Christchurch is literally rising from the ashes and now offering plenty for locals and visitors alike. With typical Kiwi ingenuity the shopping centres, bars and cafes are now housed in shipping containers given the number of buildings that were destroyed. Live music venues have returned and artwork fills demolition sites. Go visit in 2013 and be part of the effort to rebuild and remake Christchurch. Access to ski fields is excellent from the city too making it the perfect year round destination.

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KANDY, SRI LANKA

Elephants bathing, near Kandy - www.visitedplanet.comWith the civil war an increasingly distant memory, there's been no better time to visit Sri Lanka in the last 20 years than now. Prices are still affordable in Sri Lanka too. Kandy is a great place to visit in the highlands for a real experience of local culture - there are plenty of orange cloaked monks, the amazing Kandyan dancers, a tooth relic of the Buddha at the UNESCO listed Temple of the Tooth, wonderful mountain vistas and even elephant orphanages nearby. It's also a lot cooler up here than along the coast, making it the perfect place to escape the Asian heat.

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RIGA, LATVIA

Quaint but vibrant, the capital of Latvia packs a punch with travellers, and they often stay much longer than anticipated. The historical centre of Riga is almost second to none. Here you can wander the winding old streets past Art Nouveau buildings, tripping in and out of bars and cafes or stopping off in the parks and squares. There are also markets, museums, monuments, gates and churches to visit.

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PATAGONIA, ARGENTINA

This region in the far south of Southern America is one of the most rugged and isolated on earth but don't let that stop you. We have hostels and tour packages to keep you safe, busy and absolutely enthralled with what you'll see. There are glaciers, ice falls, treks and even the end of the world to explore in this part of the globe. Don't miss it.

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MONTREAL, CANADA

If you can't get to France this year, then get a taste of it in Canada instead. And no, don't worry, you don't need to speak French to enjoy this bilingual city. Montreal is a lively, friendly place and was actually voted by Lonely Planet in 2010 as one of the world's happiest! It also boasts plenty of lively cafes with that cool Frenchy feel, great arts, fab views, architecture, museums and churches.

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PARIS, FRANCE

Notre Dame, Paris - www.visitedplanet.comOoh la la! If you haven't visited the French capital it's time you went to this old favourite. It's also a good chance to consume as much croissant, pain au chocolat, crème brûlée, crepes, fromage (cheese) and baguette you can stomach. There's also a few famous sights to see too - make sure you get your photo taken by the Eiffel Tower, the gargoyles of Notre Dame, the River Seine and the Moulin Rouge in the Latin quarter. Then sip on champagne and snack on cheese platters at any of the fine bars and cafes around the city. Très bien!

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SAN FRANCISCO, USA

As the old ditty goes, "if you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair". You'll need them as this is one fun city to visit and the kind of place that gets under your skin. There's the enormous Golden Gate Bridge to marvel over, the chance to visit spine tingling Alcatraz, the fun of a journey in a Victorian cable car on Nob Hill and food and drink to savour on every street corner. Add a little glitz and glitter to what you might imagine it to be like and you'll get a fair idea of what a visit to San Fran entails. Go.

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ROTORUA, NEW ZEALAND


NZ's thermal activity - www.visitedplanet.comIf you can handle the sulphurous air of Rotorua on the North Island you're in for a treat. Hot springs, geysers and mud pools are the order of the day in this area that boasts thermal activity. But relaxing in a spa is not the only thing to do. There are plenty of adventure activities in Rotorua from excellent mountain biking to fabulous white water rafting on grade 5 rapids. The other attraction are the Maori cultural events including their incredible hangi dinners guaranteed to fill even the hungriest traveller's stomach.

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