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The quaint West Coast, South Island town of Franz Josef is named after the Franz Josef Glacier. Which in turn, legend has it, is named for a girl whose lover died in a fatal fall. She cried so much that her tears pooled, eventually freezing into a block of ice. The magic of this fable isn’t lost on the town or the tourists who flock to the tragically romantic site.
If you long to explore New Zealand’s beautiful Bay of Islands, Paihia makes a wonderful base. Known as “the Jewel of the Bay Islands,” this seaside town has golden beaches, lovely coastal walking trails and waterfalls, and a colorful population of local birds. Paihia also holds an important role in the country’s history. It was here, after a century of conflict between indigenous Maori tribes and Western settlers, that peace was finally made and the groundbreaking Treaty of Waitangi was signed.
Noumea, on the island of Grand Terre, is the capital of the French territory of New Caledonia. The peaceful port city has a diverse population and colourful European architecture, reflecting its colonial history. Having served as the headquarters of the US Army during WWII, the tropical shrubbery of Ouen Toro Mount is now under the protection of abandoned Naval guns. The Michel Corbasson Zoological and Forest Park offers visitors shaded walks amongst rare birds and views out over the lagoon.
Tuck into succulent five-star meals in Port Douglas, the culinary gem of Queensland, or suck down a killer cocktail at a casually swanky lounge. A perfect base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef, the rainforest at Daintree and the beaches at Cape Tribulation, this Queensland town has an out-of-this-world setting. Sunbathe on the golden sands of Four Mile Beach, then melt into perfect pampering at one of Port Douglas’ glorious day spas for the ultimate in relaxation.
From the cosmopolitan metropolis of Cebu City and the white-sand beaches of Mactan to the electric-blue waters of Kawasan Falls and the whale sharks of Oslob, it’s easy to see why Cebu Island is one of the Philippines’ top destinations.