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Bubbling mineral springs and pools promise maximum relaxation in Rotorua, on New Zealand's North Island. Therapeutic hot mud pools, dramatic geysers and a buried village are within easy reach of the city. What happens in the bubbling mud geysers of "Rotovegas"—the area at the top of Fenton Street—stays in Rotovegas. Once you've made the most of the mud, soar nearly 2,000 feet on the Skyline Gondola for views of Lake Rotorua, then zip back down to explore the lake by paddle steamer, fishing charter or WWII amphibious vehicle.
Artists and free-spirits mingle with the rich and famous on this blissful island, a haven of beautiful beaches, gastronomical treasures and small wineries. Browse the dozens of art galleries and craft stores of the Waiheke Arts Trail between dips in the emerald waters. Soar above the landscape on a chartered scenic flight, then refuel your engine with a casual beachfront café meal or an upscale, multi-course affair. Waiheke boasts several boutique vineyards, perfect for sipping, sampling and savoring New Zealand’s fine wines.
City slickers, culture vultures and beach bums alike fall in love with Sydney. Hang ten at famed Bondi Beach or stroll the calmer sands of Coogee. Cash burning a hole in your pocket? You’ll find great shopping in the Rocks district and along George and Pitt Streets. Climb to the top of the Harbour Bridge or take a skywalk on Sydney Tower for a 360-degree view of the city. But whatever you do, don’t leave town without cuddling the koalas in the Taronga Park Zoo—they’re ridiculously adorable.
Lovely, laid-back Melbourne has something for everyone: family fare, local and international art, haute boutiques, multicultural dining, Australian and Aboriginal history, spectator sports, and pulsing, swanky nightlife. Cruise on the free City Circle Tram loop to check out unique attractions like the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Healesville Sanctuary, which buzzes with local animal species.
Fremantle (Freo), Perth’s maritime center, offers a pleasant change of pace from the nearby state capital. From the Victorian Fremantle Markets to the convict-built History Museum to the strikingly modern Maritime Museum, Fremantle is an elegant and energetic spot. Head south and enjoy patio dining on the Cappuccino Strip, famous for its great beaches and boisterous nightlife.
Kota Kinabalu on the island of Borneo is the bustling gateway to acclaimed Kinabalu National Park. The park's high point is 13,400-foot Mount Kinabula, Malaysia's tallest peak, a mecca for climbers. Ninety miles away, thrilling jungle trekking and camping await in the Crocker Range National Park.