Cow Up A Tree

One of the more interesting pieces of art in Melbourne’s Docklands precinct is ‘Cow Up A Tree’. Sculptured by artist John Kelly the cow was designed for a sculpture exhibition in Paris on the beautiful Champs Elysees for the millennium in 2000. The Cow up a Tree sculpture was later installed overlooking Victoria Harbour in 2003 and has become a much loved icon of Melbourne’s thriving Docklands precinct.  The cow itself is made of bronze and painted black and white, and depicts a surreal image of a cow based on an Australian flood image. The cow is caught upside down in an Australian gum tree after the flood.  The cow itself is designed as a tribute to Australian painter Sir William Dobell who began painting stylized cows during the Second World War as a decoy for airfields. The cow features a quirky long neck and very square body with some interesting camouflage like markings.

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Catalina Island Casino

Catalina is a small island off the coast of Long Beach California, and its most famous landmark is the magnificent Art Deco Casino which sits on Avalon Harbor. The casino was built by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr, who owned much of the island in May of 1929. It was not a casino in the usual form with no gaming, it was actually a theatre designed for the first talking movies. The theatre has seating for 1154 people and there is also a ballroom which can cater for around 6000 making it the world’s largest circular ballroom, it has a whopping 55metre round dance floor. The interior of the casino was restored a few years back returning the building to its former glory with amazing fresco walls and murals, incredible plasterwork and ornate lighting. Read the rest of this entry »

Spend the night at a nazi resort

YouTube direct

A bit of a follow up on the Prora Resort story we did back in 2008, to recap the Prora resort was built by the Nazi’s under Hitlers Kraft durch Freude (strength through joy) program to provide a cheap holiday to 20,000 workers at a time. To try and convince the public that all his plans were great, Hitler liked to use a fair bit of propaganda and grand projects to win support from his people. At almost 5klm long the Prora complex was the largest hotel in the world at the time it was constructed and further plans were on the drawing board for stadiums to seat 20,000 people, pools and a wharf for his cruise ships. Construction halted around 1940 and no one has ever got to take their holiday at the complex and it has been mostly been derelict in recent years apart from a small visitors centre. Recently it has been reported a section of the complex will be renovated into a youth hostel so for the fist time in over 60 years you will be able to stay at the Prora resort. While we are interested in the history of the building we think it might be a bit too creepy to spend the night at nasty old Hitlers holiday home. What’s your thoughts? hit up our comment form below, and check out the interesting video above. Read the rest of this entry »

The Petronas Towers

The Petonas Towers in the Malasyian Capital of Kuala Lumpur were the world’s tallest buildings between 1998 and 2004 until the Taipei 101 building in Taiwan took the crown.  Including antennas the towers both stand at 451.9 metres.  Unlike many of the other huge towers around the world that are open to the public, the tower’s viewing platform isn’t on the top floors, it is actually on the suspended skybridge between the two buildings on the 41st and 42nd floors.   The towers both have 88 floors and they are serviced by 78 elevators, with tower one being fully occupied by Petronas which is the Malaysian Government owned oil and gas company. The second tower has a host of different organisations as tenants.  Designed by Argentine American architect Cesar Pelli the tower’s design is rich in Muslim heritage with much of its detailed design being inspired by Islamic art. The exterior shape of the structure is based on the Rub el Hizb which is a Muslim symbol consisting of two overlapping squares. This design becomes more evident towards the top of the towers when the design becomes a series of overlapping stars.

Now for vistors wanting to visit the tower, you can not book but must visit early as only so many free tickets are available daily.

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Friedrichstadt Palast in Berlin

The Friedrichstadt Palast is one of the most famous of Berlin’s revue theatres and is located in the heart of the Mitte district of the city. Opening in 1867 the theatre has gone through various rebuilds and transitions and the current building dates back to 1984. The theatre hall houses 1895 people and boasts the largest stage in the world spanning a massive 2854 square metres. The space can even feature a pool with 140000 litres of water and an ice surface making it ideal for a host of performances.  As the change in entertainment changes with time, the theatre has also evolved and played host to some of entertainments biggest names as well as huge productions including huge fashion launches and award shows. The centre has a behind the scenes tour for visitors see their website for details. There’s also a very chic bar called La Diva which worth a visit to see the amazing décor alone.

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Singapore Zoo’s orang utans

The Singapore Zoo is one of the world’s great zoos, set in lush rain forest it is one of this small island country’s biggest tourist attractions.  The zoo has a huge array of animals from all over the world but by far the most popular is the beautiful orang utans.  The Singapore Zoo has 24 of these amazing orange primates making it the largest display in any zoo around the world. The orang utans are part of a huge social group which have a huge been successfully bred in the zoo, to date they have bred 35 and many of them have been sent to zoos around the world to help grow the numbers of this highly endangered ape.   The orang utans live in a huge free range enclosure complete with natural jungle with plenty of places to swing and play with others or and get some quiet time. The exhibit gives the visitor a chance to see them in a close to natural environment with some great platforms and viewing areas where you can really get up close to them without disturbing.

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Motat is a fascinating museum of transport and technology located in Western Springs a suburb of Auckland. It has an amazing collection of historic vehicles of all types and plenty of heritage and history which will entertain delight and fascinate visitors for hours. The large property is beautifully themed with many heritage style buildings and artefacts to give you a real feeling of what New Zealand was like years ago. There are some incredible vehicles on display from cars, trucks, planes, trains and trams, in-fact the tram is a working exhibit offering trips around the complex and to the nearby annex exhibition which houses many of the aircraft exhibitions. The site was once home to a huge pump which serviced Auckland’s water supply, today this incredible piece of Victorian machinery has been restored and is housed in an beautiful brick building looking more like artwork than a piece of machinery, it is really an incredible sight.  Motat also features a historic village with many small cottages all decked out with their heritage fittings and furnishings, they are very interesting and give you a real feel of how people lived years ago.

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Sheepworld – New Zealand where else!

Well New Zealand is known for its sheep and there’s no better way to get up close to these woolly critters than a visit to Sheepworld. Sheepworld is located about a 40 minute drive through the scenic country side to the north of Auckland and offers a truly New Zealand farm experience. Not only does sheepworld have plenty of sheep they give visitors a wonderful insight into the importance of the New Zealand wool industry, its production, and uses. There are sheep shearing demonstrations, sheep dog shows and plenty of farm animals including sheep, donkeys, goats, calves, pigs to see.  There’s even a few emu and pesky possums from Australia on show.  The expansive farmland is also a great place to explore and have a picnic making a real day of it.  Don’t forget to bring a few dollars for the great gift shop either, there are some really cool things to buy.

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Auckland’s Skytower

The Auckland Skytower is the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere and stands high above what is a fairly low rise city in comparison to Asia and even Australia.  The concrete tower is a pretty impressive structure and can be seen miles before you see the skyline of the city. Standing at 328 metres or 1076 feet in the old scale the tower offers spectacular views of up to 80 kilometres from the observation decks on a good day.  There are several floors, the highest viewing floor is at 200 metres, there’s a restaurant at 194 metres, and another at 190 metres, while the second observation deck is at 186 metres with a sky lounge a floor below.  For thrill seekers the tower offers a heat stopping sky jump where you can leap off the tower and fall at 85 kilometres an hour to the ground. Also for the not so faint hearted, there is a exterior walk around the tower, this give visitors the chance to walk around a 1.2 metre walkway 192 metres up in the air… you would have to be mad, think I will stick with the tasty buffet!

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Bubbling mud in New Zealand

We are celebrating May as New Zealand month. Today we are kicking the festivities off with one of New Zealand’s more unique tourist attractions. It’s grey and bubbly and it sure does stink. These geo-thermal mud pools are found just outside of Rotorua which is in the centre of the North Island. The area is rich in volcanic activity and there are quite a few of these mud pools, hot springs and spectacular geysers.  The boiling mud bubbles away and puts on a pretty interesting show with slops of mud shooting into the sky giving off a very smelly sulphur like smell.  Believe it or not the mud is meant to have some pretty good properties for the skin, now don’t touch the mud in the open, as it is likely to be very hot, look out for mud packs and soaps in the tourist shops around Rotorua- you won’t miss it. There are quite a few tourist parks which feature the mud shows but we have found a free attraction within about half an hour’s drive of the Rotorua CBD. It’s a magnificent drive along the Thermal Explorer Highway to a small township called Waiotapa. There are some mud baths not far from the pub and service station, near Waikite Valley Road.   Read more to see map.

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