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Your Next Extraordinary Adventure: Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef

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Have you ever heard of Australia’s other reef? A place where the red and orange hues of Australia’s iconic outback meet white sand beaches and turquoise blue water, where you can walk off the shore and instantly experience pristine coral reef during a special drift snorkel, and where the best marine encounters in the world are part of everyday life. Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef, located along the stunning Coral Coast, is truly one of the region’s best-kept secrets and one of those stunning spots you must experience for yourself.

Jump on a two-hour flight from Perth or an extraordinary 750-mile road trip, pull on your snorkel gear and step into the bluest waters of the Indian Ocean. From here, you only need to swim a couple of meters before you’re floating over the UNESCO World Heritage-listed coral gardens of one of the largest wildlife-rich reefs on the planet. What sets the Ningaloo Reef apart is the fact that there’s nowhere else on Earth where you can access a large and beautiful coral reef as easily as this.

The abundance and variety of marine life indicates the health of the reef and at Oyster Stacks or Turquoise Bay — a few of the locals’ favorite spots — you can catch a ride on the gentle current to view some of the 200+ varieties of coral and more than 500 species of fish that call Ningaloo Reef home. On any given day you may come across schools of tropical fish, green turtles, dolphins and sting rays. Scuba divers can also visit the Exmouth Navy Pier, best described as an “aquarium without glass” and considered one of the best shore dives in the world. It’s an underwater photographer’s dream renowned for its quantity and array of quality marine life.

Swim with the biggest fish in the sea

Beyond the coral reefs, Ningaloo is one of the only places in the world where whale sharks appear annually, and from March through August charter companies take visitors to the back of the reef where they literally swim side-by-side with these majestic gentle giants. The region has the most consistent congregation of whale sharks, which makes for incredible swims. With no more than ten people in the open water at one time, these intimate and awe-inspiring tours are conducted in an eco-minded, sustainable manner to minimize disturbance as much as possible. During the day at sea, you may also spot manta rays, turtles, and dugongs feasting on the world’s largest seagrass meadows.

Not only can visitors dive with whale sharks, but between August and October they can swim with humpback whales, too. Previously endangered, humpback whale numbers have steadily recovered and now an estimated 30,000 migrate along the coast each year making Western Australia’s the largest population in the world.

Adventures above water

Along the shores and on land there’s plenty to do, taste and experience to make your escape exciting and unforgettable. A gentle one-hour cruise on the still waters of Yardie Creek in Cape Range National Park is the best way to see the striking colors and the many wild inhabitants of this ancient red limestone gorge, including rare black-footed wallabies, euros, red kangaroos and birds. Active travelers can also hike through the Cape Range National Park, taking in the rocky gorges carved by ancient flowing rivers.

For a truly secluded experience, spend a night or two glamping under the stars in luxury safari tents at Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef where the outback meets the sea. Here, days are filled with guided gorge walks, fishing, kayaking, relaxing and snorkeling. The chef serves inspired gourmet meals, from seafood caught that day off the reef to local fare, all-inclusive with Margaret River wines and locally distilled spirits. It’s the only place to stay in the region where you can dive right into the reef simply from the shore. Alternatively, travelers can enjoy air-conditioned resort-style accommodations at Mantarays Ningaloo Beach Resort, offering comfortable suites with local artistry, a fantastic restaurant and refreshing swimming pool overlooking the stunning turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.

Plan your ultimate adventure

To make the most of your trip, don’t forget to stop at the other UNESCO World Heritage-listed area — Shark Bay — less than a day’s drive from Ningaloo. Shark Bay is another marine hotspot, best known for the wild dolphins of Monkey Mia, where they swim right up to the shore and play by your feet. Visitors can also take a walk and wonder at Shell Beach, one of only two beaches on Earth made of billions of tiny shells from just one species.

Western Australia’s Coral Coast is one of the rare places on the planet where you can easily access such an incredible diversity of marine life in its natural environment, so close to the shore. Discover what awaits and visit www.westernaustralia.com.

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Why Myrtle Beach is the perfect fall vacation for families

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When it comes to vacation planning, millennial families with young children have the edge over school-aged families — no strict school schedules to obey!

Take advantage of this flexibility while you can, and plan your escape to Myrtle Beach. This oceanside city along the beautiful South Carolina coastline features just about everything families with young children are looking for: family fun, engaging and interactive attractions, delicious food and relaxing places to chill out. Bonus: Now that school is in session, you’ll escape the summer crowds.

To help you plan, here are some of the things that await in Myrtle Beach.

Budget-friendly fun: As promised in the name, Myrtle Beach is the place to make oceanside memories: building sand castles, hunting for seashells and delighting in their giggles as the waves lap their little toes. As it turns out, fall is one of the best times of year to have that beach vacation without breaking the bank. Look for deep discounts and special lodging packages at hotels and resorts. While you search for fun things to do, be on the lookout for exclusive fall promotions. For example, Visit Myrtle Beach is offering a complimentary children’s beach photo session, which will create the perfect keepsake for your getaway.

Beautiful “summer” weather: Even if you feel a nip in the air in your region, the fall weather in South Carolina is still ideal for exploring wide open spaces and enjoying outdoor activities. Brookgreen Gardens features the Lowcountry Zoo, which houses animals in spaces as close to their natural habitat as possible. You’ll definitely want to get way up high and see the beaches and water stretch off into forever from atop the SkyWheel, a 200-foot Ferris wheel that’s right on the beach.

Enriching fun: Myrtle Beach has plenty of kid-friendly places to interact and build new connections to this wide, wonderful world. Kids can get an up-close look at the colorful fish and other sea creatures at Ripley’s Aquarium. After hearing stories about farm life in their favorite picture books, they can see the real thing at the L.W. Paul Living History Farm. Finally, WonderWorks Science Center has more than 100 hands-on exhibits that are designed to both thrill and teach children a thing or two about science.

Peaceful pursuits: While you’re enjoying all this family time (and seeing the smiles on those little faces), be sure to make time for the grownups to enjoy themselves, too, with solo outings at some point in the trip. All around Myrtle Beach you’ll find lots of options to chill and recharge, whether it’s a well-deserved spa treatment or discovering your new favorite wine at a tasting. We’ll lose the thought with this vision of heaven: You and your family relaxing along the seashore seashore. No one’s cranky, no one’s hungry, just … aaaaaaah!

For more ideas and inspiration to plan your fall family vacation to Myrtle Beach, visit www.visitmyrtlebeach.com.

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Destination Langkawi: Beyond the Beaches

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With 550-million years of geological history and generations of mythical folklore, there is always something new for guests of Four Seasons Resort Langkawi to uncover on the island.

A paradise of panoramas, the Langkawi archipelago is an amalgam of mangroves and mountains, rainforests and rivers, wildlife and waterfalls, legends and local charm, tidal flats and coral reefs, cliffs and caves. Whether appreciated from the vantage point of a bike, kayak, boat, cable car, sky-bridge or simply on foot, the islands’ thrilling topography ensures a truly breathtaking backdrop for myriad magical and memorable encounters.

Water Worlds

Beyond the beaches, water sports and diving, Langkawi offers visitors rainforests, mangrove “sea forests,” cascading waterfalls, hidden lakes and glistening paddy fields to explore.

Outdoor enthusiasts will be spoiled for choice.  The uninhabited islet of Pulau Langgun offers an exhilarating rainforest immersion and lush wilderness trek to the hidden sanctuary of Tasik Langgun, a large freshwater lake.  Build an appetite biking through paddy fields to Durian Perangin Waterfall – 14-tiers of clear cascading water – perfect for a refreshing dip and picnic.  Or visit the island’s tallest waterfall, Temurun (30 metres or 98 feet), for another scenic natural swimming pool.

A mangrove kayak get guests unobtrusively close to the magic and mystery of forests that straddle land and sea. Traverse small, dense tributaries and follow the natural ebb and flow of this fascinating ecosystem to uncover hidden delights behind each corner. Alternatively, take a coastal kayak along the emerald seascapes of Langkawi’s less explored eastern rim, and paddle through a 15 metre (49 foot) cave tunnel for an unforgettable swim in a salt-water lake.

Mineral and Mystical  

Steeped in geological heritage, Langkawi has some of the world’s oldest and most intriguing naturally formed gems.  Shaped by plate tectonics, volcanic activity, ocean submersion and erosion, Langkawi’s many rock formations have evolved over millennia into exciting natural habitats, many animated by fantastical folklores and legends.

Adrenalin seekers can heed the call of the ancient limestone cliffs for an afternoon of rock-climbing and abseiling within the Resort’s grounds. Just a short distance away, the Langkawi Sky Bridge – suspended 700 metres (2,300 feet) above sea level and accessed via the world’s steepest cable car – offers an up close experience of Malaysia’s oldest rocks (the Machinchang Formation), not to mention far-reaching views extending to southern Thailand.

Fuel for the imagination, Langkawi’s craggy coastline of hidden coves, sunken caves and majestic peaks is straight out of a fairytale and sets the scene for a magical adventure. The intriguing Gua Cerita (Cave of Legends) is the mythical home of a giant phoenix, a captive princess and a deadly giantess. Tasik Dayang Bunting (Lake of the Pregnant Lady) was formed when a huge limestone cave collapsed, resulting in a figure resembling a pregnant woman lying on her back. Locals believe that the lake, famed for the legend of celestial princess Mambang Sari, possesses mystical powers.

Back at the Resort, Spa devotees will be entranced by the element-based offerings at the Geo Spa, where the ancient healing energies of the Geopark meet bespoke natural treatments by ila.

Wildlife and Local Life

A bird watcher’s paradise – the open rainforest corridor, mist-covered Gunung Raya peak, and local village ponds provide the opportunity for ornithologists to tick a fair few flying friends off their must see list. Langkawi is home to approximately 200 species including: flower peckers, hills mynas, dollar birds, sun birds, eagles, woodpeckers, lesser whistling-ducks, little egrets, Chinese pond herons, striated swallows and the largest of them all, the great hornbill, measuring in at 1.3 metres (more than 4 feet).

Animal lovers will not want to miss the mangrove boat safari into the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park and its maze of meandering mangroves for exciting up-close encounters with majestic eagles and kites, mischievous macaques, fish that walk (mudskippers), colourful fiddler crabs, shy otters and sleeping bats.

Cultural connoisseurs will be enthralled by the Malaysian book village of Kampung Buku and the bucolic beauty of stilted wooden houses in local villages. A visit to the fishermen’s village of Kuala Teriang enables visitors to quietly observe fisherfolk return with their day’s catch, or sample delicious deep-fried banana fritters with local milk tea at wooden roadside stalls. Back at the Resort, relish local spices and ingredients during a Malay-cuisine cooking class – available as both adult and child-size experiences.

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Green Bay’s Titletown is a travel touchdown

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Some travel trends come and go, but others have staying power. Sports-themed travel is gaining momentum, and experts predict that it’s only going to get bigger. If you like the thrill of competition, the history of the game and the joy of being a fan, consider sports-themed destinations for your next vacation.

Location

A prime example of sports-themed travel is Green Bay, Wisconsin. Whether you are a Packers fan or a football fanatic, this distinctive area is ideal for couples or family getaways. The city’s new Titletown development offers travelers an array of sports-themed activities to explore, with something to tempt all of the senses.

A 45-acre development adjacent to Lambeau Field, Titletown boasts a variety of amenities, a brewery and an outdoor park experience with year-round programming. Check out a concert or start a pickup game of football on the artificial turf.

Accommodations

Located just yards from Lambeau Field, Lodge Kohler gives you a home field advantage in the heart of the action. The hotel design is rugged yet refined, and it commemorates the game with historic Biever family photos of the Green Bay Packers throughout the timeless brick building. You’ll find dining, a spa, pool and fitness center.

Attractions

The draw of Green Bay has been and always will be Lambeau Field — one of the most storied stadiums in the United States. At the Packers Hall of Fame in the Lambeau Field Atrium, visitors can discover interactive displays, guided tours and the seasonal Packers Training Camp.

Explore more of the sports team’s past on the Oneida Nation Walk of Legends or the Packers Heritage Trail, which pays homage to the buildings, businesses and people that have historical significance to the team. Team history abounds around every corner of Green Bay’s scenic urban trail and may be traveled by foot, Segway or trolley.

Celebrations

There’s even more worth celebrating over the next year in Green Bay: The Packers have spent a century on the gridiron. The 100 Seasons celebration will feature events in Titletown and throughout Green Bay, culminating with a 100th birthday party on Aug. 11, 2019.

Want more than football? Neighboring Lambeau Field, the Resch Center — home of the Green Bay Phoenix men’s college basketball team and USHL Green Bay Gamblers hockey team — offers year-round entertainment, as it hosts national touring artists and family entertainment on and off the ice.

Eats and sweets

Hunger will lead you to Lodge Kohler for memorable dining. Meet at Leaps & Bounds Cafe for a quaint breakfast, lunch or coffee perk-up. Revel in the sweeping views of the stadium from the outdoor terrace and panoramic windows at Taverne in the Sky, which features modern rotisserie cuisine for lunch and dinner. For dessert or a sweet treat, get a taste of Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates.

Learn more about crafting the perfect sports-themed travel experience at https://www.lodgekohler.com.

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