New York City.
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The Western Front.
The best places to celebrate Remembrance Day in France
Avoid the crowds and experience some of France’s fascinating, but offt-overlooked remembrance destinations   ***This article was created in partnership with Atout France*** For many historians, the First World War is seen as the first time the fledgling federation of Australia announced itself on the world stage. But for many of those who fought in its slow-advancing battles, the four muddy years of the 20th-century’s first conflict were characterised by the monotony and fatality of trench life. No countryside withstood more trench warfare than the 700-kilometre stretch of contested land known as The Western Front, on the borders of Belgium and France. And while many of those trenches have since been filled in, returned to rural life and lost to time, there are areas of Northern France that are forever sanctified as memorials to those who lost their lives on French soil, including 60,000 Australians. To visit the area’s lesser-known memorials is a fascinating and sobering experience, one that is often free from the crowds that surround the more prominent sites. The best starting point is the pretty Gothic city of Amiens, in the heart of the Somme district.   Day 1-2: Amiens For the first couple of days of your visit, base yourself in Amiens, not only is it geographically centric for many WWI museums and battlefields, it’s also home to the largest Gothic Cathedral in France. The most obvious place to visit for any Australian is the imposing Australian National Memorial in the Villers-Bretonneux military ceremony. Only a short drive (or 20-minute train ride) from Amiens, the huge monument commemorates the thousands of Australian soldiers who fought in France and Belgium, and it is the site of the increasingly popular Anzac day ceremony every year. Nearby is the newly opened Sir John Monash Centre, which tells the story of the war through the voices of those who fought in it. Download the multi-layered app before visiting to get more out of the experience. On day two, venture north to the Underground City of Naours – limestone caves that were frequented by soldiers trying to forget the horrors of the frontline. They are home to over 3,000 examples of contemporary graffiti by British and Commonwealth soldiers, including 1800 Australian markings. A new museum is due to open there next year. Not far from Naours is the new Vignacourt 14-18 Interpretation Centre, which gives a little insight into the daily life of conflict with photos of the many soldiers that passed through the village. [caption id="attachment_44302" align="alignnone" width="600"] The beauty of grand Amiens Cathedral[/caption] Day 3-4: Soissons Leaving Amiens, head south to the Oise region to visit the immense Musée Territoire 14-18. Set out over 60 kilometres, the open-air museum offers hiking trails, guided tours, exhibitions and other smaller museums. Start your visit at the Rethondes Church, the bells of which first rang in the Armistice until they cracked, and plan your visit according to your interests. Stay overnight in the lovely city of Soissons, which saw heavy fighting during the war. On day four, head to the Forest of Compiègne (also know as the Glade of the Armistice) to see a replica of the railway carriage where the Armistice was signed in 1918. Hitler symbolically blew up the original some 20 or so years later. Next to the carriage, which is set up as it was during the signing, the Armistice Memorial Museum includes nearly 800 photos of the war effort. [caption id="attachment_44303" align="alignnone" width="600"] Inside the beautiful Amiens Cathedral[/caption] Day 5-6: Saint Quentin Leave Soissons early and travel south to the Château-Thierry American Monument, three kilometres west of Château-Thierry. Erected in 1929, the impressive monument commemorates the first engagements of the US Army in France. The monument and the new interpretive centre both stand as a reminder of the importance of American strength and resources to the war effort in 1917. Driving north-east for an hour, you’ll enter the lush green Chemin des Dames region, which was the site of significant battles in 1914,1917 and 1918. It’s also home to the unique Caverne du Dragon, which was a former quarry that was converted into underground barracks that you can still visit today, an eerie and worthwhile experience. Overnight in Saint-Quentin, where Australians played a huge part in breaking through the German frontline during the war. Spend your last day exploring the historic city of Saint-Quentin, which was occupied by Germans early on in the war and used as part of the defensive Hindenburg Line. Visit the beautiful Basilique Saint-Quentin, which still bears the scars of the war on its medieval walls, or visit the underground Somme 1916 Trench Museum in nearby Albert, an hour away, on your way back to Amiens. How to get there Air France flies from seven Australian cities to Paris daily, with connections to Amiens. Accor Hotels have accommodation in Amiens, Soissons and Saint-Quentin. For more information visit: For your chance to win a trip to France, head to:
South Africa.
From surfing and safaris to bright city lights, here are 10 reasons to visit South Africa
 When it comes to travel, Africa is one place on many people's must-visit list. Here, Carla Grosetti provides 10 reasons to get yourself to South Africa that you may not have even considered...   To go on safari in search of the Big Five Going on your first African safari feels like being on a hushed film set waiting for the key cast members [read: the big five] to arrive. And when they do, it's with all the drama, tension and romance that is implicit on a game drive. What's surprising is how much the bit players – dik-diks, kudu, impalas – steal the spotlight as they scramble for survival.   A crash course in astronomy Receiving a crash course in astronomy while standing under a night sky swirling with stars in the middle of the Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve is to marvel at the magnificence of the universe. Astrotourism has become a popular safari ritual in South Africa and Ben Coley, of Celestial Events, has a seriously powerful telescope to enhance the experience.   To caper up the Cape of Good Hope Geography lessons come to life at the Cape of Good Hope on the Cape Peninsula, a long spindly finger of land pointing south toward Antarctica. Climb to the top of the Old Cape Point Lighthouse where you can marvel up close at the rippling sandstone and swirling blue-green sea below. Be warned: baboons are everywhere so keep your car locked when you pose for that selfie near the Cape of Good Hope sign.   Explore SA's largest art museum The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa – Zeitz MOCAA – is one of the world's most important exhibition spaces for contemporary African art. It's a great echoing cavern of steel and concrete and glass located inside a grain silo built on the waterfront in the 1920s. Huge sections of the building's interior have been carved out to create a complex warren of more than 100 gallery spaces.   Visit the rainbow-bright neighbourhood of Bo Kaap [caption id="attachment_44236" align="alignnone" width="600"] You have to visit the stunning rainbow-bright neighbourhood of Bo Kaap when you visit South Africa.[/caption]   The boxy buildings of Bo Kaap present like a bag of Liquorice Allsorts coloured everything from indigo and fuschia to tangerine and mint green and brightening up the Cape Malay community. Turn your back on the camera-toting crowds and head up the hill to Bo Kaap Kombuis, a restaurant serving traditional Cape Malay cuisine.   Coo over the penguins at Boulders Beach The waddling African penguins are not the only reason to make a pilgrimage to Boulders Beach, as the area is strewn with rounded boulders looming like giant sculptures. As well as providing ideal nesting territory for the endangered species, the tumbled rock formations are every bit as photogenic as the resident penguins.   Enjoy an African sunset Table Mountain is one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature and, if there's a defining landmark that shapes Cape Town's skyline it is this. The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway has revolving floors so visitors get 360-degree views of the mountain and city from the top of the towering escarpment. Experience Steampunk at Truth Coffee, Capetown If you are a fan of steampunk, this is the cafe for you. Steampunk informs the philosophy behind Truth Coffee while paying homage to the movement with its centrepiece: a vintage espresso machine dubbed Professor Jones' Fabulous Coffee Bean Contraption. Truth is equal parts cafe and cult and the steampunk aesthetic filters down to the fashions favoured by the staff.   To surf world-class waves [caption id="attachment_44237" align="alignnone" width="600"] Hit the beach for the ultimate surfing in South Africa.[/caption]   Jeffrey's Bay is ranked as one of the best surfing destinations in the world. Located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, J-Bay offers rides of up to 800-metres long and includes breaks dubbed Salad Bowls, Coins, Tubes, Kitchen Windows and Impossibles. The best time to surf here is dawn, when the sky is indigo and the seas are stretched like blue denim over the curves of the coast. Yes, it's where Mick Fanning punched a great white during the J-Bay Open surf event, so BYO shark repellent.   The grape and the good The Cape Town bar scene is cool and contemporary and includes a range of bars, some more dog-eared than others. The Outrage of Modesty serves cutting-edge cocktails in an old frame theatre with wacky wall art and tiered seating. Nearby, The Gin Bar is aimed squarely at gin geeks. The bar, which is hidden behind the Honest Chocolate Cafe in the CBD, has a charming sand-blasted courtyard and beautifully backlit drinks selection.   GETTING THERE Africa Travel specialist Bench Africa has a 13-day Luxury Signature Safari Special that focuses on South Africa. Visit There is a SAA flight daily from Perth to Johannesburg operating an A340-300 and A340-600 (connecting with codeshare partner Virgin Australia from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.) Visit

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