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STA Travel Blog

Why Québec is the new cool

I’m Gwen, STA Travel’s Brochure Production Manager and newly-ordained Québec convert.

Last month, I was lucky enough to jump on a Canada trip to Montreal and Québec. Not the typical backpacker east coast/west coast fare, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. And I certainly didn’t think that I’d be blogging about light shows, but here we are. Bear with me, it’s pretty illuminating.

On our last evening in Montreal, we were sitting in the atrium of Notre Dame Cathedral. The pews were full, and groups of people were milling around the sides in hushed whispers, waiting for the main event. There was also a talking confession box in the corner that most people seemed to pass by without a second glance (which was odd on their part, I thought.)

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Beach please: Top 8 beaches on East Coast Australia

Australia is known for having some of the most insane beaches in the world, but with so many of them how do you decide which are even worth your time? Beach please, we’ll tell you.

Byron Bay

Location: New South Wales
We can hear you tutting, but hold up hun. We HAD to put Byron Bay on the list because no top 10 list of beaches is complete without it. Not because of the beach itself, but the vibe (and the ridiculously good-looking locals – hellooooo). As you arrive, you’ll be greeted by a welcome sign that reads “Welcome to Byron Bay. Cheer up. Slow down. Chill out” which you can’t help but obey. Don’t leave without visiting The Top Shop. No, it’s not the Topshop you’d expect to find on the high street, it’s a trendy back street café. No basic beaches here.

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The African Big Five

You might hear the word Africa and immediately think of Simba; a cute little lion cub in the vast Savannah plains. You might also think of the big five; lions, rhinos, leopards, buffalo and elephants, but Africa has more to boast about than just its epic safaris. Here’s our list of the top 5 African destinations you can’t miss.

Morocco

Morocco is full of beautiful towns and villages, but two to note for any Moroccan tourist has to be Fes and Marrakech. You’ll feel like you’re in Assassin’s Creed as you explore and barter in the markets and back streets! If you’ve got some time to spare, take a 4×4 into the Sahara for a night under the stars – or if you’d rather a more authentic form of transport, you can also go by camel! Don’t forget to try the food, just thinking about tagines is making us slobber.

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Mount Kilimanjaro

It’s Africa’s biggest mountain, we couldn’t not talk about it! If you want an active holiday then this is for you. Enjoy rainforest slopes, glaciers and a tower of lava as you hike to the summit. We would recommend a night hike on the final leg of the climb so you can see the sunrise from Stella Point. After all that, head back down to Moshi Camp for a celebratory (and much needed) hot shower and drink! 

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5 spots to get your live music fix in Melbourne

Sydney may have the glamour and glitz of the Harbour and Bondi, and Brisbane may have endless sand and backpacker bar-crawl carnage but every Aussie knows cosmopolitan Melbourne is the place to go for some electrifying live music. Victoria’s capital has always had more of a communal vibe and its music scene has consistently led the way Down Under.

You’ll find local bands testing out their own tunes at practically every other pub North of the Yarra River, whilst Southside has loads of breezy, open bars with polished outfits banging out covers. With so much to choose from, you can almost feel like you’re lost on a musical Walkabout, so we’re here to help!

From classic rock dives to sophisticated jazz bars, here’s our five favourite venues to check out in marvellous Melbs!

1. Prince Bandroom, St Kilda.

We have to start with this legendary spot in the Prince Of Wales pub on Fitzroy Street. It’s been hosting eclectic live music for 60 years now and is a Melbourne institution. Dark and grungy with a low stage and ceiling that crams everyone into a heaving, rocking mass, it’s exactly the authentic no-frills experience that draws everyone in town here at some point or another.

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5 of Europe’s most enchanting Christmas markets

Foliage covered wooden huts, the scent of mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and allll the melted Nutella. Yep you’ve got it, Christmas markets are on their way and boy does Europe know how to put on a show! So grab a scarf, mittens and a bag to fill up with  decorations and get exploring some of Europe’s most enchanting offerings. We’ll meet you in the beer tent…

1. Vilnius, Lithuania

With its medieval layout, baroque cityscape, and cobblestone streets, the heart of Lithuania’s capital city, Vilnius, charms in any season of the year. But with a dusting of snow across the medieval castles, Vilnius is all the more stunning, especially when viewed from the 22nd floor from the town’s coveted Skybar. We can’t explain the locals love for Frank Zappa, but during the winter months – this laid back city is a truly enchanting wonderland.

magical christmas lithuania
Image: Delfi

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