Photo Gallery: Queensland, Australia

Usually we’re uncomfortable posting direct press pitches, but these pictures are too good to resist. Queensland, Australia, is often regarded as one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. Home to various UNESCO World Heritage Sites, beautiful beaches, breathtaking city skylines, a tropical climate, and wildlife that you can experience up-close, it is no wonder that 2.1 million people visit the region each year.

Interested in visiting the region yourself? Here are some suggested itineraries on how to make the most of your time in Queensland:

  • Go whale watching at Hervey Bay. Right now, the area is seeing a drastic increase in the amount of whales migrating along the coast. In fact, there are more whales at Hervey Bay now than there have been in the last 25 years. For more information or to book a whale watching tour, click here.
  • Scuba Dive the Great Barrier Reef. This is the ideal way to see this UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the aquatic life that inhabits it, up-close. For more information, click here.
  • Spend some time on the beaches of Surfer’s Paradise. Learn to surf, explore beachfront markets, ride a jet ski, or just layout and relax. And when the sun goes down, the area has plenty to offer in terms of dining, entertainment, and nightlife.
  • Get adventurous in Cairns. From skydiving to bungee jumping at AJ Hackett Tower to white water rafting on the Tully River, there are plenty of activities here for thrill seekers.


Longest zip-line in the world at Palau’s new eco theme park

Palau is no longer just a destination for underwater adventure. This destination in Micronesia, which is ranked as one of the top scuba diving destinations in the world, has recently opened the Palau Eco Theme Park, home to one of the longest zip line courses on Earth.

The three-course zip-line that allows participants to get really high about the trees, flying over the Taki Waterfall Park in the State of Ngardmau. Because story-telling is also a major focus of the theme park, these waterfalls were selected to provide the backdrop (or underdrop) for the experience not only because of their beauty, but also because of the legend that is associated with them. Apparently, an eel with magic powers once changed into the river itself, with its head being the waterfall.

With the length of each section running between 300 and 340 meters (about 985 to 1,115 feet), this course is no joke, and is said to be one of the longest zip line courses in the world.

For more information on Palau Eco Theme Park you can call (680) 747-1004.

Photo of the day – Tasmanian autumn

Today’s Photo of the Day captures the Tasmanian autumn with this stark, black-and-white image of the road between Hobart and Mount Wellington. The rising steam and the clumps of snow along the roadside speak to a chilly autumn morning, a place one million emotional miles from the impatient anticipation felt by those in the Northern Hemisphere at the end of May.

Check out photographer BaboMike’s Flickr Photostream for more images of Tasmania, as well as galleries of travel snaps of Southeast Asia, Central America, and Europe.

Got an image that captures the change of seasons? Upload it to the Flickr Gadling group pool. If we dig your image we might just pick it to be a future Photo of the Day.

Visiting Every Country On Earth

Most travelers have a “life list”. That is to say, a list of travel destinations that are amongst their “must see”, such as the Great Pyramids or Machu Picchu. Others set goals to visit certain countries, selecting ones that appeal to them on some level.

That’s exactly what Chris Guillebeau did when he was 22 and working in Africa for an international charity group. At the time, Guillebeau says, that he was traveling a lot within Africa itself, and making frequent trips back to Europe as well. He was visiting a lot of unique and interesting places, and remained fascinated with the cultures that he saw.

Then, in 2006, at the age of 28, he set a goal for himself to visit 100 countries before he turned 30, somehting he accomplished last year. But in this interview for the New York Times, he admits that about halfway through his quest to reach triple digits, he began to realize that he was setting his sights too low, and has now set a new goal for himself – to visit every country on the planet before he turns 35.
Guillebeau admits that things are starting to get tougher, as he is running out of countries that offer easy access. He mentions that he’ll have to start focusing on making arrangements to get to Chad, the South Pacific, or Central Asia soon, but he makes no mention of visiting such places as North Korea or Somalia, which aren’t exactly welcoming to foreigners.

Of course, with all of this travel, Guillebeau knows all the tricks to make things as easy as possible. He generally has upgrades to first class on domestic flights, many of which he trades away to other passengers, and he recently talked his way onto a flight to Karachi, without the proper paperwork or visas to enter the country. He also knows how to play the system to get as many frequent flier miles as possible, something he shared with us a few months back.

I have to hand it to Chris. When he creates a life list, he doesn’t think small. My question is, what do you do when you hit age 35 and you’ve already visited everywhere? He better hope Virgin Galactic expands its routes, and quickly.

Smoking Bans on Cruise Ships Cost Millions in Cancellations

Regent Seven Seas intends to tighten its smoking rules this December. Although not even in place yet, the plan to ban smoking in cabins and on balconies has already cost the company $3 million in cancellations. And Regent isn’t the only cruise line pouring water on smokers’ fires; Oceania Cruises implemented a zero-tolerance policy the same day a smoldering cigarette killed one person and ruined 79 cabins aboard the Star Princess last year.

Most of the opposition comes from Europeans, who are less accustomed to smoking limitations than Americans. However, many non-smokers are fired up as well because they believe the cruise line’s policies aren’t strict enough.

On Regent’s ships, cruisers can still light up where they’re likely to spend money — in the casino and in designated sections of bars.

[via USA Today]

Want more information on cruises?