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48 hours in: Melbourne

Summer is coming to Australia's second city, bringing sunshine, seaside activity – and sports fans. Sophie Lam reports

At one with the universe in Queensland

Did sand from a beach in the Whitsunday Islands end up in the Hubble telescope?

Traveller's Guide: Tasmania

Australia's island state has temperate rainforests, deserted beaches, world-class wine – and a compelling convict history.

Tahiti: Does this Polynesian idyll still have the same allure?

A new exhibition of Paul Gauguin's work paints a vibrant picture of Tahiti.

Travel By Numbers: Tahiti

With a Gauguin exhibition soon to open at Tate Modern, Harriet Pearce adds up what drew the artist to the island

Travel challenge: A holiday in Australia's 'Top End' and Outback

Every week we invite competing companies to give us their best deal for a specific holiday. Today: the Northern Territory and Queensland. Prices are per person and based on two people leaving from Heathrow in September...

Papua New Guinea: A journey into the unknown

Papua New Guinea, one of the 'last frontiers', can also be reached by luxury cruiser

Following in the footsteps of a trailblazer...but not on a camel

It was 150 years ago that John Stuart reached a part of Australia that other colonialists had failed to reach. Polly Evans retraced his journey, only with a few more home comforts

Stewart Island: A lonely land of myth and wild wonders

New Zealand's third-largest island offers a glimpse into the past

An ocean of possibilities: The South Pacific islands of Tahiti have it all

Lush landscapes, warm waters and a party on every beach – with added French panache

Big country...small impact. An eco-tour in Queensland's wildlife-rich rainforest

Drunk parrots, glowing gnat larvae and leathery fruit bats are the highlights of Cathy Pryor's trip into the Gold Coast hinterland

The Melbourne identity: The former hub of Australia's gold rush is now a City of Literature

Lonely Planet's Tony Wheeler reveals Melbourne's novel story

Best for sun-worshippers: Bondi Beach

I once spent six months working in television in Sydney, and that's when I first visited Bondi Beach. Back then, it was a bit unloved – there was nowhere to eat and the beach was run-down and grubby. In spite of its close proximity to the city centre, Bondi just wasn't fashionable. Nowadays, things are very different – the neighbourhood has been reinvented and Bondi has become the most vibrant beach in Australia; perfect for a fun weekend break from the city. The combination of a beautiful bay, golden sands and a cosmopolitan crowd ensures that this is a beach for everyone – surfers, serious swimmers, hikers, sunbathers and families enjoying communal picnics. Once frequented by backpackers, junkies and down-and-outs, the cleaned-up, restored Bondi is chic, and boasts, among other things, award-winning chef Sean Moran's Panaroma on Campbell Parade, a great neighbourhood restaurant where he offers organic produce, delicious roast chicken and fresh fish, all served simply. Think River Café, Aussie-style.

Best for far-flung thrills: New Zealand

There's a flock of noisy kakas on my front lawn, quarrelling over some croissants left over from breakfast. A few hours ago, I saw baby carpet sharks bobbing offshore, and a blue penguin gliding through the emerald waters. Tonight, who knows, I might spot a kiwi.

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It’s the season of mists, mellow fruitfulness and food festivals

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It may be the smallest of America’s 50 states, but this compact slice of New England deserves attention, with an arty capital, shoreside mansions and fine beaches
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