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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.

Trail Of The Unexpected: Off-road in Queensland

Bike down a mountainside or explore the shore: there's plenty of nature in Noosa.

Express yourself: The splendours of New Zealand are best seen by rail

Grand Central, St Pancras, Milano Centrale – and, er, Britomart? The main station in New Zealand's largest city sounds as though it is named after a discount car-parts retailer. In fact, Auckland's Britomart Transport Centre occupies a handsome Victorian building on Queen Elizabeth II Square, and is apparently named after a character from The Faerie Queene.

Test your golfing skills at the world's longest course

Australia's Nullarbor Plain demands some very long drives

On the tail of a tiger in Tasmania

Tasmania's thylacine has been extinct for 70 years – or has it? James Stewart tries to track it down

Queensland: The Sunshine State offers a taste of sun, sea, sand - and the Outback

Australia's most diverse territory has it all

Best of the west: Australia's largest state offers superb diving and the nation's finest wines

You look for omens on any sea voyage, and the cheeky young seal that was our escort to the sunken HMAS Swan's final resting place in Western Australia's Geographe Bay seemed to suggest a fine day's diving. Gambolling along the surface, flippers stretched towards the spring sunshine, he revelled in the calm seas and blue sky every bit as much as us. He came right alongside just as we reached the mooring buoys, fixed us with his big brown eyes and carefully preened his whiskers before sliding away into the depths.

Mission Of The Month: Get an adrenalin rush in New Zealand - but avoid nasty shocks

Spring is coming to the Southern Hemisphere and the sun is starting to soften the snowfields. From the Southern Alps to sub-tropical Northland, bars are full of British tourists telling tales of adventure during their stays in the land of the long white cloud, or Aotearoa – the Maori name for New Zealand. Many holidays here are not seen as complete unless they involve an adrenalin rush.

On The Road: Trials of a rainforest trek, on the hunt for an elusive bird

A loud rustle came from the undergrowth at the edge of the boardwalk. I stopped and waited, holding my breath as I listened. The noise came again, louder this time. Expecting a bush turkey but hoping for a bigger bird, I craned my neck to see more. From under the dry leaves crawled a monitor lizard.

The Big Six: Lodges in New Zealand

Places to stay on both the North Island and South Island

Travellers Guide to Antarctica

This remote wilderness is like nowhere else on Earth, which makes a voyage there all the more rewarding, says Simon Calder

South Australia's Kangaroo Island: Land of hops and glories

The air is pure, the land is rugged and the native wildlife brings even the most committed urbanite closer to Mother Nature

Traveller's Guide To: Western Australia

Rugged red earth, great wines and a stunning coastline set against deep blue skies... head west to explore a classic Australian state

Feather report: Nature and nurture in New Zealand

A rare flightless parrot, ancient reptiles and some of the world's largest trees are among the natural wonders to be found in New Zealand’s spectacular landscapes
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