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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.

On The Road: Soaking up desert life in Alice Springs

Alice Springs is greener than I expected. As you fly in you can see the red desert pocked with trees, the organic lines of forgotten riverbeds crossed with straight dirt trails. The aerial landscape seems to mirror the dotted style of the indigenous artwork in this part of the world.

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
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    Day In a Page

    A
    Independent Travel
    Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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    Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
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