Jul 18

Traveller writers share their 2017 wish lists and travel tips for 2017

Grand Bassin on Reunion Island. A riverboat on the Mississippi River in New Orleans at dusk.
Nanjing Night Net

Taktsang Palphug Monastery (also known as The Tiger’s Nest),a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and temple in the cliffside of the upper Paro Valley, Bhutan.

Reunion Island.

What’s on your wishlist for 2017? Photo: iStock

Out with the old and in with the new – it’s that time of the year, when we vow to change bad habits, tick things off our to-do lists and make plans for fresh starts.

We asked Traveller’s specialists to share their New Year’s travel resolutions, 2017 wish lists and tips for the year ahead. What came back comprises a list that ranges from the loftiest of ambitions (trekking in Bhutan) to a yearning for the littlest of details (better hairdryers in hotel rooms).

Be they big or small, we hope our list inspires you to make some travel resolutions of your own – and see you follow them through. After all, planning a wonderful holiday is a lot more fun than sticking to your diet. THE FOODIE


To stop planning so much. In my obsessive hunt for the best food I tend to research and book almost every meal when I travel, leaving nothing up to chance. Some of the most memorable dining experiences are the ones that take you by surprise. MY DREAM DESTINATION FOR 2017 IS …

Galicia. Ask any chef in Europe – this coastal region of northern Spain produces the best seafood around. I’m dreaming of a feast of prawns, clams, octopus, mussels, razor clams, goose barnacles and fish served up in one of Galicia’s lively little bars. THE MUST-VISIT DESTINATION WILL BE …

Japan. Food is taken so seriously here, and produced so perfectly. It seems like every chef in the country is an OCD-like obsessive who has laboured his or her entire life to perfect just a single dish. For foodies, it’s paradise. THE ONE EXPERIENCE I REALLY WANT TO HAVE IN FOODIE TRAVEL THIS YEAR IS …

I’ve always wanted to sample the Sri Lankan culture of “short eats”. It’s a little like tapas in Spain, the idea that if you only eat small portions of food you can extend the joy of dining for hours on end. MY PREDICTION FOR THE BIGGEST TREND IN FOODIE TRAVEL IN 2017 IS …

Travellers have already begun looking past the traditional foodie hotspots such as Italy and in favour of more adventurous destinations such as Sweden, Peru, Israel and Korea. MY BEST TIP FOR TRAVEL THIS YEAR …

Leave your preconceptions about food at home. Remember that what sounds strange to us is probably something that’s been developed and perfected over hundreds, if not thousands of years by another culture. THE RIVER CRUISER


Not to overindulge at dinnertimes on board, so I’m not slumped in a food coma and still have the opportunity to explore port towns in the evenings, a time of day often overlooked on river cruises. MY DREAM DESTINATION FOR 2017 IS …

The mighty Mississippi River in the United States. It’s one of the world’s great waterways, yet somewhat overlooked in the river-cruise world. I’m sure there are plenty of stories to tell on its riverbanks, full of history and musical culture. MY MUST VISIT DESTINATION WILL BE …

The Ganges River in India, which is having the same surge of interest as the Mekong and Irrawaddy rivers over recent years – and mimicking the huge spurt of growth in Asian cruising generally. THE ONE EXPERIENCE I REALLY WANT TO HAVE IN RIVER CRUISING THIS YEAR IS …

To see what a winter cruise in Europe would be like. I imagine Christmas markets, the cold and dark and the festive ambiance would provide a whole different way of experiencing familiar places. MY PREDICTION FOR THE BIGGEST TREND IN RIVER CRUISING IN 2017 IS …

That we’ll see the emergence of more multi-generational, family-oriented journeys, with several companies already offering an increasing range of child-friendly river cruises in Europe and Asia. MY BEST TIP FOR TRAVEL THIS YEAR …

Is to book your river-cruise journey in the downstream direction. The ship travels more quickly with the current, allowing you more time to explore the port towns along the way. THE OCEAN CRUISER


To pack lighter and take fitness classes on every ship I cruise on. MY DREAM DESTINATION FOR 2017 IS …

Antarctica. I am lucky enough to be heading to the Great White Continent with Ponant in February. Other than that, I could go on for pages – from A to Z, the Arctic, Borneo, Corsica, Cuba … Sicily, the Seychelles, Solomons, South America … and skipping over dozens more to Zambia. THE MUST VISIT DESTINATION WILL BE …

Anywhere in the Arctic Circle. Volcanic landscapes, bubbling geysers, glaciers, dog-sledding, Inuit and Sami cultures and the Northern Lights are among the attractions of the eight countries that lie above the 66th Parallel. THE ONE EXPERIENCE I REALLY WANT TO DO IN OCEAN CRUISING THIS YEAR IS …

Sail on a tall ship, such as one of the SeaCloud or Star Clippers vessels. While these ships have all the facilities of a modern boutique cruise ship – including powerful engines – they also operate by wind power alone. It would be thrilling to experience ocean sailing as it was a couple of hundred years ago, without the 19th-century drawbacks. MY PREDICTION FOR THE BIGGEST TREND IN OCEAN CRUISING IN 2017 IS …

Small will be big. Just as more megaships are being ordered, built and launched, the growth in small-ship cruising continues to boom. Meanwhile, ”ship within a ship” facilities on mainstream lines such as Norwegian Cruise Line and MSC Cruises offer the best of both big and small-ship worlds – perfect for multi-generational groups. MY BEST TIP FOR TRAVEL THIS YEAR …

Keep an open mind. If you’ve never cruised before, check out the amazing range of ships, itineraries and destinations out there. I’ve sailed on the 6400-passenger Allure of the Seas in the Caribbean and on the 10-passenger boat Odalisque in SW Tasmania – and it’s all cruising. Jump aboard. THE FAMILY TRAVELLER

By Tracey Spicer.

My New Year travel resolution is …

To become better at packing. Inevitably, the kids leave something behind, or pack five T-shirts and no underpants. (Come to think of it, I’ve made the same mistake …) Once, Grace brought seven stuffed toys on a long-haul flight.

My dream destination for 2017 is …

Paris. And dreams do come true. In fact, we’re travelling through France for my 50th birthday in July next year. There’s even something quirky: a self-skippered riverboat cruise through Lot, which is known for its dramatic gorges, medieval villages, and truffles. Nom nom. THE MUST VISIT DESTINATION WILL BE VIETNAM …

This is – without a doubt – the hot spot for Australians in 2017. There are plenty of family-friendly hotels and resorts in Hoi An and Da Nang, or book an Intrepid Family Tour from north to south. THE ONE EXPERIENCE I REALLY WANT TO DO WITH THE FAMILY THIS YEAR IS …

Voluntourism. Like most Australian children, Taj and Grace are a little spoiled. We plan to volunteer with a local charity during each trip. MY PREDICTION FOR THE BIGGEST TREND IN FAMILY TRAVEL IN 2017 IS …

Technology. Some tourism authorities are trialling EEG headsets, which are worn by family members to gauge their emotions at certain attractions. Brave new world, indeed. MY BEST TIP FOR TRAVEL THIS YEAR IS …

To go to the Maldives. A profusion of family resorts – and airlines on this route – is pushing down prices. We love PER AQUUM Niyama and Anantara Dhigu. THE CULTURE VULTURE


To see more live performance. I missed My Fair Lady, directed by Julie Andrews, in Sydney last year but it plays Melbourne from May and returns to Sydney from August so there’s another chance. I’m also looking forward to David Williamson’s latest work, Odd Man Out (January 19-March 18), at Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre. I love that such a tiny venue hosts world premieres. MY DREAM CULTURAL DESTINATION FOR 2017 IS …

New York City. As if the above-ground wonders aren’t enough, there are now new subterranean artworks to admire. Four stations on the Second Avenue subway, a line scheduled to open today, showcase thrilling pieces by the likes of Chuck Close. THE MUST-VISIT DESTINATION WILL BE …

Venice for the Biennale (May 13-November 26). Make a beeline for the Australian Pavilion where Tracey Moffatt will be presenting all-new, large-scale photography and film. During the Biennale, it’s possible to stumble upon artworks all around the city that transform Venice into an even more magical place. THE ONE CULTURAL EXPERIENCE I REALLY WANT TO DO THIS YEAR IS …

The Big Ears Festival (March 23-26) in Knoxville, Tennessee – this year’s line-up includes Wilco, my favourite band, plus it’s close to the Smoky Mountains. MY PREDICTION FOR THE BIGGEST CULTURAL TRAVEL TREND IN 2017 IS …

The rise of the literary pilgrimage. Bath will be celebrating all things Jane Austen to mark the 200th anniversary of the author’s death while Naples will continue to attract those afflicted with “Ferrante fever” after reading the series known as the Neapolitan novels. My best tip for cultural travel this year is … to book early. I’m already wondering if I’ll be able to nab a ticket to The Book of Mormon in Melbourne or to Ludovico Einaudi – the world’s most streamed classical composer – when he plays the Sydney Opera House in February. THE OUTDOORS MAN


To get back to self-sufficiency – to spend more time with a full pack on my back, a tent inside, stove and food at hand, led only by a map, the terrain and the trail. MY DREAM DESTINATION FOR 2017 IS …

The island of Reunion. Drop a couple of volcanoes into the Indian Ocean, smother them in rainforest and then lace them with hiking and mountain-biking trails … just point me the way there. THE MUST-VISIT DESTINATION WILL BE …

Bhutan. Somehow the Himalayan kingdom continues to fly under the radar, but with committing treks that climb beyond 5000 metres, it’s just the spot for those who crave a version of Nepal before the trekking hordes arrived. THE ONE EXPERIENCE I REALLY WANT TO DO IN THE OUTDOORS THIS YEAR IS …

Cycle New Zealand’s Old Ghost Road. The longest bit of singletrack mountain-bike trail in the country, it’s an 85-kilometre ride across mountaintops, through the Buller Gorge and deep into tangled west-coast bush. I have Kiwi friends who’ve cycled it multiple times – it’s time I started catching up. MY PREDICTION FOR THE BIGGEST TREND IN OUTDOORS TRAVEL IN 2017 IS ….

Winter adventures – going where the sun doesn’t shine to turn winter into wonder with experiences such as snowshoeing, dog sledding, fat biking and ice climbing. MY BEST TIP FOR TRAVEL THIS YEAR IS …

To pack away the motor. Walk, cycle or paddle and see how much more responsive the world and its people and creatures are to your presence. THE ECO-WARRIOR


Fly less, stay longer. And buy a portable filter to use in countries where I can’t drink the water, to avoid leaving a trail of plastic bottles. MY DREAM DESTINATION FOR 2017 IS …

Kyushu, southern Japan. The year and a half I lived in Miyazaki in the mid-1990s was one of the simplest, happiest times of my life and I’ve been trying to find my way back there ever since, metaphorically as well as geographically. THE MUST-VISIT DESTINATION WILL BE …

Anywhere tourism helps communities and the natural environment, particularly now that the UN World Tourism Organisation has declared 2017 to be International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. THE ONE EXPERIENCE I REALLY WANT TO DO IN ECO-TRAVEL THIS YEAR IS …

Trek to see snow leopards in the Himalayas, something I’ve daydreamed about ever since I read Peter Matthiessen’s eponymous memoir, published in 1978. MY PREDICTION FOR THE BIGGEST TREND IN SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL IN 2017 IS …

The digital detox: unplugging from the human-centric world to reconnect with the natural one and with “real time” people. Being offline is the new black. MY BEST TIP FOR TRAVEL THIS YEAR …

Wherever you go, try to slip out of your life and into the place you’re visiting, to let it affect you. As American historian Miriam Beard once said, “Travel is more than the seeing of sights. It is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” THE HOTEL AND RESORTS LOVER


To spend more time by more pools, reading more books. MY DREAM DESTINATION FOR 2017 IS …

The Sir Adam Hotel. I love an event hotel and this one is certainly that. It’s a new, rock’n’roll-inspired, luxury looker on the first eight floors of Amsterdam’s A’DAM Toren, a 22-storey landmark tower opened in 1971, as home to Royal Dutch Shell, now, as of 2016 and a multimillion-euro refit, one of Amsterdam’s most exciting nightlife and creative hubs. See siradamhotel南京夜网 THE MUST VISIT DESTINATION WILL BE …

London. The openings there this year are spectacular. My picks are The Great Scotland Yard Hotel, in the old Scotland Yard police HQ and The Ned, which promises a vintage aesthetic and a rooftop terrace overlooking St Paul’s. See steigenberger南京夜网; thened南京夜网 THE ONE EXPERIENCE I REALLY WANT TO DO IN HOTELS THIS YEAR IS …

To find a decent hairdryer in a hotel bathroom. It should not be an issue. MY PREDICTION FOR THE BIGGEST TREND IN HOTELS IN 2017 IS …

increased security. The American Hotel & Lodging Association says the presence of lobby security cameras among its members has reached 86 per cent, nearly double the figure four years ago. Expect more overt measures, particularly in busier cities. MY BEST TIP FOR TRAVEL THIS YEAR …

Broaden your thinking when booking hotels. The old parameters of budget, location and availability still stand, of course. But the hotel industry is broader than ever in its offerings. From connectivity-driven Millennial hotels to unique luxury experiences, there is something bespoke to suit every need, desire and taste. So really think about what you want and, within your price and position requirements, go find it. It’s out there. NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS


To spend more time present in each moment and less time experiencing travel from behind a camera lens or cellphone screen. And to digital detox more frequently. A difficult balance to achieve when our career revolves around sharing our experiences online. However, I believe it’s important to put the travel experience first. WHAT IS YOUR TRAVEL PREDICTION FOR 2017?

That the world will become more globalised and slowly, but surely, diversity in culture will start to disappear. It’s already happened on quite a large scale throughout the Western world, and smaller countries are starting to struggle with holding onto their traditional way of life. So travel now before we become a carbon copy of each other! BRUCE POON TIP, CEO G ADVENTURESWHAT IS YOUR NEW YEAR TRAVEL RESOLUTION?

My New Year’s resolution is to get out and rediscover my sense of adventure. My goal this year is a take a few trips with just a backpack and a guidebook (well maybe an app) with no previous arrangements and just discover a new country one day at a time. Regain that sense of freedom – to let the feeling take me. I was also invited to take a small boat trip to circumnavigate Japan and so you might see me in the remote lost coastal cities of Japan. WHAT IS YOUR TRAVEL PREDICTION FOR 2017?

I think more and more people want to be disconnected. There will be a great desire for remote destinations away from the tourist hordes. We live in an increasingly wired world and we are losing our sense of independence. I think the hustle and bustle of markets in Marrakesh will be replaced by places like the wild frontiers of Antarctica, The Galapagos Islands or the Nomadic Tibetan Plateau. With the information revolution, we’re also losing our sense of surprise and we will see the rise and appreciation of stark and remote beauty. ANN SHERRY, CARNIVAL AUSTRALIA EXECUTIVE CHAIRWOMANWHAT IS YOUR NEW YEAR TRAVEL RESOLUTION?

My New Year’s travel resolution is to visit at least two new destinations on a cruise ship in 2017. Top on my list are Conflict Islands in Papua New Guinea and Gizo in the Solomon Islands. P&O made its maiden visits to both ports in 2016 and everyone keeps telling me they are amazing so I can’t wait to see them. WHAT IS YOUR TRAVEL PREDICTION FOR 2017?

I think the move towards more authentic and engaging holiday experiences will really strengthen in 2017 – more and more travellers are recognising that it’s the engagement with a destination that truly adds meaning to a holiday. And from a business perspective I think we’ll see more people and companies, from chefs to retail brands, building their presence in the travel industry. Travel is a strong and growing sector in Australia so it’s only natural that more people want to be part of it. ROBERT THOMPSON, DIRECTOR, TAHITI TOURISME AU/NZWHAT IS YOUR NEW YEAR TRAVEL RESOLUTION?

To spend more time on the ground when I travel and really experience the fantastic places I get to visit. I’m determined to spend more time living like a local and indulging in those wonderful little moments that add up to a memorable experience. WHAT IS YOUR TRAVEL PREDICTION FOR 2017?

In 2017, luxury will be defined by authenticity. While our traditional hotel market looks strong and we’re gearing up to celebrate 50 years of Tahiti’s trademark overwater villas, we’re also seeing a move towards the more rustic options offered by family run B&Bs and homestays, which provide a truly immersive Polynesian experience. DANIEL HOUGHTON, LONELY PLANET CEOWHAT IS YOUR NEW YEAR TRAVEL RESOLUTION?

Explore something new every day – it is our new aim for everyone at Lonely Planet to adopt the travel mind-set of exploration and discovery beyond their trips overseas to their everyday lives. WHAT IS YOUR TRAVEL PREDICTION FOR 2017?

I think digital detoxing will become an even bigger trend as people see travel as an opportunity to get away from everything, including social media, email etc. Technology is enabling a much more pervasive relationship with media now that breaking that cycle is becoming more and more valuable. JUDY VANRENEN, FOUNDER, BOTANICA WORLD DISCOVERIESWHAT IS YOUR NEW YEAR TRAVEL RESOLUTION?

I would really like to get back to the Chelsea Flower and Garden Show this year. It features in my new book, Along the Garden Path, which I have created to give to our return travellers, and it really is the place to go to see the latest garden design and new-release plants. I also want to focus on creating new opportunities for solo travellers, so that they feel comfortable travelling with like-minded people. WHAT IS YOUR TRAVEL PREDICTION FOR 2017?

Travellers will continue to seek unique destinations and botanical experiences away from crowded cities and traffic jams. This will mean that small ship cruising will become even more attractive, especially when it is possible to access private gardens from the water. JAMES BAILLIE, BAILLIE LODGES, MANAGING DIRECTORWHAT IS YOUR NEW YEAR TRAVEL RESOLUTION?

I’ve just closed out on the most amazing year of travel adventures for my “festival of 50” but given the new year brings the demands of a major enhancement project at our luxury basecamp Longitude 131 at Uluru, we will have to rain check lengthier adventures for a while. That doesn’t mean we can’t take some short breaks though! My wife Hayley and I decided to give each other surprise short break trips for Christmas – the new Kokomo Fiji and a train journey across to check out the Como Treasury in Perth were under the tree. WHAT IS YOUR TRAVEL PREDICTION FOR 2017?

Buoyant. High end experiential travel is in demand and the hard yards of the luxury lodges in Australia is finally paying off, so it’s likely that we will see a number of new projects announced opening up new experiences. At Baillie Lodges we are working on reinvesting in our existing lodges to ensure our guests’ expectations are always exceeded, and we’re also looking to new horizons, with the next remarkable Baillie Lodges adventure in mind.   This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Jul 18

Sydney Now: What you need to know on Friday, December 30, 2016

Good morning.
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For the penultimate day of 2016, temperatures are forecast to hit 36 in the CBD and 38 in Parramatta. There’s an even chance of storms from the late afternoon, the Bureau reckons.  Time to pass, prices to rise

Life is about to become more expensive for drivers, asthmatics, pensioners, home-owners and people with sweet tooths. Few consumer groups are unaffected by yearly changes to laws and regulations.

Opal fares are frozen till July but tolls will increase between 1¢ and 8¢ for cars using several motorways, so too will fares for the Manly Ferry East.

Our economics writer crunches the numbers.

He’s out

Lithgow councillor Martin Ticehurst has been suspended from the council for five years.

His offence? He called a political rival a “bitch” and said he hoped she choked on her sandwich. NYE 2016

The Foti family have had charge of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks extravaganza for two decades. Yesterday they unveiled plans for this year’s display.

“We’re gonna make it rain purple this year for the first time and it’ll be not only off the barges but also off the Sydney Harbour Bridge,” he said.

David Bowie, Prince and Gene Wilder will also be remembered in this year’s display.

Bondi Rescue

The police rescue helicopter and about ten patrol cars were very busy searching the waters of Bondi Beach late last night.

“It was a cardboard box,” a spokeswoman said. Lobster rolls…

…took over America. Now they are the perfect accompaniment to a Sydney New Year’s Eve, our Good Food section this week advises.   Cocaine sights

As night fell on Christmas Day, a small dinghy motored into tiny Parsley Bay near Brooklyn on the Hawkesbury River.

Unbeknownst to its skipper, he was in the wake of two years of police surveillance and a series of major blunders. 

Follow us on Facebook for the latest Sydney news

Sydney Now 

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Jul 18

Traveller letters: Watch your wallet on flights, even if you’re in business class

Money was removed from a wallet in business class during a flight. Cycling south-east Asia. Photo: iStock
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I recently flew between Auckland to Los Angeles in Air New Zealand’s business class. The flight was comfortable with good service. However, to my horror, after my bed had been restored to its normal seat position I found that my wallet, which had been in the pocket of my in-flight pyjamas, was now underneath the footstool but with all of the cash, approximately $US1000 and $A200, missing.

This theft must have occurred either when my seat was being converted to a bed (the underneath of the footstool is virtually inaccessible when the bed is set) or vice versa.

I complained to the flight purser, who said he would make a note of it in his flight report. However, he refused to write a police report. After I complained directly to Air New Zealand, the final response one month later was that as no one had admitted to the theft, that was the end of the matter.

Their offer to co-operate with any police complaint I might make was completely disingenuous, especially given the original absence of a police report from the purser. No recompense, in any form, has been forthcoming.

Tim Noble, Southbank VIC LETTER OF THE WEEK

I have just toured south-east Asia on my bicycle, which was a fantastic experience apart from the unbelievable frustration of taking a bicycle aboard an aircraft.

Vietnam Airlines classed my boxed bike as special luggage and wanted to charge me an extra $415 to take it back to Melbourne. After a huge scene at Saigon Airport, I left without it.

All airlines insist you dismantle your bike and put it into a box, yet they do not provide any boxes and there are no facilities to work on at any airport with one exception, Christchurch Airport in New Zealand.

It has a special cycling assembling-dismantling area. In Australia, most people will not fly with a bike because it’s just too much of a headache.

Ken Gray, Beaumaris, VIC HANGING OFFENCE

Many hotels, motels, river cruise boats and the like, display notices asking guests to hang up their towels, face washers and floor mats if they want to use them again and thereby save washing and help the environment.

I always carefully hang them up only to come back to our room or cabin later to find that they have all  been replaced with clean ones. Why do they do this? It seems a waste of time and money to put these signs up if the staff take no notice of them.

Eileen Pearson, Tura Beach, NSW WAITING GAME

As I was going to Paris for the first time, I booked a pick-up through Parishuttle, which would pick me up at my terminal and take me to my accommodation.

On arrival I  had to call them and advise them which terminal to pick me up from. When I called I was told they would be there in 30 minutes. Three more phone calls and two hours later, they finally arrived. This after a 23-hour flight. No explanation as to the delay nor any apology.

Kathryn Willersdorf, Coburg, VIC RENTAL CRISIS

We recently paid in advance for an Avis rental car in Spain. Although we paid for six weeks’ rental, we were told that there would be two contracts. Inexplicably, Avis has a 30-day limit for contracts. We were assured that all was well and it was just paperwork to issue us with two contracts. We understood we would pay €70 on collection of the car for the additional driver.

However, we returned home to note that our credit card had been charged twice for the second driver option even though we had the one car for the full six weeks. Avis’ justification for the additional €70 was that we had taken two contracts on the same car.

I suppose we should have known better, despite the assurances of the car hire supplier. Once before we had used Avis and had to claw back an additional $800 charge on our credit card.


In reference to your feature by Max Anderson on Aurora, New York, (Traveller, December 17) I grew up there in the 1950s-60s on a small farm at the north end of the village. My parents bought the farm in 1950 from Edith P. Morgan who, when she died, left her lakeside mansion to the town as a primary school.

The real trouble with Pleasant Rowland started with the circa 1830s Aurora Inn, which was completely gutted in her  version of “restoration”. And, one reason so many historic buildings were in disrepair was that Wells College bought up many properties, including our farm, in the late ’60s when the college expanded to accommodate the Baby Boomers swelling college enrolments.

Then after the boom, the college was left with a surplus it couldn’t afford to maintain. But Aurora has been through many an incarnation, starting in 1779 with the burning of the Indian village and the massacre of the Cayuga Indians by the Sullivan & Clinton Expedition, American troops who punished the Indians for siding with the British during the Revolutionary War.

Then in the 1850s the Wells and Morgan families built their homes on the lake and started Wells College for women. Now Pleasant Rowland has put her own “historic” stamp on the place – a “theme-park” 19th-century village. Aurora will go on perhaps to have yet another incarnation if the Indian Land Title is ever restored to them.

Who knows?

Diane Webster, Narooma, NSW Send us your travel-related opinions and experiences

Letters may be edited for space, legal or other reasons. Preference will be given to letters of 50-100 words or less. Email us at [email protected]南京夜网419论坛 and, importantly, include your name, address and phone number.

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Jul 18

Kyle’s had an ultimate ride

A LITTLE more than a month after announcing his retirement from the UFC, Dubbo-born fighter Kyle Noke admits the prospect of never stepping into the Octagon again is hard to come to grips with.
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WHACK: Kyle Noke ended Peter Sobotta’s night with this front body kick at UFC 193 in Melbourne.

The 36-year-old pioneer of the sport pulled the pin on his career after losing to Omari Akhmedov at UFC Fight Night in Melbourne but said he knew his time was up after a controversial loss to Alex Morono in early January.

WINNER: Noke raises his arms in victory after Sobotta was unable to continue their fight in November 2015.

He finished his career with a professional record of 22 wins, 10 losses and one draw, and while most of us would marvel at being on the UFC stage for more than six years, Noke says he’s not one to reflect too much.

“I’ve been enjoying retirement. I’ve had a proper Christmas break with my family for the first time in a long time and I’ve been doing plenty of surfing,” he said.

BUDDIES: Some down time in the pool with good friend and UFC legend Jon ‘Bones’ Jones.

“I haven’t really looked back too much on my career but I do realise that I’ve been very fortunate to have done what I’ve done.

“But being a fighter is a pretty selfish career choice in one way. It’s now time to focus on my family and not myself.”

BATTLE: Fighting a bloody bout with American Andrew Craig in Sydney back in 2012.

One thing Noke has realised in the weeks since his final bout is just how banged up his body has become.

Serious shoulder and knee injuries ravaged him between 2012 and 2015 and it is only now that he is getting rest and relaxation that he realises just how badly he was hurting.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Putting AFL star Gary Ablett in a rear naked chokehold during a promotional photo shoot.

“My shoulders, my back, my wrists,they’re all sore,” he said.

“Because I was constantly training and fighting I never really got the chance to assess how sore I really was.”

Noke said he realised his time in the UFC was up when he lost a split decision to Morono at UFC 195 in Las Vegas.

From that point on his hunger for the sport diminished a little.

“I wasn’t happy with my last three fights, starting with Morono, even though I still think I won that fight,” he said.

“After that I spoke to my dad, and I took a fight in South Dakota and lost that too.

“My last fight I took because it was in Australia and I fought simply to fight, not to win, that hunger had gone a little and that made the decision pretty easy for me.

“Fighting is 80 per cent mental and when you’re heart isn’t fully in it then you become vulnerable. It eats me away a little bit that it ended like that but the sport has given me an amazing life.”

Noke’s list of training partners during his time working at the renowned Team Jackson in Albuquerque is a who’s who of mixed martial arts.

Along the way Noke has sparred with the likes of Jon Jones, arguably the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the promotion’s history, as well as former womens bantamweight champion Holly Holm.

The latter, of course, was responsible for the greatest upset in UFC history when she defeated Ronda Rousey in Melbourne on the same card as Noke destroyed Peter Sobotta with a front body kick.

“People ask me about Jon, or Holly, or ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone because they see them as these awesomeelite athletes,” he said.

“It’s funny because to me, they’re my mates. They’re great people who I’ve worked closely with in order to get where I got to in the sport.”

Noke returned to Dubbo just prior to Christmas for a couple of days with family, and plans on returning early in the new year.

Now entrenched in working at a training facility in Queensland, he is keen to bring along the next wave of UFC stars from Australia.

“I’m loving the coaching because it means I’m not walking away from the sport completely. I’m not fighting anymore but I’m still heavily involved,” he said.

“There’s so many people I’d like to thank who have helped me but one in particular is Brendon Dunstan.

“He used to pick me up every morning and take me to the gym, and he also taught me to pinch my pennies so I could afford to go to the USA in the very early days.

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Jul 18

Tips and things to do in Riga, Latvia: The three-minute guide

Aerial view of Riga centre from St Peter’s Church, Riga, Latvia. Photo: iStockWHY
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Feel the former Eastern Bloc shrug off its dour image in the Latvian capital city, where a demure facade gives way to a place of surprising life and energy. Riga’s exquisite World Heritage-listed old town is as pretty as any in Eastern Europe, but the city is also home to a young population that keeps the bars and music lit and loud well into the night. Wander among Europe’s finest collection of art nouveau buildings, and get a sobering glimpse of Soviet times before washing it all down with a beer or three. VISIT

Riga’s historic centre is a chessboard of city squares, the most striking of which is Town Hall Square. On one side of the square is the city’s most ornate, and arguably prettiest, building: the curiously named House of the Blackheads. Once home to the hard-partying Blackheads brotherhood, it’s been rebuilt seven times, most recently in 2001 after being destroyed in World War II. A few steps from the house is St Peter’s Church, with Riga’s tallest spire. Take the glass lift to the top of the spire and you’ll find the city’s finest view. EAT

For something very different to the old town’s tourist restaurants, head north of the emblematic Freedom Monument to Miera Street. This grim-looking strip of faded buildings and faded grandeur is also now home to an emerging string of hip little cafes such as Miera and Vina Telpa. At the old town’s edge, beside the remnants of the city wall, dine in style among the clean, minimalist decor of 3 Pavaru (3pavari.lv), run by three Latvian celebrity chefs. LOOK

The Corner House (okupacijasmuzejs.lv/en/kgb-building) looks much like any other building on busy Brivibas Street, but it once filled Latvians with terror. The former base of the Cheka (the Soviet security organisation) opened to visitors in 2014 and is a literal journey into the hell of humanity. Tours take you through an interrogation room to a cramped cell, the cage-like exercise yard, and finally a one-time execution room. It’s an emotional hour – my young Corner House guide was fighting back tears at one point. MUST

Riga is Europe’s art nouveau showpiece, with one-third of its buildings said to be of art nouveau design. Short Alberta Street is the finest example, with wall-to-wall art nouveau structures – all turrets, towers and frills, with gargoyles peering down from wedding-cake facades. See behind the facades at the corner Art Nouveau Museum (jugendstils.riga.lv/eng/muzejs), a beautifully renovated apartment furnished in full art nouveau style. SLEEP

Neiburgs and Konventa Seta offer utter contrasts, but are both attractions as much as hotels. Neiburgs (neiburgs南京夜网) is all style, and fills one of the most magnificent art nouveau buildings in the old town – you almost want to sleep outside just to wake up looking at the facade. Nearby Konventa Seta (hotelkolonna南京夜网/hotels/riga/konventa-seta/en) is a sleep inside history, with rooms spread across seven buildings of a 15th-century convent. It’s not fancy, but like all good convents it has a day spa, with offerings that include a sensual massage for two – the nuns most certainly wouldn’t approve. TIP

For a grand Rigan sunset, head to the rooftop bar of the Albert Hotel (alberthotel.lv), peering across the tips of the old town. Add local flavour to the experience with a shot of black balsam, a uniquely Latvian concoction. Containing 24 herbs, it’s been distilled in Riga since the 1750s and is suitably medicinal in taste. Try it straight, or with rum or blackcurrant juice.

Andrew Bain travelled courtesy of UTracks.

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Jul 18

Rodeo run out of town

Change of plans: The Bulli leg of Bikes and Bulls (pictured here in Maitland earlier this year) has been moved to Camden. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.A rodeo and motocross event which was scheduled to hit Bulli Showgroundat the end of January has been moved to Camden, following a widely supportedonline petition which raised concerns about animal cruelty.
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Pitched as a family entertainment show where “the two most dangerous sports in the world face off”, the Bikes and Bulls show was due to arrive in Wollongong on January 22, according to an application being considered by Wollongong City Council.

However, on the event’s website, the January 22 show has been moved west, to Camden Equestrian Park.

Three weeks ago, Bulli resident Claire Roberts started a petition on Change.org to protest the event, saying signatories“strongly object to the rodeo component of this event because it is cruel to the animals involved”.

“Electric prods, spurs, and bucking straps are used to irritate and enrage animals used in rodeos,”Ms Roberts wrote.

“Due to cruelty, traditional rodeo events are banned in Britain and in parts of Europe and the United States and should be banned in Australia.”

She urged petitioners to write to the council to object to the show and received more than 1500 votes of support from Illawarra residents and people around the world.

It is not clear if the petition was the cause of the event’s move to Camden, and the Wollongong event remainsunder consideration by the council until January 9.

The Mercury’s phone calls to Carmichael Entertainment –the event organisers for Bikes and Bulls –were not returned before deadline.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries has a code of practice for animals used in rodeo events which states that the “welfare of animals used in rodeo events must be safeguarded”.

The code says that “no animal shall be beaten or cruelly prodded”.

“The use of sticks, metal piping, wood, heavy leather belts, wooden paddles and similar objects is not permitted,” it says.

“Standard electric prods shall be used as little as possible and may be powered by battery or dynamo only.”

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Jul 18

Happy Friday, Tassie | December 30, 2016

Tasmania’s news headlinesNorth-West weatherFriday will bepartly cloudy with amedium chance of showers in the west and a slight chance elsewhere. West to northwesterly winds are expected to reach 30km/h.
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The UV Index is predicted to reach 13, which is extreme. Sun protection should be worn from 9am to 5.50pm.

News snapshotDevonport prepares to light up New Year’s:Devonport’s bigger and better New Year’s Eve celebration.

State’s bikie war rages on:Deputy Commissioner Scott Tilyard weighs in on outlaw motorcycle gangs in Tasmania.

Cycling results shared around:A standout rider was hard to pick on the opening day of the cycling program at the Devonport Carnival with results being shared around.

Pic by @doupishousi in Sydney.

Regional newsLAUNCESTON | Falls pill-testing trial pushHarm Reduction Australia says Tasmania could offer a pill-testing service at Falls Festival as a trial that other states could follow.

The organisation’s president, Gino Vumbaca, said he would love to see Tasmania lead the way on the issue, which has been a hot topic nationwide in the lead-up to festival season.

Harm Reduction Australia wants Tasmania to lead the nation in a festival pill-testing trial. Picture: Scott Gelston

ULLADULLA |South Coast men face court after biggest cocaine bust in Australian historyTwo South Coast men are among 15 arrested in connection to an alleged multi-million dollar drug syndicate importing cocaine via Sydney’s iconic fish markets and other NSW ports.

Michael Pirrello, 33, and Francesco Pirello, 39, were arrested in Ulladulla and refused bail in Nowra Local Court on Thursday.

AFP officers stand guard over some of the 500kilo cocaine seized during the Christmas Day bust. Picture: Kate Geraghty

BENDIGO | Victoriabracingfor January 1 power price hikeVictorians could pay an average of $230 a year more for their combined electricity and gas bills in 2017 as a price hike comes into effect from January 1.

Consumers are being urged to shop around to avoid price gouging, with the bulk of the electricity price rise blamed on the looming closure of the Hazelwood power station.

Expect to pay more.

BALLARAT | Region’s road toll highest in 20 yearsRoad authorities are making a last minute New Year plea to drivers to stop the region’s road toll, which is the worst in 20 years, from further increasing.

This year the combined Ballarat, Moorabool, Hepburn and Pyrenees government arearecorded 21 road fatalities –more than four times higher than in 2015.

Be safe, plead police.

TAMWORTH | First buskers arrive in country music capitalFrom the Kimberley to Tamworth. Pete Brandy and John Till of BackRoadshave arrived in Tamworth before the Country Music Festivalto sink their teeth into Tamworth’s city’s music atmosphere.

With just over 20 days to go until the big event kicks off, Brandy said locals could check out BackRoads in the city’s main street, and he invited them to come along and listen to the traditional styles of country music including Johnny Cash and Noel Haggard.

Pete Brandy from the Kimberley with David Alexander of Cheapa Music in Tamworth on Thursday. Photo: Simon McCarthy

NOWRA | Sharks swarm Hyams BeachA NSW Department of Primary Industries helicopter took an amazing aerial photograph of a large number of whaler sharks on Thursday. The twitter account @NSWSharkSmarttweeted a picture of 17 whaler sharks in shallow water off Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay about 9:30am.

A aerial photograph of 17 whaler sharks in shallow water at Hyams Beach. Photo: Twitter – @NSWSharkSmart

Just because …You’ve been at work all week? Be like this on Friday:


— The Ministry of GIFs (@GIFs) December 29, 2016National newsJulie Bishop backs Israel rather than the US over UN resolution

Australia has broken ranks with the United States and New Zealand over Israel, indicating that it would most likely have opposed the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israelisettlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Julie Bishop said the government had ”consistently not supported one-sided resolutions targeting Israel”. Photo: Andrew Meares

January 1 price rises and benefit cuts: what you need to know

They say life can change in an instant. Never is that more true than when the clock strikes midnight on December 31.

Along with hangovers and dark circles under their eyes, Australians will awake on Sunday to a host of increased fees, charges, changed regulations and reduced benefits.

Australians will awake on Sunday to a host of increased fees, changed regulations and reduced benefits. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer

Federal government spends record amount on digital advertising

The federal government spent a record amount on digital advertising in Australia last financial year, with growth in spending on new platforms outpacing all traditional media except for television.

Spending to promote the Turnbull government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda cost $14.9 million. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

National weather radarInternational newsIndonesian police point to Islamic State after 2016 spike in terrorism cases

Indonesia’s police chief has attributed a sharp rise in the number of alleged terrorists handled by his force to the influence of Islamic State and the defeats it is experiencing in the Middle East.

The number of alleged terrorists dealt with by Indonesian police in 2016 was more than double the previous year, as ISencouraged terror cells to carry out attacks beyond Syria.

An Indonesian policeman stands guard in front of a blast site in the aftermath of the January 14 Jakarta attacks. Photo: Getty Images

ASX bounces off early losses to clock new 2016 highs

Shares rallied off early losses to send the benchmark top 200 index to new 2016 highs and within a whisker of 5700 points, as strength in resources names and the big banks outweighed losses in listed property and utility sectors.

A poor lead from Wall St made for a difficult start to the second last trading session for the year, made even trickier as a host of listed trusts traded without the rights to their shareholder payouts.

Continued strength in commodity prices has buoyed the ASX. Photo: Rio Tinto

On this day | December 301703Tokyo hit by Earthquake; about 37,000 die

1924AstronomerEdwin Hubbleformally announces existence of other galactic systems at meeting of the American Astronomical Society

1992 Shane Warne takes 7-52 to lead Australian MCG win vs. West Indies

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Jul 18

The 10 best city walking tours

Delhi Food Walk. Expect humour and panache on an Insider Tours, Berlin.
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Sample authentic Indian cuisine on the Delhi Food Walk.

Glasgow Music City Tours.

Guide Fiona Shepherd on Barrowland Pathway, Glasgow Music City Tours.

Spade & Palacio, Montreal.


“The best way to experience a city is through its history, yet with an understanding of its future.” So goes the mantra of the crew at Insider Tour Berlin who carefully select their guides to deliver in-depth, unscripted tours on a variety of topics covering Berlin’s dynamic history and culture. It’s the guides that really set this outfit apart; a mix of academics, history buffs, opera directors or adventurers, they deliver an encyclopaedic level of knowledge with humour and genuine panache. The four-hour Famous Insider Walk covering everything from the fall of the Berlin Wall to Hitler’s bunker and the Reichstag parliament building is a must. See insidertour南京夜网  2 CHICAGO ARCHITECTURE TOURS

Chicago’s architecture is among the most revered in America and for good reason. Since most of the downtown area was obliterated in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the city underwent a radical redesign involving some of the most innovative architects in the world. Chicago Architecture Foundation offers more than 85 tours covering every conceivable facet of this history but some of the best include the Art Deco and Historic Skyscrapers tours and the Chicago Masterworks, a riveting overview of the city’s most iconic buildings from the 1870s to the present. The 90-minute River Cruise Tour taking in more than 50 buildings from the water is another favourite.  See architecture.org  3 FRYING PAN ADVENTURES, DUBAI

Experience the “other side” to Dubai with a stroll through some of its ancient neighbourhoods stretching back to the 1980s. Seriously though, this is a great way to investigate the back streets and alleys with a culture far removed from the rampant consumerism, indoor ski slopes and mega hotels. While introducing you to local vendors and chefs, self-confessed “food nerd” guides will show you the best places to sample anything from Palestinian falafels to spicy Indian samosas and the tastiest delicacies in town. See fryingpanadventures南京夜网  4 GRAFFITIMUNDO, BUENOS AIRES

Along with the likes of Berlin, Mexico City and London, Buenos Aires is home to some of the world’s most remarkable street art. Much of it is entrenched in the turbulent political history that saw many a disenfranchised youth wield a defiant spray can in the name of creative activism. It’s the sheer scale and intricacy of many of the murals that will blow you away; some artists even experimented with unusual materials such as asphaltic paint and petrol enabling them to create pieces on a scale that beggars belief. The passionate team at Graffitimundo will guide you around a selection of the best, shedding light on the stories behind the murals before winding up at a bar-come-studio run by practising street artists. See graffitimundo南京夜网  5 UNDERGROUND PORTLAND

A guilty pleasure if ever there was one, this tour describes itself as “A treat for lovers of all things sinister – crime, scandal and controversial characters –  a no-holds-barred excursion into the worst Portland has to offer”. After roaming the streets for the earlier portion of the tour, you’ll then take a subterranean detour beneath the historic Merchant Hotel, an area that was once home to the “Portland Shanghai Tunnels” connecting the Old Town and Chinatown to the central downtown area. Built to unite a network of bars and hotels with the waterfront of the Willamette River, they were used to transport goods quickly and efficiently but some claim they were also used for the more nefarious purpose of Shanghaiing. See portlandwalkingtours南京夜网  6 GLASGOW MUSIC CITY TOURS

Ever yearned to explore the ins and outs of Glasgow’s flourishing music scene? Me neither, but a few minutes into this tour and you’ll be a convert. Led by music fanatics, music writers, and local guys and gals thoroughly entrenched in the city’s cultural landscape, you’ll learn of the best place to see gigs, buy records (yes, some people still like to) and hear intriguing tales of musical folklore. There are two main tours to choose from; the iconic Merchant City and East End Music Venues and Glasgow’s Music Mile. Alternatively, you can tailor-make your own bespoke group tour to suit whatever sounds soothe a savage beast. See glasgowmusiccitytours南京夜网 7 SPADE & PALACIO, MONTREAL

After meeting at guiding classes, diehard Montrealers Danny and Anne-Marie bonded over their shared love of their city and the desire to share it with others. Three years later they set up Spade & Palacio, a tour outfit that has since garnered a reputation as one of the finest in town. The philosophy here is simple; groups are kept intimate – no more than 10 – and the tours showcase lesser known parts of the city while championing young entrepreneurs, artists and innovators. Tours include the Montreal Mural Tour, Beyond the Bike Lanes and Beyond the Market, where you’ll discover hidden charcuteries, local craft brewers and more. See spadeandpalacio南京夜网  8 DELHI FOOD WALK

For travellers, deciding where to eat in a city like Delhi can be a nervy, Imodium-clutching experience, with danger lurking behind every bubbling vat of spiced dhal. But authentic Indian cuisine is some of the finest in the world and to skip on sampling local dishes in favour of chicken and chips back at the hotel is simply criminal. Enter Urban Adventures who will guide you on a three-hour excursion around some of the most genuine, thriving culinary haunts in the city. Mingling with market traders, food vendors and restaurateurs, you’ll scoff your way through anything from shawarmas and dumplings to homemade ice-cream and even fruit beer. A microwave Vindaloo will never look the same again. See urbanadventures南京夜网  9 WINES OF VENICE 

Team up with a local sommelier to explore some of the hidden haunts of Veneto wine while learning about its importance within Italian culture. As you’re whisked around several off the beaten track enotecas  – that’s wine bars to you and me – your ridiculously knowledgeable guide will fill you in on the history of Veneto wine while encouraging you to sample several varietals a world away from the overpriced paint stripper you’ll likely find at nearby tourist trap restaurants. The trip also includes local appetisers, from cured meats to wonderfully potent cheeses and more. See contexttravel南京夜网  10 URBAN DESIGN AND CULTURE, COPENHAGEN

Born out of a mission statement in 2005 to steer away from eye-glazing shuffles around sterile museums and monuments, CPH: Cool (shame about the name) aims to showcase the best of Copenhagen through a mix of design, culture and shopping extravaganzas. There are 10 tours ranging from design and beer to revamped neighbourhoods and architectural curiosities.  The CPH: North tour for example gives a detailed insight into the Norrebro neighbourhood, a melting pot of immigrants and hipsters that was a hub of factories and cheap apartment blocks in the 1960s and has since become one of the slickest parts of town. See cphcool.dk

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Jul 18

Flood face-off

UNHAPPY: Concerned Yenda citizens say council’s decision does not give them the protection they need and deserve.Five years after floods devastated the Yenda community, its citizens still lack concrete protection, with debate erupting over how best to stop the townflooding again in the future.
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In December, Griffith City councillors votedto apply for fundingto reinstate thedecommissionedflood gates at theYenda East Mirrool Regulator.

It is a move a group of concerned residents sayis not good enough, believing it is only capable of protecting their homes from a one-in-50-year flood event.

“What we want is for council to design new automated flood gates on both banks of the Canal, capable of mitigating a one-in-100-year flood event,” president of the Yenda Flood Victims Association Paul Rossetto said. Mr Rossetto said the2016 Yenda rain event wasa one-in-five-year rain event and was only ‘just’managed.

The frustration felt by the group was expressed by Gladys Cannard, who said the town wanted less talk and moreaction. “They say flat out they won’t let Yenda flood again, but they still haven’t done anything,” she said.

Griffith City Council’s Brett Stonestreet said while theoption of the automated flood gates was originally recommended, it had never been discussed by the flood management committee who had previously decided to pursue funding for a Lawson siphon. This decision was reversed due to timing and money concerns.

“The cost estimate for both these options was the same, in excess of $10 million,” he said. “That would mean securing an $8 million grant … the likelihood of which is very remote.” Mr Stonestreet said the community would be waiting a decade for either of the two options, with ratepayers having to foot the cost of thedifference.

He said council’s application would mean Yenda having actionin two to three years,assuring the community the gates would be supplemented by publicly releaseddocumented protocols tied to specific water flows to protect the town.

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Jul 18

Summer Quiz: Cricket

David Warner celebrates his 10th ODI century during Australia’s win over New Zealand at Manuka Oval in Canberra on December 6. Photo: Cricket Australia Meg Lanning takes a spectacular diving catch to dismiss Rachael Haynes of the Thunder during a Women’s Big Bash League match. Photo: Scott Barbour
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1. Who was the first Australian captain to win an Ashes series 5-0?

a) Warwick Armstrong

b) Michael Clarke

c) Ricky Ponting

2. Which Australian woman has scored nine ODI centuries?

a) Belinda Clark

b) Meg Lanning

c) Karen Rolton

3. Who did Australia oppose in the Hobart Test in 1989?

a) New Zealand

b) Pakistan

c) Sri Lanka

4. For what trophy do England and the West Indies play?

a) WG Grace Trophy

b) Gary Sobers Shield

c) Wisden Trophy

5. Which current player has the most Test wickets?

a) James Anderson

b) Chris Broad

c) Dale Steyn

6. Who scored 237* in a World Cup quarter-final?

a) Chris Gayle

b) Martin Guptill

c) Sachin Tendulkar

Mitchell Starc covers his face after a missed catching chance off his bowling against South Africa during the test match in Adelaide on November 26. Photo: Rick Rycroft, AP

7. Who has the best bowling figures for an Australian spinner at the SCG?

a) Allan Border

b) Stuart Macgill

c) Shane Warne

8. Who took the first five-wicket haul in ODI cricket?

a) Ian Botham

b) Dennis Lillee

c) Andy Roberts

9. Who made their Test debut on the 2015 Ashes series?

a) Joe Burns

b) Usman Khawaja

c) Peter Nevill

10. Who is the only Australian to score a Test century against the World XI?

a) Adam Gilchrist

b) Matthew Hayden

c) Ricky Ponting

11. Who made his Test debut in the same match as Mark Taylor?

a) Glenn McGrath

b) Trevor Hohns

c) Michael Slater

12. Which wicketkeeper has made the most Test dismissals?

a) Mark Boucher

b) Adam Gilchrist

c) Ian Healy

Answers: 1. (a), 2. (b), 3. (c), 4. (c), 5. (a), 6. (b), 7. (a), 8. (b), 9. (c), 10. (b), 11. (b), 12. (a).

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