All Melbourne Hotels Blog

Geelong Real Estate – Property and Real Estate for Sale in Geelong Victoria

forex market Geelong Real Estate, businesses and vacant land for development continues to increase in demand as this popular ‘city by the bay’ emerges from its 1930’s industrial cocoon into an affordable and well serviced coastal city with impressive foreshore developments, parklands and as a gateway to the internationally acclaimed Great Ocean Road.

The state capital of Melbourne is an easy commute only an hour away via either the Princes Highway or railway. The recently redeveloped Avalon airport is just fifteen minutes from central Geelong and provides flights to many Australian, and some international destinations. Geelong is the second largest city in Victoria and the 12th biggest city in Australia.

Geelong is a unique place to live with a blend of hilltop mansions, Victorian classics, modern apartments, quiet streets and a stunning foreshore promenade. The city continues to redefine itself as a modern and contemporary alternative to Melbourne with restaurants, bars, cafes and shopping strips as well as its own university and hospital. All whilst enjoying the laid back lifestyle Geelong has to offer.

Geelong has also provided a conveniently located ‘sea change’ destination for many Melbournians who have relocated the short distance to Geelong and some of the arterial towns of Queenscliff, Torquay and Apollo Bay

At the time of writing (February 2008) property prices in Geelong begin around $90,000 – $150,000 for a one and two bedroom unit in areas such as Belmont, Breakwater, Whittington and Grovedale.

Three bedroom ex-housing commission homes on modest allotments of 600 sqm start at about $150,000 in the cheaper Geelong suburbs of Norlane and Corio. New, modern and fully optioned homes in areas such as Clifton Springs and Waurn Ponds and larger older brick homes can be found in bay side towns such as Portarlington, St Leonards and Indented Head at around $450,000

For around $800,000 you can expect a Federation style home overlooking Geelong city and Corio Bay.

In the twelve months to 31st January 2008 median house prices in Geelong increased 11.8% to $348,800 with 47% of those listed for auction sold on the day. Similarly across the Geelong region prices increased 11.1% to $278,250. The exclusive suburb of Newtown saw median prices rise 12.1% to $390,000

Famous Prestigious Events

Melbourne is the second most populous city in Australia, with a metropolitan area population of approximately 3.7 million. Victoria’s capital, Melbourne, sits on the Yarra River and around the shores of Port Phillip Bay. Melbourne boasts glamorous festivals and events, Australia’s best shopping, a lively passion for eating and drinking, and a flourishing interest in the arts.

Restored and preserved nineteenth-century architecture, built following the discovery of gold, provides a heady reminder of a prosperous age, while beautifully tended parks and gardens present a therapeutic respite from the pace of city life.

Once forgotten warehouses and obscure laneways have emerged as designer-cool caves for patrons drinking pleasure. Melbourne has over 1,000 pubs, bars and nightclubs. Melbourne’s night life centres around Flinders Lane and King Street with dozens of retro-style bars and clubs. The chic hotels tend to have hip cocktail lounges with an A list clientele. Crown Casino’s two night clubs and the numerous bars along Southgate add life to the city centre.

Events in Melbourne and Victoria host some of Australia’s most prestigious events throughout the year, including the Spring Racing Carnival and the Melbourne Cup in November, the Australian Open Tennis Championships in January, the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in March, the Melbourne International Arts Festival in October, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show in March and April.

Chapel Street is one of Melbourne, Australia’s best shopping, dining and entertainment precincts. It has a myriad of shops ranging from exclusive upmarket fashion designers at the South Yarra end to old fashion pawnbrokers towards Windsor

Today, the city is home to some of Australia’s best shopping strips, such as the famous Chapel Street which stretches many blocks through Prahran and South Yarra while heritage arcades such as the Block and the Royal Arcade and the CBD’s myriad lanes offer a more intimate shopping experience. The large Chadstone Shopping Centre markets itself as the Fashion Capital. Strip shopping localities include Toorak Village, known for its exclusiveness, and Bridge Road in Richmond, known for its extensive factory out.

In the city, you can enjoy afternoon tea in the genteel surroundings of a nineteenth-century hotel, watch and be watched in buzzing laneway cafes and bars, or handpick a bottle of Yarra Valley chardonnay at the latest uber-chic hangout. Head out a little further and explore one of Melbournes specialist eating destinations, Richmond for cheap and cheerful Vietnamese dishes, Carlton for Italian classics, Fitzroy for tantalising Spanish tap as.

The Yarra Valley – A Premier Australian Wine Region

The Yarra Valley is located a short 90 minutes north-east of Melbourne, the capital of the southern Australian state of Victoria, and is an idyllic destination for a day tour or weekend getaway. The Yarra Valley’s rolling green hills are brimming with vineyards, boutique wineries, orchards, cheesemakers and quality restaurants, and the whole region is quite simply a gourmet’s delight. Whatever your interests, Melbourne’s Yarra Valley has something for everyone.

The Yarra Valley is home to many excellent food and wine festivals. In January, raspberry lovers can enjoy the Kinglake Raspberry Fair, while May offers the Kellybrook Cider Festival and the Grape Grazing Festival. In November, the Victoria Strawberry Festival is held in Seville and the Country Harvest Festival is held at the Warratina Lavender Farm. In December, the Victorian Cherry Festival is held at Wandin.

The Yarra Valley is home to at least 23 wineries which are open to visitors and where you can sample their award-winning produce. The wineries range in scale from large operations such as Rochford’s Eyton and Tarra Warra Estate to small boutique wineries such as Ainsworth Estate in Seville and Warramate Wines near Healesville. If history interests you, the historic Yering Station-Yarrabank winery near Yarra Glen claims to be the first vineyard established in Victoria.

Pioneer history can also be experienced with a visit to Gulf Station, an early farm in Yarra Valley now managed by the National Trust. Lovers of Australian animals can pack a picnic lunch and visit the world famous Healesville Sanctuary to view a large variety of native animals including kanagroos, wallabies, wombats, emus. echidnas, goannas and platypus. On a sunny day the Healesville Sanctuary is a great place for a picnic, and there are plenty of picnic shelters for damper weather. Opposite the Healesville Sanctuary is the Galeena Beek Living Cultural Centre, where you can learn more about the cultural heritage of indigenous Australians from the Melbourne region.

Healesville is delightful country town nestled in the Dandenong Ranges and is a haven for lovers of art, crafts and cafes, making it the perfect place to while away a relaxing day. Healesville is surrounded by charming picnic places, including the Maroondah Reservoir Reserve, which has barbecues and bush walking tracks along the Badger Creek. Visitors of a literary or historical bent can visit the magnificent two hectare Singing Gardens of early Australian author C.J. Dennis, located near Toolangi. C.J. Dennis lived in Toolangi from 1915 until his death in 1935, and wrote his famous work The Sentimental Bloke there.

The Yarra Valley Regional Food Trail allows you to independently explore 14 ‘farm gate taste and buy’ gourmet experiences and 11 ‘pick your own’ produce farms. With more than thirty top quality eating places dotted throughout the Yarra Valley, there’s plenty of gourmet experiences to choose from. And all that is before you even consider the Yarra Valley’s world-renowned wineries!

Whether you love fine food and wine and abundant fresh farm produce, are seeking a relaxing, therapeutic or romantic getaway, or are inspired by natural beauty and want to walk through towering eucalypt forests, an unforgettable experience awaits you in Melbourne’s idyllic Yarra Valley.

The Price of Fuel

With oil looking to head towards a figure of $USD150.00 per barrel, the world’s major economies are beginning to feel the pinch. Regular fiscal management has had to take a good hard look at what it can do to reign in inflation and prevent economies falling in to recession. You see, oil is fundamental to many chains of the economy. Farm equipment require diesel to run. Plastic containers, such as the humble milk bottle, need oil for manufacture. Delivery trucks require oil to deliver these milk bottles to the shops. Most people need fuel in the vehicles to go shopping for these milk bottles. When oil prices rise, basic food requirements become more expensive and so puts pressure on inflation.

For too long, many governments have ignored the fact that oil will at some point, run out. Some governments, such as the Germany & Switzerland have invested heavily in their public transport systems so that they rely less on oil dependent transport, such as aviation. It appears that the oil producers have failed to invest in the public transport infrastructure. The UK rail network still runs on 19th century technology, which makes it the butt of many a comedian’s jokes. The USA is still heavily dependent on aviation for long distance travel as is Australia.

In October 1981, the Australian government mooted the idea of a very fast train that would reduce the travel time between its east coast cities by 3-4 hours. Further discussions upgraded this proposal to a 3.5 hour rail ink to Melbourne. Some 17 years later, nothing had materialized. The initial cost of about $AUD4bn seems rather cheap in todays money, especially when the annual government surplus hovers around the $AUD20bn mark. Constant dithering and the failure to appreciate the resource demands of a galloping India and China makes the decision not to follow through with the VFT more puzzling. Interestingly, BHP was a willing participant on this project, which would have made the project viable. Qantas, Australians national flag carrier, became interested in the high speed rail link that would link Sydney with Canberra. Reducing flights between the two cities would allow the airline to redeploy equipment to other routes. Today, it would be a major cost saving on fuel as airlines seek to reduce the impact of high oil prices.

The Australian Government announced recently that it was providing Toyota with financial incentives to manufacture its hybrid cars in Australia. Audi have developed a vehicle that will use a very miserly amount of 3.8l per 100km. Assuming that economy, the Audi will use just 33.5 litres of fuel on a trip from Sydney to Melbourne! That equates to about $54 in cost. The Australian Government is on the right track in inducing the production of fuel efficient vehicles, but it can go one step further in reducing the taxes that are imposed highly efficient vehicles, such as the Audi A3 TDIe.

In the Car Rental industry, green cars will become more of an inventory option as the price of fuel begins to hit the hip pocket. Diesel cars will gain more demand due to their fuel efficiency. Hybrids are still considered a novelty and their usage is relatively low due to the high cost of hiring one. Companies like Europcar and Hertz continue to market green options through their website and also in print media. Corporate companies, such as Price Waterhouse Coopers, insist that on their car rental contracts that a green option must be made available. Car brokers, such as DriveAway Holidays, have begun to highlight which cars are considered green so that the customer can make more of an informed choice.

In simplistic terms, governments should be providing substantial incentives on reducing the dependency on oil. Reducing tax on super efficient cars, such as the Audi A3 TDie and all Hybrid cars will influence peoples car purchase. Providing financial support to rail infrastructure, such as the VFT in Australia will reduce the dependency on air travel. If all governments around the world proactively invested now, within 5 years, the demand for oil will drop. Will India and China actively seek to reduce their demand on global oil reserves? Who knows? But if they don’t, we are in for some very lean and recessionary years.


Indonesia is derived from “indos nesos”, meaning islands near India. It is the world’s largest archipelago with exactly 17, islands spread between the Asian continent and Australia, and between the Pacific and the Indian oceans.

Air transport is the easiest and most comfortable means of travel in Indonesia. Domestic air service, including the remote areas are provided by Garuda Indonesia, Merpati Nusantara, Sempati Air, Bouraq and Mandala Airlines.

Garuda Indonesia, operates both international and domestic routes and the only airline with an all-jet fleet for domestic Indonesia operations. Garuda serves Honolulu, Los Angeles, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, Paris, Zurich, Rome, Vienna, Cairo, Abu Dhabi, Jeddah, Riyadh, Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Taipei, Manila, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Nagoya, Seoul, Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, Port Hedland and Auckland.

The country’s second national carrier, Merpati Nusantara Airlines, flies to 110 local destinations and to Australia (Darwin), Brunei Darussalam and East Malaysia (Kuching).

The country’s three main gateways are Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Polonia Airport and Ngurah Rai Airport.

International airlines that serve Indonesia are Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines System (MAS), Qantas, Cathay Pacific, and JAL.


Citizens of most countries can stay 60 days without a visa.


Indonesia’s climate is tropical, hot, and humid but moderate in highlands.


The national language is Bahasa Indonesia (a modified form of Malay), English, English, Dutch, almost 600 local dialects, the most widely spoken of which is Javanese.


The official currency, Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) is valued at IDR 9,704.7 per US Dollar.


Domestic rail service is available throughout Java, parts of Sumatra, Jakarta, Bandung and Surabaya. There are comfortable sleeper trains that serve Yogyakarta, Solo, and Semarang.

Bus services are also available and ply the Bali – Banda Aceh route; many are air-conditioned with reclining seats as well as TV with video programs. Cars can also be hired, for longer out of town trips, from taxi or car rental companies.

Inter-island ships are comfortable and offer an alternative to flying. There are regular sailing schedules and routes at the main port of Jakarta.


International Direct Dial Country Code = 62

Fixed Lines = 10,000,000

Mobile Cellular = 30,000,000

Indonesia’s telecommunications service is generally good, provided by an inter-island microwave system, HF radio police net, a domestic satellite communications system and satellite earth stations.

Indonesia’s GSM cellular service providers are Telkomsel, PTT Saleti Palapa, Excelcom and PT Indosat.

Several prepaid calling card and phone card companies are available to call both to and from Indonesia.

Winners of 2007 be Awards of Excellence Announced

Bentley Systems, Incorporated bearing the same name as Bentley, the British-based luxury automobiles and Grand Tourers of Volkswagen, the manufacturer of quality VW Cabriolet Parts — has awarded thirty-one projects in the professional portion of the program. These projects set the standard and showcase the creativity as well as the technical mastery of the organizations that developed them. For the academic portion of the program, BE has awarded the Educator of the Year and the top four student designs.

The announcement of the winners was done last night at a dinner and ceremony that was hosted by Peter Sagal of the National Public Radio Program “Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” and co-sponsored by McGraw-Hill Construction, publisher of Engineering News-Record. There are also independent panel of BE Awards jurors comprising of accomplished Bentley users and renowned industry experts that has helped in choosing the winning projects from among the 280 nominations.

CEO Greg Bentley said, “Honoring the recipients of our BE Awards of Excellence and their wonderfully innovative work is something I look forward to every year. It is a privilege and a pleasure to recognize so much talent and so many projects that will have a positive impact on the world community for generations. On behalf of all my colleagues at Bentley, I heartily congratulate the winners and acknowledge the exceptional quality of all of the nominations.”

Mr. Bentley further said, “During his keynote address, Bentley COO Malcolm Walter announced the winners of a special new category of BE Awards – ‘Best Return on Innovation’ – personally selected this year by Malcolm based on ROI data supplied by each of the nominees. The winners included: Bechtel, Dutch Ministry of Finance, GHAFARI Associates, and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. These organizations are not only improving the world’s infrastructure with award-winning projects, but they are also realizing substantial returns for their investments in innovation. Again, on behalf of Bentley colleagues around the globe, I offer my congratulations to each of these organizations on both accomplishments.”

Here are the winners of the 2007 BE Awards of Excellence:


• BIM for Architecture: Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners Ltd – The Leadenhall Building

• BIM for Building Engineering: M/E Engineering, P.C. – BioMed Engineering and Optics Laboratory Building

• BIM for Multiple Disciplines: Arup – Review and Study of the Opera Theatre Interior and New Works, Sydney Opera House

• BIM for Visualization and Simulation: Dvorak architekti s.r.o. – Vrnata House

• BIM for Sustainable Design: Fortis Bank – Kanselarij Cluster Restructuring Project

• Building Innovation: LJB, Inc. – Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

• Building Structural Analysis, Design, and Documentation: WSP Group plc – Manchester Hilton

• Building Distributed Enterprise: The Standard Bank of South Africa Ltd – Central Premises Information Repository


• Civil Innovation: HNTB – TrueViz™ OnTarget®

• Civil Road Infrastructure: Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick (India) Pvt Ltd – Laning of Hyderabad-Vijayawada and Norra Länken

• Civil Site Design: Vela VKE Consulting Engineering – Zimbali Civil Infrastructure

• Civil Visualization and Simulation: Mott MacDonald Ltd – East London Line Project

• Civil Structural Analysis, Design, and Documentation: Arup – Marina Bayfront Pedestrian Bridge

• Civil Distributed Enterprise: The Banks Group – Centralized Data Storage Using StartPoint and Riverbed WAN Optimization


• Geospatial Communications: Nacap Telecom BV – Fibre Optics ‘Zuid-Limburg’ -Isilinx

• Geospatial Government: Gemeente Amsterdam, Dienst Ruimtelijke Ordening – IJburg

• Geospatial Mapping and Cadastre: Petrobras SA – SGO Project – Petrobras Subsea Assets Tracking

• Geospatial 3D GIS: AAMHatch – True Orthophotography and 3D Model of the City of Melbourne

• Geospatial Water Resource Management: ISKI Genel Mudurlugu – Infrastructure Integration of Mega City – Istanbul

• Geospatial Utilities: Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. – The BGE Bentley Project

• Geospatial Innovation: Dutch Ministry of Finance – Geospatially Enabling the Dutch Ministry of Finance; Putting ‘Where’ into SAP

• Geospatial Distributed Enterprise: Sandia National Laboratories – Power Through Integration Plant

• Plant Multi-Discipline Design: BSPiR Energoprojekt-Katowice S.A. – The Coke Plant “Przyjazn”

• Plant Lifecycle Information Management: North China Power Engineering (Beijing) Co. Ltd – Building Up NCPE Content Management Platform With ProjectWise as the Core

• Plant Structural Analysis, Design, and Documentation: Southern Co. Services – Plant Wansley Units 1-2 FGD Addition

• Plant Visualization and Simulation: Atkins Water – Bolton Wastewater Treatment Works

• Plant Innovation: VECO Alaska Inc. – Conoco Phillips Drill Site Technologies

• Plant Rookie of the Year: Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County – San Jose Creek Central Plant Modification

• Plant Distributed Enterprise: Bechtel – Jamnagar Export Refinery Project

Special Awards

• Best Overall IT Strategy: VECO Alaska Inc. – Bentley Enterprise Implementation and Management

• Well-Trained Organization: Halff Associates, Inc.

Academic Awards

• Educator of the Year: Dr. Howard Turner – California State Polytechnic University

• Middle School/High School – MicroStation: Steffan Egger – The Ultimate Bar (BRG 4/Waltergasse VIENNA)

• Middle School/High School – MicroStation PowerDraft: Anthony Apostolou, Meghan Goff, and Christine Lupton – Pelican Bay Elementary School (Eastern Technical High School

• University/Collegiate, Architecture/Building: Lim Yu Tian (Johathan) – ARCHinteractive (Singapore Polytechnic)

• University/Collegiate, Engineering: Piotr ?ukasz Czerski– An Interchange ‘Przyczolkowa’ in Wilanow District Warsaw (Warsaw University of Technology)

Super Jumbo Jet promises cheaper air fares

If you’ve seen any of the latest developments in passenger jets then chances are you’ll know about the enormous A380, the giant of the skies. The A380 can seat 450 people in varying degrees of prestige from economy, premium economy, business class and first-class.

The size of this aircraft is a sight to behold with it nearly being the full length of a football pitch; the wingspan would easily poke into the seating of a football stadium too. The A380 has three floors to it with a full length middle floor housing the majority of the seating; a stair case toward the front of the plane ascends to the first-class floor.

The lower floor is expected to be set aside by many airlines as cargo storage but some plans being formulated by some flight companies have converted these into sleeping areas or a child care facility.

Compared to the current airlines and passenger aircraft the A380 can accommodate 30-50% more passengers on board and its credentials seem to make it the logical choice for flights in the future. Airbus, the company who created the A380, claims to have developed such a technological advance that makes the A380 more economical and environmentally friendly that the current fleet of Boeing 747s despite its size.

Airbus say their A380 runs on 20% less fuel which is a major sticking point for cheap flights providers these days, they also claim it runs quieter and cheaper too. The flights and tourism industry has suffered many setbacks in the past 12 months with the cost of fuel running higher it has meant many cheap flights companies have been forced to bow out of the holiday market.

With a larger capacity and more economical energy usage the A380 may become a more viable option for many airlines and not surprisingly 66 airlines companies signed up to order some A380s to their army of aircraft. Australian flights company Qantas bought twenty for their flights to Australia with recent test flights from France to Australia being completed recently there are plans to open up flights going between London and Melbourne as well as to Los Angeles.

As the new king of the airways can the A380 reignite the ailing flights industry? The numbers on paper look favourable but will airlines still be able to pay their fuel bills by the time their new toys arrive? Only time will tell.

Planning An Unforgettable Trip To Australia

A trip to Australia might be the perfect vacation for you. Because the Australian climate is so varied, there’s always a variety of options for destinations and activities for your dream vacation. If you prefer to rough it in the country, you can explore the Outback and climb Ayers Rock. Those who prefer the city can discover the delights of Australia’s major cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra.

Whatever your budget, you can find the right Australian travel package for you. Even travellers with the smallest budget can see what Australia has to offer by backpacking around the country and staying at inexpensive hostels that cater to young travellers on a budget. Travellers can also book guided tours, including sailing trips, hikes through the wilderness, or a tour of local wineries. Travel agencies offer travel packages that combine airfare, accommodations, some meals, and guided tours of your choice.

After you arrive at your Australian Destination, you might be confused about what activities you should do. If you took your vacation to relax, you could partake in the top-rate shopping that Australian cities can offer, take in a play, or visit historic points of interest. Australian fine dining is famous for its choice selection of seafood and beef. Tour packages may even offer cooking classes, if you’re interested in learning how to prepare these delicious meals yourself.

Australia is known around the world for its wines, particularly Shiraz, so a cooking class that incorporates wine into the cooking would be an ideal way to experience all the culinary delights Australia has to offer at the same time. If you prefer to be more active, a kayaking trip or a tour of the Great Barrier Reef might be the thing for you. Travellers can climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, get lessons on surfing, or go parasailing.

If you really feel adventurous, you can try bungee jumping or skydiving. For those who wish to get in touch with nature, a drive along the Great Ocean Road or a day cruise to watch dolphins and whales in the ocean would be a great way to appreciate Australia’s natural beauty.

For more ideas about a perfect Australian vacation, you can find a multitude of websites and guidebooks that can help you plan your trip. Let’s Go, Frommers, and Lonely Planet offer guidebooks updated annually that highlight points of interest, places to stay, and the best restaurants to visit, as well as the general price range and rating for each.

Travel websites can also help you plan a trip. has a vast amount of resources, including census data, travel specials, climate information, currency conversion and photo galleries. It even has information about temporary work visas, if you’d like to make your vacation an extended working holiday.

This Summer Vacation We Are Visiting A Continent

Where can you go on vacation to see the natural wonders and wide open spaces and see an entire continent? Australia!

From beaches to deserts, the Outback country is one of the most highly urbanized countries. Many cosmopolitan attractions of cities like Sidney, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and more are major tourist attractions. The country, one of the wealthiest in the world, is renown for it is untouched landscape and very unique culture.

One of the must see Australia vacation stops is the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex. Canberra, is a part of NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN), an international network of antennas that support interplanetary spacecraft missions, and radio astronomy observations for the exploration of the Solar System and beyond.

The DSN has three tracking stations around the world that are linked to NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Tidbinbilla has four giant antennae, the main antenna is over 70 meters in diameter and is the largest in the southern hemispheres. This antenna received some of Neil Armstrongs giant leap for mankind on the moon in 1969. While there you can see a 3.8 billion year old Moon rock, check out an astronaut suit and dine at the Moon Rock Cafe. Open 365 days a year and admission is FREE.

The National Museum of Australia covers the land, nation and people of Australia in Canberra. The museum contains social history and reveals the stories of ordinary and extraordinary Australians, and promotes the exploration of knowledge and ideas by providing a forum for discussion and reflection. The National Historical Collection contains almost 200,000 objects representing Australias history and cultural heritage. Through Aboriginal and Torres Strait Cultures and histories, you can explore Australia through experiences, stories and images of Indigenous Australians.

You can also experience the Great Barrier Reef up close. The Reef is the only living thing that you can see from space. Feel free to explore shallow bays, exclusive islands, rainforests and remote reefs aboard the award-winning MV Reef Endeavour. Once there, you can stroll along white sand beaches and snorkel amongst a kaleidoscope of fish on the outer Ribbon and Hedley Reefs. Also discover Lizard Island’s giant clam gardens only meters from the shore. You can hear native birds call from the rainforest.

Ancient and diverse flora and fauna of Mount Field National Park, the pristine wilderness of the Franklin River and many other sites make Tasmania a must see. The diverse history of Port Arthur the spectacular forest backdrop of Wineglass Bay should not be missed.

Top 5 Melbourne Fashion Must-haves for Spring/summer 2008

1.    Uniquely tailored day dress for the Melbourne Cup races
The ‘urban fashion parade’ is not for the mediocre. Don’t fade into the background at this year’s Spring Racing Carnival! Have a dress specially tailored to truly stand out among the crowd. This year’s patterns for day dresses are floral prints in various shades of pastels.

2.    Metallic dinner gown
Knock ‘em dead at the post-race night parties with a tailor-made dress in metallic shades. From crystal silvers to glossy golds – metallics are indeed the patterns to be seen in for night parties this year.

3.    Floral print dress for spring weddings
Spring is the season of weddings! Make sure you have a dress ready to attend all those Days of Love throughout Melbourne. And if you’re the one tying the knot, make sure your dress is a perfect complement to the most important day of your life. Tailored dresses are the way to go. Try on a few designs for fit, and customise it accordingly!

4.    Work suit made of all-natural fabric for impending summer days
Unfortunately, even with summer approaching, most of us still have to go to the office on most days of the week. Cheer yourself up by getting a work suit specially tailored. Silk is perfect for the upcoming warm days, and a customised suit will do wonders in accentuating your figure.

5.    Tailor-made spring/summer dress for beach parties
Hot sunny days and long balmy nights are just around the corner! Be prepared for all the late spring and summer beach parties that are bound to rock Melbourne. Treat yourself to a few tailored dresses that will ensure heads are turned –in your direction!- during these parties.

d’Italia, a designer fabric store located in Malvern (Melbourne, Australia), imports Italian silk and French lace directly from Europe. The fabric comes from the same European fashion houses which supply to the biggest names in haute couture. d’Italia prides itself in providing completely natural fabric. The main trademark of d’Italia is its wedding dress material. The pure silk satin and chiffon and silk French trims are unmatched in natural quality and uniqueness. A major plus-point is the dressmaker referral system that the shop offers. Some of Australia’s best dressmakers (especially in the wedding arena) are affiliates of d’Italia, and reservations can be made through the store for tailoring and fitting appointments.