Hidden gems along the drive between Dunedin and Ōamaru

The drive from Dunedin to Ōamaru only takes an hour and a half, but there’s so much to see and do along the way that it’s well worth taking your time.

Spectacular coastal scenery and wildlife, important historic sites, quirky shops, tasty pies and the freshest fish ‘n’ chips are among the hidden gems waiting to be discovered on this stretch of SH1.

Here’s our guide to all the top stops.

* The quirky, curious and eccentric side of Dunedin
* Ōamaru: This is the South Island’s most underrated town
* Why Oamaru is the best wee town in New Zealand

Arc Brewing Co

Arc Brewing Co is located in Blueskin Bay, just north of Dunedin.


Arc Brewing Co is located in Blueskin Bay, just north of Dunedin.

Just 20 minutes north of Dunedin you’ll find this neat little brewery, located on the right-hand side of the highway at Blueskin Bay.

Arc Brewing Co is housed in an eye-catching old barnlike building that was once a hotel. Inside, it’s been transformed into an effortlessly cool taproom and function space, where you can sit down and enjoy a pint of one of their fresh brews (or grab a rigger to take away if you’re driving).

They have a regularly rotating line-up of local food trucks, and live music adding to the relaxed vibes.

Warrington Beach

Turn right just after Arc Brewing, and you’ll end up in the coastal settlement of Warrington/Ōkāhau. While this part of the world is known for its wild and moody beaches, the beach at Warrington – a sand spit separating the Blueskin Bay estuary from the Pacific Ocean – is sheltered from the swells with clear blue waters, making it one of the region’s safest swimming beaches.


Seacliff Lunatic Asylum was the largest building in the country when it was built in 1884.

George Heard/Stuff

Seacliff Lunatic Asylum was the largest building in the country when it was built in 1884.

Keep driving along Coast Road from Warrington until you reach Seacliff. For almost 100 years, this seaside village was home to the Seacliff Lunatic Asylum (later renamed Seacliff Mental Hospital).

The castle-like structure was the largest building in the country when it was built in 1884, housing 500 patients and 50 staff at its peak. Author Janet Frame was among those committed there, in the 1940s.

In December 1942, a fire swept through a locked ward, killing 37 female patients. It would be the deadliest fire in New Zealand history until the 1947 blaze at Ballantynes Department Store in Christchurch.

The hospital closed in 1973, and little remains of it today. But you can visit the Truby King Reserve – named after the asylum’s most prominent medical superintendent – on its former site and spend a quiet moment contemplating the past.

Huriawa Pā Walk

You’ll find a spectacular walking track on Huriawa Peninsula.


You’ll find a spectacular walking track on Huriawa Peninsula.

From Seacliff, keep driving along Coast Rd until you reach Karitāne. This laidback community boasts a popular surf beach, overlooked by the dramatic Huriawa Peninsula.

There’s a loop track around the peninsula that takes about 45 minutes to walk, offering spectacular views and passing by blow holes where you can see the tide burst through the rocks.

Huriawa Peninsula is also wāhi tapu – a place sacred to local Māori – as it was the site of a fortified pā established by the great chief Te Wera in the late 18th century. It was thought to be the strongest defensive structure of its type in Otago, and Te Wera and his people were able to survive a six-month-long siege from a rival chief, thanks to a freshwater spring located within the pā walls. There are plaques along the walkway that tell more of the history of the area.

The Oddity

Get back onto SH1, and you’ll soon be passing through the small town of Waikouaiti. But don’t leave without stopping to do some digging at The Oddity, a treasure trove of a second-hand shop.

This place is heaving with furniture, toys, crockery and Kiwiana kitsch, with lots of region-specific delights to be found (such as collectibles relating to iconic Dunedin tea brand Tiger Tea). And just when you thought you’d rummaged through it all, you’ll discover a steep staircase at the back of the shop, which leads up to a secret attic crammed with even more curiosities.

McGregor’s Bakery

McGregor's Bakery is known for its mutton pies.


McGregor’s Bakery is known for its mutton pies.

Feeling peckish? It’s a good job you’ve reached Palmerston, home of McGregor’s Bakery and Tearooms. This iconic bakery has been around for more than 100 years, and while these days their famous pies are produced in a factory in Timaru, they’re still a firm favourite in their original home.

As tempted as you might be to order a classic like mince or steak and cheese, you’d be foolish not to try the mutton pie – it’s the local specialty.

Shag Point/Matakaea

See the fur seals at Shag Point/Matakaea.

Mytchall Bransgrove/Stuff

See the fur seals at Shag Point/Matakaea.

Just north of Palmerston, you’ll come across the sign for Shag Point/Matakaea. The area around this headland has a long and fascinating history, with fossils from the dinosaur days discovered here (including a 7-metre plesiosaur, one of the most complete reptile fossils ever found in New Zealand), and evidence of Māori settlement dating back to the 12th century. It’s also a prime spot for seeing New Zealand fur seals.

Turn right and keep going until you reach the car park at the end of the road. From there, it’s a short walk to the clifftop where you can look down and see dozens of seals basking on the rock shelves and playing in the sea.

When visiting, make sure you only eat and drink in the designated areas, as there are historic urupā (burial grounds) and other sites that are tapu to the tangata whenua.

Kātiki Point

Kātiki Point is home to a hoiho breeding colony.

Iain McGregor/Stuff

Kātiki Point is home to a hoiho breeding colony.

Most visitors have heard of Moeraki’s famous boulders, or the revered restaurant that is Fleurs Place. But head down to the southern tip of Moeraki Peninsula and another amazing destination awaits – Kātiki Point, a historic reserve which is home to an important pā site, an old lighthouse, and a hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin) breeding colony.

To see the penguins, follow the obvious tracks from the lighthouse car park to get to the viewing locations. Be sure to stick to the rules, which include keeping a safe distance from wildlife, and not using flash on your camera. The reserve is open from 7.30am to 5.30pm, and there is a donation box at the gate – at least $5 per person is the recommended amount.

Keep an eye out for other creatures, too – there are often large numbers of New Zealand fur seals here, plus other sea and shore birds, including little blue penguin/kororā.

You can also follow the tracks to the end of the peninsula to see the site of the Te Raka-a-Hineātea pā, that was occupied from the 18th century and is one of the few terraced pā sites in southern New Zealand. Be sure to act respectfully by remaining on the formed track, and not eating within the reserve.

Vanessa’s Cottage Café

Back on SH1, you’ll soon end up in the township of Hampden. There are a couple of foodie stops of note here – the first is Vanessa’s Cottage Café.

This café is as charming on the inside as it looks on the outside, but it’s the food that will really win you over. Vanessa’s cabinets are filled with all sorts of comforting classics – enormous muffins, scones, and cinnamon oysters (which have nothing to do with the seafood) – as well as a mouthwatering range of homemade pies, which are right up there with the best in New Zealand.

Hampden Takeaways

If you’ve stopped by Vanessa’s Cottage Café for lunch on the way to Ōamaru, time your trip back so you can get yourself a fish ‘n’ chip feed from Hampden Takeaways.

Previously known as Lockie’s, this wee shop has built up a reputation over the years for its beautifully fresh fish – the blue cod is a local favourite; choose from battered or crumbed. Enjoy them down the road at the Hampden Beach reserve for the ultimate fish ‘n’ chip experience.

Totara Estate

Totara Estate is the birthplace of New Zealand's frozen meat industry.

Mytchall Bransgrove/Stuff

Totara Estate is the birthplace of New Zealand’s frozen meat industry.

As you near Ōamaru, on your right you’ll see a tree-lined driveway and a sign for Totara Estate.

This historic farm was the birthplace of New Zealand’s billion-dollar frozen meat industry – the sheep that were slaughtered for the first-ever refrigerated meat shipment from New Zealand to England in 1882 came from here.

Today, you can visit the restored buildings and get a sense of what farm life in the late 19th century was like, with dress-ups, farm activities, sheep feeding, and old-fashioned games to play. You can also enjoy a cup of billy tea and scones in the old cookhouse, and there’s a heritage gift shop on site.

Staying safe: New Zealand is currently under Covid-19 restrictions. Follow the instructions at covid19.govt.nz.

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Neom partners with UNWTO to drive Saudi tourism growth | News

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and Neom have partnered for a new initiative focused on the future of tourism in Saudi Arabia.

The Tourism Experiences of the Future challenge will source innovative ideas and disruptive business models related to the tourism needs of the future, in line with growing demand for new experiences.

All proposals must be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, the UNWTO said, and should include the introduction or adaptation of digital and technological elements.

They will be focused on at least one of the following areas:

  • Optimising and maximising the potential of experiential tourism.
  • Harnessing the positive impact of new technology.
  • Alternative business models.
  • Innovative experiences.

The competition is the first national initiative dedicated to identifying new companies that will lead the tourism sector’s transformation in Saudi Arabia.

As well as established businesses, the competition also welcomes applications from Saudi Arabian start-ups and innovators with ideas capable of revolutionising and inspiring tourists by presenting new ways and reasons to travel.

Applications are open until October 24th, with great interest expected, and participants must be Saudi citizens with legal capacity to enter into a contract.

Successful projects will be selected based on various criteria, such as the degree of innovation, their viability and sustainability.

An affiliate member of UNWTO since 2019, Neom is located in north-west Saudi Arabia along the Red Sea.

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Travelodge begins autumnal recruitment drive | News

Travelodge has today kick-started an autumn recruitment drive, with the company looking to fill 750 positions immediately.

The effort includes 720 full and part time positions with flexible working hours at hotels the length and breadth of the country.

These include management roles for hotel manager and assistant hotel manager positions, as well as in the housekeeping team and on reception.

The company is also looking to fill 30 roles at its head office in Thame, Oxfordshire which includes positions in finance, property, revenue, sales and operations.

Craig Bonnar, Travelodge chief executive, said: “There has never been a better time than now to join the UK hospitality sector – the career opportunities are endless, and it also opens a door to the world.

“We need to fill 750 positions, and if you have passion, determination and a real desire to look after people then we will help you learn the rest. 

“Joining Travelodge also opens the door to training, coaching and career progression.

“Our in-house management development programme, Aspire, has helped over a thousand entry-level colleagues into a management job.

“We operate a dedicated programme to help parents work around the school run by offering flexible working hours and jobs close to home so that they can raise their family and keep one foot firmly on the career ladder too.”

More Information

Find out more about how to apply here.

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Travel investors need more drive

We all wanted 2021 to be different, but it is bringing a lot more of the same. That doesn’t mean travel investors need to universally pump the brakes.

Ahead of an investor conference on Thursday, a handful of major airlines warned in regulatory filings that their third quarter may not look as rosy as hoped. United Airlines noted a deceleration in customer bookings for travel demand, while Southwest Airlines reported a continued softness in bookings—even in leisure—and elevated trip cancellations. American Airlines similarly said that, after a strong July, it saw a softness in near-term bookings in August and an increase in near-term cancellations. All three suggested the Delta variant is having a dampening effect on business.

Investors have to some degree been ahead of this curve, but there is room for a sharper turn. It may not be that all travel has been put on hold, but rather that, as the Delta variant continues to spread, consumers are simply more wary of where they go and how they get there.

On its earnings call last month, Walt Disney Co. said theme park reservations at its domestic parks remained strong, noting overall park reservations were above levels it reported in its fiscal third quarter ending July 3. As of Friday morning, reservations were no longer available for the next three Saturdays at both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, according to Disney’s online reservation system.

That is only one data point, but it is suggestive of continued demand for trips that consumers may have put on hold last year. A recent U.S. survey from Jefferies showed that, of those who haven’t yet traveled this year, roughly 30% say they planned to travel in the second half of the year. The survey also showed that most survey respondents plan to take the same number or more trips this year than they took in 2019, regardless of vaccination status.

It is unlikely that everyone who holds a weekend Disneyland reservation this month lives in or around Disneyland’s hometown of Anaheim, Calif. But, given general airline commentary on Thursday, it is likely many ticket holders live within driving distance.

That could be good news for companies offering drive-to lodging such as Airbnb, whose shares are up roughly 15% since the end of July. It may also benefit Expedia Group, which owns Vrbo. While Expedia’s shares are up nearly 50% over the past year, they fell 10% in the month of August. Spooking investors might be that lodging was 70% of the online travel agent’s revenue in 2019, growing to 78% in 2020, as air travel cratered.

But all hope isn’t lost. On Thursday, Marriott International Chief Executive Tony Capuano said at an investor conference that, although there was a slight decline in revenue per available room in August from July, there has been some stabilization this month. He also noted two business travel trends that should benefit the lodging sector overall. Because travel today is more onerous, often requiring vaccination, proof of that vaccination and some added risk, Mr. Capuano said he is seeing workers extending business trips to get more enjoyment for the effort. That also may mean more so-called bleisure travel, he said, which blends business and leisure trips.

Marriott’s stock traded up following Mr. Capuano’s remarks on Thursday, but there may be other companies better positioned to take advantage of the bleisure trend right now. Fresh data from hotel analytics firm STR show that as a four-week moving average for the period ended Sept. 4, occupancy rates for interstate, small town and suburban hotels were near or above where they were in the comparable period of 2019. Meanwhile, urban, resort and airport hotels continue to lag behind on a relative basis.

That bodes well for drive-to home stay demand, but also for roadside lodging companies. Choice Hotels International, for example, has said more than half of its domestic locations are within one mile of a highway exit and 90% of them are in suburban, small town or interstate locations. Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, whose brands include Super 8, Days Inn and Travelodge, also stands to benefit. Occupancy rates for economy-class and midscale hotels were recently above levels seen in the comparable period of 2019, while more expensive hotel options lagged behind, STR’s data show.

For travel investors, it may just be about picking the right ride.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text



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Americans can now drive to Canada — but Canadians can’t do the reverse

The rest of the world, though, might be wishing that travel could return to the way it was before the pandemic took hold.

Until it does, here’s what you need to know about tourism industry news, international reopenings and more.

1. Broadway is back

The cast of "Hadestown" celebrated their first post-shutdown performance on September 2.

The cast of “Hadestown” celebrated their first post-shutdown performance on September 2.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

New York City has continued its road to reopening, but the big news was tempered when Hurricane Ida hit, flooding subways, streets and homes across the city.

The Great White Way is back in business, but things may not look the same as they did before: Audience members at Broadway shows like “Hadestown” and “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” must provide proof of full vaccination and wear masks for the duration of the performance.

Many shows are opting to condense or shorten their run times to avoid having intermissions as well.

Another sign that the city is waking up? The iconic red-and-white TKTS line, where theatergoers can stand in Times Square to score last-minute Broadway and off-Broadway tickets, will reopen on September 14 at 3 p.m.

2. … and that goes for the waterways, too

Manhattan’s cruise ship terminal, which is on the Hudson River, will reopen in late September.

Norwegian Cruise Line and Crystal Cruises are reportedly vying to have the honor of being the first line to return to the New York City terminal.

3. Universal has landed in China

Universal Studios Beijing Resort doesn’t open until September 20, but anticipation is already through the roof. A CNN source reports that some preview passes for the first Chinese Universal park were being scalped for hundreds of dollars.

Some of Universal’s most popular attractions, like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Minion Land and Transformers Metrobase are here, and there’s also a Kung Fu Panda Land of Awesomeness that’s exclusive to the Beijing park. In addition to rides, there’s a Mr. Ping’s Noodle House that looks just like the one from the movies.

While China’s borders are almost entirely closed to travelers, within the country tourism is mostly open.

4. CDC advises against going to Saint Lucia and Switzerland

Oman shares land borders with Saudi Arabia. Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.

Oman shares land borders with Saudi Arabia. Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.

Haitham Al-Shukairi/AFP/Getty Images

In its latest round of travel advisories, the CDC has updated its Covid risk lists once again. Seven new destinations, including Saint Lucia, Puerto Rico and Switzerland, were added to the level four “very high risk” category.

While the designation is not a ban, the CDC advises that anyone traveling to a level four spot be fully vaccinated first.

And speaking of Oman…

5. Oman is now welcoming travelers

The Gulf nation has reopened its land, air and sea borders to vaccinated travelers as of September 1. Visitors must be at least 14 days past their second dose of an approved vaccine (or the sole dose, if they got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) and be from a country that allows Omani visas on arrival.

Travelers must register for the Tarassud+ app ahead of their trip.

Visitors who arrive with a negative Covid-19 test in hand (within the past 72 hours for short-haul flights and 96 hours for long-hauls) will not have to quarantine on arrival.

6. Singapore charts its new way forward

The light show has returned to Singapore's famous Gardens by the Bay Supertree Grove.

The light show has returned to Singapore’s famous Gardens by the Bay Supertree Grove.

Cavan Images/Alamy Stock Photo

Singapore passed the milestone of vaccinating 80% of its population this week. The country has announced that it will pursue a strategy to live with Covid, instead of trying to aim for zero cases. That begins with the opening of quarantine-free travel lanes with Germany and Brunei and will likely include similar agreements with other countries in the months to come.

That’s great news for Singapore’s tourism industry, which has been battered by the border closure. Restaurant owners have been some of the hardest hit as local lockdowns also meant locals couldn’t dine in, either.

Amid the tourism panic, Michelin released its annual guide to the Lion City’s restaurants on September 1. One shocker was the news that Hawker Chan — a longtime favorite food stall whose $2.50 chicken and noodles with soy sauce dish was widely known as the least expensive Michelin meal in the world — lost its star ranking for the first time since the Singapore guides debuted in 2016.

7. Canada greets US tourists coming by car

American Rebecca Soffer and her family attend a Toronto Blue Jays game.

American Rebecca Soffer and her family attend a Toronto Blue Jays game.

Courtesy Rebecca Soffer

As of August 9, Canada has allowed its southern neighbors to come to the Great White North by land (instead of only via air).

For Massachusetts resident Rebecca Soffer, who has two young unvaccinated children, that made a family vacation to Canada something she felt comfortable doing during the pandemic.

Their family of four crossed the US-Canada border at Buffalo, New York’s Peace Bridge and then visited Toronto and Niagara Falls before returning home, an experience she documented for CNN Travel.

Still, amid the optimistic news one major question remains — why can’t Canadians drive to the US?

Although the country’s respective leaders, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden, spoke on August 2 about “close collaboration in the management of the Canada-US land border,” the US has yet to decide when it will open up to its northern neighbor.

8. Europe cools on US tourists

Prospects of European escapes for Americans have begun to fade with the summer. This week the EU dropped the United States from its list of safe countries and advised its member states to restrict nonessential from from the US due to a surge in Covid cases.

So far the nonbinding directive has yet to be adopted by most of Europe’s major travel destinations, but Sweden and the Netherlands have both announced new limits on arrivals.

9. Will a replica 18th century ship be the new cool way to travel?

If slow travel is poised to make a post-pandemic comeback, then what’s more leisurely than a seven-month sail around the globe?

The Götheborg II, a 1:1 replica of an 18th century trading ship, is now in Stockholm’s harbor.

Over seven months, the ship will call at ports around the world, including Lisbon, Alexandria, and Muscat (yep, there’s Oman again) before completing its journey in Shanghai.

10. Qantas announces the return of international flights

Although Australia’s borders remain closed to nearly all international travelers, its national carrier is feeling cautiously optimistic.

“With Australia on track to meet the 80% (vaccine) trigger agreed by National Cabinet by the end of the year, we need to plan ahead for what is a complex restart process,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce told CNN affiliate 9 News.

CNN’s Marnie Hunter, Maureen O’Hare, Barry Neild, Kristen Rogers and Rebecca Soffer contributed reporting.

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Drive Medical Scout 4 Mobility Scooter Review – Forbes Health

The Scout 4 is a simple, portable mobility scooter. Most people who use this scooter have health or mobility issues but still want to get out and remain active, according to Torres. “Some can still walk and just need to use a scooter part-time,” he says.

To operate the Scout 4, set the speed knob on the console to the speed range you want and push a small throttle to start moving. This scooter doesn’t go fast—its speed maxes out at 4.25 miles per hour. The electromagnetic brake system senses when you engage the throttle and automatically releases the rear wheels. When you let go of the throttle, the brakes automatically activate and the unit slows to a stop.

Comfort Features

The height and angle of the padded seat are adjustable to fit your body. The armrest width and angle can also be adjusted, and the angle of the tiller can be tilted to fit the length of your arms so you can drive without leaning forward.

Safety Features

As a four-wheel scooter with two small anti-tip wheels at the rear, the Scout 4 offers a stable ride. There’s no danger in speeding since its speed tops out at 4.25 miles per hour. But it doesn’t have headlights or rear lights, so it’s not safe to drive outside at night.


The Scout 4 is designed to be a travel scooter, so it’s easy to take apart and reassemble. “It disassembles to four pieces,” says Torres. “I can take it apart in less than a minute. For older people, it might take a few minutes,” he says. And “everything has a handle. So when you disassemble the rear section, that has a handle. The front section has a handle and the battery box has a handle,” adding that the seat is easy to carry.


It’s a versatile mobility scooter for indoor and outdoor use—within limits. The ground clearance is only 2.5 inches, so it’s best driven on smooth, compact terrain, says Torres. “If you drive over loose gravel or sand, you’ll sink,” he says. “You can take it on light grass if it’s not too thick.” If you’re unsure about driving this scooter over a particular surface, avoid it, the owner’s manual advises.

The Customer Service Experience

Several calls to the Drive Medical customer service line were answered immediately by courteous and well-informed representatives. They took time to answer many detailed questions and offered information to help understand the uses and limitations of the scooter. Representatives were well-versed in all kinds of scooters, as they were able to compare the Scout 4 to others in terms of stability, comfort and usability.

Warranties and Discounts

Drive Medical offers a lifetime warranty for the mainframe, seat post, platform and frame welds; a 24-month warranty on the motor, throttle, brakes and other items; and a 12-month warranty on batteries. Battery manufacturers provide a 6-month warranty, so if something goes wrong after six months, the batteries are covered for the next six months by the Drive Medical warranty.

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6 Reasons to Drive to Asbury Park, New Jersey This Summer

Great beaches, restaurants, and rock n’ roll vibes.

The Bonney Read

The Jersey Shore is famous for many things: expansive beaches, boardwalks, saltwater taffy, and Snooki. There are dozens of beach towns to visit, from picturesque, Victorian Cape May to small town, fishing-oriented Barnegat Light. But there’s one place down the shore that’s wholly unique for its artsy, offbeat vibe and rich history: Asbury Park.

While this central coast destination is in the popular consciousness outside Jersey in large part due to Bruce Springsteen, Asbury Park has drawn a younger, city-dwelling set of visitors to its shores in recent years. What followed has been a deluge of hip new artisan coffee shops, boutique hotels, and NYC-quality restaurants. And thanks to the boardwalk, Asbury, in a similar way to Coney Island, has a decidedly democratic, everyone’s welcome vibe (unlike say, the Hamptons, people from all walks of life can be found here).

Located about 60 miles from Manhattan, Asbury Park can be visited for a day trip. Driving can take upwards of 90-120 minutes considering traffic, and New Jersey Transit offers service directly into Asbury Park. The Seastreak Ferry offers service from Manhattan to Highlands, which is about 15 miles north of Asbury Park. 

A couple of important FYIs: Beach passes are mandatory and can be purchased at the beach office or on the Viply app, chairs and umbrellas can be rented when you get there, and more information can be found on the Asbury Park website. Here are a few of our favorite reasons to make the drive down the shore to Asbury Park this summer.

Asbury Park beach & boardwalk
Asbury Park beach & boardwalk | Sky Cinema/Shutterstock

The beautiful beach and boardwalk

The beach is the main reason to visit the Jersey Shore, obviously. Asbury Park’s beach is, similar to most on the Jersey Shore, deep with soft, light-colored sand. At Asbury going to “the beach” also includes the experience of walking the boardwalk and taking in the sights, sounds and smells. Local radio station 94.3 The Point broadcasts live from the boardwalk on weekends, and there are restaurants (check out Maruca’s Tomato Pies), bars (Iron Whale, Asbury Oyster Bar), and scoop shops (Eddie Confetti’s and nearby vegan-friendly spot Cookman Creamery), to sample from, too. The town is also known to attract eccentrics and artsy types, so the people watching on the beach and boardwalk is all part of the fun.

Asbury Park is also home to the popular surfing school Summertime Surf. Take a lesson and hit the waves all in the same day!

High-quality restaurants and bars

No visit to Asbury would be complete without a visit to some of the best food and drink establishments, and there are many. 

Before hitting the beach, swing through Asbury Park Roastery—there are three locations!—a spot locals love and travel to from towns away to visit. Also pop into Purple Glaze Donuts for one or a few of their creative concoctions. After a couple of hours in the sun you’ll need a break so head to the boardwalk or down Asbury or Cookman avenues for a bite. Grab Korean tacos at Eat Mogo or a sandwich and a CBD drink at the new Cardinal Provisions. For drinks, the Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten opens at noon on weekends, or swing by seminal LGBTQ bar Georgies, open since 1999, or the more posh, oceanfront cocktail bar, Watermark

For dinner, try the artisan pizza at Talula’s or sample new Grandma-style pies from the gang there at the brand-new Alternate Ending craft brewery. For seafood, try the middleneck clams or the fish and chips at The Bonney Road.

Asbury Park Convention Hall
Asbury Park Convention Hall | EQRoy/Shutterstock

A rich history…

Similar to Atlantic City just down coast, this seaside destination was built up as a summer attraction. But while AC is known for its casinos, Asbury was apparently at one point a “dry” municipality as it was founded by members of the Methodist community in neighboring Ocean Grove. In the late 1800s, the boardwalk was built, followed by a number of hotels, and grand Victorian homes that helped the area flourish.

Development took off in the 1920s when the Convention Hall and the adjoining Paramount Theatre and Grand Arcade were built. These beautiful, historical buildings still stand alongside the boardwalk and beach today, and play host to events, concerts, and shopping. 

After the area experienced decades of economic depression and racial division, a rebirth began in the ‘90s and ‘00s thanks in large part because of the influx of vacationers from the LGBTQ community. The area today is vibrant and artsy; gentrified, even. But still, it’s truly a haven for creative people on the Shore.

It’s a destination for rock and roll lovers

The most famous venue in Asbury Park is surely The Stone Pony—where the Boss, whose debut album is called “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.”, got his start. It’s still open today, playing host to shows by local as well as more well-known touring acts. Upcoming shows include Limp Bizkit, Kesha, Parquet Courts, and the Springsteen cover band, Tramps Like Us.

The Paramount Theatre also books big shows, and The Saint is a smaller, more intimate live music venue. More recently, the legendary punk venue Asbury Lanes, got a facelift and new ownership by iStar in 2018. The combo bowling alley and music venue now hosts top-tier acts on a weekly basis, and the attached eatery, Asbury Lanes Diner, is set to reopen on August 1 with NJ local and Per Se alum, chef Mike Dunston, spearheading the relaunch.

The Wonder Bar, which also hosts live music, is a beloved local dive with a happy (yappy) hour for dogs. You can’t miss this spot; Asbury’s unofficial mascot “Tillie” is emblazoned in a mural on the facade.

Arts and culture, shopping

The Silverball Museum Arcade is another Asbury Park destination that’s popular for the young and old alike. Home to pinball machines that date back to the 1930s, it’s a quirky spot that’s worth a visit. Or, if you’re more inclined to get spooky, check out the Ouija Wall or the haunted objects and dolls at Paranormal Books & Curiosities. (Tip: reservations required for most exhibits.)

Asbury is also known for its lively arts scene, and the area surrounding the beach is emblazoned with murals. The Wooden Walls Mural Project is responsible for many of them; the Mermaid by local artist Porkchop located near the Convention Hall is a favorite. Galleries as well as public art and exhibits can be found all across town. 

For shopping, Cookman Avenue is home to antique shops and boutiques like Rebel Supply Co., where you can grab some great vintage finds.

Cool hotels and places to stay 

Much of the oft-discussed Asbury Park renaissance focuses on new residential and hotel developments. In 2018, the Asbury Ocean Club opened. Towering over the cement-block building that houses the Wonder Bar, the 17-story glass tower contains a mix of million-dollar residences and hotel rooms which run in the $600-800 range.

Nearby is the more hipster-focused boutique hotel, The Asbury, complete with a rooftop movie screening area, bar and pool, and lobby decked out with art, records, and live music. Rooms range from around $300-600.

A more affordable option is the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel with many rooms below $200. This 100-year old Beaux Arts building also overlooks the ocean.

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Georgia Kral is a writer, editor, and professor of journalism. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two kids, and is currently obsessed with Jersey hot dog culture.

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Things to Do in Corpus Christi: 8 Reasons to Make the Drive

From sandy Gulf shores to all things Selena.

Landlocked cities like Houston, Dallas, and Austin may have plenty of freshwater and manmade swimming spots, but no lake or river can compare to the versatility and vastness of the Texas coastline. Corpus Christi is one major coastal city that lives up to its reputation as a premiere destination for beaching, fishing, and all things fun in the sun. Throw in a plethora of museums, historical sites, and bars and restaurants, and it’s tough to get bored in this sparkling city by the sea. Without further ado, here’s eight standout reasons to make the drive to Corpus Christi.

Hit the beach, duh

The lengthy Texas Gulf Coast is home to endless sandy shores, and Corpus Christi is home to some of the state’s most popular. Top destinations include Mustang Island State Park, Whitecap Beach, and Padre Island National Seashore, which spans about 70 miles of breezy coastline. Whether you’re building elaborate sandcastles, wading into the water, or fishing off a jetty, Corpus has you covered. 

Mustang Island State Park stands out for its long stretch of family-friendly beaches complete with nearly 100 designated campsites, half of which come equipped with water and electricity for as low as $20 a night. Situated just across Corpus Christi Bay, the island has a perfect blend of waves and wildlife, making it a great location for outdoorsy folks, surfers, and bird watchers alike.

Mirador de la Flor
Mirador de la Flor | Flickr/Terry Ross

Do “anything for Selenas” at the Tejano icon’s museum and memorial

At the height of her career, the late superstar Selena Quintanilla was making history as one of the most successful female artists to ever break into the mainstream Tejano music charts. The uber-talented superstore met her tragic fate in 1995, but her legacy lives on and is widely celebrated across Corpus Christi, her home and final resting place. 

The Selena Museum, owned and operated by Selena’s father Abraham Quintanilla, includes a close look at what made the singer so iconic. The museum is home to a number of Selena’s personal effects, including a collection of her legendary stage outfits, as well as authentic memorabilia like numerous awards and plaques received both in life and posthumously. 

Another popular Selena site is the Mirador de la Flor, a memorial statue featuring the late star’s likeness. Located near the Corpus Christi bayfront seawall, the memorial includes Paseo De La Flor, a walkway leading down to the water.

Embark on an educational journey at the Museum of Science and History

For curious-minded travelers, The Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History serves as a fun, immersive environment fit for visitors of all ages. Exhibits feature traditional dioramas as well as interactive activities like in the H-E-B  Science Center, which is designed for ages three and older and has all sorts of indoor and outdoor play and educational areas covering topics like cellular anatomy and the function of atoms. Its newest exhibit, “Prehistoric Predators and Prey,” focuses on extinct creatures of land, air and sea, including the gigantic—and thankfully long gone—ocean-dwelling megalodon.

Become an expert on all things aquatic at the Texas State Aquarium

There’s no shortage of sea life on display at the Texas State Aquarium. Located next to bustling North Beach, this aquarium counts 18 different exhibits spanning enormous fish tanks full of scaly swimmers from around the world alongside a selection of recreated habitats like Swamp Tales, which features wetlands species, and Tortuga Cay, home to a group of happy sea turtles. Head over to Dolphin Bay to see daily presentations from dolphins-in-residence Kai, Shadow, Liko, and Schooner, or if you prefer to observe them on their down time, visit the bay’s underwater observation deck to get an in-depth look at these bottlenoses frolicking beneath the waves.

Climb aboard the historic USS Lexington 

You don’t have to be a military buff to be awed by the USS Lexington, a WWII-era aircraft carrier that’s grown into a staple destination for out-of-towners passing through Corpus. The carrier became a permanent fixture off the North Beach shore in 1992, and since completing its transition into a museum, it’s been visited by over 8 million people. Explore the ship on your own or take a guided tour to get a full idea of the massive vessel’s historical significance. If you’re into the more ooky-spooky aspects of visiting a real life relic, the museum also offers ghost tours covering the accounts of paranormal activity reportedly observed on and below deck.

Get cultured at the Art Museum of South Texas

Art enthusiasts will find themselves enthralled by the many offerings at the Art Museum of South Texas, an affiliate of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. The museum itself boasts an aesthetically pleasing exterior, from well manicured grounds to a pyramid-topped roof, but the visuals don’t stop there. It’s easy to spend an afternoon wandering the various galleries littered with countless classic and contemporary works. Current exhibitions include the permanent Spanish colonial gallery and the more recently installed Luster, a selection of hyperrealistic paintings of automobiles. For the kiddos, make sure to stop into the Artcade, an interactive space where little ones play, learn, and create their very own masterpieces.

Become acquainted with the local flora and fauna 

The Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve and Learning Center is a part of the Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation Department, and while it has all the markings of a standard park, peaceful green stretches are just the tip of the iceberg here. For starters, there are several miles of trails leading through four different habitats: mesquite thorn scrub, freshwater ponds, wetlands, and an open prairie. Each section hosts a diverse population of vegetation and animal species, including tortoises, insects, and coastal birds, making the preserve an ideal spot for birders and nature-lovers. 

Similarly, the South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center holds its own with a unique lineup of plants and wildlife. Among the highlights are an iguana house, an orchid observatory, and a hummingbird garden. 

Bar hop along on the beach

Like most major cities, Corpus Christi is home to a vibrant nightlife teeming with live music venues, dance clubs, cocktail dens, brewpubs, and dives primed and ready to keep the good times rolling for locals and tourists alike. Microbreweries like Lorelei Brewing Co. and Nueces Brewing Co. are excellent places to kick off the night, and if hitting the club is more your jam, head over to the Bay Area and find a spot to shake that moneymaker within walking distance of the beach. Our picks? Club Rio and Pure offer a two-fer experience fueled by driving hip-hop beats and Tejano jams, Club 54 for DJ and disco ball vibes, and Whiskey River for a boot-stompin’, honkey-tonkin’ helluva time.

If posting up at a single destination is more your thing, Water Street Market has your back. Located just a few blocks from the Corpus Christi Marina, this open-air entertainment hub features a restaurant, oyster bar, sushi room, food truck, AND surf club. Revelers can chow down on fresh seafood, crack open a few cold ones, and see a live band all in the same night at one-stop-party-shop.

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Polly Anna Rocha is a contributor for Thrillist.

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Kate Hudson Really Loves to Drive – and Her New Short Film Is Proof

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Dubai seeks new source markets to drive tourism recovery | News

Officials in Dubai have revealed the emirate hopes to attract over 5.5 million overseas visitors this year.

Dubai Tourism chief executive, Issam Kazim, said he hoped that new markets can help make up for the loss of visitors from key outbound markets where travel continues to be restricted.

Dubai welcomed 5.5 million overseas visitors last year, compared to 16.7 million arrivals in 2019.

Visitors from India, traditionally a top source market, are largely banned from the United Arab Emirates due to the latest outbreak of Covid-19 in the south-Asian nation.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom, the third biggest source market in 2019, has barred direct flights and requires travellers from the UAE to hotel quarantine.

Kazim said visitor numbers from newer markets in Europe, Africa and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) were performing well.

“All of these markets will start to add up and hopefully fill the gaps and give us a much stronger foundation to build a confident rebound going forward,” he explained.

The Middle Eastern destination reopened its borders to international visitors last July and was a popular holiday spot over the New Year.

With Expo 2020 also set to start in October, there are hopes for a recovery in the tourism sector over the coming months.

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