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Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Sydney offers a vast quantity and variety of accommodation in every price range. Even so, the supply shrivels up under the summer sun, particularly around weekends and big events, so be sure to book ahead.

Book Your Stay Online

For more accommodation reviews by Lonely Planet authors, check out http://lonelyplanet.com/hotels/. You’ll find independent reviews, as well as recommendations on the best places to stay. Best of all, you can book online.

These days, all but the smallest hotels vary their prices depending on the season, special events, day of the week (weekends tend to be more expensive) and, most importantly, occupancy. Where prices vary widely, we've listed a 'from' amount, basing this on the cheapest room available given a reasonable amount of notice in the high (but not necessarily peak) season. If you leave booking until the last minute, you may find yourself paying considerably more.

The summer high season lasts from around December to March, with the absolute peak being between Christmas and New Year (especially New Year's Eve). Prices also shoot up again in late February/early March in the lead up to Mardi Gras.

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Red Sea Coast

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Some of the most important sites in Christianity’s early evolution lie in the Red Sea coast's northern barren mountains. Venture south of brashly loud and proud Hurghada and you’ll not only find some of Egypt’s best diving but also the epic, wild expanse of the Eastern Desert. Criss-crossed by trade routes dating back to the far reaches of prehistory, and scattered with ancient rock art and lonely ruins, this little-visited area is a desert-adventurer’s dream.

Back on the ‘Red Sea Riviera’, famous (or infamous, depending on your view) for being a bargain bonanza of cheap package holidays, overdevelopment has pock-marked the coastline deeply, leaving a trail of megaresorts and half-finished hotels in its wake. Dig a little deeper into this region, though, and the Red Sea may just surprise you.

AFeb Time to bargain hunt. February generally produces the cheapest resort deals.

AApr Discover Egypt's vibrant modern music scene with three days of bands at the 3alganoob Festival.

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Sea Point to Hout Bay

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

1Stroll along Sea Point Promenade, stopping to admire or ponder the public artworks, then go for a swim at the beautiful art deco Sea Point Pavilion.

2Snorkel or dive with Cape fur seals off rocky Duiker Island.

3Lounge on the soft sand at the quartet of beaches at Clifton or in ritzy Camps Bay Beach.

4Gaze down on Hout Bay from thrilling Chapman’s Peak Drive.

5Shed your clothes at secluded Sandy Bay and explore its giant rock formations.

Long popular with Cape Town’s Jewish, gay and Chinese communities, Sea Point sports numerous art deco apartment blocks, lending it an almost Miami Beach elegance. Main Rd and Regent Rd form its commercial spine, lined with many good restaurants, cafes and shops.

Moving south, you'll find prime beach territory: the exclusive and wealthy residential neighbourhoods of Bantry Bay, Clifton and Camps Bay follow hard and fast on each other in a tumble of mansions with to-die-for sea views.

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Kōrakuen & Northwest Tokyo

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

1Soaking up the peaceful, contemplative atmosphere of a classic Japanese garden. Rikugi-en is considered the city's most beautiful. Koishikawa Kōrakuen is a close second.

2Wandering the old-world alleys of Kagurazaka, an old geisha quarter with enticing shops and cafes.

3Cheering on Japan's number-one baseball team, the Yomiuri Giants, at Tokyo Dome.

4Bath-hopping at the over-the-top onsen complex Spa La Qua.

5Passing through the proud, bronze torii (gates) at Yasukuni-jinja, a shrine with deep political resonance.

The neighbourhoods northwest of the Imperial Palace are off the tourist trail, yet have some fascinating sights. If you're keen to see a traditional Japanese garden, there are some fantastic examples here. Rikugi-en is the city's most famous and well worth the detour. Koishikawa Kōrakuen, with a more convenient location, is beautiful as well. Next door to Koishikawa Kōrakuen is the entertainment complex Tokyo Dome City, which includes a baseball stadium, amusement park, spa complex and dozens of shops and restaurants. Nearby, the neighbourhood Kagurazaka, with its narrow cobblestone lanes, presents an alternative picture of Tokyo – that of a hundred years ago.

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Southern Rift Valley

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

It's hard to believe that the geological force that almost broke Africa in two instead created such serene landscapes. But this southern slice of Africa's Great Rift Valley is cool and calm, swathed in forest and watered by moody mineral lakes that blanch and blush with the movements of pelicans and flamingos. There's no gold in these valleys and hills; it's green all the way, from pretty Lake Naivasha to Elmenteita's forest halo.

The altitude peaks and dips all the way from Nairobi to Nakuru, ensuring pleasant weather almost year-round. Only Lake Baringo, further north, feels the heat, although the hippos, crocodiles and fish eagles don't seem to mind.

Come for the green and the peace but don't miss the peaks that push skywards; Mt Longonot and, to a lesser degree, the Menengai Crater, offer some of the most exciting views around. Perhaps that's why this region is a birdwatcher's dream. And at Lake Nakuru National Park, the lions seem to agree; they've taken to climbing the trees.

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