When the ICC Cricket World Cup starts next month (on February 13), most of us will be glued to our TV sets. But for those ardent fans headed to Australia and New Zealand to cheer their favourite teams, we've put together a travel must-do list. So, when you aren't on the ground, here's a list of local places to visit.
Adelaide (India vs Pakistan - February 15)
Art Gallery of South Australia: Located on the North Terrace, this parquetry-floored gallery is house to over 35,000 exhibits and has the second largest state art collection in Australia. Everything from Australian, modern Australian, contemporary Aboriginal, Asian, Islamic to European art is on display here, making it a multi-faceted destination that's not to be missed.
Adelaide Zoo: Opened to the public in 1883, the Adelaide Zoo boasts of over 1,800 exotic and native mammals and a fabulous south-east Asian rainforest exhibit. One can choose between half-hourly free walking tours or longer overnight tours. The special attractions are Wang Wang and Funi -Australia's only giant pandas.
Auckland (India vs Zimbabwe - March 14)
One Tree Hill: To take in a bit of Maori history, visit One Tree Hill, the isthmus' most important place, and the greatest fortress in the country. The top, at 182 m, offers 360-degree views of the volcanic cone and is home to the grave of John Logan Campbell, the owner who gifted this land to the city of Auckland but not before requesting a Maori memorial to be built at the summit.
The Sky Tower: Rather impossible to miss is the city's landmark, The Sky Tower, at the corner of Federal and Victoria Streets. Lit up beautifully at night, it is the Southern Hemisphere's tallest structure at 328 m. An observation deck, view through the glass panels, the ever-popular sky walk and sky jump for adventure lovers, all form part of the experience.
Perth (India vs United Arab Emirates - February 28; India vs West Indies - March 6)
Freemantle Prison: With its cultural significance recognised in 2010, the Freemantle prison is a tour in Australian history that is worth exploring. With walls as high as five meters, enclosing a site of nearly six hectares, the structure offers a peep into the era of living in hardship and stoic punishment. With a variety of tours to choose from, one can decide how deep one wants to go without getting the chills.
Aquarium Of Western Australia: Very interesting and beautifully built, the Aquarium of Western Australia allows you to wander through a 98 m underwater tunnel while sea creatures of all kinds - from stingrays, to turtles and even the most poisonous of water snakes and octopi - manoeuvre the waters around you. You can also dive or snorkel with the shark here.
Hamilton (India vs Ireland - March 10)
Waikato River Cruise: The scenic beauty of the longest waterway flowing through Hamilton, the Waikato River, can be absorbed via a tranquil cruise starting at the Hamilton Gardens Jetty. The balmy waters and the stunning stillness over a period of 90 minutes can be enjoyed, or better still, a three-hour wine tasting cruise can be your pick on a Sunday afternoon.
Hot Air Ballooning: Taking off mostly from one of the many Hamilton lakes, exploring the Hamilton countryside on a hot air balloon is a one-of-a-kind experience. The balloons flying over the city, farmlands and Waikato River offer panoramic views of the Ruapehu, Pirongia, TeAroha and the Taranaki mountains.
Melbourne (India vs South Africa - February 22)
Queen Victoria Market: The largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere, The Vic Market as it is popularly known, houses over 600 shops and is a buzzing epicenter of food, shopping and entertainment. Saturday mornings include buskers shows, and the night market with music and dance performances takes over from mid-November to the end of February.
Royal Botanic Gardens: Located on Birdwood Avenue alongside the South Yarra River, known to be the finest botanical gardens in the world, the Royal Botanic Gardens are home to plants from around the globe along with endemic Australian flora. Everything from guided tours moonlit cinema, and theatre performances in the summer months is on the menu.
When in Australia and New Zealand:
* Sun protection is critical due to the hole in the ozone layer. Wear T-shirts, apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30, and use sunglasses and hats at all times.
* Australia and New Zealand have a controlled rate of petty crime. However, it helps to stay cautious at all times.
* EFTPOS, which mean Electronic Fund Transfer at Point of Sale, is a word that you will often get to hear in both the countries. In simple language, it's the ability to pay with a card - credit or debit.
* Dirty shoes are a big no-no and can lead to fines at the airports.
* The official language of both the countries is English. Emergency numbers are 000 and 111 respectively, and the country codes are +61 for Australia and +64 for New Zealand.