Australia to live and travel

For the fifth straight year, Australia’s “Second City” has been crowned the world’s most liveable city in a survey published by The Economist. Australia is home to several of the most liveable cities in the world, with Melbourne taking the top spot for the fifth year in a row and Adelaide coming in fifth again on the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) liveability survey of 140 cities. Furthermore, Sydney, though still suffering from the aftermath of the 2014 terror attack in Martin Place, ranked 7th. Perth, capital of Western Australia, followed in 8th, while Brisbane, representing the surfers’ paradise otherwise known as the Gold Coast, came in 18th.

Although it dominated the rankings, Australia did leave some room for others to shine, and shine Canada did. Vancouver is the third most liveable city in the world, just ahead of Toronto, with Calgary scoring the same as Adelaide for a joint fifth position. Europe is represented in second position by Vienna, Austria. To determine the rankings for each city, the survey assigned a rating of “relative comfort” for 30 factors across five categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. Each factor in a city was rated as acceptable, tolerable, uncomfortable, undesirable or intolerable, to reach a score out of 100. Melbourne this year scored 97.5 out of 100, including full marks for infrastructure.

In the meantime Lonely Planet have just released their Ultimate Travelist a hefty hardback book ranking the top 500 best sites on the planet. The Temples of Angkor in Cambodia topped the list, with the Great Barrier Reef coming in a close second. Registered on Unesco’s World Heritage list, the “Hindu Heaven on Earth” is a complex of more than 1.000 temples, shrines and tombs. Next on the list is the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland in northeastern Australia. It is the largest living thing on Earth and is even visible from outer space.

Lonely Planet’s third pick is Machu Picchu, the Incan citadel set high in the Andes Mountains in Peru. It’s the highest ranking sight to behold in the Americas. Also in the top 20 of the Lonely Planet travel list: Grand Canyon National Park in the US (6th), the Iguazu Falls on the Brazil-Argentina border (8), Tikal, the ruins of an ancient city found in a rainforest in Guatemala (14) and the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador (19). To round out the top 5, the ultimate traveler will head back to Asia, first to see the Great Wall of China, built across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against raids and invasions, and then to the Taj Mahal, the marvelous white marble mausoleum located in the Indian city of Agra.

Africa and Europe are both poorly represented in the top 20 of Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist. Only the medina in Fez (11) represents the former, while the Colosseum in Rome (7) and the Alhambra, a palace and fortress complex located in Granada, Spain (9), represent the latter.

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