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Litchfield National Park

Tuesday 28th September cont…Later that same day fuelled with a bit of dutch courage and convinced that we’d been imbued with some local knowledge through the consumption of a Kangaroo Crocodile and Barramundi mixed grill we decided to enter a lo

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The top 10 Things to do in Southern California

As we approach summertime, many people are looking forward to a well-deserved holiday. One of the most popular destinations is sunny Southern California, which has tons of unique activities for people of any age to enjoy.

Let’s look at just a few of those now.

Visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Whether you’re looking to get a picture with a celebrity impersonator or you want to see if Donald Trump’s star still has the mini wall around it, you can do it here.

The top 10 Things to do in Southern California

Visit Disneyland

For over 50 years, Disneyland has been the destination of choice for the young and the young at heart. Whether you want to meet your favourite characters, ride some rollercoasters, or even explore Disney history, there’s something for everyone here.

The top 10 Things to do in Southern California

Attend a TV show taping

Have you ever wanted to see your favourite sitcom, talk show, or game show being filmed? Well you can. It’s free and you might even get to meet your favourite celeb.

The top 10 Things to do in Southern California

Visit Universal Studios Hollywood

Want to travel back to the era of Classic Hollywood or go on a 2D adventure with The Simpsons or enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? You can do all that and more at this theme park.

The top 10 Things to do in Southern California

See the ruins of Bombay Beach

Once a thriving holiday resort, the accidentally created “sea” and the Bombay Beach have since become an apocalyptic wasteland of sorts due to pollution. It’s not an ideal location for sunbathing, but you can certainly get some unique holiday snaps.

The top 10 Things to do in Southern California

Take a tourofstars’homes

The avid celeb spotter will love to take a bus tour of the most famous houses in California. Make sure to pack your camera.

The top 10 Things to do in Southern California

Eat at Crazee Burger

For the more adventurous carnivores, you could chow down on some exotic meats (including Kangaroo, Alligator, and Ostrich) at this San Diego restaurant.

The top 10 Things to do in Southern California

Take a picture with the Hollywood sign

Who could go to California without getting a picture with the Hollywood sign? For the best pictures, go to Canyon Lake Drive or Beachwood Canyon Drive.

The top 10 Things to do in Southern California

Get spooked at Whaley House

It’s considered by many to be the most haunted house in the US, but you can see for yourself… unless you’re scared. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, the museum is a big place for San Diego history. It was built by Thomas Whaley, one of the earliest settlers in San Diego, and has a room that served as a courtroom and another that served as an auditorium during the early days of the city.

The top 10 Things to do in Southern California

Snorkel with Leopard sharks

In August, Leopard sharks come to La Jolla Cove to give birth and you can actually go snorkelling beside them. Remember to take an underwater camera to get some cool shots for Instagram.

The top 10 Things to do in Southern California

Getting ready to visit

If this list has inspired you to take a trip to SoCal, then here’s what you need to arrange before you go.

Passport

If you don’t already have a passport, then you need to apply for one at least six weeks before travelling. Renewing a passport takes at least three weeks.

The top 10 Things to do in Southern California

ESTA visa

If you’re travelling to the USA, you need to ensure that you have a valid ESTA visa. It can be quite complicated to fill out the proper paperwork, but luckily, there are companies like Application ESTA who can help.

Flights

The best tips for booking a great flight are:

  • Book as soon as you’ve got your dates as it’ll likely be cheaper
  • Choose the vegetarian meal to get served first
  • Select the window and aisle seats, if travelling as a pair, to get more leg room

The top 10 Things to do in Southern California

Accommodation

There are many fantastic options for accommodation in Southern California from Hotel Vertigo, as featured in the classic Hitchcock film, to the Fairmont San Francisco, where JFK and Marilyn Monroemet for their illicit trysts.

Now, I’d like to hear from you dear reader. What are your top things to do in SoCal? What item on this list is your favourite? Let me know in the comments.

The post The top 10 Things to do in Southern California appeared first on YourAmazingPlaces.com.

First Drive: 2019 Audi A6

DUORO VALLEY, PORTUGAL — When I was first given the assignment to attend the Audi A6 press launch, I was feeling more than a little cynical, paradisiacal location notwithstanding. (Seriously, globetrotters, you need to put Porto, Portugal on your bucket list. It’s movie-set Europe come to life.) There was a time when the A6 was one of Audi’s best sellers, but for the last couple of years it’s been gathering cobwebs. I knew Audi had great things planned for the 2019 A6, but however good it might prove to be—and it turned out to be quite good—it would still lack the prestige of the A8, the practicality of the A4, the appeal of the A5, and the raw sexiness of the A7. The A6 would always be a large-ish luxury sedan, and in today’s market, large-ish luxury sedans are on the outs.

So my hopes for the A6 weren’t high and yet, as you can probably guess from this insufferably long setup, I found myself mysteriously won over, even if I didn’t quite understand the attraction.

Let’s back up and cover the preliminaries: The A6 is all-new for 2019, though the pattern is relatively unchanged. The new A6 is roughly the same size as the old one on the outside, but slightly larger on the inside and bears a stiffer structure. Styling-wise, there are no big surprises, except perhaps for the big ugly radar sensors that interrupt the chrome lines of the grille and the fake exhaust ports out back. (Seriously, Audi? Fake exhaust ports? You had to go there?)

On the powertrain side, the 2.0-liter turbo-four has been dropped, though Audi hints that it may return, possibly with a hybrid drivetrain. When US-market A6s go on sale this fall, all will get the familiar 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 plus a standard “mild hybrid” system. Horsepower is unchanged at 340, but the 369 lb-ft of torque represents a noteworthy 44 lb-ft increase. A seven-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission replaces last year’s eight-speed conventional automatic, and Quattro all-wheel-drive distributes power all four corners.

The delightfully twisty and distressingly narrow roads around Portugal’s Duoro Valley proved to be a good place to test out the A6’s agility. The V-6 had no problem with the steep hills; after the obligatory pause for the turbo to wake up, the engine delivers a broad brand of largely silent thrust. Upshifts and downshifts are prompt and smooth, even at take-off—so much so that I had to double-check the spec sheet to verify that this was, indeed, a twin-clutch transmission and not a traditional torque-converter automatic.

Steering is nearly one-finger light and doesn’t get much heavier when Dynamic driving mode is selected. If I was writing this review five years ago—which, I suppose, would require a time machine—I would have dinged the A6 for that, but the older I get, the more I appreciate light steering. Feedback isn’t a strong suit, but as I tossed the A6 through the near-constant string of bends, I felt like I was in perfect control. I was also grinning like the proverbial idiot.

Audi only had German-spec cars for us to drive, though they tried their best to keep them as close to US-spec as possible. One place where they failed was the suspension: They teased us with both air- and steel-sprung cars, though the air suspension reportedly won’t make it to the US. I am a huge fan of air springs, as they provide the best possible mix of comfort and handling, but after sampling both setups on the same roads, I can honestly say we aren’t missing out on much. The air suspension did a slightly better job of damping out small bumps and seemed to transmit less road noise into the cabin, but handling was pretty darn near a toss-up.

Speaking of road noise, that’s another big change for the A6: It’s incredibly quiet on the open road. Part of that is down to the lightweight hybrid system, which allows the engine to shut down for a few minutes at a time at highway speeds. I never noticed the tach dropping to zero, but I may have been too busy marveling at the scenery with my drive partner. Still, even with the engine online, the A6 is as quiet as a Buick, thanks largely to double-pane glass and improved door seals that block out wind and road noise.

I’ve yet to touch on what may be the biggest news in A6-land: A tech package to beat the band. The 2019 A6 will (finally!) offer Audi’s Virtual Cockpit as an option. VC is a wide-screen dash panel that, among other tricks, allows you to shrink the gauges and display a full-width moving map with Google Earth imagery. This remains the coolest dashboard I have ever seen.




I’m not quite so enamored of the new Multimedia Interface (MMI), also found in the 2019 A7 and 2019 A8. It uses two touch-screen monitors, a 10.1” panel up top and an 8.6” screen below for the climate controls. (Low-end A6s will get a slightly smaller screen up top.) This is Audi’s first touch-screen display, and it responds to touches with haptic feedback (a slight vibration of the screen) along with a muted click from the speakers. Basic navigation functions are no more complex than any other German car; one nifty addition is that you can write out letters or even entire words on the lower screen (say, for programming a destination), as you used to do on the Audi’s old touch-pad.

But aside from its use as a writing tablet, I’m less fond of the lower climate-control screen. I must interject that I think the new A4 and A5’s climate controls—which use dials for the temperature, metal toggle switches, and monochrome display icons that enlarges as your fingers get near the buttons—are the pinnacle of perfection. The A6’s touch panel requires a long glance away from the steering wheel to find the right spot, and while it’s supposed to let you tap or swipe to change temperature or fan speed, it’s way more finicky than it ought to be.

It also adds additional layers of complexity. Let’s say you want to fiddle with the rear A/C. First, press one of the icons on the lower screen, which brings up a menu on the upper screen. Next, press “REAR”, which brings up the rear A/C controls on the lower screen. Now you can make all the adjustments you want, but you also need to manually close the menu on the upper screen. And if you think my explanation is needlessly complex, try using it while darting down narrow, curvy roads and dodging oncoming Renault panel vans driven by young men more interested in their phones than avoiding head-on collisions.

Audi has a great system in the A4, so why make it more complex? Audi’s answer is that they expect most buyers to use their voice-response system, not just for the A/C but for all secondary controls. At one staffer’s urging, I tried pressing the voice button and saying “I’m cold”—but instead of turning up the heater as he expected, it attempted to give me directions to the nearest courthouse.

That said, the plethora of screens all go dark when the car is shut off, and the effect is exceptionally cool. This brings me to another nifty A6 feature: The ambient lighting package, which includes light-piping on the doors and center console and a backlit Quattro badge on the passenger’s side of the dash. The colors can be changed, and if you select Dynamic mode, the lights on the center console go red or blue as you turn the temperature up or down—a feature almost cool enough to make me want to use the A6’s overly-complex A/C controls.

As a guy who spent years writing for car-consumer pubs, I always liked the old A6’s value-for-money equation. Audi hasn’t announced pricing, but they did tell us that the A6 will get genuine leather upholstery as standard (as opposed to the leatherette used in entry-level Bimmers and Benzes) as well as a panoramic sunroof. It’s early days for speculation, but I’d be surprised if the A6 doesn’t undercut similarly-equipped 5s and E-Classes by a significant margin.

That said, I don’t expect the A6 to be a particularly strong seller. SUVs are where the action is, and Audi buyers seem perfectly content to spend the extra dough for the similarly-sized and significantly sexier A7. If the expected gas-price Armageddon comes to fruition, it’s likely the strong-selling Q5 and A5 Sportback will be the beneficiaries. The 2019 Audi A6 is a car whose time, in the US at least, has come and gone. Still, this new version is compelling enough to make me care about it—and considering how little I expected when I first set out on this adventure, that’s saying a lot.

2019 Audi A6 Specifications

ON SALEFall 2018
PRICE$56,000 (est)
ENGINE3.0L turbocharged DOHC 24-valve V-6/340 hp@5,000-6,400 RPM, 368.8 lb-ft@1,370-4,500 RPM
TRANSMISSION7-speed automatic
LAYOUT4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD sedan
EPA MILEAGEN/A
L x W x H194.4 x 74.2 x 57.3 in
WHEELBASE115.1 in
WEIGHT3880 lb
0-60 MPH5.1 sec (est)
TOP SPEED155 MPH


















































The post First Drive: 2019 Audi A6 appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

New Audi A6 2018 review


Road tests

17 May, 2018

Audi A6 - front

The new Audi A6 has arrived, but is it a serious challenger to the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class? We get behind the wheel to find out…

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