5 free things to do in Barcelona

COLOURFUL: You have to pay to visit Gaudi's old house, but you can see some of his work for free at Parc Guell.

Barcelona is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations. It can be pricey but these tourism gems are all free.

Crackdown on campers

EYES ON CAMPERS:  Marine Pde, New Brighton, is popular among freedom campers. Alex Doroschenko, a German tourist, camped near Thompson Park this week as part of a freedom camping trip around New Zealand.

Councils take Big Brother approach to freedom campers with officers monitoring hot spots.

A fast ride to disappointment

PARADISE ISLAND: Maya Bay in Thailand - a glorious, sun-drenched, white-sand strip surrounded by crystal-clear waters.

The whole reason I wanted to visit Thailand was The Beach. But Thais and tide wait for no man (or woman).

It was over before it began

ROAD TRIP MEMORIES: TV3 presenter Kanoa Lloyd recalls a family road trip that doesn’t end well.

TV3 presenter Kanoa Lloyd recalls a family road trip that doesn’t end well.

Top travel photos of the week

A camel yawns as a tourist checks images on her camera following a ride on a camel safari alongside the Pacific Ocean on Lighthouse Beach, north of Sydney, in this December 4, 2014 file photo.

Here's a round up of some of the top travel photos from around the world this week.

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Kiwi Traveller

A bad moon rising gallery

Shayla Gibbons

When Shayla Gibbons left NZ her OE, she never thought she'd end up in a Thai clinic, fearing for her friend's lives.

Kiwis are Christmas Scrooges

Kiwis are a bunch of Scrooges with 50 per cent wanting to leave family members behind this Christmas.

Pasifika welcome

A different life stuff nation

news

Fire alarm closes airport terminal

Auckland Airport's domestic terminal closed, but a spokeswoman said domestic flights had not been disrupted.

12:45 PM  Auckland Airport's domestic terminal has been evacuated after fire alarms sounded.

Crackdown on campers

Councils take Big Brother approach to freedom campers with officers monitoring hot spots.

Jet loses wingtip in airport brush up

Car rental adds scooter hire

travel troubles

It was over before it began

ROAD TRIP MEMORIES: TV3 presenter Kanoa Lloyd recalls a family road trip that doesn’t end well.

TV3 presenter Kanoa Lloyd recalls a family road trip that doesn’t end well.

A fast ride to disappointment

The whole reason I wanted to visit Thailand was The Beach. But Thais and tide wait for no man (or woman).

TripAdvisor fined for misleading reviews

Air NZ crew quit over boozy night

nz

More families stay at holiday parks

Top 10 holiday park

More families are choosing holiday parks for a cheaper break this year.

A Kiwi Christmas draws the Aussies video

A little known South Island destination has attracted more than 700,000 Aussies with its Christmas cheer.

THE WIZARD: Ian McKellen as Gandalf in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"

Is a Middle-earth museum on the cards?

We already have Hobbiton but Ian McKellen doesn't think it should end there.

australia

The Gold Coast's classiest hotels gallery

QT: The QT's relentlessly perky and design-heavy take on the traditional Surfers Paradise tower resort is a high energy blizzard of colour in a sea of fun-free safe blandness. A tongue-in-cheek vintage seaside theme pervades the whole property, whether it's the wholesomely retro bikini babes on the lift mirrors, jumpsuit receptionist uniforms or garish mesh bags with thongs inside on the bathroom hooks. Anyone who doesn't love the cockatoo-shaped bedside lamps has a heart of stone, while the Stingray bar has become one of the hottest cocktail spots in town. Doubles cost from $219.

It might be known for excess and skyscrapers, but the Gold Coast can do classy, too.

Get your motor running

By the second descent I couldn't wait and gunned it, and now there was no stopping me.

SNOW COVERED: On top of Mount Wellington

Cold at the top

It may be summer but it's snowing on Mount Wellington when a group of cyclists begin their hair-raising descent.

themes

Cold at the top

SNOW COVERED: On top of Mount Wellington

It may be summer but it's snowing on Mount Wellington when a group of cyclists begin their hair-raising descent.

Hot holiday spots for 2015 gallery

We asked six travel experts to share their predictions for the hot destinations in 2015.

A camel yawns as a tourist checks images on her camera following a ride on a camel safari alongside the Pacific Ocean on Lighthouse Beach, north of Sydney, in this December 4, 2014 file photo.

Top travel photos of the week

Here's a round up of some of the top travel photos from around the world this week.

europe

5 free things to do in Barcelona

COLOURFUL: You have to pay to visit Gaudi's old house, but you can see some of his work for free at Parc Guell.

Barcelona is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations. Like anywhere, it can be pricey, but these five tourism gems are all free.

Iceland: Cold by day, colder by night

The middle of Reykjavik isn't just where the action is, it's where the action distracts you from the fact your hands and face are raw and chapped.

In a land of fire and ice

The road less travelled

uk and ireland

Cereal Killer Cafe opens gallery

Cereal Killer

These brothers hope they have ticked the right boxes and got the right flavours, as London's first cereal cafe opens

A gourmet haven

The historic town of Hastings has reinvented itself as a gourmet haven.

Britain plans Stonehenge tunnel

Paying homage to Sherlock gallery video

usa

Magical mystery on the Sea of Cortez gallery

Magical mystery on the Sea of Cortez

Some say it's the rugged Sierra de la Giganta mountains that make the magic, rising behind the resort to leave guests gasping for adjectives.

US eyes Cuba tourism

Beautiful beaches, lively casinos and late-night dancing once made Cuba the perfect getaway for Americans.

A stay at Robert De Niro's place

A walk on Mexico's wild side

canada & alaska

Natural beauty to spare

PERFECT POWDER: Lake Louise Ski Resort, Banff National Park.

In Alberta's high country the Rockies march shoulder to shoulder flanking the road, peaks bristling, glaciers sparkling.

Escaping winter in Quebec

If sleeping on a bed of ice seems peculiar, what about frolicking in snow wearing little more than a swimsuit?

The best fast food

Just glide on by in Canada

asia

Paradise as usual in Phuket

PARADISE AS USUAL: Tourists deserted Phuket after the 2004 tsunami, but have since returned in droves.

Tourists shunned Thailand for a year after the 2004 tsunami, but that didn't stop them returning in droves.

Add Shanghai to your to-do list video

Doing business in Shanghai takes courage and a good smartphone app.

GOLDEN TEMPLE: The giant statues at the Dambulla Caves.

World's most seductive island

Women sashay past, saris fluttering and hips swaying rhythmically to the thumping drums.

cruising

Crazy for chocolate at sea

Princess Cruises chocolate spa

Every so often rumours of a worldwide chocolate shortage send shivers of horror through chocoholics everywhere.

Bon voyage for Majesty of the Seas

Royal Caribbean is getting rid of its oldest ship, the Majesty of the Seas.

Cruising not for everyone gallery

Akaroa stews over cruise trade

snow

Cold at the top

SNOW COVERED: On top of Mount Wellington

It may be summer but it's snowing on Mount Wellington when a group of cyclists begin their hair-raising descent.

First day of summer?

Snow-capped mountains and chilly temps mark Canterbury’s first day of summer.

High in the Himalayas gallery

Low cost Aspen ski luxury

Video

Airbus' answer to the Dreamliner

Airbus engineers thought the Boeing Dreamliner was a joke.