In brief: Unearthing Australia's secret history
Every Friday, we help you navigate the week’s most important and interesting travel news stories.
Amazing things that should happen more often
Five 1,000-year-old copper coins, found (and then reburied) on an Australian island during World War II and then located again in 1979, may lead to new theories about when, exactly, explorers and traders first reached Australia. The coins are from what was once the Kilwa Sultanate, now a World Heritage ruin on an island off the coast of Tanzania. They are also the first coins known to be produced in sub-Saharan Africa. [The Age]
A recent change in Chinese law allows foreigners from 45 favoured countries to visit Beijing for 72 hours without a visa, as long as they are booked on an outward flight. CNN takes a stab at coming up with the optimal itinerary for those three days. Rest up – you'll need it.
"Best practices" for chatting with (and sending jealousy-inducing photos to) the folks back home seem to change at least twice a year. Before your next big trip, make sure you have the best apps and smartphone set-up to get the job done. [WildJunket Magazine]
Photos and videos that went viral on the Web this week
A new book, Molly Oldfield's The Secret Museum, takes readers behind locked doors to examine the holdings that are too precious, fragile or even too dangerous for museums to display often, if at all. What she uncovered would make for an amazing (albeit very random) exhibit of its own, with items that include Queen Elizabeth's shoes, van Gogh sketchbooks, an egg from the extinct Great Auk, a spacesuit and the remains of a 28ft-long squid nicknamed Archie. [The Daily Mirror]
Mount Everest was not climbed successfully until 29 May 1953. To mark the 60th anniversary, the Royal Geographic Society has published a book and mounted an exhibit with some glorious shots: check out a sample here. [The Guardian]
Hold on folks, we’re in for a rocky ride
Airbnb, the popular quasi-hotel site, got a major setback in New York this week, when a judge fined a tenant $2,400 for breaking a recent law outlawing rentals of residential apartments for less than 30 days. The law, dating from 2010, was passed in part at the urging of tenants (who don't like the idea of transient guests in their apartment buildings) and hotels (who don't like having to compete with those who don't have to follow the same healthy amount of New York regulations that they do). [Skift]
And some additional, much less happy news from Australia, as Unesco and environmentalists warn that climate change and large-scale coal mining may lead to the wholesale destruction of the Great Barrier Reef. The World Heritage site has lost half of its coral over the past three decades, and Unesco is threatening to add the 2,300km reef to its "in danger" list by 2014. [Spiegel Online]