Saturday, December 3, 2022

The Great Australian 2020 Do-Over: What to Do, Where to Stay and What to Eat and Drink in EVERY State

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YES TRAVEL BUBBLE YES!

If you’ve been desperate to get across the ditch to see family, friends or to simply use your bloody passport again, we have your ultimate guide to a good time in Aussie. Get planning team, and enjoy international travel once again!

Australian Capital Territory

Verity Lane Market (Instagram)

What to do:

  • Botticelli to Van Gogh exhibition, Canberra – Transported from London, this incredible new display marks the first time in its near 200-year history that the National Gallery, London has toured an exhibition of works internationally. Drawing on the strengths of their collection, this exhibition offers a rare opportunity to see 61 paintings by some of Europe’s most revered artists over a period spanning 450 years and seven defining periods.  The exhibition will run between 5 March and 14 June 2021.
  • Nulla Tours, Canberra -Guided bus tours of the National Arboretum Canberra key sites are now available. Leading with the brand new 40-minute ‘Discovery Tour’ by Nulla Tours, journey around the National Arboretum’s rare, endangered and significant forests, and hear the stories and history of the site. Nulla means ‘any tree’ in the local Ngunnawal language.

Where to stay:

  • A by Adina, Canberra – Canberra’s newest five-star city hotel, A by Adina, is located off London Circuit, near the Canberra Theatre and a short distance from the city’s largest shopping centre, the Canberra Centre and the broader city dining strip.

Where to eat and drink:

  • Verity Lane Market, Canberra – This chef-driven food hall opened in 2020, led by some of Canberra’s best chefs to create a gastronomic ground zero in the heart of Canberra. Verity Lane Market features three kitchens:
    • Enoki Project, driven by Gerald Ong of Chairman and Yip fame, and features a menu inspired by favourite Asian flavours and Gerald’s modern sensibility.
    • Ramen Daddy is the venture of locals Eddy Tsai and John Leverink who have collided French and Japanese cultures to create a modern menu of Ramen delights.
    • Silvio Miceli’s Pizza Artigiana serves up traditional Italian pizza like it’s an art form, making any Nonna proud.

Plus, there is an early 20th Century-inspired Verity Bar that features an array of exceptional wines, spirits and craft beers, as well as a cocktail list curated by cocktail connoisseur, Benito Drovandi.

New South Wales

Story Bridge

What to do:

  • Ultimate Climb by BridgeClimb, Sydney – Spanning the entire length of one of the nation’s most famous structures, the new Ultimate Climb is the first time in history climbers can conquer the entire breadth of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Promising to take climbers to the new heights, the new climb allows guests to conquer one of the world’s longest steel-arch bridges, spanning an impressive 500 metres and standing proud above the sparkling Sydney Harbour.
  • Hamilton, Sydney – Sydney will be the only place in the world that you can see Hamilton, the Tony, Grammy, Olivier and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton has taken the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton and created a revolutionary moment in theatre, and a musical that has had a profound impact on culture, politics and education. Playing from 17 March at the Sydney Lyric Theatre, grab your tickets quick to see this must-see show!
  • The Australian Museum, Sydney – After a year of significant renovations, the Australian Museum, is once again open to  explore. Check out the current exhibitions ‘Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family’, or wander through the iconic Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year display on your next visit.

Where to stay:

  • Crown, Sydney – With its flagship location in Barangaroo, the city’s newest waterfront precinct, Crown Sydney heralds a new dawn in effortless sophistication for Australia. The hotel opened in late 2020 and has a highly acclaimed restaurant offering including Nobu, On Core by Clare Smyth, Woodcut.
  • Hermes Estate, Gleniffer Hermes Estate is an ultra-luxurious pampering escape nestled riverside in the heart of the mid-North Coast of NSW. As only one guest (or couple) can book the private villa on the five-acre (22,000 sq ft) land, it is truly a couple’s wonderland, a VIP’s utopia and artisan’s paradise. The private villa can be booked at $11,000, all inclusive for a minimum two-night stay.
  • Island House, Lord Howe Island -The newest lodge on Lord Howe Island, Island House, is a unique property comprising two private architect-designed houses set amongst a landscape of native Banyan trees. Offering a new kind of luxury that’s more personal than it is traditional, ahead of any stay, guests work with the Island House team to co-curate their perfect island stay itinerary. Whether that means a stay packed with adventure, a wellness focused retreat or an indulgent escape laden with local produce, wine and spa treatments, every little detail is built into an itinerary for your stay. Here, no detail is overlooked and each house is furnished with mid-century Danish furniture, a rich collection of mid-century as well as Aboriginal art, Japanese homewares and a thoughtfully stocked library. There is also a treasure trove of equipment for guests to use including paddle and surf boards, fishing and snorkelling gear, binoculars, as well as musical instruments and painting materials.

Where to eat and drink:

  • Maybe Sammy, SydneyMaybe Sammy, Australia’s most decorated cocktail bar has reopened with a new cocktail menu – one that’s worth the trip over the ditch to taste. A tribute to Sammy Davis Junior’s 1977 performance at the Sydney Opera House, the Rat Pack era-influenced menu includes over 20 new cocktails to play with so there is something for everyone.
  • Bea Barangaroo, Sydney – Located on level one of the buzzing Barangaroo House on the Barangaroo waterfront, Matt Moran’s Bea serves a deliciously simple contemporary Australian menu with ambitious dishes made up of local ingredients and dictated by the seasons, alongside world-class wines and simple, classic cocktails. With a spacious outdoor deck and indoor banquettes, it’s the perfect spot for a leisurely lunch, luxurious dinner or glass of wine with a view.

Northern Territory

Darwin Rural Pub Crawl

What to do:

  • Darwin Rural Pub Crawl, Darwin -Discover some of the Top End’s most iconic pubs on the new Darwin Rural Pub Crawl. The new experience by Wallaroo Tours gives guests the chance to enjoy super cold beverages whilst being entertained by an expert guide with stories about the everyday characters in Australia’s Top End. This unique tour includes door-to-door pick-up and drop-off at your accommodation, beginning in the world-famous Humpty Doo Hotel.
  • Australian Walking Holidays, Central Australia Australian Walking Holidays’ has launched a new, 7-day Central Australian experience that combines three unmissable highlights of Australia’s Red Centre – the Larapinta Trail, Kings Canyon and Uluru. The new Larapinta, Kings Canyon and Uluru in Comfort immerses active travellers in one of the world’s most evocative and ancient landscapes and combines an exploration of the best sections of the Larapinta Trail, the wonders of Kings Canyon and the sacred site of Uluru. Professionally guided and fully supported throughout, guests will stay in multi award-winning, exclusive eco-campsites on the Larapinta Trail near Alice Springs, and at permanent campsites at Kings Canyon Resort and Uluru.
  • Women’s Tour With Lirrwi tourism, East Arnhem Land – Take part in the Women’s Tour and experience time spent with the Yolŋu women – learning about Yolŋu philosophy and kinship, weaving, painting, astrology, cooking and bush medicine, dancing, gathering oysters or mud crabs and much more. Specific activities will vary according to the season and availability of materials. Due to high demand, bookings are limited for 2021. Check out the remaining dates or tours for 2022 via their website.
  • Australian Geographic & Venture North Arnhem Land Package, Kakadu and Arnhem Land – See spectacular landscapes and experience the world’s oldest living culture firsthand on a remote journey into the Northern Territory’s Top End. Gain an intimate glimpse into the lives of local Aboriginal people and experience some of the most picturesque scenery in Australia travelling through Kakadu and off the beaten track into Arnhem Land. On this 4WD safari you’ll be encouraged to really experience ‘country’ and go beyond just looking by smelling, listening, touching and even tasting things along the way. Tours start from 1 June 2021 (see further information here).

Where to stay:

  • Travelodge Resort, Darwin – Designed around lush resort-style pools and a waterfall, the Travelodge Resort Darwin is an urban oasis in the heart of Darwin’s CBD, offering a great short or long stay alternative accommodation offering for all types of guests. Travelodge’s new-look rooms captures the essence of the Top End, whilst delivering a scheme that balances modernity with the relaxed tropical resort experience that Travelodge Darwin is renowned for.

Where to eat and drink:

  • Charlie’s of Darwin, Darwin Darwin’s first gin distillery, Charlie’s of Darwin, opened earlier this year, complete with Territory-inspired gins and an outdoor rooftop bar overlooking Raintree Park. Sip on their newest drop with botanicals infusing Kakadu plum, spinifex, flowers and seeds.
  • Ebb & Flow, Darwin – Vegan cafe Ebb & Flow has just opened at the beautiful Cullen Bay marina. The cafe’s aim is to “change the perception of plant-based food through simplicity, passion & flavour. Unwind & experience wholesome dining with a tropical vibe while you enjoy cold tap beers, vegan wines or your favourite cocktail.”

Queensland

Fraser Island Hiking

What to do:

  • Cantilever Lean Out, Brisbane – The world-first Cantilever Lean Out on Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge will see you lean out 80m above sea level to see Brisbane from an entirely different perspective. For the serious daredevils, step out onto a plank (also 80m above sea level) to be treated to 360-degree views of Queensland’s capital.
  • Museum of Underwater Art, Townsville – The Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) in North Queensland comprises a series of installations by renowned underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor that highlight reef conservation, restoration, and education. As the only underwater art museum in the Southern Hemisphere, MOUA is a beautiful and innovative blend of art, science, culture and conservation. The first stage of MOUA has already been installed including ‘Ocean Siren’ at The Strand and the ‘Coral Greenhouse’ at John Brewer Reef in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, with further installations planned for Palm and Magnetic Islands.
  • Saltwater Eco Tours, Sunshine Coast – A new experience that forges a deeper connection to Australia’s ancient culture and the sea opened on the Sunshine Coast in July. The new Saltwater Eco Tours allows travellers to experience traditional sailing along the Mooloolah River, the traditional waters of the local Kabi Kabi or “Saltwater People”. Operating on a 100-year-old sailing vessel, travellers will learn traditional sailing techniques, spot wildlife, enjoy local bush tucker and hear of the stories and traditions of the Sunshine Coast’s first eco-custodians.  Behind the wheel is Young Indigenous Tourism Leader Simon Thornally, a captain who was born with the sea in his blood and the ability to trace his lineage back hundreds of generations to Malu (Sea) in the Torres Straits.
  • Fraser Island Hiking, Fraser Island – Many people flock to Fraser Island (K’Gari) for four-wheel drive adventures but it’s the journey you can take on foot that will give you a deeper understanding of the less-travelled landscapes of the world’s largest sand island. The Fraser Island Great Walk stretches for 90-kilometres (56 miles) through coastal wallum, woodlands and subtropical rainforest. This brand new offering includes guided small group and self-guided tours, Fraser Island Hiking, and luxury package options across 2, 3 and 4-day itineraries.

Where to stay:

  • Hyatt Regency, Brisbane – Located in Brisbane’s city centre the recently opened Hyatt Regency is the perfect location for a city break. Cool off with a rooftop swim or pop over the road to the Queen Street Mall to refresh your wardrobe.
  • Flynn by Crystalbrook Collection, Cairns – Described as the wild child of the hotel chain, Flynn is an energetic 311-room hotel located on the Cairns esplanade directly opposite the popular Cairns Lagoon. With two glass swimming pools literally “hanging” over the restaurant-come-night market that features up to six food stalls and live music, Flynn’s mission is to entertain. There is also a 220-seat Italian restaurant, a 70s inspired Whiskey and Wine Bar and Crystalbrook Collection’s signature Elena day spa.

Where to eat and drink:

  • Southside, Brisbane – Located in the jaw-dropping three-storey space in Brisbane’s Fish Lane foodie paradise, Southside is serving up a lively menu of east Asian cuisine using classic Chinese techniques and the freshest Australian produce.
  • Cielo, Brisbane – Stroll down Brisbane’s bustling Brunswick Street, and book a table at the multi-level Italian-inspired venue, Cielo, with an amazing new rooftop bar. The La Costa restaurant with seafood-focused menu on the ground level, and comes from Australia’s best bar Maybe Sammy and the crew behind Salt Meats Cheese.

South Australia

St Hugo, South Australia

What to do:

  • Tour the nearby wine regions – With four incredibly unique, world-class wine regions within an hours’ drive from Adelaide CBD, a day out on a wine tour is a must for any wine lovers visiting Adelaide. And with 2021 marked as the Year of South Australian Wine, there’s never been a better time to plan a visit. Whether it’s the premier Barossa Valley, the beautiful McLaren Vale, the historic Clare Valley or the Adelaide Hills, the closest of all the wine regions, there are a range of personalised tours available for individuals, couples and groups, regardless of whether you’re new to wine tasting or a more experienced connoisseur looking for something new and unexpected.
  • After Dark tours of Adelaide Zoo, Adelaide – Join a two-hour intriguing tour of Adelaide Zoo’s behind-the-scenes areas that have, until now, been inaccessible to the public. You’ll learn about former residents of the view as well as haunting stories as told by the keepers!
  • Exceptional Kangaroo Island, Kangaroo Island – Exceptional Kangaroo Island has partnered with private wildlife refuge Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife to launch Flinders Chase Focus. This hands-on full-day tour allows travellers to actively take part in conservation efforts to regenerate the island’s vast wilderness, which was affected by the 2019/2020 bushfires. Travellers can participate in wildlife surveys and check fencing and motion cameras while getting a close understanding of the endemic sooty dunnart (an endangered tiny carnivorous marsupial), followed by a gourmet picnic lunch in the bush. Efforts are rewarded with a guided tour of Flinders Chase National Park to explore nature’s gravity-defying sculpture, Remarkable Rocks, as well as Admirals Arch – home to a large colony of fur seals.
  • ‘The Food & Wine Legacy’ and ‘Cooper for a Day’ experiences Seppeltsfield, Barossa Valley: Seppeltsfield, one of Australia’s oldest wineries, has launched two new experiences. The Food & Wine Legacy experience allows guests to spend the day with Seppeltsfield’s events executive chef Owen Andrews, for a unique insight into how food has influenced the historic winery. There’s a hands-on curing, braising and poaching cooking class and a three-course lunch, plus an unmissable birth year wine tasting. Alternatively, the new Cooper for a Day experience explores the winery’s proud tradition of fashioning oak timbers into barrels for wine and spirits maturation. Master cooper Andrew Young provides guests with a new appreciation for the artisan trade and a personalised 10-litre wine or spirit barrel.

Where to stay:

  • Oval Hotel, Adelaide – Another way to truly experience the iconic Adelaide Oval is by having the rare advantage of staying onsite! Australia’s first stadium hotel recently opened and is a place of solace overlooking St Peter’s Cathedral and the Torrens.
  • Hotel Indigo Adelaide Markets, Adelaide – This boutique hotel in Adelaide’s CBD is perfectly located for travellers looking to explore the city. Hotel Indigo Adelaide Markets’ restaurants and bars also serve up a range of exciting dishes, tapping into the best of Adelaide Market’s wonderful produce for seasonal appeal. You can also take the elevator to the spectacular rooftop for the raw food bar, Merrymaker, featuring an immaculate array of local seafood, cold meats and the best of South Australian wines, local beers and cocktail favourites.
  • Eos by SkyCity, Adelaide – The new 120-room luxury hotel opened its doors in December 2020, offering guests bespoke experiences from in-room styling to on-call mixologists providing a custom cocktail service.​ Located in Adelaide Casino, Eos by SkyCity encompasses modern hospitality – from signature restaurants and entertainment, to opulent suites and spa experiences.

Where to eat and drink:

  • Chalk Hill winery, Adelaide – A 40-minute drive from Adelaide CBD, this collective site for Chalk Hill wines, Never Never Distilling Co and VPO allows you to taste a selection of award-winning wines while soaking up scenic views of the regions.
  • Sho Sho, AdelaideSho Sho’s offering is heavily influenced by Chinese, Korean and Taiwanese, as well as Japanese techniques and flavours, but doesn’t serve ‘traditional’ Japanese. There is one key Japanese influence – a focus on tempura. It pays respect to the dish by serving it in isolation; guests will have it served to order, just as in Japan it would be served directly over the counter by the Chef and eaten immediately.

Tasmania

A very special “Stay & Play” links golf project is unfolding on King Island overlooking the Great Southern Ocean – in the mould of Scotlandâ€Â™s great links.

What to do:

  • Project X, Ida Bay -DarkLab (a subsidiary of Mona Museum) announced a major new large-scale permanent artwork as part of Project X, to be positioned at Ida Bay in southern Tasmania, a 90-minute drive from Hobart. Transformer, a new site-specific commission by American artist Doug Aitken, is a pavilion with a reflective interior, creating a lens consisting of angles and facets, a kaleidoscope that interacts with the landscape over the changing seasons. Focusing on the sky and the surrounding landscape, the pavilion’s exterior physicality falls away once entered, reflecting the surrounding environment and drawing the viewer into a never-ending kaleidoscope of light and reflection.
  • Barnbougle, North Coast of Tasmania – One of Australia’s iconic links golf courses that feature in world top 100 lists, Barnbougle Lost Farm Golf Links, on Tasmania’s north coast, has announced a new 14-hole short course. Shaped into the sand dunes surrounding the eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th holes, the new course has been designed by US architecture firm Coore & Crenshaw, offering golfers a fun new routing with an added challenge, all while taking in spectacular ocean views.

Where to stay:

  • Crowne Plaza, Hobart – Located in the heart of Hobart on Liverpool Street, the new-build Crowne Plaza Hobart welcomes guests into the new era of Crowne Plaza, offering a contemporary design-led experience, inspired dining destinations, and innovative spaces to blend work and play – while ensuring sustainability remains at its core. Guests are raving about the stunning harbour or Mount Wellington views from each room.
  • Hotel Verge, Launceston – The latest accommodation offering in Launceston, Hotel Verge’s contemporary design references the precinct’s early industrial heritage and aims to provide a personalised, local service to all guests in a relaxed but sophisticated setting. Modern Australian cuisine with a Tasmanian flavour will be served in the in-house restaurant, Diverge. .
  • Premier Travel Tasmania, Cradle Mountain –  Premier Travel Tasmania has launched the 5 Day Tasmanian Wildlife and Wilderness Encounter. Centring around UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cradle Mountain National Park, about 200 kilometres (125 miles) north-west of Hobart, this adventure also takes in the Central Highlands, Maria Island and Mount Field National Park. As travellers are guided through ancient rainforest to the rugged coastline, they can see the likes of quolls, kangaroos, echidnas, platypus, wallabies, wombats and the most famous local, the Tasmanian devil. From the wildly rugged to the wildly comfortable, travellers then retire to luxury accommodation nestled in nature, such as the iconic Cradle Mountain Hotel and Thousand Lakes Lodge.

Where to eat and drink:

  • Aura, Hobart – High in the sky between the Derwent River and Kuyani/Mount Wellington is Aura, Hobart’s first rooftop venue. Positioned at the epicentre of spectacular Hobart scenery, Aura has been designed to encapsulate the juxtaposition of the natural elements that surround it. With a unique panoramic view of Hobart, a fun dining approach to service and an informal but intimate environment, it is sure to become one of Hobart’s top new restaurants.

Victoria

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Comes to Broadway | Vogue
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child cast

What to do:

  • Wild Adventures Melbourne (WAM), Melbourne – Can you think of a better way to start the day than being immersed in nature? Well, look no further and be sure to join WAM’s new purpose-driven eco-adventure which connects small groups, or private tours, with nature on active outdoor adventure trips in the close surrounding areas.
  • ACMI, Melbourne – Following a major redevelopment of Federation Square, ACMI is now re-open. The new screen-culture hub is using museum-wide technology that will transform the way visitors interact with each exhibition. The Story of the Moving Image is their new centrepiece exhibition that showcases the past, present and future of the moving image through interactive experiences. The exhibition brings to life key moments of screen history through interactive experiences including animating shadows, crafting optical toys, assembling film scenes, creating soundscapes and more.
  • Harry Potter & The Cursed Child, Melbourne – The magic returns to the Princess Theatre in Melbourne with the critically acclaimed play, Harry Potter & The Cursed Child. If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter series, get your tickets to watch the eighth story come to life focusing on Harry, his son Albus and the family legacy. Don’t wait for the show to come to you as it’s exclusively performed in Melbourne – what better excuse for a trip over to Aussie!
  • Grampians Peak Trail, Grampians – The Grampians Peak Trail is a memorable multi-day hike through the rugged interior of the Grampians National Park, beginning and ending at Halls Gap. Over three days, two nights and 36 kilometres (22 miles), experience dramatic mountain peaks, rugged rocky outcrops, unforgettable panoramas and the ancient Aboriginal heritage of Gariwerd (note the track is open, however make sure you check the latest alerts for any closed routes).

Where to stay:

  • Lancemore Crossley St, Melbourne – Recently opened in December 2020, this hotel is tucked away in a coveted laneway location within close proximity to everything you need for a great stay: theatre shows, concerts and sporting events. This new boutique hotel offers everything you might be missing from Melbourne – grit, culture, art, theatre, sweeping views and seamless design.
  • W Hotel, Melbourne – Marriott International recently opened its first W Hotel in Melbourne’s city centre. W Melbourne is a foodie’s heaven, with vibrant restaurants and bars onsite with WARABI set to shake up Japanese dining, Lollo to take you from day, night to beyond, and Curious to see and be seen in.
  • Sky Pods, Great Ocean Road – Welcoming new stunning accommodation to the Great Ocean Road, the Sky Pods have enough in their name to entice any traveller looking for something special. The Sky Pods have been dubbed as ‘Luxury Off-Grid Eco Accommodation’ — each pod houses a fireplace, modern amenities, and a beautiful view.
  • Osteria Tedesca & Graceburn House, Mornington Peninsula Osteria Tedesca & Graceburn House represents the italian term, ‘Agriturismo’ – a farm stay with Osteria style eating. Graceburn House is a stylish farm retreat full of art and luxury, reflecting the design and hospitality passions of owners Brigitte Hafner & Patrick Ness. Perfect for in-house entertaining, the bars are stocked with classic cocktails from the Everleigh in Gertrude Street Fitzroy and from groundbreaking mixologist Byrdi. The Osteria is the restaurant style most connected to land and region, with a menu driven by the local produce and cooked for the day.
  • Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours, East GippslandEchidna Walkabout Nature Tours has launched an East Gippsland Wildlife Journey, some 350 kilometres (217 miles) north-east of Melbourne, Victoria, in the wake of the recent bushfires. This immersive four-day conservation journey features some of south-eastern Australia’s most intriguing forest dwellers, including dazzling butterflies, koalas, wombats, swamp wallabies and lyrebirds, as well as goannas and Gippsland water dragons. But beyond the wildlife walks, impassioned travellers can also help to set up a wild koala research project and conduct bird and wildlife surveys on the fringes of bushfire-affected areas, and assist in removing fishing nets from waterways.

Where to eat and drink:

  • Hemingway’s Wine Room, Melbourne – Bringing a touch of 1920s glam to East Melbourne, Hemingway’s Wine Room has made its post-lockdown return, following a short-lived launch of a few months back in June 2020. The restaurant and wine bar recommends bookings but with lots of last-minute availability, can grab a reservation for the upcoming weekend.
  • Gimlet, Melbourne – Restaurateur and chef Andrew McConnell, has recently opened his new eatery and cocktail bar Gimlet. Gimlet features a 150-seat cocktail bar and dining room in a Chicago-style, 1920s-era Cavendish House, recalling the grand hotels of London and New York with soaring ceilings, art deco columns and rows of champagne bottles. ​A wood-fired oven, Euro-bistro-leaning food focus and an extensive and unique cocktail list are offerings we wait for with bated breath.
  • 80 Collins St, Melbourne80 Collins St is Melbourne’s premier new retail and dining destination, welcoming world-leading businesses and brands to engage the city, be it day or night. 80 Collins will include fine dining restaurants, cafes, cocktail bars as well as a boutique hotel. Some venues are currently open, including Farmers Daughters, with more to come in 2021.
    • Farmers Daughters – This new restaurant, headed up by Alejandro Saravia, prides itself on showcasing the best produce of Gippsland. The three-level diner is designed to take guests on a seasonal journey while highlighting one of the most diverse farming regions.
  • Greenhouse by Joost Bakker, Melbourne – Joost Bakker’s highly anticipated Greenhouse is open at Federation Square in Melbourne. The Greenhouse / Future Food System is a self sustaining, closed loop, two-bedroom home that will shelter, feed and provide energy for its inhabitants. The human driven system will mimic nature – upcycling what we currently regard as ‘waste’, in order to grow nutrient dense, delicious produce. Award winning chefs Matt Stone and Jo Barrett will embark on a 6 month residence; growing, harvesting and cooking food sourced from the building. Keep an eye out for intimate dining experiences or tours available through their website.

Western Australia

Kalbarri Skywalk

What to do:

  • Matagarup Bridge Climb, Perth – Check out Perth’s newest tourism attraction, which opened in January 2020, and brave the climb. If you are after more of a thrillseeker experience, make sure to check out the 400-meter zip-line which will see you travel 75km/h set to open later in the year.
  • WA Museum Boola Bardip, Perth – The new Western Australian Museum, which recently announced the Aboriginal name “WA Museum Boola Bardip”, opened in November 2020 and showcases WA’s unique cultural and scientific collections across eight new galleries and exhibition space.
  • Kalbarri Skywalk, Kalbarri National Park – The much-anticipated Kalbarri Skywalk is now officially open. Offering visitors breathtaking and uninterrupted views over Kalbarri National Park, the 100 metre high Skywalk features two cantilevered viewing platforms that extend 25 and 17 metres beyond the rim of the Murchison River Gorge. Located at West Loop – only 1.5 kilometres from the popular Nature’s Window – the facility showcases the culture and stories of the Nanda Traditional Owners through interpretive and artistic elements. Inspired by the region’s heritage and beauty, several local Aboriginal artists have created interpretive artwork as an important part of the Skywalk experience.
  • RedSands Campers, Kununurra – RedSands Campers are set to open a fifth depot location in Kununurra – the eastern gateway to the one of the last true wilderness areas, the Kimberley – from April 2021. This will be the first 4WD camper hire company based in Kununurra, which will allow travellers to do one-way road trips along the epic Gibb River Road and spend more time exploring Kununurra and surrounds – including Purnululu National Park, Lake Argyle and the Ord River. RedSands will offer both its 4WD Campers and premium Landcruiser Prado 4WDs, with no one-way fees as part of the hire conditions.

Where to stay:

  • Warders Hotels, Fremantle – This newly opened historic boutique hotel located next door to the iconic Fremantle Markets in old limestone cottages is perfect for those looking to explore Fremantle’s historic city.
  • Farmers’ Home Hotel, Avon Valley – Opened June 2020, the new Farmers’ Home Hotel is a historic hotel in Northam that has been beautifully restored into a 16-room luxury property. Located just over an hours’ drive east of Perth in the Avon Valley, the boutique stay offers five different room types capturing the essence of the hotel’s 150-year history.
  • Samphire Rottnest, Rottnest Island – Rottnest Island welcomed its latest luxury accommodation offering in 2020 – with Samphire Rottnest. Named after the native samphire plants found on the island, and set within the natural habitat of the A Class Reserve – the hotel embraces the essence of Rottnest, and encourages guests to immerse themselves in the natural elements and feel the sand beyond their toes.

Where to eat and drink:

  • Cooee, Perth – Sitting on the banks of the Swan River with stunning views, this newly opened ‘gate to plate’ eatery is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant is led by Michelin-star veteran chef Alan Wise and the menu celebrates WA’s rich abundance of local produce.
  • The Icon Experience at Vasse Felix, Margaret River – A day trip to Western Australia’s Margaret River from Perth, is now within reach with The Icon Experience at Vasse Felix, the region’s founding wine estate. The Icon Experience kicks off with a private helicopter transfer from Perth 260 kilometres (160 miles) south to Vasse Felix, taking in breathtaking views over towering karri eucalypt forests and the Indian Ocean. After you are greeted by Virginia Willcock, Vasse Felix’s chief winemaker, the journey continues with a guided vineyard tour around some of the region’s oldest vines; a winery tour that reveals how the expert team harvests, ferments, barrels and blends; and a private tasting at the wine museum The Vault. You’ll then meet the chef behind the winery’s award-winning restaurant and enjoy a five-course degustation long lunch, before a leisurely helicopter transfer back to Perth.
  • Moontide Distillery, Broome – The tropical town of Broome in WA’s Kimberley region has recently welcomed the opening of its first boutique craft distillery – Moontide Distillery. Using pure monsoonal rain water mixed with native botanicals – including locally sourced Gubinge (Kakadu Plum), Guwarl (white berry bush), native myrtles, mango, tamarind and exotic spices – the spirits reflect the charm and bold character of the Kimberley region. The range of spirits include White Pearl Gin, Black Pearl Aniseed Spirit and Roebuck Bay Bitters. Tastings are held at the cellar door – Tuesday to Sunday, where spirits can be tasted neat or paired with a mixer.

* Main image Upalinna Lookout, Skytrek Willow Springs Station, SA Image: South Australian Tourism Commission

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