Author

Belinda Jackson

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Rural retreat hunters are spoilt with a swag of stylish new properties away from the bright lights. Back roads are back, as slow travel establishes as one of today’s key travel trends in a world that never hits the off button. With plenty of sparse spaces across the country, Australia’s regions have responded to the demand for dalliance. Kimo Estate is set on a 2800 acre farm, looking out to the Murrambidgee River. Owners Emila…

An historic cattle station in rural NSW is probably not where you’d expect to find a trove of contemporary sculpture and art. But the 124-acre Mona Farm, first established in 1836, is an uncommon find. Situated an hour west of Canberra, the farm was the home of ship’s surgeon Thomas Braidwood Wilson, who lent his name to the town that would grow beside it. Walk through the elm forest and across swathes of lawn to…

Queensland’s Whitsunday archipelago comprises 74 islands: here are three of its new and revitalised stars. Elysian Retreat A brand new build on Long Island, Elysian is just 1km off the Queensland coast, south of Shute Harbour: it’s reached only by helicopter from the airstrips at Hamilton Island or Airlie Beach. With a focus on wellness, daily yoga and organic spa treatments, there are only 20 guests on the secluded retreat at any time, and only…

As Australian travellers return from their European summer sojourns, it’s a sure bet that Italy’s Lake Como is trending on Instagram feeds. A snap from Laglio, where George Clooney keeps a 30-room villa, another of the gold-garnished saffron risotto in the Grand Hotel Tremezzo (above), a third photo of licking gelato while wandering the botanic gardens of Bellagio’s neo-classical Villa Melzi (below). ‘When you look at the sky over Lake Como, it’s clear that God…

What’s an ultra long-haul flight? As the name suggests, a really, really, really long flight. Bum-numbingly long. Wikipedia defines an ultra long-haul (ULH) flight as any flight over 12 hours long. Antipodeans should rightfully sniff at such a definition, given our regular 14- or 15-hour schleps up to the Middle Eastern hubs. No, we’re talking next level: think up to 20-hour, non-stop flying time. Sounds painful. Why? Ah, the million-dollar question. A drop in oil…

It’s Brisbane’s time for a turn in the spotlight, with a welter of stylish new hotel openings that play with Queensland’s past and deliver a gentle dig in BrisVegas’ ribs – all in the best taste. W Brisbane BrisVegas is bling, and bling is good. Upmarket, free-spirited hotel brand W returns to Australia with a bang, on the banks of the Brisbane River. The river lent its indigenous story to the design, with Brisbane’s river…

Especially when you’re on the red-eye out of Sydney and you stayed up late last night watching bad American TV series from the ’90s with names such as Mayday and Airline Disasters. I know you. You’re the one lip-syncing the safety instructions in perfect timing with the airline crew. You can point out the exits (hands open, palms flat) and you already know how many seats there are between you and your nearest exit. You…

In a classic role reversal, an Indian fortress built to guard against threats from outside now welcomes travellers from faraway lands to experience Rajasthan’s hospitality, cuisine and traditions. Words & Additional Photography by Belinda Jackson. Hotel Photography Courtesy of  Alila Hotels & Resorts It’s 500 steps to the Kalka Mata temple in the foothills of the Aravalli Hills, which swing in a wide arc across India’s most colourful state, Rajasthan. ‘Mother give us strength. Mother…

In a city never shy of flaunting her charms, new hotels flirt with the glittering waterscape through their views, art and locations. We step inside the hot new digs. West Hotel Barangaroo Skirting the fringe of Sydney’s waterfront Barangaroo precinct, the new West is your base for the city’s prestigious arts events: the hotel is within walking distance of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Theatre Company. The concrete jungle outside gives way to a…

Smother it with sauce, serve it with shiraz, pass the salt: it’s a case of reheat and repeat down the back of the plane. A lifetime ago, I was flying across Russia’s Caucasus mountains on a route that no longer exists, on an airline that has since gone out of business. There were, perhaps, a dozen of us on the creaking, leaking Russian-owned plane from Vladikavkaz to Sochi. The cabin crew paused only in their cosmetics…

Sleepy Townsville is firmly on travellers’ radar at the moment with the news that budget airline Tigerair zips into town on a new Melbourne-Townsville route starting June 22. The gateway to Magnetic Island and the Great Barrier Reef is hot property right now – regional airline Airnorth is also making a beeline north, with flights from Brisbane West Wellcamp airport up to Townsville from May 8. Seekers of Vietnam’s famous sunsets and seafood can now…

Redeye Special Stash your luggage in the cargo section, not under your eyes. These under-eye patches from Texan company Nerium are made from cooling seaweed and pea, and infused with aloe leaf juice and mushroom extract, which hydrate tired eyes. Hardened glamazons will think nothing of patting the patches on mid-flight and accessorising with a pair of headphones. Let’s face it, what else are you going to do with your time? So the bright eyes…