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The Buds have burst in the high altitude wine region of Orange, NSW and to celebrate the region’s winemakers and foodies have launched the 2019 Orange Wine Festival program; and it looks to be packed with adventure. Running from Friday, October 18 through to Sunday, October 27, events include behind-the-scenes access to wineries, meet-the-maker opportunities, a range of quality culinary experiences paired with the region’s award-winning wines and wine education sessions across a 10-day a…

Encore St Kilda Beach has won triple category awards at this year’s Victoria & Tasmania Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Hostplus Awards for Excellence. Encore operated the Melbourne Hospitality People Group is famous for its beachside food and drink icons: Republica and Captain Baxter (St Kilda Beach) and Mr McCracken within the Essendon Fields Hyatt Place Melbourne hotel complex. The multi-function Encore venue was awarded in the Wedding Caterer, Function/Convention Centre Caterer and Caterer of…

A captivated crowd last night packed the house at the newly re-branded De Bortoli Wines Rutherglen Estate cellar door for the Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery landmark exhibition titled: Northern Exposure – Stories from Lockhart River and Fitzroy Crossing. Flying in from Lockhart River, Cape York, and arriving to the gallery decked out in a thick winter jacket, woolen gloves and beanie; the cold climate was the only shocking element that Aboriginal artist Patrick Butcher Jnr faced as…

The Van Haandel Group has this week announce its appointment of award-winning chef Oliver Hansford (of Stokehouse Melbourne) as the new Executive Chef of Stokehouse Q, Brisbane. Ollie returns to Brisbane and Stokehouse Q, having been awarded the Brisbane Times Good Food Guide Young Chef of the Year Award in 2016, and following on from his current role with the Group as Head Chef at Stokehouse St Kilda, overseeing the relaunch of the iconic Melbourne…

In the Footsteps of Tatiana Metanova After an early morning flight over Russia’s vast tundra, laid flat like moss-green jigsaw pieces interspersed with connecting waterways and small lakes, we were finally on descent into Leningrad, or Saint Petersburg, as it is once again known as today. From my window seat I had a perfect view of Lake Ladoga. Here in the winter of 1941 the 219-kilometre ‘Road of Life’, was built on the lake’s 90-150cm…

Painting is a visual language and doesn’t need an explanation. Artists call on all their years of experience, conflict, disappointment, loves and obsessions to create a mood, a feeling that words can’t replace. It’s not necessary to know how the artist arrived at the work, or what was in their mind. Your job as a viewer is just to look – allow the image to wash over you. In my mind the first impact is…

The first exhibition of its kind to be presented in Australia, Northern Exposure – Stories from Lockhart River and Fitzroy Crossing launches later this month at Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery at Rutherglen Estates. Opening to the public on Friday June 21, the exhibition showcases works from three celebrated Aboriginal artists and will connect viewers with the joys of life on Country, Dreamtime spirits and Aboriginal culture; also showcasing all the colour, movement and textural feel of…

In terms of wineries with a view, premium soils and brilliant cellar doors, Tallis Wine in Dookie, Victoria is one of my personal all time favourites. The modernist corrugated iron-clad cellar door architecture features sweeping views from its interior floor-to-ceiling glass, with the simplicity of the layout and sleek furnishings only adding to the wonderful feeling of calm. Perched in the rolling hills of Dookie and with around 30km of cropping and grazing land between…

While it might appear tiny, it’s amazing how vast and striking the contents of Beechworth’s Arcadia Gallery are. Owner Susan Reid describes the collection as pieces that are each connected in spirit; ‘hands, heart and mind,’ is a statement she uses to explain the feeling we experience upon stepping inside. ‘Everything here is made by one pair of hands,’ she says. ‘There’s also a lot of plant and botany in here but not necessarily botanical…

La Fiera is a six-day festival set within the bustling country town of Myrtleford, situated on Victoria’s Great Alpine Road. Celebrating the Italian way of life in the Ovens Valley, the festival takes place in the middle of May at the end of harvest, when the deciduous trees still have their warm autumn colours on show, just before the chill of winter sets in. These final glorious autumn days are shared with spectacular food, wine,…

Howard Smith Wharves, the historic shipping precinct directly under the northern end of the iconic Story Bridge is a dramatic new destination that offers a magical 80 percent waterside public space as-well-as the new Art Series Hotel – The Fantauzzo. The district’s new river boardwalk now extends to New Farm ferry terminal. 5 Boundary St, Brisbane; artserieshotels.com.au/fantauzzo/ Directly under Story Bridge, and just metres from the hotel is Mr Percival’s. This is a magnificent realisation…

The early-morning light flows through the trees. It’s a still summer’s day and a cool pillow of wind bounces up from the Ovens River. Ripples appear on the far bank and a wet and leathery bill of a platypus emerges from the cool clear water. ‘He is one of our neighbours,’ says Samantha Pasquinelli. She and husband Marco used to live in the charismatic riverside house on the quiet side of the Ovens in the…

She’s been considered a bright new shining light in Aboriginal art, yet only a few art curators and collectors have ever seen her paintings. At 32 years of age, far north Queensland-born Kuku Yalanji (language group) Tarsha Davis, a highly modernist painter, is creating new Aboriginal themes that are destined to become important teachings for future generations. As I interview her at Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery (Rutherglen, Victoria), seated among some of Australia’s finest collection of…

It’s been a long focus of Essentials to celebrate the many landmark icons of Melbourne, Australia – its sensational cafés, historic restaurants and art galleries; including its people: chefs, artists, designers and all the creative minds who have collectively shared in building the culturally rich tapestry that is the city we know and love today. British-born, Melbourne-based chef Ian Curley, like many before him, brings a wealth of knowledge and artisan colour to the region.…

The midday sun is delightfully warm, never scorching; the air is softly humid. Sweet scents drift in the sea breeze and bright colours are everywhere. From the layered white-washed walls, pink bougainvillea flower clusters reach down to connect with limegreen palm fronds and intense yellow cactus spikes. The expansive backdrop to this beautifully flowing garden-flanked neighbourhood is painted a deep black opal blue, graduating to a gem-like aquamarine. This colour fills the horizon, it’s a…

Some of the best names in the business share similar terroir – famous free-draining granite and loamy soils that produce top wines that are celebrated around the world – welcome to Beechworth, Australia. Savaterre Keppell Smith is a very entertaining host. He is also an incredibly serious winemaker. One of the best. He also makes exceptionally good prosciutto, but just for his friends and family. We sit in the late spring sun looking out over…

New Australian hotel group Veriu is carving out a fine niche in the boutique accommodation market. We check in, to check out, the ‘millennial modern meets 1920s Hollywood’ gentrification of Sydney’s Wentworth House, reimagined as Veriu Central. With Australia’s increasing demand in smaller-scale boutique hotel experiences comes a gentrification of inner urban historic properties; and with this we should be thankful. These previously forgotten gems of our cities are often well positioned, offering great convenience…

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…

Opening to the public tomorrow, Saturday October 6 in Rutherglen, Victoria, the Aboriginal Exhibitions – Collection Highlights 2018 exhibition is an exploration of some of the most significant Aboriginal paintings and artefacts created in modern times and it gives just about anybody the opportunity to take home a wonderful piece of Aboriginal art. Featuring works created by many of the leading Aboriginal artists of our time including: Kudditji Kngwarreye, Dennis Nelson Tjakamarra Nelson, Russell Butler,…

Fiona and Frank Stephens of luxury tours agency Benalla Travel (Victoria) explore the Dalmatian Coast with APT Luxury Mega-Yachts aboard Ponant’s Le Lyrial. The romance and adventure of sailing into a small port certainly provides a different perspective on travel and a keen understanding of the cultural identity of some of the world’s most beautiful small coastal towns. The larger ports that line the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia and Montenegro are a popular choice for…

In Singapore, conservation goes two ways. One, you get the heritage geeks who insist on salvaging every last crumbling brick, decorative tile and rusty wrought iron railing to preserve the look and feel of a bygone era. Then you have the cool cats who see a historic building, absorb its spirit and are able to recreate it in modern, hip surroundings. The Warehouse Hotel is blessed with owners in the latter category who ensured that…

Richard Cornish explores Bright and surrounds to discover a fresh trail of native Australian influence, new businesses and youthful personalities that are breathing new life into this historically popular tourist town. It is a warm day in early autumn and the sun falls on the walking track through a filter of dancing leaves as the smell of damp earth mingles with the tang of eucalyptus. The air becomes cooler as the path drops into a…

Design Hotels represents and markets a hand-selected collection of privately owned and operated hotels in hundreds of destinations around the globe. Each is a wholly unique creative expression crafted by individual teams of experienced hoteliers, architects and interior designers. We’ve been seriously impressed by what we’ve seen and experienced while visiting Design Hotels’ many properties locally and around the world, including: Mira Moon Hotel Hong Kong, Limes Hotel Brisbane and Hotel Omm, Barcelona. The Cugó…

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…

With sparkling, turquoise waters and white-sand beaches, Malolo Island is the classic daydream holiday. The Mamanuca archipelago has long been a sunny playground for winter-white Australians. Its newest, most hotly anticipated opening is Six Senses Fiji, which pulled open the timber doors on its 24 thatched-roof villas in April this year. The hotel group has resorts and spas in far-flung locations such as Portugal’s Douro Valley and the Maldives. This is its first foray into…

Va Tutto restaurant in Ivanhoe, a leafy North East suburb of Melbourne is an icon. Operated by husband and wife team, Paul and Myrto Recinella, Va Tutto is currently in its twelfth year; its fine food heritage going back a further 16 years, as the pair previously operated Zeo’s in East Melbounre. Achieving The Age Good Food Guide one hat status for 7 years in a row, Paul explains that continually working to meet this,…

A hidden gem plating up farm-fresh produce and bakery perfection. You have to go out of your way to get to Pigeon Hole. The little café, a good 15-minute walk from the centre of Hobart, is in an old shop with a burnished brick façade and aged stainless steel window and door. It is also one of the best little places to eat paddock-to-plate food in the nation. Pigeon Hole Café is owned by farmers…

The 1957 Arthur Boyd painting Shearers Playing for a Bride is the most powerful and emotionally moving work I’ve ever seen – it’s haunted me for over 40 years. It is one of the 30 paintings of his Love, Marriage and Death of a Half-caste series, commonly known as the ‘Bride series’. It’s a deeply personal response to the dispossessed, detribalised Aboriginal peoples – victims of the ill-fated assimilation program of 1930 – that he…

The old Scotch oven stands behind the old bakery shop in the centre of Eldorado. It was once the focus of this beautiful historic mining town in Victoria’s North East, 15 minutes east of the regional centre of Wangaratta. Owner Sandy Bogusis stands next to the Scotch oven, its iron face bearing the name J. Baker and Sons, Engineers. Melbourne. ‘Back in the early 1900s Robert Edgar Cunningham had commissioned the Scotch Oven,’ explains Sandy.…

A thirst for European wine in the mid-19th century saw the establishment of Japan’s own wine industry. It continues to grow. A blanket of snow carpets the vineyard. Dark, leafless vines climb high into the trellises, spreading their gnarled arms out along the wires. The sloping hillside is carefully terraced, each small patch of level earth held firm by a small wall of intricately herringboned stone. At the foot of the vineyard runs a small…