Category

Travel

Category

From Mansfield to Beechworth these are some of the best places to eat and drink  in Victoria’s High Country. Eldorado Road Cellar Door, Beechworth, Victoria Visiting Eldorado Road’s newly expanded Beechworth cellar door and cantina is a destination to underline on your High Country itinerary’s list. A tasting of their ultra premium wines, local and imported artisan cheeses and charcuterie presents a gourmand’s dream, all delivered effortlessly in a relaxed and somewhat micro storefront tastings…

Essentials’ favourite High Country pub, the Harrietville Snowline Hotel, has recently boosted its appeal by hosting large group and corporate team-building events that leverage the pub’s unique contacts and knowledge of High Country adventure and lifestyle activities. Recent hosted weekend retreats, including one for Melbourne accounting firm Bluerock, have seen groups of up to 100 take to the nearby mountains and trails for challenges including skiing, cycling and rope activities; plus excursions to breweries and…

If you’re a lover of finely detailed and rather dramatic nineteenth century landscape art, like myself, then you might have, at one time or another appreciated the works of the Hudson River School art movement. Their aesthetic vision was influenced by Romanticism but also focused on three themes of the America in the nineteenth century: discovery, exploration, and settlement. Filled with power and energy, works like A View of the Two Lakes and Mountain House,…

Chef Roi Rigoni talks about his carbonara ‘epiphany’ and the culinary gifts of his mother Bruna, while partner Sue White enthuses over her new Raffaello ice-cream. Since 1996, partners in art and life Roi Rigoni and Sue White have been sharing their version of modern Italian hospitality with Kiewa Valley locals and visitors at their whimsical restaurant, Roi’s Diner, which reflects the personalities of this culinary duo. Roi’s food, based on the traditional flavours of…

The mid-winter sun exudes relaxation, with the outside temperature reaching at a pleasant 17 degrees. A crowd is gathering inside the private dining room – an extended group of family friends, many familiar faces, some new. I’ve arrived at Chrismont’s Cellar Door, Restaurant and Larder to celebrate a birthday, and while I’ve visited many times in the past, my eyes are still drawn outside to admire the children’s storybook forested hill that meets the valley…

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…

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…

Benalla Travel’s Fiona Stephens flight-tests Qatar Airways’ Business Class, stopping over in the culturally rich city of Doha, with its wealth of art museums, cultural sites and the unashamedly unique Mondrian Doha hotel. One has high expectations travelling on Qatar Airways’ multiple award winning ‘World’s Best Business Class’. With a focus on putting the passenger’s travel experience first, Qatar has certainly set the benchmark high, with its unparalleled level of service, spacious suites, and the…

New Zealand freeze dried ingredient company Fresh As are culinary leaders in capturing the intense flavours of fresh fruits, herbs and many other food delicacies – literally frozen in time. Their products including freeze dried food segments and powders give chefs a new set of creative powers – enhancing dishes with both flavour punch and great textural accompaniment. Thanks to Essentials’ in-house chef Megan Chalmers, and an Essentials collaboration, several Fresh As products have recently…

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…

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…

It’s deceptively simple in appearance yet there are delicately nuanced flavours that take me by surprise – it’s a rare delight. This is my first little tasting plate at Botanic Wine Garden, Port Macquarie; it will be one of a pleasurable many. The dish is presented in an elegant shallow bowl that’s painted with ingredients: sashimi kingfish, buttermilk, apple, basil oil, green chilli and fennel – it looks beautiful and the wine match is stellar.…

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…

To get a true taste of luxury, visiting Eldorado Road’s newly expanded Beechworth cellar door and cantina is a destination to underline on your itinerary’s list. A tasting of their ultra premium wines, local and imported artisan cheeses and charcuterie presents a gourmand’s dream, all delivered effortlessly in a relaxed and somewhat micro storefront tastings room and courtyard eatery complete with charcoal grill. While Beechworth is well known for its granitic soils, steep hillsides and…

The Whitsundays’ newest resort Elysian Retreat, Long Island recently opened for business. Adding a little tropical warmth to your week, we celebrate by sharing one of their in-house specialties: Fresh As Tropical Muesli with mascarpone, fresh tropical fruits, macadamia nut, Fresh As freeze-dried rhubarb batons and banana powder. Ingredients Toasted granola Fresh As Freeze-dried rhubarb batons, freeze-dried banana powder The Wild (lime & coconut muesli) used as a granola topping Your choice of quality Australian-made…

Aboriginal artist Billy Doolan joins this weekend’s La Fiera 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 this year expands to include an Italian/Aboriginal art connection. The festival will this weekend host a selection of artworks from visiting Queensland Aboriginal artist Billy Doolan. Work from his Sicilian Dreaming exhibition – a touring show that was launched…

Port Macquarie Hastings River might not be a region that most would associate with grape growing; however it’s a little known fact that the French-American hybrid grape varietal chambourcin began its successful history exactly there, under the Cassegrain family, owners of Cassegrain Wines. Senior winemaker Alex Cassegrain explains that their family’s land had grown chambourcin vines beside the Hastings River from the early 1980s, chambourcin being chosen specifically for its resistance to fungal disease due…

Bills Fishhouse is one of Port Macquarie’s most respected and lively venues, a casual eatery featuring a gleaming open plan galley kitchen, a bar redolent of a coastal beach-hut and windows that open on to Clarence Street, allowing the fresh coastal breezes to flow inside. Tonight we share the dining room with a full house, and enjoy a welcoming and professional service that puts us immediately at ease. Fast become the seafood go-to centre of…

One has high expectations travelling on Qatar Airways’ multiple award winning ‘World’s Best Business Class’. With a focus on putting the passenger’s travel experience first, Qatar has certainly set the benchmark high, with its unparalleled level of service, spacious suites, and the ‘dine on demand’ approach which lets you order anything from the extensive menu at any time during your flight. More recently, Qatar Airways have teamed up with our very own celebrity chef George…

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,…

The sun beats down on the banana trees, their sheet-like leaves dancing in the tropical breeze. The water in the pool sits somewhere between pleasantly warm and refreshingly cool. We swim to the bar at the end of the pool, sit on the submerged stools and order a drink with lots of ice and tropical fruit. We look out over a forest of steel and glass towers while several floors below office workers hit the…

Renowned King Valley baker Thomas Moritz and partner Gabbi have just opened The Oven at Cheshunt in Victoria’s King Valley, and to celebrate, and as a part of the region’s Feast High Country Festival, they have teamed up with the valley’s best food producers to present Bona Fide Valley Brunch: a twin session Austrian and Italian-inspired dining extravaganza, and plus on site fresh food farmer’s market, all happening next Sunday, May 5. Victoria’s King Valley…

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…

A little over 30 minutes south of Port Macquarie, on NSW’s mid-north coast sits the pristine waterway, estuary and river system of Camden Haven and Dunbogan. These twin tiny hamlets feature a mixture of residential plus holiday and retirement homes, most fronting the water with views also to Dooragan National Park’s North Brother Mountain just beyond Camden Haven Inlet. This nearby peak dominates the scenery with its impressive rainforest canopy to form the perfect backdrop…

Twenty years ago the team behind Indigo Vineyard saw Beechworth not only as great area to make quality wine but as a place to make wines at a price point where they can be poured with family meals, at BBQs with friends and to share over a plate of appetisers. This puts wines the region produces within the reach of people who want quality without the big spend. Indigo Vineyard in Everton Upper sits on…

Fresh off the QantasLink connection from Sydney, and upon arrival at Sails Resort Port Macquarie, the first thing that hits you is fresh salt sea air, carrying the soft calls of the gulls. With fishing boats tied to their moorings and with the sun slowly setting, there are few destination that match the harmony of this setting. Situated on a jutting bend of the Hastings River, with a small marina to one side, and an…

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…

Famous for its Gross National Happiness (GNH) – a philosophy that guides the government of Bhutan – Six Senses, one of the world’s leading operators of luxury hotels, resorts and spas, tomorrow (March 31, 2019) celebrates the opening of its first three lodges in the Himalayan Kingdom: Thimphu, Punakha and Paro. The lodges seamlessly combine the brand’s commitment to wellness, sustainability and out-of-the-ordinary experiences with the country’s rich culture, warm hospitality and omni-present spirituality. If…

Modern Siberia has arrived, embracing culinary flourishes from as far afield as France. Essentials discovers one of a new breed in Siberia’s capital city, Novosibirsk. Pardon My French, a wine bar located in Siberia’s bustling industrial hub, Novosibirsk, is a positive light, a beacon of civilised modern-world creativity and style. But for chef and owner François Fournier it didn’t come easy. Launching a French-inspired wine bar serving modernised Russian classics alongside wines from around the…

In terms of making its mark on the Australian wine market, things have come a long way for the King Valley over the past twenty years. Today the valley boasts some of the most spectacular cellar doors and restaurants and produces a fantastic range of Italian varietal wines, most notably including: Dal Zotto Prosecco – the very first prosecco produced in Australia. In recent years the Dal Zotto family have seen a huge response to…