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Jamaica’s history is both colourful and dark. Voodoo witches, pirates, slave traders, Spanish conquistadors and English invaders are all woven into the fabric of this tiny country’s past. If only one thing has remained constant throughout the turmoil of the years, it is the nation’s passion for, and appreciation of, the local spirit. Made from the abundant sugar cane that is cultivated on the island, Jamaican rum is an institution in itself. Appleton Estate is…

One of the most exciting world exhibits of indigenous art is coming to The National Gallery of Victoria later this year as it will launch TIWI – on show from November 13 to March 8, 2021 at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia. The Tiwi, the original inhabitants of Melville and Bathurst Islands, are known for their extraordinary art and cultural practices, distinct from those of mainland Aboriginal people. Located 80 km north of Darwin,…

As Melbourne grapples with the increase in confirmed corona virus cases and selected postcode reintroduced lockdowns, regional NSW is set to reboot its tourism industry with an announcement today from Qantas celebrating the launch of two new routes to regional NSW. The first Qantas flight between Sydney and Byron Bay (Ballina) in 15 years departed today and the airline has confirmed its first ever flights to Orange will begin on July 20. This comes at…

Once the hidden gem of Steels Creek, near Yarra Glen, Yarra Valley boutique winery Yileena Park has become one of the region’s must-visit cellar doors. These days, the winery hosts couples and small groups of eager wine aficionados vying for the best pre-booked limited seats in the luxurious Tasmania oak-lined parlour-style tasting room for Yileena’s detailed complimentary wine education and tasting presentations. Entertaining, educating and sharing wines is all in a day’s play for Bob…

Unlike other ski resorts, Victoria’s Dinner Plain has a year-round community with a life of its own, and it’s quintessentially Australian. There are no fences and the houses are designed with the old cattlemen’s huts in mind. When people walk around the village, they regain their sense of freedom. Entering the village by crossing the cattle grid signals one’s arrival – it’s time to shed some stress and unwind in style true opulent Bond villain…

With lockdown loosening and businesses reopening across NSW, the hottest form of travel right now is the humble roadtrip. And like bees to the honeypot, we’re making a beeline for Australia’s wine regions. Just 3.5 hours from Sydney (a more substantial eight hours from Melbourne), Orange is one of the country’s highest altitude winemaking regions. With more than 60 cool-climate vineyards and 40 cellar doors, its signature pours are chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon,…

If you’re keen to get skiing on mountain this year, take a step back and read the fine print before leaving home, as Victoria’s alpine resorts are preparing for a very different start this winter season. While overnight stays are possible within Victorian resorts, visitor facilities at Mt Buller, Falls Creek, Mt Hotham, Mt Stirling, Mt Baw Baw and Lake Mountain are likely to be limited as tobogganing, downhill and cross country skiing is not…

Looking for the ultimate cure to your lockdown isolation blues? Step inside High Country Victoria’s just opened contemporary, architect design accommodation properties: Art House Townhouses, Bright. 
Situated in the heart of Bright’s food, wine and distillery district, these five luxury appointed townhouses offer a new standard in designer comforts married with individual collections of fine Australian art prints produced by celebrated contemporary artists Margie Sheppard and Dean Bowen, plus key works by  John Olsen. Exteriors…

Take a seaside stroll on a wild shore, feel the pulse of an ancient forest, find views that have inspired some of Australia’s great painters and iconic novelists. Who’d have thought it possible a month ago? As the loosening of lockdown continues across the world, Victorians can now stretch their legs and travel within the state. Nature has been the big winner of the COVID era, and our cleaner, greener, open spaces are beckoning. Sorrento-Portsea…

Winemaker and proprietor Richard Tallis of Tallis Wines in Dookie, Victoria, is a mighty talented, down-to-earth bloke whose knowledge, understanding and connection to the land though grape growing and winemaking is admirable. His Tallis 2017 Riesling is a class-leading wine that features bright lifted aromas of cumquats and melon, coupled with a rich, round mouthfeel that’s layered with mixed citrus, the best of summer’s stone fruit flavours and a deeper buttery, ripe pear element It’s…

Australia’s dining scene may be in COVID-induced hibernation, but our fascination with food will be (virtually) well-fed this weekend in a one-off livestream feast starring the country’s best produce. Live from Aus is a round-up of the country’s best travel adventures by Tourism Australia: in between koala love-ins and taking a virtual dip in the waters of Moore Reef off the coast from Cairns, our most famous faces dish up a range of culinary explorations…

Dare to dream – we suggest you do it. For us, simply imagining a time in the future when it’s again safe to jump on a plane, dine with friends and explore the world’s gifts is very much worth the mental exercise – to keep our hopes alive. In memory of some of our favourite destinations, dining experiences and unique world beverages, here’s a list of the international (and local) travel destinations we miss the…

Given the changing season, cooler days and easing of summer crowds, now’s a good time take the drive to Victoria’s glamours Mornington Peninsula. While inland Red Hill winery restaurants in recent years have captured the crowds and won many of the accolades, seaside towns like Sorrento and Portsea have shared less of the limelight. But with this summer’s opening of Morgan’s Sorrento, positive change has arrived making a firm footing and marking a line in…

Belinda Jackson checks into a Lapland-inspired hotel in Helsinki’s chic Design District. During winter, snow-laden winds sweep across lakes and tundras of Finnish Lapland, freezing all in their wake. Reindeer forage for lichen in the chilled earth, and the brief minutes the sun rises above the horizon are bookended by a deep blue twilight that heralds the return of the polar night. A thousand kilometres south, there’s no snow on the footpaths of the Finnish…

A fine wine collaboration between Australian and an Austrian winemakers Andrew Peace and Georg Weinwurm. Third generation Austrian winemaker Georg Weinwurm manages a diverse vineyard of different varietals located in Austria’s northernmost wine growing region Weinviertel. The area is well known for the white varietal Grüner Veltliner, which can produce wines comparable to a Chardonnay made in Burgundy, yet with dry and spicy, peppery notes. In the 1950s, Georg´s grandfather Anton planted the first vineyard,…

Canberra’s Capital Region Farmers Market has this week revealed many of its stallholders have been severely affected by the Australian bushfires across several regions, and vows to do whatever it takes to help and support the Farmers Market community. The market returns this weekend to support fire affected stallholders with Bushfire Appeal. ‘We are deeply saddened that a number of our stallholders have been affected across several regions including the NSW South Coast, Snowy Mountains,…

This Summer restaurateur/hotelier/developer Julian Gerner of Morgan’s Sorrento is making a fresh start at the bayside eatery with the help from long term chef collaborator Paul Wilson (Botanical, Albert Park Hotel Oyster Bar & Grill, Icebergs, Wilson & Market). Revered as one of the country’s great culinary talents, Paul has recently launched a new menu at Morgan’s that celebrates the great Aussie fish café; delivering sustainable, market fresh seafood daily. Focusing on sustainable fisheries, guided…

The kitchen at Donna Chang, Brisbane feels like a frontier. A place where two cultures slam into each other at a breathtaking pace. Bubbling furiously is a wok in a broth laden with deep red, crimson chilli peppers. A young chef from Hong Kong tosses some rice around in another wok, his arm working like a piston on a locomotive. The air is filled with the aroma of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise along with…

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.…

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…

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.…

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…

Freeman on Ford is Beechworth’s first, and only five star accommodation, having remained so for the past 15 years. Accredited with numerous national awards for excellence, including winning Trip Advisor’s coveted award for Australia’s best bed and breakfast in 2013. Part of its charm is the individually decorated rooms and suites, well known for providing an unmatched level of luxurious respite within its central Beechworth location. We step inside one of the two 1930s deluxe…

Richard Cornish forages for the fungal truth in Catalonia, as the locals make their annual pilgrimage to the hills in their quest to find elusive autumn mushrooms. It’s a weeknight in October and the normally riotous bar district of El Raval in the centre of Barcelona is surprisingly quiet. Some bartenders blame the rain, a slow but consistent drizzle rapidly returns La Rambla into the stream it once was. Others fall into line and say…

Original Lockhart River Art Gang members Rosella Namok, Fiona Omeenyo, Patrick Butcher Jnr and Silas Hobson last week launched a new exhibition in Regional Victoria just days after achieving a record $90,000 in charity art sales; supporting the apolitical organisation Global Gardens for Peace in Melbourne. The brightly coloured Lockhart River paintings caused a fierce bidding war between the 150 plus art lovers who packed the house at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art last…

New York is set to launch a new sky observation deck, Edge at Hudson Yards. Announced as the Western Hemisphere’s highest outdoor observation deck, Edge will open to the public on March 11, 2020 offering visitors the opportunity view never before seen 360 degree views of New York City.  Piercing the sky at a soaring 100 floors from its record-setting height of 345 metres, Edge will enable outstanding views of Manhattan, Western New Jersey and…

Briony Bradford, Head Chef at Rutherglen’s famed Jones Winery Restaurant has an artist’s eye. She paints impeccably presented plates that incorporate delicate flavour pairings and a range of intriguing textures. Given their beauty, it’s easy to think of the dishes as items that might have popped out of a renaissance painting. But her expressions of the seasons are not mere table arrangements of draped grape bunches and stacked stone fruits. There is another skill at…

This weekend, celebrate spring in Victoria’s High Country by joining the Festival of Short Walks. Showcasing their local charms, the villages of Beechworth, Chiltern, Yackandandah and Rutherglen have been stepping it up during the weeks of 14 – 20 October, 2019. An Australian first, the seven day short walks festival features over thirty guided walks and forty self-guided walks, each designed to give you an evocative experience, rich in nature, arts and culture, food and…

If you’re thinking of travelling to the UK in the near future, might we suggest a timely visit to artisan watchmaker designers The Camden Watch Company. This independent British-based brand was founded in the heart of Camden by wife and husband team Anneke Short and Jerome Robert – both previously designers  for other leading brands. Currently the couple operate three standalone shops in different parts of the city.  Each location is different, but each reflects…

The roosters are still crowing as chef Nengah Suradnya rides through his village of Penestanan to the Ubud market. The Lombok-born, Australian-trained chef weaves in and around the already busy narrow streets and lanes, over clear flowing streams and past rice paddies at what seems breakneck speed.  ‘We have to get there early as the stallholders are gone by 8.30,’ he shouts above the scream of the engine. I hold on tight as we cross…