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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…

The heart of Victoria’s High Country new boutique accommodation operator Big Sky Retreats has just launched a new premium home stay: Big Sky Ridgeview, located in the popular mountainous tourist town of Bright. Designed to encourage longer stays and a retreat to nature without sacrificing an inch of luxury, Big Sky Ridgeview, is one of a select new group of year-round Australian holiday stays that raise-the-bar in terms of features, quality and creative design. Set…

As the weather warms up, there’s no better place to spend a few lazy sunny hours than exploring Bellarine Wineries, with their premium maritime climate influenced wines and incredibly idyllic bayside views. But fact remains, getting there from Melbourne involves a painful journey by road that can quickly break the weekend free spirit. Thankfully Bellarine Peninsula winery Terindah Estate has partnered with Port Phillip Ferries to create the ultimate wine and dine tour package allowing…

Earlier this week, British airport lounge operator No1 Lounges launched its latest airport lounge together with airline partner Virgin Australia at Brisbane Airport’s International Terminal. Essentials spoke to No1 Lounges COO John Upton about their concept in airport lounging and how the new Brisbane offering is a game changer for the Australian market. Inside the Lounge My Lounge is a fresh take on the regular flight lounge model. With a clean and free-flowing appeal it…

If you admire fine rieslings from Europe then the award-winning Whistle and Hope label from Central Victorian winemaker Matt Kilby is one to watch. We spoke to him about his time working a vintage in Germany, and where he thinks the Aussie market is headed. We hear you worked a vintage in Mosel, Germany a few years back? I worked the vintage in Germany in 2015 for Zimmermann-Graeff & Müller. As an avid drinker and…

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…

Dragons, dancers, football heroes and silver-screen stars: brace yourself for the best inflight safety videos, writes Belinda Jackson. In case you missed the memo (or are flying boring airlines), inflight safety videos are officially A Thing. Don’t you just love the traditional safety clip? You know the one: four minutes of stilted, humour-free close-ups of simpering soccer moms in economy helping their charmingly immobile children into an oxygen mask, while a rakish bloke in a…

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…