Nov
30
2016

Noosa food scene is one of the hottest on the east coast

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NOOSA is renowned for its sun, surf and endless summer, but the food scene is not only one of the hottest on the Sunshine Coast, but up there with the best on the entire east coast.

There are plenty of excuses to catch a cheap flight to the sunshine state, nab a Noosa people mover rental and head north to this pearl in the east.

Try these foodie favourites when you’re not hitting the sand and surf.

Betty’s Burgers (below) – Surf rats, tourists and locals are swamping what is becoming known as the king of the burger craze Down Under and it really doesn’t disappoint amid the Hastings St hive of activity. Great relaxed vibe and hearty burgers are the force here, including crispy chicken, shroom burgers, and Betty’s Classic options among many more. Wash it down with a filling thickshake (try the peanut butter!) and that’s before you unbuckle the belt for a crack at Betty’s amazing Concrete dessert masterpieces – hot fudge doughnuts, lemon raspberry cheesecake, and peanut butter brittle choices complementing the rich and creamy custard ice-cream base. YUM! Check out Billy and Josh’s form recently during a school holiday adventure (video). More www.bettysburgers.com.au

 

Bordertown BBQ & Taquería –  Discover a blend of breakfast, tacos, burgers, booze, and low and slow barbecue at Bordertown with food inspired by the Southern States of the USA and across the border in Mexico.   Enjoy the Acapulco Deck at the front overlooking the Noosa river or dine inside in rib shack chic.

Moto – Custom bikes and surfing culture, craft beer, specialty coffee and a boutique menu that takes you from morning through to late awaits you at the Noosa Junction’s newest and hippest café, Moto.   Enjoy the pizza truck and live beats on a Sunday afternoon or the Friday night Taco Club.

Providore on Hastings (pictured top) – Stock up on gourmet groceries, coffee and fresh meals at Providore on Hastings.  From gourmet sandwiches, salads and everything you need for the perfect cheese platter. Showcasing local producers such as Woombye Cheese, Eumundi Meats, Hum Honey, Noosa Fish Providore, Tanglewood Bakery and many more.  They also offer a boutique licensed outdoor café space located in the Netanya Noosa lobby. www.providoreonhastings.com

The Cooking School Noosa – offers exclusive classes with chefs from Wasabi Restaurant and Bar as well as guest chefs from around the country. Classes include Contemporary Japanese, Classic French and Modern South East Asian, with workshops on topics including French Patisserie, Artisan Bread Making, Preserving and Pickling, Tea Appreciation and other specialty techniques also featuring on the class schedule.  www.thecookingschoolnoosa.com

SCOTT PODMORE

 

Nov
29
2016

Seven new attractions in Melbourne in 2017

By Australia / Melbourne / Victoria /

THERE’S a big problem when comes to visitors wanting to explore Melbourne, the world’s most liveable city. With so many diverse and big drawcard attractions, where the hell do you start and what do you see and do? For someone arriving in our state via the air, jumping in a Melbourne airport car rental, and setting forth for adventure and discovery, the good news is while there’s a plethora of old favourites to choose from perhaps a good idea is to look forward to what’s going to be new in 2017.

The Visit Victoria gang say food and wine will at the fore when the city plays host to the prestigious World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards; visitors will be taken to new heights with the launch of The Eagle at Arthurs Seat and the MCG’s new zipline and roof walk; existing events will be injected with new life; and there will be more ways to experience wildlife, and more reasons to hit the water than ever before – not to mention new places to eat, drink, sleep and be merry.

Here are seven beauties to pop on your to-do list next time you’re cruising around Melbourne and surrounds.

One … Arthurs Seat Eagle
Launching just now (December 2016) just in time for the busy summer season, the much-anticipated gondola ride will allow visitors to get a bird’s eye view of the Mornington Peninsula. The Arthurs Seat Eagle will have 24 gondolas and the ride will take 15 minutes each way, reaching a summit of 314 metres.

Two … Asia Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts

For the first time ever Melbourne will host the Asia Triennial of Performing Arts (TOPA) from 13 February to 6 March. The festival of Asian-focused performance and culture will present performing, visual, screen and literary arts programs, commissioned works and collaborations between Australian artists, and artists from the region. It will be hosted at and with Melbourne arts venues and companies including Arts Centre Melbourne, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), Federation Square, and Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).

Three … White Night Ballarat

For the first time ever, White Night Melbourne will be joined by a regional counterpart, with the inaugural White Night Ballarat set to take place on 4 March – two weeks after the Melbourne event. White Night Ballarat will showcase the city’s heritage streetscape in a whole new light with projections on some of the city’s most historic buildings. In another first, both events will be under the artistic direction of David Atkins OAM.

Four … Food Truck Heaven

The City of Melbourne will establish five permanent food-truck precincts in March, which will house a mix of 17 permanent and rotating trucks. The sites will be on St Kilda Road (outside the NGV and Arts Centre); Peel Street (next to the Queen Victoria Market); Les Erdi Plaza on the Yarra River (near Arbory Bar & Eatery); Batman Park (opposite Crown); and the underpass on the corner of Spencer and Flinders Streets.

Five … World’s 50 Best Restaurant awards

One of the world’s most prestigious food award ceremonies will take place at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building on 5 April. Melbourne. The annual World’s 50 Best Restaurant ranking has become the most coveted lists for the world’s best chefs. As the official host city of the 2017 event, and only the third host city in the world (after London and New York), more than 800 of the world’s culinary elite will descend on Melbourne – cementing the city’s reputation as a global food destination and trend-setter. The annual Melbourne Food & Wine Festival will coincide with this major international awards program, positioning Victoria at the centre of a celebration of food and drink culture on a scale never before seen in Australia.

Six … Legoland

Australia’s first Legoland discovery centre will open at Chadstone Shopping Centre in autumn. Specifically designed for families with children aged three to 10 years old, it will include two Lego rides, five themed ‘build and play’ zones, build classes from the Legoland master model builder, special party rooms for birthdays and other celebrations, a 4D cinema, and an exhibit designed to reflect Melbourne’s buildings, skyline, and landmarks.

Seven … MCG Zipline & Roof Walk (pictured)

Plans are currently underway to develop a new Roof Walk at the MCG. The new attraction will allow visitors to walk on the roof of the iconic MCG, taking in spectacular views of the ground itself, as well as Melbourne’s sporting precinct more broadly and the city skyline. A zipline will also be added to transport thrill-seekers from the city-end scoreboard to a landing on the opposite side of the stadium. It is anticipated the attraction will launch in 2017.

SCOTT PODMORE (with VisitVictoria)

Nov
28
2016

Five state of the art hotels opening in Australia

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AUSTRALIA’S hotel industry is experiencing a building boom with 120 hotel projects in the pipeline, which will grow the accommodation stock by 30% over the next five years, according to Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA).
This year saw Australia pass the 100,000 room mark and it is forecast over 4000 rooms will be added in 2017, and 5000 rooms in 2018, transforming every capital city across the country with new properties ranging from 500+-room internationally branded luxury properties to intimate boutique hotels.
Want the lowdown on some hot new upcoming hotels in Australia’s capital cities? Get ready to park your Australian car rental wheels at the homes of these five new kids on the block.
SYDNEY
Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour (pictured)
Opening Q4 2017
This is the hotel Sydney has been waiting for – the first new built 5-star hotel in almost twenty years that will underpin the $3.4 billion redevelopment of Darling Harbour. Located next to the new International Convention Centre, the $360 million, 590 room Sofitel, designed by Sydney architect Richard Francis-Jones, is encased in a lacework glass facade, and topped with a rooftop pool deck (and a heliport, if owner Dr Jerry Schwartz gets his way).
http://sofiteldarlingharbour.com.au/

MELBOURNE
Four Points by Sheraton Melbourne Docklands
Opening 28 March, 2017
The Digital Harbour precinct of Docklands is set to become a new accommodation hub for Melbourne with three major hotels announced, starting with the launch in March of the Four Points by Sheraton. A striking, contemporary high-rise, the hotel will feature 273 rooms and suites with harbour and city views, a heated, outdoor swimming pool and a large function and conference centre. With Etihad Stadium just across the way, the Four Points will open just in time for the AFL season.
http://www.starwoodhotels.com/fourpoints/property/photos/index.html?propertyID=4146&language=en_US

PERTH
Aloft Hotel Perth
Opening 1 May 2017
Perth will provide the Australian debut for Starwood’s Aloft brand, which is designed to appeal to ‘next generation’ travellers, with technology to the fore, New York loft style rooms, a buzzy, Re:mix communal lobby lounge and living area, a grab and go cafe called  and Re:fuel, and their signature W XYZ bar, which will host live music from local artists. The ‘Cool Concierge’ tablets provide access to local attractions, while children receive ‘Camp Aloft’ packs and special treats.
www.aloftperth.com

BRISBANE
Sage Hotel James Street, Fortitude Valley
Opening mid-2017
Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley has become the epicentre for hip and happening hotels in Brisbane, with the James Street dining and entertainment precinct transforming the once red light district. The Sage hotel is set to join the district’s eclectic collection of hotels from mid-year and will have the benefit of the revitalised Queens Arms (the QA) next to it. The Sage – part of the Silverneedle group – will offer 93 rooms, a restaurant, boutique wine cellar on the ground level, and fast and free wifi.
www.snhotels.com/sage/james-street-brisbane/accommodation/
 
ADELAIDE
Holiday Inn Express Hindley Street
Opening Q3 2017
Great value in a prime CBD location is what Holiday Inn Express is all about. Light, bright and perfect for business or leisure, the 245 room hotel is located in Hindley Street, one of Adelaide’s premier thoroughfares and surrounded by the city’s best restaurants and shopping. Signature inclusions such as free wifi, express breakfast options and self-service business centre and laundry make this a perfect option for visitors who want great value accommodation to experience the buzz of the city.
www.ihg.com

SCOTT PODMORE

Nov
26
2016

What are the best Aussie Easter Weekend Holiday Destinations?

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Looking to escape the city for the long Easter weekend? Well get your skates on, as it’s just around the corner! Luckily you’re spoilt for choice with hundreds of great Easter holiday destinations all over Australia. Whether you’re travelling solo or road tripping with the family, hire a car or campervan and greet the bunny in one of these fantastic holiday hotspots.

Gold Coast

Easter Destinations

Enjoy an action packed trip to the Gold Coast this Easter.

The Gold Coast is a perfect holiday destination at any time of the year, but especially Easter weekend. There’s the iconic Surfers Paradise, where you could easily spend every day if you like the beach scene. You can also seek some peace and quiet somewhere along the green hinterland. Thrill seekers can flock to the famous theme parks for an adventurous ride. No matter what you want to do, there’s something for everyone.

Byron Bay

Easter Holiday

Soak up the good vibes in Byron Bay this Easter.

Most people head to Byron Bay to soak up the sun along the region’s beautiful beaches. That alone would be enough to convince any ordinary person to travel to the area for a getaway. But every year on the Easter Weekend is Bluesfest. Get ready for five days of non-stop music from nearly 200 acts. If you’re a music lover then you won’t want to miss this event. Some of the world’s best blues musicians come to Byron Bay to feature in the line-up.

Airlie Beach

Travel to the heart of the Whitsundays for Easter. Airlie offers vibrant nightlife along with quiet corners of crystal clear waters and plenty of underwater adventures. Go snorkelling, diving or simply laze on the white, sandy beaches with family and friends. There’s also a lovely restaurant, bar and café scene that caters for every need.

Great Ocean Road

Easter Destinations

The 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road are a stunning addition to an Easter Road trip.

The Great Ocean Road is a magical place to escape the hustle and bustle of Melbourne or Adelaide. You’ll find a range of Easter activities, such as an Easter Egg Hunt, throughout towns scattered along this rugged coastline. You’ll also encounter many tranquil sections of beach and rainforest, which you may get to have all to yourself over the Easter long weekend. Lorne, Apollo Bay and Port Fairy are some of the most popular places to stay.

Easter in Bendigo

It’s a vibrant city with trendy cafes, museums and nightlife. Head just on the outskirts of town and you’ll understand why Bendigo is known for its goldmines. Major attractions include the Central Deborah Gold Mine and the Golden Dragon Museum. Bendigo also puts on a show for the holiday. The 4-day Bendigo Easter Festival attracts thousands of people every year. It offers live music, an incredible parade and a family Easter Egg Hunt.

 

With so many stunning Easter holiday locations to choose from, the tough decision is choosing just one! Grab yourself a great deal on cheap hire car from DriveNow to get your family getaway off to a cracking start.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Nov
24
2016

Hastings Point for summer fun

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Hastings Point is considered the jewel of the Tweed Shire. It’s set is an idyllic location surrounded by national park, unspoiled beach and ocean. Campers often return to this beautiful location for summer year after year. There’s no spot in Australia quite like Hastings Point.

That’s why you should read these tips to enjoy Hastings Point this summer.

Where to get some wheels

Whether you want to find yourself a hire car, a campervan or caravan you’ll find it all for cheap through DriveNow. For example, you can pick up some great campervan hire deals from Brisbane for only a few bucks a day. Drive less than two hours south to Hastings Point and you’re at your destination.

Where to stay – Hastings Point Holiday Park

Hastings Point Holiday Park (pictured) is one of the best campervan accommodation options in the area. It’s a secluded holiday park that over looks the beach and offers sites with beachfront or riverside views. It’s a great location for anyone who loves swimming or fishing. It also has a range of amenities, including WiFi.

Head outdoors – Cabarita Beach

Feeling like a surge of adrenaline? Grab a surfboard and hit the waves at Cabarita Beach. Or you could simply have a lazy day at the beach and go swimming. But this isn’t your average beach. If you’re visiting between June and October, when thousands of whales are migrating past the Australian coast, there’s a good chance you’ll get lucky and spot whales. Grab a pair of binoculars and point them out to the ocean.

Go inland – Mount Warning rainforest

This is the perfect place to hike through lush rainforests, which were created more than 20 million years ago by ancient volcanoes. You can also admire cascading waterfalls and have afternoon tea when visiting mountain villages. If you’re feeling up for some exercise, hike to the top of Mt Warning. The 8.8km return walk treats you to incredible 360 degree views from the Gold Coast to Byron Bay. Now that’s a sight you’ll never forget!

Eat somewhere – Tropical Fruit World

It’s a commercial farming operation and a major tourist attraction. You’re given a behind the scenes experience at the farm and a look at 500 exotic fruits from across the world. You have the opportunity to sample delicious avocados, bananas along with less popular produce such as carambola. Learn about the three generations of the Brinsmead family which created the experience and has made it more and more sustainable over time.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Nov
17
2016

Tasmania for a cooler kind of summer

By Australia / Tasmania /

Some of Tasmania’s most beautiful places to stay this summer are within a couple of hours from Hobart. The best part about Tasmania is you won’t have to suffer through the scorching heat unlike your fellow Aussies further north. Summer in Tasmania is a lot cooler and kinder on your body. It frees you up to explore the great Tasmanian wilderness instead of hiding indoors.

Grab your hire car in Hobart and choose from one of these five places to stay.

Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village (right)

Stay in a tranquil rainforest valley on the edge of the Cradle Mountain/Lake St Clair National Park. Did we mention it’s a World Heritage listed area? If this sounds like you idea of heaven then you’ll want to book in advance to secure your spot at Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village. Wake up in the morning to the sounds of whistling birds filling your private cottage. Walk out onto your balcony and you may even come face to face with iconic animals such as wallabies and wombats.

Mulberry Cottage

This unique B&B accommodation is set in the heart of the historic town, Richmond. But it’s located well and truly off the street so you can enjoy peace and quite. Choose from an Old English style suite, a French Boudoir, a garden view room or one that boasts valley views. You may never want to leave the room! When you do finally feel up for exploring the area, you’ll be happy to know Australia’s oldest and most charming bridge is only a 200m walk away.

Freycinet Lodge

Your accommodation overlooks the stunning blue waters of Great Oyster Bay. Rugged mountains also ad to the beautiful backdrop. Many people who have spent time in this part of the state say they never want to leave. That’s how much of an impression this natural wonder leaves on its visitors. The cabins at Freycinet Lodge are airy and spacious. The best part about staying here is that you’re not far from white, sandy beaches and forest hikes.

Gattonside Heritage apartments

This boutique accommodation offers eight luxury heritage suites with all the amenities you’d expect. They are decked out with original timber, antiques, art and captivating views. You have your own formal lounge, porch and whirlpool bath. Wake up in the morning to a freshly cooked homemade breakfast. It really is the whole package at Gattonside! Not to mention you’ll feel like your stepping back in time.

Port Arthur Villas

Find yourself right across the road from the world-famous Port Arthur. There’s a whole lot of fascinating history to explore at the site. You are also very close to many bushwalks and if you’re feeling adventurous you might even want to join a candlelit ghost tour at night! All this is enough to keep you busy for days. Your accommodation is fully self contained. It’s also located among a beautiful garden setting.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Nov
14
2016

Four museums in Melbourne you must visit

By Australia / Melbourne /

Melbourne is home to world class museums. They all offer an exciting educational experience. Instead of just reading about history and humanity’s greatest accomplishments in print, you can actually see them for yourself in person at one of these unique museums.

New exhibitions are always coming and going, which means it’s always a good time to visit. Hire a car from Melbourne Airport and pencil in a date to explore one of these venues.

Melbourne Museum (pictured)
This venue is perhaps the city’s most famous museum. Almost every Victorian child has visited the Melbourne Museum at some point. It has won many awards and is home to an extensive collection of natural and cultural artefacts. Some of the most enjoyable memories include getting close to Australia’s most famous racehorse Phar Lap or walking through an indoor rainforest. You can also watch a 3D documentary on the IMAX Theatre’s eight storey high screen.

National Gallery of Victoria
You’ll discover more than 68,000 works of art spread between NGV International’s site in Southbank and Federation Square. The artistic marvels include Australian, Indigenous, Asian and European paintings and sculptures. The art museum was founded in 1861, making it Australia’s oldest and most visited art museum.

Old Melbourne Gaol
Back in the mid-1800s when the gaol was first built, it dominated the Melbourne skyline. It stood as a symbol of authority, where the most dangerous criminals where housed alongside the homeless and mentally ill. Today, skyscrapers surround the gaol. However, it’s fascinating stories of what occurred behind these walls remain. Take a tour of the gaol to find out which infamous prisoners were held here. You can even take a night tour and see the gaol by candlelight if you’re brave enough!

National Sports Museum
Celebrate Australia’s rich sporting history at the iconic MCG. It’s home to the country’s largest collection of sporting memorabilia from some of our greatest heros. There’s something for everybody inside. There are also school holiday activities for the children and an interactive gallery. There’s also the chance to test your footy skills against some of the best AFL players and compare your strengths against elite athletes.

Also try Sink Your Teeth Into These Melbourne Food Adventures

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Nov
09
2016

5 of the best Perth food experiences

By Australia / Perth /

You may not realise it, but Perth boasts some of Australia’s most exciting food experiences. Whether you want to visit a fresh farmers’ market, dine in elegance or join in an educational foodie tour, Perth is the ultimate destination for food lovers.

Hire a car from Perth Airport and add these Perth food experiences to the top of your to do list!

Friends Restaurant (pictured)

This CBD venue is a multi award winning restaurant. It has also been voted number 1 on Tripadvisor. Head chef Frederic Verschoore serves up Modern Australian cuisine. He combines the world’s finest culinary techniques with Australia’s wide variety of fresh produce. Friends Restaurant also offers stunning views of Perth’s skyline and the Swan River.

Subi Farmers Market

The Subi Farmers Market has been operating every Saturday since 2009. Organisers say they aim to encourage a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Here, you’ll find everything you need to make that possible. Shop around for fresh produce, gourmet foods, breads, and organic foods. You’ll also enjoy live entertainment. All of the market’s profits go to the Subiaco Primary School.

High tea at COMO The Treasury

Indulge with high tea at this iconic Perth venue. Set among the beautiful surrounds of the Treasury Lounge, this venue is fit for a king! Think freshly baked cakes, scones along with tea, coffee or champagne. Scrumptious afternoon tea is served every Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 5pm. Make sure you book to avoid the disappointment of being turned away!

Food Night Safari

Discover the famous flavours of Perth with an educational tour. This experience takes you to several locations, where you can explore Perth’s rich food culture. Dress comfortably so you can walk around the city and sample a variety of foods at each restaurant or café. Your guide gives you a local perspective and shares each venue’s story with you to boost your appreciation for these creations.

Sandalford Wines

Travel just outside Perth to the Swan Valley, where you’ll find the world-famous Sandalford Wines. The establishment of this winery in the beautiful valley in 1840 coincides with European settlement in Perth. It’s also synonymous with the birth of Western Australia’s wine industry. A visit to the winery will be the highlight of your trip. You won’t want to stop yourself from sampling several award winning drops.

BRIANNA PIAZZA