Best markets in Sydney

By Australia / New South Wales / Sydney /

Sydney is as good as it gets as a shopping destination. But sometimes it pays to venture out of the department stores and warehouse factories and into Sydney’s many different street markets to bag yourself some great bargains.

Here are some of Sydney’s best markets.

Finders Keepers Markets

An indie market which includes hundreds of designers and artists, showing the best in indie fashion, art and design. With over 150 unique stalls, the Finders Keepers Markets are much loved by Sydney-siders and have grown every year.

Bondi Markets (pictured)

One of Sydney’s best markets is located right on Bondi Beach, allowing you to head straight into the water either before or after you’ve trawled through different stalls. Open every Sunday, you’ll find original designer clothing, handmade jewellery, arts and crafts, retro furniture and more.

Liverpool Night Markets

On the first Saturday of each month, head to the Liverpool Night Markets for a range of street food, fashion stalls and entertainment for the whole family. At night, the market comes alive with colourful lights and its festival atmosphere. Have a look at the lovely handmade items by a local indigenous women’s group, Guntawang Arts and Crafts.

Double Bay Organic Food Markets

Open every Thursday in the beautiful Gulifoyle Park. The Organic Food Markets offer certified organic produce to gourmet treats, flowers and fashion. Here, you can show for your weekly supplies or simply enjoy a meal in the park with friends.

Round She Goes

Fashionistas looking for quality vintage fashion, jewellery and accessories will love the Round She Goes Market. With more than 60 stalls selling second-hand and vintage designs for women, you’ll also find brands such as Sass & Bide, Alex Perry and Marc Jacobs. It’s a $2 cost to get in and it’s held only three times a year at the Marrickville Town Hall, so make sure you don’t miss out when it’s on!



What women want in winter – 5 luxury retreats on Australia’s east coast

By New South Wales / Victoria /

You’re in need of a perfect winter getaway for R&R, and you can’t imagine a girls’ weekend away without the massages, spas and facial treatments.

Pamper yourselves with one of these five luxury retreats on Australia’s east coast. 

Buddha Gardens Day Spa, Byron Bay

Spend a relaxing weekend away with this girls at the Buddha Gardens Day Spa in Byron Bay. Take a dip in the spa’s heated pplunge pool and sauna while surrounded by Balinese-inspired gardens. Offering hot rock massages, facial rituals and luxurious body wraps. Their signature massage is the Bamboo Massage which uses traditional eastern massage techniques using bamboo stalks. This 60-90 minute massage is said to refresh the spirit and renew vital energies.

Cockatoo Hill Retreat, Queensland

Set in the heart of the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest, between the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation, Cockatoo Hill Retreat is paradise. With four exclusive tree lodges and views of the surrounding rainforest and Coral Sea. Surrounded by nature – colourful butterflies and frogs. Take some time out with a book from the library, have a relaxing swim in the pool by the running waterfall, go horse riding with the girls and have a picnic at the beach.

Hopewood Health Retreat, Blue Mountains

Fresh air, healthy food, fresh juices, some gentle exercise and surrounded by beautiful trees. Hopewood is a dream destination for anybody seeking a bit of R&R and looking after their health and wellbeing. Hopewood’s packages include meditation, yoga, guided walks and low impact exercise classes. There’s also naturopaths, life coaches, massage and beauty therapists available. You’ll leave your mini escape glowing!

Peninsula Hot Springs, Mornington

Victoria’s first natural hot springs and day spa centre is just a 90-minute drive from Melbourne. Enjoy access to private pools and various spa treatments designed to pamper you and revilatise your body, mind and spirit. Treatments available include full body massage, mud, facial, salt exfoliation, stone and steam treatments. Stay at a Bed and Breakfast, beach house or a lovely country cottage nearby.

Chizuka Ryokan, Daylesford

This Japanese country spa and wellness retreat is set amid four acres of bush, which attracts native wildlife such as kangaroos and lorikeets. Accommodation includes futon bedding, tatami straw matting and shoji rice paper sliding screens while you’re treated to traditional Japanese cuisine. With a wide range of spa and massage packages, and options to take a winery tour, a relaxing weekend in Daylesford is complete bliss.



Five Australian shopping experiences every woman must consider

By Australia / Brisbane / Sydney /

Every woman loves a bit of retail therapy and luckily, Australia has everything from designer labels and vintage fashion stores to unique shopping tours.

Here are five Australian shopping experiences every woman must have.

Go Get Around Tours, Melbourne

Are you ready for a jam-packed day of some serious bargain hunting? Visit up to 15 factory warehouses of some of the most popular brands in Australia with Go Get Around Tours in Melbourne. The tour allows you to start at whichever warehouse you want and escort you around town.

Ugg – Meet the Maker Factory Tour

Tour the birthplace of the Ugg boot, one of Australia’s iconic fashion items. These comfy, warm and fuzzy boots are a part of almost every girl’s wardrobe. From the factory in Brunswick, watch workers craft freshly cut sheepskins into Ugg boots. You can even grab a pair while you’re there too.

Strand Arcade, Sydney

Built in the 1890s, the Sydney Strand Arcade is one of Sydney’s most beautiful buildings. Located in Sydney’s CBD, the historical building is home to stylish beauty salons and coffee shops. You’ll also find Australian designer labels such as Alex Perry, Alannah Hill, Fleur Wood and Victoria Buckley Jewellery. You could easily spend hours pouring through these high fashion stores, admiring the elegant architecture.

Op shopping in the big city

Snag a great second hand bargain in Sydney with an op shop tour. You’re not only giving once-treasured items a new life but you’re also supporting some worthy charities. Experienced guides take you to some of the best vintage stores, helping you pick out an extraordinary, unique outfit.

Brisbane’s Hidden Gems

Discover the city’s secret treasures with Brisbane’s Hidden Gems tours. A local guide takes you on a relaxed walking tour around the city, visiting local designers in the CBD and also exploring antiques and vintage designer fashion in Paddington’s lovely historical precincts. You’ll encounter many one-off shops that only the locals know about.



6 romantic places in Victoria to steal a kiss

By Australia / Melbourne / Victoria /

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner which means a world of lovers will be out in force looking to impress their loved ones. There are plenty of great romantic drives in the state of Victoria, and a romantic kiss at a beautiful location to set the perfect atmosphere is a special moment that never fades from your memory. So when it comes to finding the right location to spark some fireworks, here are six of the most romantic places in Victoria to kiss somebody. 

Eureka Tower, Southbank

The southern hemisphere’s highest viewing platform, the Eureka Skydeck, offers 360 degree views of Melbourne’s CBD, Port Phillip Bay and Docklands. Finish off your exciting experience standing on ‘The Edge’, which is a projecting glass cube hanging 300 metres above the ground, with a surprise kiss. If not a reassuring hug that everything’s going to be ok!

The Yarra Valley

The stunning Yarra Valley provides some of the most romantic sights on the planet, with its enchanting rolling hills attracting couples year-round. Indulge yourself in gourmet food and wine at one of the area’s many superb wineries for a romantic lunch or dinner. A kiss and a toast to a wonderful day together is the perfect way to end your experience in this beautiful region.

Balloon flight, Melbourne CBD

Watch Melbourne start its day from the clouds above. While you’re hundreds of metres above the ground standing in the basket of a hot air balloon, marvel at the views of Melbourne’s famous skyline and the surrounding Port Phillip Bay. A truly romantic experience if you and your partner aren’t afraid of heights.

In a boat on Lake Daylesford

Daylesford, located in Victoria’s Spa Country, is famous for its mineral springs, massages and spectacular scenery. Hire a small rowing boat and go for a trip on the stunning Lake Daylesford, surrounded by trees which are reflected in the water. Whether you’re in a boat or watching from the shore, Lake Daylesford oozes romance and it’s a great spot to stop and give your other half a big kiss.

Tawonga Gap Lookout, High Country

Gaze down upon the beautiful mountain ranges of Victoria’s High Country while you’re standing 880 metres above sea level. A lovely, romantic spot with panoramic views of Mt Bogong (Victoria’s highest mountain) and the gorgeous Kiewa Valley. You may also want to bring your own picnic so you can relax and enjoy the views for longer.

Bay of Islands Coastal Park, Great Ocean Road

Just beyond the 12 Apostles is the Bay of Islands, which stretches from Peterborough to just before Warrnambool. It has superb ocean views, dramatic cliffs, rock stacks and quiet beaches where you can relax and share a special kiss with your partner.



Eight great things to do in Hepburn Springs

By Australia / Melbourne / Victoria /

QUICK escape ideas from Melbourne are in abundance. North, south, west or east, the variety is endless whether you’re wanting, beach, river, mountain ranges and snow fields, or open plains, caves or goldfields, or food and wine. But one that is only an hour and a half away is Spa Country and a little destination called Hepburn where cosmopolitan hamlets can be discovered, spa retreats await and natural charms of mineral springs are as fresh as you’ll find anywhere on the planet.

There are dozens of great reasons to head to this gorgeous part of Victoria, with Hepburn Springs at the top of the list. Here are eight great reasons to set your sights on the Macedon Ranges and Daylesford/Hepburn country.

1. Steeped in history, Hepburn Springs is also steeped in Australia’s largest concentration of mineral springs, known for the health-enhancing minerals. Explore them at old-fashioned pumps and pipes in Hepburn Springs Mineral Springs Reserve.

2. Pack your golf clubs and tackle the challenging fairways and holes at Hepburn Springs Golf Club, where the resident grazing kangaroos observe the silly human beings chasing the little white ball around. A licensed clubhouse is a beauty with stunning views while you unwind with a refreshing drink back at the 19th hole.

3.  Cricket Willow is a dream realised by the Tinetti family at Shepherd’s Flat, a fifth generation family who created a facility where you can not only have a hit of cricket in a unique area, but also observe the process of a cricket bat being made from start to finish.

4. Relax and let the professionals treat your body at Acqua Viva Day Spa. Mineral water spa, massages, facials … you name it, they can do it. It’s one of many Day Spa’s and resorts available in the region.

5. You haven’t had a scone until you’ve tried Lavandula Lavender farm’s famous lavendar scones. Spend a few hours exploring and enjoying the farm, check out the animals, see the art gallery, or grab some souvenirs in the gift shop.

6. Everyone remembers the spooky film Picnic At Hanging Rock, scripted by brilliant Australian writer Cliff Green. Hanging Rock is close by, so make sure you mark it down for a visit to check out the dramatic rock formations. We promise you’ll come back out.

7. Looking for a stunning place for a bite to eat? Look no further than the Argus Dining Room which dishes up Modern Australian cuisine “with an emphasis on fresh, clean flavours and regional produce”.

8. Waterfalls don’t get much more charming than Trentham Falls, the state of Victoria’s highest single-drop waterfall. Scenic walking tracks and beautiful spots in the forest for a picnic.



Dive into the heavenly hot springs in the Mornington Peninsula

By Australia / Melbourne / Victoria /

Bath houses, hot springs, thermal spas, relaxation … words that almost make you float into a travel destination rather than drive there. Peninsula Hot Springs stakes a claim as the “first natural hot springs and day spa centre in Victoria”, only a 90 minute road trip from Melbourne and one that delivers on everything it promises when it comes to natural thermal mineral waters that flow into the pools and private baths at the award-winning coastal escape.

There are two specific areas at this hot springs Mornington Peninsula destination that deliver on some quality R&R and spa experiences. A private Spa Dreaming Centre is all about tranquil spaces, private pools pampering spa treatments to revitalise body, mind and spirit. The Bath House generally offers experiences for $40 per adult during peak periods (cheaper in the off season) as well as family specials if you want to take the whole clan there for some chill time in the 20 plus bathing experiences including a cave pool, reflexology walk, hydrotherapy pool, thermal stream gully, sauna, hilltop pool offering stunning 360 degree views, massaging thermal showers, family pools and more.

There is a cafe in the spa centre providing a great environment for a bite to eat at lunch, while brekky and lunch are available seven days a week. A Dine and Bathe package, the piece de resistance, is available for dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

The Spa Dreaming Centre is seriously heavenly offering peaceful spaces, private pools and spa treatments such as Australian Aboriginal-inspired kodo full body massages to facials, mud and salt wraps, foot therapies and ancient healing stone experiences.

For a sneak peak of what you’re in for, check out

In future Peninsula Hot Springs have some grand plans regarding accommodation – its 17 hectare site will house 130 rooms of accommodation and a Wellness (Health and Wellbeing) Centre, with a plan for walking tracks leading to lakeside and hilltop relaxation areas. “There will be private lodges for couples, friends and groups of up to 14 as well as guest houses with double rooms and a capacity of 30. The lodges will include their own gardens and private outdoor hot spring baths, lounges with open fires and couches,” according to its website at, and with a view to having all rooms only a few minutes walk to the main Bath House and Spa Dreaming Centre.

And there’s more for lovebirds: “Some of the private honeymoon lodges will have their own separate yoga studio complete with a daybed – giving you every opportunity to do absolutely nothing but bliss out. Imagine on a clear summer or winter’s night laying out in your private mineral spring bath looking up at the Milky Way, wrapped up in the warmth of the good life…”

Peninsula Hot Springs, Melbourne’s nearest genuine hot springs experience located on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula.

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Five of the best boutique hotels in Sydney and luxury accommodation

By Australia / New South Wales / Sydney /

THE Harbour City is overflowing with hotels, B&Bs, backpackers, hostels, apartments and more. When it comes to boutique hotels in Sydney or luxury accommodation, there is no better place than our NSW capital.

Where to start? Here are five to ponder for your next Sydney visit.

1. QT Hotel, Market St, Sydney (right)

Funky bar, slick restaurant, powerhouse design elements threaded throughout, bold and daring modern touches to complement the heritage architecture, and a location right in the heart of Sydney’s CBD in Market Street. QT is one of the smoothest movers on the boutique hotels Sydney scene with service second to none. Some awesome packages include booking your luxury accommodation and receiving one of a Spa Q treatment for two, or a brekky for two or dinner for two.


2. Blue Sydney – a Taj Hotel, the wharf at Woolloomooloo

A very stylish award-winner set on the water, BLUE Sydney is a hotspot and is located at the Wharf at Woolloomooloo Sydney. Offering special views of the Harbour foreshore, city lights and the Royal Botanical Gardens, Blue isn’t out of place on the trendy marina, entertainment and apartment complexes along the wharf promeade where delicious food awaits at restaurants considered as some of the best in the city.  The central business district, shopping strips, Sydney Opera House and The Royal Botanical Gardens are within easy walking distance from the hotel so you can’t really go wrong. Beautiful and spacious rooms as well as exquisite fit-outs make this a gem.


3. 1888 Hotel, Murry Street, Pyrmont

Have a guess when this snazzy hotel was built? Yep, 1888 sounds about right, so it’s certainly steeped in history. It’s located in a super convenient position in the inner-city suburb of Pyrmont, a mere walk away from Chinatown, Darling Harbour, great shopping streets and some of Sydney’s top watering holes and eateries (nearby Sokyo is a must for serious Japanese food!). The interiors are superb, quirky and comfy, featuring reclaimed Ironbark beams and period windows. The lobby bar and restaurant are super comfy to kick back in and 1888 is carving  a reputation for the outstanding service offered by its staff. This is one you can count on.


4. Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbout, Circular Quay

Sheer bliss is how this five-star luxury option in the heart of the action at Circular Quay can best be described. Gorgeous rooms have beautiful fit-outs and offer breathtaking views of the harbour. It also features a gym, sauna, spa and indoor pool. It’s only a hop, skip and a jump away from the famous Sydney Rocks district. The Pullman has outstanding serviced apartment style rooms with stellar views and right near all of Sydney’s attractions.


5. Ravesi’s Hotel on Bondi Beach (right)

Sydney ravesis
So, what’s not to like about this one? The ultimate beach right out front, Bondi Beach, that is arguably Australia’s most famous, along with a buzzing night life, 12 individually styled and gorgeous rooms, a great vibe downstairs in the Lowtide Bar, and the chance to enjoy a pre-dinner drink from a range of fresh and innovative cocktails at the award winning Drift cocktail lounge. Location, location, location and style, style, style. This is certainly one to write home about.

3 great new gadgets to help tech-savvy road-tripping diehards stay connected


Life on the road when you’ve rented a campervan in Australia can be loads of fun, but those with gadgets have a hunger for more. So what’s new in the world of digital enhancements and clever gadgets to make your road-tripping all the more special? Try these three.

1. Say hello to Lenny (pictured). If you have music in your smartphone, ipod or subscribe to an online music provider like Spotify, you want to make sure your tunes sound the goods in that camper! Audio Dynamics in Melbourne have the best portable Bluetooth mobile speaker units going around. For music on the go, the portable speaker, called “Lenny”, is essential for the holidays and the Elipson Lenny sets a new standard for portable wireless speakers both for design and sound quality. Lenny, a foghorn-shaped portable speaker, connects with devices equipped with the Bluetooth 2.1 protocol and is compatible with Android and IOS smartphones, tablets, computers and any other device equipped with Bluetooth connectivity so you have access to your music library anywhere you have Lenny by your side. Check out Audio Dynamics ?at for more info.

2. Cool camera from Canon. Designed for travellers wanting to zoom into their subjects with ease, the new PowerShot SX520HS features a 42x Optical Zoom lens and Zoom Framing Assist so you can get closer to the action. Fully equipped with a DiG!C 4+ processor and 16 MegaPixel sensor, this SuperZoom is the ideal travel companion when you’re taking snaps on your campervan journey throughout Australia. An optical image stabilizer means you can capture sharp, crisp images and smooth, steady movies without shake.

3. Smartphone value! King Kong Kogan! The big question is, do you really need to fork out four times as much as the new Kogan Agora 4G smartphone for smartphones from the likes of Apple and Samsung? Especially when we’re always being urged to upgrade every year? This recently launched unit is a beautiful, fast, and powerful new phone for just $229, which changes the smartphone industry and consumer expectations. Just a fraction of the cost of other phones with similar specs, it’s beautiful to hold, has a solid build and feel, a big bright screen, is very snappy, runs the latest version of Android, and of course, fast 4G LTE connectivity. The Kogan Agora 4G launches in Australia first, available exclusively at


Three of the worst places to visit in Victoria if you’re trying to give up chocolate

By Australia / Melbourne / Victoria /

WILLY Wonka and his chocolate factory started the rot for many chocaholics, and the sprouting of chocolate factories throughout Australia means there’s no escaping the lure of the cocoa bean. Let’s face it – good chocolate is worth the drive! And Victoria in Australia is as good as place as any for unforgettable chocky experiences.

So, you’ve flown into Melbourne airport and picked up a hire car but not sure where all the oompa loompas are plying their craft? Here are five destinations worth the road trip …and the sugar hit, among other reasons to stay around and explore Melbourne and surrounds.

Sweet road trip No.1: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery.
Talk about a treat for the senses! Best of all it’s only about 45 minutes drive from the airport on a good traffic flow when you head east on the M80, Eltham Road and Old Healesville Road before you enter choc heaven for free chocolate tastings, thousands of premium chocolates and European chocolatiers at work handcrafting some sweet creations. There’s huge showroom and café nestled amongst sweeping valley vistas while you chomp into Ice creams, decadent sweet treats or lunch while the venue’s lawns, orchard and sculptures are great for kids to play and explore. Better still, spend some extra time in the Yarra Valley and go ballooning, check out some terrific cold climate wineries and even scoot over to Healesville Sanctuary to check out the Aussie wildlife.

Sweet road trip No.2:Panny’s Phillip Island Chocolate Factory. Looking to go a bit further? Head south and to the charms of a little coastal paradise known as Phillip Island. Take an exit on the West Gate Freeway and head for the South Gippsland and Bass highways for close to two hours before rolling up to the “sweetest and addictive tourist attraction” Phillip Island has to offer. Open every day, it’s difficult to leave this hotspot the minute you get a sniff of Belgian premium handmade chocolate. Then the kid in you takes control for all the activities at Panny’s Amazing World of Chocolate exhibitions, sideshow alley, galleries – including a 2m tall statue of Michelangelo’s David – and a giant chocolate waterfall. Stay at the nearby Ramada Resort Phillip Island if you’re planning to discover some more of this popular tourist destination.

Sweet road trip No.3: Chocoholic Tours Melbourne is for those wanting to get into the city quickly (20 minutes from the airport), park at their city hotel, hit the footpath and get set for some of the best chocky tasting experiences on the planet. Chocoholic Tours Melbourne has  chocolate-themed walking tours, including an afternoon chocolate and historical treats walk, a chocoholic brunch walk and a chocolate treats walk. There’s a tour on Fridays and a choice of five on Saturdays, but remember to book in advance.