All posts filed under: Travel

Exploring new destinations

Dorset Days: Lyme Regis (+ River Cottage Canteen), England

A day that starts with the natural wonders of the Jurassic Coast and ends with a pastel sunset on pastel houses by the sea is one to make you see the world through (English) rose-coloured glasses indeed. While navigating the winding country roads of Dorset is a challenge (I hadn’t driven a manual for some time, and this was a pretty rubbish re-introduction I must say – ha!), it is also a delight if you can veer your eyes off the road. Patchwork green farmlands with hedges of stone and tree, foxgloves lining the narrow roads, and the most fairy tale of cobblestone villages you could imagine – moss covered and with roofs made of straw – at times I almost expected Peter Rabbit to dart in front of the car. Hungry (probably from expending all the energy from my last meal by clenching the steering wheel tightly and despairing over two way streets with only one lane), we head direct to the seaside on arriving in town to find some grub. The beachfront footpath …

Weekend Spin in Canberra: Art, lights, bikes and balloons

A couple of years ago, on the way back to Sydney from hiking Mt Kosciuszko, I stopped off for a few hours in Canberra city’s northern fringe neighbourhood of Braddon. Colourful design shops, a food truck yard, a plant-hanging, white-tiled coffee roastery overflowing with a less-pretentious hipster crowd than I was used to. I flicked through a guide to Noted, a writers’ festival “with an explicit commitment to emerging and experimental writing from diverse backgrounds”, which had been on the weekend before. What is this? The capital come cool? In the past I’d seen Canberra through the lens of school excursions to Parliament House (and the wide-eyed Science fun of Questacon – I couldn’t deny it that). But this was like the concrete had cracked and out had grown poppies. I was itching to come back and see if they had spread through town. So I did. Inspired by an eco design hotel, and a weekend where a lights festival and a hot air ballooning one meet, we packed up the car and steered southwest …

Paradise found: Bingin Beach and Uluwatu, Bali

Forget Queensland, Uluwatu on Bali’s Bukit Peninsula is the real surfer’s paradise. From curving lush cliffsides, watch the endless Indian Ocean bring in the sets. Whether drinking a Bintang at surfer babe bar Single Fin, swerving round the coast by motorbike, bowing namaste in yoga class, or lazing beachside with a turquoise view, there’s much to love about Bali’s laid back southern coast. Surfers started coming to Bingin Beach and Uluwatu from the 1960s when surf legends the likes of ‘Mr Pipeline’ Gerry Lopez started coming here. My gal Kelly here knows what’s up when it comes to Bali, as she’s been coming here with her partner Adam – a keen surfer – for over 10 years. She suggested we stay in Mick’s Place, run by one of the original surfers to move to the Bukit peninsula. Recently opened, the Acacia Bungalows just behind the main hotel was where we set up to chill out, and thankfully we made it to the cliffs in time to watch one of the most spectacular sunsets (or is …

Return to Shimokitazawa, Tokyo

Shimokitazawa is Tokyo’s coolest neighbourhood, so it goes without saying that when I returned to Japan, that is where I would be based. You can eat vegetarian here, you can drink Kirin at hole-in-the-wall bars, shop vintage or at Muji, play arcades well into the night, or get lost in alleys and find your way back with ease. And it’s around 4 minutes on the train into Shibuya. We opted for an Airbnb place near the station’s South Exit – it was actually just around the corner from the Darwin Room, which I mentioned in my last Shimokita post. This was a less-explored part of Shimokitazawa for me, and held a different vibe from my last visit – but one I really loved. We actually had everything we needed – great food, a cool-as-hell locals bar (more on that below), close access to the station, and ARCADES! We got totally addicted to the drumming machines, where you have to whack the drum to the beat of the song on a screen filled with cute cartoon …

A Short Guide to Copenhagen

Copenhagen is a city of style. It leads you through its culture with a curtsy and then sits you in a craft brewery for a pint of tasty ale. It has you strolling alongside chic bicycle riders on city fixies with baskets and subtle colour schemes. It has Noma around one corner and a river-side street food emporium around another. It has Roskilde. And one day it will again have me. Our Copenhagen journey went like this: one day/night exploring the city, staying at the budget but cool Annex Copenhagen, followed by four days at Roskilde music festival (yeehah! More on that soon) where on one day we escaped the festival madness for an afternoon in the hipster neighbourhood Norrebro, followed by two more days experiencing the city, staying at the incredible design hotel Hotel SP34. As an introduction to the city, wander from wherever you are staying (Copenhagen is flat so it’s lovely to stroll around) to Nyhavn – the iconic, colourful waterfront dining district that dates back to the 17th Century. Grab a …

Weekend Spin in Port Stephens

Port Stephens, a few hours north of Sydney in the Hunter region, is a coastal hideaway of headlands, ocean bays and big open skies ideal for an escape from a frenzied city life. Eager to glimpse the natural wonder of Zenith Beach, which I had somehow missed on a few visits to the area over ten years ago, we packed the tent and beach umbrella into the car, and set off for a weekend to wind down and rejuvenate after a busy few months. We set up camp at the Halifax Holiday Park, tucked behind the Nelson Bay lighthouse on a peninsula between Little Beach and the north end of Shoal Bay, where we took a quick walk on the beach in the afternoon light. We then took a stroll down Little Beach looking for somewhere to eat and happened upon the lovely white Little Beach Boathouse. A short wait in the bar downstairs meant that we enjoyed a refreshing drink watching the pastel sun set over the calm water. Once seated in the upstairs …