All posts filed under: Travel

Exploring new destinations

Chasing the Twelve Apostles, Victoria

Freewheeling through the evergreen patchwork of Victorian countryside, a Samoan chief (with a kiwi accent) steering the ride, this day trip down to the Great Ocean Road’s Apostles (once there were Twelve), was worth the long day journey to this gloriously  eroded stretch of coast. Heading Southwest out of Melbourne, we took an early pit stop in Geelong, a bay city of just over 170,000 people around an hour from Melbourne city. One of my (and probably yours too) skills is to be able to seek out places to eat/stay/shop/visit in a place at short notice. Which brings us to breakfast at Freckleduck (I didn’t say I’m skilled at seeking out well-named places!). And holy shitballs will you take a look at that ricotta, seed and maple covered, mascarpone (how do you hide a small horse?)-topped hotcake pile of deliciousness!? The coffee was great too. This was a very good omen for the day ahead. For this trip, I was reuniting with my ‘ol buddy Phil (not my fiance Phil, this Phil) who moved to …

Cornwall Summer (Part 2): St Ives, Newquay and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen

ST IVES We arrived in St Ives on an overcast afternoon, checked in to a Victorian terrace with an ocean view, and wandered down through the cobblestone lanes to the sea. The harbour was pale in colour, with small, bobbing boats and seagulls circling above. I took a liking to the place immediately. This is where Virginia Woolf’s 1927 novel To the Lighthouse took inspiration from, when she would peer out at Godrevy Island from her holiday lodgings at Talland House. There is something about St Ives that draws your eyes out towards the sea. I’d love to know more about it’s history. Walking down by the wharf you’ll find The Sloop Inn, a whitewash historical fisherman’s pub dating back to “circa 1312”, with low, wooden ceilings in the bottom floor bar and popular seating outside. St Ives is also a town populated by, and attractive to, artists. The Tate St Ives (which was closed when we were there, but has since re-opened), is a draw card, as is the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture …

Cornwall Summer (Part 1): St Mawes, Penzance and the Minack Theatre

I’ve wanted to go to Cornwall for a long time, but as I approached, I realised I knew so little about what to expect. I didn’t know there would be cliffside theatres with sharks basking in aquamarine water below, or that there would be wildflowers in abundance, pirate bays and bars, accents with an endearing drawl at their strongest, modern hotels opposite centuries old buildings where seafarers have been raising tankards of ale for centuries. All this I didn’t really know. Our introduction was via St Mawes, where to arrive at the coast we found ourselves driving down one of the steepest and surely narrowest streets I’ve ever driven on (in a manual – eeeee!), so by the time we parked I was frantically looking for an alternate exit route, gulping at the thought of terrifying(ly embarrassing) hill starts. When I took a few deep breaths and looked around, I saw an endearing seaside village, where every building was white-washed, only the roofs differed in colour, and only a little. Two hotels draw a sophisticated …

Daylesford Lake sunset ducks swim

Daylesford: A winter break in spa country, Victoria

Daylesford, a mere ninety minutes from the centre of Melbourne, is one of the most charming Australian towns I ever did see. You’d assume that it’s status as the jewel of Victoria’s spa country would mean it is gentrified to within an inch of it’s white-slippered life – and there are the gourmet dining options, ornate interior shops and grand lake house accommodation you would expect from such a title – but there are also cracked historical building facades, simple country bakeries and stores with locally knitted finger-less gloves. It retains the heart of a rural town, with the trimmings of an indulgent weekend stay. And after a stroll around the peaceful lake, or a soak in one of the many natural mineral spring bathhouses, you’ll be daydreaming about relocating to country Victoria – or at least Melbourne, so you are within comfy reach. STAY: Daylesford Hotel Ain’t nothing wrong with a stay at the local pub, I say! In fact, with many pub/hotels renovating their rooms to include crisp white linen and designer touches, …

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 …