All posts tagged: Australia

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 …

The Atlantic, Byron Bay

Verandas with cushioned swinging cane chairs, a custom built bocce court of sand and a camp chair-lined fire pit in the yard. There’s an air stream camper you can hire by the wood-lined lap pool. The white walls, stylish minimal furnishings and green spaces make it a genuine place of rest. It is quiet. Oh, and it’s right in the heart of Byron Bay, a mere minute’s walk from the beach. I think this is my favourite hotel in Australia. The Albatross rooms had recently opened at The Atlantic when I first caught an online glimpse of the hotel. With a tropical aquatic seafaring-style theme complete with Moroccan tiled private courtyards and outdoor shower, my heart was aflutter which I think had an immediate reaction down to my keyboard finger because I booked right away. While lazing on our private courtyard in a swing chair (or was it on the daybed?!), reading the perfectly curated little leaflet guide to their recommended places in the area (such as Folk Byron Bay), I knew I had arrived …

The Farm at Byron Bay

Farm animals, flowers in bloom, fresh BBQ cafe fare and live music on the lawn – what’s not to love about The Farm at Byron Bay? Owned by the same team as Sydney beach-side institution Three Blue Ducks in Bronte, this vibrant and rustic barn venture is a much-welcomed addition to Australia’s favourite coastal town. Located on the turnoff to Ewingsdale road, a few minutes outside of central Byron, this modest property is a burst of rural delight, where you get to saunter through somebody else’s farm – even have a picnic in the grounds – and not feel like you’re being an intrusive creep. The vibe is relaxed, it’s rustic and unpretentious, but it’s also full of life and you can sense the care that is taken in the upkeep of the grounds and the creatures living within them. After taking a wander around the property to say hello to the blissfully filthy pigs, laying in their muddy earthen bath, or the nearby chickens pecking at scattered feed, you enter the main barn house …

Cafe Love: Folk, Byron Bay

Set in the leafy, sleepy outskirts of Byron Bay, Folk Cafe has all the ingredients of a great Northern NSW establishment – laid back vibe, organic + locally sourced food, a timber-roofed front porch, tasty coffee and smiling long-haired staff. But it’s the extra touches – like biodynamic ingredients, flower-garnished sodas, and woodcut balcony panels – that make this cafe, well…perfect. We started with much needed post-journey (from Sydney) coffees, and tried one of the ‘folk house brews’ – in this case a Vanilla Kefir probiotic creaming soda – which in addition to being delicious, was also served on a cool wood board with a description of both the beverage’s background and benefits. The menu puts any question of this being a cafe using local, organic ingredients to rest. We ordered the summer poached eggs on light rye sourdough with organic pea, lemon + mint smash, avocado, zucchini ribbons, fresh local greens, pesto + zataar and also the Folk burrito with spiced biodynamic brown rice + quinoa, organic black beans, relish, roast pumpkin, charred corn, …

Alabama Hotel – Hobart

Hobart is defiantly breaking away from it’s sleepy capital moniker to become one of the coolest cities in this country. With the most crazy-curated gallery (MONA) in the Southern Hemisphere, a farm-to-plate ethos in many of the restaurants and hipster cafes, and even the annual Falls Festival just a skip away (priorities people, priorities!), it’s a wonder you’re not on Jetstar booking your cheap flight this instant. Further reason to just book your Hobart break immediately (that is if local Instagrammer LoveThyWalrus can’t convince you – in which case you must be dead), is that there is now a super awesome and very cheap hotel in the heart of town that will add some mojo to your trip and have you extending your stay, because you spent so much time hanging out there you almost didn’t get down to Salamanca for a sunset beer! The Alabama Hotel (72 Liverpool St) only re-opened in 2013 after being closed for almost a decade. A piece of history in itself, the building was constructed in the 1830s and …

Wild Wander: South Coast

Destination South The Easter long weekend lays out time like a ceremonial carpet and decisions about how to allocate it must be made. Considering I would not be spending this time in church (as I don’t go) or hiding eggs for a hunt around the backyard (as I have neither children nor yard), the diary was looking pretty free. My friend Kelly and I therefore decided to escape Sydney for the South Coast on an overnight adventure. It would take in an ocean-side hike followed by a home-cooked meal and a few glasses of wine at her parents’ holiday house in Culburra. And if this warm weather held out, perhaps even an early autumn swim. We left on the public holiday Monday morning and travelled south along the Princes Highway out of Sydney, heading past Wollongong Uni and the imposing, if bafflingly located, Nan Tien Buddhist Temple. The road eventually winds and dips, hugging the coast and veering from it, past beachside towns like Kiama, where weatherboard houses climb back into the hills around the …