Tigertales August - September 2019

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Australia | August – September 2019

CHANGE OF TUNE ➔ Clint Hyndman from Something for Kate drums up some new business




Comedian Tim Ross on the retro travel trend

Two different travellers take on the Gold Coast

Daydream in the Whitsundays reopens

From the mountains to the sea

Escape to the Coffs Coast, a special piece of paradise. Refresh your soul and connect with life’s simple treasures – nature, family and friendships…


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Tigerair delivers an exciting new online experience An overhaul of the Tigerair website is the latest digital innovation for the airline


elcome onboard and thank you for choosing to fly Tigerair Australia today. As we continue to take the airline on a journey of transformation, I am excited to reveal our new-look Tigerair website, which you may have already noticed recently received a makeover. Keeping in sight our focus on delighting you with the latest digital innovations, the new website has a beautifully simple and intuitive look and feel to help create a seamless online experience. From the minute you begin to explore the great deals on offer, right through until the moment you book and receive your itinerary, you will find it refreshingly different and easy to use. It also features faster than ever load times to make snapping up the best flight deals easier than ever before. We have also made some important enhancements to help you plan your journey wherever you are going across Australia with our new destination hub helping you to explore all of the must-see sights and local activities to create your travel itinerary. Now that we are slowly waving goodbye to winter and hopefully beginning to enjoy some muchneeded sunshine, it is the perfect time to plan a well-deserved getaway. We fly to 12 exciting destinations across Australia, so whether you’re planning

“You will find the new Tigerair website refreshingly different and it’s easier to snap up deals”

to shake off those winter chills with a sun-soaked Queensland break or cheer along your team in the pursuit of finals glory, as we say at Tigerair – just go for it. Remember to book early because we will see a sharp increase in demand over the September period due to the school holidays and the footy finals being in full swing.

To ensure you keep up to date with all of the Tigerair Australia news and deals, remember to follow us on Facebook (Tigerair Australia), Twitter (@TigerairAU) and Instagram (@tigerairaustralia).

From our family to yours, Happy travels! Merren McArthur Tigerair Australia CEO

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Destination directory Inside this issue… wherever you’re going, we’ve got you covered

Splurge on Abode in Canberra





Musicians trying their hand at hospitality



A world first in Port Macquarie

Hit the road in Western Australia

47 23

32 20 52 WHY I LIVE IN


Seeker Lover Keeper's favourite spots

35 The convict tales of Sarah Island

Editorial & Art Editor Paul Chai Designer Cynthia Lau, Millie Jia Creative Director Stephanie Goh Sub Editor Adam Scroggy Editorial Assistant Elyssa Kostopoulos Production Manager Ian Scott Cover photo Clint Hyndman, photographed by Samara Clifford


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Advertising National Advertising Manager Carla D’Agrosa (02) 8188 3668 carla@citrusmedia.com.au Printed by Bluestar Web

Management Financial Controller Phung Vuong Director Jim Flynn Tiger Tales is published on behalf of Tigerair by Citrus Media, PO Box 20154, World Square NSW 2002 Tel. (02) 9186 9186 citrusmedia.com.au

© 2019 All rights reserved. Reproduction or distribution in any form, in whole or in part, is prohibited without prior written permission from the copyright holder. Citrus Media is not responsible for the views and opinions of contributing journalists. Although the advice and information in this book are believed to be accurate and true at the time of going to press, neither the authors nor the publisher can accept any legal responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions that may have been made.



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THE POINTY END We have your next great travel stor y

Is Australia ready for the plant-based burger? 43 – 44

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T H E B I G B A NA NA The Big Banana Fun Park now has nine attractions including a six-lane giant slide and a state-of-theart laser tag arena. The park also features a cafe, gift shop, candy-making kitchen and Steve McEwan’s Reptile World. Plus, the frozen chocolate-covered bananas you had as a kid. Coffs Coast bigbanana.com

CURRYFEST Curryfest brings the streets of Woolgoolga to life. This year it will have over 30 stalls offering curries from Thailand, Morocco, Ethiopia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Punjabi culture will also be celebrated in other ways such as traditional dance troupes, yoga and meditation. Coffs Coast; September 28 curryfest.com.au

A I R L I E B E AC H F E S T I VAL O F M U S I C John Butler heads up the Airlie Beach Festival of Music. Known for his Sounds of the Reef project with its focus on the Great Barrier Reef, Butler says he appreciates all the Whitsunday community has done to protect the reef. Whitsunday Coast November 8-10 airliebeachfestivalofmusic .com.au

DR INK S T H E WO OD S A M AR I TA N A cabin-inspired bar in Brunswick, the Wood Samaritan bar is run by a team of industry vets with CVs including Fitzroy’s Naked For Satan. Head in for a smoky margarita and pretend you’ve walked into the town of Twin Peaks. Melbourne thewoodsamaritan.com

F OOD E L C A M I NO C A N T I NA The legendary spot for Tex-Mex, frozen margaritas and sombrero-splashed party vibes opens in the Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park in August. This eclectic, colourful, 220-seat cantina is ablaze with neon lights, including a festively lit 130-seat outdoor area. Sydney elcaminocantina.com.au


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E N E R GY E X P O The South Queensland Energy and Resources Expo is on this October at the Toowoomba Showgrounds. For your chance to be involved, free call 1800 671 588 or register online to book an exhibition space. Delegate registrations are also open now via the website. Toowoomba; October 16-17 energyandresources.com.au

C H E E S E M AK I N G WO R K S H O P & D E L I A shop dedicated to all things cheese, stocking the finest Australian and international cheeses all hand-chosen by a passionate team. In late August, for Coffs Coast food month, the team will cut the largest wheel of cheese to ever come to the coast. Coffs Coast; thecheese makingworkshop.com.au

PAT I E N T WOLF Brunswick’s Patient Wolf Distillery is moving to Southbank in September with a new working distillery and 30-person bar. Patient Wolf co-founders and distillers Matt Argus and Dave Irwin are currently leading the renovation of a red brick industrial warehouse at Market Street near South Melbourne. Melbourne; September patientwolfgin.com

“Behind every memorial..., there is a story of courage.” COLONEL SUSAN NEUHAUS CSC

Help tell their story by adding your local war memorial at placesofpride.awm.gov.au

Desert Mounted Corps Memorial, Mount Clarence, WA Photo: City of Albany / Matt Van Nieuwkerk


Drive the Prosecco Road in the King Valley



his is not my first trip to northern Victoria’s King Valley, but it’s the first time I’ve had the Dal Zotto family’s prosecco vines as my back fence. I’m staying in the Wine Down Pop-up Hotel, an upcycled shipping container from Contained (contained.com.au) and Visit Victoria, and my makeshift back verandah is framed by the prized grapes. Italian families have tilled the soil in this region for generations, first growing tobacco.

Then, when that crop fell from favour, they switched to growing Italian wine varieties and created the now-famous Prosecco Road. This stretch of bucolic bitumen joins the wineries of the King Valley – names like the Dal Zottos and the Pizzinis, who used their skill with the local soil to grow an entire industry around previously unloved Italian wine varieties. I’ve been travelling to the King Valley for over a decade and it manages a rare regional trick: ê

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“Each time I visit the King Valley there is a deeper range of experiences, but the country charm remains”


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each time I visit, there’s a deeper range of experiences – be it staying in a temporary shipping container hotel or learning to cook gnocchi at the Pizzini’s A Tavola cooking school – but the country charm remains the same. So, on my first night, as I walk up the darkened road to the Mountain View Hotel – the local pub in Whitfield now run as accommodation by the Pizzinis – my only company is a local possum and the smell of wood smoke. The possum and I part company at the hotel’s fairy-light-strung beer garden, and I go in for dinner. Inside, under the watchful eye of a deer mounted over a crackling open fire, I have squid ink pasta with fresh seafood and tomato sugo and chilli before heading back into the marsupial-filled night.

Warm welcome Hospitality isn’t just the industry these Italian families are in. It’s also their guiding principle. From my shipping container home the following night, it’s just a short walk to the cellar door where Dal Zotto patriarch Otto Dal Zotto has fired up the spit and is lovingly basting a porchetta for an evening function, glass of prosecco in hand. Otto’s son Michael, who takes care of the business with his brother Christian, laughs that Otto always complains he is too old to roast the porchetta but will never let anyone else do it. He hands me a glass of Italian bubbles and we watch the hypnotic turn of the grill. “I’m very proud of where I come from,” Otto says. “And growing up with a bottle of prosecco on the table, everyone was happy – we probably should have had a bottle of water, but we had a bottle of prosecco.” It was this passion for the wine of his ancestral home that led to Otto procuring one of the first prosecco vines in the country from an old-country contact in Adelaide and trusting his gut that Australians would love this Italian party staple as much as he did. “One of the things I’m very passionate about is to be able to bring the prosecco to Australia, to grow the prosecco and to see people enjoy the prosecco,” Otto says. And

enjoy it they do; Australian prosecco sales were up over 50 per cent in 2018, and local sales outstrip the imported Italian drop. Like a visitor to a small village in Venetto, where the Dal Zottos originated, I’m handballed from cousin to cousin. I’ve spent the morning at Pizzini Wines, who are both neighbours and family to the Dal Zottos. Over a couple of glasses of Italian reds, another patriarch, Fred Pizzini, discusses how he has now split his sangiovese grapes into 14 different terroirs to help stay ahead of the competition, and how he’s always trying new varieties, like a teroldego, which is as bold as it is hard to pronounce. “We’re always looking for new ways to stay in front of ourselves. I don’t know if teroldego is the one, but it could be,” Fred says. “I think the public interest in Italian wines is still growing.” ê

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When I turn up to Chrismont Wines, a short drive from Pizzini, I’m late after getting lost in a chat with Fred about water usage and the politics that might see the King Valley banned from using the name “prosecco”. My host, Arnie Pizzini, laughs and tells me such tardiness isn’t unusual when being hosted by his kin. Chrismont Wines is deliberately different to the historic buildings of Dal Zotto and Pizzini.

It’s a sleek, modern space with a restaurant that has sweeping views of the valley. I start lunch with eggplant alla Siciliana, a flavour-packed stack of baked eggplant fiore di latte topped with deep-fried capers. My main is a silky prawn and scallop risotto served in a rich bisque broth with local caviar and a giant king prawn. The wine match, a sagrantino, is another new Italian red that’s easier on the palate than it is on the tongue. It’s a meal fit for a – well, you get the idea. With spring around the corner, the Prosecco Road is a perfect mix of radical grape varieties, party bubbles and downhome hospitality. Hit the road.

t ig e r a ir f l ie s to Melbourne from nine destinations; tigerair.com.au

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BAR STAR: CEDRIC MENDOZA One of the world’s best bartenders is now the man behind the stick at the Four Seasons Sydney’s street-level cocktail bar, Grain


Welcome to Australia, Cedric! Tell us, when did you start making cocktails? In late 2013 I started working in F&B in Singapore – first washing dishes, and eventually a waiter. And I remember thinking, “I know cocktails. I know how to make a mojito.” Then one of my directors gives me a bar book, and I’m browsing through, and I’m like, wow – there’s a lot I don’t know. So, I started experimenting, and it went from there. Of course, I had


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really good mentors and colleagues at Manhattan. On our days off, we’d go to coffee shops and read cocktail books. We’d go to different bars to see what they do. It’s all about experimenting. You have to really develop a passion and love for it. It’s like my ex-boss used to say: bartending is a lifestyle. What was it like to work at the No.1 bar in Asia and No.3 in the world? I learned what a team could be. When I started, we weren’t top five yet. We

weren’t even top 50. But I learned it’s really not impossible to build something, as long as you put your mind and heart to it. That’s what I want to do at Grain now. I’m trying to give a spark to some awesome individuals, to build a team and hopefully make something similar happen. Sounds like you’re embracing the role of mentor now? I hope so. I was talking to my mentors at Manhattan, and they told me, ‘You know, you’re ready to mentor people.’ Like,


resh from Singapore’s Manhattan Bar – the No.1 bar in Asia and No.3 in the world in 2018 – Cedric Mendoza is now head bartender at Grain, located in the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney at The Rocks. We caught up with him over a Sazerac to find out what he has in store for Australian cocktail lovers…

young individuals – to really push them. Hearing that was surprising, because I thought I was hopeless! I’d only gotten my act together back in 2013, and now I was like, hang on, there’s actually a career here? It made me realise everyone has a certain knowledge. It’s just a question of how to spark that knowledge. I’ve had people come in to Grain for an interview and they tell me, “I don’t really know that much about bartending,” – and I actually appreciate that. Sometimes it’s better to start with an empty cup. How have you found the lifestyle in Sydney so far? I think Sydney has the perfect work-life balance. Singapore… I won’t say it was unhealthy, but let’s just say that I didn’t

"IT’S ALL ABOUT EXPERIMENTING. YOU HAVE TO REALLY DEVELOP A PASSION AND LOVE FOR IT. IT’S LIKE MY EX-BOSS USED TO SAY: BARTENDING IS A LIFESTYLE" know how to control myself. It’s really intense there. I’m loving it here. What are your goals now that you’re the man at Grain? I think that, in this part of the world, hotel bars are a little behind. Australians prefer a free-standing bar, or a local watering hole. But if you look at the top five bars in the world, they’re all hotel bars –

Dandelyan, American Bar and Connaught in London; Nomad in New York; and, of course, Manhattan in Singapore. I see so many great hotel bars all over the world. So how do you change that perception in Australia? I want the hotel bar to rise again. Can you give us a sneak preview of any cocktails you’ve been working on? Definitely. We’re currently doing Rye July, which has been great. Rye is one of my favourite spirits ever. And that is part of a bigger plan: we want to go back to basics. I’m a big fan of basic. You can’t make a variation of an Old Fashioned if you don’t know how to make a proper Old Fashioned to begin with. You have to know the basics before you can break the basics. So, we’re going back to the origins – to the grains. I’ve been reading a lot of books again, really researching origins.

Looking at different rye, rice, barley, wheat, oats. There are a lot of different grains – nine in total, as well as four pseudocereals. I’m trying to source all of those and make this a real grain bar. So kind of like Grain in name and grain in approach? Exactly. We’ll be launching that in November, which is just after Grain’s birthday. So, maybe one month we’ll choose rye, corn and barley, and make a bunch of cocktails around those grains. And I really want to take this concept and spread it all over the world. We plan to bring other famous head bartenders here to take part. I’m about 70 per cent through my research right now, and the next 30 per cent will go to testing. I’m really excited to show Australia what we’ve been working on.

TASTE CEDRIC'S CONCOCTIONS Cedric Mendoza heads up Grain at the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney; fourseasons.com

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hy it’s worth it: Wine, chocolates and more wine. Sound good? Then travel 30 kilometres north-west from Canberra CBD and you’ll be transported to Yass Valley Shire, to the Abode Murrumbateman, one of the six ACT Iconic Hotels. Conveniently situated on the Barton Highway, you’re in the epicentre of wine country. Whether you’re up for a mini-break or en route to the snow, the Abode Murrumbateman is the ideal spot to rest, revive and relax.


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Bang for your buck: Welcomed with an open fire as you enter the reception area, you know you’re in the heart of the country. The Abode Murrumbateman has a shared selfcatering open kitchen-cum-dining space, which is ideal if you want to create your own cheese board, crack open a bottle of shiraz and chill out with your feet up fireside. A pantry stocked with (naughty) yummy goodies can be purchased from reception. Abode offers a continental breakfast for a



nominal charge; our three-year-old had great fun watching the pancake machine at work. For the inner explorer, bicycles are available to enjoy the region Jessica Fletcherstyle. Surrounded by at least 20 wineries, an alpaca farm and a chocolate shop, there’s plenty to see and do during your stay. The digs: Our Premium King Terrace has two king beds and a small outdoor setting – not utilised this trip as it got to -5°C at night. However, ample storage, an espresso machine and a beautiful walk-in shower made up for the cold. If not moving from your room is on your agenda, then you’re in luck, as Abode offers STAYCAST for you to stream your own content to enjoy on their flat-screen TV.

h av e a s t ay c a t i o n The rooms at Abode are so good you won't want to leave.

Must-do experience: Four Winds Vineyard for wood-fired pizzas and wine tasting, followed by afternoon tea at Robyn Rowe’s Chocolates, is a must. Then, for a hearty, generous pub dinner, visit the Murrumbateman Country Inn, and for an a la carte dining experience head to Olleyville at Shaw Vineyard Estate. If you’re there on the right dates, the Murrumbateman Village Market is held twice a month with purveyors of artisan products, live music, and a delicious mobile waffle van. Patting an alpaca (although not on the head, I learned) is another experience everyone has to have while in Murrumbateman. Angela and Matthew run a fantastic 45-minute tour at their One Tree Hill Alpaca Farm where you get to feed, cuddle, take selfies and walk one of their many alpacas. The damage: Premium Terraces start from $128 per night. Packages are available; abodehotels.com.au

t ig e r a ir f l ie s to Canberra from Melbourne and Brisbane; tigerair.com.au

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holiday in paradise

Over 15 onsite activities

Big, huge, mega waterslide park

adventurewhitsunday.com.au #adventurewhitsunday Ph: 1300 640 587 or + 61 (7) 4948 5400 ext 1 Email: reservations@adventurewhitsunday.com.au Airlie Beach - Whitsundays - Queensland

Self contained cabins


Visit WA’s largest open-air art gallery



ast year, the farming town of Pingrup welcomed a few new residents to the community. With the population hovering around 264, everyone was bound to notice the appearance of a 25-metre tall blue heeler, sheep farmer and jockey in the close-knit community located in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt. The newcomers are proving popular. Visitors like me are travelling from the east coast (and beyond) to see them as a part of the 1,000km self-drive

PUBLIC Silo Trail. Encompassing seven sites in Northam, Ravensthorpe, Merredin, Katanning, Pingrup, Newdegate and Albany, the innovative concept was developed by non-profit cultural organisation FORM and CBH Group. While the silos are the showstoppers, other streetscapes such as walls and transformer boxes have been painted. Unlike the silo art in Victoria, the focus is on contemporary art provided by global artists from as far as USA, UK and Tunisia. ê

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cafe. Sure, classics like house-made scones and sausage rolls feature on the menu, but you can also order chia porridge, kombucha, matcha lattes and cold-pressed juice from the staff who feel like long-lost friends.

Wildlife writ large

In Northam, pops of colour provided by UK artist Phlegm put a working grain silo on the map in 2015. As Australia’s first ever silo mural, the public interest in this towering, multihued canvas kicked off a movement that swept across the nation. Now tiny communities like Pingrup are welcoming visitors who drive in to see the striking silos framed by a brilliant blue sky. But there’s another reason to visit Pingrup. Owned and run by the Pingrup Community Resource Centre, The Store Café (18-20 Sanderson Street; facebook.com/ TheStoreCafe6343) isn’t your average country


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Forty minutes’ drive away, the town of Newdegate has also received the silo art treatment. Last year, the town’s 160-odd residents welcomed Western Australian muralist Brenton See with open arms when he was commissioned to paint four silos. Over two weeks, Brenton made his mark not only on the silos, but also on the town itself. Kids stopped by on their way home from school to see the murals take shape, keenly watching the mallee fowl, thigh spotted tree frog, western bearded lizard and red-tailed phascogale come to life on the huge canvas. Providing a welcome distraction to the drought-stricken community, the silos were literally the talk of the town. Now complete, they are working in tandem with a landmark new hotel to bring renewed optimism to the region. Rural accommodation options are often limited to spartan pub rooms or dated


“Once a working flour mill, the Premier Mill Hotel is now part-hotel, partmuseum, and its striking heritage façade is just a hint of what’s to come”

motels complete with garish bedspreads. Three hour’s drive inland from Perth, however, the town of Katanning is bucking the trend with a bona fide luxury hotel option that is a destination within itself. Opened in 2018, the Premier Mill Hotel (premiermillhotel.com) is a head-turner inside and out. Once a working flour mill, the space is now part-hotel, part-museum. And its striking heritage façade is just a hint of what’s to come. In the minimalist foyer, look up and you’ll see the old packing chute that delivered bagged flour to a waiting train. On the first floor you’ll find the boiler that once fuelled the steam-powered mill. You can even sleep where the grain was once stored. Featuring the original rough-sawn jarrah timber silo walls, the stripped-back silo rooms come with mod-cons including Bang & Olufsen speakers, Aesop products, and a comfy bed you’ll melt into after a long day on the road. Transforming a derelict flour mill into a hotel wasn’t easy, but a historian provided context to the stories held within the hotel’s walls. ê

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And when workers unearthed the corpse of a long-deceased cat, the unlucky feline wasn’t just thrown into a skip with construction rubble. Instead, the mummified remains now take pride of place behind a glass case in the hotel’s slick subterranean bar. Macabre? Yes. But these nods to history are what makes the hotel so unique. Since opening, the hotel has given the region a new lease on life. Tourists from near and far have visited – one guest from a neighbouring town has stayed more than 20 times since opening. And as buzz spreads about the Wheatbelt’s silo art trail, odds are the Premier Mill Hotel will receive many more repeat visitors in the years to come. For more information, visit publicsilotrail.com

t ig e r a ir f l ie s to Perth from Melbourne and Sydney; tigerair.com.au


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“Tiny communities like Pingrup are welcoming visitors who drive to see the striking silos framed by a brilliant blue sky”

On show at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra

12 SEP 2019 – 2 FEB 2020 nma.gov.au/dreamworks

© 2019 DreamWorks Animation LLC. All Rights Reserved.




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A round-table chat with three different travellers. This issue’s topic: voluntourism



Kate Webster, helping wildlife Over my years of travel, I have morphed from being just a tourist with a camera visiting the hot spots, to developing a sense of reason when visiting farflung places. Travel has given me the opportunity to discover and learn while engaging in experiences outside of my norm. I felt it was only fitting for me to try to give back. Volunteer tourism, or voluntourism, is an emerging trend of travel linked to

“doing good”. This is not to be mistaken with “feeling good”. When you engage in voluntourism in an ethical way, it can be an eye-opening, unique and soulenriching experience. Unfortunately, the voluntourism industry isn’t always that clear-cut. As the popularity for voluntourism has risen, so too have the scams that take tourist dollars and, at the end of the day, do more harm than good to those it is meant to help. There are many companies that offer the opportunity for travellers to get

involved and help while in a country. This can vary from hands-on wildlife experiences to helping children in schools. Just do your research on exactly who benefits from the experience. I most recently returned from Africa with Where Wild Things Roam Travel (wherewildthingsroamtravel.com), where I engaged in voluntourism. A continent that stole my heart early in the piece, I was determined to give back to something that had given me so much joy: the wildlife. As I walked up to the ê

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sedated male rhino before me, I was overcome with emotions. Having previously seen rhinos many times in the wild and knowing these animals are in the fight of their lives against the ugly war of poaching, I was humbled to be a part of an operation to help protect this animal. I was on an outing to help the rhinos when the chainsaw started and I flinched. A wave of anger engulfed me as I realised the need to take this drastic measure of removing this rhino’s horn in order to protect it. Surrounded by a team of professionals, we safely removed the rhino’s horn, recorded data and took DNA samples before setting the animal off back into the wild. Watching him run off into the bushveld, I felt a sense of hope for his future and, in a way, a sense of accomplishment that I had helped do my part for this worthy cause. That is what voluntourism delivers when done correctly. It adds a depth to your travel experience. I didn’t sit on a safari vehicle and watch this animal from a distance. I touched the rhino. I smelt his odour. I heard and felt his breath. I learned from the professionals on the ground more than I could read in a book. I had hands-on experience that directly helped rhino conservation efforts. Once I returned home, I now continue to speak of my experience with my peers and spread the word as far and wide as I can, giving that cause one more voice in the world. That experience will stay with me for life. It was an experience that delivered more than just a holiday memory; we had given at least one rhino a fighting chance at life.


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"I DIDN’T SIT ON A SAFARI VEHICLE AND WATCH RHINOS FROM A DISTANCE. I TOUCHED THE RHINO. I LEARNED FROM THE PROFESSIONALS ON THE GROUND MORE THAN I COULD READ IN A BOOK" Sarah Mitchell, helping people Connor McLeod, helping the environment A place that captured my heart many years ago was Lord Howe Island, the most remote part of New South Wales. I first went to the island as a tourist and got the full tour, from climbing Mount Lidgbird to wading out waist-deep into the overly friendly kingfish just off the sand at Ned’s Beach. But I had also met up with a naturalist and birdwatcher who let me know about the volunteer weeds program run by the Lord Howe Island Board. They are looking for volunteers that are physically fit with a rudimentary knowledge of bush plants to help rid the island of unwanted weed. Apart from the Zen nature of helping to pull weeds from the beautiful tropical island, you also feel a strong sense of connection to the land. You’re not just taking a photo and heading off; you’re actually making the next traveller’s photos better. You’re aiding the local flora, and the fauna that depends on it. And you’re learning more about the destination, the people and the pace of life. You’ve signed up to be part of the island community and you’re often looked at differently to a fly-by-night tourist. You get below the surface of just visiting a place.

When it comes to helping kids abroad, you have to be very careful. Save the Children fund estimates that of the eight million kids in orphanages, 90 per cent of them are not really orphans. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do some good when it comes to helping your fellow man. You simply have to do your research before signing up to a voluntourism program. One of my favourites is the time I spent teaching apprentice monks English in a northern Laos monastery. In Luang Prabang, the UNESCO World Heritage site, there are a number of programs to teach the region’s monks how to speak English. Each morning, the monks line the streets to receive alms from tourists, which is a great way to start the day in Luang Prabang. But for the rest of the day these novice monks head back to do their studies, some of which is learning English. For a month I got to know these monks, to learn more about why many of them entered the monastery and to dig below the surface of life in Laos. And with one of the young monks that I taught, I also ended up with a pen pal.


now open!



Why I live in

S Y DNE Y SEEKER LOVER KEEPER (L-R) Holly Throsby, Sarah Blasko and Sally Seltmann

Indie supergroup Seeker Lover Keeper – comprising singer-songwriters Sarah Blasko, Sally Seltmann and Holly Throsby – are back after eight years with new album Wild Seeds, the long-awaited follow-up to their 2011 self-titled debut. Sarah lives in Sydney, Sally on the NSW north coast, and Holly on the south coast. Tell us about the new album! Sarah: I think that with each of the albums we wanted to make them fairly

classic. We wanted to borrow a bit from girl groups and Fleetwood Mac. They are the beneath-the-surface influences. We wanted to have our voices and our harmonies at the front of this album and wanted the sound of the music to be classic and simple. The title track, “Wild Seeds”, is about the wildness of youth. Is there a place in Sydney that reminds you of those days? Holly: Seeker Lover Keeper was actually conceived as an idea at the Townie in Newtown (326 King Street, Newtown; townhallhotelnewtown.com), an establishment with not always a wonderful reputation. So it was after a lot of drinking at one of Sally’s shows that we got the idea in the first place. Do travelling and touring inspire you? Sally: All of us find travel very inspiring. You’re constantly thinking what to write about. When you’re in a different city or on the coast and looking out to the water, different things pop into your mind and you see


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things in a new way. And, for all of us, we make sure that we travel to get inspired. Holly: There’s something about movement that really works with writing. A lot of writers talk about the importance of walking as part of the creative process to help solidify ideas and get stuff moving; movement in general, whether it’s travel or moving about in your own neighbourhood. And, for me, I find that the landscape near the coast fills me up in a creative sense. Are there any places in particular where you like to write? Holly: We wrote a lot of this album under the flight path. And we wrote a bunch of the lyrics at a little cafe called Little Lord (102 Salisbury Road, Camperdown; littlelordcafe.com), which is near Sarah’s house in Camperdown. We recorded the album on the Northern Beaches at Jim Moginie from Midnight Oil’s studio. It’s really ramshackle – I hope he won’t mind me saying that – but it’s very Jim and

very comfortable, and that made for a really relaxing environment to work in. I recorded all of my records on the south coast of NSW or in the Southern Highlands, so Jamberoo and the Kangaroo Valley and Wild Meadows. I’ve spent a huge amount of time in that region and I’m really fond of it. When you tour, what are some of your favourite venues? Sarah: There are some beautiful regional theatres like Anita’s Theatre in Thirroul (264-270 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Thirroul; anitastheatrethirroul.com). Outside of NSW, there’s the Theatre Royal in Castlemaine (theatreroyalcastlemaine.com.au), and there’s also a beautiful hall in Meeniyan (meeniyan.org.au). Back in NSW, there ’s the A&I Hall in Bangalow (3 Station Street, Bangalow, bangalowhall.com), and also the Milton Theatre (69 Princes Highway, Milton; miltontheatre.com.au). There are some lovely regional places around.

HEAR SEEKER LOVER KEEPER The songs on Wild Seeds reflect a shared outlook and lived experience: the nostalgia of youth, the gravity of growing up, the endurance of friendship, and the ever-evolving process of self-realisation. They are both personal narratives and universal stories. Wild Seeds is released August 9 through Liberation Records; liberationrecords.com.au. Keep up with Seeker Lover Keeper at @seekerloverkeeper and facebook.com/seekerloverkeeper

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AHEAD OF TIME anthogenol.com.au


Hear convict tales on Sarah Island



’m sitting on a small mound of lush green grass and looking out toward the ocean, listening with interest to our tour guide. I am completely unaware that almost 200 years earlier, many men were brutally punished in the exact place that I am resting, receiving hundreds of lashes from the notorious barbaric “Macquarie Cat”. Minutes earlier we step from the warm comfort of our luxury boat on to the island. Immediately I’m transported to another era; a sombre mood washes

over me as we are greeted by howling winds and angry grey skies threatening rain, but in contrast, we are warmly greeted by island guide Ingrid. Like quite a few of us Tasmanians, I descend from “good convict stock”, fuelling my keen interest in the era of Van Diemen’s Land. We are in Western Tasmania and this is a bucket-list tick for me. Sarah Island is Tasmania’s oldest convict settlement (once known as Settlement Island) and was chosen for its stark isolation. It housed the ê

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Macquarie Penal Settlement that operated from 1822 to 1833 (later replaced by the better-known Port Arthur). Sitting within sight of the stunning World Heritage Gordon River and residing in Macquarie Harbour, the island’s entry is through “Hells Gates”, where the waters are so treacherous that many lives were lost. Tales of unimaginable atrocities on Sarah Island saw it frequently referred to as “hell on earth”, and so poignant is its grim history that Australian author Marcus Clarke focused much of the story on it in his best-selling novel For the Term of His Natural Life.


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“Wandering through the remains of the tannery and cells, you can use your imagination to bring this island to life”

Playing the part Our guide, Ingrid, was once a performer with popular Strahan-based play The Ship that Never Was. The production has run continuously for over 25 years, telling the true story of Sarah Island’s 10 escapee convicts who made their way to Chile. She tells of flamboyant folk hero Matthew Brady, renowned for his impeccable manners when robbing people, and Alexander Pearce, who escaped with seven fellow inmates. After an epic nine-week journey traversing wilderness, snakes and wild weather, the gang was left starved and exhausted. The convicts drew sticks to see who would be murdered and eaten first, and


Three more Tassie islands MARIA ISL AND Located off Tasmania’s east coast, Maria Island National Park is a 30-minute ferry ride from Triabunna – a 1.5-hour drive from Hobart. The island provides a unique escape from the everyday – no shops or cars to be seen – just an abundance of wildlife and stunning views. Accommodation includes the old convict penitentiary. encountermaria.com.au

F L I N D E R S I S L A N D The largest of the 52 islands in the Furneaux Group, accessed by regular flights or a ferry from Bridport in Tasmania’s north-east. Discover pristine rugged wilderness, secluded white sandy beaches and the freshest locally grown produce, including exquisite wines and sumptuous seafood. visitflindersisland.com.au

B O N N E T I S L A N D This intimate eco-tour departs at twilight from the historic village of Strahan. The island is now home to a thriving colony of little penguins, and the tour also includes the fascinating tales of those who once lived here and operated the island’s lighthouse. gordonrivercruises.com.au


at the end only Pearce remained. He was eventually caught and returned to Sarah Island, but escaped once again before being apprehended and hanged.

Island life Part of the joy of visiting Sarah Island is wandering through the remains scattered around the site. Interp signs show places like the tannery and cells, and you can use your imagination to bring the island to life from the rubble.

For those housed on Sarah Island, an average day usually involved processing Huon pine, which was highly valued for boat building, and this meant working in chains hauling logs while chest deep in the icy waters of the Gordon River. Many convicts committed suicide or a murderous crime in order to face the gallows and escape their life here. Indigenous Australians were also imprisoned here when taken from Flinders Island, and many were believed to have died as a result. At times I want to leap up and cover the ears of my nine-year-old son, especially when hearing stories of the Macquarie Cat, which featured three cat-o’ nine-tails, tied together with lead shards on each tip. Yet I feel this is an important part of Tasmanian history. As the tour concludes and the boat horn signals time to return, we’re cold and hungry and looking forward to our afternoon tea – hot chocolates, coffee and cake. This time however, it’s received with a healthier sense of gratitude, perspective, and some gruesome tales to retell on another day.

t ig e r a ir f l ie s to Hobart from Melbourne and Gold Coast; tigerair.com.au

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hy it’s worth it: Taking its industrialchic cues from its position right opposite the entrance to bustling Flinders Street station, the DoubleTree by Hilton is a smart stay that sees you right on top of Melbourne’s famed laneways. Backing on to the much-photographed Degraves Street and its hole-in-the-wall cafes like Mock Turtle or Degraves Espresso Bar, the DoubleTree offers a great position with Hilton’s winning hospitality.


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Bang for your buck: As far as warm welcomes go, the DoubleTree takes the biscuit – literally – with a warm chocolate-chip cookie being handed to you along with your key. As I’m on a staycation with my nine-year-old, this Hilton brand immediately becomes my son’s favourite hotel, ever. The hotel’s footprint is small, but it never feels crowded. The tallceilinged lobby with a casual bar and eatery is a great space to hang out, and the hotel

cit y living

The bathroom is monochromatic with strong parallel lines that once again invoke the nearby train tracks.

The DoubleTree rooms make the most of the views.

is strong on sustainability as well as using local Melbourne produce like Patient Wolf gin, Starward whisky and Melbourne Cocoa chocolates – plus there’s a full tin of the signature cookies in our room. The digs: In the room, the design once again makes good use of small space by having the bed on a mezzanine level accessible by a discreet staircase. This split-level room means double the window space, making for a killer view out onto Federation Square and the Yarra River beyond. The two levels also mean there’s room for a huge couch, and both levels have large flat-screen TVs.

Must-do experience: With all of Melbourne at your doorstep, staying in might seem anathema to a traveller, but the in-house dining at Platform 270 is worth noting. Think Asian-inspired dishes like semi-cured salmon in maple ponzu with pickled vegetables and barramundi in an umami broth with forest mushrooms. The breakfast spread is also not to be missed – the mini-doughnuts rival the signature cookie for my son’s affections. Then, by all means, hit the shops and alleyways of the big city. The damage: Doubles from $219; hilton.com

t ig e r a ir f l ie s to Melbourne from nine destinations; tigerair.com.au

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COME FROM (FAR) AWAY What are some of the culinary tricks and trends we can learn from overseas chefs and restaurants?



ustralia is the land of plenty. Our fertile soil and varied climate mean we can successfully grow almost any food, and with our strict quality standards, what we sell is often tastier, healthier and more natural than most. But there are some areas where we still have a lot to learn. Take raw milk – that is, milk that has not been pasteurised – as an example. Many of the world’s best cheeses are made using raw milk due to its flavour and terroir, but both can be lost when milk is pasteurised. However, raw milk is banned for human consumption in Australia and, apart from Roquefort, any raw milk cheese imported into our country must

comply with rigorous regulations. Safety is given as the reason, but many of these regulations don’t exist outside of Australia. Plant-based dining is also an area where we lag compared to places like the USA. Plant-based protein – that is, food that tastes like and has the texture of meat – has really taken off in recent years, but Australians are only just getting on board. We’re not talking about tofu shaped like meat, but stuff that’s very close to the real thing. In the USA these products have become so mainstream that even chains like Burger King have an “Impossible Whopper” – a plant-based burger. Variety in food and drink matching is another area where Australia still has a lot

to learn. While many Australian restaurants seem content in matching food only with wine, overseas it’s common to see dishes paired with a variety of drinks, from wine to beer, spirits, tea – anything, really. And keeping with drinks, what about a more relaxed approach to drinking? In Europe recently, I was reminded of the joy of standing at the front of a pub with a ê

THE CIT Y L A NE Paul Kristoff is the editor-in-chief of food, travel and culture online magazine The City Lane, and he is one-third of the craft-beer podcast team Brunswick Beer Collective. Visit thecitylane.com and brunswickbeercollective.com to find out more.

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THE POINTY END drink in hand, watching life unfold on the city streets. While walking about public squares and from bar to bar drink in hand, ala Lisbon, might be a step too far, what’s so wrong about standing discreetly on the footpath at a venue? Speaking of a relaxed approach, how about our attitude towards marijuana? In many places around the world, marijuana is legal, and it’s not just about people getting high. While the addictive THC found in hemp is what makes people high, a substance also found in hemp is cannabidiol, or CBD, which has mellowing and pain-relieving properties and is popular in wellness circles. CBD oil is legal in Australia for medicinal use, although it requires a special prescription. In the food world, CBD experimentation is still in its infancy, with chefs and bartenders using it as an ingredient in a variety of ways. We might be subject to more rules and regulations than our laid-back reputation would suggest, but here are a few places around the country doing their bit to bring some exciting aspects of other countries to our shores.

Momofuku Seiōbo (Pyrmont, NSW) The Sydney outpost of owner David Chang’s stable of restaurants, famed for head chef Paul Carmichael’s Australianinfluenced Caribbean food, has gone from strength to strength since opening in 2010. Carmichael took over the reins of Momofuku Seiōbo in 2015 and it’s not just the food that evolved. Alongside pairing alcohol to the restaurant’s tasting menu is a non-


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"IN THE USA, PLANT-BASED PRODUCTS HAVE BECOME SO MAINSTREAM THAT EVEN BURGER KING HAS A PLANT-BASED BURGER" alcoholic pairing that features hot and cold drinks like spritzes, juices, teas and more. They’re more than just an afterthought, too. Apple juice, for example, is macerated for four weeks on skins, similar to an orange wine, before being frozen and drip defrosted.

Milk the Cow (Carlton and St Kilda, VIC) Milk the Cow is a licensed fromagerie that’s all about matching exciting cheeses with appropriate beverages. There are over 180 different cheeses to choose from. One of the best ways to enjoy cheese here is as a flight. Nine different options are available offering four different cheeses matched with things like wine, spirits, gin, sake and whisky. We all know cheese and wine go well together, so why not try one of the other options for a new flavour sensation?

The Bruny Island Cheese Co (Hobart, TAS) Bruny Island is one of the few producers in Australia that ticks all the boxes required to make its own raw milk cheese. Raw Milk C2 is a cooked curd cheese made in the style found throughout the mountains of France and northern Italy. Bruny Island also makes some quite unique beers. Try the Whey Stout, a roasty milk stout that uses the lactose from cow’s milk whey that’s left over after cheese making.

And for those who can’t get to Bruny Island, off the south-east coast of Tasmania there’s an easier way to try its fantastic cheese and beer – at its Hobart Cellar door in Salamanca.

Market Grounds (Perth, WA) Where exposed rail tracks once stood now stands Kings Square, a vibrant inner-city piazza surrounded by cafes and restaurants joining Perth’s CBD and Northbridge. Market Grounds is a bar and eatery with a substantial beer garden at the front. You might not be able to drink at the front of the pub in Perth, but the beer garden here gives you much the same feeling. A recent expansion into what was previously an underutilised public space doubled the al fresco area, meaning you can now enjoy a drink while watching the world go by.

Grown (West End, QLD) Trying to advance the idea of what a vegan restaurant can be is Grown in Brisbane’s West End. Everything on the menu is plant-based, using produce sourced from local farmers and growers within a 400km radius of Brisbane. While you won’t find meat substitutes on the menu here, the quality of the vegetable-based dishes mean meat will probably be the last thing on your mind. Think spicy yoghurt baked cauliflower with besan cracker, herb foam and citrus; and pan-fried fennel with smoked mash, fennel top puree, and buckwheat.



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Visit the world’s only koala hospital



t was 1973, and a woman by the name of Jean Starr began bringing sick, injured and orphaned koalas into her home to care for them. The operation, Koala Preservation Society Australia, eventually grew and, in 1975, became Port Macquarie Koala Hospital (koalahospital.org.au). Today the hospital offers daily tours where visitors can learn about this history. It’s the only koala hospital in the world, and every year it welcomes some 250 koalas, each with a unique

story. “She was found on the side of a highway with a joey on her back,” tour guide Alex tells us about a koala named Oxley Kaylee. Every koala at the hospital has two names: the name of the place where they were found, and the name given to them by the person who found them. “They can name them anything they’d like… as long as it’s not rude,” Alex says. One koala, named Birthday Girl, was found wandering into a birthday party. Another, ê

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“Guests on this special tour are assigned a koala and do everything volunteers do on a shift” named Barrington Xavier – the biggest resident koala in the hospital at 10 kilograms – was found in Barrington Tops National Park. After Oxley Kaylee was picked up, her joey was taken to home care as doctors focused on fixing her broken leg. “They made the decision to amputate it, and within a few weeks she was crawling and climbing again. It was a testament to the strength of koalas,” Alex says. Unfortunately, with only one leg, Oxley Kaylee would have been vulnerable to cars and animals, so she couldn’t be released back into the wild. She became a permanent resident of the hospital.

Taking a tour Tours, like admissions to the hospital, are free. It starts at the patient board, where a list of all the koala patients, along with their injuries or illnesses (chlamydia is the most common), is displayed. The tour offers visitors insight into what the hospital provides for koalas, an overview of the common issues they face, and a bevy of koala facts. “Males have brown scent glands,” Alex explains. “It looks like they spilled their tea down their chest.


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They use these glands to attract females, along with a noise. It’s like a loud pig grunting that can go off at 2am and, if you’ve never heard it before, it will scare you.” You can hear the noise in the “Koalaseum” near the hospital’s entrance. There you can also feel different types of koala fur, see photos of koalas at different life stages, and learn more about them. If you’re lucky – and considering they sleep a whopping 18 hours a day, you’d have to be – you might even get the chance to see a koala awake and eating on a tour. If you’d like a more in-depth experience, you can book a behind-the-scenes tour. For $350, you can watch an operation in the koala ICU, ride in the koala ambulance to witness a rescue (if there’s one happening), and feed a koala. Guests on this special tour are assigned a permanent resident and do everything volunteers do on a normal shift: clean out a pen, learn the special way to cut eucalyptus leaves, and feed koalas formula from a bottle.


While founder Jean passed away in 2012, her legacy lives on. The hospital runs a wildly popular international volunteer program and welcomes veterinary students, nurses, researchers and work experience students. It’s open every day of the year, apart from Christmas day. One of its latest rescues is a joey named Pixie. Found in the pouch of her mum who had been hit by a car on a busy road in Port Macquarie, Pixie was tiny enough to fit in the palm of a hand and weighed just 200 grams. She was immediately put into home care, and today is said to have gained five grams and be recovering well. To book the special four-hour tour, email media@koalahospital.org.au

t ig e r a ir f l ie s to Coffs Harbour and Sydney; tigerair.com.au

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Pack these on your next trip away






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Brisbane’s WAAX finally drop their debut album and, of course, it’s a sonic gut punch. Screaming guitars and pounding rhythms are topped off by Maz DeVita’s incendiary vocals, which tackle everything from politics to body image issues. Ideal for… catching a show at the newly opened Fortitude Music Hall


Need a quick at-home meal post-flight? These gnocchi have only natural ingredients and are available in pumpkin, potato, beetroot, spinach & ricotta, Asiago & porcini, and Gorgonzola. RRP $9.95; rawmaterials.com.au

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Perhaps one of the lesser-known members of Los Angeles’ West Coast Get Down crew (think Kamasi Washington and Miles Mosley), trombonist Ryan Porter has a habit of delivering albums that wire plenty of other influences into his free-wheeling jazzy constructs. Ideal for… a night checking out Sydney’s jazz scene at Venue 505

5 AMERICAN TOURISTER’S CURIO COLLECTION Stylish and fun, American Tourister’s Curio collection is designed to stand out. It’s lightweight and packed with features including dual wheels, expandability and TSA locks. RRP From $239; americantourister.com.au


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Rapper Freddie Gibbs and production icon Madlib created one of the best rap LPs of 2015 with Piñata. It says plenty, then, that Bandana might just be better. Over 15 tracks in 46 minutes Gibbs raps through vignette after grimy vignette of stark criminality while Madlib’s cratedigger deluxe production washes everything down in a haze of 70s soul and funk tunes. Ideal for… hitting a club night in Melbourne







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Changing their tune Something for Kate’s Clint Hyndman owns a cafe. Peking Duk run a Melbourne bar. And that’s just the start. Matt Shea chats to the Australian musicians taking on hospitality. PHOTO SAMARA CLIFFORD


here’s a long history of Australian musicians getting into hospitality as a side gig. Producer and DJ Ta-ku was a co-founder of Perth’s celebrated Westons Barbershop, and The Grates’ Patience Hodgson and John Patterson for years ran one of Brisbane’s best small bars and cafes, Southside Tearoom. Also in the Queensland capital, Major Leagues’ Jacob Knauth launched (but has now sold) Lucky Egg, an exceptional fried chicken joint. So, what inspires this lean into the service industry? We wanted to find out, so we talked to some of Australia’s best musos who just so happen to own bars, cafes, restaurants and live music venues.

Clint Hyndman from Something for Kate Yellow Bird What to do when you’re in one of Australia’s best threepiece bands and your singer takes time out to record a solo record? For Clint Hyndman, drummer for Something for Kate, the solution was simple: you open a bar. “One of my favourite films growing up was Cocktail,” Hyndman laughs. “I became a drummer but I’d always ê

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Yellow Bird has few airs and graces. It’s a mash-up of 1970s kitchen tables, mismatched seating and quirky bric-a-brac. It’s loud and funky and always evolving – something Hyndman puts down to the diverse array of creatives who wander through the door. “We started off with skater clientele,” he says. “Then we got dancers, graphic designers, just this mix of people coming in and enjoying the space … you provide the space and the clientele sort of change the way the space is.” For inspiration, Hyndman was calling upon some of the venues he, Dempsey and Something for Kate bassist Stephanie Ashworth had experienced when touring overseas – the bars of Japan, for example, but more importantly, Los Angeles venues such as Swingers Diner and (the now closed) Eat Well. “Every place we went into was playing great music, but was different,” Hyndman says. “That has definitely become a feature at Yellow Bird.” Something else that has never changed about Yellow Bird is the venue’s steadfast intent on serving a single breakfast, lunch and dinner menu that’s available from 8am right up until its 1am closing time. “There are so many restaurants in the area,” he says. “But still we’re



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had aspirations to become a bartender. When we had a break so Paul [Dempsey] could work on solo stuff, I met up with a friend of mine, Dean Bowden.” Bowden had just extricated himself from a corporate job, Hyndman says, and together they set about finding somewhere to establish a bar and cafe. Eventually they found a corner tenancy on Chapel Street, Windsor and opened Yellow Bird. Chapel Street has for years been a centre for nightlife in Melbourne, but back in 2007 there was nobody doing quite what Hyndman and Bowden wanted to achieve. “We wanted it to be this cultural hub that serves food, plays music and is consistently evolving as a space creatively,” Hyndman says. “And it has never changed; it has never gone off the path of what we wanted it to be.”


“I became a drummer but I’d always had aspirations to become a bartender” the only ones doing that breakfast-lunch-dinner available-all-the-time thing.” Hyndman has other things going on away from Something for Kate. He has three small children and these days lives close to an hour away from Yellow Bird, in Mornington. There he’s working on opening a new venue, Wowee Zowee, named after the iconic 1995 album by Pavement. Still, you can usually find him behind the bar on Chapel Street at least two nights a week. “I’m so passionate about Yellow Bird that I want to be there,” he says. “I’m a bit of a control freak, so I’m going to struggle a bit when this new one opens up.” 122 Chapel Street, Windsor; yellowbird.com.au ê

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MUSIC, BOOZE AND GOOD FOOD AT YELLOW BIRD “Every time we came to Melbourne we’d stay at The Cullen [hotel],” Styles says. “We loved that it was near Prahran, but more so we loved that it was across the road from this fantastic bar [Less Than Zero] that served drinks until 3am, and you could smoke out back in the courtyard. “Eventually there was this moment where we thought, ‘Far out, we spend a lot of money here. And it’s always empty. I wonder if they’re looking to sell?’” Before Styles and Hyde knew it they were bar owners, along with new partners Steven Hiles and James McCall, who both had experience working for Sydney hospitality group Merivale. Together they created Talk to Me, an eclectic little boozer that almost overflows with personality, from the tens of paper umbrellas that hang upside down, backlit, from the mezzanine ceiling, to the glowing tree that dominates its courtyard. It’s an engaging fit-out designed for broad appeal. “Different people love it for different reasons,” Styles says. “There’s upstairs where you can have your own private area with your friends. Some people pop in and take a whisky and a cigar out the back and they love it for that. Others love that you can read a book with a martini next to the fireplace. Then others like it

Peking Duk Talk to Me When on tour, Peking Duk’s Reuben Styles and Adam Hyde have a neat shortcut for deciphering a new city. “We try to start at a rooftop bar, so we can see the city from as high as we can,” Styles says. “From there, once we’ve got a feel for the town, we’ll go down to the streets and find the cooler bars that represent its culture a bit more.” It’s a variation on this technique that would eventually lead the Australian electro-pop duo to last year open their own bar, Talk to Me, in the Melbourne inner suburb of South Yarra.


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“It came down to the right kind of DJs and how we were going to challenge the area musically” THE TEAM BEHIND TALK TO ME IN MELBOURNE

because they can have heaps of share plates of food with their friends.” You suspect closest to Styles’ heart, though, is the courtyard where he and Hyde used to spend all their time. It’s still the spot to let your hair down, with DJs playing regularly. But it has also provided one of the biggest challenges, Styles says. “It came down to us figuring out the right kind of DJs to book and how we were going to challenge the area musically,” Styles says. “Prahran has got so much great nightlife, so we try to come up with something slightly different on the music front.” 153 Commercial Road, South Yarra; talktomebar.com

Chris Joannou from Silverchair Flotilla Truffles. That’s what Daniel Johns and Ben Gillies used to nickname Silverchair bandmate Chris Joannou when the iconic Australian rockers were on tour. “I would always whip out a pretty decent restaurant to eat at,” Joannou says. “I guess touring in a band for more than half my life, you spend a lot of time in restaurants and bars. That’s how the Eddie came about.”

The “Eddie” – or The Edwards – was Joannou’s first hospitality venue, an immaculately detailed bar and restaurant that in 2014 slotted into his parents’ old dry cleaning business in Newcastle West. It was a huge hit with locals until fire swept through the building in June last year, forcing its closure. “It was a shit deck of cards, that one,” Joannou says with a sigh. “I couldn’t believe my eyes … we’d just gotten to the point where we were nailing it. And then the bloody fire.” Thankfully, there were other projects to focus on – in particular Flotilla, a 46-seat restaurant that has moved into an old warehouse in Wickham. Joannou and business partner Zach Scholtz have also recently taken over The Criterion in nearby Carrington (81 Bourke Street; thecriterionhotel.com.au), but while that venue is very much a pub first, Flotilla drills down on Joannou’s love for food. “It’s a refined casual thing,” Joannou says. “We follow the cues of fine dining, the same structure, ê

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Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts

Photo: OK Media

Free Exhibitions Family Activities Guided Tours Performances Events Bookshop Bar & Café

Perth Cultural Centre 51 James St Northbridge Gallery Open Tue – Sun | 10am – 5pm

pica.org.au @pica_perth


There’s a few little minor tweaks, but essentially we just put the same old girl back together.” 9 Albert Street, Wickham; theflotilla.com.au

John Collins of Powderfinger The Triffid

“I looked at buying a racing car category. And then I thought, ‘What am I doing? What do I really love?” but in a more relaxed, friendly, neighbourhood vibe. And we’ve tried to get our hands on the best Australian produce possible. Our [group executive] chef, Paul Niddrie – his menu changes to suit the produce he can get his hands on.” Niddrie and the Flotilla kitchen brigade prepare much of the food using a charcoal fire. Joannou says the best place to sit is at the kitchen bar, where the action happens in front of you. “It’s so cosy but open,” he says. “I love that kind of dining.” The restaurant’s fit-out has left much of the industrial accents intact, with brickwork and exposed pipes softened by loose leathers, wooden ceilings and plenty of greenery. If that all sounds a bit too fancy you can wander over the bridge to The Criterion, where elevated pub food is washed down by a selection of regional craft beers. Just don’t forget about The Edwards (148 Parry Street, Newcastle West; theedwards.com.au). It’s due to reopen any day now. “There was plenty of doubt about the building surviving,” Joannou says. “[But] by hook or by crook we were always going to put it back together … [it’s] the same building, same ethos and style.


A year of saying yes. That’s how John Collins describes his time immediately following Powderfinger’s 2011 break-up. “Everything I didn’t do when I was away,” he says, laughing. “I looked at buying a racing car category. I looked at a printing company. And then I thought, ‘What am I doing? What do I really love?’” The answer was, of course, music. Collins was already looking at opening a bar in Newstead when he and business partner Brett McCall learned of an old war-era Nissen hut on Stratton Street owned by Scott Hutchinson, chairman of Hutchinson Builders, the well-known Australian construction company. Collins already knew Brisbane lacked a mediumsized music venue, the kind of 800-personcapacity band rooms Powderfinger used to fill when touring the United States and Europe. Hutchinson’s property was the perfect size. “I remember walking into that space and just seeing how different it was,” Collins says. “And I remember thinking, ‘We can make this work’.” Collins says that when The Triffid eventually opened in November 2014 its spacious band room (after some very intensive soundproofing of its corrugated ceiling) had turned out more or less how he envisioned. It’s The Triffid’s second ê

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space – a winsome tree-lined beer garden – that was perhaps more unexpected. “My architect [Mick Hellen, of Aardvarc] thought of the container idea and had developed it by going to Melbourne where there were a couple of container bars,” Collins says. “He brought that idea to me, and [Aardvarc] ended up wining a Beatrice Hutton [architecture award] for its work.” It was another Melbourne venue that inspired the venue’s flexibility. “I always thought Brisbane needed something like The Esplanade [Hotel, in St Kilda],” Collins says. “You can just go to the Espy. You have a beer in the main bar, and if you wanted to go and see a show, you could. That was the concept.” Five years on and The Triffid is now embedded in Brisbane’s live music scene. You Am I, Tinashe, Anna Calvi, Rhye and Hayden James have all played at the venue, along with many, many others. It’s also used for more community-minded

events such as music trivia and Astrid Jorgensen and Megan Bartholomew’s enormously popular Pub Choir events. As for Collins, he says there’s a chair next to the mixing desk – that’s where you’ll find him during live shows, watching the music. Otherwise he might be out in the beer garden chatting to locals, or running over the plans for his new venture, The Fortitude Music Hall (312-318 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley; thefortitude.com.au), which is set to open any day now, addressing Brisbane’s need for an inner-city 3,000-personcapacity live music venue. “It’s like The Triffid,” Collins says. “It’s just about filling a gap.” 7/9 Stratton Street, Newstead; thetriffid.com.au

t ig e r a ir f l ie s to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane; tigerair.com.au

E S T. 1 9 9 9


MELBO URN E • LOS ANGELES • SAN DIEGO @madeinearthofficial

Photo Credit: @kayleigh.christina @ashleyspedale



is a travel writer at travellerkate.com who likes to get adventurous in her hometown of the Gold Coast

weekend warriors ONE




(@travellingsenorita) is a travel writer/all-round media girl who digs deeper to get the story

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INTO THE WIL DERNESS An hour inland from the Gold Coast and you’re in World Heritage Listed Numinbah Nature Reserve and Springbrook National Park. Here I find Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat (ccrr.com.au), and the start of a day full of adventure.

R AINFORES T WA L K S As soon as I arrive, I’m straight out exploring the area. This World Heritage Listed rainforest area has evolved over 100 million years and is home to many rare and endangered plants and animal species. Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat is the habitat of 25 species of rare and threatened plants, and 15 species of vulnerable birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. I head off on a rainforest walk to see how much of this I can spot.

COOL A S THE Y COME A rainforest walk should always lead to a waterfall and swimming hole. Not only is there a gentle flowing waterfall to cool my feet, but hammocks are also strung across the creek offering the perfect place to relax and take in this magical place before heading back.


goes wild, takes a rainforest walk and hikes at night

f r id ay





BRE A K FA S T IN A RE TRO A RC A DE What better way to kick-start a weekend on the Gold Coast than to head to the Social Brew Burleigh (socialbrew.com.au), which has popped up in the retro Big B Arcade. Set among second-hand books, vintage clothes and massage parlours, SB is the place to be seen. Try healthy options like the warm breakfast salad-quinoa, kale, roasted pumpkin, pickled vegetables, poached eggs and dukkah.


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HIGH S TREE T SHOPPING BY THE SE A James Street Burleigh is high-street shopping at its best, with an array of independent retailers, cafes and ever-popular fast food option Govindas (Hare Krishnastyle). I’m on a mission to find Australian photographer Sean Scott (seanscottphotography.com.au), who hails from the Gold Coast.

Rick Shores (rickshores. com.au) is a pan-Asian diner by Burleigh Beach. It’s safe to say it boasts the best views on the Goldy, but my tip is casual dining outside on the patio – an overflow from the restaurant and you’re literally dining on the sand. Must-haves include the popular Ricks Fried Bug Roll with a glass of local granite belt La Petite crisp rose. (Hot tip: new crab, crispy chilli, avocado on sesame toast is giving the bug a run for its money).

DESTINATION GOLD COAST WATCHING FOR WIL DLIFE Back at the retreat I steal the opportunity to sit on the deck with a refreshing drink and watch wildlife in their natural environment. A goanna shows up to join the party. It soaks up the last of the day’s sun, as do I. The serenity of the afternoon erupts with the sound of birds, and I revel in the symphony of sounds as if nature is putting on its own private show for me.


NIGHT LIGHT S FIRE UP THE B A RBIE My lodge is fully equipped with a kitchen and outdoor barbecue, so throwing a steak on the grill is the perfect choice for dinner. Nothing is more fitting for an outdoor adventure than sitting down outside under the stars and eating a barbecue dinner. There’s no need for white linen and polished silver to have a five-star dining experience.

I’m told there’s a place close by where the stars reach the ground, so I rug up warm and grab a spotlight before going on a night adventure. It’s a bit eerie walking through the rainforest at night and I hear the rainforest in a way I never have before. Crickets, which would normally be a dull hum, sound like an orchestra. Arriving at the glowworm site, the twinkles become clear. It’s just as described – like the stars have fallen from the sky.




finds some photography, has a seaside lunch and goes shopping


A B A RN YA RD B ATHHOUSE In Tallebudgera Valley is the Greenhouse Bathhouse (greenhousethebathhouse.com), an old barn tastefully turned into a luxe bathhouse, communal space and the prettiest display of cacti I ever did see. I opt for an aromatherapy Lomi Lomi massage, a hot steam, and a dip in the magnesium plunge pool.

Miami Marketta (miamimarketta.com) is a revamped industrial space that has been a stalwart of the coast just shy of a decade. I’m in search of retro label Love Street, by Tara Fletcher, renowned for vintage fabrics, jumpsuits and dresses. Her latest collection, Blackbird, is as boho as it is chic. I can’t resist. Other creatives who inhabit the space include Jewellery by Kim, Little Big Things (local and ethical) and local painter Kelly Drake.

99 BOT TL ES OF GIN We’ve all heard the song, but have you ever seen a bar that showcases 99 bottles of world gins in an industrial warehouse? The new Gin Bar at Miami Marketta (theginparlour.com.au) is next level in design with painted fresco roofs and super comfy red velvet couches. I have Ink Gin, a local drop from Husk Distillers, which starts off blue and turns purple when you add tonic.

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goes for a surf, heads to a lookout and has a nightcap

You can’t spend time on the Gold Coast without getting in the ocean, and surfing is top of the agenda. Here are some of the best and most consistent waves in Australia. A surf check at Kirra Beach, just around the corner from world-famous Snapper Rocks (home of the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro), offers the chance for me to paddle out.


Skipping breakfast has left me hungry, so it’s time to refuel. I head to Coolangatta (affectionately known as Cooly to locals) and find Boardriders (Shop 28, 72-78 Marine Parade, Coolangatta). I grab a brekky burger and coffee and watch some surfing on the big screen. I check the flyer on my table, and I’m pleased to see it’s also a place to hang out and catch a music gig.


A short drive from Coolangatta into the Gold Coast hinterland is next on my hitlist. There’s a magical place here with a spectacular waterfall. Just a short one-kilometre hike and descent through ancient Gondwana Rainforest and you arrive at the Natural Bridge rock arch, a picturesque rock formation.





IT TA K ES A COMMUNE Commune Cafe (1844 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads) was one of the first wholefood cafes (with seriously good coffee) to pop up in an old retro building on the lower service road to the Gold Coast Highway. With an open garden setting, vintage furniture and funky interior vibes, locals and visitors alike flock to this beachside gem.


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Heading south we discover an oldie but a goldie, the Palm Beach Farmers Markets (facebook.com/ palmbeachfarmersmarket) in the grounds of the local high school. It’s as popular as it is authentic. From the freshest produce to baked goods, natural cheeses and meats, I wish I had a trolley (and fridge) to purchase more.

Enter the newly opened Husk Distillery (huskdistillers.com), 15 minutes south of the border, and presto, you have a cellar door, cocktail bar and planters cafe inspired by the Caribbean. Oh, and the aforementioned Ink Gin is made on the Husk Farm from an array of botanicals grown in the rainforest surrounds.

DESTINATION GOLD COAST NIGHTC A PS AT NIGHTJA R BES T L OOKOUT LIV ES UP TO THE N A ME What if I were to tell you that you could see the beautiful Gold Coast hinterland laid out right to the Pacific Ocean and as far south as Byron Bay by taking a short 15-minute walk? The place is called Best of All Lookout, a spot I found in Springbrook National Park, just a short and scenic drive from Natural Bridge. Whoever named this lookout got it right – it’s one of the best views of the Gold Coast.

TREES FROM GONDWA N A Walking back from the Best of All Lookout, you’ll spot some very mystical-looking trees. Like straight off the movie Avatar, these three trees are very special. They’re Antarctic beech trees, and they’re part of the Gondwana Rainforests of this Australian World Heritage area, formalised in 1994. These ancient beauties are believed to be over 2,000 years old.


After a day exploring the Gold Coast hinterland, it’s time to unwind with an urban adventure. Tucked away down Justin Laneway at Burleigh Heads, hidden dive bar Nightjar (nightjar.com.au) is a favourite with locals. I order a Sailor Jerry, lime and soda, which comes in a tin, and make my way to the dance floor to revel in the live music.






TOUR TUMBUL GUM Tumbulgum is the quintessential sugarcane town, with quaint river boats and historical buildings that have been turned into cafes and cottages (mountwarningtours.com.au). We can’t go past scones with jam and cream from House of Gabriel followed by a local Stone & Wood beer at the historic Tumbulgum Pub.

Back on the southern end of Surfers Paradise, we check in to the newly refurbished VOCO, (goldcoast.vocohotels.com), formerly the Watermark Hotel. The reno has turned the building into a contemporary hotel; vibrant colours of yellow and black feature throughout. There’s an active beehive on the rooftop that feeds the eateries on the ground floor, along with a stacked buffet breakfast.

We head to the Nineteen restaurant, rooftop and bar at the Darling Hotel, Star Casino (star.com.au/ goldcoast). Views from the ocean to the valley welcome us upon arrival, along with an array of friendly staff. It’s a classic dining experience. The smokehouse grill and fresh seafood menu (cooked in front of you) are set to entice. Must-haves include the prawn cocktail and fresh oysters doused in French Champagne.

has a wholefood brekky, goes to a market and finds a rooftop bar

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WEEKEND WARRIORS CONQUERING THE HE A DL A NDS SK Y HIGH I’m up before sunrise, and with good reason: to head out to the Scenic Rim, climb into a hot-air balloon, and take in the sights of the Gold Coast from above. As the sun rises, I lift off. Peacefully hovering at around 4,500 feet, this spectacular view is worth missing a sleep-in for (hotair.com.au/goldcoast).

BRE A K FA S T BUBBL ES With my feet back on the ground, I head to O'Reilly's Grand Homestead and Vineyard (oreillys.com.au/ canungra-valley-vineyards) for breakfast. There’s something about the fresh air out here in the Gold Coast hinterland that makes you work up an appetite. I perch myself next to the small flowing creek at the back of the property and devour my brekky.

Time to work off breakfast and work up a sweat, so I head to the popular Burleigh Headland. Situated at south Burleigh Heads Beach, this small pocket of National Park has a sweet little walk to a lookout where you can view the Gold Coast in both directions from an elevated vantage point – without paying a cent! Okay, it’ll cost you a little energy and sweat on the uphill climbs, but it’s well worth it. Hit the lookout at the right time of year and you may be lucky enough to spot whales.


heads up in a hot-air balloon, goes swimming and discovers a shipwreck





VINTAGE FL AIR ON THE GOL DY The popular Village Markets (thevillagemarkets.co), at the local primary school in downtown Burleigh, have been promoting local designers, collaborators and creators since 2008. An eclectic mix of street food vendors and local musicians entertain the family-friendly crowd while you shop for a vintage bargain. Two young mums (and close friends) were inspired to create a monthly market for cultural seekers, sustainable shoppers and lovers of good vibes.


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BRE A KING BRE A D Bread Social (thebreadsocial.com.au) has locals raving about its super-sized Portuguese tarts and sumptuous pies. Head chef Sah Gulbis is the master of flavours, and she tempts us with her latest creation: spring chicken, mushroom and barley pie with local buttermilk from Cheeses Loves You.

I head up to the road to DBar Gallery to admire local potters, painters and designers, all the while whale watching from the quaint cottage windows with magnificent ocean views. Dbar Cafe (cafedbar.co) is adjacent to the gallery, and this local hospitality family is spot on with friendly service, a fresh food and juice bar, and views to write home about.


DIV E UNDER THE WAV ES I make my way down the headland and onto Burleigh Heads. This beach is popular with locals and visitors alike, because it’s protected by the headland. Just remember to swim between the red and yellow flags on patrolled beaches, as the ocean can get rough.


WINDY WA L K S Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t hold out for the rest of the day, and the wind picks up in the afternoon. Not one to shy away from an afternoon walk with the dog, I throw on a jacket and head to Nobby Beach. Luckily, this is a dog-friendly beach, so you can walk your furry friend – as long as you keep them on the lead and walk outside of the hours when the flags are up.


SUNDAY SESH AT A SUNK EN SHIP Escaping the windy weather, I head for a Sunday session at Cambus Wallace (cambuswallace.com.au). Memorabilia adorns the walls, and a picture of a ship catches my eye. The bartender tells me the Cambus Wallace was the name of that ship, wrecked in 1894. I listen to its doomed story as I sip on spiced rum. Even when you’re not on your own adventures across the Gold Coast, there are still adventures to be told.





S TREE T FOOD COL L EC TIV E The Collective (thecollectivepalmbeach.com.au) in Palm Beach is an old post office block that had the roof raised to turn into an open plan, double-storey eatery complete with rooftop bar. Reminiscent of European-style food markets, I choose an array of Italian, Vietnamese and American tasting plates and a local Balter beer on tap, before going for a stroll along the beach promenade.

A weekend on the Gold Coast wouldn’t be complete without a quick stopover to the newly revamped Pacific Fair Shopping Centre. They’ve replaced the 80s apricot façade with contemporary shades of grey and charcoal and added a new wing. Lots of local designers are featured, and a new food precinct has you covered, including a local favourite tapas bar Bin 232 (pacificfair.com.au).

Perched high above Burleigh Beach is the new open-air rooftop bar Burleigh Pavilion (burleighpavilion.com). A wood-fired pizza oven provides the aromas and we order a dirty martini to toast all that the Gold Coast has to offer: glamour, sunshine and good times!

heads to market, eats some street food and chases a sunset

FANCY AN ADVENTURE? If you want to be one of our Weekend Warriors, get in touch.


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Return of the Dream Daydream Island survived Cyclone Debbie and is back better than ever – but Matt Shea learns just how close the Category 4 storm came to fundamentally changing this Australian icon.


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ne pump. It all came down to just one water pump. On the morning of March 28, 2017 around 150 staff were gathered in Daydream Island’s Great Barrier Reef Room. Usually a place for weddings and conferences, on this day it was a shelter. Outside, Tropical Cyclone Debbie spun above the resort, the once-in-a-lifetime Category 4 system powering wind gusts of up to 263 kilometres per hour and an enormous tidal surge. Many of the guests were gone. The harbour master had days earlier closed all ports in the region.

It wasn’t meant to be like this. Debbie’s forecast originally had her making landfall near Townsville, but at the 11th hour she veered south. Among the Daydream staff were marine biologists Louise Kirk and Nick Guinee. Caretakers of the Living Reef, Daydream’s iconic lagoon that’s home to more than 100 species of marine life, their preparations had been swift. “We backwashed all the filters,” Kirk says. “We had a petrol pump on standby. We emptied the skimmer baskets and made sure everything was working correctly. That’s all we could do. It was just a really good systems check, basically.” ê

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“The Living Reef isn’t an aquarium but more an extension of the ocean surrounding the resort”



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The Living Reef isn’t an aquarium but more an extension of the ocean. A pair of pumps alternate cycling water from the sea into a man-made pool that wraps around Daydream’s central buildings. The reef’s impressive array of animals swim in the same water as the surrounding marine park, experiencing the same temperatures pushed into the Whitsundays by the same currents. When new owners CCIG took over the resort in 2015, the first request from the Living Reef team was new Gorman-Rupp stainless steel pumps to help safeguard the future of the project. Without fresh

seawater flowing into the reef the marine life could only survive a matter of hours. The new equipment hadn’t been in place a year when Debbie arrived. As Kirk and Guinee took shelter from the storm, the Living Reef’s pump facility was getting swallowed by the storm surge, waves at times crashing 10 metres inland – a problem, because the Gorman-Rupps aren’t designed to be submerged. Living Reef manager Johnny Gaskell was in Melbourne visiting family when Debbie struck but says it would have been around high tide that the eye of the cyclone crossed the island.


“They would’ve been underwater for God knows how long,” Gaskell says. “At some point in time they were somehow running underwater, with the waves crashing all over them.” There was no way to monitor the pumps from the Great Barrier Room, but every 20 minutes the marine biologists could get to a vantage point that allowed them to peer down at the reef. They couldn’t see the animals, but they could just make out a jet of water coming from the pool’s inlet. “That’s how we knew the pump was working,” Kirk says. A critical moment came when the generator room flooded, cutting power across the resort. Kirk sat in the dark for a tense hour before the generator finally kicked back in. “That’s the other thing about the new pumps: they’re self-priming and can come back online [automatically],” she says. “With the old pumps, you’d have to go out there … [and] we weren’t allowed to leave that room.” Otherwise, there was little they could do but wait as Debbie slowed to a crawl and battered the island. The wind howled. Fairy lights shook on the ceiling above. They waited, and waited. ê

Fly into...


W H I T S U N D AY C O A S T A I R P O R T Whitsunday Coast Airport, outside Proserpine, is finally back to full capacity following a $40 million upgrade. New terminal facilities include a larger departure lounge, a brilliant 8.5-metre aquarium, and new restrooms. Most impressive for Daydream Island guests, though, is a lounge that takes charge of your luggage and delivers it straight to the resort so you can get on with relaxing. Very neat. Lascelles Avenue, Gunyarra; whitsunday.qld.gov.au

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While you’re in the area... OCEAN R AFTING Ocean Rafting offers two different day tours along with a range of unique packages including the popular Fly and Raft experience. Each tour features an exhilarating ride on the award-winning Airlie Beach outfit’s super fast semi-rigid boats out to Whitehaven Beach, and access to Hill Inlet Lookout and special snorkelling sites. It’s one of the best ways to explore some of the Whitsundays’ most celebrated destinations. oceanrafting.com.au




Airlie Beach Hotel was one of Debbie’s most high-profile victims, the celebrated north-facing icon copping the cyclone’s power right in the kisser. The hotel and night spot first started taking new guests in its refurbished rooms in June 2018, but it was earlier this year that it completed its restoration with the opening of The Pub, a bar, bistro and al fresco dining spot that features regular live entertainment. It’s an excellent place to mix with both locals and other tourists. airliebeachhotel.com.au


One of the best ways to get to grips with the Whitsundays is a sunset tipple with Sundowner Cruises. This two-hour trip on a fully covered licensed catamaran slowly works its way around Pioneer Bay, letting you explore the area with a drink or two in hand. Prices start from $65 per person and, yes, you can book it for a birthday, wedding or other type of function. sundownercruises.com.au

If you’re splitting your visit with a bit of mainland then it’s hard to go past the BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort. If you’ve stayed at a BIG4 before, you know what to expect: comfortable cabins, generously sized campsites and friendly service. And this winsome Whitsundays edition throws in an enormous pool, 13-slide waterpark and animal park for good measure. It’s a perfect spot if you’re travelling with the family. adventurewhitsunday.com.au


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Two years later, I walk Daydream Island Resort with Gaskell and struggle to imagine Debbie’s chaos. He describes as “apocalyptic” the scene that greeted him when he returned a few days after the cyclone had carved through the area. “It was brown,” he says. “Any trees that hadn’t been blown over had lost most of their leaves.” Right now, it’s a beautiful Whitsundays winter day. There’s not a cloud to spoil an azure sky, the tropical bushland surrounding the resort a brilliant, rich green. Shining against it all is the resort itself, pure white and seemingly brand new after its $100 million refurbishment. The entire property has been reimagined from its colourful, slightly quirky past into a sophisticated four-and-a-half-star hotel. The Hunt Design rooms are decked out in teal, dark floating timber floorboards and beautiful modern furniture, and many have received balcony extensions. The resort’s public areas have been brightened with plantation shutters and rattan furniture, and feature three new restaurants – including a stunning Asian-fusion diner named Infinity – a burger joint, and three bars. But it’s perhaps the Living Reef that has changed most of all. The resort’s calling card has been transformed from a relatively shallow touch pool into an extensive coral lagoon that’s up to four



“The entire property has been reimagined from its colourful, slightly quirky past into a sophisticated four-and-a-half-star hotel”

metres deep and 14 metres wide, and contains 1.5 million litres of seawater. Gaskell takes me through a door and down a spiral staircase to see the killer final touch: a spacious underwater observatory. Guests sit in the dark, mesmerised as the sea life glides by in front of them – fusiliers, an emperor angelfish, a trio of gold spot cod. It’s remarkable when you consider the Living Reef came about almost by happenstance. It was 1999 when the decision was made to build an inlet and pipe seawater into the water feature that surrounded the central buildings. Within a year the first animals were introduced. “Slowly, guests became more interested in the marine life and the Living Reef was born,” Gaskell says. The twist in the story, he continues, is that establishing such an attraction would now be difficult, if not impossible, to do under marine park rules introduced in the mid-2000s. “It’s very important that it keeps operating because it existed before the marine park,” he says. And if the pumps had failed? “You never know [about trying to start again], but it would be very difficult to do.” ê

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“Coral trout, damsel fish and shovelnose rays swim by these underwater interlopers”


That afternoon Kirk shows me perhaps the most important change to the Living Reef. We meet at Daydream’s Exploration Centre and pull on wetsuits and snorkel gear. “You ready?” she smiles. The widening and deepening of the reef pool was designed not only for the resort’s marine life, but also for guests. We slip into the water and enter another world. Coral trout, damsel fish and handsome shovelnose rays swim by, investigating these underwater interlopers. We float by the giant coral bommie and Kirk duck dives to feed a sea anemone, its gelatinous body expanding to meet her hand. Kirk then leads us to a shallower end of the Living Reef for the main event. Gaskell stands outside with a camera, waiting. “Look out below you,” he calls. I point my head towards my feet and there she is: LouAnne, an enormous stingray, lurking silently below me like a giant shadow. I yelp into my snorkel. It’s a confronting vision, even if ê

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Kirk has forearmed me with the knowledge the ray has lost its sting and is essentially harmless. More than harmless, LouAnne turns out to be friendly and curious. Kirk pulls some feed from her belt and the ray nuzzles up against her waist, half wrapping her fins around the marine biologist. Later, as we sit in the shallow of the lagoon, she settles at our feet and bunts our flippers, or lets us run our hands over her back. I struggle to describe the feeling of her skin. “We like to say it feels like a wet mushroom,” Kirk says, laughing. It’s a remarkable, singular experience. The water may be the same as the ocean outside, but Kirk says it’s intended to be different to swimming on the wider Great Barrier Reef. “The animals thrive in here, and taking people in is a whole new experience [for them],” she says. “They form a bond with the animals, and that’s what the Great Barrier Reef needs for people to appreciate it. The animals are in your face, swimming up to you. It’s one of a kind.” So, what would Daydream Island be without the Living Reef? What if that pump hadn’t hung in there as Debbie pounded the island for hours on end? “It separates us,” Kirk says. “Without it, Daydream would be just another resort in the Whitsundays. “Definitely,” Gaskell says. “Even our branding… it’s all Living Reef animals


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and colours and textures. The whole island. It’s inside, but the resort is built around the Living Reef. It’s a very important part of the island.” Similarly, Daydream Island’s revival is an important part of the Whitsundays’ recovery after Cyclone Debbie. “It’s definitely a symbol,” Kirk says. “I’ve met people across Australia and they’ll ask where you work. When you tell them Daydream they’ll say, ‘Oh, I went there for a honeymoon 30 years ago.’ Or people work here and it’s life-changing. It’s got that history. It’s an amazing spot.”

t ig e r a ir f l ie s to the Whitsunday Coast from Sydney; tigerair.com.au

#ourwhitsunda y #lovewhitsund ays


Time travel Everything old is new again. When it comes to the future of travel in Australia, many of us are looking to the past. Jenny Hewett checks in with comedian and retro travel buff Tim Ross about the new trend of retro travel experiences.



he way we holiday in Australia has evolved over the years. But one enduring influence remains. It was not the plane, but rather the car that came to define the golden age of travel in Australia in the 1950s and 60s – a time when the journey was often greater than the destination. Road trips and motoring holidays remain an integral part of our cultural identity today. Just ask comedian and selfconfessed architecture nerd Tim Ross. He has dedicated his latest stand-up to the subject. As the theme of his new live show and book, MOTEL, which is currently touring Australia, the long-standing Aussie tradition of hitting the road is still as iconic as ever. “Many of us remember the summer ritual of packing up the car with half the stuff we owned and heading for our chosen ‘spot’ in often incident-packed road trips,” writes Tim in MOTEL: Images of Australia on Holidays. An often tongue-in-cheek tribute to how we used to travel, the coffee table book provides a photo history of Aussie motoring ê


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Tim’s top tips on how to holiday nostalgically “Get in a car and drive. Do it without too much thought. Just chuck everything in the car and go.” “Don’t ever take a recommendation for dinner from someone who works at a hotel. They always suggest somewhere terrible.” “If you’re travelling overseas, always take a powerboard. That way you only need one adapter for your electrical goods.” “Always wash a glass in a motel room before you use it (they often wash them with the same cloth they use to clean the toilet) and never ever lie on the bedspread.”



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BLAST FROM THE P A S T: A R E T R O CAR AVAN adventures between 1950 and 1989, using golden oldies sourced from the National Archives of Australia. “Family holidays form some of our most cherished memories, and many of mine centre around classic Australian motels,” he writes. “My mum came prepared with a stack of plastic bowls, a pack of Weet-Bix and a litre of milk put into the mini-fridge.” Besides the mini-bar, how much has really changed? The book’s release comes at a time where our interest in travelling nostalgically, from throwback accommodation to “slow travel” destinations, is at its peak. With travellers increasingly uninspired by the norm of hotel rooms, retro travel is experiencing a resurgence. “People are drawn to the romance of holidays of the past,” says Tim while on tour in the UK. “We want to slow down on a break, and we yearn for simpler times.” Like most of us who were born before the 90s, my early years are also filled with fond memories of holidays on the road. My sister and I in the backseat of our family Tarago van, plugged into our Walkmans, chewing on Minties and cradling empty, cassette-filled ice-cream containers that doubled as emergency sick buckets. Where once road travel was the most accessible and affordable way to explore our own backyard, ê

“Family holidays form some of our most cherished memories, and mine centre around motels”

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many of us are now doing it for the novelty factor alone. Camping, caravans and motels were the trifecta of Australian travel between the 50s and late 80s. But since then, the tourism industry has grown a great deal more sophisticated and we no longer have to rely on our own resources. These days, dated motels in upcoming towns are being transformed into luxury boutique stays and, just like a hotel room, decked-out vintage caravans can be booked by the night. When we arrive, we expect to find them equipped with all the mod-cons, including heating and AC, showers, barbecues, DVDs, Nespresso machines and housekeeping.

Vintage life Surrounded by lawns, birdlife and towering gums, the all-chrome vintage Airstream trailer I’m playing house in this morning feels a bit like it landed here not from another era, but rather from outer space. Compact, private and peaceful, with a hot outdoor shower, fire pit, barbecue, TV and DVD player, The Bambino was introduced to The Bower (thebower.com.au) at Broulee on the NSW far south coast in 2017, and owners Mark and Sue Berry added a second trailer this year to keep up with demand. “There’s a lot of standard accommodation out there and I think people are looking for something a little offbeat and unusual,” Sue says.


“Camping, caravans and motels were the trifecta of Australian travel between the 50s and late 80s”


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However, the concept of throwback travel extends further than where we rest our heads at night. Recent trends show more of us are keen to “downsize” our holidays and immerse ourselves in the simplicity of nature and low-key towns. According to Pinterest, searches for small-town travel rose 276 per cent in 2018. Located a kilometre from the beach and set next to a nature reserve in the laid-back coastal town of Broulee, The Bower ticks more than one box. “The trailers are very funky and surrounded by bush,” Sue says. “I’m really finding now that it’s the privacy. People want to be able to get off the grid and to stop and breathe, because life gets so busy.” Some retro stays have gone one step further, popping up where the customer wants. Servicing the Mornington Peninsula up to Melbourne, mobile vintage caravan company Wanderlings (wanderlings.com.au) tows its small fleet of vintage trailers for sleepovers in a range of locations, from the Point Leo Foreshore to Balnarring Beach. ê

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“Vintage Airstreams are what we’re passionate about, and we’ve got Skye, a 1962 model, which we take on family camping trips four times a year,” owner Jessie Curtis-Griffiths says. The fleet also includes a vintage caravan that they inherited. “That will stay with us forever,” Jessie says. “It’s a 1955 Carapark that my husband’s grandfather found and did up. He used it as his little office for about 19 years. It’s perfect for two people and now has AC, a king bed and retro features.” It’s the attention to detail that separates these niche stays from the cookie-cutter stays. “A lot of the new caravans are just white boxes with no design and outdated details. The vintage Airstreams hark back to an era when style was given more form over function,” Jessie says. Despite that, she believes the growing interest in retro stays is being driven by our access to information. “For us, Instagram and social media has been huge – just being able to show off where you’re staying.”


At the same time that caravans became prevalent in Australia in the 50s, the borrowed American concept of motels started to pop up. “In a land where the car has provided us with the ultimate freedom to hit the road and explore, it’s no surprise that Australians wholeheartedly embraced the American concept of the motel,” Tim writes in his book. “Driving right up to the front door for a nightly sojourn in a room where your breakfast magically appeared through a hatch was an absolute revelation.” In Australia, all that’s now left of many of them are photos. But there are one or two original gems still in operation, including the Black Dolphin in Merimbula. Some might say we’ve moved onto bigger and better things, but we’re by no means a motel wasteland. There’s been a small movement across the country in the last five years to buy up forgotten and run-down motels and breathe new life into them. Formerly known as Hideaway hotel, the luxury beachside Halcyon House (halcyonhouse.com.au) in Cabarita Beach on the ê


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MOTEL MOTEL: Images of Australia on Holidays by Tim Ross, $34.95. For details on MOTEL live shows, visit themanaboutthehouse.net

NSW north coast opened in 2015 and has been one of the most successful projects to date, with original features – including the ground, first levels and pool – and its two-hatted restaurant, Paper Daisy. The hotel’s breezy aesthetic is the work of renowned architect Virginia Kerridge and interior designer Anna Spiro. Meanwhile, last month, the owners at the retro chic Oriana (orianaorange.com), in the upcoming NSW wine region of Orange, were given a local award for honouring the motel’s architectural heritage. “The Oriana was built in the mid-60s by a local sawmill and construction company who had bought it for development, but weren’t quite sure what to do with it,” says owner and hotelier Espen Harbitz, originally from Norway.


“We have played on this whole America look and feel, the old Palm Springs motel thing”

“They were on a trip from Sydney to Europe on the ocean liner SS Oriana and came back with the idea of doing this American-style motel.” “It’s very much a classic American-style motel, built to very high standards with large rooms and ensuite bathrooms. And you can drive up to the room. It’s all single-storey, except for the main building on top of the restaurant. The rooms are fully recreated and modernised with smart TVs and high-speed internet. But it still feels like a classic motel, as opposed to one of those quite ugly 80s and 90s brown-brick places,” he says. When Espen took over the property in 2016, he was keen to play on its retro appeal. “The attraction to us when we bought it was that it hadn’t actually been messed around with and modified. It had a very good architect to start with. It was very wellthought out and well-built, with generous amounts of space and a huge pool area,” he says. “We have really played on this whole Americanstyle look and feel. We’ve got pool bar drinks, white and pink furniture, and no children after 4pm. It’s really about the old Palm Springs motel resort thing,” he says. Just add car and cocktails (not to be enjoyed together).

t ig e r a ir f l ie s between Sydney and Melbourne every day of the year; tigerair.com.au

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Purchase your ticket at our counter or Pre-book at www.whitsundaytransit.com.au


Where to next? Tigerair Australia serves 12 destinations right across the country

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GO LIKE A LOCAL DARWIN The Northern Territory may be known for its war history and watering holes, but beyond the tourist hot spots there’s the great outdoors and an up-andcoming art scene. Our local legend, Mem Ingoldby, shows us around.


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L OC A L NIG H T L IF E Join in the fun at Lola’s Pergola Sitting on the edge of the marina at Cullen Bay, Lola’s Pergola is a waterfront watering hole with a twist. Named after the owners’ daughter, Lola’s is decked out with retro arcade games and classic carnival rides, creating a fun and festive atmosphere with indoor and outdoor dining.

Cool off by the coast at the Beachfront Hotel

L OC A L A C T I V I T IE S Unwind at the Botanic Gardens Whether you venture out on a coastal walk to Mindil Beach or kick back on the lawn with your mates, there’s no wrong way to spend an hour or a day at the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens. And, with free entry all year round, you can always pop in for another visit and discover something new in Darwin’s very own tropical wonderland.

Mingle with the locals at Mindil Beach Markets From cocktails to collectibles and everything in between, you’ll find it all at Mindil Beach Markets. Browse pop-up art galleries and local specialty stores before

finding a spot on the sand for unbeatable views of the sunset. After dark, wander along to Sandbar at Mindil Beach Casino & Resort for a nightcap.

Discover Indigenous artwork at Outstation Gallery Tucked away in Darwin’s local art district of Parap, Outstation Gallery is dedicated to the presentation and promotion of contemporary Indigenous artwork. From Alice Springs to Arnhem Land, the team works with artists from across Australia, while actively seeking out emerging talent in their annual Rising Stars exhibition – a must for art lovers looking to add to their collection.

If you’re looking for a pub where you can enjoy a cold beer with the locals, head to the Beachfront Hotel in Rapid Creek. Known for its cracker bistro, this breezy beach pub is a top spot to grab an early dinner and watch the sunset. After dark, the main bar comes to life with live performances.

Treat yourself at Stone House Discover Darwin’s sophisticated side with a night out at Stone House Wine Bar & Kitchen. Featuring European-inspired cuisine and an impressive international wine list, this trendy eatery is quickly gaining the attention of local foodies and travellers alike. While walk-ins are welcome, you’ll want to make a booking if you’re bringing a group to avoid missing out on some of the best eats in the NT.

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OU T DOOR A C T I V I T IE S Go for a nature walk at Berry Springs Located just south of the city, Berry Springs is a top spot to cool off on a hot day. Before rushing to the rockpools, take a scenic hike through the rainforest on the Monsoon Forest and Woodlands Walk, which loops around the spacious picnic area and ends right by the water.

Make a splash at the Buley Rockhole After trekking through the rainforest at Berry Springs, head to Litchfield National Park for a dip at the Buley Rockhole.


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Naturally sheltered by lush greenery, these gorgeous rockpools keep a cool temperature throughout the day, making them a popular destination for locals during the dry season. On weekends, the main pool can fill up fast, but if you wander upstream, you’ll find a series of secluded swimming spots where you can enjoy a refreshing dip without the crowds.

See the sights at Wangi Falls Before heading back in to town, be sure to take the short drive to one of Litchfield National Park’s most stunning attractions, Wangi Falls. For an unbeatable

view of the fast-flowing waterfall, follow the footbridge to the viewing platform, where you’ll have plenty of room to snap the perfect shot before hopping in for a refreshing swim.

F LY T O D A R W I N W I T H U S See the Northern Territory like never before. Check out our latest deals on cheap flights to Darwin and go like a local with us today.


GO LIKE A LOCAL COFFS HARBOUR Coffs Harbour may be known for big waves and the Big Banana, but beyond the popular tourist attractions there’s stacks to do. From beachside brunch spots to late-night cocktail lounges, our local legend, Katie Pitsis, knows where to find all of the Coffs Coast’s best-kept secrets.

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GO LIKE A LOCAL WITH TIGERAIR We put the call-out across Australia for locals to share their city’s bestkept secrets. From hidden beaches to hole-in-the-wall bars, we reviewed thousands of entries from Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Adelaide and Perth. We’ve now chosen our team of local legends to feature in our #golikealocal video series. The videos uncover another side of some of Australia’s favourite holiday destinations, with knowledge that only a local might know. Watch our local legends as they journey through their home cities and find out how you can “go like a local”. tigerair.com.au/go-local


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L OC A L NIGH T L IF E Grab a cold one at the Hoey Moey Surrounded by the palm trees of Park Beach, the Hoey Moey’s laid-back atmosphere makes it a top spot for late afternoon drinks. And with regular live entertainment scheduled throughout the week, you can always stick around for a big night if the mood strikes.

Wind down with a nightcap at Element Bar With an ever-growing spirits menu and a rotating tap list, Element Bar has quickly become the place to go

for craft beer and cocktails on the Coffs Harbour Jetty strip. If you’re more interested in dinner than daiquiris, the bistro has pizzas and share plates available till late.

Sip wine at the Spare Room After a round in town, see another side of the local bar scene at the Spare Room in Sawtell. From French rosé to Spanish tempranillo, their wine list features a range of drops from around the globe, while their kitchen serves up dishes that showcase the very best local produce.



L OC A L R E S TA UR A N T S A ND B A R S Sit down for breakfast at Salute Espresso Before you dash off for the day, make the most of your morning with a relaxed coffee and a bite to eat at Salute Espresso in Coffs Harbour. Grab a seat at the sunny front bar and warm up with a baconand-egg roll or, if you’re on a health kick, choose your favourite fillings and build your own smoothie bowl.

Restaurant and Bar. Pick up a bottle of bubbles before heading out to the ocean view balcony, where you can kick back with a seafood box of local king prawns and oysters as you watch the rolling waves.

Save room for lunch at the Surf Club

Try one of Coffs’ best burgers

From town, head towards the coast for a seafood lunch by the water at the Surf Club

Still feeling hungry? Tucked away in one of Coffs Harbour’s colourful

laneways is another local favourite: Carney & Earl's, a takeaway joint with a gourmet twist. Using the French cooking method of sous vide (meaning “under vacuum”), the team at Carney & Earl’s is able to seal the juices inside of each delicious grass-fed Angus beef patty before it hits the grill, bringing out the best burger flavour in every bite.

OU T DOOR A C T I V I T IE S Start the day at Woolgoolga Beach Whether you’re planning to see the sunrise from the sand or take a hike along the headland, Woolgoolga Beach is the perfect place to spend a morning on the Coffs Coast. After daybreak, stick around for a swim in the surf or, if you’re keen to continue your adventure, take the short walk over to Woolgoolga Lake and cast a line in one of the many local fishing spots.

See the sights at Sealy Lookout If you’re looking for unbeatable coastal views, meander up through

the banana plantations and avocado groves to Sealy Lookout. From the Forest Sky Pier, grab a coffee at the Nyaangan Gapi Cafe before you head out for a nature walk. Alternatively, you can simply take in the sights from one of the nearby picnic tables.

Explore the coastline at Diggers Beach Once you’ve seen the lay of the land from Sealy Lookout, head down to Diggers Beach for a closer look at the coast. Snap a photo of the Solitary Islands

before following the oceanside trail to Charlesworth Bay, where you can cool off after your journey.

F LY T O C O F F S H A R B O U R W I T H U S Ready to escape to the Coffs Coast? Check out our latest deals on flights to Coffs Harbour and go like a local with us today.

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