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Experience T his! Se ries /

The Luxury yacht charters Stylish country houses Boutique beach retreats Luxury lodges in spectacular locations

Glamorous safari camps Chic Sydney harbour view hotels

/ Volume one / Summer 2014

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Did you know that New South Wales is home to some of the most luxurious, most spectacular and most original properties in Australia? And not just in Sydney. Choose from luxury lodges, boutique beach retreats, stylish country houses and glamorous safari camps around the state. This is the new luxe – unique properties offering exceptional service, gourmet food and tailored experiences. New South Wales has arrived as a world-class luxury destination, so get exploring.

EDITOR_ Lucy Jones / ljones@luxurytravelmag.com.au WORDS BY_Lucy Jones / Maddy Gerrard / Renae Manos / Leah Van Der Mark ART _Magnesium Media DESIGN_Luke Atkinson PUBLISHER_Luxury Travel magazine Gary Allen / gary.allen@magnesiummedia.com.au (612) 8204 1001 A Luxury Travel magazine Project Published by MAGNESIUM MEDIA ABN 86 066 598 427 Level One, 579 Harris Street, Ultimo NSW 2007 Australia Phone: (612) 8204 1000 Fax: (612) 9281 7529 In association with Destination NSW

MANAGING DIRECTOR_Gary Allen CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER_Susan Borham EXECUTIVE PRODUCER & PUBLISHER_Madeleine Stratton To subscribe to Luxury Travel magazine visit www.luxurytravelmag.com.au/subscribe Cover image courtesy of Dolphin Watch Cruises Jervis Bay.


NSW The New Luxe

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Sydney

Hunter Valley

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Central Coast

Blue Mountains

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North Coast

Central New South Wales

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South Coast

Lord Howe Island

Inside ...

When you see these symbols throughout the book, they’ll tell you a little bit about our favourite types of experiences in the region.

WOW FACTOR

NATURE LOVER

ADVENTURE SEEKER

SHOPPER

FOODIE

CULTURAL DISCOVERY

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NSW The New Luxe

Discover

Sydney Big, bold and unashamedly bright, the capital city is a hotspot of fine dining, swanky bars, personal stylists and private planes. Renae Manos lives it up in Sydney. SLEEP IN THE LAP OF LUXURY AT ...

Park Hyatt Sydney

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here are great hotel rooms, and there are luxury locations. The night I hosted drinks in my ground floor Opera Deluxe Room at the Park Hyatt, was the night my guests and I realised the room and the hotel are world class. It’s a big statement given I live in Sydney and see the Opera House on a daily basis, but there is something about the view from these rooms that shows a different, more serene side to the grand building and its breathtaking Sydney Harbour surrounds. Glasses of wine in hand, we had enough privacy from a neat little frosted glass screen out front, but still felt connected to (and entertained by) the colourful Friday night passing parade. So taken were we by the hotel that we didn’t leave for dinner, and ate a stunning three-course meal in The Living Room restaurant, and backed it up the next day with a morning swim and spa treatment in the newly refurbished rooftop spa. The spa uses local products like clay and ginger to encourage a connection with the land. We took breakfast in the Dining Room, soaking in the last of that million dollar view over fluffy eggs and steaming coffees. No wonder I am still raving about it six months on. sydney.park.hyatt.com

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EXTRAORDINARILY GOOD FOOD

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ith more than 40 hatted restaurants across the city, diners are spoilt for choice. Serious foodies can’t miss the opportunity to dine by the harbour in five-star style at Quay, named in San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Peter Gilmore’s four- or eight-course degustation is inspired by nature’s diversity, letting the flavours and textures speak for themselves. His signature dessert – the snow egg – is rivalled only by the view. With the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the left and Opera House to the right it will be hard to drag yourself in from the deck to be seated. Book a table during the Vivid Sydney Festival for unparalleled views. For a meal with a different kind of view catch a Sydney Seaplane along the Northern Beaches to Jonah’s. With panoramic views over Whale Beach, Sunday lunch here is a quintessential summer experience. The menu is based around fresh and local produce with an emphasis on seafood, reflecting Jonah’s unique seaside location. On the flight back to Rose Bay, which takes around 15 minutes, sit back and enjoy views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Or fly up for dinner and stay the night in one of Jonah’s 11 plush rooms.


With more than 40 hatted restaurants across the city, diners are spoilt for choice ‌

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NSW The New Luxe VIVID SYDNEY

For three weeks in May and June Sydney is transformed into a canvas of light, music and ideas as Vivid Sydney lights up the harbour city with installations, musical performances and public talks and debates from leading creative thinkers. The Vivid footprint runs along the Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay, around to The Rocks, Walsh Bay and Darling Harbour. It’s 18 days of colour, culture and crowds. In 2013 Vivid drew record crowds pulling in over 800,000

people and 2014 is looking to be just as big and bold. Set out on the Vivid Light Walk to watch the sails of the Opera House become a canvas for a medley of light projection, video mapping and motion graphics. Step inside the sails and take part in the 10-day musical celebration, Vivid LIVE, showcasing performances from a variety of artists. Attend talks, workshops, panels and meet-ups to exchange ideas with thousands of others in the creative industry. May 23-June 9, 2014 vividsydney.com

THE EXPERIENCES

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SUPERCAR DRIVING

HARBOUR PICNIC

Take a stable of Ferrari supercars out for a day of exploring NSW. On the Prancing Horse Ferrari Drive Day you’ll set out on a 200-kilometre journey through the Royal National Park behind the wheel of four different Ferraris. The route covers some of the best roads in New South Wales, over the Sea Cliff Bridge and along the Grand Pacific Drive. A support crew will drive ahead of you and communicate the route and guidance through the use of two-way radios. prancinghorse.com.au

Make the most of Sydney’s outdoor way of life and dine al fresco with a harbourside picnic. The Sydney Picnic Co packages up handcrafted picnics to eat around the harbour foreshore or out on the islands. Produce is sourced from the city’s best providores and is organic where possible. Tailor make your picnic to suit your tastes or order The Sydney Picnic with Australian king prawns, a loaf of fresh bread, fregola with free range roast chicken and chocolate brownies. sydneypicnic.com.au

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BACKSTAGE TOUR

HELICOPTER FLIGHT

SHOP WITH A STYLIST

You won’t believe what goes on behind closed doors at the Sydney Opera House, but there’s a way of finding out. Access all areas of this cultural landmark with the help of a personal guide and discover the real-life drama that goes on behind the scenes. Follow in the footsteps of creative legends such as Ella Fitzgerald, Pavarotti and Cate Blanchett as you stand on the world-famous Concert Hall stage and take a sneak peek inside the stars’ dressing rooms. sydneyoperahouse.com

Sydney is widely recognised as one of the world’s most beautiful harbour cities and the best way to see the city in all her glory is from above. Take a helicopter flight over the harbour and its surrounds, looking down on the Opera House, Taronga Zoo, Bondi Beach and the Harbour Bridge. Or go further afield and take a lunch tour to the Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley. The most popular tour is the twilight scenic flight when the city is aglow with the setting sun. sydneyhelitours.com.au

If you’re new to the city, or you just want to find something really special, you’ll need some shopping guidance. Enter a personal stylist and a chauffeur who will tailor a shopping trip to your personal preferences, whether you're looking for designer clothes, vintage fashion or homewares, and introduce you to some out of the way gems that don't appear in any travel guide. The stylist will then help you build your new wardrobe and can even secure you a discount. chicinthecitytours.com.au


Vivid Sydney lights up the Opera House.

EVENTS CALENDAR / 2 014 JA NU A RY 9- 26

M A RC H 21 -J UN E 9

Sydney Festival The Sydney Festival sho wcases the biggest and best of the world’s performing and vis arts, from late night bur ual lesque to international theatr e and indie music. sydneyfestival.org.au/2 014 M A RC H 21 -A PR IL 21

Biennale of Sydney Biennale is back in 201 4 with the theme You Imagin e What You Desire. Exhibition s and performances will be held across the city, includ ing on Cockatoo Island. biennaleofsydney.com .au

Sydney Film Festival The 12-day Sydney Film Festival takes over ven ues across the CBD to sho wcase features, documentari es, short films and anima tions from both local and international filmmaker s. sff.org.au

HIKING & SAILING

The Manly to Spit Walk meanders for 10 kilometres around the northern harbour foreshore and takes the intrepid through some of Sydney Harbour’s most stunning bushland. Over on the eastern shores you can walk from Rose Bay to Watsons Bay, passing Nielsen Park and Shark Beach, which is a favoured spot for swimming and snorkelling. The six kilometre cliff-top walking trail that stretches from Bondi to Coogee beach is a local favourite. Encompassing Tamarama, Bronte and

PALM BEAC H

Palm Beach Villa A spacious four-bedroom villa just one hour’s drive from Sydney with panoramic views stretching from Palm Beach to the Pacific Ocean. contemporaryhotels.com.au S YDNEY

F RO M M A RC H

Handa Opera on Syd ney Strictly Ballroom Harbour – Madama Butte the Musical Watch the opera on Syd rfly ney’s Baz Luhrmann and the most spectacular – and creative team behind unpredictable – stage the along hit 1992 movie bring with a dynamic movin the g set ballroom dancing tal and dazzling fireworks e to against stage with singing, da the Sydney’s Harbour nig ncing ht vista. and lots of sequins. opera.org.au strictlyballroomthemu sical.com JU NE 4- 15

Other places to stay if you're looking for something different.

O CT OB E R Good Food Month Australia’s largest foo d festival attracts foodie s from all over. Restaurants, cafes, bars and chefs plate up their best dishes at specia l lunches, dinners, pop up parties and more. A constant favour ite the Night Noodle Marke is ts in Hyde Park. goodfoodmonth.com

QT Sydney There is nothing conventional about this 200-room boutique hotel in the CBD, from the costumed staff to the musical lift, which plays specific music according to the number of people inside. qtsydney.com.au DARLI NG HARBOUR

The Darling at The Star Slick, stylish and tech-savvy, this luxe hotel has great views over Pyrmont to Barangaroo. Guests in the five Penthouse Suites can have their butler organise a takeaway meal from one of The Star’s restaurants. thedarling.com.au PYRMONT

1888 A heritage listed boutique hotel in Pyrmont that has been thoughtfully restored with three-metre ceilings, exposed brick walls, original iron bark beams and artwork by Australian artists. 8hotels.com LANE C OVE

Tandara Integrated into the Australian bush within Lane Cove National Park, Tandara is a luxury camping experience only 10 kilometres from Sydney CBD. nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/lane-cove-nationalpark/tandara-tent/accommodation-camping S YDNEY

Clovelly, this coastal walk is as fashionable as it is picturesque, with cafes and beautiful people populating the narrow walkway that passes one of the world’s most famous cemeteries, Waverley. Every spring the section of pathway from Bondi to Tamarama beach is transformed into an open-air gallery with the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition attracting over 400,000 people. From May to July these cliff tops also make for a prime

position to see humpback whales migrating from the Antarctic to breed in warmer waters. If you prefer to be on the water than walking beside it then set sail on Sydney Harbour onboard a luxurious Beneteau yacht. Be part of the action and learn a little about the art of sailing or let the professionals do all the work as you take in the sights on a morning or sunset cruise. eastsail.com.au

Establishment Hotel With just 31 guest rooms, including two Penthouses, Establishment Hotel is achingly hip. Located in the centre of Sydney’s CBD, it’s a short walk to Sydney Harbour, the Opera House, some of the city’s best dining options and the designer stores. merivale.com.au/accommodation WATS ONS BAY

Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel This newly refurbished hotel in ritzy Watsons Bay has 32 suites with floor to ceiling windows, some of which look over the magnificent Sydney Harbour.watsonsbayhotel.com.au

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NSW The New Luxe

Discover

Central Coast

Renae Manos found that wreck diving, game fishing, hiking, gourmet delights and some very special service make the Central Coast a magical place. SLEEP IN THE LAP OF LUXURY AT ...

Bells at Killcare

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riving in and catching a glimpse of Bells at Killcare’s low-rise homestead-style accommodation with marine striped navy and white blinds, surrounded by manicured lawns and elegant lap pool, my mind went back to New York’s Nantucket. Bells is beautiful and, like Nantucket, oozes style at every turn. From wicker chairs and plush, comfy lounges to a neat lap pool and thick cotton

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bed linen, everything about it is relaxed yet lush. I took my shoes off to explore the gardens, which was the perfect way to chill after the two-hour drive from Sydney. Within minutes a well dressed staff member came out offering a smile and a much welcomed glass of pinot grigio to accompany our summer night stroll. We felt special. bellsatkillcare.com.au EXTRAORDINARILY GOOD FOOD

Bells at Killcare’s head chef Stefano Manfredi runs an ethical restaurant with an ex-

tensive organic kitchen garden packed with vegetables and herbs, as well as chickens for fresh eggs and beehives for honey. Manfredi changes the menu to accommodate whatever is freshest in the garden, and we were encouraged to have a five-course meal, with accompanying wines, which was a taste extravaganza highlighted by grass fed beef loin with roast garlic and a red wine jus. There is something terribly old fashioned but romantic about eating dinner knowing the array of vegetables and herbs have been handpicked from the garden you’ve just admired.

Within minutes a well dressed staff member came out offering a smile and a much welcomed glass of pinot grigio:…


NSW The New Luxe

es to stay Other plac ing for ok if you're lo different. g in someth

EVENTS CALENDAR / 2014

Hideaway Kims Beach ish adults-only beach yl t A small but st right on one of the fines ts si at t. th as rt Co so l re in the Centra strips of sand u .a m co s. kim Shores sort Magenta Quay West Re n for families in the area The best optio rooms and self-contained l l offering hote to three bedrooms, as wel villas with up e of facilities. ng as a great ra m.au co s. el ot rh co ac

M A RC H 7-9

JUNE 21

Central Coast Country Music Festival Three days of performances by top country music artists at a range of venues in The Entrance, Wyong and Gosford as well as busking competitions and line dancing displays. cccmf.mobi

5 Lands Walk This day-long walking festival is inspired by Italy’s Cinque Terre and covers 10 kilometres of stunning coastline with exhibitions, Aboriginal ceremonies and even whales along the way. 5lands.weebly.com

JULY 6

NOV E MBE R 9

Winter Blues and Jazz Festival This free festival in Memorial Park, The Entrance, has a great line up of jazz and blues musicians like the Bondi Cigars, The New Empire Ballroom Ragtime Dance Orchestra and Muma Jane Blues Band. theentrance.org

Brisbane Water Oyster Festival A celebration of oyster fishing in the region with over 100 stalls selling local produce and crafts, a special kids zone with rides and face painting and, of course, lots of oysters to try. oysterfestival.com.au

BE L L S AT K IL L C A R E

THE EXPERIENCES

MICROLIGHT FLIGHTS

DIVING & FISHING

COOKING CLASS & FOOD TRAIL

HIKING

Take control of your own microlight plane in the skies above the Central Coast. Accompanied by an instructor you’ll be taken up in the small twoseater craft, flying over Tuggerah Lakes, The Entrance, Terrigal and Avoca Beach, and you’ll even be able to take the controls for some of the flight. Clear blue water meets golden beaches and verdant bush – and there are no walls to block your view. microlight.net.au

The ex-HMAS Adelaide warship was scuttled off the coast of Avoca Beach to form an artificial diving reef suitable for divers of all levels. The ship sits in 32 metres of water and measures almost 140 metres long, with access hatches along the body for divers to enter and swim through the bridge, helicopter hangers, weapons room and cafeteria. prodivecentralcoast.com.au Hop aboard a private charter boat and strap yourself into a body harness to go in search of tuna, mahi mahi, marlin and different varieties of shark up to 30 nautical miles off the coast. centralcoastcharters.com.au

Learn from the experts at Manfredi at Bells with a hands on cooking class. Spend the morning in the garden collecting fresh produce before donning your apron and preparing a delicious meal. bellsatkillcare.com.au Create your own tasty gourmet trail along the Central Coast, stopping at Firescreek Fruit Wines to sample wines made from fresh fruits and herbs and then pick up some hand made cheese from Little Creek. Taste some handcrafted beer at Six String Brewing Co and end the day with a blackberry liqueur or vintage gin from Distillery Botanica.

Bouddi National Park is petite, at only 13 square kilometres, but there is a diversity of landscapes packed into a small area. The best way to explore the park is on foot and the Maitland Bay Track is one of the most popular walks. The walk starts at the Information Centre and follows a steep path down the hill to the beach at Maitland Bay. If you go during low tide you can see the wreck of the PS Maitland, dating from 1898, at the eastern end. Get the team at Bells to pack you a delicious picnic to enjoy along the way.

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NSW The New Luxe

Discover

North Coast

The stylish town of Byron Bay is a celebrity favourite for its world famous surf breaks, designer boutiques and hatted restaurants, as Renae Manos and Leah Van Der Mark found out. SLEEP IN THE LAP OF LUXURY AT ...

EXTRAORDINARILY GOOD FOOD

The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa

The menu at The Byron at Byron's aptly named The Restaurant features locally sourced meat and seafood: Bangalow sweet pork, Alstonville chicken, Yamba prawns and Hervey Bay sea scallops. I try the fresh oysters (still salty with seawater) and the prosciutto wrapped chicken with pesto greens (full of bold flavour). Eat at Town in Bangalow, run by Katrina Kanetani (a former Good Food Guide Chef of the Year) and husband Karl, who between them have worked at Sydney’s Quay, Tetsuya’s, Pier and Est. It operates as both Downtown, a cool daytime café, and Uptown, a hatted degustation restaurant. Embrace the locavore movement at Harvest in Newrybar, eat fresh seafood at the hatted Fins at Salt or try modern Italian with a coastal vibe at Byron's newest hot spot, Targa.

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ight is the most arresting feature of The Byron at Byron; each suite has a balcony and is filled with windows to help calm and still the mind and body. When we arrived at the resort, we were welcomed like family and, knowing we were starving, the guest relations adviser insisted we dine at the fantastic restaurant. The property is set in 45 hectares of lush rainforest and is the perfect place to recharge your batteries with an infinity pool, luxe day spa, poolside sauna and complimentary yoga classes held every morning. A series of meandering boardwalks take guests down to nearby Tallows Beach or through the surrounding rainforest. thebyronatbyron.com.au

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NSW

The lighthouse somehow feels like a symbol of hope…

The New Luxe

EVENTS CALEN D A R / 201 JA N U A R Y

10 -1 5

Byron Bay Ar ts Classic A community visual arts events that su pports local artists and en courages thei r development. Visi participate in tors can workshops and purchase origin byronartsclass al works. ic.com.au

OCTOBER

THE EXPERIENCES

F E B 28 -M A RCH 9 Byron Bay In ternational Film Fest More than 200 ival international feature films, documentarie s, animations an d shor at venues arou ts screen nd Byron, including a fre e outd off Main Beach. oor cinema bbff.com.au

A P R IL 17 -2 1 Byron Bay Bl ue Celebrating its th sfest 2014, Bluesfes 25 year in t will world-class ac be hosting ts like Jack Johnson, Elvis Costello, John Mayer, Dave M atth Erykah Badu ac ews and ro stages on one ss seven huge long weekend. blue sfest.com

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A U G U S T 13 Byron Bay Wri ters More than 100 Festival au from Australia thors gather in Byro and Asia n fo weekend of le r a winter ct launches, disc ures, book ussion panels , readings and lu byronbaywriter nches. sfestival. com.au

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Byron Bay Su rf A three-day fu Festival sion of surf culture, art, ph ot film, live music ography, , lit workshops, m erature, arkets and more drawin creative energy g on the of its strong surfi Byron and ng byronbaysurffe history. stival.com

Other places to stay if you're looking for something different. R AE ’ S O N WAT E G O S

B Y R O N B AY V ILLA

G A IA R E T R E AT & S PA

An ultra-exclusive boutique retreat that has hosted everyone from local stars Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts and Hugh Jackman to Gwyneth Paltrow and Tom Cruise. raesonwategos.com

The quintessential Australian beach house with four bedrooms, a swimming pool, cool contemporary design and a top location close to Wategos Beach. contemporaryhotels. com.au

An award-winning health retreat founded by our very own Olivia NewtownJohn. Indulge in healthy meals, spa treatments, daily yoga and lifestyle lessons. gaiaretreat.com.au

SKYDIVING & NIGHT WALKS

See the beauty of the Byron region from above – more than 4,200 metres above as you freefall on Australia’s highest tandem skydive. The drop zone is close to the centre of Byron Bay for views over the ocean, beaches and forested hinterland. skydivebyronbay.com Explore the rainforest by night to see native nocturnal wildlife like possums, bandicoots, bats and, occasionally, koalas. Because torches or lights will scare away the animals, you’ll be wearing high tech night vision goggles for the tour and be completely immersed in the forest. visionwalks.com

HIKING & WHALE WATCHING

The lighthouse. It’s what everyone talks about in Byron Bay, and for good reason – the walk up there is almost as spectacular as the view, the bushland hugging the path tightly as kookaburras sing intermittently. After about 40 minutes ascending, the view of ocean and coastal bushland is every bit as breathtaking as you’d hoped, and the lighthouse somehow feels like a symbol of hope. Between May and November, up to 17,000 humpback whales migrate up the east coast of Australia – get a front row seat on a private luxury yacht. exclusiveconcierge.com.au

SURFING & BALLOON FLIGHTS

SHOPPING

Byron Bay has a number of challenging breaks for experienced surfers, but it’s also a great spot to learn. Exclusive Concierge can organise a private lesson with a professional instructor that will have you standing up on your board in no time. If you don't mind an early start, see Byron and the surrounding “green cauldron” of hinterland from a sunrise balloon flight, complete with champagne breakfast. byronbayballooning.com.au

Byron's shops are a refreshing mix of hippy, hipster, sophistication and beachside laid back. The place to shop is Fletcher Street: at Hope & May you’ll find sweet gifts and fashion pieces; linger over the ultra-feminine dresses at Sweet Papillou; and at Phyllis Boho, pick up a designer kaftan, nicknamed the “Byron uniform”. The Byron Farmers Market has a brilliant atmosphere and plenty of organic, pesticide-free, herbicide-free, artificial this-and-thatfree food and trinkets.

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Discover

South Coast It’s just south of Sydney, but in real terms the South Coast is a world away. Renae Manos escaped to brilliant white beaches, lush bushland, antique shopping and Australia's friendliest kangaroos. SLEEP IN THE LAP OF LUXURY AT ...

Paperbark Camp

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aking up the first morning in Paperbark Camp, the silence engulfed me, and was frankly a shock after city life. A minute or so later, the rustling of bushes had me wide awake and startled in a different way. I stared at the bushland in front filled with flaking white paperbarks with trepidation, only to be warmed (and relieved) by the sight of two wallabies foraging for food at sunrise outside our tent. It’s the closest I’ve ever been to nature

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outside of a zoo, and it was moving. Sitting in an open plan safari-style tent with a canopy ceiling, I almost felt like I was part of nature when I saw an oversized brushtail possum run across a tree branch and eyeball me for a moment. I admit I was terrified of camping. But Paperbark saved me – I can say I’ve done it now, even if my safari style “tent” included a luxurious toilet and shower, as well as a full blown queen sized bed, solar powered lights and chairs. There’s only one negative of our luxe stay – I don’t think real camping will ever cut it for me now. paperbarkcamp.com.au

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NSW The New Luxe

It's the closest I've ever been to nature outside a zoo, and it was moving‌

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NSW The New Luxe

EXTRAORDINARILY GOOD FOOD

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aperbark’s Gunyah Restaurant serves up some of the finest food on the South Coast. The restaurant sits amongst the treetops, and with a blazing fire, was unexpectedly tranquil and romantic and the food (on a menu littered with enticing Australian delicacies) was outstanding. The pepperberry kangaroo fillet with beetroot was served rare, and melted in the mouth just as much as the chocolate marquise we indulged in for dessert. Further afield, Bannisters boutique hotel is home to the only restaurant from celebrity chef

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Rick Stein outside of the UK. Like his British outposts, the menu is predominantly seafood served in a relaxed, informal setting right on the ocean. For modern Asian cuisine with a conscience, visit Hungry Duck in nearby Berry. The restaurant uses produce from its own organic kitchen garden and sources sustainable, organic produce from local growers and suppliers. Further south in Eurobodalla, The River restaurant sits on the banks of the Moruya River and serves an à la carte or degustation menu where everything, from bread and pâté to cured meats, is made in-house.

Other places to stay if you're looking for something different. HYAMS BEAC H

Hyams Beach Seaside Cottages Cute as a button pastel hued cottages that sit just north of the famous beach, each with a kitchen, living room, north-facing verandah and covered barbecue area. hyamsbeach seasidecottages. com.au

MOLLYMOOK

GERRO A

Bannisters A charming boutique hotel that began life as a 1970s seaside motel, Bannisters is set high on a cliff above picturesque Mollymook beach. bannisters.com.au

Latitude 34 A slick and contemporary three-bedroom beach house close to Gerroa with a saltwater swimming pool, huge outdoor entertaining area and a gas fireplace if you’re staying in winter. latitude34gerroa. com.au


NSW EVENTS CALE N D A R / 20 J U N E 7 -9 Shoalhaven Coast W Wine Festival inter Sample delic ious wines from th cool climate e over the June South Coast long weekend as well as go urmet food, local produc e an shoalhavenco d live music. astwine.com .au

SEPTEMB

E R -O C T O

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BER

Escape This 10-day fe ARTFest stival celebrat es art, sculptur e, food from ar music and ound the Sout h Coast region with markets , art trails, long lunches and even poetry at the pub. escapeartfest .info NOVEMBE

*Dates to be confirmed

The New Luxe

R*

Eden Whale This weekend Festival marks one of the best w hale watchin g experiences in Au as they migra stralia te past Twofold Bay, celebr with street pa ating rades, markets, food an educational pr d wine, and es edenwhalefe entations. stival.com.au

THE EXPERIENCES

HIKING & MEETING KANGAROOS

A morning hike after breakfast is non negotiable. Paperbark Camp can prepare snacks and drinks for your backpacks or, after a short walk through fragrant bushland accompanied by pleasant birdsong and the crunch of wet leaves beneath your feet, you’ll arrive in Huskisson with its coffee shops and the local pub. Or walk the White Sands Walk and Scribbly Gum Track, passing Hyams (famous for having the whitest sand in the world), Chinamans and Seamans beaches. Don’t miss the chance to get up close to kangaroos at Pebbly Beach as they come up to graze on the grass behind the beach. pebblybeach.com.au

ANTIQUE SHOPPING

Shoppers will love the small towns of Berry and Milton, known for their antique and vintage stores, boutiques and art galleries. In Milton visit Merchants of Milton for Fair Trade toys, handmade jewellery and organic body products, or Revival for antique furniture and knick knacks. Turnbull Brothers is Milton’s oldest antique store and is inside the town’s beautiful old cordial factory. In Berry, Broughton Antiques specialises in Victorian and Edwardian furniture while Moss Nest sells flowers, textiles, homewares and furniture.

ART & HISTORY

In 1993 artist Arthur Boyd and his wife Yvonne gifted their private retreat Bundanon to the Australian people. It houses more than 4,000 artworks and hosts artist in residence and school programs along with concerts, talks and exhibitions. It is open to the public each Sunday. bundanon.com.au

LUXURY BOAT CHARTER

Charter a luxury catamaran to cruise along the coast, stopping off to swim and snorkel, or to have a picnic lunch. Between May and November, you can spot dolphins and humpback or southern right whales. Look out for Montague Island off the coast of Narooma where you can see a colony of fur seals. jervisbaysailingcharters.com.au

FOOD & OYSTER TRAILS

The lush Kangaroo Valley sits just inland of Nowra and is famous for its local olives, olive oil, jam, honey, fudge, dairy products and organic meat. Explore the best the region has to offer with a tour along the Foodie Trail, visiting artisan producers and tasting local wines. tastesofkangaroovalley.com.au The area stretching from Shoalhaven Heads to the Victorian border is known as the Oyster Coast and eight sustainable estuaries produce Sydney Rock, Pacific and Agnasi oysters. Oyster trails let you find local farms and purchase fresh oysters direct from the farmers. oystercoast.coma.au

DIVING & FISHING

The Sapphire Coast, the southernmost section of the South Coast, is renowned for its crystal clear water. Dive the wreck of the Tasman Hauler. The boat is still largely intact, meaning it’s a great introduction to wreck diving for beginners as you can swim through the upright passages. merimbuladiverslodge.com.au Do battle with huge marlin or yellowfin tuna, or with the smaller (but just as tricky) blue eyed cod, grouper, gemfish and ocean perch on a full-day private charter in the outer waters of Jervis Bay, Batemans Bay and Ulladulla Harbour. jervisbayfishing.com.au

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NSW The organic garden at Roberts Circa 1876 Restaurant.

The New Luxe

Discover

Hunter Valley It's known for being one of the world’s most famous wine regions and, while you can’t miss a visit to a cellar door or two, Renae Manos also found great food, aerial adventures and a packed calendar of events. SLEEP IN THE LAP OF LUXURY AT ...

Tonic Hotel

T

om & Nic, the owners of Tonic, have a stunning wine cellar for guests to peruse and enjoy alongside a late night chat. Tonic is a little piece of modernity in a valley still pleasantly untouched by much of city life, which the couple say they left behind two years ago for a new (country) life. We took a tandem bike out to explore. For some, blowing a tyre on a back road in the New South Wales countryside with kangaroos in a neighbouring field would be their idea of a nightmare, but for my friend and I that autumn Saturday afternoon, it

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was the moment we fell in love with the Hunter. Back at Tonic, our room was modern, but warm, well-lit, with a kitchenette and heated floors, strong showers with Aesop products, beautiful candles as well as a breakfast basket of delicious products from Nudie Juices to croissants to rival a five-star hotel. tonichotel.com.au EXTRAORDINARILY GOOD FOOD

If you’re looking for great food in the Hunter Valley, you’ll generally find it at a vineyard. Roberts Circa 1876 Restaurant at Tower Estate is one of the best in the region with chef George Francisco operating a three-acre organic garden to provide

fresh produce for the table. George also believes in foraging and some ingredients, like native hibiscus, have been allowed to grow naturally on the property before being harvested. For a special meal, dine nine feet below ground in the restaurant’s original wine cellar. Margan Restaurant is part of the 250-acre Margan Wines estate and offers a fresh, seasonal menu with all items, including pasta, gelati, cheese, bread and butter, prepared onsite. Margan also keeps its own chickens, Black Suffolk lambs and bees. Bistro Molines aims to be a little bit of France in the Hunter, serving a rustic, provincial-style menu from a prime spot at Mount View overlooking terraced vineyards.


NSW The New Luxe

EVENTS CALEN D A R / 201 M A R C H 14 -1 6 CMC Rocks th e Hu Australia’s larg nter est international country and roots festival w Toby Keith perf ith US star or first time in Au ming for the stralia in cmcrocks.com 2014.

OCTOBER

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Opera in the Vineyards Some of the w or opera singers ld’s best pe stage with The rform on M Orchestra at W etropolitan yn winery as the dham Estate sun goes dow n. operainthevin eyards.com.au *Dates to be confirmed

THE EXPERIENCES

M A Y 17 -1 8 Lovedale Long Lunch Dine at up to se ven different wineries arou nd Lo over one weeke vedale nd Hunter’s most at the fam progressive lu ous lovedalelonglu nch. nch.com.au

JU N E 1- 30 Hunter Valley Wine and Food M Celebrate the onth laid Valley lifestyle back Hunter w of gourmet ev ith a month ents. Meet chef s and winemak ers, some of the re sample gi produce or ha on’s best ve high tea in front of a roar ing fire. huntervalleyu ncorked.com.a u

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JU LY * Hunter Valley Gardens Chocolate Join celebrity Festival ch pastry master efs, including Adria for a feast of ch no Zumbo, oc baking and pa olate with stry making demonstratio ns in an open kitchen, marke t exhibitions an stalls, d tastings. hvg.com.au NOVEMBE

R*

Sculpture in th The largest ou e Vineyards tdoo exhibition in Au r sculpture stra place at five te lia takes m sculpture park porary s Wollombi Valle along the yW sculptureinthe ine Trail. vineyards. com.au

WINE & COOKING CLASS

HORSERIDING

Explore the upper and lower Hunter Valley on horseback, walking alongside vineyards or heading deeper into the untouched bushland that still carpets much of the area. Try to head out at sunset when you will see kangaroos coming out to feed. A guide will lead all rides and they can be tailored to suit all levels of experience. huntervalleyhorseriding.com.au

HELICOPTER TOURS

Other places to stay if you're looking for something different. TOW E R L O D G E

A five-star luxury lodge set on Tower Estate winery with 10 rooms and two suites furnished with antiques and recycled timbers. towerestatewines. com/tower-lodge

SPICE R S V IN E YA R DS E STAT E

CH AT E A U E LAN AT T H E V IN TA G E

A glamorous guesthouse with 12 spa suites known for its day spa and fine dining restaurant, one of the best in the Valley. spicersgroup. com.au

This sprawling luxury resort sits on The Vintage, one of the finest golf courses in the state, offering private villas and spa suites. chateauelan. com.au

The Hunter is famous for its vineyards and you can take the wine tasting experience to a whole new level with an ultra luxe private helicopter tour. Your personal chopper will pick you up from right outside your accommodation (many Hunter Valley properties have large fields for just this purpose) for a scenic flight over the vines to the first cellar door for a glass of bubbles, private wine tasting and tapas. Get back onboard and head to a second winery for another private tasting followed by lunch with matching wines. End the afternoon with a final scenic flight back to your hotel. slatteryhelicopters.com.au

If you want to fully appreciate what the Hunter has to offer, take a short course from Wine School Australia in Pokolbin. Private classes can be arranged to teach you about grape varieties and styles, the winemaking process and the correct method for tasting wine. wineschoolaustralia.com.au Learn to make fresh pasta in the underground cellar of Sandalyn Estate winery. The two-hour classes show you how to turn eggs and semolina into traditional Tuscan pasta (a skill you can then take home to impress your friends) before sitting down to lunch in the sunny garden. sandalyn.com.au/ pasta-class

VINTAGE AIRCRAFT FLIGHT

Take to the skies in a vintage open cockpit Tiger Moth aircraft. Take off from Cessnock Airport and fly low over the vineyards with the wind in your hair. All aircraft have been carefully restored and brought up to modern safety standards, so you can sit back and enjoy the ride. huntervalleyjoyflights.com.au

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NSW The New Luxe

I had gone to escape the stress of work, and it began melting away within minutes‌

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Discover

Blue Mountains Renae Manos and Lucy Jones discovered peace and quiet, as well as curious wildlife and a dedicated cheese room, in the Blue Mountains.

SLEEP IN THE LAP OF LUXURY AT ...

Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa

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y first shower went for at least seven minutes at Wolgan Valley. I just couldn’t bring myself to leave the expansive stone-floored space filled with natural light streaming in from a square ceiling window. It was an effort to leave the suite to do anything, given not only the shower, but the elegant timber furnishings, private plunge pool and deck, custom made king sized bed, complimentary bottle of wine and a dressing room the size of an inner city

one-bedroom apartment – thankfully my friend Chloe (staying next door) was insistent we explore. Wolgan feels more like a billionaire’s expansive estate; it is beyond five-star and rivals any of the luxury lodges I have stayed in. I had gone to escape the stress of work, and it began melting away within minutes. Post-shower, I didn’t give my job a second thought as I stood on my balcony looking at the striking natural surrounds. The detail at Wolgan was what stayed with me. Every suite has a mountain bike for each guest, the furnishings are elegantly European in feel and the staff are switched on and empathetic. wolganvalley.com

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EXTRAORDINARILY GOOD FOOD

Dinner in the Wolgan Dining Room is a stunning degustation of local produce and includes wine and even cheese tasting (at no extra cost) in the dedicated cheese room, and the sommelier and fromagier know their cheese and want to educate guests. Dine by candlelight at Darley’s at Lilianfels. Taking over the original 100 year old Lilianfels House the former family home is now sumptuously decorated with crystal chandeliers, designer wall prints and a roaring fireplace that projects a warm glow. The grandeur of the room extends onto the plate with regional produce crafted into works of art. Before you settle into the degustation at Restaurant Como, order one of their original cocktails to warm yourself up for the feast that’s to follow. Just 10 minutes from the foothills of Blaxland, Como has been awarded one chef’s hat for five consecutive years, so you’d best make a booking.

THE EXPERIENCES

CANYONING

Abseiling through a waterfall is almost guaranteed to get the blood pumping. Unique to the Blue Mountains, your playground for the day is endless stretches of sandstone cliffs, dramatic waterfalls and hidden canyons. With the Blue Mountains Adventure Company expect to scramble, wade, swim and jump through a labyrinth of canyons that have been carved over millions of years. A sure way to earn your dinner. bmac.com.au

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SUNSET WILDLIFE TOUR

As the day starts to cool native wildlife begin to emerge from their daytime hideaways. Set out in Wolgan Valley’s custom safari truck, bouncing along the dirt roads through the valley, eagerly spotting the tall, muscular kangaroos and smaller, bright eyed wallabies. The animals regard the truck with cool, unruffled gazes – they show little fear and bounce away only at the last moment. Then pull up at one of the property’s timber viewing platforms that look out over the picturesque valley for a glass of sparkling wine and delicious canapés as the sun dips behind the mountains.

WOL G A N VA L L E Y DI NI NG RO OM


NSW The New Luxe

EVENTS CALENDAR / 2014

LILIANFELS

Other places to stay if you're looking for something different. EC H O E S B O U T I Q U E HOT E L & R ESTA U RA N T

Sleep on the brink of a cliff at this boutique hotel, nestled on the very edge of the Jamison Valley at Echo Point (right next door to Lilianfels). Only 14 rooms ensure unrivalled views and a cosy atmosphere. echoeshotel.com.au

O LD LE U R A DA IRY

This quaint property was developed from Leura’s original dairy and is now home to six unique accommodation styles, ranging from an old workers cottage to an original hayloft. oldleuradairy.com

LILIA N F E LS B LU E M O U N TA IN S R E SO RT & SPA

An 85-room country manor perched adjacent to the Three Sisters on two acres of English-style gardens. The hotel has been designed in line with the original heritage home that is now the restaurant. lilianfels.com.au

ANGEL WI NG HOUS E

JA NUA RY 11-26

F EBRUA RY 1-23

The Leura Shakespeare Festival Now in its fifth year, the festival will celebrate Shakespeare’s 450th birthday in 2014. Come and see Much Ado About Nothing recreated on stage or take part in a Shakespeare Master Class. sportforjove.com.au

Roaring 20s and All The Jazz Kick up your heels and travel back to the 1920s to celebrates this era of opulence with costumed balls, high teas, film screenings, jazz performances, vintage couture parades, Gatsby Soirees and more. roaring20s.com.au

Known as Peter Stutchbury’s Invisible House, this contemporary fourbedroom home blends concrete, black steel, glass and water into a grand design that takes into account the harsh elements of the landscape. contemporary hotels.com.au/ angelwing-overview

T HE BL UE MO U N TA I N S

M A RC H 14-16

ANTIQUE SHOPPING

GLOW WORMS & KANGAROOS

Who knew the world’s largest private collection of teapots was brewing in the Blue Mountains? Spanning three centuries, Bygone Beautys in Leura carefully displays over 3,500 individual teapots. Make a day of it and stay for a cup of, well, tea (Bygone Beautys serves one of the best Devonshire teas in the Blue Mountains) or simply rummage through the estate jewellery, antiques and collectables that are scattered throughout the emporium. Maurice the Teapot Man is always on hand to answer any questions, recognisable by his bow tie. bygonebeautys.com.au

Pack a torch and venture into the Glow Worm Tunnel within the World Heritage Listed Wollemi National Park. Inside this disused railway tunnel hundreds upon thousands of glow worms line the sides and roof, creating the effect of a star-lit sky. tourism.lithgow.com/bushwalks.html Eating breakfast while sitting beside wild kangaroos is a good reason to get up early. Guide Tim Tranter takes you on an early morning expedition to the edge of the Wild Dog Mountains, where wallabies, birds and kangaroos outnumber humans as the sun rises over the Three Sisters. treadlightly.com.au

Blue Mountains Music Festival For three days in Katoomba it’s nothing but folk, roots and blues music performed by Australian and international artists. The sounds of acoustic guitars, dobros, mandolins, fiddles, accordions, pipes and voices fill the airways. bmff.org.au JUNE-AU GU S T

O CTOBE R*

Yulefest At Yulefest in the Blue Mountains venues recreate a white Christmas in our winter months. Enjoy carols, turkey and decorations in Northern Hemisphere style with a variety of Yulefest dinners and luncheons. yulefest.com

Blue Mountains Film Festival The best short films from around the world are projected against the dramatic Blue Mountains landscape.Categories include drama, comedy, animation, documentary, family and music. bluemountainsfilmfestival. com *Dates to be confirmed

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Central New South Wales Out here you’ll find country charm in spades. Lucy Jones visited the gourmet region that covers Orange, Mudgee, Bathurst and beyond.

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SLEEP IN THE LAP OF LUXURY AT ...

Trelawney Farm

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grew up in a farmhouse in the country, but I don't remember it being anything like this. We arrived at Trelawney Farm in the late afternoon, just in time to sink into the soft wicker lounges on the verandah and soak up the last rays of early spring sun. As the rest of our friends arrived the sprawling house was filled with shouts and laughter, playful fights over who would sleep in which bedroom and serious plans to drink scotch in the library's wing chairs.


NSW The New Luxe

EV EN TS CA LE N DA R / 20 14 JA NU A RY 8-1 2

We prepared a feast in the larger of the two kitchens, washed down with many glasses of local Mudgee wine. After dinner we played board games in front of the crackling open fire, ignoring the house's multiple televisions in favour of retelling old stories about ourselves. We slept like babies under plush white doonas surrounded by the silence of the countryside. I was the first awake the next morning, sitting rugged up at the outdoor dining table and watching the sun burn the frost from the grass. It was hard to go home. trelawneyfarm.com.au

EXTRAORDINARILY GOOD FOOD

The Central West has cemented its reputation as a gourmet destination with a couple of hatted restaurants in the towns of Cowra and Orange. Lolli Redini in Orange serves modern French and Italian influenced cuisine and head chef Simon Hawke focuses on produce that is seasonal, organic, sustainable, has low food miles and is ethically produced. Racine restaurant is set in a winery just outside of Orange and offers innovative degustation menus. In Cowra, Neila serves contemporary dishes influenced by the owners’ Greek and Chinese heritage.

Other places to stay if you're looking for something different. MUDGEE

CA N OW IN DR A

ORANGE

De Russie Suites A stylish boutique hotel with just 13 suites in the fully refurbished Mechanic’s Institute dating from 1862. derussiehotels.com.au/ mudgee

Everview Retreat Two charming stone cottages sit in the centre of vineyards, overlooking the Lachlan Valley. Each has a kitchen, but the hosts can provide delicious gourmet hampers and picnic baskets. everview.com.au

Arancia Bed & Breakfast A short distance from the centre of Orange, this luxe B&B has five suites, all with private entrances and opening out onto the wide verandah. arancia.com.au

A PR IL 4-1 3

Parkes Elvis Festival The largest Elvis festival in Australia attracts over 18,000 fans each year, more than doubling the population of Parkes, for concerts, shows, parades and dinners. parkeselvisfestival.com.au

Orange District F.O.O.D Wee k This festival celebrates the food of Orange district, which includes Orange, Cabonne and Blayney, with a series of events like markets, dinners, workshops and tastings. orangefoodweek.com.au

A PR IL 22- 27 Canowindra Balloon Challenge Hundreds of hot air balloons descend on Canowindra for this event incorporating the Australian National Balloon Championships and the spectacular Balloon Glow. canowindrachallenge.org.au SEP T E MB E R* Mudgee Wine & Food Festival Celebrate the bounty of the Mudgee region with special gourmet showcases, grazing dinners and, the key event, the Mudgee Wine Show. mudgeewine.com.au *Dates to be confirmed

O CT OB E R 24- 27 Kalari-Lachlan River Arts Festival This biennial festival is held in Forbes to celebrate country creativity with art shows, concerts, parades, food and wine events, children’s workshops, theatre and film . riverartsfestival.org.au

THE EXPERIENCES

4WD EXPLORING

FOOD TRAIL

HIKING

BALLOON FLIGHT

OBSERVE THE STARS

Get off road and explore the area on a private four wheel drive tour. Your driver will take you along dirt roads and bush tracks, through rivers and up mountains in safety and comfort. If you really want to get away from it all, arrange for a private camp to be set up by a riverbed and you can spend the night with just the kangaroos for company. simmosoffroadtours.com

The central region of New South Wales is famous for its local produce and award-winning wine. Following on the success of the global locavore movement, the 100 Mile Diet food trail radiates out from the town of Orange and covers Mudgee, Lithgow, Parkes, Forbes and Cowra. Spend a few days driving between these picturesque country towns, sampling fresh produce, gourmet treats and the best cool climate wines. tasteorange.com.au

Mount Canobolas, an inactive volcano just outside of Orange, is said to be the highest peak between the Blue Mountains and Western Australia. Seven walking trails wind their way up to its summit, ranging from one to just under four kilometres. Most walks are easy, though there are steep sections that can prove strenuous. The Federal Falls track is the most popular, looping past open rock face and snow gums to the base of the falls.

Canowindra is the unofficial hot air ballooning capital of Australia, so don’t miss the chance to take to the skies. Sunrise flights sail over this picturesque part of the state with rolling hills and neat farm fields unfurling below. Mornings are cool but the air tends to be still, making for a smooth flight. Flights finish with a champagne breakfast at a winery. canowindraballoons.com

One of the earth’s most important satellite dishes is tucked away in this quiet corner of New South Wales. The Parkes Observatory’s famous Dish was used during the Apollo missions to the moon to transmit signals to NASA when the moon was on the other side of the earth and even starred in an eponymous movie in 2000. You can learn more about the thousands of stars above you with a range of family friendly activities and exhibitions. csiro.au

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Lord Howe Island

Leah Van Der Mark found natural beauty, exotic marine life and ultra luxe lodgings packed into this tiny, Tahiti-esque island paradise off the New South Wales north coast. SLEEP IN THE LAP OF LUXURY AT ...

Capella Lodge

S

ashaying around my Lagoon Loft, the minibar's Belgian chocolate dipped apricots in hand, I admire the large windows, timber deck, smart basalt stone bathroom and the way the kentia palm print cushions, merino wool throw and vanilla ginger lily toiletries have been placed to perfection. It’s one of the priciest places to stay on Lord Howe but in my opinion the best; without a doubt it has the best vistas – and the best minibar. My room also comes with a bicycle and Lord

Howe must be one of the most bike friendly locations in Australia. I cruise past the dive shops, the tiny museum, cows munching on spinach-green grass and native woodhens squawking a happy tune. It’s so outrageously beautiful; I could trundle around all day. This modern beach house has nine sumptuous suites of varying sizes, a spa and a restaurant with dramatic mountain and ocean views. lordhowe.com EXTRAORDINARILY GOOD FOOD

Seasonal three-course dinners, breakfasts of local egg omelette and bircher muesli, and

You'll soon discover it's hard to snorkel while giggling from being tail-slapped by kingfish.

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cocktails and canapés are included in the tariff at Capella Lodge. Hosts Libby and Mark are warm and helpful and over six o’clock kingfish sashimi canapés they explain how their fish is caught daily by locals. Seated in the white table clothed restaurant, I'm bowled over by the flavour of my bass groper. It’s delicately sweet; perfectly matched with the riesling. Another night I dine at Arajilla Retreat, a boutique hotel hidden in a banyan forest. The fish there was equally fresh; so much so I fretted it might flip back into the ocean. If you’ve been out fishing, the chef will even prepare your catch for you.


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NSW The New Luxe

C A PE L L A L ODG E

EVENTS CALENDAR / 2014 F EBRUA RY 17

M A RC H 23-30

Lord Howe Island Discovery Day Celebrate the island’s discovery with a traditional fish fry and an evening sports carnival with events like palm tree climbing, slow bicycle racing and drum rolling.

Lord Howe Island Rockfest Enjoy free concerts and entertainment across the island including the opening night street party and a tropical island themed event at the Golf Club. bigmusic. com.au/rockfest/index NOV E MBE R 1-8

Other places to stay if you're lookin g for something dif ferent.

Lord Howe Island Bird Week The island is home to more than 130 permanent and migratory bird species and for one week in November local enthusiasts run lectures, photography expeditions and guided walks to seabird colonies.

AR AJ ILL A RE TR EA

A contemporary T re suites, each with treat with 12 light-filled a ayurvedic wellnes private deck, as well as an s yoga instructor. centre and an in-house arajilla.com.au

THE EXPERIENCES

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DIVING & FISHING

COOKING CLASSES

Lord Howe Island is famous for its diving with over 60 sites and reliably excellent visibility, generally up to 30 metres. The most spectacular site is Ball’s Pyramid; the world’s tallest sea stack, it juts out of the water in a huge rocky shard. prodivelordhoweisland.com.au The island is also one of Australia’s top fishing destinations. It is surrounded by a marine park, which means there is no commercial fishing and tuna, marlin, kingfish, yellowfin tuna and wahoo thrive in the waters. Charter a boat and head out for the day in search of the perfect catch. fishlordhowe.com.au

Pinetrees is a Lord Howe institution – it’s been welcoming guests since 1895 and the current property is run by the fifth generation of the original family. It’s also famous for its food, hosting weekly fish fry and wine match dinners, and running dedicated epicurean weeks throughout the year. During a Food and Wine Week guests take lessons with celebrity chefs and sample award-winning wines at evening tastings. If you’re watching your waistline, stay for a Wellness Week where you’ll learn about wholefood cooking and organic gardening. pinetrees.com.au

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FISH FEEDING & HIKING

GLASS BOTTOM BOAT TOUR

Ned’s Beach is not for the ticklish. Step into the clear waters and be surrounded by mullet, wrasse, spangled-emperor and kingfish. To get closer, pop some coins in the honesty box and pick out snorkel equipment. You’ll soon discover it’s hard to snorkel while giggling from being tail-slapped by kingfish. On land, you can summit the island’s tallest peak, Mt Gower, on a 14-kilometre trail that takes around eight hours. It’s a challenging trek but walkers are rewarded with stunning views, rare foliage and shy wildlife, like the famous woodhen.

Beneath the surface around Lord Howe is a mosaic of coral reefs. The easiest way to see the nearly 500 species of fish, several varieties of sea turtles and sharks that ply the aquamarine waters is by glass bottom boat. Head out from the custard-yellow beach on an Islander Cruises tour with host Peter to spot neon damsels and angel fish. Look out for the resident turtles; Sumo, a onemetre long green turtle, dining on seagrass alongside his friends Silky and Tripod (so called because he lost a leg). lordhoweisland.info


NSW The New Luxe

I cruise past the dive shops, the tiny museum, cows munching on spinach-green grass and woodhens squawking a happy tune.

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The

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New South Wales - The New Luxe