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EASY, BREEZY BYRON Where to stay, play and indulge in Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s favourite resort town
CAMPING & OUTDOORS How to take your camping trip to the next level
Whitsundays, your way OPPOSITES ATTRACT IN PARADISE
Welcome. WELCOME ABOARD As we all continue to live with the restrictions placed on us by the COVID-19 pandemic, Alliance has been working hard to put in place a range of best-practice safety procedures to maintain a COVID-safe environment for all of our passengers and staff. These safety procedures have allowed us to work with clients and the different tiers of government to ensure our operations within the states can remain as normal and seamless as possible. By reestablishing or increasing the number of flights into regional towns we are assisting in supporting their economic activity. Our flexibility and willingness to find solutions during these testing times has seen Alliance operate new regular charter flights from Brisbane to Emerald, Moranbah, Rockhampton, Mackay, Mount Isa and Weipa and from Perth to Port Hedland, Broome, Learmonth, Onslow, Karratha, Newman and Kalgoorlie. We have also worked with government, tourism authorities, airports and our existing clients to commence new regular scheduled services, which include Brisbane to Whitsunday Coast, Brisbane to Moranbah, Sunshine Coast to Cairns and Perth to Port Hedland. All of these new routes have received an extremely positive response from the public and this has, in many cases, resulted a significant reduction in ticket prices. On our new Brisbane to Moranbah route â&#x20AC;&#x201C; which commenced on 17 August 2020 with 7 return flights per week â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Alliance was the first airline in Australia to provide full COVID-19 health and temperature screening for all passengers on board a regular scheduled commercial flight. This additional screening provides additional assurance to both resource clients as well as to members of the local community utilising these flights. We have also taken the opportunity to purchase 14 Embraer E190 aircraft to add to our current fleet of 42 Fokker aircraft. As we come out of this COVID-19 pandemic, Alliance believes that many growth opportunities will present themselves, creating significant opportunity to utilise the expanded fleet across the country, including on routes to many regional Australian towns. Alliance looks forward to continuing to providing you a safe environment to fly in over the coming months. Lee Schofield Chief Executive Officer SEPT/OCT 2020
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12 24 AusBiz.
In this issue. upfront
Dive into the latest releases in TV, film, podcasts, books and theatre.
12 Best of Byron
Where to eat, drink and sleep in Australia’s beloved resort town.
18 Sweet escape in Bundaberg
It might be known for sugar cane and rum but there’s plenty more to love about this coastal paradise.
Check out AusBiz. at the back of the magazine. MINING The future of the big three in Australia
Two people with two very different travel styles take on one of Australia’s top travel destinations.
AGRICULTURE Bio-stimulants and the new Green Revolution
30 Under the sea
BUSINESS Inside Australia’s kombucha industry
Grab your snorkel and jump in the water with Australia’s most unique sea life.
SPECIAL FEATURE Will regional hospitality survive COVID-19?
34 Camping and Outdoors
Our top camping tips, favourite places to pitch a tent and must-have gadgets and goodies.
TECH TRENDS Modern dating in today’s day and age
KIMBERLEY GRANDE HOTEL EXPERIENCE THE BEAUTY OF THE KIMBERLEY
Nestled amongst the wilderness of the Kimberleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s you will find Kimberley Grande, the perfect place with spacious room to come home to after adventurous days. Spend your day relaxing by our picturesque pool and indulging at our restaurant and bar facilities. Numerous conference and function packages are available all year round
www.kimberleygrande.com.au 20 Victoria Highway, Kununurra WA 6743 Phone: 1300 9555 49 | 08 7918 7885 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
There’s no sugar-coating it – it’s been a tough year for many of us and a strange one for all of us. No matter how busy (or not) you are, and no matter how well your life or company is going, the past 7 to 8 months have been a crazy, curly rollercoaster. And if you are in Victoria (we’re thinking of you all down there) things have been really hard on so many. There is light at the end of the tunnel however, and we are here to offer you some travel inspiration that will hopefully give you something exciting to plan and look forward to. The stories in this issue were chosen because we are looking forward to spring and summer, and because getting out into the great outdoors is really important right now. It’s good for the body, mind and soul. On page 12 you can read where to stay, eat, dine and play in one of the country’s most chilled out places – Byron Bay. Despite being over-run with celebrities of late, Byron retains its laidback charm, and the surrounding areas have an endless amount of outdoor activities to get into, whether you’re a water baby, mountain lover or a dedicated gourmand. We also checked into Bundaberg (page 18) – which is mainly known for sugar cane, rum and ginger beer. But there’s plenty more to sample in this
Publisher: Michelle Hespe email@example.com Art Director: Jo Quarmby Assistant Editor: Bethany Plint Sub-Editor: Shane Cubis
beautiful coastal community, and it’s also a place where the locals and visitors place great emphasis on spending time outdoors. We couldn’t have a spring issue without covering the Whitsundays (page 24), and we’ve covered two very different experiences in this beyond-beautiful destination – one based on chilling out, and the other focussed on going nuts and getting into all of the action. We also delve into some amazing wildlife experiences (page 30) where you can get wet while getting up close and personal with some wonderful creatures. Finally, we’ve put together an awesome camping special (page 34) , as we know what we’ll be doing this spring – getting outdoors for some fresh air and inspiration from Mother Nature. Enjoy the read and drop us a line anytime – we love hearing from you.
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Chris Ashton Jennifer Johnston Rebecca Martin Lisa Smyth Darren Baguley Ian Lloyd Neubauer Paul Ewart
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Alliance is published by Publishing ByChelle (ABN: 78 621 375 853 ACN: 621 375 853) Level 1, 3 Westleigh Street, Neutral Bay NSW 2089 publishingbychelle.com The reproduction of any content, in whole or part without prior written permission by the publisher, Michelle Hespe, is strictly prohibited. Opinions expressed in the content are those of the contributors, and not necessarily those of the publisher. All information in this magazine was believed to be correct at the time of publication, and all reasonable efforts have been made to contact copyright holders. Publishing ByChelle cannot accept unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. If such items are sent to the magazine, they will not be returned. We apologise if we don’t get back to your email, as we do receive a large volume of communication via various online channels. Some images used in Alliance are from iStock and Getty images, and we make every effort to credit all contributors.
If you would like to read the digital version of Alliance, please be our guest! Simply go to trulyaus.com – which is dedicated to exploring and celebrating all things Aussie, giving travellers the lowdown on the best places in regional, rural and outback Australia.
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Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus October 16 at the Princess Royal Theatre in Albany WA
Desert Mob 2020
September 11 - October 25 at Araluen Arts Centre in Alice Springs NT This year, Desert Mob combines a gallery exhibition and virtual symposium of projects, presentations and artist talks, showcasing the work of Indigenous artists from the desert regions of the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia. araluenartscentre.nt.gov.au
film Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival
September 18-26 at the Royal Open Air Theatre in Winton QLD The world’s largest film festival dedicated to Australian Cinema, Vision Splendid showcases the brightest film stars and production under the spectacular night sky at Winton’s renowned cinema under the stars. visionsplendidfilmfest.com
Images: Araluen Arts Centre (left), Maree Azzopardi (right)
Image: Damien Bredberg
In a storm of musical mayhem and movement, the music of Mozart is reimagined through daredevil stunts, mischievous antics and spirited conducting. circa.org.au
Sort Your Sh!t Out, Gary Waldon
August 2020, Woodslane, wellness Transformational change specialist, Gary Waldon’s unconventional self-help book offers a no nonsense, Aussie-as-heck guide to living your best life.
Breaking Good, Simon Fenech
August 2020, Echo Publishing, true crime This gripping true crime memoir shares the harrowing story of drug addiction, gangland crime, hitting rock bottom and the power of second chances.
Eat a Peach, David Chang
September 2020, Penguin, memoir The chef behind the recent Netflix hit Ugly Delicious shares the realities of chef life in a soulful memoir with a few recipes thrown in for good measure.
The Ethical Omnivore, Laura Dalrymple and Grant Hilliard August 2020, Murdoch Books, non-fiction Two unlikely butchers explore our increasingly fraught relationship with food and search for ways to apply an ethical approach to meat consumption in the twenty-first century.
EXTREME, Joan Gelfland
July 2020, Blue Light Press/First World Publishing, fiction Set in a high-risk gaming startup, peopled with world-class skateboarders and power-hungry executives, worlds collide when a Hollywood producer comes calling.
Dishing up “your daily serving of smart,” each episode of BrainStuff explores (and explains) an element of everyday science in easily digestible 5-10 minute snippets.
The Michelle Obama Podcast
Produced by the Obama family’s very own production company, Higher Ground, the new series presents the former First Lady’s most candid, and deeply personal conversations to show us what’s possible when we dare to be vulnerable.
September 4-19 at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Adelaide SA A mind-bending Victorian thriller, director Catherine Fitzgerald brings this classic psychodrama to the stage with a new twist in a showcase of psychological manipulation, marital mystery and suspense.
Hosted by ex-Google creative Jay Acunzo, each episode of Unthinkable covers stories from individuals who have broken from “best practice” to pursue an unconventional path to success in their chosen field.
Find yourself in the NSW far north coast’s most famous holiday town Words: chris ashton BYRON BAY requires little introduction. Australia’s most easterly resort town, adored by celebrities and backpackers alike, it’s a place where losing and finding yourself are both equally valid reasons to visit. The gorgeous beaches, the lighthouse shining atop the cape, dolphins sharing party waves with surfers and kayakers… the beauty of this northern NSW hotspot is legendary. Yet it’s not all about the namesake bay. The town itself is a big part of its enduring appeal. Though Byron has reinvented itself more times that Madonna, from former whaling station and 80s hippie haven to the Instagrammable mecca of today, it has retained a consistent x-factor. Clapped out kombis parked alongside Maseratis with surfboards on the roof, the freedom and acceptance to be whoever you are… it has a distinct vibe all of its own. Living up to its global reputation, Byron also delivers a sensational mix of places to eat, stay and play – for every budget and taste. Here’s a primer for some of its best.
Byron Bay Outdoor pool at The Bower Byron Bay
ron By N
y Ba G
Image: The Bower Byron Bay
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Outdoor space at The Atlantic Byron Bay; service with a smile at Botanica Beach Club; chic outdoor dining area and pool at The Atlantic Byron Bay; rinse off the salt water in the outdoor pool at The Atlantic Byron Bay; entrance to the stylish, minimalist hotel, The Bower; luxurious adults-only pool at Elements of Byron; light and colourful furnishings at The Lord Byron.
DISCOVERY PARKS BYRON BAY
Where to stay
As the sign on the road into Byron proclaims: “Cheer up, slow down, chill out.” There’s no need to rush. Keep your hand away from that car horn. Your holiday starts now. With that mantra in mind, Byron’s hotels are designed to help you switch off your phone and embrace the here and now. And feel really good doing it too. Whether a cheeky romantic escape or travelling with the kids, there’s a hotel with your name on it.
THE ATLANTIC BYRON BAY
A tropical oasis in downtown Byron Bay, The Atlantic has transformed the classic beach shack into a thing of beauty. A hop, skip or bicycle ride from great bars and restaurants, the boutique hotel offers a range of room options that are big on personality and panache.
ELEMENTS OF BYRON
There’s more to this beachfront resort than meets the eye. Behind its soaring façade, lagoon pool and indulgent day spa, the stars of this hideaway are its secluded villas. Hidden amongst coastal banksias, each feels like a little oasis. The adults only pool and swim up bar is somewhere you probably won’t want to leave either.
Not just for families, Discovery Parks is one of the best value options in town. It boasts a range of cabins and camping options, complemented by surprisingly affordable (and stylish) safari tents and deluxe two-bedroom cabins overlooking the lake, and even a water park for the kids.
Love a hotel that looks good on the Gram? The Bower is for you – every angle looks as if it’s been lifted from the pages of Vogue. The tropical gardens and circular swimming pool are stunning, and the wide range of room types – light and bright studios, moody king suites, a refurbished 100-year-old cottage – are almost as individual as you are.
THE LORD BYRON HOTEL This icon institution has been a part of Byron’s hotel scene for what feels like forever. Thanks to a massive renovation a couple of years ago it remains as fresh and exciting as ever. The vintage-luxe vibe and location make it a fantastic holiday base. If you prefer to be a little closer to the beach, try their equally amazing sister property The Surf House.
“Ch ee r up, slow down , chill out ” SEPT/OCT 2020
Where to eat
From cheap eats to memorable meals, Byron has you covered.
The people watchers’ venue of choice, Balcony occupies prime real estate upstairs above Lawson Street. Seafood is the star of the show here – try and stop at just one oyster. Be sure to check out their amazing Drag & Dine event featuring local drag queens each Sunday night.
Good food and great vibes go handin-hand at Bang Bang, a late-night modern Asian venue on the corner of Fletcher and Byron Streets. The shareable menu includes fragrant yellow curry, bao buns with butter poached Moreton Bay bugs, and crispy twice-cooked duck.
This retro-styled diner in the middle of town sums up everything that’s great about modern Vietnamese. The freshness, the flavour, and the talent required to make simple dishes sing… it’s a place that’ll make you believe in ‘love at first bite’.
MAIN STREET BURGER BAR
The humble burger has been perfected at this local favourite right in the heart of town. Their vegan spiced jackfruit or classic southern fried chicken burgers, loaded fries on the side, washed down with a bottle of beer or kombucha will take you foodie nirvana.
Inspired by head chef Francisco Smoje’s global travels, this relaxed bar and eatery is one for lovers of low-and-slow cooking over charcoal. Every dish is a symphony of flavour, a perfect combination of simple ingredients cooked with respect. Try the baked cauliflower!
THE BYRON BAY GENERAL STORE
In the mood for a healthy smoothie, juicy mushroom burger or colourful acai bowl? This hipster hangout is a favourite with locals and visitors, with a certain Hollywood celebrity (who shall not be named) said to also be a regular. Though Byron Bay may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there’s no denying its appeal. It’s a place for the young and the old, for the overworked and carefree, for the spiritual or those just needing to slow things down and live in the moment.
“lo ve at first bite”
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Enjoy an afternoon of people watching (and great food) at Balcony Bar; funky decor at Balcony Bar; a crowd favourite at retro-styled Vietnamese outfit, Light Years; smoothies and summer vibes at The Byron Bay General Store; the dining room at Barrio; a busy morning at The Byron Bay General Store; a trio of tasty tacos from Balcony Bar; a delicious spread at Light Years.
QUEENSLAND’S Bundaberg is known for sugar cane, rum and ginger beer. But there’s plenty WORDS: jennifer johnston
Bundaberg Bundaberg Rum Distillery
Image: Bundaberg Rum Distillery
more to sample in this beautiful coastal community.
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Wandering along Bargara Foreshore; swimming with turtles off the coast of Bundaberg; coral lagoon at Lady Musgrave Island.
natural wonders. The nutrient-rich red volcanic soil has not only helped create one of Australia’s most iconic brands, Bundaberg Rum, it has inspired a plethora of artisan food and drink producers to create a gourmet food scene. A four-hour drive from Brisbane via the Bruce Highway – if you don’t want to take the Tilt Train or make use of the regional airport – Bundaberg is a region full of memorable experiences.
E X PL O R E T H E R E E F AT L A DY M U S G R AV E I S L A N D Lady Musgrave Island is a two-hour boat trip from Bundaberg and the only island on the Great Barrier Reef with a protected lagoon. A coral reef wall stretches for eight kilometres around the 14-hectare coral cay, creating a
calm water inlet. Snorkellers and divers will find plenty of marine life on the fringing reef, including manta rays, sea turtles and coral trout. Bush camping is allowed on the island, but bookings are essential.
S A M PL E T H E SUG A RC A NE A ND THE RU M Bundaberg is surrounded by sugarcane fields. Depending on the time of the year they may be tall, growing up to four metres and almost ready for harvest (anywhere between June and November). In 2019, the region harvested 1.19 million tonnes of sugarcane, which is a lower figure than usual. One in four Bundaberg businesses and one in 15 Bundaberg jobs is directly connected to the sugarcane industry.
Images: North Burnett Tourism and Tracey Olive for Tourism and Events Queensland
BEFORE EUROPEAN settlement in the 1850s, the area was occupied by the Gureng Gureng and Taribelang people. By the 1870s German and Danish migrants had cleared land and began grazing cattle. In 1876 the town had two sugar mills, and from 1880 the process known as “blackbirding” began. Pacific Islanders, referred to as “Kanakas” were forcibly brought to Bundaberg as indentured labourers, made to work on sugarcane plantations and farms. Essentially slaves, they left their legacy on the city. The black stone walls at Bargara and Mon Repos were built by the Kanakas, whose job it was to clear the cane fields of volcanic rock. Today, as the southernmost gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, the coastal city of Bundaberg is the ideal base to explore one of the world’s seven
WA T C H T U R T L E S A T M O N R E P O S C O N S E R VA T I O N PA R K A six-kilometre stretch of sandy beach 15 minutesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; drive from central Bundaberg, Mon Repos is the largest nesting ground for the endangered loggerhead turtle. During nesting season (November to March), hundreds of green, flatback and loggerhead turtles travel thousands of kilometres, instinctively returning to this same beach to lay their eggs. How? They use the earthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s magnetic field to guide them. From November to January you can book a ranger-guided Mon Repos Turtle Encounter, and from January to March you can watch the baby turtles begin their journey to the ocean after hatching.
Bundaberg FROM TOP: Tasting session at the Bundaberg Rum Distillery; harvesting the sugarcane fields; examining the quality of Bundaberg’s prized export.
Of the three local brands – Bundaberg Rum, Bundaberg Brewed Drinks and Bundaberg Sugar – the Rum Distillery attracts the most attention. Visitors can take a tour and learn about the history of this world-famous brand, which thankfully survived two devastating fires in 1907 and in 1936. The tour takes you around a museum inside a 75,000-litre vat. Spoilers: you‘ll learn that rum is made from only three ingredients: sugarcane by-product molasses, yeast and water. Once fermented, the rum is distilled in huge oak barrels where it matures for a minimum of two years. The cellar door sells a variety of Bundy products you can’t purchase elsewhere. Family-owned Bundaberg Brewed Drinks makes 14 hand-crafted flavoured beverages. Take a tour in the Bundaberg Barrel building where
Images: Jennifer Johnston, Nathan White and Tourism and Events Queensland
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Sweet treat from Tinaberries Farm; Hinkler Hall of Aviation; playground at Bargara Foreshore; Kalki Moon Distilling and Brewing
you’ll learn what it takes to create some of their most popular offerings. Also in the brewing business, Kalki Moon Distilling and Brewing specialises in artisan gin, vodka and liqueurs. Family owned and operated, it was founded in 2017 by Rick Prosser, who was a master distiller at Bundaberg Rum for many years. Kalki Moon offer tastings and tours, and you’ll likely emerge a convert. Fora sweet farmgate experience, Tina and husband Bruce McPherson sell fresh strawberries and passionfruit at their property, Tinaberries, in Woongarra. When the couple bought the farm 14 years ago, they wanted to grow something other than sugarcane. Tina loves strawberries and knows everyone else does, too. She planted a winter variety and you can pick your own between August and October.
If you are passing through Bundaberg, even in the off-season, stop in for one of their delicious ice creams.
E S C A PE I N T O T HE G A R DENS Located on Mount Perry Road, the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens cover 27 hectares and feature various trees, shrubs, Japanese and Chinese gardens, and shaded picnic areas. Inside the Botanic Gardens is the Hinkler Aviation Centre, celebrating the life of one of Bundaberg’s favourite sons, Bert Hinkler. As a teenager, Hinkler flew his hand-built gliders on Mon Repos beach. He later set aviation records, becoming the first person to fly solo from England to Australia in 1928 and across the South Atlantic in 1931. He built a house during a short stint living in
Southampton, England and named it Mon Repos. Fifty-one years after his accidental death in 1933, the house was painstakingly taken apart, brick by brick, and shipped back to Bundaberg where it was rebuilt in the Botanic Gardens as a memorial museum.
V I S I T C O S M O P O L I TA N BA RGA R A Waterfront walkways, beachside bars and cafés, foreshore playgrounds, a golf course and a variety of accommodation choices close to the beach make Bargara one of Bundaberg’s go-to locations. Look out for the Windmill Café, voted the best in last year’s Queensland Tourism Awards. They incorporate local produce and have many vegetarian options, serving breakfast and lunch, plus pizza on Friday nights. SEPT/OCT 2020
go your own way in...
The Whitsundays One Place. Two very different travellers. How to enjoy The Whitsundays with someone who might not have the same holiday vision as you. WORDS: michelle hespe
Image: Tourism and Events Queensland
FLYING INTO Proserpine – the gateway airport to Airlie Beach and The Whitsundays – I squint into the morning sun and peer down into the dazzling vista of blues and greens that vividly speak of Queensland. Endless patches of sugar cane sway lazily in the sea breeze, farming fields are dotted with homesteads and cattle, trains laden with goods speed through industrial hubs and outlying villages. There’s the Great Barrier Reef, the inner reef, and Airlie’s frenetic rockwalled marinas bursting at the seams with boats, yachts, dinghies and people heading in and out of shops dotted along the harbour’s paths. I look down at the thousands of houses peppering the sides of hills, jostling for water views, and soon the motels, hotels, caravan parks, cafes
and pubs with umbrellas offering shade become visible – it’s all as busy as ant’s nests before the rain. Driving along the water’s edge in Airlie Beach, my partner Jeff laughs as I excitedly point out people jetpacking – their bodies shoot out of the water and into the air like Superman taking off, water cascading like yellow diamonds flung from the sun. “All yours,” he shakes his head, tapping his fingers along to the 70s tunes that the local radio loves – The Eagles, Cold Chisel and now some Def Leopard. Beer and BBQ songs suit this place. I’m excited, thinking of the adrenaline-pumping action and snorkelling out there on and in the water. Jeff, on the other hand, is here for a flop-and-drop holiday with oodles of relaxation, sun-bathing.
Couple relaxing at Palm Bay Resort SEPT/OCT 2020
Michelle: and the thundercat My first day out in the Whitsundays started out with a dreadlocked rastalooking dude pulling up to reception of where we were staying – Airlie Beach Discovery Park – in a red bus with Red Cat Adventures painted in bright yellow across the side, Don’t Worry be Happy blasting through the sound system. Jeff waved goodbye from the palm-tree surrounded pool as I climbed aboard to everyone’s jubilant good mornings. At Coral Sea Marina we all slapped on hats, sunnies and sunscreen, tried on wetsuits and boarded one of the fastest catamarans in the Whitsundays – The ThunderCat. The big red beast is designed for stability and speed, so it’s perfect for those prone to seasickness, our loud, jovial and lovely guide who calls everyone “My Friend!” tells us. “Let’s do it!” It’s a 9 to 5 day out, but the hours fly by as there is so much to see and do. We visit Whitehaven Beach, which lives up to its name as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and are able to spend a couple of hours bush walking, wandering across sand so white it’s hard to look at it for too long. If heaven was a beach, this would be it. Sting rays glide past our legs in the shallows, people float by, gazing at the sky, smiling. Tiny little figures swim further out into the reef, snorting and crying with delight into their snorkels as myriad of fish, turtles, reef and leopard sharks make sporadic appearances. We have lunch – Asian-style noodle salad, sliced meats and cheese, quiche, bread rolls and green garden salads – and then zoom off back into the inner reef where we find two spots on the way home to snorkel. There’s such an abundant variety of marine life it’s like leaping into a billionaire’s
gigantic fish tank. The water is a lovely temperature and no one wants to leave, especially when a group of giant sea turtles appear, cruising around with everyone, as curious and as happy to see us as we are to be graced by them. Heading ‘home’, the Thundercat smashed through set after set of waves. With each new leap, we’re all in awe, holding our breath as it rises up, the water sprays us all, and then somehow it comes back down, not too hard, and comfortably settles back into its two sturdy hulls. It’s like a theme park thrill ride.
Jeff: Cruising along
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef; “cheers!” from The Northerlies Beach Bar and Grill; exploring the Whitsundays islands on foot; holiday accommodation clinging to the cliff; view from Abell Point Marina; the Thundercat tearing through the open water.
Meanwhile, on his first day in paradise, Jeff settled himself on to a beach towel by one of the region’s signature (and free!) attractions: Airlie Beach Lagoon. It was busy enough to be entertaining, with plenty of room to swim, float, sit and enjoy, but quiet enough to still hear the wind in the palm trees and the cries of sea birds. The 4,000 square meter saltwater lagoon, located right on Airlie’s foreshore, was a big deal for the town, because in this part of the world, you can’t swim in the waterholes or the ocean, unless you want to be eaten a crocodile or attacked by stingers. After a few hours of reading, swimming, wading about looking out to sea and just lying in the sun, Jeff takes the advice of locals and heads
to The Pub for lunch. The Pub (more formerly known as the Airlie Beach Hotel) is an institution on the Esplanade that opened its doors in 1968. It recently had a $10 million dollar refurb and now it has a huge outdoor seating area with smart black and white wicker seating, green walls, an outdoors stage for bands complete with its own bar, and as its right on the water’s edge, it has stunning view of Airlie Beach. With a craft beer in hand, a burger ‘with the lot’ burger before him and a live band playing, Jeff’s happy. Afterwards he takes another stroll down the esplanade then walks into town to go shopping for new boardshorts. The choices are mind-boggling, but its not the worst problem in the world.
Back Together: Day 1
Images: Michelle Hespe, Red Cat Adventures and Tourism and Events Queensland
On our first night, sun-kissed and with burnt shoulders and noses, we met up at The Northerlies Beach Bar and Grill at Freedom Shores Resort, which is a ten-minute cruise out of town. The place has an awesome wooden boat as a bar, pool tables, and sensational ocean views. We sit on high stools on the wooden balcony above a beach overlooking mountains rising like giant turtles from the sea, and tucked into an entrée of fresh fish ‘kokoda’ (basically, a raw fish salad with coconut cream) and oysters, then share generous plates of lemon myrtle calamari and Ora King Salmon with a pea and leek risotto. The champagne was promptly delivered to rest in a bucket – there’s some things we can agree upon. “You should have seen the Thundercat coming back into Airlie Beach!” I’m screeching with laughter, explaining how the boat flew over each wave, crashing down on the other side to the sound of all passengers madlycheering. “It was insane!” Jeff shudders, but smiles at the thought of it.
Michelle: Falling, dining, flying It’s not for everyone, but for many adrenaline-seekers the top of the pops is jumping out of a moving plane at 15,000 feet and then freefalling at 220km an hour for a heart-hammering 60 seconds, with the earth so far away that it looks like part of a schoolroom’s world globe. Before you know it, you’re floating under a canopy for another five to seven minutes, allowing time to excitedly suck in views of the Great Barrier Reef that are seen by so few. Those minutes of floating seem to stretch on and on and its one of the most peaceful things that you can ever experience – being as close as you can be to understanding how free a bird might feel, soaring through the sky with no other worries weighing you down. I was so excited I almost leapt out of the open door before my instructor made it to the end of 3, 2 1 and “Go!” I was smiling so hard that it hurt, and by the time we touched down on the beach, I was so full of adrenaline that I felt weightless. As Skydive Australia’s staff say: “Beat your fears, push your boundaries and step outside your comfort zone; once
you’ve taken the plunge you’ll feel like you can achieve anything.” Back on ground, I treated myself to some downtime at The Garden Bar Bistro on Abell Point Marina, which has awe-inspiring views of the Coral Sea. Light-filled and beautifully designed, with lots of greenery, chunky wooden stools and a beer garden to lounge in, it’s great for fancy yacht- and people-watching over a cocktail. I treated myself to a Pinot Grigio and Cuban Fish Tacos with coriander Cabbage Slaw with a side of salad and chips. I was looking forward to telling Jeff about my culinary find when we met up. It’s hard to believe that I managed to up the ante even further, but after lunch I booked a small plane scenic flight with GSL Aviation over the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef. The exhilarating flight (definitely not scary as there are no loops or crazy dips in the sky) lasts for 60 minutes, and has you gliding peacefully over the region’s most iconic sights, including Airlie Beach, national parks, river systems, the Whitsundays and of course, the Great Barrier Reef. The highlight for many people, including myself, is seeing the world famous Heart Reef, which is only visible from the air. It’s like seeing a postcard come to life beneath you.
Jeff: Slow and steady
Images: Michelle Hespe, Tourism Whitsundays and Tourism and Events Queensland
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef; palm trees lining Airlie Beach; ready for an underwater adventure; mouthwatering Cuban fish tacos from The Garden Bar Bistro; the local catch thrown straight on the grill; new fishy friends on the reef.
Sleeping in on a getaway is a major goal for most people, and for Jeff it’s up there with the priorities of enjoying a beer and BBQ by the pool. So we checked into the Mantra Club Croc, which locals and tourists flock to when seeking a family-friendly niche of Airlie Beach. It’s also a hotspot for couples and groups of friends, because the restaurant – with freshly made café/ pub style food in a light and airy open-plan space – has a bar right next to a pool ensconced in dense tropical garden complete with palm trees and mountains towering behind the vista. Kids love the pool as there are shallow parts like little low-tide beaches to paddle in. Speaking of pools, Toscana Village Resort is an expansive offering of fully equipped Tuscan-styled apartments gracefully staggered down the side
of a hill overlooking the Whitsundays. And the four pools are a dream for water-lovers. Cascading rock-walled waterfalls and a BBQ area means you don’t really have to head into town or down to the beach. However Jeff did go out to explore The Whitsundays, and he did at a speed much more relaxing that the Thundercat, with Cruise Whitsundays. This award-winning cruise out to the enormous Heart Pontoon on Hardy Reef has you out on the water from 9 to 5, and it offers something for everybody: lie about on the sun decks, check out the sea life from a semi-submarine aquarium, snorkel, scuba dive and dine on an impressive buffet heartily stocked with seafood, meats, salads. There’s even a bar so you can have a few drinks and chillout in the sun on the rooftop, or inside at booths in air-conditioned comfort. The marine life at Hardy Reef steal the show, but one creature in particular – the massive, big-lipped friendly Maori Wrasse called Maggie, seems to be everyone’s favourite part of the trip. Swim with her and have your photo taken alongside her – she might be close to 200 kilos but she is as friendly as a Labrador pup and thrives on the attention. Maggie was once a she but is now a he, as her breed is a protogynous hermaphrodite – a fish that has the ability to transition from female to male. He’s a lot larger than ‘she’ once was, and now sports a lump on his head. Luckily, he’s kept his glorious instagram-awesome colours.
Back Together: Day 2
“I almost pulled the poor skydiving dude out of the plane before he was ready, I was so excited!” I laugh and pop another piece of calamari into my mouth. “Maggy the massive Warrior Wrasse was like a big green and blue gentle Labrador after cuddles,” Jeff says, then takes a long sip of cold beer. “He wouldn’t leave us alone while we were snorkelling. And on the ship’s deck you can just lie in the sun on loungers in between snorkels. So good.” I smile at the photos of Maggy – huge and friendly, as the sun gently slips down into the sea, flickers of light fanning out over the small waves tickling the beach. SEPT/OCT 2020
Sea creature experiences in Australia
Home to some of the most magnificent marine animals in the world, Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vast coastline provides endless adventures and unforgettable experiences. From cage diving with sharks to watching sea turtles hatch, these 10 sea creature encounters will leave you awestruck. WORDs:Jillian ramirez
1. SNORKELLING WITH WHALE SHARKS,
Image: Ocean Eco Adventures
Ningaloo Reef, WA
Anchored off the north-west coast of Western Australia, Ningaloo Reef hosts a marine wonderland. Providing breeding grounds for a multitude of sea turtle species, it is most famous for its incredible population of whale sharks, who feed there from March to June. Don’t let their massive size spook you, these gentle giants feast strictly on plankton. Before heading out to the open sea, start your day in the Ningaloo Reef Lagoon, where you can spot schools of tropical fish and vibrant corals. Once you’ve had your fill, an expert boat skipper will make sure you’re in the prime position to swim alongside the world’s biggest ocean mammals. If luck is on your side, you might even catch a glimpse of manta rays, dolphins and humpback whales.
3. SCUBA DIVE WITH SEADRAGONS
Fortescue Bay, TAS
Baird Bay, SA
For a truly magical day, head out to Baird Bay. Located on the west coast of Eyre Peninsula, this quaint fishing town is host to a large colony of Australian sea lions. Often called the “puppy dogs of the sea”, these curious and friendly creatures are eager to frolic with their new human playmates. Grab your goggles and dive into the sparkling waters of Seal Cove, where you can swim alongside these spirited animals. Surrounded by their wild habitat, you’ll experience the pure joy of being welcomed into a vibrant underwater world… and their bottlenose dolphin friends might even join you for a swim.
FROM TOP: Swimming at Bushrangers Bay in Shellharbour; friendly sea lion in Baird Bay; weedy sea dragon at Fortescue Bay.
4. WHALE WATCHING Bremer Bay, WA
If you’re looking to witness the majesty of Mother Nature’s largest creations in their natural habitat, Bremer Bay is a must-see. A scenic 5.5-hour drive south of Perth, Bremer Bay charms visitors with its quaint township and stunning scenery. Boasting two peak whale watching seasons, it offers visitors the chance to spot orca, sperm whales, pilot whales and humpbacks. Without a doubt, Bremer Bay’s main attraction is the migration of more than 150 orca through the Bremer Canyon every summer – the largest congregation in the Southern Hemisphere. Orca, also known as killer whales, are renowned predators, hunting seals, squid, sharks and even other whales.
5. CAGE DIVING WITH GREAT WHITE SHARKS
Neptune Islands, SA If you’re looking to come face-to-face with the ocean’s most iconic predator, head to the Neptune Islands, the only place in Australia where you can cage dive with great white sharks. Your guides will pick you up from Port Lincoln, just an hour’s flight or sevenhour drive from Adelaide, and whisk you away on the adventure of a lifetime. From the safety of your cage, you can watch in awe as these astounding creatures glide by.
Images: Shellharbour Scuba Centre, Brent Hill and John Smith
2. SWIMMING WITH SEA LIONS
Immerse yourself in a strange new world beneath Fortescue Bay. Below the surface, you’re surrounded by a giant kelp forest, home to many unique creatures, including the weedy sea dragon. This close cousin to the seahorse can only be found in southern waters and while it usually appears to be a fluorescent magenta, in a flash the sea dragon can camouflage itself among the kelp beds. This enigmatic creature is reason alone to visit the wild waters of Tassie, but don’t be startled if a fur seal swims by to say hello.
6. DIVING WITH MANTA RAYS
North Stradbroke Island, QLD Want to trade your urban cityscape for a tropical paradise? Head two hours east of Brisbane to North Stradbroke Island, where white sand beaches and turquoise water stretch as far as the eye can see. North Straddie hosts one of the best dive sites in Australia, Manta Bommie, appropriately named for its thriving manta ray population. The best time to visit is summer, when they gather en masse for mating season. They’re known to swim right next to scuba divers, so you’ll have an up-close look as they barrel roll, nosedive and fly through the water.
FROM TOP: Manta ray gliding through the water off North Stradbroke Island; Phillip Island penguins on the beach at sunset.
7. WATCH BABY TURTLES HATCH
9. SNORKEL WITH SEA TURTLES, JULIAN ROCKS MARINE RESERVE,
Witness the power, beauty and unmitigated adorability of nature at Mon Repos Conservation Park, where baby turtles waddle down the beach to embark on their first adventures at sea. During the summer months, Mon Repos serves as a crucial nesting site for several species, including the endangered loggerhead turtle. For the best results, head to the beach after dark, when the hatchlings are most active. Book a tour with a certified local agency to ensure you’re minimising your impact on the turtles’ habitat and keeping them safe for generations to come.
Just off the coast of iconic beach town Byron Bay, Julian Rocks Marine Reserve is one of the best dive spots in New South Wales. Host to a multitude of stunning sea flora and fauna, Julian Rocks is best known for its flourishing sea turtle population. Due to its location at the nexus of the Coral and Tasman Seas, this dive site has an incredibly diverse ecosystem. Alongside the sea turtles are sharks, rays and a plethora of bright tropical fish. It’s only a 10-minute boat ride from iconic surf break The Pass, where you can enjoy a refreshing post-swim snack at The Pass Café, followed by a night out in ever-vibrant Byron.
Mon Repos Conservation Park, QLD
Byron Bay, NSW
10. CROCODILE RIVER CRUISE
Kakadu National Park, NT If you want to fulfil your Crocodile Dundee dreams from the safety of a steel-bottomed boat, Kakadu National Park should be next on your travel list. The expansive landscape is home to more than 10,000 crocs, which can be easily spotted at Cahills Crossing, East Alligator River and Yellow Water Billabong. Make a trip up to Kakadu anywhere from August to November to see the highest number of both saltwater and freshwater varieties. And if just spotting them isn’t enough for you, book a ticket for the Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise, where expert guides feed and interact with these incredible creatures.
8. SUNSET PENGUIN PARADE
Images: Scuba Shane Diving and Visit Victoria
Phillip Island Nature Park, VIC
To watch an entire colony of little penguins head home after a long day at sea, drive 90 minutes from Melbourne to Phillip Island Nature Park. Revel in the sunset homecoming of these amusing creatures, and choose from an array of viewing options, including eye-level and underground seating. Guided educational tours are available for the penguin fanatic, as well as access to a secluded beach with even more epic views of this small but mighty colony. SEPT/OCT 2020
Camping & Outdoors
Elevate your camping trips
words: bethany plint
THIS PAGE:??? OPPOSITE PAGE: Camping on the Hawkesbury River in Lower MacDonald, NSW; Mount Feathertop, Victoria.
Camping & Outdoors
Images: Destination NSW and Visit Victoria
Top camping spots in Australia IT’S EASY to romanticise sleeping under the stars, but the practicalities of camping in the Australian wilderness often see skeptics place it in the “too hard” basket. Between mosquitos in summer and spiders year-round, getting among nature is all too easy when it’s crawling all around you (and sometimes, over you). But that doesn’t mean you should hide out in hotel suites forever. There’s nothing quite like unzipping your tent in the morning to see the sun filtering through the trees, dew glistening on the grass and the smoky remnants of last night’s campfire wisping away in the breeze. How’s that for romantic?
Mount Crawford Forest Adelaide Hills, South Australia Pitch your tent among an old pine plantation in the shadow of Mount Crawford, an hour’s drive from Adelaide. Rocky Paddock
Campground features 30 camping sites with accessible toilets, fire pits and picnic tables. There’s easy access to scenic hikes, such as the Heysen Trail which extends 1200 kilometres from Cape Jervis to Parachilna Gorge in the Flinders Ranges.
Tjaynera Falls (Sandy Creek)
Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory Accessible only by 4WD, Tjaynera Falls is a stunning campground surrounded by natural waterfalls, towering magnetic termite mounds, inviting swimming holes and walking tracks. Located within Litchfield National Park, 90 kilometres south of Darwin, the limited-access falls offer a quiet, idyllic weekend away.
Alpine National Park, Victoria The views from Mount Feathertop, Victoria’s second-highest peak, are well worth the challenging hike up. Part of the Victorian Alps, Mount Feathertop is linked to nearby Mount Hotham ski resort by The Razorback, a high, narrow ridge that can be hiked. Mount Feathertop is often conquered via this 22-kilometre trail and capped
off by an overnight stay at Federation Hut, where there’s access to toilets, and camping sites that sit among Snow Gums.
Blue Mountains National Park, New South Wales Around 2.5 hours from Sydney, Turon Gates Mountain Retreat is splayed across 6000 acres of unspoiled wilderness, humming with native wildlife. From bushwalking to paddling the Turon River and taking a trail ride with one of the property’s horses, a stay at Turon Gates promises a totally immersive experience, whether you arrive for a traditional camping getaway, or opt for a glamping tent or rustic cabin.
Cape Tribulation, Queensland For a summer camping trip with plenty of hiking, paddling and beach-bumming, few places compare to Noah Beach. With the Great Barrier Reef on one side and the Daintree Rainforest on the other, this remote beachside campground offers outstanding walking tracks, Indigenous cultural experiences and wildlife-spotting opportunities.
Camping & Outdoors
Luxury sites for lazy campers One Lazy Sunday
Byron Bay, New South Wales For the truly lazy – or perhaps genius – campers among us, this company brings the glamping experience to you. Choose a funky airstream trailer or a luxe bell tent and the Byron Baybased team will set up your site in a location of your choice, anywhere around the North Coast. You’ll be treated to all the trappings of a fivestar hotel, including plush bathrobes and bikes to cruise around. onelazysunday.com.au
Inverloch Glamping Co. South Gippsland, Victoria
Think bush camp-meets-coastal retreat. Relax in a hanging egg chair out the front of a luxe beach cabin or stretch out on the deck of a spacious bell tent complete with an ensuite and outdoor shower. Come nightfall, a rustic open-air kitchen becomes a buzzing social hub, before glampers gather around campfires under a blanket of stars. theinverlochglampingco.com.au
Rawnsley Park Station
Flinders Ranges, South Australia If you really want to take glamping to the next level, why not throw a helicopter into the mix? This unique heli-camping experience takes you on a scenic flight over Wilpena Pound and drops you at Chace Range, where you’ll camp for the night. Staff not only set up your swags, they provide a two-course dinner and a bush brekkie for you to prepare at your leisure. Outback sunrise and sunset included. rawnsleypark.com.au/experiences/helicamping
Tamar Valley, Tasmania Swinging Gate Vineyard in Tamar Valley is host to a truly unique glamping experience, where guests stay in deluxe geodesic domes complete with ensuites. Indulge in local wine and produce from the comfort of your eco-friendly digs while stargazing through sky windows. Throw in a trip to the Day Spa for added luxury. domescapes.com.au
Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory Watching the sky turn pink and the sun dip below the horizon in Australia’s Top End is one thing; doing so from a private infinity pool is another. Outback luxury at its best, Bamurru Plains offers safari bungalows, gourmet experiences and an activity list so long you’ll be wishing you stayed a month. Spot crocs as you skim across floodplains on an airboat adventure, explore Kakadu National Park in an open-top 4WD, and enjoy guided walks with local wildlife experts, photographers and foraging foodies. bamurruplains.com
Camping & Outdoors CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Airstream accommodation by One Lazy Sunday; inside the Airstream; tent at The Inverloch Glamping Co; Inverloch beach cabins; the campgrounds in Inverloch; safari vehicle at Bamurru Plains; drinks by the campfire; view over Rawnsley Park Station.
Camping & Outdoors
Campfire cooking Sure, you forgo a kitchen on camp, but you don’t have to miss out on your favourite meals. A cast-iron skillet works wonders over flames and a small gas cooktop does the trick, too. Grab a single-burner stove from any camping store for as little as $30, then pack a small pot, shallow fry pan, pair of tongs, plus a gas bottle, and you’re good to go.
Bacon, eggs and baked beans always go down a treat. You can even have your beloved smashed avo – just toss a few pieces of sourdough on a grate over the fire.
Forget boring bread rolls and whip up gourmet toasties instead. Pick up a jaffle iron from your local camping store and go to town with winning sandwich combos. Try chicken, brie and cranberry sauce, or avocado, cheddar and Vegemite.
Burgers, snags and steaks are camping staples, but it’s the sides that really ramp things up. Avoid soggy salads by ditching the leaves. Instead, mix up a southwest salad with corn, feta, red onion and black beans, topped with coriander and a squeeze of lemon. Or go for a pasta salad, opting for pesto or tapenade over cream, in case the heat gets to it before your campers do.
Image: Destination NSW
It wouldn’t be a camping trip without toasting marshmallows. But if you really want to impress your campmates, cook up a caramelised banana split. Keeping the skin on, slice open a banana, stuff it with chocolate chips and mini marshmallows, then wrap in foil and place over the fire for a minute or two. Use tongs to remove, then let it cool before digging into the gooey goodness.
Camping & Outdoors
5 Camping essentials 1 Foam tiles Like a giant jigsaw puzzle, these foam tiles interlock neatly to line your tent. Providing a layer of insulation, they feel a whole lot more comfortable underfoot than cold tarp. Consider picking up rubber or heavy-duty EVA tiles for your camp kitchen or outdoor space, too.
2 Gazebo Regardless of what the weatherman says, every camper should prepare for rain. Easy to set up and pin down, gazebos are your best defense against sudden downpours. As well as shielding you from the rain, they provide a handy spot to set up your camp kitchen or cards table, plus provide shade in the warmer months.
3 Pop-up tent Dread pitching tents? Pop-up styles are an excellent, fuss-free
option for those who want to set up camp within minutes of arriving. Choose higher-end brands such as Blackhole or Coleman for quality and peace of mind.
4 Head torch Head torches aren’t exactly fashionable, but you’ll appreciate being hands-free when nature calls in the dead of the night. Keep nature in mind, too, when you’re shopping around, by choosing a rechargeable torch over battery operated.
5 Camping chair Just because it’s an essential doesn’t mean it has to be basic. You’ll be the king of the campfire when you’re kicking back on a reclining camping chair, like this one from Kathmandu. It folds up flat for easy storage and transport and weighs next to nothing. kathmandu.com.au
5 Camping extras 1 Hammock The gentle swaying of a hammock instantly sends you into relaxation mode. So much so, you might ditch the tent altogether to sleep suspended in the air. Not only are Nakie’s nylon double hammocks spacious, they’re made with 37 recycled plastic bottles. Their bug nets and rain tarps are particularly handy if you’re camping up north in the tropics or during rainy periods. nakie.co
2 Thermo tumbler A worthwhile investment for picnic-lovers, these stylish tumblers keep drinks hot for up to three hours and cold for up to six, thanks to vacuum-insulated lining. The 180ml tumblers come with sip lids, ideal when you’re on the move. saltandpepper.com.au 1
3 Jaffle iron Having a jaffle iron in your arsenal will earn you serious brownie points from your camping crew.
A boring sandwich becomes a delicious toastie, especially with a few fancy ingredients. snowys.com.au
4 Portable fridge Fishing around the bottom of an Esky for a packet of snags only to find they’re sodden is for chumps. Pack a portable fridge and you’ll never go hungry. At the top of the range, you could spend as much as $2000, but a 75-litre fridge/freezer combo from Engel will also do the trick and only set you back $699. engelaustralia.com.au
5 Portable espresso machine Can’t survive without your morning caffeine hit? This handheld portable espresso machine works like a bicycle pump, building up pressure to extract a smooth, creamy shot of espresso. It’s lightweight, easy to clean and slots straight into your backpack. handpresso.com SEPT/OCT 2020
Expectations exceeded. #meetmackayregion
Photo Credit Rebina Criddle
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BRAINFOOD Bringing you the latest insight and analysis Words: BETHANY PLINT
HOW TO STAY FIT AND HEALTHY IN ISOLATION With widespread gym closures, daily outdoor exercise limits and fresh produce scarcity in some states, no one can be blamed for slipping off the wagon when it comes to healthy living. Overall wellbeing is far wider reaching than exercise and diet alone, but if you find that you’d adopted a few habits that don’t align with your goals, we’ve got a few suggestions to help you find your balance again.
Embrace the #snacklife
Lockdown has really thrown a spanner in the works when it comes to outdoor exercise, particularly for our friends in Victoria. But if your government allows it, grab a mask, lace up your sneakers and head out for a bit of fresh air. Take a stroll around your neighbourhood, go for a run in the park or take the bike out for a quick cycle. Cardio doesn’t have to be boring. If you’re locked in your house all day, it might become the thing you look forward to most!
If you’re like me, you might find yourself examining the fridge every hour wondering if anything new has magically appeared. Snacking throughout the day is a common habit, especially when your desk is a few steps from the kitchen. And that’s okay – you need to stay fuelled up. Opt for fruit, veggies, nuts, hummus and even try your hand at baking something from scratch. When it comes to meals, always aim for three quality meals everyday with plenty of veggies and lean protein. And remember to drink two litres of water a day.
Get up and stretch If you’ve begun working remotely, there’s a good chance your home office hasn’t been ergonomically set up (if you have a home office at all). It’s all too easy to wake up in the morning, pull your laptop over and begin working from bed, or to set yourself up at the breakfast bar with your back hunched over a bowl of muesli as you flick through emails. By all means, work from where you’re most comfortable but remember to get up once every hour to have a stretch. A few twists of your torso, some toe taps, neck rolls and wrist rotations will not only help to release the tension built up in your muscles, but it will help you clear your head before diving into the next task.
Check in with your friends and family We’ve heard it a million times but the situation we’re living through is unprecedented. Staying physically in shape has a great deal to do with our overall mental and emotional wellbeing but it’s only one part of the puzzle. We should also be checking in with the people around us, offering support where we can and asking for it when we need it. Our mental health is being challenged on a huge scale right now and the more we embrace these challenges and work through them together, the stronger we’ll emerge when the storm finally passes.
Image: Jonanathan Borba
Designate some time each day to move your body. Whether it’s a quick HIIT workout you found online, a few laps around the block or a gentle yoga flow, taking time to get the blood flowing each day can be beneficial for your overall health. If you’re a gym junkie, you’ll know that intensity often outweighs duration when it comes to an impactful workout, so you only need 20-30 minutes to jack your heart rate and get the endorphins flowing. If you’re new to exercise, remember to ease into it and focus on increasing your mobility and get your form right before adding too much weight, resistance or reps.
Get outside (if you can)
Living small The tiny house movement currently sweeping the nation is an architectural and social philosophy that advocates living simply in smaller abodes. Tiny living principles promote financially prudent, economically safe, shared community experiences, and a shift in consumerism-driven mindsets. Born out of a desire to discover nature and stay in comfort, Tiny Away is providing a fresh new take on the tiny house phenomenon. They have taken things one step further by partnering with unique rural property owners, allowing them to earn up to 45 per cent of the revenue share to enable guests to enjoy spectacular rural settings, carefully selected to ensure the most enriching experience possible. In Australia, this means farmers and other rural property owners can have a home on their property and make additional income. Tiny Away currently has 26 eco-friendly handcrafted tiny homes across NSW and Victoria. Each tiny home is designed from sustainable materials in Malaysia, before being shipped to Australia and constructed in under three hours by an experienced team of certified Aussie builders, plumbers and electricians. One Tiny Away home well worth a visit is 6Sixteen The Banks in Hawkesbury. With the Blue Mountains as a backdrop, this loft-style tiny house is set on a stunning two-hectare
property. It’s all about getting back to nature here, meaning a glass of wine and cheese platter at sunset, followed by roasted marshmallows around the firepit. Be sure to take a trip into nearby towns to load up on fresh produce, wine and artisan goods. Another standout is Picton’s two Paperbark Cottages. Situated on Mowbray Park Farm, these side-by-side wooden homes face out over expansive green paddocks. Mowbray Park Farm is a real working farm, so there’s plenty to see and do, including exploring the animal nursery, feeding the animals and horseriding. Just under an hour from Sydney, the surrounding towns here had a tough trot during the bushfires, so a farmstay here is the perfect place for an ‘empty esky’ holiday. tinyaway.com
Tiny houses are ‘dwellings of 37 square metres or less’, while the average Australian home is around 240 square metres.
Mindfulness has been around for 2500 years and has been part of psychological therapies since the 1970s.
A NEW WAY TO WORK Want to work in a space that inspires, surrounded by people with similar goals and aspirations? Sydney’s Kafnu Alexandria is a private member community of innovators and creators. What’s that, you ask? It’s a co-working space, with both flexible and dedicated desks and plenty of common areas (including meeting rooms, a media production studio and a creative lab) that are so aesthetically pleasing you won’t want to leave. Recently Kafnu Alexandria partnered with one of the country’s most prolific creators of public art – Gillie and Marc – and their iconic artworks now adorn the walls and hallways, adding pops of colour and a heaps of oomph to the space. When the going gets tough (read: you need a break from work), the virtual fitness studio is a great space to sweat it out. Or if you prefer to unwind with a drink in hand, there’s a gin bar, plenty of craft beer and award-winning wines. Finally, the space is home to a 16-room mini-hotel, ideal if you have business meetings that span a few days. The best part of staying here is access to the whole complex… and yes, that includes the coffee machine. kafnu.com/alexandria/
WHERE ARE ALL THE MANGROVES?
As our planet continues to change dramatically, the ecosystems set up to protect it are disappearing at an alarming rate. Mangroves provide vital services to both human and sea life, but research shows these nearshore forests are perishing at a rate least three to five times faster than overall global forests. Hasanthi Dissanayake, Director of Ocean Affairs, Environment and Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Relations – Sri Lanka addressed the issue in a recent event organised by the Commonwealth: “Mangroves are rare ecosystems that support rich biodiversity, support a range of livelihoods from fisheries to tourism, and act as a form of natural coastal defence against tsunamis, rising sea levels, storm surges and erosion.” To combat the issue of mangrove disappearance, members of the Commonwealth Blue Charter – an agreement by 54 countries to solve some of the world’s most pressing ocean issues – are implementing projects on a global scale to reverse the decline of mangrove forests. In Trinidad and Tobago, a mangrove re-planting project is underway on a site that was cleared to make way for a pipeline. In the UK, social enterprise Blue Ventures has begun placing a monetary value on the carbon stored by mangroves and selling the “carbon credits” to environmentally conscious buyers. The Commonwealth Blue Charter welcomes involvement from conservationists around the world, allowing the general public to contribute to finding the solutions for more sustainable ocean and, particularly, mangrove management. bluecharter.thecommonwealth.org
The big cover up With COVID-19 holding firm, face coverings have become the norm. If you take a stroll down any main street in Australia’s cities, you will see individuals donning face masks of all sorts – N95s and surgical masks to hand-sewn creations and balaclavas. The growing demand for facial coverings has sparked the interest of entrepreneurial types who have begun producing face masks for private sale. Turning to platforms such as Etsy and Facebook MarketPlace, these smallscale producers are helping to provide a “better than nothing” alternative for the general public, leaving the finite medical grade surgical and respirator masks for those who need them most; namely, health practitioners and confirmed COVID patients. Among the COVID-skeptics are those who doubt the efficacy of
cotton and polyester-based masks. However, the current government advice suggests a combination of physical distancing and frequent hand washing with the use of facial coverings in public as the best way to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. There is a looming question of whether or not these producers are leveraging the pandemic to make a quick buck. But they’re not the only ones. Fashion labels such as VPL and Collina Strada are selling face masks for upwards of $100 a piece. Even skincare brands such as Ellus & Krue and Skinstitut have jumped into action to address the emerging concern of “maskne” – breakouts on the lower half of the face caused friction and irritation as a result of regular face mask-wearing. One thing is for sure: there is some serious money to be made in the booming face mask business. SEPT/OCT 2020
Increase Productivity From a Distance Tokara is a remote access service developed by Position Partners for the construction & mining industry. It enables support technicians, surveyors, project managers and engineers to view and adjust Topcon machine control and survey systems in the field. • • • • •
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Increase productivity and maintain physical distancing using Tokara remote access from Position Partners POSITION PARTNERS technicians are experts in their field and with the remote service capabilities enabled with Tokara, these technicians can solve myriad technical issues that arise without the need to be on-site. With remote access to machine guidance and survey technology, Tokara helps to maintain physical distancing without hindering productivity. Tokara is an Australian-designed telematics solution that improves efficiency and productivity for a range of civil construction, mining and engineering projects. Tokara connects your machines and survey instruments to the office, provides access to Position Partners’ technical support and links you to any GNSS/GPS network needed for the job. Managers and surveyors can also remotely update design files on all machines across multiple projects, without the need to visit each machine in person to upload a design via USB. “Tokara increases productivity and reduces downtime on site,” says Hayden Paul, Major Accounts Manager Construction, Position Partners.
“If you’re having issues with your machine(s) or survey gear on site, Tokara gives the customer and Position Partners full diagnostic access,” he adds. “If the support team can’t resolve the issue over the phone and we need to get out with field service we can be a lot more efficient knowing what the issue is to reduce time onsite.” Tokara offers project managers, surveyors and other key stakeholders the ability to login to a user-friendly web portal to track and manage their equipment, or send design updates to the field without leaving the office. “We, at Position Partners, have always prioritised timely and efficient support because we know that if your technology isn’t working then you’re not making money,” says Aaron Krenske, Networking Solutions Manager at Position Partners. Tokara is designed to help you get the most from your machine control and survey technology with fast, comprehensive support when you need it and also makes training your staff on the machine and equipment very simple.
“Our unique blend of experience and industry knowledge means that we are ideally placed to deliver a single industry-wide solution: we understand the business, we understand our customers, and we understand what they want to achieve,” Mr Krenske adds. “Tokara has been developed in Australia, using Australian skills and programmers, based around customer requirements, and has been extensively tested with contractors and end-users throughout the country so that we know it works in our harsh environment and with our often-challenging telecommunications networks.” “The service and support offered by Position Partners in conjunction with the remote access it provides to managers is what makes Tokara such a powerful solution for our customers,” says Mr Krenske said. positionpartners.com.au SEPT/OCT 2020
BUSINESS MENTAL HEALTH
SPOTLIGHT ON... MANAGING UNCERTAIN TIMES These are uncertain times. Bushfires, drought, COVID-19, talk of a recession and increasing unemployment has nearly everyone feeling worried. We stress about what could happen, the uncertainty and unpredictability of life right now. To deal with this, the number one thing each of us can do is to focus on what is within our control. Easier said than done, so here are some tips to help you. Words: REBECCA MARTIN
1. BELIEVE IN YOUR CAPACITY TO COPE
3. DISPLAY KINDNESS, PATIENCE, & GRATITUDE
Recall times in your life when you have overcome difficulties and challenges. Make a list of them. Don’t be humble – you earned your track record of tenacity, grit, and strength. TIP: Acknowledging our past resourcefulness helps us to be resilient now.
When we are kind, we feel good, and make others to feel good. Kindness fosters kindness, and helps us feel connected to one another and less isolated in difficult times. If others aren’t being kind, they’re possibly stressed so have patience. TIP: Notice the positive things that others are doing for us and thank them.
2. STAY INFORMED, BUT DON’T BINGE ON NEWS AND SOCIAL MEDIA
We often mull over what we should have done or what happened in the past. This can lead us to wasting a lot of energy on negative emotions. If you find this happening, ask yourself “what could I change, if anything?”
5. FOCUS ON YOUR WELLBEING We know that we feel better when we exercise, eat healthy food and have good sleep. It’s good for our psychological health and helps us deal with uncertainty. Set yourself wellbeing goals. It may be as simple as a walk in the paddock each day. Tell a friend about your goal. Get them to hold you accountable. TIP: Set wellbeing goals and get a friend to help you achieve them.
Image: Michael Rechenberg
Consuming excessive news and social media distracts us from taking more positive actions and can make us feel even more anxious. TIP: Limit your news and social media each day.
4. AVOID RUMINATING ABOUT THE PAST
If the answer is nothing, let it go. If there was something you could change, learn from it and try to change it in the future if it’s within your power. TIP: What can you change? If you can’t change something, let it go.
THE BIG THREE How Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest mineral earners are keeping our nation afloat in these turbulent times Words: IAN NEUBAUER
MINING MINERAL LEFT: ADANI’S CARMICHAEL MINE, CENTRAL QUEENSLAND
“The beginning of the economic climb-back is almost certainly months, not years away.”
WHEN THE Global Financial Crisis hit back in 2007, the mining boom and government fiscal stimulus packages are said to have prevented a recession. Now, as Australia faces the most challenging economic conditions since the 1930s, the resource and energy sector is again punching above its weight. In the 2019-2020 financial year, it delivered a whopping $299 billion GDP windfall – 6.5 per cent more than the figure forecast in December. “The resources sector will not be our only path back,” The Australian editorialised in April. “But on current performance, it will be the cornerstone of our return to prosperity.” In this edition of AusBiz, we take a look at Australia’s three largest mineral earners and at three new mining and energy projects being fast-tracked by investors and the government to help get the economy back in black. SEPT/OCT 2020
CARMICHAEL MINE, CENTRAL QUEENSLAND
Despite increasing talk of a trade war with China, including tariffs on Australian barley and bans on some of our beef, iron ore exports to China are up eight per cent compared to last year. Around two-thirds of China’s iron ore imports come from Australia and China depends on our iron ore because we are “a reliable, competitive and trusted partner,” wrote Gavin Thompson, vice chair for Wood Mackenzie Asia Pacific, in his popular industry blog APAC Energy Buzz. Global rating agency Standard & Poor predicts that the demand for iron ore in China will remain strong in the second half of this year as the Chinese government directs stimulus money into construction and infrastructure projects. Chinese demand for iron ore has pushed the spot price above the critical US$100 a tonne mark, delivering a much-needed boost to Canberra’s rapidly depleting coffers. It also put a rocket under the Australian dollar. “In dollar terms, the iron ore price is higher than at almost any time since early 2014,” said The Australian in April. “The beginning of the economic climb-back is almost certainly months, not years, away.”
Despite more Western nations turning away from the black stuff, Australian coal is still in high demand overseas as it’s consistently rated as the highest quality, lowest-sulphur varietal in the world – and remains our second most valuable mineral export after iron ore. Most of it goes to China, with imports to the country increasing by three per cent compared to last year. “Chinese imports of Australian coal are way ahead of where they were before the pandemic,” Thompson noted. But gains must be measured against a significant fall in price. Coking coal contracts traded on the Singapore Exchange that mirror the free-onboard price in Australia tumbled to a three-year low in May, down 33 per cent since March. This, in turn, has seen Australian coal mines cut production and shed hundreds of jobs. “I haven’t seen anything like this in my 15 years in the industry,” CFMEU district vice president Jeff Scales told the ABC. Yet the market fundamentals for Australian coal remain strong. India and Bangladesh have scores of new coal-fired power plants coming online within the next five years, as do Turkey, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, South Africa and the Philippines.
LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS At the height of global lockdowns in April earlier this year, demand for oil fell so low producers in the US were actually paying buyers to take it off their hands to allow them to free up space in storage units and keep their refineries going. “As China first began to battle the coronavirus outbreak at the beginning of the year, LNG imports looked immediately vulnerable,” Thompson wrote of the scenario that made many lose sleep in Australia, now the world’s largest exporter of the commodity. And while LNG prices also fell to record lows, tumbling 40 per cent in April compared to the same month last year, the commodity is still in high demand. Credit once again goes to China, which is currently buying nine per cent more Australian LNG than it was buying in 2019. “The appetite of China’s consumers for Aussie tenderloin and merlot is insignificant in terms of overall trade,” Thompson wrote. “Iron ore, coal and LNG are what really matter. By value, China currently buys around a third of everything Australia exports.”
Image: Iron ore freight wagsons
THREE BIG NEW MINES CARMICHAEL COAL MINE
ELIWANA MINE AND RAILWAY
THE SURAT GAS PROJECT
In June 2019, an epic nine-year-long legal battle between environmentalists and India’s Adani Enterprises reached its nadir when the Queensland Government finally granted approval for the construction of one of the world’s largest coal mines in the Galilee Basin. The Carmichael mine will have the capacity to produce 60 million tonnes of thermal coal each year when it comes online. Adani says the Carmichael Mine will create about 1500 new jobs and 6750 indirect jobs in Western Queensland.
Some 1900 people, including hundreds who identify as Aboriginal, are working around the clock to build Fortescue Metal’s new $1.3 billion Eliwana Mine and Rail Project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. 500 permanent new jobs will be created when the ore processing facility – capable of producing 30 million tonnes of ore per year – and its 143km-long railway come online next year. In April, Fortescue also broke ground on the new $3.7 billion Iron Bridge mine in the Pilbara that will produce 22 million tonnes of iron ore a year from mid-2022.
Located in Darling Downs near the NSW border, the Surat Gas Project, valued at $10 billion, is the biggest new resource project in Queensland in almost 10 years. More than 800 people are currently building the plant, which features 18 separate production facilities linked by highpressure gas pipelines. Another 200 permanent jobs will be created when it commences operations. Owned by Arrow Energy – a joint venture between Shell and PetroChina – the Surat Gas Project is expected to produce five trillion cubic feet of LNG over 27 years of operation.
TURNING DIRT INTO SOIL WITH BIOSTIMULANTS The Green Revolution of the 1950s and 1960s promised much and, according to the metrics of the time, delivered. But soil health advocates argue there is a hidden cost. Words: DARREN BAGULEY
INTRODUCED WITH the intention of eliminating famine, the Green Revolution saw the transfer of advanced agricultural technologies including mechanisation, highyielding varieties of dwarf wheats, rices and other cereals, and irrigation or other forms of controlled water supply to underdeveloped countries. In addition, synthetic fertilisers and ‘crop protection’ agro chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides, as well as modern cultivation methods, worked to achieve the program’s aim of boosting production and greatly reducing the incidence of famine.
In later years, however, questions arose about the actual cost of the Green Revolution. The oil crisis of the 1970s caused the price of synthetic fertiliser and diesel fuel to spike, which made it difficult for farmers everywhere to continue buying these inputs. The new hybrids replaced traditional seed varieties that had been bred for hundreds, even thousands, of years to deal with local conditions. Any attempt to reduce or eliminate the regime of synthetic fertiliser, pesticides and herbicides saw reduced yields as the hybrids had been bred to thrive with these inputs.
"We are entering a perfect storm with increasing reliance on fertilisers and pesticide, compunding climate stressors, reduced resilience in food
Images: Truffle & Wine Co
production systems, and poorer outcomes for food producers."
SEWING THROUGH THE PAST Farmers across the world are now on a treadmill. Yields drop if they try to stop or scale back synthetic inputs, but they are at the mercy of the market when it comes to price. By the late 20th century, ecologists, agricultural scientists and farmers themselves were questioning the road down which agriculture was travelling. In the second decade of the 21st century, farmers struggled to maintain yields and, drained of the microbial life that characterises living soil, vast tracts of agricultural land had become dirt. “The promises of the Green Revolution are now bearing their fruit,” writes soil advocate Nicole Masters in her book For the Love of Soil. “Soil losses are escalating beyond soil’s capability to regenerate, with dramatic impacts on the environment, food nutrient density, and upon human life. Scientists calculate that in the past 40 years we have lost nearly a third of arable land to degradation and erosion and we may have as little as 60 harvests left before catastrophic collapse. We are entering a perfect storm with increasing reliance on fertilisers and pesticide, compounding climate stressors, reduced resilience in food production systems, and poorer outcomes for food producers. This decline is happening when we need food security more than ever.”
While some farmers continue to treat their land like dirt, over the past decade more and more are realising the importance of soil biology. Soil organisms strongly influence plant health and growth. Beneficial plantmicrobe interactions reduce pressure from invertebrate pests and diseases, mobilise nutrients that plants are unable to access by themselves, build root mass and modulate stress responses. In some ways, farmers are rediscovering the past and using techniques that have been used for millennia. For example, rotating monoculture crops seasonally to reduce the build-up of pests and pathogens, planting multi-species cover crops and incorporating organic materials such as crop residues, composts and manures. All these methods stimulate diverse soil biological communities – and some companies are seeking to shorten the process of building soil biology by producing biostimulants.
BUILDING A BETTER BASE According to DTS Regulatory Consultants’ Gavin Hall and Stellina Popplewell, “Biostimulants are generally regarded as biologically based products that, when applied to either soil for crop production or to a crop directly, produce a corresponding desirable
effect in that crop. They are not considered to be nutrients, pesticides or soil improvers, however often claimed to replace these products in part. “They can work directly with the plant itself, often inducing plant growth regulation, to elicit production of plant defence compounds or increase tolerance of environmental stresses. Alternatively, they may work within soil by such means as competing with harmful microorganisms, and/or providing a means to more easily absorb nutrients. Many biostimulants are bacterial organisms and so often called crop probiotics. Other examples include organic acids, seaweed extracts and other biological compounds.” Other waste-derived or raw organic biostimulants include sewage sludge, composted urban waste, vermicompost and chitin/chitosan derivatives. Some biostimulants include beneficial microbes that can be added to soils. For example, some soil microbes tolerate harsher environments than others. Pseudomonas putida can help wheat cope with heat stress, and some strains of Bacillus subtilis produce a plant hormone, cytokinin, that promotes growth in drought-stricken plants by interfering with suppressed shoot growth.
A SEED OF DOUBT Though well short of the estimated US$155.8 billion spent globally on fertiliser in 2019, research that appeared in Biology and
Fertility of Soils that same year estimated the biostimulant industry was worth $US2.9 billion in 2017, and is predicted to increase to $US5.4 billion by 2022. While many farmers have experienced great success using biostimulants, one of the report’s co-authors, Professor Susanne Schmidt, of The University of Queensland School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, warns that, unlike the EU, Australia does not regulate biostimulants. “Farmers who want to do the right thing pay dearly for products that deliver very little or nothing,” she says. “Often farmers change many things at once (for example, adding compost) and that may be enough to improve their soil health. “Replacing pesticides with microbes has a better chance of working but, again, scientific research is needed to generate the knowledge. Because particular microbes work against particular pests or pathogens, research has to be targeted to particular crops. A general product that ‘works for all crops in all soils and climates’ is not going to work.” Professor Schmidt cautions that the industry needs to remain mindful of the bigger picture. “Without scientific foundations and research and development, we will not make speedy progress … and those who are looking for a silver bullet may be disappointed. Probiotics are not going to solve all problems, but they certainly have potential to help agricultural industries to step up to the challenge of feeding our growing global family.”
FAST FACTS • One teaspoon of rich garden soil contains between 100 million and one billion bacteria. • There are five types of soil microbes which boost soil and plant health differently: bacteria, actinomycetes, fungi, protozoa and nematodes. • That earthy smell that permeates the air after it rains is known as petrichor and is caused by soil bacteria known as actinomycetes. SEPT/OCT 2020
Christmas gift ideas
Get organised early with these Christmas gift ideas for the whole family. Compiled by: Sarah Hinder
1. Blundstone Boots The new Blundstone #600 is built for comfort, with a soft brown leather upper and leather lining. It also features hidden stitching in the heel for added durability. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the perfect boot to wear for work or play. RRP $149, blundstone.com.au
2. Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones II This is second release of these top-tier wireless headphones, now engineered with even more precise noise-cancelling technology. Allowing greater focus and the opportunity to block our noise when travelling, the headphones are sturdy, impactresistant and connect via Bluetooth. The best part â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 20 hours of battery and super-quick charging. $499.95, bose.com.au
3. Tom Dixon Tank Decanter This Tank decanter takes its minimal, sculptural design from the functional shapes and volumes of scientific glassware. Each decanter is handmade, and fuses clear and solid black glass. $250, top3.com.au
4. hellyers road distillery single malt whisky
Aged over 15 years as part of the Original series by the award-winning, Tasmanian-based distillers. 700mL - $149.00, hellyersroaddistillery.om.au
5. Wouf Messenger Bag Inspired by the classic bomber jacket, this messenger bag is both functional and stylish. It is available in three colours, is waterproof and has multiple compartments for storing essentials. $295, top3.com.au
6. FAME greeting card pack
7. Southern Wild Co Candles
Good greeting cards never go astray. Featuring artworks by local Australian designer Danielle B Latta, FAMEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s card designs include the Tasmanian devil, western quoll, southern cassowary, numbat and Mary River turtle. $19.95, to order email email@example.com or call the Foundation on 08 8374 1744
Inspired by the diversity of Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s distinct landscapes and references, Southern Wild Co pays homage to our cultural Australian identity through its range of beautiful bespoke candles and its collection of various scented goods. $65, southernwildco.com.au
8. Islands of Australia: Travels through Time In this new photographic travel/history book, travel guru Tony Wheeler takes a journey around the Australian coast and beyond to discover the stunning natural features, unique wildlife and chequered histories of our remarkably diverse islets, cays, atolls and archipelagos. $39.99, bookshop.nla.gov.au SEPT/OCT 2020
KOMBUCHA: HOW THE ANCIENT BREW IS EVOLVING From the odd market stall to supermarket isles, kombucha has grown to become a fridge staple for health-conscious consumers. Words: BETHANY PLINT
PROMISING improved gut health thanks to its probiotic qualities, the fermented tea drink is an acquired taste. Fizzy and tart, it contains a slight amount of alcohol acquired during its fermentation process. While skeptics deem it another health fad spruiked by ‘influencers’ that will soon be laid to rest alongside SkinnyMe Tea and Bulletproof Coffee, in Australia the industry’s $200 million valuation suggests otherwise.
AN ANCIENT ELIXIR Before bike-pedaling hipsters and mums-who-brunch caught wind of it, the Chinese had been brewing kombucha since around 220 BC. Born out of the Tsin dynasty, the “Tea of Immortality” made its way to Japan, then to Europe and Russia in the early 20th century. Preparation processes vary, but every batch requires a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria or yeast), which is added to a mixture of steeped tea, sugar and vinegar. Left to ferment, the sugars break down and are converted into health-giving acids and probiotics. Confined to our homes during COVID-19 lockdowns, people turned to their kitchens to occupy their days. While some of us never made it past the banana bread phase, the truly dedicated began dabbling in homebrewed “booch”, with mixed results. It’s risky business: if equipment is not properly sanitised or the temperature
changes too drastically, bad bacteria can take hold of the SCOBY and lead to allergic reactions, infections and upset stomachs. It’s best left to the experts, then, who are increasingly turning to local breweries to mass-produce their brews as demand grows steadily.
AUSTRALIA’S KOMBUCHA KINGS The country’s first commercial kombucha operation, MOJO Beverages, started out in Willunga, a small town in South Australia’s famed McLaren Vale wine region. Getting their hands on a traditional recipe, the founders began producing kombucha in 2009, selling it in small batches to farmers, foodies, yogis and surfers. A decade on, MOJO still uses the same SCOBY strain from their very first batch. Although new flavours and varieties are constantly being introduced, they’re fiercely protective of their original recipe despite being scooped up by The Coca-Cola Company in 2018. Though MOJO is the first producer to hit the market here, they are not the biggest – Remedy takes that title. Backed by brewing giant Lion, Remedy holds around 70 per cent of the Australian market. Beyond kombucha but still on the fermenteddrink bandwagon, they also produce Switchel, a mixture of raw apple cider vinegar and fresh organic ginger; Tepache, a tangy Mexican-inspired drink made by brewing pineapple
FAST FACTS • Concerns around kombucha’s naturally occurring alcohol content began to swirl when Lindsay Lohan’s alcohol-monitoring bracelet was supposedly set off as a result of her frequent consumption of kombucha during a period of house arrest in 2010. • The health benefits of kombucha are largely attributed to probiotics, however, experts suggest a quicker way to boost your microbiome is to opt for yoghurt or kefir instead.
Image: The Dirty Bucha of Byron
"Answering the calls of health-concious consumers, a handful of Australian producers have begun brewing a different kind of booch â&#x20AC;&#x201C; with a serious kick."
juice with a live culture; and Coconut Water Kefir, an organic, live-cultured drink backed by nutrition experts.
SMALL BATCH SUCCESS Rather than competing with the big guys, smaller operations such as Central Coast brewers Kombucha Zest have channeled their energy into cutting out the middleman. “Our unique brewing process means we get to work directly with cafe and pub owners to create bespoke, handcrafted blends delivered by tap,” says founder Nathan Jennison. A staple in a stack of Central Coast cafes, the company’s sales took a hit when pandemic-induced lockdown regulations came into play. They adapted quickly, offering home delivery to Sydney, Newcastle and the Central Coast as a way to keep the business afloat. Sydney-based brewers Jiva share a similar story. Their revenue dropped 80 per cent after shutdowns commenced in March. Despite the direct-toconsumer approach showing its holes, Brand Development Manager Joshua Shubitz is confident Jiva will bounce back fast, especially with three new products slated to hit the market. “Kombucha is now a category, not a fad,” Joshua explains. But not all are made equal: some producers, says Joshua, are “veering away from the true art of kombucha”. “Real kombuchas are not sugar-free or shelfstable. Live cultures need sugar to stay alive,” says Joshua, adding that’s what puts Jiva’s brew in a league of its own.
kick. “People are consuming less alcohol these days, but when they do they want a higher quality,” says Paul Tansley, co-founder of The Bucha of Byron. Mixing high-quality kombucha – made in partnership with Stone & Wood – with premium spirits from neighbouring Cape Byron Distillers, Paul says, “The Dirty Bucha of Byron offers a low-sugar alternative to the standard RTDs on the market.” With competitors such as Victoriabased Brewhaha hot on their heels, the Byron-based producer is working hard to stay ahead of the curve, taking cues from the US to develop a hard seltzer. Before its release later this year, Sneaky Bucha will hit shelves first, in spring. A mix of beer and kombucha, it offers beer-lovers a lower-carb option in the form of a 4% XPA, lager and a dangerously drinkable summer ale. Unfortunately, Paul admits, the probiotic qualities of boozy booch won’t prevent hangovers, but they will
at least save you from the sugar crash at the end of the night.
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK The younger sibling in the fermented family, kefir is just beginning to step out of kombucha’s shadow. Like kombucha, kefir is cultured from a SCOBY and mixed with either milk or water. Rich in B vitamins, calcium and vitamin K2, its probiotic properties and beneficial bacteria help relieve inflammation and promote gut health. A tart drink, the dairy version resembles a thick, creamy yoghurt, while water-based kefir is sweeter and naturally fizzy, much like kombucha. With hundreds of small-scale producers popping up around the country, large operations leveraging growth opportunities and home brewers getting behind the trend, the future of fermented goods in Australia is looking solid. As long as they can nail the flavour.
THE HARD STUFF
Image: JIVA Kombucha
Answering the calls of health-conscious consumers, a handful of Australian producers have begun brewing a different kind of booch – with a serious
CLOSE TO HOME: WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF REGIONAL HOSPITALITY? Many regional hotels, restaurants, bars and cafĂŠs have found ways to soldier on during the current crisis, while others have chosen to hibernate until better days. But with so much uncertainty ahead, regional hospitality businesses are left wondering, what next? Words: lisa smyth
Image: Freycinet Lodge, Tasmania
NO AUSTRALIAN business sector has been harder hit by COVID restrictions than hospitality. In June, the Australian Hotels Association and Tourism Accommodation Australia estimated that 240,000 of the 250,000 workers employed by their members had been stood down – that’s a previously unimaginable 96 per cent! “Before COVID, 80 per cent of our market was interstate, five per cent international, and the other 15 per cent were intrastate, meaning Tasmanians,” explains Andrew Paynter, COO of RACT Destinations, which operates three accommodation properties across Tasmania. “When the state was locked down we took a people-first approach. We had close to 200 employees and only 50 per cent qualified for JobKeeper. We sat down with every single individual and mapped out
a plan, and we brought some maintenance programs forward to give people minimal hours. Every person in our business had food, a bed and a roof over their head.” OAK
Truffles have a symbiotic
SURVIVING LOCKDOWN relationship with host
‘People-first’ has been a core ofEnglish the trees,mantra commonly holm oak and hospitality industry during the oak, COVID-19 hazelnut. crisis in Australia. Large chains like Accor have become critical to the nation’s response 300 measures with many of their properties To make a truffière acting as mandatory quarantine centres, commercially viable, an as well as providing rooms for the average homeless of 200 to 300 and domestic abuse survivors needing a safe trees need to be planted. refuge. Many other businesses have offered DOGS takeaways and home deliveries to keep as Truffle hunting used to many staff employed as possible, though be entrusted to young that has proved more difficult for businesses pigs, but they are far too in regional Australia. fond of the expensive delicacy. In Australia, dogs are preferred. SEPT/OCT 2020
“We can’t pivot to takeaway like our metro cousins as the distances are much further, and it costs too much for travel,” says Eliza Brown, CEO of All Saints Winery in Wahgunyah, three hours north of Melbourne. The property offers multiple accommodation and dining options, has a cellar door, and is a popular wedding venue. “Regionally, we rely on tourism to improve our revenues due to locals having a finite spending power. So, we built a lot of video content during the first lockdown and used it to promote our wines and build trust and loyalty with our customers while they had to stay away.”
A BREATH OF FRESH AIR Despite the challenges regional hospitality businesses have faced this year, as lockdowns and restrictions ease, many are finding advantages to being so far from metro centres. “What we have been seeing in Australia as a result of lockdown is pent-up demand for leisure travel, but to regional locations,” explains Simon Wan, StayWell Holdings’ President and Director. “When travel restrictions eased, our regional properties in Cairns, the Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley all saw very sudden short-term occupancy growth, but the same was not true of metro areas. “People wanted to escape lockdown, but wanted to do so in locations they viewed as ‘safe’ options. Cities are unfortunately not yet being viewed in the same way, and with business travel and international travel yet to return, metro hospitality offerings are likely to continue to face more difficulties than regional properties.” Paynter concurs that there has been strong immediate demand since lockdown ended in Tasmania. “You cannot get a room at our Cradle Mountain Hotel,” he says, “and you would struggle to get one at the Freycinet property. Demand is strong until the end of August, but there’s only so much that we can yield from a Tasmanian market.” While Australians are staying close to home when it comes to travel in 2020, whether by necessity or feelings of ‘safety’, the opening of state borders is a critical first step for the long-term future of the regional hospitality industry. While hotels can’t rely on domestic travel forever, the industry hopes occupancy
rates could at least climb to 50 per cent in March 2021, from the less than 20 per cent seen in August 2020.
RELAX AND RECONNECT The Greater Geelong and Bellarine Peninsula region in Victoria usually has 6.4 million visitors per year, with an annual contribution of $1.1 billion per year to the state economy. More than 90 per cent of visitors are domestic travellers, so there’s huge potential for a quick rebound once lockdowns cease and borders reopen. “Of the domestic travel that we do receive, 50 per cent of those are travelling here primarily to visit friends and relatives,” explains Brett Ince, Executive Director of Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine. “A big focus as we move forward is ensuring that the products that our 600 members are offering have that relaxation, reconnection and recovery approach to them. What will support people to recover and reconnect with family and friends? If we think of the ’90s when people would get in their cars for a two-week family holiday rather than go overseas, that’s the kind of deep connection people are looking for. It will be a big change to how we travel.” Brown has also had customers express a desire for a different type of holiday than what they are used to. “People have a new-found excitement for travelling in winter and rugging up,” she says. “Many people have mentioned that they usually head to Europe or Asia to get away from the cold, but now they are excited about reading by open fires and walking in the bush with scarves and beanies – they see the cold as a positive.” Hospitality has often been referred to as a ‘hearts and minds’ industry, and many regional operators are also relying on the continued desire for destination weddings as a key part to their recovery. But no matter what happens in the future, Wan predicts the hospitality industry will be changed forever. “There is no denying that the world will be a different place due to the effects of COVID-19,” he says. “I would argue that all of us in hospitality need to develop a more sustainable financial model so our businesses can survive not only the rebound from COVID-19, but also the next challenge when it comes.”
RIGHT: IMAGES COURTESY OF STAYWELL PROPERTIES AND RACT DESTINATIONS
FAST FACTS • In June, figures showed that jobs in Accommodation and Food Services decreased 21 per cent since midMarch – four times that of the ‘all industries’ average. • According to IBISWorld, Australian restaurant revenue has declined by 25.1 per cent, from $19.7 billion in 2018-19 to $15 billion in 2019-20.
"While Australians are staying close to home when it comes to travel, the opening of state borders is critical to the longterm future of the regional hospitality industry."
THE DATING APP BOOM They offer the potential to meet Mr or Mrs Right without having to get off the sofa and are fuelling a business that’s estimated to reach US$12 billion this year. But how are dating apps doing working for us when it comes to the search for love? words: Paul Ewart
IF YOU’RE one of the (many) newly single Australians out there gearing up to get back on the dating wagon, chances are you won’t be wrangling your besties together for a night on the tiles in the hopes of bumping into a potential partner. Nope, in today’s smartphone age, if you want to meet your match, all you need to do is swipe. While yesteryear’s internet dating carried a raft of negative connotations – from cat ladies to catfishing – the next generation of e-dating is as cool as it gets. Fuelled by hipster millennials, according to new research, more than 25 million people worldwide are finding love via their phones. Locally, YouGov discovered that at least 35 per cent of Aussies have used internet and app dating services, while research from dating app Bumble showed that more than half of Australian singles (52 per cent, to be precise) aged 18 to 45 have used a dating app to make a connection, and it’s expected that more than half of all couples will have met online by 2031. “It may once have had a stigma attached,” says couples and singles
counsellor Melissa Ferrari. “But with more than 4.5 million Aussies using them now, it really is the new normal.” It may feel like geolocation dating apps have always been around, but they’ve actually only been in wide use for the past decade. Though originating in the gay community with 2009’s Grindr, it was the 2012 launch of Tinder that proved to be the real game-changer. In three short years, the app was registering a billion swipes daily (left for ‘no’, right for ‘yes’), and last year it topped Apple’s highestgrossing app chart, beating Netflix to become the highest-earning non-game app in the entire world. In fact, the dating app industry as a whole is worth a staggering estimated US$12 billion. And given its cash-cow status, an A to Z of apps launched in Tinder’s wake, hoping to emulate its meteoric success. While each app spruiks a slightly different selling point, targeting a slightly different demographic, in reality, most are owned by the same handful of conglomerates – significantly Match Group (which boasts more than 45 dating services, including Tinder,
"Ghosting, benching, zombieing...dating apps have created a glossary of new terms, and most of them are bad."
Match.com, Hinge and OKCupid) and MagicLab, which owns the femalefocused Bumble, among others. “Since launching in 2014, Bumble has amassed over 80 million users in more than 150 countries,” says the company’s Australia Country Lead, Lucille McCart. “This has led to more than 1.4 billion women-led first moves and over four billion messages sent worldwide. On a local level, we have three million registered users in Australia, which is very impressive given the relatively small size of the market.” Knowing there’s big bucks to be made in this primal urge to connect, both industry giants have created spin-off businesses. Bumble have launched Bumble BFF – a mode within the app dedicated to friend-finding, and Bumble Bizz – dedicated to professional networking. In addition, micro-companies cater to specific demands. For example, Aussie startup Matchsmith offers packages for time-poor swipers that include a ‘profile polish’ and personalised ‘matching
strategy assistance’. Dating apps have undeniably changed the way we meet people forever. But as more and more of us ditch the concept of real-life encounters through friends, or meeting at a bar, to date almost solely via apps, what are the consequences? They may be the new normal, but given apps’ relative newness, the psychological implications of long-term use are only just starting to be assessed. “Dating at your fingertips is powerful and addictive,” says Melissa. “With every ‘match’ you can experience the ‘feel good’ hormones in your brain as oxytocin and the neurotransmitter dopamine are released. The danger is that this constant seeking of a new buzz can easily negatively impact the relationships that you form, as you find yourself quickly losing interest in people you meet as you are always seeking something new.” Presented with a smorgasbord of seemingly never-ending options – at your fingertips – creates choice and
more choice is good, right? Well, not always. “The paradox is that choice can actually end up hindering our ability to make a choice,” explains relationship coach Louanne Ward. “We end up fearing we may get it wrong, or there could be something better. There are many scientific studies which show that more choice increases anxiety.” Then there’s the relative anonymity that a device holds: a downside of virtual connections is the bad behaviour they can induce. Ghosting, benching, zombieing… dating apps have created a glossary of new terms, and most of them are bad. “One of the most obvious and concerning by-products of dating apps is they have created a whole set of poor behaviours in which the user is unaccountable for their actions,” continues Louanne. “It has become part of the dating culture to ghost people, to date multiple people at the same time and generally be non-committal.” Just as we’re witnessing widespread reports of addiction to social media, the
dependency on our devices is spilling over into the time we spend on dating apps. For example, the average Tinder user spends 90 minutes every day on the app – more time than we spend exercising or eating. “We are seeing a range of negative effects with people who find themselves addicted to dating apps,” says psychotherapist and relationship counsellor Dan Auerbach. “They’re highly addictive because our minds are naturally reward-seeking. In this case that reward is a profile picture which we find exciting or stimulating, and in the online dating space, we never know when that next reward will come. That sort of random reinforcement triggers strong compulsivity. It's a phenomenon we see in gambling addiction, too.” While it may seem like it’s all doom and gloom, it’s not. Used correctly – and in moderation – dating apps have the potential to lead to genuine, longterm relationships. “On the flipside, these platforms can reduce isolation,” explains Dan. “And I think we all know of great relationships that would never have happened were it not for dating apps.” Melissa agrees: “Out of the millions of people who have met online, research is telling us that there has been vetting at the beginning, uncovering ‘deal-breakers’ early on. If you are careful, deal with one person at a time and look for a genuine connection as early as you can, online dating can work for you.” As smartphones infiltrate even further into our day-to-day lives, it’s highly unlikely we’ll see a return to more ‘traditional’ dating – especially not when matching with a potential partner is as easy as ordering Uber Eats. But while the matching process is easy, finding actual rom-com-esque love in the digital age certainly isn’t. It’s a search filled with both positives and negatives, highs and lows. Make sure to have a game plan in place, be realistic, stay upbeat, know your boundaries and, above all, think before you swipe.
5 EXPERT TIPS FOR DATING-APP NEWBIES BITE THE BULLET
If you’ve emerged from a long-term relationship and are dipping your toe into the world of dating apps, Ferrari suggests limiting hesitation. “My advice is to not leave it too long. Dive back into the dating scene as quickly as you can.”
While looks are far from everything, in the world of app dating, your initial profile photo is the hook. “Dating isn’t all about looks but there does need to be some kind of mutual attraction. So, just like the rest of your profile, make sure that your photo shows you in your best light,” Ferrari says.
As hard as it may be, try to let go of your expectations. Instead, go on a date with a ‘what will be will be’ mentality. “Understand the
playing field in apps is equal,” explains Ward. “When you first meet someone, don’t expect special romantic treatment, such as the man paying.”
BE HONEST When it comes to crafting your profile, honesty is always the best policy, says Ferrari: “It can be tempting to embellish yourself to make you sound more attractive, but this will only work against you in the long run.”
BE UP-FRONT As honest as you are with your profile description, be equally candid with your intentions, be it something more casual or more long-term. “Be up-front about the type of relationship you want,” explains Ward. “The other person will respect that and you’ll save a lot of time second-guessing.”
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