Capital City Treats

Your Taste Buds Will Love the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival (27 FEB to 15 MAR)

 

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Melbourne, VIC


Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Melbourne, VIC Immersery: Festival Kitchen, Bar and Raingarden
Copyright: Tourism Australia
Photographer: Ellenor Argyropoulos

It all started quite humbly 22 years ago (with a program of only a dozen events) as the brainchild of advertising veteran, Peter Clemenger, who had recognised that Melbourne was in dire need of reinvigoration. Fast forward and those events have grown exponentially in festival history to over 200 annually.

The well regarded and much anticipated Melbourne Food and Wine Festival draws in thousands of enthusiasts eager to partake and indulge in hosted experiences throughout the city and sprawling out into regional Victoria. One-off events is the mainstay of the program and offers diversity making the festival unique and extremely appealing. It’s a joyful celebration and festival go-ers are encouraged to be adventurous in their palate and spirit.

 

 Bank of Melbourne World's Longest Lunch, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Melbourne, VIC


Bank of Melbourne World’s Longest Lunch, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Melbourne, VIC
Copyright: Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
Photographer: Daniel Mahon

Bank of Melbourne ‘World’s Longest Lunch’ will launch the celebration on 27 February at Fitzroy Gardens. Last year the festival set a record in its history with this event hosting 1,504 diners on a 530m long table situated along the banks of the scenic Yarra River. What a sight it was!

What we love about this festival is the genius creativity born from the collaboration of world renowned international chefs with our very own leading local chefs. The festival has been fortunate to have hosted the who’s who of the culinary world such as Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Heston Blumenthall and Anthony Bourdain.

A bonus is that not all events require you to purchase a ticket. There’s at least a dozen celebrations that are hosted complimentary … so why not check out the Festival Artisan Bakery & Bar, Open Kitchen and Crown’s Alfresco Kitchen at Southbank or Fed Square Harvest at Federation Square and Grazing by the River held at South Wharf. Paid events range in price to cater for those on a tight budget to those who can afford a little more depending on the experience and exclusivity of the event. Whatever your budget, there will be a hosted food and wine experience waiting for you!

 Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, Melbourne, VIC


Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Melbourne, VIC Immersery: Festival Kitchen, Bar and Raingarden with Dan Wilson
Copyright: Tourism Australia
Photographer: Ellenor Argyropoulos

If you’re a local, the festival is a premier event to attend, offering gastronomic delights that you’ll not be able to experience any other time of year. And if you’re an international visitor, the festival is guaranteed to heighten the fun factor of your Melbourne stay.

There’s only a couple of weeks til the festival kicks off. Don’t miss this exceptionally enjoyable culinary exploration for your taste buds and get amongst it … there’s 316 events for you to choose from, explore and experience!

Part I: A Weekend on Australia’s Island State … Tasmania

On the summit of Mt Wellington in Hobart, Tasmania

Mt Wellington, Hobart

Overnight bag. Check!

Boarding pass. Check!

Five senses. Check, check, check, check, check!

We’ve set off to explore the country’s smallest (island) state … Just how much did we pack in on a weekend mini-break? Read on my friends!

It’s VERY early Saturday morning in Hobart town and there’s no contemplating our whereabouts but to be at Salamanca Market. Only open on Saturdays, this is an absolute MUST-DO! Originally a warehouse and storage area in the 1830s, you can easily spend half the day wandering through the 300 stalls, galleries, boutique shops, cafes/restaurants and being entertained by talented buskers.

But first, to fuel our bodies and our unique breakfast venue of choice at Salamanca Square certainly ticked our sense of taste. Don’t be put off by their unusual name but Machine Laundry Café is a hidden gem highly rated on Tripadvisor and was well worth the wait for a table to enjoy their extensive menu, generous servings and friendly service. Oh, and great coffee to boot (you might even come across some feedback that says “A bowl of coffee? Yes please!”)!

Tummy rumbles gone, we explored what the markets had to offer. Local produce is always a drawcard for me so I couldn’t resist buying a few small bottles of jam and honey to take home.

Next destination … Mt Wellington and what a vista from the summit! A pleasant half hour journey from Salamanca Place, Wellington Park connects the city to the bush and the mountains to the waterways. We were lucky enough to be there on a clear day with panoramic views of Hobart, surrounding suburbs and brilliant harbour! Weather conditions change quickly on the summit with temperatures often below zero so be well prepared for your visit. Sense of sight … tick!

There was no stopping for lunch only because we were still full from breakfast!

The remainder of our Saturday afternoon was spent leisurely at Australia’s largest privately owned museum, the Museum of Old and New Art (a.k.a. MONA). Officially opened in January 2011, MONA alone would satisfy all your senses in one visit. You’re in for a gallery experience unlike any other as you take in MONA’s unique architecture and frequently updated collection. My favourite part? Enjoying a glass of wine and listening to live ‘MoFolk’ music on the lawns in the sunshine (on not so nice days, the music sessions get brought indoors to the museum). Sense of sound … tick!

After a BIG day of walking and exploring, we still didn’t mind taking a stroll from our comfy accommodation to Battery Point, one of Hobart’s exclusive and historic little pocket. Step back in time as you admire a bygone era of stunning sandstone buildings. At Kathmandu Cuisine we appreciated a candlelit, relaxing and flavoursome meal where the friendly and attentive staff made sure we enjoyed our dinner. After our three course dinner (good to indulge every now and then), we were more than ready to hit the sack in our newly refurbished Executive Room at Travelodge.

Well folks, that was day one of our ‘Tassie’ weekend adventure.

Like to know what we got up to on our second day? Here’s a snippet … roadtrip, beaches, midlands, bushwalk, more beautiful, historic towns and plenty of photo stops!

Keep an eye out for Part II!

Romantic Ideas in and around Melbourne

Zios Restaurant

Valentine’s Day dining at Zio’s Restaurant

Hang on; Valentine’s Day is this Friday!?  For those not romantically inclined, this popular day for celebrating love can seem to creep up way too soon after Christmas and New Year’s Eve.  With limited time to sort something out or for those who need ideas for next time, here are some suggestions on what to do together on Valentine’s Day in Australia’s city of love: Melbourne.

Melbourne is bursting at the seams with new food and drink hangouts amongst old favourites.  Enjoy afternoon cocktails at Naked in the Sky; the rooftop bar is very popular due to its massive range of infused vodkas and fancy cocktails, trendy atmosphere and spectacular unspoilt views of the city.  Afterwards there are plenty of eateries along Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, for something not too fancy but still absolutely delicious, try the oriental delights at Rice Queen. However, Valentine’s Day is a day to spoil your loved one somewhere small, intimate, quiet, special and has exceptional food and wine.  You then can’t go past Zio’s Restaurant in East Melbourne, set in a small terraced building; Zio’s has a range of food to cater for all tastes in the perfect setting for a romantic dinner, if it’s cold there’s even a few wooden fireplaces.  There’s no better way to spoil the one you love than to get them Zio’s famous chocolate soufflé for dessert, it’s heavenly.

Valentine’s Day luckily falls on a Friday, so why not spread the romance over the rest of the weekend!  If the weather is nice, Melbourne is scattered with many parks and gardens to explore. The Cranbourne Botanic Gardens, around an hour out of the city is a huge park showcasing Australia’s large variety of beautiful native plants; the park is perfect as a lunch spot and a walk.  Your traditionally romantic English-style gardens such as the Fitzroy Gardens and the Royal Botanic Gardens provide stunning settings for picnics, there are plenty of paths to walk around and the lush green grass is perfect to lie on for a bit of relaxation.

Melbourne is only a few hours’ drive to the rolling green pastures of the Yarra Valley, an area synonymous with romance.  A day in the Yarra Valley region can easily be done by car and at your own pace.  To impress your loved one on Valentine’s Day you can’t go past tasting fine wines at the Dominique Portet cellar door set in a romantic French style building. The Yarra Valley Dairy cannot be missed for their award winning marinated fetta, perhaps take a cheese platter and sit out on their deck taking in the serene views of the valley.  A few hours can also easily be spent at Hedgend Maze, hidden down a dirt track; this delightful hedge maze is great fun. You are given a list of clues and you need to match the clues with various objects you find in the maze to be able to solve the mystery.  There’s also mini golf, Frisbee golf or relax in the beautifully manicured gardens with an ice cream.

Why Sydney is Still a Great Destination

Also known as the Harbour City, Sydney is the largest, oldest and most cosmopolitan city in all of Australia. While other Australians may have some less-than-glamorous stereotypes about Sydney, they’re only envious of the world’s most beautiful and liveable city. While there is plenty of history, culture, fine cuisine, art and fashion, many of the best experiences you’ll have here are physical. Everyone seems to be outside exploring the great length of sandstone cliffs and headlands, surfing or swimming at one of the many golden beaches, or spending a day on the water in the famous Sydney Harbour.

Whether you’re starting or finishing your Australian adventure, your days in Sydney are sure to be active and engaging, and your nights decadent and enchanting. If you’ve heard it’s not the place to be anymore, then read on for some of the reasons why Sydney is still a fantastic destination.

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Using Sydney as Your Holiday Hub

There is no better place to set up a base on your Australian holiday than Sydney. The following are all the reasons why Sydney makes such a fantastic holiday hub, as well as tips for making your holiday happen.

Why Visit Sydney?

1. It’s Full of Highlights. Sydney is absolutely packed full of highlights, making it the ultimate holiday base regardless of how long you have to visit. Sydney is home to one of the world’s greatest harbours, there are literally dozens of gorgeous beaches, the restaurant scene is unbelievably good, and the nightlife is among the best in the world. Sydney also hosts some of the country’s best festivals each year, has an impressive arts and culture scene, and, if you are interested in history, few places in the world can compare to the colourful story of this city. So if you want to set up a base somewhere special for your Australian holiday, look no further than Sydney.
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Exploring Australia’s Capital City

As the nation’s capital, Canberra is the home of the full Australian story thanks to its many attractions, cultural museums, politics, Indigenous heritage, beautiful flora and fauna, and the many national celebrations. Whether you are visiting Canberra for a weekend or longer, there is no shortage of fun things to see and do. The following is just a brief overview of the activities available to you during your visit.

History and architecture

The city of Canberra is in itself an architectural marvel. The plan for the city was designed in 1912, and is filled with iconic buildings. Not only that, but you can explore some of the popular museums and memorials, such as the Anzac Parade, the Australian War Memorial, the Canberra Museum and Gallery or even the National Archives of Australia. There are also plenty of beautiful places of worship and embassies that will impress the architect in you.

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Day Tours to Enjoy from Australia’s Capital Cities

When on holiday or otherwise wanting to sightsee in Australia, there is absolutely no shortage of wonderful tours from which to choose. A smorgasbord of tours are offered from Australia’s capital cities and vary in length from an hour or two to whole days and even extended journeys.

Taking day tours from different Australian cities provides a wonderful and very comfortable to way to see some of the highlights of this amazing and very diverse country. Day tours also have the benefit of giving you a taste of what is on offer and frequently pique the interest of travellers to explore different areas or activities in greater depth.

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