|New to travel: cycling in South Korea.|
With winter just about out the window, you could be forgiven for thinking Tasmania’s raison d’être has also gone the way of the Australian tiger. That’s only because you haven’t been to Launceston, up on the north coast. Interestingly (well, ok, interesting to me), a Brit once said it should be pronounced Launston ( the ‘ces’ isn’t pronounced: think Worcestershire sauce). But I digress. Check out this week’s travel deals and kids’ gig, where smearing your nose along a window is encouraged – nay – obligatory.
markets and Tamar Valley wineries. Stay in a one-bed Superior suite at The
Sebel Launceston from $219, and they’ll deliver breakfast in bed and a wee
bottle of champagne. Until December 31. accorhotels.com.
|Singapore is about to roar: F1 racing comes to town.|
trails. Save 25 percent on the first, nine-day Korean Cycle trip from Seoul to
traditional Andong through unspoilt forests and villages. Departs October 26, from
$2590, 1800 107 060, adventuresouth.co.nz.
September 19-23. Packages include a three-day Grandstand race ticket, race preview
lunch, return international airfares and four nights’ accommodation. Save
over $500, costs $2595, 1300 888 858, sportsnetholidays.com.
|Gentle luxury at The
visits, check out the Parkroyal Melbourne Airport’s Kids Plane-Spotting package
and watch the big birds take off right outside your hotel room. Includes
accommodation for one adult and one child under 12 (Friday and Saturday nights
only), breakfast and an activity package, from $269 until 31 December. Extra
adults from $20. 1800 192 144, parkroyalhotels.com.
|Pelligrini’s bar & cafe, Melbourne|
If you were wondering where in the world to live, it’s official – yet again: Melbourne has pulled off a hat-trick as the world’s most livable city, three years running.
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual survey saw us bump Vancouver down to third place, and Vienna is in second. A note to those who haven’t yet visited: no matter how much we moan about winter, our winters don’t come with thigh-high snow.
We have a ridiculously good cafe scene, vibrant street art, leafy streets and a marked absence of tanks or chemical warfare going on, which no doubt helped us pip the 139 other cities in the competition, which finds poor Damascus, Syria, now at the bottom of the list.
So I take this blog to tell the current Victorian premier, Dr Denis Napthine, to stop carving the city up with his ridiculous, overpriced and under-researched road schemes. Just because you don’t like Collingwood, doesn’t mean you have to wipe it off the map with a freeway. One of the key considerations for the EIU is infrastructure (as well as stability, culture & environment, healthcare and education), and that means public transport.
|Street art, Melbourne|
If you were in doubt as to Melbourne’s livability, you could go for second-best and choose Adelaide, Sydney or Perth, who were also in the top 10. Aww, makes you proud to be an Australian, doesn’t it?
The top 10
Vienna, Austria (hello Andrew!)
Vancouver, Canada (um, cold, anyone?)
Toronto, Canada (yep, cold, too)
Calgary, Canada (possibly colder)
Adelaide, Australia (also very good coffee, thanks to all the Italians)
Sydney, Australia (yeah, yeah, whatevs)
Helsinki, Finland (see cold comment, above)
Auckland, New Zealand
The bottom 10 (most of which are on my hitlist except Lagos, which just sounds scarey)
Tehran, Iran (lovely, lovely city)
Port Moresby, PNG
Getting away from it all? Not any more — we want holiday homes that have it all… (or, as I’ve subtitled this piece in my noisy head, how we traded the caravan for the castle.)
For generations of Aussies, summer holidays always started with a
long, “I spy”-dominated drive to the beach.
The accommodation was either
a caravan park, where kids ran rampant from dawn until dusk and the
queue at the shower block was the essential meeting place, or the
classic beach shack, built on a shoestring and furnished with the
cast-offs from the family home.
We’ve always loved our beach
shacks: hidden from view on the white-sand beaches of the NSW south
coast or up in idyllic Byron Bay, you’ll see them among the dunes along
the South Australian coastline, tucked away down sandy lanes on the
Bellarine and Mornington peninsulas, so laid-back they’re almost
Stayz, a division of Fairfax Media, recently held its annual awards for
the best holiday rentals in seven categories including best for pets,
romance, families and eco-friendliness, as well as a people’s choice.
Judged by a panel of travel industry experts with guest ratings and
reviews in the mix, the results are an eye-opener.
|Seabourn Sojourn’s spiral atrium.|
Design is at the forefront of modern travel, with yet more innovations on the way in cruising. Here’s what’s happening on the high seas.
Forget communal tables and allocated seating: it’s all about how you
deign to dine when you’re all at sea. Crystal Cruises is one of many
saying “no” to long buffet counters, replacing them with “food islands”
and more tables for two.
Private dining is also on the rise, with
Seabourn’s large verandahs set up to encourage private alfresco dining
while Princess Cruises’ newest ship, the Royal Princess, features a new
Chef’s Table Lumiere, sectioned off by a curtain of light around a glass
table in one of its dining rooms.
On-board spas are larger and
more glamorous, with more facilities and treatments. Expect couples
retreats, cabanas, indoor-outdoor spaces and capitalisation on those
ocean views. The Seabourn small ships’ spas top the range, coming in at
more than 1000 square metres, with thermal suites, herbal baths and walk
pools. Its four new penthouse spa suites are connected to the main spa
by a dramatic spiral staircase and come with a spa concierge, because we
all need a spa concierge.
We’ve also seen the rise of all-suite
ships, with more private verandahs – up to 95 per cent of Silversea’s
new Silver Spirit has verandahs. Adjoining staterooms and two-bedroom
penthouses are another in-demand feature, in response to the increase of
families of up to three generations taking to the seas together.
P&O’s popular Pacific Pearl and Pacific Dawn were refitted with
adjoining rooms last year: expect to see more adults-only pools, most
likely adjoining the spa, and a rise in single cabins. In fact, the
first single balcony cabins are now on the market as more solo cruisers
hit the seas, without paying a costly single supplement.
Source: Belinda Jackson
This extract was published in the Sydney Morning Herald/The Age. But wait, there’s more! Click here to read about innovation in trains, luggage, hotels and airlines.
|Ski-in, ski-out Falls Creek, Victoria|
As the rain and hail beat down, a week in Byron Bay is sweet music to the ears in this office. But then, so is the idea of hot chocolate in the snowfields, especially as Falls Creek has cracked the one-meter mark! Sun, ski: choose your passion. There’s also a cool new kids’ iPad application that is (a) cheap (b) educational and (c) won’t send you into a world of spam and irate sword-wielding cats demanding you buy more, more and more.
NEW SOUTH WALES
surfing, coffee and music. Save 15 per cent when you book a three-night package
at BreakFree Eco Beach between September 21, 2013 – March 31, 2014. Costs from
$432, three nights, studio room. breakfree.com.au.
pass and three days of ski or board rental, parka and pants and snowsports
school for kids. From $499 adults, $405 kids (3-14 years) 13-29 September,
quote ‘snowtime intro’. 1800 453 525, skifalls.com.au/deals.
one free night when you book an APT Canada tour by October 25. The 19-day tour
of the Canadian Rockies and Alaska departing April 14, 2014 costs from $10,395
a person, twin share. 131 398, travelscene.net.au.
Tracks app, aimed at kids 6-12 years. Download the free app and then buy
‘tracks’ for 99c each, which lead kids (and their virtual pet) through 46
attractions in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.
The multiple-choice questions
mean kids learn and earn, with prizes at the end. You get to visit the Old
Melbourne Gaol, Harbour Bridge or even the Art Gallery of NSW with serenity and
sanity intact. kidtracks.com.au.
|VisitBritain’s postbox USB|
But then I caught up with Visit Britain at Melbourne’s British restaurant, Papa Goose, on the serious eating strip of Flinders Lane.
Take a look at their little marketing number, loaded with press releases for eager journos. How cute is that red postbox?
If you thought 2013 was a bumper year for the UK, with the trifecta of the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation, a Brit (finally!) winning Wimbledon and a baby royal to boot, next year is shaping up well, with a swathe of anniversaries including Shakespeare (400 years), Jane Austen (200 years), poet Dylan Thomas (100 years) and Dr Who, who hit the big five-oh! this year.
|Take an icon, turn it into a journalist’s cheat sheet.
What’s not to love?
Restaurants in former
public toilets are so hot right now (well, they’d be convenient, boom-tish) men’s fashion is taking on Paris and Milan and hey, Brits are
loving us Aussies as we spend up big in the shops.
Cashed up Aussies? Who wouldn’t love us? Unfortunately, that’s sure to
be one change in 2014, no matter what government comes in
with the upcoming Australian election. Ha!
|Song Saa island, Thailand|
Pssst, life is full-on, sometimes deals don’t always fall on your desk when you planned. If you’re ready to go, and go now, check these little babies out!
GO NOW: MELBOURNE
Cavalia show and Fraser Suites Melbourne until August 18. Get Gold tickets and
an overnight stay in a deluxe studio from $429 for two people, saving $60. 1800
800 488, frasershospitality.com.au.
nights at Capella Lodge and get free flights from Sydney and a free night until
September 30. From $3900 a person, seven nights. (02) 9918 4355,
Thailand, for four nights of sustainable luxury. Pay half price until September
30, from US$3298 (A$3637), double, all-inclusive for four nights in a jungle
villa. +855 236 860 360, songsaa.com.
or create art from beach debris at Club Med Cherating, Malaysia. Save on stays until
September 1, from $1057 for adults, $614 for kids 4-11yrs, seven nights. 1300
855 052, clubmed.com.au.
|Barefoot’s design house, Sri Lanka.|
I have fondled hemp throws in Morocco, lusted for
Kashmiri embroidered cushions, gone cammo with Arabic scarves, and when
my husband told me not to buy any carpets in Iran I deduced the man was
obviously delusional: I was going to Persia, home of the rug. He’d given
up by the time I announced the Sri Lanka trip.
In my defence,
textiles are surely the ideal souvenir. They usually pack down easily,
they’re not fragile, they are useful and, importantly, they are a direct
link to a country’s culture.
|African drumming for families at the Darebin
Music Feast, Sept 18-29, musicfeast.com.au
studio apartment at All Suites Perth, with midday
checkout and free wifi included on two-night stays Friday to Sunday until early
December. Normally $300, costs $256, two nights, quote “Studio Stay 2
Save 20%”. 1300 88 7979, wotif.com/hotelW4628.
you book a 14-night tour of Peru & Argentina by August 30. The group will cover Macchu Pichu, fabulous Buenos Aires and Mendoza.
Departs 10 November, quote ‘SHPERU’, $7699, travellingdivas.com.au.
|Staré Město: Prague’s evocative old town.|
GO LATER: CZECH
hotels from November 1 until December 28 including the four-star Hotel Leonardo, from $50 a night with breakfast. 1300 363
Music Feast, in Melbourne’s inner-north in the upcoming school holidays,
18-29 September. Expect pop-up performances spaces, CD launches and shows by
young artists including Miss Eileen and Yorque, African drumming workshops and
family go-go dance classes. Free (some require bookings), musicfeast.com.au
|Gorgeously photogenic babouches, leather slippers
from Marrakech, Morocco
Belinda Jackson lists eight favourite destinations at which to arrive
with empty bags.
Busted your luggage allowance lugging home a treasure only to find it in
your local ‘hood? The best shopping is a rejection of globalisation: it’s about
going back to the source or finding something that only that city or country
renaissance, London’s smoking-hot fashion and design is being peddled by a
James Bond (Daniel Craig), a welter of celebrated sportsmen and the new baby
hottest strip is Chiltern Street, in Marylebone, W1. “It’s a return to a
coterie of small, chic, beautifully designed and curated shops including
fabulous Tyler Brule’s the Monocle Cafe, Cire Trudon for the best candles,
uber-cool men’s boutique Trunk, and Atlas Gallery, for its photographs. If I
had to say one shop, it would be Mouki (mouki-london.com)
for its stylish, insider brands of women’s fashion and lifestyle.”
men’s shoe departments. Its new Denim Studio includes a free denim doctor to
help women find their perfect pair of jeans from 60 brands. The Conran Shop
(including the newly refurbished Marylebone store, conranshop.co.uk) and Liberty (liberty.co.uk) are design stalwarts.
Dials, north of Covent Garden, as your compass point and branch out (sevendialsco.uk). Check out Cambridge
Satchel Company (cambridgesatchel.com),
Sienna Miller’s Twenty8Twelve (twenty8twelve.com)
or, for a village vibe, Neal’s Yard.
flashing your customised trench on the catwalk or in a movie, in-between
sporadic digital thunderstorms.
ice-cool design, you can’t visit Stockholm without admiring the masters’ design
to SoFo – South of Folkungagatan Street (sofo-stockholm.se)
– with a profusion of fashion and interior designers with antique and vintage
clothing shops, trendy bars and restaurants,” says Birgitta Palmer, of the
Stockholm Visitors Board.
and gifts at DesignTorget (designtorget.se).
for the ultimate in Swedish fashion (acnestudios.com;
self-respecting Swedish child wears Polarn O. Pyret, designer of unisex,
hard-wearing children’s clothes (polarnopyret.com).
And who can say no to Bjorn Borg-designed knickers (bjornborg.com)?
market Street, in Sodermalm. A tip from Sean Naughton, concierge at Benny
Andersson’s Hotel Rival (www.rival.se): if
you can’t afford the heavyweight fashion names of Bibliotekstan, score
discounted fashion at Barkaby outlet centre (qualityoutlet.com/in-english).
design aesthetic – it’s cheeky and cute, and if you don’t leave Bangkok with a
bag full of silk, you’re just not trying.
T-shirts with unusual designs,” says Bangkok resident Mark Thomson, of
Anantara hotels. “Also Propaganda, which is home to Mr P, who appears in
anatomically correct cartoon lamps and other … products.” (propagandaonline.com).
been recently made-over with an edgy open plan; several floors are given over
to Thailand’s fashion designers. It’s also the home of Madame Tussauds Bangkok.
The massive Chatuchak market is in every guidebook, allegedly the world’s
largest weekend market. Grab a map at the entrance before you dive in (chatuchak.org).
second-hand camera gear in the beloved, budget-easy MBK mall. Unlike the rest
of MBK, prices are fixed and labelled.
Thann, whose lush products feature Asian ingredients: think jasmine blossom,
tamarind, rice-bran oil and nutmeg. Find them in all the major malls and a new
Thann cafe at level 3, Gaysorn Plaza.
special flair that makes it an interior design powerhouse and, of course, shoes
are a hot item.
three homewares stores. A11 comprises three townhouses that are a furniture and
design gallery (F.B. Harrison Street, Pasay). AC+632 stocks Gallic homewares
with a Philippines twist, including excellent tassels (Greenbelt 5, Makati),
while W17 is a celebration of Asian interiors using local materials (w17home.com).
sizes, from just a few dollars each (Greenhills market, San Juan). For upmarket
indigenous design visit revered jeweller Arnel Papa, whose materials may
include buffalo horn and ebony wood (Greenbelt 5, Makati).
the Philippines’ national flower (Glorietta 3, Makati), while the omnipresent
SM (which stands for Shoemart) fits any tastepoint, from ballet flats to
nightclub dagger heels, at great prices (sm-shoemart.com).
Expect Chanel and Gucci with serial numbers if you can bear to carry last
year’s hottest tote (Almeda Arcade Building, Makati, bagaholic.com.ph).
colour and exotic motifs Indian shopping is in a league of its own, from haute
couture to Hindi kitsch.
guides including Love Delhi, tips three hot locales: Meharchand Market, Khan
Market and ShapurJat of Hauz Khas. “Snigdha Shekhar has created one of the
best interior and lifestyle stores in Delhi at Artisan Luxe,” she says.
(Meherchand Market, Lodhi Road.)
contemporary homewares at Khan Market’s Good Earth then take a break in its
excellent rooftop cafe, Latitude 28 (goodearth.in).
textiles: hunt down your wallet-friendly Indian wardrobe of cotton kurtas (long
shirts) and salwars (trousers) in Fabindia (Khan Market) or Anokhi (www.anokhi.com). Stay ahead of the pack at
Alecca Carrano’s Drawing Room for shawls and wraps (aleccacarrano.com).
new face of craft in India. This beautifully curated collection is sourced
directly from artisans,” Caulfield says. “Superb shopping!” (craftscouncilofindia.org.)
“the Paris of the Pampas”, the city maintains its own colourful
character, and those pampas turn out some mighty fine leather to boot. Or rug.
atelier Celedonio [Uraguay 1223, Recoleta],” trend hunter Lucia Radeljak
says. “Celedonio Lohidoy’s signature pieces are baroque necklaces with
precious stones and pearls. He has collaborated with international fashion
houses Kenzo and Ungaro, and his store is worth visiting for its garden
antique fair to scour old vinyls and snap up such must-haves as cobblers’ lasts
and local jewellery (Sundays, Plaza Dorrego, San Telmo).
leather bags are found at tiny Humawaca (humawaca.com).
for the lightest cashmere or pick up a pair of hand-made tango shoes on Av
Esmerelda, which runs parallel.
yourself for a shopping extravaganza. Don’t rush at the first shop off the main
square, Djemma el-Fna. You’ll regret it.
detailed clothing are well worth it, says Marrakesh-based artist Dawn
Boys-Stone. Warda la Mouche (127 Rue Kennaria) is great for women’s and
children’s clothes in traditional Moroccan style with modern fabrics.
in classical Occidental styles (34 Rue de la Liberte, Gueliz).
Blaoui (142-4 Rue Bab Doukkala).
babouches, found on most street corners, in traditional yellow or every shade
of the rainbow.
Jakarta remains a mystery for most. Persevere: it throws up seriously desirable
oddities, and its midnight mall sales are legendary.
big malls in Jakarta,” says Susanna Perini, of Biasa.
“It stocks menswear only and presents a unique experience when you visit.
The store has great synergy … a sense of ‘quiet luxury’ with a sleek and
label devotees, though even the biggies, such as Grand Indonesia (grand-indonesia.com), have Indonesian
Fashion Avenues for local designers. Geeks on a budget make for Ambassador
serves up soft, deconstructed men’s and women’s fashion on Jalan Kemang,
Jakarta’s boutique strip, where you’ll also find local designers.
nearby antique market (Pasar Surabaya); you totally need that old map, stuffed
animal and brass betel nut-cracker.