In this age of uncertainty, we’re staying local, so here’s another story from my heartland, the Mornington Peninsula.
As I noted in the story, we go to the peninsula for the sandy beaches, for the restaurants and wineries, for the feeling that industry and grind is behind us. So it might seem a little odd to be recommending an industrial estate as THE place to visit, but stay with me here!
There are so many great things in this little snarl of streets: between heavy machinery workshops you’ll find a gluten-free brewery, behind a storage centre, a vegan dairy. And the best little rum bar I’ve been to. Good on you, Jimmy Rum.
To read more about what I’m dubbing the new Industrial Revolution, click here for the story that ran in the Traveller section of the Sydney Morning Herald, and The Age newspapers.
To get through the departure gates at Ashgabat airport, in the Central Asian country of Turkmenistan, I had to have my passport scanned.
And my fingerprints.
And my thumbprints.
And my retinas.
They’re taking no chances in this airport. Not that there would be many me look-alikes here. There just aren’t that many people, full stop. And most of the women are swanning about with impossibly high headdresses and long, vivid gowns that sweep the already immaculate white marble floors.
Should you find yourself in Ashgabat any time soon, click here to read my review in the Traveller section of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers.
Don’t eat the guanaco and go easy on the merlot: two pieces of advice that seem counterproductive to a trip through Chile. However, when you’re staying more than 2.4km above sea level, I advise soaking up all the tricks and tips to avoiding altitude sickness.
Recently, I chatted with Max Vera, the grandly titled Chief of Excursions at luxury lodge Tierra Atacama, about travelling at high altitudes. Based in San Pedro de Atacama, a village in Chile’s Atacama Desert, he helped me acclimatise with short, scenic walks and horse rides through landscapes that have been movie stand-ins for the moon, before I pushed up to the Geysers del Tatio, at 4.3km. To put that all into perspective, Latin America’s most visited site, Machu Picchu, in neighboring Peru, is the same altitude as San Pedro, at 2.4km.
Swapping Australia’s Bellarine Peninsula for Paris for a decade or so, writer and actor Jayne Tuttle knows all the tricks about getting along with Parisians.
Speak French first, kiss left to right and back again, don’t go off piste with restaurant menus and forget the flanny (that’s flannelette, or lumberjack shirt, if you’re playing along out of Australia).
“Stand your ground when queuing,” she advises. “Somewhere along the line, ‘Ooh, I didn’t see you!’ became a fun game for Parisians and they play it especially with tourists, cutting in at any chance they get. Earn their respect by being aware.”
Jayne has just published her new book, Paris or Die: A Memoir (Hardie Grant Travel, $32.99) and has moved back to Australia. Because good things come in threes, she is also the new co-owner of The Bookshop at Queenscliff, west of Melbourne.
And to read more about Jayne, go to jaynetuttle.com
Rural retreat hunters are spoilt with a swag of stylish new properties away from the bright lights.
We take a look at Kimo Estate in rural NSW and Mt Mulligan Lodge in far north Queensland, where back roads are back, and slow travel establishes as one of today’s key travel trends in a world that never hits the off button.
With plenty of sparse spaces across the country, Australia’s regions have responded to the demand for dalliance – click here to read on for the Rise of the Regions, first published in Essentials Magazine.
I’m so pleased to say that my yarn about boating through the backwaters of the Murray River, in South Australia’s Riverland, has won 2018 Best Australian Story under 1000 words at Saturday’s Australian Society of Travel Writers’ pomp-and-glitter awards in Bangkok. It was an equal first, I’m sharing the award with Andrew Bain, whose work is damned fantastic.
My story was published in Fairfax’s Traveller section, and while I was there, my host Rick Edmonds, from The Frames asked me why the tourism boards don’t promote the mighty Murray as an Australian icon, as they do Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef.
I don’t have the answer, but at a time when rural Australia needs our support, I hope that can change, and the Murray receives its due recognition. Thank you to Tourism Australia for sponsoring this award, and for supporting the ASTW. In the words of another Aussie icon, the immortal Jeff Fenech, I love youse all.
|Murray River at sunset. Photo: Belle Jackson|
You can read the story here: http://www.traveller.com.au/murray-river-cruise-along-the-h…
|Photo: Belle Jackson|
A century-old French style winery in the Australian countryside – you’ll have to go half-way between Canberra and Melbourne to find Mt Ophir Estate, but it’s worth the drive.
The working winery has been dormant for years in its location on the edge of Victorian wine town Rutherglen, but recently reopened its couples-only getaway, a hopelessly romantic three-storey tower for two.
If the stylish artwork, the superb furniture sourced from antique stores around the world, the spectacular Rhone-inspired wines and the views of the surrounding countryside don’t woo you, then I have two words for you: smoked butter.
|Photo: Belle Jackson|
The next generation of the renowned winemaking family, the Browns (of Brown Brothers), are behind this renovation. They also own the nearby All Saints Winery and its excellent restaurant and the Indigo Food Co, which produces my New Best Friend, smoked butter.
With a half-dozen fresh oysters, a loaf of sourdough and a pat of this buttery beauty, you may even prefer to be in this tower as a single. After all, deep in our dark hearts, who likes to share?
Belinda Jackson was a guest of Mt Ophir Estate.
|Picnicking by the lake amidst bushland.
Photo: Belinda Jackson
An hour from Melbourne down the M1, Red Hill is prime real estate on the
Mornington Peninsula, and Lindenderry, owned by Australian family
company Lancemore, has held its 12-hectare spot on the ridge for the
past 20 years. It’s in the news for its recent deft, “multi-million
I’m a sometimes-resident on the Mornington Peninsula, so I’m very pleased to see this old-timer get such a swish makeover. Every room looks out over structured courtyards with fresh lime trees, Australian bushland or the vines that the estate turns into its exceptional wine.
Inside, there are crisp sheets, moody walls, a touch of whimsy in the Ukrainian-babushka cushion. The Lindenderry has banished its placid plaid for a grown-up country style in Red Hill.
Even if you’re not staying, you can drop in for a glass of wine and – hot tip – order the picnic hamper and wander through the vines for an afternoon well spent.
“Why isn’t the Murray promoted as an icon, like Uluru or the Great Barrier Reef?”
If you’re not Australian, you probably don’t know the mighty Murray River (the ‘mighty’ is an unofficial sobriquet). It is Australia’s longest river, at 2,530km (about seven times longer than the Thames, but who’s counting?) It runs through four states, and is even a state border for 1880km and is estimated at about 60 million years old.
In short, it’s a pretty impressive natural formation, and it’s damned pretty, as well.
So you can see why I didn’t have an answer to the question above, asked by Rick Edmonds, a proud Riverlands man and owner of the luxury The Frames property, which perches over the river near Renmark, in South Australia.
Perhaps we should adopt a French word, instead of “back creeks”, to describe this labyrinth of creeks, lagoons and inlets that cobweb the strong, flowing River Murray, here at the corner of three states.
Click here to read my story about pootling along the Murray, spotting emus, kangaroos and kingfishers, with Rick, his wife Cathy and Captain Willow (pictured above).
The story was published in the Traveller section of the Sun-Herald (Sydney) and Sunday Age (Melbourne).
Belinda Jackson was a guest of The Frames.
It’s an hour from Melbourne, and when you’re among the leafy vines of one if its fine wineries, with an overflowing picnic basket, the Mornington Peninsula is a whole different state of mind.
I had my first holiday here on the peninsula (aged 5 months), and still return to Safety Beach for my weekend getaway.
So it was an easy task to share my suggestions of great shopping strips, natural hot springs, and how to find that winery with picnic basket.
Click here to read my recommendations on where to shop, eat, stay and play on the Mornington Peninsula for Mercedes Benz owners.