Royal Hobart Show

The Royal Hobart Show celebrates its 195th birthday this year, making it the oldest of its kind in Australia. Why not tie it in to a trip to our southernmost state this October, enjoying the very best of country life in a fun carnival atmosphere?

Running from 25-28 October, the Show brings an incredible collection of animals, rides, entertainment and food to the city. You can cuddle lambs and piglets, admire a huge procession of show dogs, cheer on seasoned woodchoppers, test your skills at sideshow alley and get a sugar hit with a serve of fairy floss or chocolate-themed show bag. If you go on Friday night, you’ll catch the event’s fireworks – best enjoyed with a glass of delicious Tassie bubbles in hand.

 

Round out your trip with a visit to MONA, Hobart’s famous contemporary art gallery, the delicious Salamanca Markets and historic Battery Point. You might also want to sample some of the city’s best food and drink or hire a car and explore the beauty of the surrounding national parks and historic landmarks with some of Tassie’s best day trips.

 

If you’re looking for a great place to base yourself during your stay, consider Travelodge Hotel Hobart, which is located right in the heart of the city’s best bits.

 

Royal Melbourne Show

Looking for a family friendly holiday this September? Head to Melbourne, a destination made all the more appealing thanks to the Royal Melbourne Show, perfectly timed to coincide with the school holidays.

Running from September 23 – October 3, this year’s show offers more animals, food and attractions than you can poke a stick at. You can milk a cow, shear a sheep, cuddle a lamb, wolf down a hot dog, savour a gourmet cheese plate, bop along to live music, and get a rush of adrenaline at a motocross stunt show. And that’s not even half of it! No wonder the event has managed to stay relevant for 162 years.

 

To sweeten the deal, you can secure early bird tickets for $17 a pop until August 31 and kids under five get in for free.

Stay at Adina Apartment Hotel Melbourne to make getting to and from the showgrounds nice and easy, simply hopping on board the 57 tram for a half hour door to door ride. Staying here also means you’ll be in the middle of the city – perfectly placed for exploring all of Melbourne’s best venues and getting involved in the city’s other spring time events.

Tomorrow is your last chance to celebrate an amazing day out with family and friends at the 2016 #RoyalMelbShow

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Your Guide to Brisbane Festival 2017

Thinking of a trip to Brisbane but not sure when to go? Wonder no more. As well as boasting the best weather, September is the month of Brisbane Festival; an event which transforms the city’s streets and venues into performance spaces of the very best kind.

Running from September 9 – 30, this year’s festival is set to pack a punch with a huge line-up including the best names in music and comedy, a smorgasbord of theatre (from the refined to the risqué) and festival favourite Riverfire; the annual fireworks display that stops the city.

 

The festival’s musical highlights include brother sister duo Angus and Julia Stone, ethereal English offering London Grammar and what’s bound to be an ingenious paired performance involving Megan Washington and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

It’s hard to pick the front runners when it comes to this year’s theatre offerings, but top contenders include Blind Cinema, where blindfolded guests experience film through children’s commentary; The Singing Politician, where a talented choir puts our leaders’ words into song (expect everything Menzies’ Declaration of War to Abbott’s A Stain on our Souls); Onstage Dating where Bron Batten will go on a series on first dates live on stage; and I Just Came to Say Goodbye, a series of real – and raw – anonymous apologies performed to theatrical effect.

 

If you’re in the mood for a party, Young Hearts Run Free will be right up your alley, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet with a masquerade ball set to the movie’s incredible soundtrack. The other obvious party option is Riverfire. To make the most of it, set out early and set up camp in a bar or restaurant with a view, sipping cocktails as the fireworks explode into the sky above you. We recommend staying at the centrally located Adina Apartment Hotel Anzac Square if this plan tickles your fancy. It’s an easy walk from the banks of the river or a 10 minute train ride from South Bank, meaning you won’t have to brave the traffic on one of Brisbane’s busiest nights out.

Ready for iftar 😍 Jet lag berbuka awal , hahaha happy days 😁

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Your Guide to Canberra’s Floriade 2017

Spring is celebrated in all sorts of ways around the world, from the colour-soaked revelry at India’s Holi festival to the protein-fuelled Festival of Scrambled Eggs in the Bosnian town of Zenica. Here in Canberra, we celebrate the season with Floriade.

 

For those who haven’t been, Floriade is a month long celebration of Spring involving more than one million flowers, thousands of garden gnomes, hundreds of workshops and dozens of market stalls. This year the festival runs from September 16 to October 15 and includes two weekends of Nightfest, an after-dark segment bursting with beautiful light installations, food, wine, comedy and roving performers.

On any given day of the festival you’ll be able to learn some new tricks for the garden, take part in yoga beside the blooms, paint your own gnome, or learn (and eat!) a thing or two from the head chef at Chifley’s Bar and Grill at Floriade’s Tasting Plate. Those with little ones in tow will be pleased to discover a range of kid friendly activities, including reptile displays, bubble blowing and drumming workshops.

Sometimes you have to just stop to smell the ...tulips. 📸 c/o: @courtaknee_

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If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, we suggest joining one of the 8am early bird walks or the exclusive photography workshops which take place before the gates officially open. This way you’ll get to admire and snap away at the quietest time of day, beating the 500,000-odd festival goers to the punch.

Whatever you’re looking for, Floriade’s ever-changing schedule and free entry means you’ll be able to come back day after day to discover new delights. Why not make a week of it and spend the rest of your time enjoying Canberra’s other great spring events, delicious restaurants and award winning wineries?

If you’re looking for a place to stay, we highly recommend Hotel Kurrajong, one of the most historic hotels in the city.

I've got the whole world under my sight! #floraide #australia #canberra

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Summer Brunch Spots in Sydney

Summer days in Sydney call for spending as much time outdoors as possible. To kick the day off with a nice dose of Vitamin D, send yourself to one of these excellent brunch spots. They all offer outdoor dining, delicious eats and reliably good coffee – aka the perfect trifecta.

Café Oratnek

Tucked away a few blocks south of Central Station, this delicious café is run by Kenny Takayama, former head chef of Bills Darlinghurst. Set in a beautifully restored terrace house complete with glorious garden courtyard, it serves up all the usual brunch favourites with a delicious Asian twist. Try the wild mushrooms with miso butter, goats cheese and herbs or the matcha French toast with banana chips, coconut and strawberries.

#brunchtime#bestfriends

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Storehouse on the Park

Ideally located just off Rushcutters Bay Park, this relative newcomer is fast becoming a Sydney favourite. While the interiors are beautiful, we strongly suggest setting up camp on the dog-friendly deck so you can soak in views of the yacht-filled harbour in front of you. The café has all your favourite go-to brunch items, from creamy, zesty avo toast to a slightly sinful bacon and egg roll, making it the perfect venue to add to your list of regulars.

Looking for long weekend inspo? Look no further! Enjoy a relaxing brunch spread at Storehouse 👌

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The Grounds of Alexandria

This sprawling venue has been a Sydney favourite for years, offering the enticing drawcards of all day dining, weekend markets and Kevin Bacon, the famous barnyard pig. On sunny days The Garden is where it’s at, offering relaxed outdoor breakfasts at an eclectic collection of tables set amongst the greenery. Sip on a smoothie from the Soda Barn or get something heartier from the BBQ. Whatever you choose, don’t forget to say hi to Kevin on your way out.

Quick stop to the grounds for coffee & to visit Kevin Bacon the pig 🐷

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The Boathouse Shelley Beach

One of Sydney’s favourite venues recently opened a new outpost in Manly and we think it’s their best yet. Tucked away on Shelley Beach, this breezy venue is summer day perfection. Salty hair is standard, thongs are encouraged and the food is fresh, healthy and delicious. If you can, nab a table outside and savour every bite of whatever wonderful creation you decide to order.

 

Indigo

Brunch here is always a glorious adventure, partly because of the excellent food on offer and partly because you’re likely to find yourself seated at a table on a traffic island (it’s a big traffic island and the street’s a cul-de-sac, so it’s charming rather than scary). The café’s all day breakfast menu is littered with items which make choosing hard, including the sweet potato fritters with crunchy dukkah and chilli labna and the pancakes with caramelised banana, maple syrup and whipped mascarpone. See what we mean?

When she's that extra she swaps toast for banana bread 🍌💦💯

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The Depot

Perched on the North Bondi end of Campbell Parade, this little gem sure knows how to do a good brunch. It’s always a good day when we find ourselves on one of their sunny outdoor tables with a plate of their famous Peas Please in front of us. The day gets extra points if we’ve also been for an early morning ocean swim at Sydney’s most iconic beach, enjoying the waves before the crowd sets in.

Brunch time at #NB #HQ Via @stephy_pons

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Introducing Travelodge Bacon Scented Alarm Clocks

The salty scent of bacon wafts into Tom’s dreams, gently waking him from his slumber. It’s both kinder and more persistent than his alarm clock, which usually squawks gratingly every nine minutes in response to his habitual pressing of the snooze button. Tom briefly wonders if he’s having a very vivid sensory dream before remembering he’s spent the night at Travelodge Hotel Sydney Airport, home to Australia’s first whiff and wake service.

 

Here at Travelodge we know how hard it can be to get out of bed in the morning and how risky the snooze button is when you have a flight to catch. Rather than relying on wake up calls and annoying alarm tones like most normal folk, we’ve partnered with the clever kids at Sensorwake to create an out of the box solution to getting you up on time.

And yes, it smells like bacon.

Olfactory (i.e. smell emitting) alarm clocks have proven very effective in getting people out of bed. The stimulating smell wakes users gradually over two minutes, simultaneously tapping into the happy place where the scent is stored in our brains. Our special bacon scent might evoke memories of significant others lovingly cooking you breakfast in bed, a lazy Sunday brunch with friends or all those times bacon has miraculously cured your hangover. Whatever the case, the old adage of getting up on the right side of bed has never been more apt.

All guests have to do is program the clock with the time they want to wake up: it does the rest, sending wafts of bacony goodness over your sleeping nostrils until you spring up out of bed, alert and (most likely) hungry.

We think it’s the perfect solution for waking up to catch an early flight. It takes the stress out of being on time, helps you start the day in a good mood, and will make all your carnivorous friends exceptionally jealous.

Book a room now to secure the hotel’s opening special, which includes a cooked breakfast for all those alarm-induced cravings.

 

Cheer on the Socceroos at the FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Are you counting the days until next year’s FIFA World Cup? While heading to Russia to watch the big comp live might be a bit of a stretch for the budget, you can still get involved in the action here on our own shores. “How?” you ask. By heading along to the World Cup Qualifier in Melbourne this September.

The Socceroos are slated to take on Thailand at AAMI Park on September 5, in what should be their last game before qualifying. The Aussies are the favourite in their group which hopefully means two things:

  • this match will be a glorious thrashing; and
  • the post-match celebrations will be epic.

Tickets to the match are on sale now and we recommend you lock them in ASAP. When it comes to lining up accommodation for the night, we suggest Adina Melbourne or Adina Melbourne on Flinders if you’re travelling in a group or like a little space to stretch out. If budget’s your main concern, we think you’ll enjoy Travelodge Southbank for its great prices, comfortable rooms and friendly staff.

All three options are an easy 20 – 25 minute walk from the stadium and a shorter journey via tram, if you want to save your energy for enthusiastic cheering. They’re also excellently located for exploring all of Melbourne’s best bits, which is great if you’re planning on hanging around for a few days either side of the game.

So dig out your best green and gold getup, warm up your vocal chords and lock yourself in for what should be a great moment in Socceroo history.

Happy Birthday to Tony Vidmar. A huge part of the @Socceroos journey to the 2006 World Cup.

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Top 7 Free Family Fun in Melbourne

Keeping the family entertained doesn’t have to break the bank. You really can’t go wrong with these 7 free family friendly activities in Melbourne!

1. To get Mums and Dads ready for a day of family fun, kick-start your system with a cup of perfectly-crafted caffeine from the folks at Proud Mary. This Melbourne fave uses their Community Cupping events as a way to showcase new blends and fresh micro-lots, meaning your coffee won’t just be free but also deliciously ground-breaking.

Just what is needed on a freezing Sunday #coffee #collingwood #melbourne

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2. Visit the National Gallery of Victoria and ogle at one of the many exhibitions they’re currently showing. If you get there on the hour at 11am, 12pm, 1pm or 2pm you can even join in one of the free tours!

 

3. For a cultural and educational experience, admire the city’s famous laneway art at Hosier Lane. A perfect backdrop for an insta family pic.

Some more creative goodness ❤ #thatsmelbourne . . . . #hosierlane #melbourne #melbournecity #melbournelife #art #explore #streetart

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4. Follow in the first little piggy’s footsteps and go to market. There are lots to choose from but our pick is the Queen Victoria Market, both for its excellent range of vendors and the number of free samples on offer.

July 16, 2017: #dutchpancakes 🥞😋💕#queenvictoriamarket #foodtrip #melbourne

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5. Watch movies in comfy private booths at the ACMI in Federation Square. You can get all historical and watch something from the older end of 100-odd years of archived film or you can enjoy something more current in high definition. Suddenly even Cheap Tuesday feels like a rip-off…

🆒#Screen Worlds

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6. Head to St Kilda to say hello to the penguins and get an iconic snap in front of Luna Park’s giant mouth. Bring your togs and you can go for a quick dip too!

 

7. Hop aboard the City Circle Tram. It’s free, takes you straight past (or to) the city’s major attractions and speaks directly to our lazy day aspirations.

 

 

Can’t afford a trip to France? Here’s Where to Find Melbourne’s Best Wine and Cheese

It’s no secret one of the major drawcards of a trip to France is the amount of exceptional wine and cheese available at every corner. Where else can you pair a decadently creamy slice of Brillat-Savarin with a glass of genuine champagne on the banks of the Rhone? Or a full bodied Roquefort with a honey-sweet Sauternes in front of the Eiffel Tower? That’s right; nowhere. But, if you’re willing to forego the famous landmarks, you can recreate the eating and drinking parts of these scenarios right here in Melbourne.

If you haven’t been to Milk the Cow yet, we implore you to change your ways. They have a cheese and wine flight for all moods and cravings, from the light and bubbly cheese and sparkling offering right through to the cheese and cognac for after dinner extravagances of the very best kind.

 

Neighbourhood Wine should also be firmly on your radar, thanks to their 400-strong wine list and infallible taste in cheese. If you don’t mind some fragrance on your fromage, try the washed rind Epoisses, a rather stinky specialty imported direct from Burgundy.

1806 might be best known for its exceptional cocktails but we’ll let you in on a little secret: its wine and cheese offering is no less impressive. If we may be so bold, we suggest a sliver of the Charles Arnaud Comte alongside a glass of the Vitulus Cab Sav. Or perhaps an Italian Campari cocktail might better suit your European taste?

 

Melbourne Supper Club is one of the city’s favourite late night venues, partly for the intimate atmosphere and moody interiors but mostly for the fine food and beverages cluttering its menu. The cheese on offer is on constant rotation while the leather-bound wine list is clearly a permanent fixture, reading like an encyclopedia of all the world’s varietals. You’d best settle in for the long haul.

A cheese cabinet you say? Bellota, you sure know the way to our hearts. Throw in the constantly changing wine list and direct access to neighbouring Prince Wine Store (where you can choose from over 4000 bottles) and we’re yours forever.

Ah, Fridays.

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If this sounds a little too fancy for your taste, Harper and Blohm will be the perfect match for you. It’s located inside Prince Wine Store’s sister shop in Essendon and also boasts a cheese cabinet: the difference here is you buy your goods to take away. How handy that picnic-perfect Queens Park is located an easy 10 minute walk down the road.

Richmond Hill Café and Larder goes one up on the cheese cabinet, presenting visitors with an entire cheese room. Step inside, inhale the fumes and talk to the friendly cheesemonger to get some suggestions. You’ll have to do the majority of the eating in the café but that’s ok – that’s where you order your wine.

 

AFL Grand Final 2017

AFL is a sacred past time for many Melburnians and at no time of year is this more obvious than Grand Final day when 100,000 colourful, screaming fans fill the MCG and thousands more set up stumps in pubs around the city, all eyes on the TV. This year’s decider will take place on Saturday September 30, bringing the usual mix of fast play, contested calls and rising score lines to the sport’s heartland. Make 2017 the year you’re part of it by booking a trip to Melbourne and soaking up the electric game day atmosphere.