Canberra’s 5 Best Wineries

Did you know Canberra has more than 30 cellar doors within 30 minutes of the city centre? Well now you do and you might be wondering which ones to visit. 30 is, after all, quite a lot so whittling down the list to those that offer the best experience is an important task. Here’s a list of our five favourites, just for you.

1. Clonakilla

When CSIRO scientist John Kirk established this vineyard back in 1971 he had no idea it would grow to become one of Australia’s most highly regarded. What started off as a weekend hobby quickly became a full-time business once the label’s now famed Shiraz Viognier hit the market. Visit their stylish new cellar door and try it for yourself.


2. Helm Wines

Ken Helm, also a CSIRO alumnus and one of the region’s earliest vignerons, has been making wine for more than 40 years. His specialty is Riesling and he serves it animatedly from the 1888 refurbished one-teacher schoolhouse that houses his cellar door. His daughter Stephanie also makes sensational wines (in fact, she started doing so when she was 9 years old) which she sells under her own label, The Vitner’s Daughter. You can find her cellar door just down the road.

#Grapetimes 🍷🍇😍🙌☀️ 📷 @Henrycnorris

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3. Lark Hill Winery

Its position 860 metres above sea level makes it one of the coolest vineyards in the region, perfect for producing low yield, intensely flavoured wines. There are a lot of varieties on offer here, including the lesser-known Marsanne and Gruner Veltliner. As an added bonus, the winey is biodynamic, meaning each wine contains a low amount of sulphates and is less likely to leave you with a headache the next day.


4. Eden Road Wines

Winemaker Nick Spencer may be the new kid on the block but he’s certainly making waves – for all the right reasons. In addition to those on the estate vineyard in Murrumbateman, Nick works with grapes from the Tumbarumba and Gundagai regions to allow him to work with a larger range of varietals and terroir. Visit the buzzing cellar door and try the Nebbiolo and hugely popular Long Road Pinot Gris to get an idea of the diversity in the range.


5. Mount Majura Vineyard

Another high altitude vineyard and an excellent stop on the way to the ski fields, this winery specialises in Spanish varieties, such as Tempranillo and Graciano. You can enjoy excellent cheese plates alongside the wines and follow the gumboot tour nature trail around the vineyard afterwards for a closer look at the vines.

The Best Fireplaces to Settle Down Next to in Canberra

Settling in next to a roaring fireplace on a cold winter’s day is one of life’s best small pleasures. There’s just something about those crackling logs and amber flames that immediately relaxes you, making you feel warm, cosy and content. Try these ones on for size next time you’re feeling chilly in our nation’s capital.

1. Bar Rochford

Even if it didn’t have the fireplace crackling away in the corner, Bar Rochford would be a great place to spend a winter evening. Located on London Circuit in one of Canberra’s oldest buildings, this venue boasts cosy booths, endless charm and a very impressive wine list.


2. Vibe Hotel Canberra Airport

It’s easy to see why this hotel has won a swag of design awards, especially from a seat beside the lobby’s ultra-modern fireplace. Pop in on your way to or from the airport (the hotel is just 50 metres from the entrance to the main terminal) and enjoy a coffee or a cocktail from the hotel’s Helix Bar as you warm yourself up and soak in the ambience.

More morning coffee's at The Vibe ☕️👌🏻 #vibehotel #mocha

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3. Pialligo Estate

Pop into this sprawling estate just outside of Canberra to enjoy a glass of wine and award winning fresh produce while you warm up next to the flames. Keeping cosy by the fire with a slow roasted lamb shoulder? You are speaking our language Pialligo Estate!


4. Hotel Kurrajong

This beautifully restored hotel is a big part of Canberra’s heritage, having functioned as a residence for Members of Parliament when it first opened in 1926. These days it’s open to guests of any kind, including those who just want to pop in for a drink, meal or high tea beside the hotel’s beautiful fireplace.

Little bit of venue research in Canberra this week. Yep! Meanwhile, how pretty is this courtyard?

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5. Monster Kitchen and Bar

Interesting interiors, exceptional food and two fireplaces – what more could you want? Try the yabby jaffle or poached quince for something different.

Yabby jaffel, @chapter_wine savvy bee and #tableforone at @monsterkitchenbar #notcoffee

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6. Ivy and the Fox

Making the most of its picture perfect location in Old Canberra House, this is a great place to curl up in an armchair, coffee in hand, and look out over the grounds while the fireplace crackles along behind you.


7. Rose Cottage

This rustic style pub has one of the biggest fireplaces around. It’s in the middle of The Glasshouse room but, on the odd chance that’s full, you can pull up stumps around one of the drum fires outdoors.


8. Walt and Burley

This modern pub overlooks Canberra’s most iconic natural landmark, Lake Burley Griffin. Secure a window seat and get toasty with the help of the fireplace, a hot drink and a plate of food fresh from the stove.


9. The Old Canberra Inn

Canberra’s oldest pub has been in operation since 1857. Expect old school charm, multiple fireplaces and a regular stream of events including trivia, live music and tap takeovers.


10. Café Lerida

If you’re up for a bit of a road trip, drive half an hour north of the city and settle in to this winery café. The views over the vineyard and Lake George are spectacular, the fireplace wonderfully warm and the live music on Sunday afternoons a great addition.

Picture perfect. #roadtrip #getaway #longweekend #easterweekend #nsw

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Your Guide to Sydney Running Festival

The Sydney Running Festival is back again this year, offering its trademark mix of courses around the city’s most iconic landmarks. Both the full and half marathon courses are faster and flatter this year, meaning 2017 is your best shot yet at a personal best. We’ve got a run down on how to maximise your chances of a good run, covering everything from race prep to where to stay and how to ensure a good recovery.

Whether you’re running the family friendly 3.5k or committing to the full 42.2k marathon, good preparation is important. Ideally, you’ll start pounding the pavement around four months before the race, heading out 3 – 5 times per week. Start with shorter distances and build up slowly to prevent injury and increase your stamina. You should also include some speedwork or tempo runs to test your body’s limits and help you work out your optimal pace for the race. Including rest days is imperative and adding some non-running activities to your schedule is also encouraged to increase overall fitness, aid recovery and balance your body. Blackmores has a free training program to help you build up the event, which includes a weekly schedule and regular training tips to keep you motivated. Download it here.


Nutrition is just as important as movement when it comes to longer runs, particularly the half or full marathon. Where possible, eat a high-carb, low-fibre meal around an hour before any long training run and test out different mid-race nutrition to see how your body responds. Sports drinks, energy gels and dried fruit are all good options as they’ll help keep your blood sugar and energy levels topped up. Every body is different of course, so the more you can trial race nutrition in your training, the better prepared you’ll be for the big day. The night before the race remember to indulge in the best task of long distance running: carb loading.

#CarbLoading #HorseCapitalMarathon

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If you’re not a Sydney local – and many of the 35,000 odd participants aren’t – you’ll need a place to stay for the festival. Location is key: with the start and finish line on different sides of the Harbour Bridge and many road closures in action on the day, it’s important to choose wisely. Adina Apartment Hotel Town Hall is perfectly located just across the road from Town Hall station, where you can catch the train to the start line at Milson’s Point. Public transport is free for competitors on the day so this is your best plan of arrival: save money, avoid road closures and get there quickly. All races (except for the 3.5k family run, which finishes just down the road in the Botanic Gardens) finish at the Sydney Opera House this year, meaning a stay in the city centre is ideal for tired legs or for legs that may have had one too many post-finish celebratory beers.

Where to run this weekend? #SydneyRunningFestival #Sydney #Run #Running #RunWeekend #InstaRun #Runner

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The other big draw cards of serviced apartment style accommodation like that on offer at Adina Town Hall are that you can book a space that easily accommodates 4 to 6 people rather than the standard two in a hotel room; you have your own fully equipped kitchen, perfect for pre and post-race meals; you also have a laundry for washing sweaty clothes; and most of the rooms have baths, perfect for recovery soaks. Wanting to book a room for your running club? Check out our Sydney Running Festival offers here.

Once the race is over, you’ll be feeling all sorts of things. Proud of your achievement, buzzing from the big event atmosphere, thirsty, hungry and a little sore. The most important thing to do is rehydrate, preferably with a mix of water and sports drinks to help replenish your body’s vitamins and sugars. Eating is also important, particularly after a longer run when your energy stores will be largely depleted. Good sources of protein and carbohydrates are key, so opt for a hearty burger or some salmon sushi. Bananas are also a good option when you’re still on the go. Combat those sore muscles with a short, gentle walk and some nice long stretches immediately after the race and try a warm bath and gentle massage the following day. Finally, don’t forget to enjoy the feeling of crossing that finish line! Regardless of the distance you ran or the time you took, finishing a race is something worth celebrating.

Click here to enter Sydney Running Festival.

21km later... Where's the wheelchair! ♿️#halfmarathon #sydneyrunningfestival @officialbsrf

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Going to Melbourne? Why you should stay at Travelodge Docklands

Melbourne’s a great city and a big one too, full of a multitude of bustling suburbs all vying for your attention. While this makes Melbourne an excellent destination (and good on you for choosing it) it can make it difficult to choose a base for your stay. With this in mind, allow us to present our case for booking yourself into Travelodge Hotel Melbourne Docklands.

Location, location, location

The hotel is directly across the road from Etihad Stadium, making it the perfect choice for anyone with a keen interest in AFL or those attending big name events, with performers like Adele, U2, Coldplay and Ed Sheeran racking up concerts at the venue. It’s also right near the iconic Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, bustling shopping and entertainment precinct Harbour Town, one kilometre from Melbourne’s South Bank and two kilometres from the city centre, where you’ll find all the best laneway art, restaurants and small bars. If you do want to go further afield, the tram stops at the end of the street and Southern Cross Station is just one block away. In other words, whatever you want to do in Melbourne, Docklands is the perfect gateway. If you need more convincing, check out our guide for 24 hours in the area.

A pod with a view🏙🎡 #chillin #melbourne

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Comfort and Convenience

If there’s one thing Travelodge hotels specialise in, it’s knowing which services and amenities really add to your stay. There’s complimentary WiFi (of course), on-site parking, room service, hearty breakfasts, 11am check out, luggage service and laundry. On top of this, the rooms boast very comfy beds and enough space to comfortably unpack and stretch out (and even cook if you book the two-bedroom apartment). The knowledgeable reception staff are always ready to help, whether you need to arrange luggage storage for a few hours after checkout or are after some suggestions for where to have dinner.


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Great Rates

You can secure a room for less than $120 per night when you stay at Travelodge Docklands and can save even more if you’re a member of TFE Hotel eClub. Sign up now to get 10% off your stay.

Excellent reviews

If you don’t trust us, trust our guests who consistently rate the hotel as a great place to stay. It currently has a score of 8.5/10 on and a plethora of lovely comments floating around the internet. DenisemD3438OU calls it a “fantastic hotel with very pleasant staff and easy check in and check out” while J2999MSelizabethl sums it up as “…in an excellent location… the staff were lovely and the room was very clean and comfortable.” Excuse us while we go and pat ourselves on the back.

So what are you waiting for? Book a room for your next Melbourne stay.

24 Hours in Docklands, your next Melbourne Destination

Whether you’re after a foodie escape, a footy fuelled weekend or a family-friendly getaway, the Melbourne suburb of Docklands has you covered. Located just 2 kilometres from the city centre and well-connected to public transport, it’s also a great base if you want to explore further afield in Australia’s most liveable city. To give you an idea of what a stay in the area might look like, we’ve put our top picks for the area into a 24 hour itinerary.

9:00am: Break the fast and caffeinate at St Brew

This little docklands gem has everything you want in a café: laid back vibe, friendly staff, delicious coffee and all day breakfast. Choose the bircher muesli with poached pear and figs if you’re after something sweet and healthy or opt for the haloumi stack or corn fritters if savoury’s more your thing.


10:30am: Pick up a bargain and get arty at Harbour Town

Over 120 stores call Harbour Town home, making it one of Melbourne’s best collections of big name brands, wallet-friendly outlet stores and speciality boutiques. As well as perusing the wares, you can also find yourself amid arty pursuits in the precinct, enjoying everything from Artvo, the Southern Hemisphere’s first interactive 3D art museum, to the immersive and illuminating exhibition, Dialogue in the Dark. There are also a bunch of activities for the young and young at heart, including dodgem cars and glow in the dark mini golf.


12:00pm: Eat Australia’s best pizza at 90 Secondi

Johnny Di Francesco is up there with the best when it comes to traditional Neapolitan pizza and has brought the Italian tricks of the trade to Docklands with 90 Secondi. Pizzas are cooked for just 90 seconds in 400 degree woodfired ovens, ensuring the perfect crispy crust every single time.


1:30pm: Catch the AFL at Etihad Stadium

Given the city’s infatuation with the sport it would be almost rude not to attend a game while you’re here. Be prepared for vocal fans, a buzzing atmosphere and fast paced action on the field.

4:00pm: Sample the Sangria at Bar Nacional

This proudly Spanish venue is an excellent spot to enjoy an afternoon tipple and a plate of tapas. The wine list and craft beer selection is impressive but it’s the home made sangria you’ll find us ordering. If you’re peckish, we suggest ordering a beef brisket empanada and a serve of patatas bravas to enjoy alongside.


6:00pm: Ride the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel

At 40 storeys high, this is the largest solid steel construction in the world, offering uninterrupted views of the city and some truly impressive engineering. Jump on and enjoy the half hour trip around the wheel, taking in the sights (and maybe a glass of wine from the bar) as you go.


7:00pm: Embrace basement dining at Maha

Jump on the number 86 tram to the city centre and start the next phase of your evening, kicking things off with dinner at Maha. This cosy subterranean space serves up truly memorable middle eastern fare, such as the melt-in-your-mouth slow roasted lamb shoulder and incredibly fluffy turkish delight filled donuts. Opt for a multi-course feast and try as many dishes as you can.

NEW Chicken & Smoked Pepper Burger + Cisk Lager $20 #lunchspecial #burgertime

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9:00pm: Discover Melbourne’s best small bars

Start with a refined glass at Kirk’s Wine Bar, move onto cocktails at Bar Americano or Romeo Lane, opt for a respectable nightcap at Whiskey Alement where you can choose from over 600 varieties of scotch, or push the night into the unusual with arcade games and craft beer at Bartronica and a dose of Japanese pop culture at Robot Bar.


Bedtime: Sleep soundly at Travelodge Melbourne Docklands

Perfectly located, comfortably furnished and staffed with friendly faces, this hotel is practically calling your name. Check out discounted rates here.


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9:00am: Grab a cup of Joe and a pastry to go at Long Shot

Finish your 24 hours the same way you started: with a smooth cup of coffee and something delicious in your belly. Long Shot is a great little hole in the wall that takes its coffee seriously, ensuring it’s up there with the best Melbourne has on offer. Make the most of their coffee and pastry combo by picking up a cup of the good stuff and whatever’s been freshly baked that morning for a tidy $7.50.

TRAVELLERS TIP: From the tram station outside Travelodge Docklands, you can make the most of the free tram the heads into Melbourne city, only a few short stops away!


The Minions’ Favourite Things to Do in Sydney

They’re yellow, cheeky, love a good overall and know how to rock a pair of goggles better than anyone else on Earth. We caught up with the minions ahead of their next big screen appearance in Despicable Me 3 to find out what they love about Sydney, including their favourite haunts and top activities.

Taking in the view at Circular Quay

The minions agreed that this is the best vantage point in town. Turn one way and you have a view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, turn the other and you’re looking right at the Sydney Opera House. A trip on one of the Sydney ferries is also a great way to take in Sydney’s biggest architectural icons, as is a picnic on the lawn in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art. They recommend the delicious Four Frogs French crepes and decadent Messina ice-cream from nearby Gateway as top notch picnic fare.

🍦😛 #minion #minions

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Enjoying the lights at Vivid

Vivid is the minions’ favourite event on the Sydney calendar and with so much to see and do, we can understand why. This year, the event is bigger and bolder than ever, with more light displays popping up around the city than any previous year. You’ll want to take plenty of pics of the always impressive Sydney Opera House sails, giant glowing animal sculptures at Taronga Zoo and Magicians in the Mist, the light and water spectacular in Darling Harbour. Don’t forget about the music and ideas components of the festival either, with some really big names and excellent concepts dotted throughout the program. Check out our run down of the best of the bunch here.

Cheese ☺️📷 #minion #minions

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Perusing the exhibitions at the Maritime Museum

Whether this made the favourite list because of the phrase ‘bottom of the ocean’ or because of the quality of the exhibitions is unclear, but the minions became very animated when talking about this Sydney venue. If you visit this winter, you can learn about the race to the South Pole, see an incredible collection of pearls, relive the escape from Pompeii and lay eyes on the original Harthog Plate.

When you are excited ☺️

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Feasting at the Bondi Farmers markets

These markets take place every Saturday out in the beachside ‘burb of Bondi, bringing together beautiful fresh produce and ready-made meals from around the state. The minions’ favourite stalls were any that sold bananas, but we have it on good authority the buns at Mr Bao and the pastries at Miss Lilly’s Kitchen are worth checking out too. Enjoy your purchases on the sunny lawn while live music plays in the background. If you feel like walking off your meal afterwards, the beach is just across the road.


Going to the movies

What can we say? They like seeing themselves on the big screen. Check them out when Despicable Me 3 hits cinemas this June.

Me watching a movie 📺😊 #minion #minions

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Romantic Winter Escapes

Red wine, open fireplaces and the need to share body heat make winter one of the most romantic times of year. Celebrate it by booking you and your significant other into one of these dreamy escapes.

Cobblestoned streets, cosy small bars and impressive restaurants mean Sydney neighbourhood The Rocks ticks all the boxes for a romantic getaway. Stroll hand in hand through the maze of historic alleyways, take in the soaring views from the Harbour Bridge, stroll the galleries at the Museum of Contemporary Art, catch an intimate performance at Rosslyn Packer Theatre or indulge in a four course dinner at Quay. If you find yourself there on a Friday, take the time to meander through The Rocks Friday Foodie Market, picking up creamy cheeses, cured meats and freshly baked bread for a romantic picnic on the foreshore. For something truly romantic, book yourselves in for a stargazing session at the Sydney Observatory before settling in near the baby grand piano at Push Bar for a lingering nightcap.

On the other side of country, Perth has more than its fair share of romantic drawcards. For starters, there’s those over the ocean sunsets which, in winter, are best enjoyed from the comfort of a beach side venue. Il Lido is one such venue, pairing its views with handmade pasta, and Bib and Tucker is another, well-loved for its exceptional food and drinks list. If you’re a couple who really loves their food, try gourmet favourite Wildflower or cosy French cottage Budburst Small Bar. Day trips are another thing Perth does really well, whether it’s the short ferry ride across to Rottnest Island where you and your partner can explore beautiful beaches and wilderness on bikes, the short drive to the boutique wineries and rolling hills of the Swan Valley, or the 40 minute trek to the Perth Hills where you can while the day away at quirky galleries, tiny coffee shops and on beautiful bushland walks.

Down in Melbourne, local businesses are well prepared for the onslaught of winter, with roaring fireplaces, hot chocolates and mulled wine at the ready. For one of the best fireplaces in town, head to Blue Bonnet BBQ, a cosy little venue that specialises in smoked meats and American whisky. For something a little more refined, a visit to The Grace Darling Hotel is in order. It’s Melbourne’s second oldest pub, has two roaring fireplaces, a candle lit bar, plant filled atrium and an undeniable ambience. For hot chocolates, try the traditional Italian version at Brunetti on Lygon Street or a modern, deconstructed version at Hash Specialty Coffee and Roasters. For a warming cup of mulled wine, head to the Queen Victoria Winter Night Market where you can also buy each other thoughtful little gifts and enjoy a selection of short films. If it’s a romantic day in the vines you’re after, the beautiful Yarra Valley is only an hour’s drive from the city and offers plenty of beautiful vistas and enticing cellar doors.

Click here to discover the beautiful collection of Rendezvous Hotels waiting for you at all of these romantic destinations.

Faux Snow and Freezer Ice: A Guide to Making the most of Winter in Australia’s Capital Cities

If you’re an Australian, chances are snow is something of a novelty. You’ve probably made more than your fair share of paper snowflakes over the years but when it comes to the real thing, you’re a certified novice. You probably also don’t have a huge amount of experience in ice-skating, sitting in front of an open fireplace, snowball fights or sledding, which is totally understandable given our subtropical climate. While tepid winters are often a good thing, we know there are days where you crave all the glory of a white winter wonderland. With this in mind, allow us to present our foolproof guide for making our warmish winters as magical as possible.

Step 1: Embrace faux snow, wherever it falls

Not as good as the real stuff, but a whole lot better than a bunch of bean bag beans thrown in front of your fan, faux snow will be popping up at winter events all season long. There’s The Winter Festival, which is making its way around the country again this year, glorious Powder Pit in tow; the Winter Rooftop Party at Sydney’s famous Glenmore Hotel, complete with snow machine and igloo cocktails; and Melbourne’s Rooftop Snow Party where revellers can dance until the wee hours in a sea of the cold stuff.

❄️ Walking in a winter wonderland! ❄️ Amazing photo by @jumpe55 at Winter Festival Sydney! ❄️

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Step 2: Frequent ice related venues

Like Melbourne’s Ice Bar, where you can enjoy a frosty cocktail as you sit snugly in your warmest winter getup and admire impressive ice sculptures. For something more active, you can try your hand at ice skating. Most venues also offer ice hockey, figure skating and ice discos, where you can bet your bottom dollar Ice Ice Baby will be on high rotation.

Step 3: Indulge in the odd snow cone

Just because your house isn’t surrounded by ice cold snow, it doesn’t mean your tongue can’t be. These delicious treats are a sure-fire way to cool your insides, come with a high likelihood of brain freeze and provide an excellent counter-argument to the unfavourable qualities of yellow snow. You can find them at the beach-side stand at Brisbane’s South Bank, by following the Bar Coco van around Sydney, or in cocktail form at Loop Roof Bar in Melbourne.

Step 4: Create your very own Frosty the Sandman

Frosty the snowman’s enigmatic younger brother has been appearing on Australian beaches for years now. Unlike his winter counterpart, he’s not prone to melting, is happy with fewer accessories and won’t numb your hands. Scarborough Beach in Perth and Manly Beach in Sydney have patches of sand perfect for your next creation.

Step 5: Transform your room with a few thoughtful touches

Create the perfect winter ambience by cranking the air-con, thoughtfully arranging your snow globe collection and turning your TV or laptop into a crackling fireplace, thanks to the genius behind Virtual Fireplace. Pour yourself a glass of red or a nice hot choccy and nestle in under a blanket. Yep: Australian winter just got charming.

Escape the Chill with these Fresh Indoor Activities

Winter is coming. No, we’re not referring to the next instalment of Game of Thrones (which, coincidentally, is also coming soon), but the season. You know, the one where getting out of bed in the morning becomes significantly harder, 90% of your skin doesn’t see the sun for months on end and you start wondering whether it would really be so bad if you wore your Snuggie to work. To help you combat the winter chill, here’s a list of awesome indoor activities that you probably haven’t tried before, because we know you can come up with bowling or the movies on your own.

Escape Rooms

Bursting with puzzles much more exciting than the ones you do with grandma, escape rooms are one of your best bets for escaping a chilly day. There’s a great selection to choose from in each capital city, each room offering a different theme and challenges for you and your team mates to overcome. You might find yourself inside someone’s memory, stuck inside a prison cell, or newly employed as Sherlock Holmes’ eagle-eyed assistant.

Paint and Sip

Cork & Chroma has successfully combined two of our favourite things: creativity and wine. Take a friend, BYO favourite bottle and settle in for a hands-on class on mastering the art of painting. At the end of the session you get to take your creation home to admire and – depending on your skill level – hang in your lounge.

Indoor Skydiving

Yep, you read that right. The geniuses behind iFly have made it possible for you to experience skydiving without the off-putting step of having to jump out of a plane. Suit up, step inside a giant glass tunnel and – under the helpful guidance of a qualified instructor – experience the joy of flying.

Axe Throwing

Novel, competitive and strangely addictive, a session at Maniax will leave you feeling pumped and primal. Wear your best lumberjack-inspired flanny, some closed in shoes and get ready to sharpen your aim.

Cooking Classes

Cold winter days are made for feasting. While you could just cut out the hard work and book a table at a restaurant, there’s something truly satisfying about eating a fancy dish you’ve created from scratch (or at least tried to). Almost every cooking class on offer involves enjoying the fruits of your labour alongside a glass or two of vino; something which we can all agree only adds to the appeal.

Beer Appreciation

The craft beer scene is alive and well with glorious little breweries popping up right across the country. Try a range of different brews, chat about the process with the producer and – depending on the brewery – inspect the fermentation process, enjoy a meal from a food truck or kick back to live music. Check out our guide to successful Beercations here.

Dance in the Dark

If you’ve never tried No Lights No Lycra, now is the time. Sessions take place in darkened halls around the country where epic playlists and the inability to see anyone else in the room create the perfect conditions for busting out your best moves, 100% judgement free. As an added bonus it’s highly likely you’ll work up a sweat, even in the depths of winter.


Your Local Guide to Below Zero

Wonderful things happen when the temperature dips below zero. Mountains get dusted in fresh snow, fireplaces become exceptionally enticing and hot chocolates are easily justified. If you think you have to venture overseas to experience these conditions, think again: we’ve got the local low-down on two wonderful locations right here in Australia that specialise in sub-zero temperatures.

The Great Dividing Range runs for more than 3500 kilometres across our eastern states and contains Australia’s tallest mountains. While some of them, like Mount Kosciuszko, are relatively remote, there’s a little pocket much closer to civilisation. Lake Mountain sits just two hours’ drive out of Melbourne, offering almost 40 kilometres of trails for you to ski or board. There are a mix of slopes, including nice gentle ones for first-timers, as well as good old fashioned tobogganing and snow shoe expeditions. While there is a café on the slopes, our local source suggests venturing into nearby Marysville for your hot chocolates. The top pick is the aptly named Chocolate in Marysville where you can enjoy your mug alongside a warm apple crumble muffin. If it’s a roaring log fire you’re after, Marysville also comes up with the goods. You can enjoy a wine tasting and cheese board at Buxton Ridge cellar door or settle in for a long lunch at Black Spur Inn in front of the comforting crackle of one of their open fireplaces. As an added bonus, the landscape is truly breathtaking around here and easily enjoyed with a rugged-up hiking expedition or from the windows of one of the cosy coffee shops around town. Enticed? Click here to book your stay at Vibe Hotel Marysville.

Canberra is no stranger to chilly temperatures and currently holds the honour of being Australia’s coldest capital. As well as being an excellent stopping point for a trip out to the slopes of Thredbo or Perisher, the city has a pulling power of its own. Canberra’s wine region is gaining recognition every year for its exceptional produce and is a great place to get to know less common varietals, such as Sangiovese and Gruner Veltliner. The wineries are closely packed, meaning you can visit 30 cellar doors within a 35 minute radius of the city. Enjoy a glass of the highly regarded Shiraz Viogner in front of the fireplace at Clonakilla or a tasting and wood fired pizza at Four Winds Vineyard just north of the city. For a fireplace with a difference, head to the spectacular lobby at Vibe Hotel Canberra Airport. The hotel has won a string of design awards and, in our opinion, is best admired from one of the comfy couches around the modern fireplace, hot coffee from the hotel café in hand. Winter in Canberra is also synonymous with truffle season, as a festival devoted to the fancy fungus takes over the city. Cold days are perfect for decadent degustations and, if you’re worried about the calories, you can always counteract them by taking part in an early morning truffle hunt. Finally, while snow does fall in Canberra from time to time, if you want to guarantee it will feature in your time there, take the picturesque 45 minute drive to Corin Forest where you can ski, board or simply build a snowman.