25 September 2023

South-east Asia, Melbourne and more…

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By John Rozentals.

Celebrate the horned hunter as he is reborn in a feast centering on whole, sustainable, farmed animals cooked with fire.

From 4.30-10pm on Saturday June 23, in a secret location near Moss Vale in the NSW Southern Highlands, guests will celebrate the horned hunter as he is reborn during Winter Solstice, in a Feast for the Beast centering on whole, sustainable, farmed animals cooked with fire.

Get ready for a culinary adventure, local mulled wines, storytelling, wassailing, fire-side music and revelry as organisers bring the feast to life on a local Highland Burn.

To tap into Celtic traditions, they looked at the customs of druids and wizards of the old age and borrowed the Gaelic festival practice of playing games to please the gods that control the end of harvest and the start of the darker winter months.

Expect some bobbing for apples, kids games such as tunnel ball and tug of war, as well as stories of old.

General admission is $95 for adults and $45 for children, with an all-inclusive food-and-beverage package, or be master of your own private round table complete with butler/serf to serve a three-course meal with matched wines. Cost is $195 per person.

Location details and map will be sent via email 48 hours before the feast.

Visit https://wildfoodadventures.com.au/.

The team at radii restaurant … hoping to surprise guests with their BYO offering.

All through the winter months, Park Hyatt Melbourne will host BYO dinners every Monday to Friday at its radii restaurant, so bring along your favourite bottle to enjoy with no corkage fee.

Winter BYO dinners at radii will be accompanied by warming roasts from the restaurant’s signature wood-fired oven. Those wishing to be surprised are recommended the ‘Feed Me’ menu of seasonal delights prepared by Chef Craig Sung and his culinary team.

“We had a simple goal in mind when we decided to do this — to create a luxurious and comfortable space for people to gather and enjoy a wine bottle of their own choosing, accompanied with good food prepared by a team of talented chefs,” said Craig.

Park Hyatt Melbourne is located at the ‘Paris-end’ of Melbourne CBD (1 Parliament Square), bordering the leafy neighborhood of East Melbourne and complemented by views of the historic St Patrick’s Cathedral, an exemplary Gothic Revival edifice built in 1897.

Phone 03 9224 1211 or visit www.bit.ly/radiirestaurant.

The terrace at Novotel Wollongong Northbeach will transformed into a winter wonderland.

From 7-22 July, Novotel Wollongong Northbeach will present Beachside Ice Skating 2018, when the hotel’s terrace is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with an open-air ice skating rink.

Guests, locals and visitors of all ages are invited to don their winter woollies, strap on a pair of skates and take advantage of the crisp weather for this ice-skating event.

The ‘Winter Wonderland’ menu is available ringside, complete with crazy shakes, mouthwatering toasties, pristine popcorn and treats straight from the pastry kitchen. Plus, for the big kids there’s a selection of ‘Winter Warmer’ cocktails.

Sessions will take place from midday through to 7pm, Sunday to Thursday, with two additional sessions for over-18s on Friday and Saturday nights from 8pm. The big kids are free to boogie on the ice with live music, DJs and cocktail bar.

Tickets. including skate hire, are $19.50 for adults and teens, $15 for children (5-13 years), and $10 for toddlers, who must be accompanied by a paying adult.

Family ice-skating and accommodation packages are available from $279, including full buffet breakfast, parking, a complimentary in-room movie, kids’ fun pack plus family ice-skating for two adults and two kids.

Visit novotelnorthbeach.com.au.

Wearable Art Mandurah … showcases evolutionary works of art on the body. Image: Stephen Heath.

A ‘bold, evocative and experimental’ event in Mandurah, in the Peel Region, a one-hour drive south of Perth, is set to take the art and fashion worlds by storm on the weekend of June 9-10.

Wearable Art Mandurah showcases evolutionary works of art on the body, with finalists chosen to exhibit their creations in categories including avant-garde, metallic and transformation.

At the centre of Wearable Art Mandurah is a stunning, full-length, theatrical stage showcase featuring the pieces, as well as workshops and exhibitions across the weekend.

The Sunday showcase matinee performance includes options for those who may have sight, hearing or accessibility issues, including a behind-the-scenes meet-and-greet with the designers, a tactile experience, premium showcase seating and access to a live audio description of the event.

Workshops include ‘Creating Form with Fibre’, where participants will learn a variety of innovative techniques to work with textiles and natural fibre materials; and ‘Creating Movement in Wearable Art’, where participants can explore the possibilities of motion with award-winning artist Helen Coleman.

Visit www.visitpeel.com.au.

Preserving hundreds of years of tradition … Yalumba’s famous cooperage.

Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia has added iconic Eden Valley winery Yalumba to its 22-strong portfolio.

Established in 1849, by Samuel Smith, a British migrant, Yalumba takes its name from the Aboriginal meaning ‘all the land around’ and is one of Australia’s most historic family-owned wineries — a fiercely independent fine-wine producer driven by the preservation of provenance, progressive thinking, sustainability and excellence.

Yalumba has an enduring commitment to the quintessential Australian wine, the cabernet-sauvignon-and-shiraz blend. Two of its wines — The Signature and The Caley — are both acknowledged as international benchmarks for the style.

With its own on-site cooperage, Yalumba has the advantage of being able to have full control over the oak used to craft and age its premium wines.

Yalumba’s magnificent estate is located near the town of Angaston in South Australia’s Eden Valley in the Barossa region, a scenic one-hour drive from Adelaide. Oak barrels, family artefacts and artworks line the walls of the famous Wine Room where passionate Wine Room Ambassadors introduce visitors to the wines and many stories of Yalumba.

Visit www.ultimatewineryexperiences.com.au.

Alaska’s northern lights … image: Chris McLennan.

Alaska’s northern lights, also called the aurora borealis, draws visitors to the Last Frontier each year for the chance to see this natural phenomenon.

The aurora can be seen all over the state of Alaska, but the interior is particularly well known for its frequent northern-lights viewing opportunities from late August to late April. Indeed, if visitors spend three nights actively searching the night sky for the aurora while in the Fairbanks area, they have a 90 per cent chance of seeing the lights.

One way to view this bucket-list item is by staying at the luxury Sheldon Chalet, which sits on private property on Denali National Park & Preserve’s Ruth Glacier in the Don Sheldon Amphitheater.

This property has a three-night minimum for up to 10 people.

The stay can be customised to include an overnight in an igloo, learning about local and natural history, relaxing in a sauna or trekking across Ruth Glacier.

If visitors are lucky, they can view the aurora from the chalet’s deck with Denali as a backdrop.

Visit www.sheldonmountainhouse.com or www.travelalaska.com.

South-east Asia … definitely exotic and charming.

Cruise holiday specialist ecruising.travel has just released a 31-night cruise package that explores the must-see cities in South-east Asia on board Celebrity Millennium.

Embarking from Singapore, visit ports such as Ho Chi Minh City, Taipei, Kagoshima, Hong Kong, Halong Bay and Bangkok before arriving at your final destination of Singapore, where you will have three extra nights at The Fullerton Hotel to explore this cosmopolitan city.

The cruise sector includes all meals and entertainment on board the recently refurbished Celebrity Millennium.

This cruise departs in February 2020 and prices starts from $5399 per person twin-share, including return economy airfares from Australia and transport in Singapore.

Phone 1300 369 848 or visit www.ecruising.travel.

Almost ready for harvest and processing … Tom Greenwell and his precious coffee ‘cherries’. Image: John Rozentals.

Excitement is brewing in Hawaii’s Kona district with the inclusion of Greenwell Farms in Lonely Planet’s Global Coffee Tour book, a taster’s guide to the world’s best coffee experiences.

The lusciously illustrated new book states: “Among a handful of Kona coffee farms open to the public, none is more historic than Greenwell Farms, established in the 1850s. Friendly tour guides at this family-oriented farm will patiently explain the entire process from harvesting and pulping coffee cherries to drying and roasting the beans. This is your chance to get up close and smell a coffee tree, as well as to taste free samples of freshly brewed coffee.”

It also features things to do nearby, including Kealakekeua Bay State Historical Park, Ka’aloa’s Super J’s Authentic Hawaiian Food, Kona Coffee Living History Farm and the iconic Kona Coffee Cultural Festival.

I’ve visited Greenwell Farm a couple of times and chatted extensively with its President, Tom Greenwell, whose great-grandfather, Henry Nicholas Greenwell, was a British adventurer accidentally stuck in Hawaii and who purchased significant enough tracts of land to plant citrus and coffee.

I can certainly vouch for the authenticity of the experience at Greenwell and for the passion of its staff. It’s a bit like visiting one of the great Australian winery cellar-doors.

Visit www.greenwellfarms.com.

All lined up … and ready for a Mongolian adventure.

Grab your mates and open throttle across the vast expanse of Mongolia on the back of a classic Royal Enfield motorbike on some of the world’s most open roads, with this special offer from Extreme Bike Tours.

Extreme Bike Tours is offering a book-five-riders-and-one-goes-free deal on its 2018 Mongolian tour if booked before June 4.

The 11-day Mongolian Adventure tour begins on August 4 for a journey across Mongolia, the world’s emptiest country, on the back of a 500cc Royal Enfield Bullet.

One of the world’s last true frontiers, Mongolia straddles ancient, cultural crossroads between east and west – an exotic and fascinating destination for a group of licensed riders to explore.

Riding between the remote frontier towns of HugnuHaan and Hatgal, the off-the-beaten-track tour will see riders eat around campfires and sleep in traditional Mongolian yurts at ‘ger’ camps along the route which stretches through the some of the world’s most unvisited marvels including 17th century forts, wide-open plains, towering mountains and the pristine Lake Huvsgul.

The guided tour begins in Ulaanbaatar and is priced from about $6420 for licensed riders. The cost includes fuel, meals, accommodation and transfers once in Mongolia.

Visit www.extremebiketours.com.

Italy’s Tuscany … one of the world’s most beautiful wine regions.

An earlybird offer enables Australians to secure 2018 prices on any of On Foot Holidays’ 32 self-guided walks through Europe for 2019, if booked before September 30 this year.

The deal is valid for all On Foot Holidays’ inn-to-inn walks, including those that journey through some of Europe’s finest wine regions. After a day spent hiking through beautiful European countryside, walking-and-wine devotees can enjoy a glass of red or white, often sourced from the very vineyards they travelled through.

France and Italy constantly compete for the top spot among the world’s wine-producing countries, and On Foot Holidays offers walks through both nation’s wine regions.

Walks in Italy’s Ligurian Hills and Southern Tuscany, for instance, weave their way through meadows, villages and vineyards, enticing walkers to taste the local reds, among the finest in the world.

Including all accommodation, breakfasts, selected evening meals and all luggage transfers — meaning walkers simply carry a day pack — walks in these regions start from about $1538 for seven nights per person twin-share.

Visit www.onfootholidays.co.uk.

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