Dining and drinking experiences
The team behind St Jerome’s popup glamping hotel is converting the rooftop space above Melbourne Central into summer’s hot new hang out spot – a rooftop pool oasis. The Reunion Island Pool Club will be Australia’s first rooftop pool, bar and leisure club, styled to give the nostalgic elements of a public pool but with modern twist and palm trees retreat. Offering yoga, pilates and massages in the early morning hours, and by day to evening it will be the perfect summer spot for a social splash and poolside fun with an afterwork cocktail. This city centre island escape is set to launch in October and run to April 2019. Rooftop, Melbourne Central, cnr Swanston and La Trobe streets, Melbourne, 3000.
Southbank welcomes its latest dining experience, Asado offering dinners modern Argentinian food, designed to share with a nod to Argentina’s Spanish roots. From the team behind San Telmo, Pastuso and Palermo, diners can sample everything from elegant Spanish conservas, delicately prepared pintxos, rustic smoked Asado meats to traditional Argentine desserts. 6 Riverside Quay South Bank, Melbourne 3000, (03) 9088 8600
Visitors strolling in the city around the Russell Street, Grand Hyatt area may expect a flurry of pastry lovers congregating at the eagerly awaited Lune Croissanterie’s second store. City dwellers will have the opportunity to get their hands on the coveted buttery goodness such as the plain croissant, pain au chocolat, almond, ham and gruyere, and the lemon-curd cruffin. Shop 16 161 Collins Street (enter via Russell Street), Melbourne 3000, (03) 9419 2320
Visitors interested in exploring beyond the city grid should head out West to Westwood offering café dining by day and wine bar by night. The kitchen is headlined by Chef Lynton Tapp, MasterChef Australia (season five runner-up) offering croissants and other pastries, a house-cured bacon sandwich, and fried eggs on toast, complemented with coffee. Later in the afternoon, a menu driven by seasonal produce is available till late complemented with wine by the glass. A café, wine bar and bottle shop in West Melbourne. 313 Victoria St, West Melbourne, (03) 9348 9406
Craft, small batch distillery, Tiny Bear has recently opened its distillery and cellar door (Sundays only) offering gun (The Doctor, The Gypsy, The Sailor), barrel-aged gin, Lemoncello and even coffee liquer. The distillers also run a GIN101 session where participants can delve into the unique flavours and sensations of their gin botanicals and be involved in every step of production; working through fermentation, distillation, vapour infusing, finishing with bottling and labelling. 7/10 Henderson Rd, Knoxfield VIC 3180, +61 (0)416030786
Robert Gordon Australia, owned and operated by the local Gordon family and boasts more than 70 years of history and three generations of potters, has created stoneware for some of the finest restaurants in the country including Vue de Monde, Longrain and Grossi Florentino - not to mention the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas and E.P. & L.P. in Los Angeles. The Pottery, in Pakenham, is also now home to Robert Gordon Kitchen serving local favourites and signature dishes from head chef Chris Henderson, all drawing on ethically-sourced produce featuring items such as the Proper Bacon Sandwich, the Pottery Burger and a decadent bowl filled with waffles, cinnamon sugar, lemon curd, vanilla ice-cream and honey nut clusters. 114 Mulcahy Rd, Pakenham 3810, (03) 5941 314
Beyond the city
Visitors wanting to explore the wildlife at dusk can book into to Werribee Open Range Zoo’s latest offering the Sunset Safari. Beginning in November 2018 till March 2019 (every Friday and Saturday), visitors will get an exclusive after-hours experience in the Savannah with a guided sunset tour, followed by an African feast at Meerkat Bistro complemented by an immersive performance that showcases the rhythm and soul of Africa. Bookings essential. K Rd, Werribee South 3030, 1300 966 784
Setting off from either Sorrento or Queenscliff, travellers can now sail the high seas and indulge over Sunday brunch, high tea style with Searoad Ferries. Travellers can sit back, relax and cruise the bay on a two-hour return sail whilst enjoying the stunning bay and coastal views. The Brunch on the Bay menu includes an assortment of breakfast favourites such as assorted pastries and quiches alongside the more traditional high tea staples of finger sandwiches and scones. Bookings essential. 1 Wharf Street East, Queenscliff, Victoria, 3225 03 5257 4500
Visitors to Sovereign Hill can discover the myths, stories and legends of the Goldfields on the destination’s new Lamplight Tours. The Tours will allow visitors to explore the dimly-lit streets, cottages, laneways and buildings of the outdoor museum, all under the glow of lamplight. Led by costumed Sovereign Hill guides, visitors will learn about the characters that lived in the goldfields, the illnesses, accidents and deaths that gripped them, and even encounter tales of the strange and abnormal. Bookings essential. Bradshaw Street, Ballarat, 3350, (03) 5337 1199
Travellers to the High Country with bicycles in tow can get in on new two-wheel adventures offered in the region.
Pedalling off from the Myrtleford Cycle Centre, Cook, Cycle, Feast gourmet experiences is now offering Rolling Gnocchi Cycle Tour to pasta enthusiasts. On the tour, cyclists will learn how to make gnocchi like an expert with Roberto from Café Delize. While the sauce is simmering, they will head out on a leisurely guided pedal to nearby farm gates and cellar doors. The tour will return for a well-earned authentic Italian feast.
Those wanting to extend their stay longer in the region can sign up on MTB Adventures’ new Ultimate Bikes, Beers & Bakeries Road Trip. The fully guided eight-day tour takes cyclists through the High Country’s best MTB trails including Mt Buller, Falls Creek, Mount Beauty, Bright and Beechworth, as well as craft breweries of the High Country Brewery Trail, bakeries, stunning landscapes and secret waterholes.
For an even more action-packed itinerary, the Buller Hike & Bike is a new weekend adventure at Mt Buller from ‘Hike Priestess’ Ness Hineberg’s Skadi Adventures & Narelle Rademaker of Mansfield’s All Terrain Cycles. The guided tour experience is fully catered which includes a leisurely hike up the mountain, stunning sunset vistas, great food, a cosy night in a lodge and a MTB descent on two wheels via the beautiful Delatite River Trail.
Saddle-sore cyclists can indulge at the new Spa at Beechworth, the High Country’s first, and last word in wellness. Housed in an historic hospital, the new premises takes in stunning views over Beechworth. Spa-goes can choose from a range of luxury spa treatments, exclusive environmentally friendly Beechworth Spa plant-based body-care treatments and opt to stay over in the new on-site accommodation.
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