• My First New Year’s Eve in Sydney

    As soon as I landed in Sydney, I felt the energy of the city all around me. As I looked out of the plane window, I saw the Iconic Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the suburbs fringing the water. It gave me a strong sense of belonging. And knowing I would soon be climbing the bridge, and sailing under it, let alone seeing the world’s most spectacular fireworks display, had my adrenaline surging. It was my first New Year’s Eve in Sydney!

    Sydney Harbour | Photo Credit: Destination NSW/Ethan Rohloff

    Sydney Harbour | Photo Credit: Destination NSW/Ethan Rohloff

    Exploring Sydney

    A short drive brought me to my city hotel, and a friendly “G’day” from the doorman and reception staff made me feel at home. Right away, I wanted to get out and explore. I walked to Circular Quay, watched the ferries, and viewed the myriad of people from all over the planet enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. The outdoor cafés beckoned me in for a traditional Aussie beverage and a delicious meat pie.

    I couldn’t help but stare at the Opera House, and to my left at the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I was so lucky to be spending New Year’s Eve in Sydney. The world’s greatest fireworks display was only several hours away, but now there was time to discover the beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens just a few hundred yards away. I was also able to take a leisurely walk through the historic rocks area. This is the place where the first English settlement landed over 200 years ago!

    Sydney Harbour Bridge | Photo Credit: Destination Tourism Australia

    Sydney Harbour Bridge | Photo Credit: Tourism Australia

    The New Year’s Eve in Sydney Celebration

    It was finally time to prepare for the night ahead, casual clothes were the instructions. Then I met my fellow revelers for a short coach ride to the dock, where the 100-foot luxury motor yacht awaited.

    With a glass of champagne waiting on the boat, I eagerly walked the gangway. Ben the Skipper, renowned for knowing the best spot to be on the harbor for the fireworks display, greeted us with a warm Aussie welcome.

    The DJ had the music going, champagne was flowing and everyone checked out the fly bridge, aft saloon, the bow and the main saloon. We were all trying to decide where to be at 9 pm for the first round of fireworks. The appetizers served by the crew were scrumptious! After two hours of cruising the Sydney Harbour and glimpsing the high-priced houses with the amazing views, we settled into where Ben felt the best viewing would be. He was correct! We were right in the center, surrounded by hundreds of other vessels, all shrieking with delight as the fireworks started. The entire boat was taking selfies, but mostly just watching in awe.

    Sydney Opera House | Photo Credit: Tourism Australia

    Sydney Opera House | Photo Credit: Tourism Australia

    Gearing Up for the Main Event

    Right after this spectacle ended, dinner was served downstairs in the main saloon. There were several delightful beef and chicken dishes, fresh vegetables, salads and an array of ways to prepare sandwiches. There was also a fantastic seafood selection with fresh fish and Sydney Rock Oysters. This made for a beautifully prepared and truly well-enjoyed meal.

    Ben, in the meantime, had been cruising and edging his way to the front of the pack so we would have a splendid view of the Harbour Lights Parade. As the 20 or so decorated boats made their way around, we were right in the front of the other viewing boats. We had an unobstructed view of the main event, the fireworks at midnight.

    Like the earlier fireworks display, they were fantastic! The second round lasted much longer and the finale could not be put into words. New Year’s Eve in Sydney exceeded my expectations.

    Remembering these wonderful times makes me extend my hand to you. Come and join me this New Year’s Eve, and experience this for yourself. It will be one of those events you will remember for a lifetime.

    Sydney Harbour | Photo Credit: Destination NSW

    Sydney Harbour | Photo Credit: Destination NSW


    July 25, 2017 • Articles, Australia, Destinations, Ian Swain Sr • Views: 1307

  • Victoria’s Cheesiest Destinations

    Whether it’s from a goat, sheep or cow, blue, soft, covered in ash or school aged – Victoria says yes please to cheese with a slew of specialty cheese makers dotted throughout the state. Either the destination of the day or a stop along the way, these local cheese producers offer high quality produce, tastings, meals, tours and workshops.

    Yarra Valley Diary | Photo Credit: Tourism Victoria/Roberto Seba

    Yarra Valley Diary | Photo Credit: Tourism Victoria/Roberto Seba

    High Country

    Milawa Cheese Company
    A must-visit in the High Country, Milawa Cheese Company operates on the site of the historic butter factory. Its internationally award winning range of hand-made cow and goat milk cheeses are produced on-site and are available for tastings. For a heartier meal, the adjacent Factory Bakery serves an array of dishes that highlight the region’s produce. Also on-site is Wood Park Wines Cellar Door, The Muse Gallery of Milawa, The Walnut Tree Collection and Eucalypt Wood Works making this a great destination for all. 17 Factory Road, Milawa, +61 3 5727 3589

    Yarra Valley

    Yarra Valley Dairy
    Located in the heart of the Yarra Valley under an hour’s drive from Melbourne, Yarra Valley Dairy offers a delicious range of cheeses, handmade from goats milk or from the cows milk provided by the surrounding dairy farms. A viewing window enables a glimpse into the cheese making process, while the selection is also available to taste. Yarra Valley Dairy doubles as a fine foods store where a range of wines from small single vineyards and local produce is also available. 70-80 McMeikans Road, Yering, Victoria

    Yarra Valley Diary | Photo Credit: Tourism Victoria/Roberto Seba

    Yarra Valley Diary | Photo Credit: Tourism Victoria/Roberto Seba

    Mornington Peninsula

    Main Ridge Dairy
    The only large scale commercial dairy in Mornington Peninsula, Main Ridge Dairy produces a range of farmhouse cheeses produced from high quality goat milk. Dairy tours run most Saturdays where visitors can catch a behind the scenes glimpse into the milking process. Dairy fiends can delve even further into the process with Main Ridge Dairy cheese making workshops to learn how the cheese is crafted. Those shorter on time can enjoy a cheese platter in beautiful surrounds or simply a tasting at the counter. 295 Main Creek Rd, Main Ridge, +61 3 5989 6622

    Red Hill Cheese
    This intimate “Cheese Cellar in the Forest” promises a high-end flavor experience. The handmade cheeses are designed to complement Mornington Peninsula wines and are best sampled with the tasting plate which features the cheese-maker’s selection of award-winning cheeses handmade with sheep, cow or goat milk. This small fromagerie is located on a farm at Red Hill, and visitors can relax on the deck overlooking the stringybark forest. 81 William Road, Red Hill, +61 3 5989 2035.

    Blue Bay Cheese
    Run by Ukrainian twins, Blue Bay Cheese produce a variety cheeses from cow and goat milk, including blue, brie, feta and hard cheeses. Combining traditional recipes passed down from their Grandmother with modern techniques, the cheese makers use the freshest ingredients to create high quality produce. 6 Latham St, Mornington, +61 3 5976 4999

    Echuca Farmhouse Cheese | Photo Credit: Tourism Victoria/Emily Godfrey

    Echuca Farmhouse Cheese | Photo Credit: Tourism Victoria/Emily Godfrey

    Geelong and the Bellarine

    Drysdale Cheeses
    Run by pharmacists Corinne & Peter Blacket, Drysdale Cheeses produces small quantities of handcrafted cheese and yogurt from their own herd of Saanen milking goats. The pampered goats eat natural, weedy pasture along with tree cuttings, hay and grains, contributing to the smooth taste of the milk, cheese and yogurt. Drysdale Cheeses farm gate shop is open on the first Sunday of each month. They also run regular cheese making classes at Springdale Community Centre in Drysdale. 2140 Portarlington Road, Bellarine, +61 3 5251 1449

    Great Ocean Road

    Timboon Cheesery
    The Timboon Cheesery is a must do on the 12 Apostles Gourmet Trail. Handmade cheeses and local produce is available to sample and a garden surround by the scenic farmland is the ideal place to unwind. The fromagerie features LÁrtisan Cheeses and Shultz Organic Dairy produce alongside its own Timboon Dairy range of German style cheeses. Cheese tasting and cheese platter are on offer along with boutique roasted coffee and tea, scones and cream, local beer or wine. 23 Ford & Fells Road, Timboon

    Apostle Whey Cheese
    Located on the inland loop from the 12 Apostles, Apostle Whey Cheese is the home of award winning, delectable hand-made cheeses. Running a paddock to plate operation, all of its cheeses are made on-site from pure milk that has been produced by its specially bred herd of Aussie Red/Jerseys. Cheese tastings are free and little ones might be lucky enough to meet the resident donkeys. 9 Gallum Road, Cooriemungle, +61 437 894 337

    Cheese World Warrnambool
    Located across the road from the Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory, Cheese World tells the story of the local dairy industry through film, artifacts, photos and personal items belonging to early local dairy farming families. Complimentary tasting presentations are held hourly, providing the chance to sample the award winning Warrnambool Heritage brand cheeses. 5330 Great Ocean Rd, Allansford, +61 3 5565 3130

    Shaw River Buffalo Cheese
    Pioneers of water buffalo milking in Australia since 1996, Shaw River Buffalo Cheese crafts a range of cheeses and yogurts from the milk of its herd of buffalos. Two tours are available at their property in Yambuk, enabling visitors to learn about the beginnings of the buffalo milking industry of Australia and the cheese making business as it is now. A second tour looks at the Haldane family’s herd of purebred Icelandic horses, the biggest in Australia. Watch spectacular footage of the 5 gated horses and their most famous gait the tolt – no riding just hugging. Princes HIghway, Yambuk, +61 3 5568 4321

    Cheeses from Boosey Creek Cheese | Photo Credit: Tourism Victoria/Robert Blackburn

    Cheeses from Boosey Creek Cheese | Photo Credit: Tourism Victoria/Robert Blackburn


    Prom Country Cheese
    Prom Country Cheesery produces handmade specialty cheeses on the family farm in the Moyarra Valley, South Gippsland. The focus is producing sheep milk and showcasing its transformation into distinctive regional cheese. The final result is available to sample cheese in the tasting room, or as part of a larger meal on the veranda. To highlight the process, viewing windows into the cheese making area are accompanied by interpretative information. Midweek tours are available for groups by appointment. 275 Andersons Inlet Rd, Moyarra, +61 3 5657 3338

    Gippsland Cheese
    Located in the rolling green hills of Gippsland, only an hour from Melbourne, Gippsland Cheese represents a selection of premium artisan cheese-makers from Gippsland and beyond. The specialist cheese processor and distributor offers a wide range of cheeses, including their own range, Gippsland Gourmet, and others: Tarago River, Jindi, Old Telegraph Road, Maffra Cheese Co, Berry’s Creek, Milawa, Prom Country Cheese, Red Hill Cheese, Grandvewe Cheese, Pantalica and Mamma Lucia. 17 Ryan Ct, Warragul, +61 3 5622 3887

    Cheese from Victoria's High Country | Photo Credit: Tourism Victoria/Katie Quinn Davies

    Cheese from Victoria’s High Country | Photo Credit: Tourism Victoria/Katie Quinn Davies

    Article courtesy of Visit Melbourne– Official site for Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

    November 29, 2016 • Articles, Australia, Destinations, Uncategorized • Views: 2368

  • Six Must-Do Food Experiences in Australia’s Gourmet Capital

    Lake House dining room and wine cellar

    Dining room and wine cellar | Photo credit: Lake House

    Melbourne is brimming with culinary experiences and has plenty on offer to satiate an appetite of any size. Whether dining like a local down the city’s laneways and hidden alleys, seeking out the latest spot for brunch or the best cup of coffee in town, or indulging in a many-course fine-dining degustation, the city is home to more must-visit restaurants and cafes than one could ever see in just one visit – even locals struggle to fit them all in! Victoria’s love of food extends beyond the state’s capital and sampling the local produce in the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula or further afield is a popular pastime for locals and visitors alike. And it is no surprise with so many regional restaurants serving instagrammable meals overlooking equally photogenic views. To make the most of a visit to Melbourne food aficionados should aim to tick off the following six must-do food experiences:

    Fine dining Melbourne style
    Australasia’s number one restaurant and ranked 33 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, Attica is a must-visit for anyone serious about fine-dining. Here, chef Ben Shewry creates beautifully balanced, modern cuisine integrating native Australian ingredients wherever possible. The focus is on sustainably developed produce, and dishes include rarely-used plants and herbs foraged from the adjacent garden as well as from broader Victoria. From the Lilly Pilly and Illawarra plum pine used in signature dessert The Native Fruits of Australia, to saltbush leaves, marron, native peppers and nuts, the flavours of Attica sing Australia. Shannon Bennett’s Vue de monde on the 55th floor of the Rialto Tower takes diners on a journey with its innovative cuisine and spectacular setting. The menu has French influences but is steeped in Melbourne’s history and uses primarily Victorian produce and indigenous ingredients. Kangaroo, marron, wallaby and native herbs are all regular fixtures on the menu which also offers diners a high-end take on the classic Australian Lamington. The restaurant’s dramatic decor sees traditional white table cloths replaced with kangaroo leather, curtains made of 100% Victorian wool and chairs crafted from old telegraph poles, making for a uniquely Australian setting. The experience is topped off with spectacular views over the Melbourne city skyline and Port Phillip Bay.

    Lake House dining 2

    Fine dining experience | Photo credit: Lake House

    Laneway eating
    Some of Melbourne’s best eating and drinking can be found in and around the city’s labyrinth of interconnecting laneways. Unmarked doors, sets of stairs, or what looks like a no through road, are all likely to lead to a favorite local dining haunt. The city’s original laneway tapas bar MoVida, perennially popular Chin Chin, Tonka, Cumulus Inc. Brooks of Melbourne, Coda, Izakaya Den and Supernormal are just some of the names to look out for. The laneways are also central to Melbourne’s cafe and bar culture with rooftops and basements offering more hidden secrets and surprises – from Japanese tea houses to Chinese dim sum diners, coffee grinders and speakeasy style cocktail bars and everything in between. Those unsure of where to start can take a tour with the likes of Hidden Secrets Tours, Melbourne Food Experiences or Melbourne Walks to discover the city’s cafe culture, specialist coffee, cocktail and bar scene and plenty more besides.


    Laneway eating |Photo credit: Melbourne Tourism

    Coffee and breakfast like a local
    Melbourne has long been regarded as the coffee capital of Australia and is one of the leading cities for coffee in the world. Since the first espresso machines landed on Victorian soil in the 1950s, the city’s reverence for the bean has continued to prosper. The emergence of specialist roasters has contributed to an obsession with new ways of brewing and the origin of coffee beans. Whether it is a hole in the wall coffee joint in the laneways, or a quick coffee on the go – Melbourne has a cup to suit every taste with some favorites including Traveller, Cup of Truth, Seven Seeds, Dukes, The Sensory Lab, Auction Rooms and Dead Man Espresso. Tours and interactive experiences offer the opportunity to understand the history and culture that has fueled this city-wide obsession – try coffee cupping sessions with Seven Seeds, or a full-day coffee roasting session at Market Lane Coffee. Hand-in-hand with Melbourne’s coffee obsession, eating out for breakfast or brunch is a huge part of Melbourne life, on par with dinner as a social occasion and opportunity to sample artisan produce from around Victoria. Favourite breakfast haunts include St Ali, Industry Beans, Pope Joan, Proud Mary, Top Paddock, and Cumulus Inc. At these locations and more, Melbourne’s multi-cultural heritage, innovation and produce are presented on every plate – from fancy pressed lamb belly to Baba ghanoush, fresh fig and caper currants; from potato cheddar waffle to smoked brisket, zuni pickles and sour cream.

    Coffee cups at a South Terrace cafe,Fremantle

    Coffee for two | Photo credit: South Terrace Cafe

    Ultimate Yarra Valley indulgence
    A hot air balloon flight at sunrise is the best possible introduction to Victoria’s premier wine growing region. Global Ballooning enables early-risers to float serenely over the Yarra Valley’s stunning scenery of rolling vineyards, lush green pastures and story-book forests and land in one of the Valley’s flagship wineries, such as Domain Chandon or Rochford Estate to enjoy a champagne breakfast with local sparkling and artisan produce. The birthplace of Victorian viticulture, the Yarra Valley is Victoria’s premier wine region home to more than 80 world class wineries producing award-winning cool climate wines and 60 boutique cellar doors, making it the perfect destination for an intimate wine tasting or behind-the-scenes experiences. Big producers such as De Bortoli and Yering Station sit alongside specialist boutique wine makers who are quietly making a name for some of the most interesting and brave blends and varietals in the country. In addition to wine, the region now produces a growing selection of craft beers and cider showcased through the Yarra Valley Cider and Ale Trail.The region is dotted with farm gates and artisan producers including dairies, chocolataries and organic produce. This sophisticated, romantic and decadent food and wine region is within an hour’s drive of Melbourne can be enjoyed on a private tour or a self-drive itinerary.


    Hot air balloon over the Yarra Valley | Photo credit: Victoria Tourism

    Mornington Peninsula – an adventure for the senses
    The Mornington Peninsula has it all: abundant produce, boutique wineries, food trails, farm gates, golf courses, galleries, picturesque villages, diverse landscapes, beautiful beaches and coastal views all in one compact area, just one hour from Melbourne. It is one of few wine regions in the world that overlooks stunning coastline, with cool ocean breezes influencing the boutique cool-climate Chardonnays and Pinots for which the area is renowned. The Mornington Peninsula has more award-winning restaurants than any other part of Victoria with Port Philip Estate, The Long Table, Montalto, Terminus and Ten Minutes by Tractor all offering menus that feature local produce for a completely immersive dining experience. Visitors can get even more hands-on with fruit picking, mushroom foraging or classes in handmade sausages, wood fired pizzas or chocolate making. The ‘Wine, Food and Farmgate’ trail and map makes it easy to discover dozens of wine, food and farm-gates throughout the region and Horseback Winery Tours offers a unique way to explore the vineyards.

    Continental Hotel - Sorrento

    Enjoying the view and a glass of wine | Photo credit: Mornington Peninsula Tourism Board

    Dine and stay at Brae
    Australia’s only regional restaurant to be included in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, recently announced at number 65, Brae in the Otways serves up contemporary cuisine with a commitment to seasonal produce. Award winning chef Dan Hunter creates a daily menu that reflects the best of the hillside property’s extensive organic gardens. Each day, the highest quality ingredients are carefully selected from Brae’s on-site organic fruit and vegetable garden, local farms and ethical, sustainable producers from Victoria and beyond. Native ingredients on the menu include coastal bone fruit, ruby salt bush, muntries, quandongs, fingerlime and pepperberry, plus local and sustainably caught black lip abalone, southern rock lobster and sea urchin. The Birregurra property, one and a half hours from Melbourne, has recently added six new luxury accommodation suites so visitors now need not worry about transport to and from their indulgent degustation. The spacious suites have been constructed with sustainability in mind, using recycled materials, solar energy, harvested rainwater and a worm farm waste water system. Each suite accommodates two adults and features a star-gazing skylight, sitting area with turntable and record collection, and private outdoor seating with views to the rolling hills of the Otway Ranges. Guests can take a morning stroll in the garden, catching chefs and gardeners at work, and enjoy an in-room, house-made breakfast of organic, wood-fired sourdough bread, pastries, preserves and seasonal produce harvested from the property and nearby. It is easy to extend a visit to Brae, with many nearby activities such as platypus spotting by canoe in Lake Elizabeth, the Otways Fly Treetop Walk, and exploring the Great Ocean Road and Bellarine Peninsula.

    Article courtesy of Visit Melbourne– Official site for Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

    November 9, 2016 • Articles, Australia, Destinations, Travels • Views: 2189

  • Your Guide to Melbourne, the Coffee Capital

    The Tilba Teapot Cafe at Tilba, Eurobodalla, South Coast, NSW

    The Tilba Teapot Cafe | Photo Credit: Melbourne Sydney Drives

    Melbourne is a city obsessed with coffee. Cold drips, aero-press and cupping are common words in the local vernacular thanks to a widespread passion for the bean, complemented by a number of leading provedores who call Melbourne home. This long and eventful love affair began when Melbourne’s first espresso machines landed in the city in the 1950s. Today, the passion for the bean is at an all-time high thanks to a ‘third wave’ of specialty roasters and multi-roaster cafes.

    Coffee hotspots in Melbourne and surrounds
    Specialty coffee roasters Market Lane recently opened its fourth outpost in the historic Deli Hall at Queen Victoria Market. The spot where Market Lane stands housed a pharmacy for 80 years and maintains some of the original art-deco style fittings. The sleek design is the perfect platform for a long filter coffee bar, a classic espresso machine and a selection of some of Melbourne’s best beans on sale to take home.

    Located in the burgeoning foodie precinct of Collingwood, Everyday Coffee is the result of a collaboration between three young coffee enthusiasts who have worked at some of the city’s top cafes. Carefully selected beans from Melbourne’s top roasters are matched to specific brews. A small selection of pastries and cakes from surrounding bakeries and a clean, minimalist interior compliment the star of the show – coffee.

    Not far away in Fitzroy, Industry Beans is a roaster which also offers extensive house teas and juices as part of the industry offering. The industrial style fit out of the space matches an inventive menu that uses coffee in the cooking process.

    PATRICIA - coffee pour

    Freshly brewed coffee | Photo credit: Hidden Secrets Walking Tour

    Code Black Coffee in the Brunswick precinct around 10kms north of the city center offers visitors an insight into the theater and craftsmanship behind specialists roasts. A roaster that can roast a whopping 20kg of beans at a time captivates in the sleek interior. A generous food offering creates an extra reason to stick around.

    Stand up espresso bars
    These days a number of hole-in-the-wall operators and standing-room only espresso bars are popping up throughout the city, where the floor space and menu is scaled back and the quality of the brew and clever design really matter.

    Located in the Flinders Street underpass Cup of Truth  is the original hole-in-the-wall coffee spot, a one-by-three meter space that opens its doors before 7am to brew some of the city’s best coffee and artisan pastries.

    Dukes Coffee Roasters in Windsor opened Dukes Espresso Bar on Flinders Lane with a dedicated filter bar, La Marzocco espresso machines, recycled tiles, timber and minimal seating. It’s a coffee and pastry affair, located in Ross House – a self-managed, community-owned and non-profit commercial building.

    Patricia Coffee Brewers is a sharp and slick, pocket-sized standing-room only venue with a coffee menu from Seven Seeds, Market Lane and Proud Mary. Order it straight-up, black, white or filter.

    Located in eclectic city laneway, Crossley Street, Traveller is the small-format initiative by local coffee heroes Seven Seeds. The tiny stand up espresso bar mimics its Milano counterparts with shiny mirrors and a teak-touched fit out in contrast to its highly modern coffee offering. Other hole-in-the-wall coffee spots to visit are Tom Thumb, Sbriga and A Little Bird Told Me.


    Morning cup of coffee | Photo credit: The Lyall Hotel

    Coffee Tours
    Walk Melbourne Coffee Tours are hosted by ex-barista and coffee aficionado Monique Bayer. The tour takes visitors to locations with a focus on origin, roasting and brewing, showcasing the diverse offering of the city’s coffee specialists. Alongside expert commentary and four hot handpicked venues, the tour offers sampling of four different styles of coffee and is conducted in a relaxed, small group.

    Barista judge and coffee connoisseur Maria Paoli runs Melbourne’s popular Evolving Success Historical Coffee Trek. Paoli’s tour hones in on the history of coffee in Melbourne and the techniques used by pre-war immigrants in the “espresso revolution” of the mid 1950s, bringing the tour up-to-date by showcasing the city’s thriving cafe culture and the success that local baristas enjoy in international barista competitions.

    Tour participants sample a wide variety of coffee blends and learn about what makes a perfect cup of coffee. Coffee connoisseurs will appreciate the finer details of brewing methods, coffee roasting and the history of coffee beans and domestic coffee making machines.

    Where it all began – a brief history of coffee in Melbourne
    Caffeine has been pumping through the arteries of Melbourne’s city center for many years. Starting with the original Pelllegrini Espresso Bar which opened in the 1950s, a thriving Italian influence helped the spread of coffee culture in Melbourne over the decades to follow, until the new wave of specialist roasters and baristas emerged in the early 2000’s. Today it is almost impossible to walk around a corner in Melbourne without the familiar scent of a perfectly brewed espresso wafting down a laneway.

    Mr Tulk cafe

    Mr. Tulk Cafe in Melbourne | Photo credit: Hidden Secrets Walking Tour

    Melburnians have become discerning coffee drinkers and while many still favour espresso coffee styles – caffe latte with rich crema – some cafes offer a tantalizing array of alternatives, including syphons, filters and French pressed coffee.

    Coffee fast facts
    Melbourne’s love of coffee just keeps growing – the volume of coffee beans imported from around the globe through the Port of Melbourne has increased by around 780 per cent over the last decade!

    Every day, on average, the Port of Melbourne handles 30 tonnes of coffee beans. This makes the equivalent of 3 million cups of coffee each day – that’s enough to give every metropolitan Melburnian a daily coffee fix.

    Some quintessentially Melbourne cafés

    • Market Lane Coffee
    • Seven Seeds
    • St Ali
    • East Brunswick Project & The League of Honest Coffee
    • Auction Rooms
    • Proud Mary 
    • Manchester Press – 8 Rankins Lane, Melbourne
    • Pellegrini Espresso Bar – 66 Bourke Street, Melbourne
    • Cup of Truth

    Article courtesy of Visit Melbourne– Official site for Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

    October 25, 2016 • Articles, Australia, Destinations • Views: 2793

  • Boutique Distilleries in Victoria

    Widely renowned as home to some of Australia’s top micro-breweries, Victoria’s thirst for local, hand-crafted drinks is nowhere near ending. Over the past couple of years a number of distilleries offering everything from gin using native botanicals to small-batch whiskey have emerged and have been readily embraced by the bartending community and the public. Even more unique to the story is the fact that many of these are located within an hours’ drive of Melbourne’s city center. Turning the notion that great spirits need be created at the far ends of the Earth or near a snow capped peak on its head.

    HST - Hihou bar - Melb City

    Hihou Bar | Photo credit: Hidden Secrets Walking Tour

    Four Pillars Gin
    This small, distillery located in the Yarra Valley which launched late last year but has already received global accolades, Four Pillars Gin produce their well-received gin in small batches of just 420 bottles. Stocked in some of Melbourne’s top bars, the gin is renowned for using native Australian botanicals alongside international counterparts. Each bottle is individually numbered and hand labelled. The distillery will hold regular open days starting from mid-June. Learn more about Four Pillars Gin here.

    Melbourne Gin Company
    This locally produced gin launched mid-last year using botanicals that come from the garden at Gembrook Hill Vineyard also located in the Yarra Valley. The Gin is made using Gembrook rainwater creating a very unique and localized flavor and is available for purchase online.

    New World Whiskey Distillery
    Located in an old airport hangar in Essendon in Melbourne’s Western suburbs, this distillery’s Starward Whiskey is developed using Australian barley and barrels but integrating maturation techniques from around the world, that along with the Victorian climate creates a distinctly Melbourne flavor. The New World Whiskey Distillery also conducts a range of Whiskey MasterClasses, dinners and open days at their workshop each month.

    Bass & Flinders Distillery
    Founded in 2009, this distillery is located on the Mornington Peninsula, just over an hours’ drive from Melbourne’s city centre. They produce a number of spirits ranging from Limóncello to grappa but are widely known for their gin. The gin is produced using alcohol from grapes instead of grains and the distillery conducts regular Gin Experience events where visitors can make their own gins using a wide range of botanicals.

    Other boutique distilleries in regional Victoria include Timboon, Bakery Hill and Triptych Distillery.


    Article courtesy of Visit Melbourne– Official site for Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

    July 13, 2016 • Articles, Australia, Destinations, Travels • Views: 2736

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    The koala is one of Australia’s most famous icons. Here are ten facts about the koala Continue Reading

    May 30, 2014 • Australia • Views: 8644