Lured by the promise of poolside Frozen Margaritas ($15) and High Tea ($45/person) I parked myself under one of the swishing hula-skirt umbrellas for the afternoon. It’s a very modern high tea rendition with the customary cucumber sangers switched out for sliders, Reuben sandwiches and grilled cheese toasties.
Lit up cherry blossom trees and vibrant washes of colour turned the 100-year old Woolloomooloo Wharf into a magical fairyland for the launch party of Ovolo Woolloomooloo last week. Alongside celebrity guests like Marcia and Deni Hines, and Jessica Mauboy, I wove my way through the clever interiors that have transformed the cavernous warehouse style-space into something surprisingly intimate, all without losing sight of those soaring ceiling heights.
The rugged slate of canvas that is Cockatoo Island has an energy that's unique to such an iconic piece of Sydney history. Mixing industry with creativity, the island has been home to convicts and shipbuilders alike, but these days it's a space for artists, day-trippers and urban campers.
Our understated country waitress is effortlessly beautiful. She gestures casually out one window to show where the 2014 Logan Sauvignon Blanc ($12/glass) comes from, then the other to indicate the origins of the Pressed Duck ($36) with lentils and heirloom carrots.
Mayfield Garden is a grand folly. When the opportunity arose to visit the public-facing segment of billionaire Garrick Hawkins’ Oberon weekender for an Autumnal Harvest Feast, I leapt at the chance.
"My father is now 99 and we were in his biodynamic garden picking for the restaurant this morning," explains winemaker Sue Carpenter. She’s just taken me through arguably the best tasting I’ve had in the Canberra Wine District, and has moved on to selling the restaurant.
It’s 6.30am and the first rays of sun are peeking through farm equipment and glistening spiders’ webs. A truckload of Tumbarumba Chardonnay grapes are already being unpacked by winemaker Nick Spencer, and his offsider Hamish Young. Their duelling forklifts perform a skilful ballet of weighing then pouring grapes and free-run grape juice into the destemmer.
It’s high time someone was brave enough to have some fun with politicians. From Tony Abbott quotes about election campaigns being “budgie smuggler free zones” in the in-room guide; to crazy past'n'present Prime Minister wallpaper; to press pack paparazzi bursting from the lifts; this hotel takes a youthful, pop-art approach to reflecting its location in our nation’s capital.
Lured in by their award-winning artisan bacon, I came to be at Canberra’s latest dining destination, Farmhouse, a mere week after they opened. Youthful Chef Brendan Walsh has produced a mature menu that reflects his time with Alain Ducasse at London’s Dorchester and at Melbourne’s Vue de Monde.