Wine Tasting in the Hunter Valley

Among all the different wine-growing areas that I have been able to visit in Australia by now, two regions left lasting impressions: Margaret River in WA, and the Hunter Valley in NSW (and this is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the Barossa Valley and the Adelaide Hills in SA, and the Yarra Valley in VIC). The Hunter Valley’s scenery is just picturesque, green rolling hills dotted with vineyards, olive tree orchards and wineries with welcoming cellar doors. We have sampled many different wines, and the following three were my personal favourites: Gewuerztraminer (2011) and Rosé (2010) from the …

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Dining out in Brisbane: Modern Thai, The Persian, Italian etc.

Dining out in Brisbane is a bit of a challenge. Not because there aren’t enough places to choose from. You just need to know where to find a good restaurant, and sometimes a good restaurant or eatery is tucked away in the ever sprawling suburbia, in a suburb you would usually never go to unless you happen to live or work there. In other words, the diversity and plentifulness of international cuisine is not right in your face as in Melbourne, in Brisbane it is a journey of discovery. A selection of these (I find) recommendable places are: Modern Thai …

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V.KNOW – Queenstown/NZ

OK, if I had to pick one of the best restaurants I had eaten at since I’ve been down under, it would be V.KNOW (also: Vknow – note the small little play on words and Italian pronunciation…), and interestingly I didn’t find this place in Australia but in New Zealand (recommended to me by lovely Shona). This place is almost unassuming, a walk up the hill on Fernhill Road on the outskirts of Queenstown, with an air of a neighbourhood restaurant about it. Our lovely hosts Danny and Lizzie helped us with the selection of dishes and accompanying wines, and …

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Italian restaurant Carmen’s – Upper Hunter Valley

A real discovery to me was the Italian restaurant ‘Carmen’s’, located in Muswellbrook in the beautiful Upper Hunter Valley. The Hunter Valley itself is always worth a visit for its stunning scenery but primarily of course for its abundance of vineyards and wineries. On our way to the Hunter Valley we drove through the small town of Muswellbrook and decided to stop for dinner at Carmen’s. The restaurant is run by an Italian family and I was positively surprised at the quality of the food. This certainly is a hidden gem! http://www.carmens.net.au/index.html

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Hotel Urban St Kilda

It’s about time to write another hotel review. Lately I have been staying at the Urban in Melbourne’s bustling suburb of St Kilda, located on Fitzroy Strreet, a short stroll away from Port Phillip Bay and St Kilda Pier. I love St Kilda for its eclectic mix of restaurants, cafés, design shops and wonderful examples of art deco architecture. I was lucky enough to get a room with a King-size bed and free Wi-Fi at a rate of $109/night. I would highly recommend this hotel if you don’t need or want to stay in Melbourne’s CBD. https://www.hotelurban.com.au/melbourne

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