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Dreamers Eco Apartments

Dreamers Eco Apartments. Dreamers Eco Apartments.
Nanjing Night Net

218 Kiewa Valley Highway, Mount Beauty, Vicphone: (03) 5754 1222web: dreamers1南京夜网

The Location Set among two hectares of beautiful gardens with the focal point an ornamental lake edged by clumps of mature deciduous trees, Dreamers is just a short walk from Mount Beauty village. The backdrop is formed by mounts Emu, Bogong and Beauty, the last one apparently named not for its appearance from the valley but for the spectacular views from its summit.

The Place At Dreamers, the Eco cabins are three-bedroom self-contained apartments sleeping up to seven. Upstairs is the master with shower-room ensuite, and a separate spa bath tucked into an alcove with views to the mountains. The walls of soft gumleaf-green set off the deep reds of flowering gums that colour furnishings and the feature wall. Exterior and trombe walls are of rammed earth, the downstairs flooring is polished concrete, while recycled boards provide the upstairs floor. The solar hydronic heating is supplemented in the lounge area by an effective, ambience-boosting gas faux fire.

The experience After an exploration of the gardens and the eco features of the cabin, a meander around the lake, and a chat with the duck, dog and cat, take a stroll to the village and glean more information about the region from the well-resourced visitors’ centre. Cycle or go for a pleasant walk around the local pondage, a massive regulating lake for hydroelectricity production, perhaps taking in a spot of fishing on the way. For a slightly tougher walk, head to the Mount Beauty Gorge for the views along the Kiewa Valley.

Don’t Miss … a visit to Bogong Village, which is wedged into the hillside just above Lake Guy. A walk (easy) to Fainters Falls is especially good after reasonable rains, when water cascades noisily down the 70-metre drop. A drive (30 kilometres of winding road) to Falls Creek is imperative, if not to enjoy winter sports, then to absorb the chalet town’s atmosphere, with its distinctive architecture, cafes and restaurants. Take hats and gloves.

Cost: Penthouse Luxury Eco cabin, $690 a night (sleeps up to seven); Luxury Eco cabin, $590 a night; chalets, $250-$380 a night. Two night minimum stay.

Distance: 355km (4 1/2 hours’ drive) north-east of Melbourne.

– Good Weekend

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The House At Smoko

The House at Smoko.1691 Great Alpine Road, Smoko, Vicphone: 0448 992 960web: thehouseatsmoko南京夜网.au
Nanjing Night Net

The location You reach Smoko, in the beautiful Ovens Valley, just before Harrietville, the last petrol stop before the climb to Mount Hotham and its snowfields. Allegedly named for the place where late-18th-century workers stopped off for a billy tea and a smoke on their way to and from the region’s gold dredges, it could equally be named for the heavy mists that settle on the mountains on chilly mornings.

The place Set amid a hectare of native shrubs, towering gums and mature oaks and elms, The House at Smoko is made of stone, timber and galvanised iron and has the look of the old tobacco kilns that once dominated the local landscape. Inside is a mixture of polished boards and stone-tiled floors with see-through timber wall divides separating the main living areas.

One, a huge circular bookshelf, hangs from the ceiling. A builder’s pallet, sanded and oiled, makes a great coffee table. The eight-seater dining-room table is a sold timber affair with paint-spattered tabletop evoking the bench top of an artist’s studio.

The experience At least a day is needed to appreciate the gardens, the decor and the attention to detail that makes this house special, but Mount Hotham is a drawcard. Even if you’re no lover of skiing, the kids will enjoy chucking snowballs, building snowmen and tobogganing.

Don’t miss … a visit to Bright and its cafes: Ginger Baker (127 Great Alpine Road; 03 5755 2300) overlooks Centennial Park and the Ovens River and is renowned for its superlative coffee, while Simone’s (98 Gavan Street; 03 5755 2266) is widely regarded as the best restaurant in north-east Victoria. In Harrietville, there is the small volunteer-run Harrietville Historical Museum (Great Alpine Road, next to the general store), which tells of the town’s gold-mining days, and Morries Ice-creamery, which is a must, even in winter (195 Great Alpine Road; 03 5759 2612). Granny’s Pantry (56 Great Alpine Road; 03 5759 2699) is renowned for its jams, relishes and Indian-style kasundi.

Cost: from $360 a night for two to $600 a night for six. Children are an extra $30 a night. Two night minimum stay.

Distance: about 330km (4 1/2 hours’ drive) north-east of Melbourne.

– Good Weekend

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The Loose Box

6825 Great Eastern Highway, Mundaring, WAphone: (08) 9295 1787web: loosebox南京夜网.au
Nanjing Night Net

The location Mundaring is less than an hour’s drive from Perth, in the midst of what West Australians like to call the “hills”: the shallow, craggy slopes of the Darling scarp. A third of the shire is state forest, and contains the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail walk, the Munda Biddi Bike Trail and Mundaring Weir, which is well worth a picnic visit.

The place The Loose Box sits on the highway between Perth and Kalgoorlie, but maintains a surprising serenity. The 1.2-hectare property is surrounded by ghost gums and contains a huge vegie garden that supplies the kitchens. The cottages, set into the gardens, are decorated with a restraint rarely seen among French provincial devotees, and they not only look charming but work well: the pretty, wood-burning stove punches out the heat, the tapestried armchairs are low and reader-friendly, and the deep ceramic bath fills efficiently and enjoys garden views.

The experience The Loose Box is fundamentally about food. For 30 years, chef and owner Alain Fabrègues has been refining his art among the magpies and bandicoots of his adopted state; he opened the six cottages 18 years ago to cater to guests who found themselves too … weary to make the postprandial trek home. Today, the restaurant is still regularly voted one of the best in WA, and everyone who stays here dines here. Fabrègues has been twice knighted for his services to French culture, and his six-course degustation menu – which might include anything from French foie gras to local black truffles – is a homage to classic haute cuisine.

Don’t miss … the Mundaring truffle festival (mundaringtrufflefestival南京夜网), held on July 28-29. Conceived by Fabrègues to celebrate the prized French black truffle, now grown in Manjimup in WA, events include tastings, masterclasses, a produce market, truffle-themed luncheons and a regional wine show. – Amanda Hooton

Cost: B&B only: $425 a couple a night. Friday or Saturday night: $725 a couple, including degustation meal, overnight stay and deluxe continental breakfast. Sunday night: $700 a couple, including degustation luncheon, large cheese platter for supper (served in the cottage), overnight stay and deluxe continental breakfast. Beverages not included.

Distance: 35km (45 minutes’ drive) west of Perth.

– Good Weekend

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Brice Hill Country Lodge

Brice Hill’s four self-contained one-bedroom apartments have been named after famous wineries in the region.56-66 Warenda Road, Clare, SA phone: (08) 8842 2925web: bricehill南京夜网.au
Nanjing Night Net

The location Named after County Clare in Ireland, the picturesque Clare Valley north of Adelaide has umpteen boutique and well-known wineries sprinkled throughout a narrow corridor between the townships of Auburn and Clare. Brice Hill Country Lodge, just south of Clare, has on its doorstep access to the valley’s famous Riesling Trail, which follows a disused section of railway line and is perfect for cycling or strolling between cellar doors.

The place Brice Hill’s four self-contained one-bedroom apartments have been named after famous wineries in the region. There are open fireplaces for winter visitors and an outdoor solar-heated pool to enjoy in the warmer months. The Taylors Suite (renowned, family-owned Taylors wines is in Auburn) makes an appealing home base. From here, excellent food and wine are never more than a few minutes away, but for couples wanting solitude, it’s perfect for self-catering, too, with a small but well-equipped kitchen (dishwasher, convection/microwave oven, stove top, full fridge/freezer) and a Weber Q barbecue in the large outdoor courtyard. The bathroom features a huge corner spa bath and separate shower, plus there’s a second TV and walk-in wardrobe in the bedroom.

The experience Forget hustle and bustle – life in the Clare Valley is as chilled as the perfect glass of riesling. Undulating hills, vast gullies and serried ranks of grapevines stretch as far as the eye can see, and renting a bike from Brice Hill or a nearby hire place to go for a ride means a lot of eating and drinking becomes practically guilt-free. For those seeking a break from things prandial or vineal, there are art and crafts galleries in Clare, Blyth, Watervale and Armagh, and the Burra Mine Site, a South Australian state heritage area complete with open-air museum.

Don’t miss … Sevenhill Cellars (College Road, Sevenhill; 08 8843 4222; sevenhill南京夜网.au), the oldest winery in the valley, founded in 1851 by Jesuits planting vines to produce sacramental wine, and the nearby St Aloysius Catholic Church with its evocative crypt; Skillogalee comes highly recommended for its cellar door and restaurant (08 8843 4311; skillogalee南京夜网.au); Artisans Table Wine Bar & Bistro (Wendouree Road, Clare; 08 8842 1796; artisanstable南京夜网.au), about two minutes’ walk from Brice Hill’s suites; The Little Red Grape bakery on Main North Road at Sevenhill (08 8843 4099); Kilikanoon Cellar Door (Penna Lane, Penwortham via Clare; 08 8843 4206; kilikanoon南京夜网.au). –

Cost: from $275 a night a couple, includes a self-catering breakfast (two night minimum stay). Complimentary port and a bottle of wine from whichever vineyard your suite has been named after.

Distance: 130km (2 hours’ drive) north of Adelaide.

– Good Weekend

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de Russie Suites Mudgee

Corner of Perry and Gladstone streets, Mudgee, NSWphone: (02) 6372 7650web: derussiehotels南京夜网.au
Nanjing Night Net

The location Mudgee – with its array of well-regarded vineyards, combined with an attractive town centre and surrounding countryside – vies with Orange as NSW’s preferred Central West getaway. The new 13-room de Russie Suites Mudgee, which opened in January, is just a few blocks from the compact CBD, where you’ll find restaurants, pubs and cafes (and at least one decent bookshop), as well as impressive 19th-century heritage streetscapes.

The place When Mark and Lisa Madigan, inspired by lodgings on their travels in Europe, opened de Russie Suites Orange in 2007, they established a new standard in accommodation in regional NSW. Now, in their second and latest outing, the pair have transformed Mudgee’s historic 1865 Mechanics Institute building with stunning effect, creating a stylish and refreshingly chintz-free place to stay in country NSW. The baker’s dozen of cosy, contemporary one- and two-bedroom suites – designed by Lisa, who has a background in fashion – include king-size beds (with pillow-top mattresses), flat-screen TVs, minibars and kitchenettes. Some rooms feature spas and rainforest shower heads, and they all boast baths and those all-important bathrobes.

The experience What a shame there are so few chic boutique lodgings of the calibre of this “apartment-suite hotel” in our big cities, let alone our small towns. De Russie Suites Mudgee suffers slightly from having no in-house restaurant or bar (a welcome drink would be, well, a welcome touch). However, quality in-room breakfast provisions are provided. Unlike Orange, its larger Central West neighbour, Mudgee notably lacks a signature restaurant, with just a lone entry, an Indian restaurant, featured in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2012.

Don’t miss … Aside from the obvious allure of the region’s plentiful cellar-door wineries (as well as its hive of honey producers), Mudgee is surrounded by quaint historic towns such as Gulgong and Rylstone. If time’s not at a premium, take the longer scenic road back to Sydney via the 19th-century gold-rush towns of Hill End and Sofala, emerging at Bathurst, where you can break for lunch before heading back over the Blue Mountains and on to the big smoke.

Cost: rates start from $165 for a Studio Suite.

Distance: 270km (3 1/2 hours’ drive) north-west of Sydney.

– Good Weekend

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The Darling

The Darling.80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont, NSWphone: 1800 800 830web: thedarling南京夜网.au
Nanjing Night Net

The location The Darling is part of The Star casino complex. It is in the inner-Sydney precinct of Pyrmont, but actually that is almost irrelevant. Once inside the casino’s network of bars, restaurants, shops and, of course, gaming tables, the city views might as well be painted backdrops. This is a glittering, temperature-controlled world unto itself. It’s winter outside? Who knew?

The place The hotel, which opened late last year, has 171 rooms and suites. The fittings are deluxe, the systems high-tech – touch-buttons open and close blinds, adjust lighting and so on. The decor in the standard room is at once glamorous and gloomy: dark carpet, dark walls and black marble in the bathroom. The interior of the wardrobe is black. Even the ironing board is black. For the punter wanting to catch some sleep after an all-night blackjack session, this is the perfect haven.

The experience The Star is essentially an adult fun park. When you’re not playing baccarat, roulette or Caribbean stud poker, there are plenty of other amusing ways to get rid of your money. Boutiques offering high-priced merchandise include Bottega Veneta, Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo. Among the 20 drinking and eating places are a tequila bar, a vodka bar, another specialising in Italian aperitivi, and restaurants operated by big-name chefs Stefano Manfredi and Luke Nguyen, not to mention New York City hotshot David Chang’s Momofuku Seiobo. At The Darling itself is the Sokyo restaurant, complete with sake sommelier.

Don’t miss … After a few hours hunched over the craps table, how better to relax those tense neck muscles than with a massage? The Spa at The Darling offers everything from a traditional Thai massage ($185) to something called a Granite Hot Stones Muscle Melt ($190). To avoid gamblers’ pallor, you might also consider a body polish ($110) followed by a spray tan ($45).

Cost: from $279 a night for a standard room.

Distance: about 1km (15 minutes’ walk) from Town Hall station in the Sydney CBD.

– Good Weekend

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Cathedral Valley Farm

Cathedral Valley Farm.468 Cathedral Lane, Taggerty, Vicphone: (03) 5774 7235web: cathedralvalleyfarm南京夜网.au
Nanjing Night Net

The location Taggerty is one of a run of small towns along the Maroondah Highway in central Victoria, reached via the windy road of the ferny, tall-treed Black Spur, and nestling at the entry to the Cathedral Range State Park. The tiny hamlet’s views take in the painterly outlook of the valley and weathered crags such as Little Cathedral, Sugarloaf, Jawbone and Chapel Hill.

The place Smartly created by a makeover of an original 1961 kit home, with slimline corrugated-iron internal features and limed timber, this two-wing house has a central living room and is thus suited for a two-family stay. Each wing has a kitchen, spa bathroom and two king-sized bedrooms (each of the king beds can be converted into twin beds). The scenery includes an overhanging view of the nearby ridge, a reflective dam and peacocks – there are outside terraces from which to enjoy the fresh air and views.

The experience This 60-hectare farm stay offers visitors the opportunity to feed and pet its cows, alpacas, horses and chooks – at a reasonable mid-morning hour – and some pleasant walking around the dam and paddocks. For the more serious walker, there are a number of well-known day walking trails at the adjacent state park. Or use it as a base for a day’s skiing or snowball tossing at nearby Lake Mountain, or for a day trip to the lake and river system of Lake Eildon.

Don’t miss … a walk in the state park. The Buxton Hotel (2192 Maroondah Highway; 03 5774 7381) offers a free bus shuttle for diners; and for lovers of outstanding organic meals, drop into Healesville’s Wombat’s Chai cafe, (194 Maroondah Highway, Tuesday to Sunday; 03 5962 2611) on your way to and from Taggerty. – Jacinta Le Plastrier

Cost: $600 a night for the entire house (sleeps eight); half-house, $380 a night (sleeps four). Two night minimum stay.

Distance: 110km (1 1/2 hours’ drive) from Melbourne.

– Good Weekend

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Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge

Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge.4038 Cradle Mountain Road, Cradle Mountain, Tasphone: 1300 806 192web: cradlemountainlodge南京夜网.au
Nanjing Night Net

The location If Cradle Mountain’s snow-capped peaks don’t bewitch you as they loom tantalisingly at the end of the two-hour drive from Launceston, then its magnificent wilderness certainly will once you reach its heights. Teeming with wallabies, wombats and super-sized playful possums, it’s the northern end of the 161,000-hectare World Heritage-listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.

The place  Bounded by haunting wilderness and centred on a serene lake (where, if you’re lucky, you’ll spot the resident platypus frolicking), Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge lies just 100 metres from the edge of the national park. There are 86 timber cabins to choose from, but for those wanting to treat themselves, the sumptuous King Billy Suites are the pick of the bunch. The double-sided log fireplace can be enjoyed either from the comfy couch – while tucking into complimentary canapés and port – or the enormous king-size bed, and a private hot tub on the balcony is the ultimate stargazing possie on a frosty winter’s night.

The experience You have two options, really. You can get up and go, with bracing bushwalks in the national park (there are also four lovely walks in the lodge grounds, which pass by myrtle, sassafras and 1500-year-old King Billy pines), mountain biking or nightly “spotlight” wildlife tours run by the lodge. Or you can simply rest and revitalise, indulging in cheese and wine tastings, sumptuous meals by the large open fire at the Highland restaurant, or an afternoon of pampering at the decadent Waldheim Alpine Spa.

Don’t miss … close encounters with endangered Tassie devils at the [email protected] sanctuary next door to the lodge (03 6492 1491; devilsatcradle南京夜网), and taking the one-hour drive to the King Solomons and Marakoopa caves (molecreek.info), where you’ll witness an incredible natural light show thanks to the resident glow-worms, and some spectacular stalactites and stalagmites. 

Cost: from $160 a night; King Billy Suites from $580 a night.

Distance: 155km (2 hours’ drive) from Launceston.

– Good Weekend

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Bluegum Ridge Country Cottages

Bluegum Ridge Country Cottages.434 Buttercup Road, Merrijig, Vicphone: (03) 5777 5015web: bluegumridge南京夜网.au
Nanjing Night Net

The location “Where the frig is Merrijig?” says the logo on the T-shirts at the local pub. It’s a very small, very quiet place about three hours’ drive from Melbourne; another 30 kilometres further on and you’re at Mount Buller. But the Delatite Valley isn’t mountainous; it’s gentle green hills, and cattle and alpaca country.

The place The two two-bedroom self-contained cottages at Bluegum Ridge are secluded and quiet, set in pretty gardens dotted with giant blue gums, and both have magnificent views across the paddocks to Mount Buller. You scarcely need a weather forecast to check out the skiing conditions – you can just look out the window! Each cottage has a broad verandah and a rustic but very comfortable feel, with both a wood stove and electric heating to keep you cosy, and plenty of room for families to spread out and relax.

The experience Not a lot goes on in Merrijig and that’s how they want it. However, if you’re looking for downhill skiing and boarding, head for Mount Buller, while Mount Stirling offers cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing. Take the kids tobogganing or snowman building. Check out the wineries or the Jamieson Brewery, or go horse riding or fishing or bushwalking. Get talking to a mountain cattleman or join in the trivia night at the Merrijig Hunt Club Hotel. For more restaurants, cafes and shops, head to nearby Mansfield.

Don’t miss … the snow! But if the weather doesn’t oblige, take a drive and a walk up to Craig’s Hut on the eastern side of Mount Stirling. The hut was created for the 1982 film The Man from Snowy River, then burnt down in the 2007 bushfires, but volunteers rebuilt it, and it remains a symbol of settler history.

Cost: $190 a double a night; breakfast, $20 extra a person a night. Extra adult, $40 a night; extra child, $30 a night plus $12.50 extra for breakfast. Two night minimum stay. On request, for extra charge: breakfast hampers, cheese and biscuits, red or white wine.

Distance: 220km (3 hours’ drive) north-east of Melbourne.

– Good Weekend

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Mending Wall

Mending Wall.Mount Irvine, Blue Mountains, NSWphone: (02) 9331 2881web: contemporaryhotels南京夜网.au
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The location Far from the chintzy antique stores of Leura, Mount Irvine is the Blue Mountains as they were meant to be: lush valleys quiet except for the sound of birds chirruping and the occasional crunch of car tyres on loose metal roads. Nature lovers will delight in exploring cool-climate gardens such as Bebeah and Merry Garth, or ambling along narrow roads lined with magnificent century-old beech and elm trees.

The place Named after a Robert Frost poem, Mending Wall is remote enough that you are warned to arrive with enough supplies and a full tank of petrol (the nearest store is 45 minutes’ drive away). The angular, modern three-bedroom house is set in 2.2 hectares of woodland gardens and affords a view of the skyscrapers of Sydney on the horizon. Inside, there is an impressive kitchen stocked with every implement and device you might require (including a Nespresso coffee machine), and the house is furnished with comfortable classics, including chairs by Arne Jacobsen and Charles Eames. The open-plan living area features dramatic artwork by Minnie Pwerle, a gleaming grand piano and a crackling open fire, but the highlight is undoubtedly a collection of more than 1000 books ranging from the full collection of Marcel Proust to original unbound scripts for films such as The Truman Show.

The experience This is a place that invites the kind of unhurried contemplation that is not possible in everyday life, but if the appeal of reading, cooking or lazing in the outdoor spa should wane, it’s advisable to grab a set of gumboots from the “mud room” located near the front door and stride out in the neighboring Wollemi National Park. The property also has a impressive garden featuring rare rhododendrons and azaleas as well as modern sculpture, including a startlingly lifelike man with a suitcase that was shown in Sydney’s 2009 Sculpture by the Sea exhibition.

Don’t miss … The nearby village of Mount Wilson is worth a visit for its heritage buildings and picturebook tree-lined streets. The Victorian-era Turkish baths are believed to have been built by Richard Wynne (benefactor of the well-known art prize) in the 1880s for his sick wife.

Cost: $1000 a night (sleeps six); two night minimum stay.

Distance: 135km (2 hours’ drive) west of Sydney.

– Good Weekend

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