GABS is back, baby!

Time to get your paddle out. Not that kind of paddle, we’re talking about a beer paddle. Specifically, one at the Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular. A much-loved fixtured for ale enthusiasts since 2011, it is one of the best ways to enjoy the craft beer you love and discover some new favourites. With about 120 ish unique beers, you won’t be able to get through all over them (don’t take that as a challenge – it won’t end well) but keep an eye out for Banana Blueberry Pancake Smoothie beer, Sushi Beer, and possibly one for Eminem fans – Spaghetti Beer.

The world’s oldest brewery, Weihenstephan, will be out in Australia joining in on the fun and showcasing why their brewery has been at the top of the beer game for over 1,000 years. You can even enter a competition while there that could see you winning a trip to Weihenstephan, Germany to check out one of the most renowned beer festivals.

It’s not just beer that you can enjoy at GABS, there’s also cocktails, wine, whiskey and plenty of food bars at the three locations. With all this and over 500 beer taps under one roof, it’s no wonder that GABS is globally acclaimed as one of the best beer festivals in the world.

You might even be able to take part in a new World Record attempt in Melbourne with Stomping Ground Brewery looking to have the most amount of people in a beer tasting. Barcelona currently has the title, so if you want to be part of the 1,400 beer-strong crew, make sure you get a ticket.

All ticket purchasers will receive a GABS Beer Safaris booklet with over $250 in post GABS beer offers. T&Cs apply.

We’re giving away some tickets to subscribers, so make sure you’re signed up to be in the running. Must be subscribed to get lost by Sunday 27th May 11:59pm AEST

Melbourne’s wraparound bar

Is it too much to ask for a delicious pizza with a view? Not at Blossom Rooftop Bar. Melbourne has got a few to choose from, but not many can say their bar wraps around the building. So maybe it is a wrap-around bar more than rooftop as per se, but let’s not get bogged down in semantics.

Pullman City Centre is where you can find this beauty. Aptly titled, given its location on Swanston Street in the heart of Melbourne. If you’re wanting to sample their beautifully crafted cocktail menu, it is handy to know you can get home safely with a tram stop located right out front. Or treat yourself and stay the night – being a 5-star hotel that was renovated in 2019, you’ll get to enjoy their exceptional hospitality and uniquely designed spaces.

Blossom Rooftop bar impresses as soon as you step out of the elevator of the 14th floor with its industrial interiors and breathtaking mural by acclaimed artist Lisa King. Sure, you can cosy up inside and perch yourself close to the bar or, step outside and choose a view that best suits you. Bask in the daytime sun, savour the glow of a glorious sunset or marvel at the night sky by the heaters they’ve placed around the rooftop – this really is a bar you can get around at any time.

Their menu caters to just about everyone as well, with gluten-free and vegan options – or go all in with 250g Black Angus Striploin. If pizza is what you’re after, then you’ve come to the right place. We can vouch for their mouth-watering woodfire pizzas and on Tuesdays, you can buy one and get the second half price. They’re helping pizza enthusiasts through cozzie livs.

Weekends are where the party is at with a DJ from 6pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Keep an eye out for some of the parties they host throughout the year, including their legendary NYE party! With the STUH NING backdrop of Melbourne’s skyline coupled with their impeccable food and drinks menu plus some of the best DJs to boot, this is a great place to ring in the new year.


Byron has a new bae


a person who is continually moving from place to place, without any fixed home or job.

Reading that definition makes it clear that Drifter is the perfect name for the design-led and experience-focused lifestyle brand. Drifter isn’t a hotel and it’s not a hostel – it’s revolutionising accommodation by creating a hybrid.

Byron Bay is a destination hot-spot and while there is a wide variety of accommodation, some may worry that what they’re after may be out of their budget. This is where Drifter comes in, bringing in a hybrid between hostel and hotel, offering superior private suites and premium shared bunk rooms plus an array of communal spaces. From co-working and wellness spaces, to bars and dining, it will have everything you need for a short weekend away or longer stay. Even a wellbeing studio – very on brand for Byron.

Leisure Accommodation Collective (LA Co) is getting ready to make a splash in the market opening this location, plus one in New Zealand later this year followed by another two locations in 2025.

Drifter Byron Bay will open its doors in June 2024 featuring 52 rooms with private and shared spaces, an enticing outdoor area with a sundeck, firepit and plunge pools as well as entertaining areas.

In May 2024 Christchurch will have their turn to show why Drifters is the future of hybrid accommodation, boasting 95 rooms mixed between private and shared spaces, a welcoming co-working space and wellness space when it’s time to unwind plus a 150-seat bar. Cheers!


What makes a good beach?

To reach an epic beach is one of the key elements of travelling.

Some like big waves and some like a peaceful bay. Some prefer crystal-clear white sand while others froth the black or even rare pink sand beaches. Some think it’s when there’s a buzzing vibe and big crowd of people wearing not much, while others like beaches that are completely deserted.

Best Beaches: 100 of the world’s most incredible beaches, is Lonely Planet’s guide to the very best beaches from around the world. It’s a beautiful coffee table chic showcasing beaches with elephants, beaches with caves, beaches with epic surf and sprawling coastlines.

The book is broken down by continent, and includes top ranking beaches for sunsets, the best for nature, the best for people watching etc.


Maremegmeg Beach, Philippines

Punta Rata Beach, Croatia

Pfeiffer Beach, USA

Playa de Famara, Spain

Cable Beach/Walmanyjun, Australia (pictured)


To celebrate, get lost are giving away a few copies of this ripper.


Submit your entries via email to – or DM us on Instagram. Entries close February 22.

Lonely Planet’s Best Beaches is available for $49.95 RRP from all bookstores around Australia, as well as online.


Kangaroo Island is continuing its stirring comeback after being razed by the 2020 fires. And one of the best things travellers can do to help is visit, stay and contribute to the local economy.

CABN is one of the best places you can stay on the island. Making their name as specialists in off-grid sustainable accommodation, CABN at Cape St Albans, is a simple but striking black box set on a 162-hectare private property (which should be enough, you’d imagine).

This might just be the ideal place for an outdoor bathtub. After you’ve gone and gotten sweaty on a hike or a surf, fill the tub (perched on your private balcony) and take in the surrounding wilderness, ocean and kangaroos. Preferably with a beverage in hand.

There’s a king-size bed and other luxuries inside, but it’s really the extraordinary location you come for. Well, that and the tub.

From AU$695 per night

Click for CABN FEVER


The perspicuously named Sun Ranch, in Byron Bay’s hinterland, is 55 acres of California meets Australia. 1970s meets today.

Retro furnishings seemingly taken from the Californian ranch homes of 1970s movie stars sit inside plush wood panelled rooms. There’s record players, tiger-print wraparound sofas. And probably a martini making station, we bet.

There are also massages and yoga, kayaking and Zooz e-bikes. Oh, and horse riding. There’s a pool overlooking the famed hinterland, and a restaurant boasting ridiculously succulent open-fire meals from famed chef, Pip Sumbak. Parts of the ranch are totally off-grid, but the whole ranch is pretty light on when it comes to eco footprint. This really is the best of both worlds.

From AU$1,700 for two nights


North of the North Island Road Trip

The South Island of New Zealand is one of the world’s premiere and most popular road trip destinations. A star in its own right and criminally underrated is its northern sibling; the North Island, just like Luke Hemsworth, Danni Minogue and Phillip Matera.

To show you how good this area of the world is, we’ve compiled a bit of a road trip for you to hit this summer that takes in places in the north of the north island – forgoing half of the island. These are only places from the centre of the island and up, starting from Lake Taupo.

Waikato to Rotorua


If ever there was a country made for an off-road running festival, it’s New Zealand. This one is the ultimate. Legends of the Peak is set amongst the tallest trees in the world – redwoods – in the extraordinary Whakarewarewa Forest, and involves four different events, suited for both elite competitors and mad chillers. At the end of the event, there’s a proper festival – sip on a well-earned beverage, cop some live music, see your friends and whānau cross the line after an epic adventure.

November 10 – 11


From Rotorua to Taupō

2. Craters of the Moon 

Most countries around the world have one or two impressive natural resources that wow travellers, whereas New Zealand has about 50. One of these is the geothermal walkway at Craters of the Moon, a cratered valley of other-worldly proportions, featuring bubbling craters and steaming vents. Take one small step for man after the other, and remind yourself that this outrageous slice of landscape is in fact still on Planet Earth.


From Taupō to Bay of Plenty


Gindulgence is New Zealand’s premier gin festival, with events in 2023 at Tauranga (November 4), Nelson (November 18) and Wellington (January 20 – 21). The Tauranga one is the one we’re choosing to focus on – set amongt the beaches and volcanic cones of one of New Zealand’s oldest cities, there’ll be free tastings, distiller talks, cocktails and live music. Leave the car keys in your hotel room and grab yourself a G & T in the sun – what a vibe.




“It’s a dangerous business Frodo, going out your door.

“You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Alright, we know: Hobbition isn’t really the nowhere-near-the-beaten-track sort of vibe you subscribe to get lost for – it’s actually one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations. But it’s popular for a reason, and we’re fairly certain Bilbo Baggins and get lost are akin when it comes to travel and adventure. Walk the charming paths and green hills of The Shire, grab a pint at The Green Dragon Inn, get a photo in front of a hobbit hole and boog under the Party Tree like it’s your Eleventy-First birthday.


West Coast


New Zealand’s answer to Byron Bay is located about 30 minute’s drive west of Hamilton, on the country’s north-west coast. Raglan is a great option for those looking for a little bit of bohemian luxury in rugged natural surroundings. It’s also ideal for those looking to catch a wave, with New Zealand’s longest point break on offer here. At the end of the day, hit up Ulo’s Kitchen – a funky, family-run Japanese restaurant is undoubtedly the trendiest place to eat in the region, with a DJ deck, eclectic décor, fresh food, local craft beer.


6. Night vibes in Auckland 

You’ve made it to the big smoke. You’re near the end of your road trip, but it’s not a road trip without getting absolutely lit at least once – fortunately Auckland has you covered.  New Zealand’s largest city is in a vibe in a few areas but we reccommend K’ Road, an up and coming section where chilled sundowners and proper disco boogs are equally achievable. Madam George is a modern Peruvian restaurant where you can sample exquisite fare, and a great place to start. Caretaker is an intimate New York-style drinking lounge, and if you’re still going strong later on, InkBar is drum and bass operation open until very late.




The chequered flag to your road trip is on the northern tip of the island – but this is no frantic to dash to the finish line.

We love The Ark – a small houseboat with its own lake, situated in a tiny corner of the world named Kerikeri, a quaint village with an even quainter pub and a winery.

It’s a little wooden shack docked onto the wharf of the lake, with a deck to sit out and read, drink or get a tan, or maybe all of those. Go for a dip in the lake, and forget about notifications – Zuckerberg can’t get you out here.


Caretakers Cottage

Can I get an AMEN!?

Sitting adjacent to the hulking, gothic-style, protestant supporting Wesley Church on the fringes of Melbourne’s CBD is a charming little cottage. And inside that charming little cottage is an even charming-er little bar called Caretaker’s Cottage.

Originally the living abode of the church grounds caretaker, it has been there since 1858, but likely never served a Penicillin Milk punch (Johnny Walker black label, fresh ginger, lemon, salted bush honey, camomile, Talisker 10 year float) nor had cracking Guinness on tap, nor had The Avalanches spinning on vinyl.

The cottage was probably lit by candlelight and some stage, but it probably did not illuminate trendy 20, 30 and 40 somethings on date night whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears, which this intimate space seems to be perfect for.

It’s more than that though; outside, perched slightly above the rest of the Melbourne CBD, you are sandwiched between skyscrapers and elegant 19th century architecture –a contrast of new and old. It’s a space conducive to conversation.

In its first year of trading, Caretakers placed number 60 on the longlist of the Top 50 World’s Best Bars list, the only Australian bar to make the cut. This week, they went one better and placed 23rd in the 2023 list. Onwards and upwards.

Click here to see the rest of the World’s Best Bars.

Surfs up in the Solomons

Exploration and surfing have always gone hand in hand.

Olotsara Retreat is a 65km adventure west of Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands. We say adventure because getting there is no cruise down a highway – expect bumpy roads, rickety bridges and only one sign – ‘turn for Olotsara’.

Once there, you’ll be escorted to one of five rustic bungalows, all with epic beach views. This or a tent on the beach, if that’s more your vibe.

While most surf in the Solomons is in the Western Province, there are more and more waves being discovered in Guadalcanal, too. A stay at Olotsara is a hark back to the 1970s and 1980s, when surfing was still in its relative infancy in the western world, and brand new waves were being discovered every year.

For what it’s worth, there are two main breaks Panukurutu, a right-hander, is about a fifteen-minute boat drive north of Olotsara. Nughu Kiki Tiaro is a break for the goofy footers and is a more exposed break south of Olotsara that attracts more South swell. They also offer board hire, and transport to and from the breaks by boat.

A trip to Olotsara is a great weekend adventure or the perfect add on to an extended trip out to the other provinces. You can get a bus from Honiara that will cost you $60.00 SBD (around $10 AUD) or drive yourself, and there are plans afoot for a shuttle bus.

Brisbane hotel named 12th best in the world

The Calile Hotel in inner-city Brisbane is like the best of both worlds: a stunning tropical paradise based in the midst of a rising urban metropolis.

It was recently ranked the 12th best hotel in the world by influential and respected World’s Best group, comprised of almost 600 independent industry leaders.

It’s got one of the most aesthetically pleasing swimming pools we’ve seen, set amongst bold architecture which works on every turn.

The colours are very ‘northern-cool’; a term we’re inventing to describe the palette of pastels that seem to work so well on a swathe of new Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast hotels. Palm trees are also very in at the moment, and The Calile has heaps of them.

As we continue uncontrollable runaway train which is the countdown to the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games, which is down to a mere nine years, it is places like The Calile Hotel which confirm the Brown Snake’s reputation as a city on the rise.