Bateman’s Bay Luxury Motel

Luxury and motel aren’t usually words that go together.

But a new wave of upmarket retro motels have been springing up all over western travel routes, and the trend has reached Bateman’s Bay.

Isla Motel is one of these, 18 retro-inspired rooms in what was previously a run-down motel, catering to a new generation of travellers looking for affordable luxury. It’s the best of both worlds.

The outside of the motel is Byron Bay-chic, but hardly pretentious. The fact that the motel is a drop punt away from Bateman’s famed shoreline is another tick – the perfect place to come back to after grabbing a few waves.

You don’t even need to get to the beach – take it easy by the pool, which doesn’t look like someone’s been murdered in it like all the other motel pools you’ve ever seen (we’re sure this is the look they were going for).

The Isla opens this weekend (16 April).

Devil’s Corner Race around Tasmania

Tasmanian winery Devil’s Corner are hosting an epic race around the Apple Isle this winter.

The race to find ‘The Lost Shipment’ will see three teams of adventurers travel to each corner of the state in an ‘Amazing Race’ style event, split into four legs:

HUON VALLEY

Starting in the south at Huon Valley, racers will sail along the Huon River before swapping the water for the treetops, journeying across the Tahune Forest Airwalk – a cantilevered bridge suspended 40 metres above the Huon River. From there they’ll head sub-zero, to discover the mysterious labyrinth of Hasting Caves and swim in epic underground thermal pools.

SMITHTON

At Smithton (via Cradle Mountain) in the state’s northwest, there’s the chance to ‘Dine with the Devil’ at Devils @ Cradle – a unique sanctuary and conservation facility for the threatened Tasmanian Devil. After this, a full-day, four-wheel drive adventure taking racers to the remote ‘Edge of The World’ region and Tarkine National Park, home to the second largest expanse of cool temperate rainforest in the world.

BRIDPORT

Travelling east to Bridport, there’s the chance to take the plunge at Australia’s only wood-fired Floating Sauna. Here, there’s a traditional Finnish wood-fired sauna, which contrasts with the slightly more intimidating cold plunge directly off a pontoon into the fresh waters of Lake Derby. Not a bad place to make a pit stop in order to ‘recharge’ ahead of the final leg.

EAST COAST

Devil’s Corner Tassie’s east coast is an exceptional slice of paradise, that has thus far (somehow) escaped mass tourism. Awaiting racers is an unspoilt stretch of gorgeous beaches, delicious seafood and exceptional wineries, including Devil’s Corner, the finish line to the race, and where vineyards meet the sea.

To find out how to win your place in the race, visit www.thelostshipment.com.au. 

These countries are relaxing their restrictions…here’s where to stay

Tahiti

Australians can once again travel to New Zealand, which opens up the Australia > Auckland > Tahiti route that has been so popular over the years.

Tahiti is made up of 118 islands, and is the original ‘overwater villa’ destination. St Regis Bora Bora Resort is among the most famous of these, and arguably the most beautiful, a series of palm trees flanked by gorgeous overwater thatched huts, where you can more or less roll out of your bed and into the South Pacific Ocean.

On its way, and also on (or near) Bora Bora is the ELYT Floating Villa, which gives new meaning to the experience of staying ‘on the water’ – a unique floating houseboat on a lagoon. The stay combines the luxury and epic water activities typical of a Tahiti stay, while also being ecologically friendly in protecting the Bora Bora island. It is expected to be ready later this year.

South Africa

South Africa further eased it’s international travel restrictions, with arrivals from overseas requiring proof of vaccination (or a negative test, if ineligible for vaccination).

It’s hard to imagine being closer to nature than this. Get raw beauty with a stay at Marataba’s Thabametsi Treehouse, where it’s just you, some wildlife and the sounds of the African bush. The double-storey treehouse is solar-powered, with a massive acacia tree protruding right through the middle.

There’s also a viewing deck offering 360-degree views of the surrounding valley. Sit back with a beer, and take it all in. 

Puerto Rico

Earlier this month, Puerto Rico scrapped almost all restrictions on international arrivals, requiring only proof of vaccination or a negative test result upon arrival.

Hix Island House in Puerto Rico is an unusual-looking, off-the-grid concrete slab of multiple apartments in a remote Puerto Rican jungle. The ocean is visible and so the beach is nearby, something that is true of most places in Puerto Rico, but you’ll probably never want to leave the house.

Open air showers, partially-open air beds, no glass and extraordinary views of the surrounding jungle make Hix aesthetically gorgeous, but also the perfect place to switch off for a few days.

Thailand

Thailand has been pretty tough when it comes to its restrictions, but they are starting to relax them – from April 1, foreign travelers will no longer be required to hold a COVID-free certificate issued within 72 hours of boarding a flight (testing on arrival is still required).

The Standard in Hua Hin is brand new, uber-cool splash of funkiness in southern-Thailand. It’s kind of eclectic: there’s disco balls above the bathtubs, and a cocktail bar featuring two gigantic cocktail-glass shaped concrete monoliths. It’s cool too: there’s DJs, and it’s all in luxurious Hua Hin, a beachside strip of paradise. Kick back and relax, or get loose – it’s up to you.

Holi Festival: How to Make Prawn Curry

Anjum Anand is a British/Indian chef, writer, entrepreneur and TV presenter who knows her way around a curry.

The Hindu festival Holi (March 17 & 18 in 2022) marks the beginning of the spring season. It is also known as the festival of colours and is famous for people rubbing coloured powder into one another. 

Anand, who has been dubbed the ‘Nigella Lawson of Indian cuisine’, says food is right at the centre of Holi, as well as colour.

Anjum Anand is a celebrity cook who has been on SBS, BBC and more.

“Street food is very much at the forefront of Holi celebrations as people roam the streets of India celebrating the day,” she says. 

“Some of my favourites are pakoras, samoas, dahi bhallas (which are a lentil dumpling smothered in seasoned yoghurt and served with a chutney)…depending on which region you are in, the food will vary slightly.”

Ananad has  for a few absolutely DELISH looking prawn curry you might see if you’re going to a Holi celebration so that you can have a go yourself, and do not quite as well as the pros:

Anjum Annad’s Prawn Curry

Prawn Curry

SERVE SIZE: Serves 2-3

PREP TIME: 10 minutes  

COOK TIME: 10 minutes 

ANJUM SAYS

“Prawn curry in Goa is one of the regions favourite dishes, a spicy, flavourful curry with the base of coconut and soured with tamarind to elevate the succulent local prawns – but you don’t have to be in Goa to enjoy the flavours!”

INGREDIENTS:

1 pack The Spice Tailor Keralan Coconut Curry

360g king prawns, shelled and cleaned

1 rounded tbsp tomato purée

¾-1 tsp tamarind paste

1-2 tbsp veg oil

Goan Spice Mix

1-2 dried red chillies, soaked – Including the one from the pack

3/4 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

1/4 tsp black peppercorns

2 cloves

METHOD:

Grind all the spices into a smooth powder. Then, add the chillies and a little water to help.

Heat the oil in a pan and fry this paste for 1-2 minutes, and add the tomato purée and stir for another minute.

Pour in the Keralan Coconut Curry from the pouch, stir and add a splash of water. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Add the tamarind paste and king prawns.

Cook for 2 minutes until the prawns are just cooked.

 

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The best Irish pub not in Ireland?

I told an Irish flute player I met at the bar of the Drunken Poet that it had been named among the best Irish pubs outside of Ireland.

“No mate,” he corrected me. “This place is better than most of the pubs at home.”

If you’re in Melbourne on St. Patrick’s Day it’d be rude not to pop in here…or any day, to be fair, given the craic on offer at this absolute stalwart.

It has all the hallmarks of what makes a great Irish pub: a warm space of small nooks and crannies, tiny circles of chairs crammed with talented musicians named Caihome or Aoife, plus the best pint of Guinness in Australia.

The pub gets its name from the portraits of ‘drunken’ poets that line the walls. There’s live music from talented fiddlers and flutists, or live poetry and spoken word six nights a week. This is the key – there’s always something happening, which is what makes it so special. Sláinte.

WIN: The ultimate job with GoPro and Adrenaline

Looking for work? How does getting paid to travel, skydive, climb and capture content for the world’s premier adventure content specialists sound?

Even if you’re not in the market for a new job, we think this one is probably cooler than the one you’ve got.

Adrenaline and GoPro are on the hunt for an adventure-seeking content creator to become an official Adrenaline creator in 2022. This means swapping the office for cliffs, the ocean, the dunes and the sky. Sounds cool, right?

The role sees one grand prize winner receive a $100,000 contract to participate in and shoot 12 adventures across four campaigns for the adventure marketplace over a year-long period.

This means travelling around the world and filming epic adventures and experiences. It’s being billed as ‘The Best Job in the World’ but it actually is, the best job in the world.

Photography and adventure enthusiasts can enter from today by uploading a photo or video of their adventurous activity to the GoPro awards website.

The competition is live until March 31st, 2022 – head to the Adrenaline website to enter, or the GoPro website to enter your content.

Brewery in the bush

There are just two ingredients you need for an incredible brewery experience.

Good beer is mandatory, but an almost treasure-hunt-like experience to find a new brewery always reminds you that the journey is always more important than the destination.

Wyadra Brewing is a small craft beer producer operated by John and Kate Dall on their remote property at Tallong in southern New South Wales. And when we say property, we mean literal tin shed propped up against an old oak tree and sandwiched between a dirt track and busy freight rail line.

After traversing the aforementioned endless dirt track, Wyadra appears like a mirage on the horizon.

Three crowns from its icon logo emerging like a beacon of beer beckoning us for a good afternoon of boozing in the bush.

In the brewshed, you can gather around John’s makeshift timber bar and roaring log fireplace while old vintage cars hover on hoists above – one of which is an old red Lamborghini.

In between John’s home-made hors d’oeuvre of Primo cabanossi and tasty cheddar cheese, the real star of the show at Wyadra is the beer.

And if you’re looking for an afternoon to settle in and forget you’re actually miles away from Australia’s biggest city, acoustic guitar acts from the bush frequent the shady branches of Wyadra’s old oak on a Saturday afternoon.

Ask for a tour of John’s mechanic shed-cum-brewery and be sure to buy a sticker for your Esky so you can tell your kids about your experience, this one won’t remain a secret from Sydneysiders for long.

Milney’s Bar

In Melbourne on Valentines Day weekend? Needing somewhere to take that someone special? Say no more – Milney’s has you covered.

You could be forgiven for not noticing the discreet entrance to Milney’s as you walk down the northern end of busy Brunswick Street. It’s literally just a door without signage; nothing to suggest one of Melbourne’s most chic spots lies a gentle turn of the handle behind.

But that is exactly what awaits, a luscious plant and light-filled courtyard backing onto a dimly lit bar area perfect for whispering sweet-nothings into someone’s ear, provided of course that you know that person.

In fairness, Milney’s is much more than just a Valentines Day specialist – it’s a bar that perfects the difficult-to-perfect balance between uber-cool and unpretentious; for instance, you can pay $90 for caviar, which comes served with a side of Pringles – straight out of the box.

There’s a solid cocktail list, craft and old-school beers, wines and more.

Get there before everyone knows about it.

The Ark

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this week announced a staged opening of New Zealand’s borders.

If it were us here at get lost that was traveling across the dutch, we know where we would want to stay. It’s called ‘The Ark’. And it’s f-arking delightful.

The Ark is a houseboat, but not as you know it. It’s situated in a quiet corner of a lake, five minutes down the road from 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 at once. Go for a dip in the lake when it’s warm, or build a fire in the pit when it’s cold.

Even better: you’re completely off-grid here. No work emails nor pesky notifications from Zuckerberg. It’s arguably THE perfect place to unwind and relax – thanks for letting everyone back in, Jacinda.

Get a little bit of Hanky Panky

Anyone down for a little Hanky Panky?

That’s the name of the brand new cocktail bar that’s just opened in Darwin city centre to plenty of hype, the brainchild of several lynchpins of the Australian bartending scene.

Dim lighting, New York-speakeasy style interiors and smartly dressed bartenders greet punters on arrival, all in, it must be said, slightly un-Darwin like fashion.

There’s an extensive list of cocktails – including the place’s namesake, the Hanky Panky, which is gin, sweet vermouth, Fernet-Branca and orange slice served on ice.

We reckon that if you find yourself in the heat of Australia’s tropical far north, you could probably do with a refreshment (or seven) like this.

If you can’t get to Darwin though, here’s how you can make it at home, thanks to Doctor Cocktail himself, Dirk Hany*:

*This guy has no association with the Hanky Panky Lounge – we just found him to be a pretty great cocktail Doctor.