Inside Out (Australia)
Try this weekend getaway in Sydney
Feel like a trip to Sydney’s northern beaches? Here’s our speed read of the best places to stay, eat, shop and relax
When the idea for a test drive of the new Mercedes E-Class coupé came up, we jumped at it but needed a little Inside Out design spin. Where to go? Sydney’s northern beaches fit the bill perfectly – an hour from the city to give us a chance to experience the car, and a destination with enough design spots to do some sourcing for future issues.
First stop is actually picking up our beautiful beast for the trip. A sleek two-door coupé with tinted windows, an elegant nose of a bonnet and a slow-moving sunroof, it feels like an intuitive cocoon. There is every kind of seat setting (including heated), a wraparound sensor and, strangely, in reverse the car seems to have the ability to drone–shoot me in 360 degrees. It takes us (me and my photographer friend Ming) all of one minute to connect with the Mercedes Me app for tunes and comms and then we are heading north in our killer wheels.
Thirty minutes later, we are freewheeling down the glorious Wakehurst Parkway with the roof open on the way to the brand-new Michael Reid Gallery in Newport. Gallerist Amy
is happy to open the gallery on a Monday (it’s usually closed) to show us the sold-out Katie Eraser show – the first exhibition in the new space – and we also get a VIP visit to the stockroom for a sneak peek at other works by favourites Meg Walters and Kate Broadfoot, one of which comes home with me.
Newport Village has a smattering of beachy-cool stores, so we scoot across the road in search of lightweight linen from Splice Boutique, which sells a mix of relaxed pieces from labels like Esse The Label, Marie Louise de Monterey and Sir. I leave with a gingham maxi skirt destined for a summer of fun.
Next we’re back in our magnificent machine to take in the ‘Bilgola Bends’ as we head five minutes north to Avalon Village and vintage furniture store Composition by Office Elias, where the vibes are good – as soon as we walk in the door, there’s a recent issue of Inside Out sitting on a mid-century credenza. It’s a sign! In a room with furniture pieces by Pierre Jeanneret and Parker sits a beautiful chocolate leather Falcon chair alongside gorgeous candle holders by Studio AC-S.
Nearly next door is the newest Bassike fashion store, another architectural collaboration with Kelvin Ho of Akin Atelier.
The alluringly minimal, clean interior is a magnet for shoppers on the hunt for sophisticated slouchy staples and separates.
A stop at florist Haven and Sarah on Old Barrenjoey Road is also advised to grab a bunch of eclectic, abundant flowers.
Lunch is a late bite at local icon Barrenjoey House for Merimbula oysters and a bowl of prawns in a garlicky chilli gin sauce over views of Pittwater toward Patonga. The interior is cheerful and fresh, with bespoke bar stools that give off boatbuilder vibes, a collection of vibrant suspended lampshades and fantastic local artworks. You’ll need to book, and you also have the option to stay in one of their rooms upstairs.
But for us, the plan is to end the day at Rockridge, the first in the Contemporary Hotels collection of properties, with super luxe, deliciously comfortable interiors created by owner Terry Kaljo and extraordinary views over Palm Beach and north to the Bouddi National Park. It’s a dreamy 1940s villa with four bedrooms (one with bunks), a heavenly sandstone fireplace that makes it winter- and summer-friendly, a wet-edge pool and breathtaking views from every room. Turns out, this is also the perfect place for us to park our Mercedes-Benz E300. It’s like they belong together. What a perfect getaway.
THIS PAGE (from top) A staircase leading to Barrenjoey House’s wellappointed accommodation. The dining room at Bert’s Bar & Brasserie (part of the Merivale family) in Newport is the perfect spot for a dirty martini and long, lazy lunch. OPPOSITE (clockwise from top left) Eliza at the wheel of the super luxurious E300 coupé. An abstract artwork called Pareidolia by Elliott Routledge, available at Newport’s Michael Reid Gallery for $2200 (in a Tasmanian oak frame). Outside the gallery, with a display that includes a colourful painting by Joanna Gambotto. The newest Bassike store by design firm Akin Atelier. Beautiful objects in Composition By Office Elias on Avalon Parade. Layered luxury in a Barrenjoey House guest room.