MARCH TO A BUSY BEAT
Melbourne’s traditional friendly rivalry with Sydney is being set aside next month for a cross-border contest with another culturerich city, Adelaide. As the cities roll out festival after festival after big event, the question is which of the state capitals will have the maddest March. Rest up now, residents of both cities. But what is without doubt is that anyone who takes a holiday or short break to see great theatre, music, comedy, food or sport will be a winner.
Visit Victoria reports that a massive 71 events have been listed throughout the state for March. Biggies include the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival from March 1-18, the Food and Wine Festival in Melbourne and around the regions from March 16-25 and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from March 28 to April 22.
South Australia’s heavy hitter is its famous Adelaide Festival from March 2-18, celebrating all things creative from theatre to dance music to writing (Writers’ Week is March 3-8). The Adelaide Fringe Festival, the world’s second largest “fringe” after Edinburgh, is already under way, and continues until March 18. World music and arts festival WOMADelaide adds to the festival buzz from March 9-12.
On the gallery front, the National Gallery of Victoria’s free inaugural NGV Triennial, a large-scale exhibition of international art, design and architecture, continues until April 15.
And Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay, opens at the Art Gallery of South Australia on March 29.
Motorsport aficionados can rev up their engines for the 20th year of Adelaide 500 supercars from March 1-4 and then Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, from March 22-25. Phew.
STAYING FUR-ST CLASS
Belmond hasn’t yet brought its particular style of luxury hotel or travel experience to Australia. Which means it’s a difficult and expensive exercise to try out their new “Pet Set” packages for globetrotting canines. But hey, who can resist a picture of a dachshund, in a dog bed, reading a menu (clever dog) in the grounds of a luxury hotel?
Jet-setting pets and their stylish owners in other parts of the world can stay at the likes of the Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice, which is offering personalised bowls, pet names embroidered on pillows and customised treats – to be enjoyed after walkies in the gardens.
Australians heading to Florida’s theme park central, Orlando, in the US summer have a new attraction to check out.
Set up as a larger-than-life version of Andy’s back yard from the DisneyPixar films, Toy Story Land is opening at Walt Disney World Resort on June 30. It’s part of a massive expansion of the theme park which continues next year with the opening of Star Wars and Mickey Mousethemed attractions.
New attractions at Toy Story Land are the family-friendly Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster, which offers panoramic views of the park, and an Alien Swirling Saucers ride.
Not that Qantas first- or businessclass passengers need any reassuring that they are drinking the “good stuff ” when they fly, but the airline has cleaned up at the international Cellars in the Sky Awards.
Qantas won nine awards, the most of any airline group, at a ceremony in London last week. The honours included four gold medals for best first-class cellar, best first-class white (Penfolds Reserve Bin 15A Chardonnay 2015), best first-class sparkling (Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006) and straight from Ned Kelly Country, best business-class fortified for the Victorian drop, Baileys of Glenrowan Founder Series Classic Muscat.
CLOSE TO THE VINES
Food and wine lovers exploring Canberra and surrounds have a new place to stay. The four-star Abode Murrumbateman is now open in the Yass Valley township, a 30-minute drive from Canberra, which is also home to boutique wineries including Clonakilla, Four Winds Vineyard, Eden Road Wines and Helm Wines.
Designed by Canberra architect Hugh Gordon in a style said to fit in the area’s rural spirit, the hotel has 50 studio rooms and is a short walk to the village’s farmers market, bakeries, cafes, parks and visitor centre. An appropriate time to visit might be Canberra Wine Week, which this year is April 7-15. ABODEHOTELS.COM.AU, VISITNSW.COM
DUCKS FLY NORTH
Three Blue Ducks is crossing the border to add its first Queensland restaurant to its three NSW venues. And the new spot will be in Brisbane’s newest luxury hotel, W Brisbane, when it opens in April.
The restaurant, overlooking the Brisbane River, will open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, with an evolving seasonal menu created from ethically farmed Queensland and northern NSW produce.
The Three Blue Ducks team is promising to bring favourite dishes from its Bronte, Rosebery and Byron Bay outlets including spanner crab scramble with green mango, bean shoot salad, house-made sriracha and cashews; coal-roasted lamb; and corn fritters with guacamole, fermented cabbage, jalapeno, herb salad, labneh and poached eggs.
The kitchen will also produce dishes from a wood-fire oven, a rotisserie and charcoal pit and have a cold seafood section.