MARCH TO A BUSY BEAT

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - TRAVEL NEWS - SU­SAN BUGG

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.

TOY TOWN

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.

HIGH-FLY­ING WINES

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.

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