Expert Travel Reviews
Australia & New Zealand

Dining among the Trees

May 4, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

If you’re claustrophobic, or dining with the fishes just isn’t your thing, consider the Yellow Treehouse, a New Zealand-based exercise in both marketing and sustainability that sits 30 feet above ground amidst a private redwood forest. The large, onion-shaped restaurant was conceived as an ad campaign for directory-focused company Yellow and was built using only resources found in the company’s directories. With its slatted, tree-clinging structure, the restaurant is meant to resemble nature and, fittingly, was constructed using redwood from the surrounding forest, as well as sustainably grown pine and poplar.

The bad news (or good news, if you’re acrophobic) is that the Yellow Treehouse was open for business for only a few months. However, in the future it may become available for rent for weddings and parties.

Hot Spots: Adelaide, South Australia

April 8, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Flocked by parklands and vineyards and peppered with churches, Adelaide enjoys a slower pace of life than some of the other state capitals, calling up its German and English history (Adelaide is the only capital settled by English free settlers, though it was originally inhabited by the Kaurna people) while also edging towards a more cosmopolitan flair. Adelaide tends to get overshadowed by cities like Sydney and Melbourne, but it has many pleasures in store for lovers of wine, food, art, and coastal life.

Adelaide, with a population of 1.1 million, claims the distinction of having more restaurants per person than any other city in the country, as well as the distinction of producing about half of all Australian wine. For the epicure or just the foodie, this is a winning combination for a gastronomic vacation. Some of Australia’s finest restaurants such as the Grange and Petaluma’s Bridgewater Mill call Adelaide home, as does the National Wine Centre, which showcases Australia’s wine industry.Prominent varietals in the Adelaide region include Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Shiraz, and Cabernet Sauvignon. And for a quintessentially Adelaide experience, one can’t beat the Adelaide Central Market for the sights, sounds, and tastes of the city.

Art and culture lovers can bask in a number of attractions such as the beautiful Adelaide Botanic Gardens, the Art Gallery of South Australia,Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, and Adelaide Festival Centre, to name only a few. Or just stroll along North Terrace, called the city’s “culutural boulevard.” The influx of Asian immigrants after the Vietnam War and, more recently, African refugees, have added to the diverse cultural milieu about Adelaide. Perhaps owing to the heightened sense of multiculturalism, the city’s arts scene has also flourished in the past 30 years, engendering the Adelaide Festival of Arts and Fringe Festival, as well as the Adelaide Film Festival, Adelaide Festival of Ideas, and Adelaide Writers’ Week. Music acts that hail from Adelaide include The Audreys, Hilltop Hoods, I Killed the Prom Queen, and The Superjesus, among others.

For outdoor lovers or just anyone seeking recreation, the city’s many parklands provide a fresh-air arena for exercise, barbeques, and scenic strolls. The city’s Park Lands Trail Project a 24 kilometer trail encircling the city and is accessible to cyclists, runners, rollerbladers, and people in wheelchairs. A number of private and public rose gardens also make for good environmental sightseeing, particularly in spring and summer. If you don’t mind traveling on foot, walking is one of the best ways to see the city. The Adelaide City Council has created a number of free, self-guided walking tours that can be downloaded from the council’s website.

Amidst eating, drinking, and soaking up the sites of the city, don’t forget to spend some time at the coast, which extends from the Le Fevre Peninsula to Sellicks Beach and offers pristine beaches belted by blue waters for swimming, surfing, or just sunbathing. Glenelg is the most popular beach destination, dotted with shops and cafes, but it’s also worth dropping by Henley Beach, Semaphore, and Christies Beach for fun in the sun. Or visit Port Adelaide, the city’s marittime heart, for museums, dolphin-watching, markets, and more.

When should you go? South Australia’s Mediterranean climate makes almost any time a good time to visit Adelaide.