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I strongly recommend this hotel to sightseers, internationals or pub crawlers.

Rick, Luke and I love this hotel.

It is set right on the water and overlooks the Harbour and Hobart’s fishing boats.  Luke can easily stumble home at any hour and not get lost because it’s in the heart of Hobart.

The building was once the IXL jam factory dating back to 1804.  It has the kind of convict industrial-chic look and feel that you can only find in Australia.

The cocktail bar, IXL Long Bar, is a hotspot for locals and tourists alike.  The restaurant is also considered one of the best in town.

Walking distance to MONA’s ferry, Glass Restaurant and the Salamanca Market.

The rooms are all different featuring Tasmania artists. I love the exposed beams and the feel that you’re in a very old colonial building.

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thehenryjones.com

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This bad boy of a bar is like walking into a parody of the inside of my ex-husband’s head.

There are seven hundred malt whiskies lining the walls, a cured meat and cheese bar, dining room serving dishes such as venison burger and 12 exotic types of international beer and cider on tap.  This place has a sophisticated old western saloon feel about it.

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Girls – if you’re panning for gold, aim for 5 to 6 pm after work boys in suits hour.   Or, if you already have your nugget, take him there after 6 pm for pre-dinner drinkies.  He will love you for it!  Great till late for everybody!

I took my stepson, Luke, along.  We loved our bartender, Harrison.  He has a wider vocabulary of whisky than a Kardashian’s knowledge of face contouring tricks!

He also shook a killer Ketel One Vodka martini for me and chose a Clynelish 14 whisky over hand carved ice for Luke.

Superb!

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boilermakerhouse.com.au

 

 

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Eau De Vie Melbourne is a cosy establishment hidden in an unassuming laneway in Melbourne’s CBD.

We walk straight past the entrance trying to find the door… every time we go.

The bar is frequented by our local aristocratic riffraff, attractive women and swanky, well-mannered fellows.

You are able to book for two or more people and best that you do so.  I don’t object to people lining up at a club, unless it’s outside.  Well worth the humble pie if you can’t be seated straight away.

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The bar is best known for its ‘out of this world’ quirky cocktails, the preparation of which is nothing less than theatrical.

There is so much dry ice being used to chill and thrill you may feel like you’re on the set of the Phantom of the Opera!

I love the liquid nitrogen tap on the bar. “Shaken not stirred” can be enjoyed without the awful intrusion of melted ice diluting your cocktail.

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This little pearl of a bar has a sister bar in Sydney that I absolutely loved going to when I lived there!  You will meet the most fabulous local jetsetters!

Put this bar first with a gold star emoji on your travel itinerary!

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eaudevie.com.au

 

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When your friends mention they know of a speakeasy-style bar, inspired by the days of Prohibition, I’m like… OK, keep talking!
The secret entrance to the surprisingly opulent Fall From Grace cellar bar is at the back of State Of Grace restaurant on Collins Street, Melbourne.  The entrance is hidden behind a bookcase that can only be accessed if you pull on the right book. Visually, not disappointing snapchatters!

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The bookcase swings open and you are met by a grandiose, marble staircase overlooking the stunning bar, lit by chandeliers.
I had been a little worried before we arrived. My imagination had pictured a god forsaken tourist trap with the authenticity of a Disney cowboys and indians burger joint.

Luckily I was wrong! This place is the real deal!
Bang in the middle of the right end of town (if you love a man in a suit girls), namely the New York end of Collins street. It’s super gorgeous and the vibe is very ‘Friday afternoon drinkies’!

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www.stateofgracemelbourne.com.au

 

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When the restaurant is in the stable of a restaurateur such as Shannon Bennett, a great deal is expected. Jardin Tan, his modern, slick Vietnamese café doesn’t disappoint.

The kiosk at the front is great for bánh mì and a beer. The restaurant reflects Shannon’s French food origins extending into Vietnamese fare.

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Even if the food were just OK – and it is much better than that – this is a great place to hang and to be seen. I particularly love the self-serve Asian slaw.

The atmosphere is stylish and casual but the location is sublime. Sitting in the Royal Botanic Gardens with a pinot in hand makes me glad I am not one of the poor sweaty wretches running around the perimeter.

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Jardin Tan www.jardintan.com.au 

Dark-Mofo

Mona’s winter festival Dark Mofo is my favourite time of year in Tasmania!  Dark Mofo is a celebration for the creatures who lurk in the dark.  Creatures like me with a Tasmanian Pinot Noir in hand…

We are making the pilgrimage again this year!  Rug up for the large-scale public art park and enjoy the Winter Feast. The food and wine are amazing.  Dark Mofo runs from the 10th to 21st June, across Hobart, with major exhibitions at MONA and Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. I am super excited about the new exhibition at the historic mental asylum, Willow Court.  I am also thinking about doing the Nude Solstice Swim!

For more information go to: darkmofo.net.au

My three favourite hotels in Sydney are: The Park Hyatt, The Langham and The InterContinental, Double Bay.

The Park Hyatt, Sydney

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The Park Hyatt is nestled in The Rocks overlooking the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.   All the rooms have magnificent views! It is an absolutely mind blowing hotel, really smart and modern throughout.

I personally love to come here and have a cocktail or dinner with my girlfriends from the gallery. The bustle of the Circular Quay ferries zooming past makes the harbour seem cheerful. The Rocks is a heritage-listed part of the city from the early settlement of Australia.

You can’t beat it for nostalgic, Australian ambience.

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Click here for The Park Hyatt, Sydney

 

The Langham, Sydney

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Recently refurbished, The Langham is one of the most gorgeous places to stay in Sydney.

Set in The Rocks district, across the road from the Sydney Observatory and it is only a stone’s throw away from the CBD.

If you haven’t been to Sydney, you will find the ankle busting cobble streets that lead you to the restaurant district charming.

The Langham has high ceilings, old world charm and ultra-modern decor.

I personally love the indoor pool!  They have set lights in the roof above the pool so it feels like you are swimming at night. Float on your back looking at stars twinkle any time of the day.

The Langham’s European attitude towards pets is delightful, from the gorgeous pink bike parked at the front of the hotel to the fabulous pink flowers in the foyer.  The Langham has a very feminine, quirky feel about it.  It’s like a cross between The Ritz and The Dorchester London.

I absolutely love staying here.

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Click here for The Langham, Sydney

 

The InterContinental, Double Bay

The InterContinental in Double Bay is a remarkably sophisticated hotel.   It is set right in the middle of fabulous shopping, night life, cafes and funky little bars.

The hotel is a short taxi ride from everything that the eastern suburbs have to offer.

If you just want to chill, you could simply stay in Double Bay for the whole weekend.  Take a harbour side walk, get your nails done, go for a swim on the rooftop, have cocktails at Mrs Sippy then see a band later that night. Put Cosmopolitan Shoes Double Bay on your to-shop list!

 

Click here for The InterContinental, Double Bay

My favourite Sydney walk is the Taronga to Balmoral walk.  Catch the ferry from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo to start this fabulous 6km walk.

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There is a gorgeous track that follows the coastline and it’s super easy to follow, but if you need a map, just download it from the government website (link below).  This site also lists other great walks in the area making it easy to find one that matches your stamina.

There are a couple of great spots to grab a drink along the way if it happens to be the right time of day!

Taronga to balmoral walk pdf

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My brother and I spent our summers exploring Balmoral Beach.  My father would give us lunch money and tell us to be home before dark.  It feels like a safe place to me and holds many happy memories.  I moved back to Mosman when I started working for Billich Gallery.  I love catching a ferry to work and it felt good to go home.  My favourite thing to do in Sydney is to take a harbour side walk and have a fabulous breakfast.

Balmoral Beach is the bomb for casual dining! My favourite place for a champagne breakfast is The Boathouse. Located on the Esplanade within the Balmoral boatshed, smack bang on the beach. The furnishings are rustic and the food is sensational!  I love drinking out of a fresh baby coconut.  Stuff the whales, it is not a bad spot for people watching either.  This location is frequented by exceptionally well dressed joggers… who may even be straight this side of the harbour!  Yay single ladies!

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And the best news is, The Boathouse isn’t just found in Balmoral, you can drink in the same divine ambience at The Boathouse Palm Beach.  It’s an hours’ drive from the CBD, however it is worth the trip!

They also have a fabulous space on Whale Beach called Moby Dicks!  Not overly keen on the name, however the location is out of this world!

If I had my wedding to do again, it would be a hard call not to have it at The Boathouse Shelly Beach, Manly.  It’s a casual restaurant but they also do weddings and this location is to die for!

Go online to plan your trip because most of the venues are quite a hike from Sydney’s CBD.

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theboathousebb.com.au

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The Bathers’ Pavilion is an iconic building overlooking Balmoral Beach. The view of Middle Harbour is everything!

When I lived in Sydney, the restaurant served as a home away from home. Lunch, breakfast, cocktail or dinner! I loved going there because I was awkwardly single, working hideous hours and had to dine alone when I couldn’t be bothered to cook.

Married with the beach, it has a breezy, chilled atmosphere.  You will find a six-stool bar that serves cocktails, and also acts as a divide for the two different dining experiences.  On one side you will find a casual café and the other side a gorgeous restaurant. The Bathers’ Pavilion has a European feel throughout, high ceilings, shabby chic furnishings and a wacky Maître d’.  Serge Dansereau puts a European culinary twist on the seasonal menu.

Side note, there is also a gorgeous little snack shop tucked into the side of the building for beach goers!

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batherspavilion.com.au