Get outta town: a road trip to the Southern Highlands

When you spend most of your days in a city office block, in front of a computer, the best thing about driving out of town towards a holiday destination you’ll reach in a couple of hours is a matter of perspective. It’s looking out the window as you pass the city limits – at green grass rather than bitumen, at trees rather than skyscrapers, and at cows and sheep rather than pedestrians with their eyes glued to their iPhones.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

It’s as if such images enter a depleted primal memory bank that, once topped up again, will help fortify you for a return to frenetic city life.

At least, that’s how I feel as we drive out of Sydney in a loaned Mercedes-Benz E-Class towards NSW’s Southern Highlands – a place with plenty of rolling green hills, fern-lined, windy roads and animals out to pasture.

Our first stop is the picturesque town of Berry, primarily to visit the Berry Sourdough Cafe, which is located in a historic home a short way down a side street off the main drag.

The croissants, bread and other baked goods are worth the stop alone, but the cafe also does an excellent cooked breakfast and lunch. It’s so popular you might have to wait for a table – we do, picking up provisions for the evening meal at the providores in town while we wait.

Caffeine and carbohydrates imbibed, it’s on to our evening pit stop, The Cottage in Kangaroo Valley. This place is the definition of shabby chic – a quaint white wooden cottage with a style that makes sense when you discover that the owner is artist Lisa Madigan. Think old wicker rocking chairs, shelves with arrangements of bird’s nests and shells, twigs artfully hanging on the walls, a claw-foot bath with Aesop products and big white fluffy towels, and an easel and canvas set up in an alcove.

It’s a cool night, so we light a fire in the open fireplace, hook our iPhones up to the old-style Marshall speaker and sit back with our books, waiting for our roast chook to cook. The only downside is the lack of Wi-Fi; then again, being forced not to look at your phone while on holiday is no bad thing.

The next morning we drive over the beautiful Hampden Bridge towards Bowral, about an hour away, where we stop in for brunch at the Grand Bistro, which talented chef Damien Monley and wife Justine set up when opting for a tree-change after selling their popular Flat White cafe in Sydney’s Woollahra. Scrambled eggs with fried haloumi, roasted sweet potato and other zesty things together with coffee from The Grounds suggests this is not your average regional town cafe.

By the time we arrive at Bendooley Estate we’ve no room left for food, which is a shame because the wood-fired pizzas at the recently revamped cellar door look terrific. We occupy ourselves instead with a browse through the Book Barn, one of the Berkelouw family’s bigger bookshops, and a wine tasting underneath a fabulous big John Olsen painting.

The following evening is spent at The Loch in Berrima, where old stables have been converted into a spacious four-room guest house. Chef and owner Brigid Kennedy offers a delightful paddock-to-plate lunch every Sunday on the property’s wide verandah. There’s also a market with vegetables and flowers sourced from the property’s two hectares of gardens, and an antiques stall.

Driving home early Monday morning, we see another sign of country life: a dead wombat in the middle of the road.

It enters my primal memory bank too; a reminder that life can be fleeting, and that memories like those created on weekends away should be held onto tightly. ROAD TRIP: SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS

The car

All-new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coup?? and Cabriolet

Getting away from it all in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coup?? and Cabriolet in the Southern Highlands. Photo: Supplied

???The accommodation

The Cottage Kangaroo Valley, 0415 138 909, from $330 a night

The Loch Berrima, 0411 511 244, from $210 a night, two-night minimum

The food and wine

Berry Sourdough Cafe

Grand Bistro, Bowral

Bendooley Estate, Berrima

Katrina Strickland stayed as a guest of The Cottage Kangaroo Valley and The Loch Berrima.

Continue reading »

Multi-storey future for Lake town centres

RE-SHAPE: Plans to intensify Lake Macquarie’s town centres are up for discussion.Over the coming years, Lake Macquarie City Council will encourage more multi-storey apartments and town houses in and around its town centres. Will we reach the heights of Vancouver? No, but by 2050 we should certainly rival this celebrated liveable city’s vibrancy with a vast mix of retail, entertainment, dining, services, jobs, business opportunities, transport, housing, and public places.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

It’s no secret that multi-storey developments have been met with some concern from the community in the past. So why is council moving forward with plans to allow for more of these types of developments in town centres?

Like residents, council values the city’s village atmosphere. We also value the views to the lake and mountains. We plan to maintain these values, but also to balance this with positioning the city to be adaptable to inevitable change, and a growing population.

By 2050, Lake Macquarie City will have about 50,000 new residents. One obvious challenge with this is the increased need for housing, which can influence housing affordability. The need for more housing can also put pressure on rural and natural areas as potential districts for housing developments.If we don’t plan carefully for this population growth, it can create pressure on existing transport infrastructure and the level of access to essential services.

A bigger population also creates a bigger labour force, generating a need for more local jobs. On the upside, more people can also lead to more spending. There is opportunity here to strengthen our local economy by creating more jobs in the city.

The re-shaping of town centres offers an efficient, sustainable and proven solution to these challenges and opportunities. They are accessible places that play vital economic and housing roles with potential to centralise jobs, consumer spending, essential services, housing, transport options, and recreational activities.

They not only offer opportunity to meet the growing housing demand, intensified town centres minimise the need for more single-dwelling housing developments in rural and natural areas.

Well-planned, intensified town centres can respond also to the needs of a 21st century business with guaranteed high-speed internet connection and a larger range of adaptable offices.

With more people living in and visiting town centres, how can we possibly provide for adequate parking?Contrary to public perceptions, ABS Census data shows that in higher density areas, such as town centres with multi-storey apartments, there is lower car ownership compared with outside urban areas. For example, in Cameron Park 80 per cent of households owned two or more vehicles, and 19 per cent owned one, while 21 per cent of households in and surrounding Swansea town centre do not own a vehicle.

It is planned that our town centres and neighbourhoods will have extensive and well-connected pathsfor walking or cycling. These networks will also connect with a greater range of public transport options, including on-demand services. The need for vast car parking space will be minimised because people will live in and closer to town centres, so they can walk, ride or use accessible and frequent public transport options. This is our vision.Are we on the right track? Let us know atshape.lakemac苏州夜总会招聘.au/LM2050.

Sharon Pope is Lake Macquarie City Council’s integrated planning manager

Continue reading »

Blockbuster start for AFLW as it mulls conference style

The AFL is considering using a conference-style fixture for AFLW seasons 2019 or 2020 when the league will expand to 10 and then 14 teams.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

AFLW season one and the upcoming second season have been fixtured so each of the eight teams play each other once, with the top two sides playing off in the grand final.

However, with new teams coming in for 2019 and 2020 the AFL is wary of moving the season’s start to clash with the n Open or having the season finish too deep into the men’s season (the AFLW grand final is currently played in round one of the AFL season).

North Melbourne and Geelong will join the AFLW in 2019, while Gold Coast, West Coast, Richmond and St Kilda will join in 2020.

A conference-style fixture is used in the United States for the NFL, NBA and MLB and would presumably split the AFLW into two or (less likely) three separate divisions, with the top of each playing off in finals or a grand final.

AFL general manager of clubs and broadcasting Travis Auld said at the AFLW 2018 fixture launch that the league and clubs had “run a number of scenarios” for expansion fixture planning.

“We have given it [the expansion fixture] a bit of thought as part of the expansion conversation at commission level with clubs,” Auld said. “Do you run a straight fixture like we have got now, but just a longer season?

“Do you run some conferences? The beauty of launching a new competition is you can throw out the rules of the men’s competition and think a bit differently about it so we have been encouraged to do that.

“We haven’t landed anywhere yet but there are certainly some opportunities to think differently about it.”

When asked directly about the possibility of conferences Auld said they were definitely a possibility to be used.

“Yep [conferences are a chance] and certainly again in 2020 with expansion if we do that two years in a row we need to manage the length of the season for a whole range of reasons and so you might look at conferences there again.

“We are quite open [to when the AFLW season starts and ends]. We are prepared to start earlier if that’s the right thing to do or push further into the men’s season. We’re learning at the same time as everyone else is. ” Which game are you most looking forward to?

Check out the full fixture below ???? #AFLW#journeyto2018pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/W2CtMMef7L??? AFL Women’s (@aflwomens) 26 October 2017

Continue reading »

Home of the week: A hidden gem nestled in Kingston

Modern comfort blends seamlessly with a stylish 1920s design at this Kingston family home. Tasteful renovation has maintained the home’s period charm, without compromising on comfort or convenience.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

Visitors are greeted by a rolling front lawn, perfectly complemented by the elegant facade.

A formal entry opens onto a large living, dining and meals space, overlooking the gardens. A generous space, entertaining will be a breeze with room for a 12-seat dining table and a full family lounge setting.

The modern kitchen overlooks this space, a cook’s dream with stone surfaces, an extended pantry, and German appliances.

Flowing on from the family space, a covered outdoor entertaining area is the perfect place to relax on a long summer evening.

Picturesque cottage gardens embrace the house, with hedged borders making them a private oasis. Sitting on an 824-square-metre block, the gardens offer plenty of space to enjoy.

The three bedrooms enjoy privacy at the front of the home. Each features a built-in robe, with an en suite to the master bedroom.

The home is the epitome of modern comfort with ducted gas heating, evaporative cooling, and Rinnai gas plus solar gas hot water systems.

Small notes give the home a luxurious feeling, with hardwood flooring, bespoke light fittings and crushed silk curtains adding charm to the interior.

Sitting in the heart of Kingston, the home enjoys one of the best positions Canberra has to offer. Close to the Parliamentary Circle and the CBD, the home is an easy distance to some of Canberra’s best schools and employment hotspots.

“The renovation is so sympathetically completed, and the finishes are authentic and of the upmost quality,” says Louise Harget, agent for the property.

“Standing in the front garden, wandering past the rose gardens, you don’t feel like you are a five-minute stroll up to Kingston, or down to the Foreshore.

“These heritage homes in Kingston are truly very special.”

Surrounding area: One of Canberra’s oldest suburbs, Kingston sits close to Canberra’s centre. It enjoys the amenity of Kingston Shops, with a buzz added by cafes, bars and restaurants on Kingston Foreshore.

We love: An elegant design inside and out sets this Kingston home apart from the crowd.

Address: 52 Kennedy Street, Kingston

Price guide: $1.4 million +

EER: 4

Agent: Louise Harget, Belle Property Kingston, 0412 997 894

Inspect: Saturday 1pm-1:30pm and Tuesday, October 31, at 5pm.

Auction: November 4

Click here to see more!

Continue reading »

Newcastle store Two Fridas sells all things Mexican and marks The Day Of The Dead

Mexican wave: Kate Warner’s Islington store Two Fridas this week celebrates the Day Of The Dead festival. Picture: Simone De PeakKATE Warner has always had a thing for Frida Kahlo, moreso all things Mexican.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

“I have alwaybeen interested in Latin Americancultures but Mexico isjust that colour pop, it’s wearing what makes you happy rather than according to trend,” she says.

“I love that it’s a bit ‘anything goes’, and that’s what I’ve always done; it’s also treading that line between everyday wear and dressups.”

When Warner viewed an art exhibition in Sydney on Kahlo and the artist’s husbandDiego Riviera last year, it inspired her to start the labelTwo Fridas.

“I wanted to go to the exhibition in traditional Mexican clothing and I couldn’t find something that was not overpriced and accessible and then I thought maybe there’s an opportunity there,” she recalls.

Warner, a special projects coordinator in the disabilities sector, began running market stalls with her label, the title of one of Kahlo’s signature self-portraits featuring two Fridas,the first dressed in traditional Mexican clothing, the other in aEuropean style.

In July, Warner realised her dream of opening her store Two Fridas on “The Strip” on Maitland Road, Islington.

In a nod to the two diverse styles in the painting of the same name, Two Fridasstocks traditional, hand-made Mexican clothing, jewellery, art and giftware from Mexicoalongside curated vintage garbs and pieces bylocal artists including Raylee Allen, Debbie Bradfield, Floral & Spot, Stella Kerr and Lisa Brown.When not assisting customers, Warner also makes her own repurposed clothing on the mezzanine.

“Two Fridas is much more than a straight-up retail space, it’s about supporting artisans, valuing the uniqueness of hand made, culture,exploring creative expression, slow fashion and making fearlesschoices over trends,” Ms Warner says.

Two Fridas opens Friday to Sunday but will open on Thursday, November 2, to coincide with the final day of the three-day Mexican festival The Day Of The Dead.

The store’s window isfull of flowers, sugar skulls and more for the occasion, a time of reflection and celebration of family members who have passed away.

Continue reading »