Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Come to Sydney and then Get Lost

You’ve travelled to Sydney, checked into your room at our Cremorne Point hotel and have the usual suspect attractions on your excursion radar. Before you start the obvious sightseeing, we highly suggest you get lost! It could be the most fun adventure you’ve taken and it’s not an idea solely for tourists. Sydneysiders regularly attempt this feat and it’s why they love living in this city. The Botanical Gardens, Opera House and Luna Park will still be there once you’re done but for half a day, enjoy taking a different type of adventure with Urban Hunt.

Remember when you were a kid and enjoyed car rallies or scavenger hunts? Well this is along the same theme, just a tad more up to date. Teams compete to solve clues through Facebook messenger and the ones that win, are the ones that finish in the fastest time possible. The Urban Hunt’s objective is to ensure you absolutely veer off the beaten track and along the way, you’ll find amazing hidden gem spots right in the heart of Sydney.

Even if you’re a couple or individual on vacation and want to join a team, you can do this. Or you’re on a mass family and friend’s group trip, so simply divide into groups of four and you’re ready to rumble. Seeing Sydney in a completely different light is going to be right up your alley - and you may just end up down a few of these. Be competitive or take your time, either way you’ll reach the end line eventually.


All you need is to get started is set up a Hunt in your Facebook messenger and follow the instructions. Alternatively, you can view the web version of planned trails, click the ones that grab your attention and off you stroll (or gallop). On any given Hunt, there may be up to 10 teams wandering around the city, with the person setting up the Hunt as the organiser. They own the pure power (magic wand may be included) and they decide when the Hunt commences. Now you may mosey around the trails and not step up your brain game during the scavenger, but it’ll cost you. There are rules in this Hunt including penalty points for answering questions incorrectly, skipping answers or asking for hints from others.

The Hunt organisers suggest you stop for a break mid stream and also take advantage of discounted deals at local food joints they’ve set up deals with. Additionally, since the cost to take part in the hunt is $25 per team, they’re open to you taking a free test run to try before you buy. For those with credit card trigger happy fingers, some of the sponsored trails can increase to $50, depending if you’re in a super adventurous mood.


There’s no nicer way to tour Sydney than on foot, scrambling for clues, walking right into off the beaten path and stumbling over some hidden stairs that could take you to Narnia (or the next street).  When you’re all walked out, come back to our hotel and tell us which sneaky streets you pottered down. Maybe you’ll teach us a thing or two about our city. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Going Underground, I’m going Underground

The Jam sang it and we’re now writing about it. From the 14th to 17th September, the Sydney Underground Film Festival (SUFF) takes place at the Factory Theatre. The program reveal party is free, taking place August 9th from 7.00 – 10.00pm so be sure to sign up as space is limited. But if you’re not in town or unavailable for this, then you must grab your early bird festival pass going at the cracking rate of $95 for the September curtain call. This is a full festival Wonka golden ticket price, where as the later prices will jump up by $50 for late purchases.

SUFF will be holding over 100 movies during these three days alongside Q&A’s with the audience and movie experts, a master class and obviously the obligatory opening & closing parties. For budding Spielberg’s, you can take the workshops and learn how to make it on the big screen, or just enjoy learning something new about an industry that’s synonymous with blockbusters.

The line up’s still work in progress but be prepared to hob-nob with industry movers and shakers, while sitting back with popcorn and listening to guest speakers. Now even though we touched on the blockbuster topic, the SUFF is purely designed to provide newer film makers with a way to exhibit and promote their art. It’s a brilliant platform to network, expose your hidden behind or front of scene talents and gain positive, critical responses. And you never know; if you’re the next Matt Damon, you may bump into your next Ben Affleck and make cinematographic history.


Going since 2007, the SUFF will also be handing out awards for various categories including Innovation Narrative and Taboo Film. If you’re expecting to see Disney style flicks, this is not the event for you. But if unique, artistic and boundary-breaking cinema is what makes you wake up every day, then absolutely get your early bird ticket.


Only 35 minutes by car or 50 minutes by public transport (including a breezy ferry ride across the Harbour), you’ll be back at our place. With our stunning Sydney boutique hotel, Cremorne Point Manor, just begging you to rest your weary head after movie overloading, we have created the perfect ending. Imagine this: You’re chilling on our guest-only balcony, glass of wine in hand watching the downtown skyline listening to nearby Taronga Zoo lions roar. The End! 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Scandinavia Lights up Sydney

Already underway since 11th July, and running to the 2nd August, the Scandinavian Film Festival has hit NSW with an abundance of gravlax and meatballs. With one of the biggest exports from this continent, namely Abba, resulting into the fantastic Aussie based Muriel’s Wedding (if you’ve not seen it…then do so), the festival is already showing signs of being a corking great success.

Not only are you going to be seeing incredible films, but you can enjoy a few bites of native food along the way before the big screen airs each movie.  With some of the biggest icons to come out the continent, namely Ingmar Bergman, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Oscar nominated & winning Nordic flicks, the standards this year are high.

If you love the films beyond standard proportions, the festival tours around the country so you can catch up next year from city to city, including Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane. But if Sydney is your sole pit stop, expect to see festival Guest Charlotte Sieling along with movies such as A Hustler’s Diary and The King’s Choice. Ticket prices are $13.00 with concessions for seniors and multi film passes or group bookings for both participating hosts: Palace Norton Street and Palace Verona.


Want to know more about the continent? Then here are a few fun teasers. Did you know Sweden’s most popular souvenir is the ‘moose-crossing’ warning sign? The country has to replace thousands of these a year from the public permanently ‘borrowing’ them. Finland is comprised of 98,000 islands and has in excess of 188,000 lakes – even though the country’s called the Land of 1000 lakes. And if you’re having a birthday coming up, it’s Danish tradition to fly a flag outside to celebrate the momentum occasion. But if you’re turning 30 years old and still unmarried, expect pepper shakers as gifts: known as Pepperman for males and Peppermaid for females. What a lovely way to start your third decade by perpetual sneezing. 

One sight to see is the Northern Lights, right across the northern tip of Scandinavia, Iceland, Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Siberia.  From protons and electrons streaming on the solar surface, hitting the Earth’s magnetic field, the results are visually breathtaking auras and are even visible from space, as they move south. With a final fact to freak out all the insomniacs: In Sweden from early May to the end of August, the country experiences virtual daylight with the sun rising at 3.40am and setting 10.02pm at the July peak. But in winter, namely at the January crux, the sun rises 8.47pm and horrifyingly sets at 2.55pm which is why residents experiences huge flurries of SAD (seasonal affective disorder).


But if you’re coming to Sydney and looking for a warm winter with a view that radiates around normal daylight hours, then Cremorne Point Manor’s balcony is the winning ticket. It’s like watching a movie of the Harbour skyline for hours. And when you book through our site, a complimentary breakfast is included…pepper is optional. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Not A Pint Sized Event at Taronga Center

For the first time ever, on the 22 and 23 July, the Zoo Brew comes to Taronga Center, right next to the zoo. With over 25 breweries pouring from the barrel, they include Gold Coast’s Balter, Canberra’s BentSpoke and New Zealand’s Monteith. Obviously, there will be a multitude of local breweries including Lord Nelson and Young Henrys.

For the kick off on the 21 July, there will be a special five course beer-infused dinner, with the menu prepared by the host’s center’s globally renowned chefs. Tickets are available in advance but also at the gate (if not sold out already) for the non dinner events. Two sessions run daily from 11.30am to 3.30pm and after a mild breather, the second is from 4pm to 8pm. General admission tickets are $40 which includes a glass tasting cup, 10 sample tickets and 50% discounted zoo entry. If you’re the clean and sober nominee, the designated driver cost is $20 which includes free parking, bottomless soft drinks and again, 50% discounted zoo entry tickets.

The sessions feature a ‘Meet the Brewer’ talk so you can learn more about how these hand crafted beers are made. Alternatively, mosey around the event, chat with the 20+ breweries and then head to the zoo so you can monkey around.

 
Now back to the Friday night dinner. It’ll be taking place from 7pm to 10pm, tickets are an eye watering $150 per person but….remember, it’s a five course slap up event and you’ll be entertained by guest chefs on the inspiration behind each dish. And when this potentially annual event becomes larger than Glastonbury levels, you can say you were right there at the beginning. Something to cross off that bucket wish list!

Obviously you’ll need to be over 18 years old to attend the Zoo Brew so bring your ID on the day(s) you’re going. And come evening, when you’re beer’d up to the brim, you can bounce on a ferry ride and within a few minutes, be at Cremorne Point. We’re a hop, skip and water jump away from Taronga Center which makes life a breeze, instead of schlepping right back to the Harbour and trudging back to your downtown hotel.


And for $40 for a session, not only will you have kept your checks & balances intact, but our affordable hotel won’t break your bank. Pop yourself in a chair on our balcony, crack open one of the hand crafted beers you purchased at Zoo Brew and if you listen closely, you may hear the lions roar at the zoo. They entertained you earlier and now they’ll set you to sleep – flexible creatures they are. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Viva La France – Bastille Day in Sydney

On the 14th July, the globe will celebrate Bastille Day. It’s called la Fete nationale and the Storming of the Bastille taking place on 24th June 1789. This was a major pivot in the French Revolution and celebrates the unity of the French on the 14th July 1790. The whole country (and most of the planet) now rejoices to their hearts content. Here are a few fun facts for you to embrace; maybe some that you know about and others that will make you ponder of your frogs legs appetizer and champagne…from Champagne:

The French celebrates this achievement 10 days after the US celebrates its own Independence Day from the British, and has done so since 1880.

A flurry of revolutionaries stormed the Parisian based Bastille fortress, used as a prison for political prisoners. Even though there were only seven prisoners at the time, the number is irrelevant as the invasion was purely a symbol of oppression by the Bourbon monarchy. The date marked the start of the French Revolution that eventually would overthrow Marie Antoinette and her husband, King Louis XVI. This milestone marked the end of the ancient regime, whereby the country’s new revolutionary government tore down the Bastille prison – the last stone being removed in 1790.
In Paris, the Eiffel Tower is surrounded by fireworks and usually runs for a solid 30 minutes plus. The French proudly scream Vive le 14 juillet (aka: long live the 14th of July).


Originally, the name Bastille derived from the word bastide, translating to ‘fortification.’ When the tower was built in 1357, it was ironically designed to keep invading armies out, not hold prisoners in. Over the centuries, it grew to encompass a massive gate, a moat, a fortress with 75 foot towers and eventually converted into a state prison, holding up to 55 captives.

On the day of invasion, the captured held in Bastille, were never fully confirmed. Some say that four have committed forgery, two were pure lunatics and one was a disgraced nobleman. Others say that four were forgers, another from aristocracy and two vanished without identification. The Marquis De Sade was believed to be in the thick of this prison number, famous for his erotic writings and the rise of the word: sadism. As the most famous inmate, this aristocrat penned various books including the famous One Hundred and Twenty Days of Sodom, but he was removed from Bastille 10 days before the invasion.

This holiday is now absolutely internationally hyped up. Franschhoek, South Africa hosts a two day celebration, New Orleans goes all out on dog costume contests (!?!) and Puducherry, Eastern India has a massive firework display. Sydney will honor this day with all things French at the Argyle, The Rocks where tickets cost $15 and you can learn the Cancan…like you do. What better way to end the oh la la celebrations than at Cremorne Point, overlooking the Harbour, sipping French vino, eating baguettes and brie with that beret perched on your head! And the next day, any mild hangover can be easily cured with a lot of H2) and French Toast. Voila!


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sydney Spooky Attractions

For all that love a bit of a supernatural, spine chilling adventure, we’re not going to wait to Halloween for this post. It’s too good not to share now. The city has incredible events, attractions and nonstop entertainment throughout the year. But how about for those that want to try something different in NSW? Here are a few blood curdlers that will deter most but attract the thicker skinned ones to visit our diverse region:

Did you know that Wakehurst Park is the most haunted road in Sydney? At the point where Narrabeen and Seaforth intersect, by Deep Creek Reserve, the latter has been famous for body dumpings and murders. As a result, if you’re driving down this road, predominantly at night, there have been reports where car doors randomly lock by themselves, the radio turns itself on and windscreen wipers either start working or suddenly stop. Drivers have also reported of a green man that flashes at pedestrian crossings around 3.00am. Spookier than this, is that no one seems to be there.

Fables and history states that this area is obviously haunted by two ghosts: a young girl called Kelly that died in the 70’s and a nun that died around five decades ago. The word on the street spreads the good news of joy: if you don’t tell the girl to get out your car, she’ll ram rod you off the road.


A pure magnet for psychics, Mary Loughland states she’s seen young Kelly and feels her presence. Not only that, but Mary’s daughter sighted Kelly and the nun. Her theory is that a haunting take place where tragedy’s struck, so Kelly may either want to deliver messages or can’t transfer to the other side as she’s traumatized. Possibly, she’s been subject to a driving related death and wants to warn others through protection...or is angry and wants to just scare anyone in four wheels.

Other beauties, if you’re still reading this without shuddering, include the Gladesville Mental Hospital, the Haunted Quarantine Station, Redbank Range Tunnel and Studley Park House. You can read more about each here.


On a positive note, even though Cremorne Point Manor is one of Sydney’s oldest hotels, established in a heritage building, we’ve never even seen a Casper friendly ghost potter by. But if you want to feel the hairs on your arms spike up: at night, sometimes you’ll hear lions roar. Don’t worry though – they’re just talking from nearby Taronga Zoo. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

To Market, To Market, To Buy A...


Just under an hour’s drive North West of Sydney, is a gem of a farmers market. The Richmond Good Food Market operates every Saturday from 8am to 1pm in Richmond Park, as this family business opens its floodgates for farmers, tourists and locals in the scenic Hawkesbury area.  

Now we all know farmers markets usually sell extortionately overpriced food but this little beauty is about cost efficiency to sustain local businesses. Not only are they supporting local farms, but you can chat with the farmers about how the food is raised, including chemical (and additive) free produce. The market website claims their prices are cheaper than Woolworths and Coles which is a nice little, penny pinching bonus.

Every tomato, carrot, bunch of flowers or apricot (markets always over-excel on apricots, for some fabulous reason) that you purchase; you’re giving back to the little SMB’s and not the big, bad national, gluttonous corporations. You’re also obviously reassured that what you’re picking up is absolutely fresh, right from farm to stall.


It’d be an early morning start for Sydneysiders but if you make the most of the full morning market, you can refuel on some of the food vendors. These include Kalye (meat skewer specialties) or a slice from Pizza Napoli. Want to wow your partner? Roses and More sell fresh cut flowers at wholesale prices so consider that if you need to be back in someone’s good books. And for those little furry pets you bring along: give them Koly’s chemical free, freeze dried dog and cat treats. Who’s up for high end sugar? The Real Fruit Ice Cream stand should not be passed by without a quick purchase. Blended on site, you can sugar-load yourself up on the good stuff or try one of their super noisy slush drinks.

The market’s packed with a bundle of alternative stands including health & beauty, kitchenware, clothing, accessories and condiments. One stand we love is Mini Garden Creations that sells native plants and succulents. Bought the muchkins along for the ride? Then you need to check out Amanda’s Place where she sells everything from bibs and baby changing mats to mittens and door snakes (draught excluders). If that’s not satisfied the little ones, Mr. Arthur’s Puppets absolutely will do the trick. It’s hosted by owner Kieran Arthur, a talented puppeteer who was featured on Australia’s Got Talent. Maybe you can schmooze him to host a puppet show the next time your rugrat(s) celebrate a birthday.


It’s 1.01pm and you’re wiped out from shopping, the car’s full to the brim so you’ll take a leisurely drive east back to Cremorne Point. Chill out on our guest-only balcony overlooking the Harbour and chomp away at your foodie purchases.  Those apricots won’t eat themselves!