Tuesday, September 29, 2015

New Year’s Eve Is Officially Confirmed

Sydney attracts 1.6 million visitors from around the world, including a few locals who annually realize the city has the most incredible firework display and want to bask in the ‘I live here’ glory. Publicized heavily on every major global TV network, once the fireworks start, the countdown to 2016 really begins. Hotels are booked solid months in advance, the city ramps up the public transportation and tourists start to plot the best viewing positions of the Harbour Bridge.
If you’re heading to Sydney for New Year’s then remember to start hashtagging #SYDNYE and you can be part of the huge social mix. The easiest way to get around the city is by public transportation: bus, ferry or train. Yep, the locals use a water boat daily to get around so if they’re doing it, so can you.

Sydney Harbour by ferry is something you cannot bail on but also consider the alternative; a water taxi around Circular Quay. Either way, you’ll experience the best views of the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and you can even glide right up to the famous Taronga Zoo. Hug a koala for us please.

If you prefer more exercise and walking just isn’t getting you from A to B fast enough, the city has an abundance of cycling routes. Rent a bike from Cycleways and venture off the beaten path one pedal forward at a time. 

While you’re mulling over holiday events, we suggest you visit the Royal Botanical Gardens and then enjoy the opera as part of a ‘day of education.’ Head to The Rocks for some well needed retail therapy or go for a swim at the stunning Maccallum Pool.  

The surrounding region is incredible so don’t presume you need to stay within the city limits. We highly suggest the Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Grand Pacific Drive. Rent a car and while you’re expanding your geographical limits, remember to check out the wine tours at Hunter Valley.

Back to New Year’s Eve, the best perching position to see the fireworks are from Cremorne Point. Thousands of tourists and locals flock to this area where they gape at the stunning display, a spectacle like no other. Interestingly, Cremorne Point Manor is situated right in the heart of the buzz but holiday accommodation is selling out fast. Click the link and book your stay with us pronto before the rooms sell up. If you need visual reassurance, check our home page short video and tweet us what you think!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sydney’s Serviced With October Spice

If your taste buds prefer to be battered with spices, then you must be in Sydney from the 23 - 26 October when the Parramasala Cultural Festival takes place. Your tongue will now be in the thick of dancing while you enjoy music, film and flavours slamming together in perfect harmony.
Presenting the inaugural Tourism Week of India, the event will entertain you with Chai Tea stalls and the opening parade on the Friday night. The song of the opener is Mida Wawasi (Welcome) by a Colombian dance band called Cumbiamuffin. Yes, no typo there, we triple checked it. 

The rest of the weekend includes chanting, food galore and yoga. Make sure you’re up early on the Saturday, right before the sparrows, for a Morning Masala breakfast at 8.00 am. With food in your stomach, yoga to ensure your chakras are in full swing, the Saturday night is a ladies focused extravaganza. They’ll showcase their Masala Divas performances alongside Curry Puff Daddy throwing in some hip hop. Again, no joke. These performers are maxing out the stage names and we’re loving their creativity. 

By Sunday, in the thick of the festival, you can let your body rest while you saunter through the Masala Markets. If you didn’t know anything about the origins of spices, this will be your educational afternoon. You can learn about spice gardens, gape while rice art takes place and the history of the ingredients. A random Bollywood dance flash mob may come up behind you so don’t be alarmed. It’s their job to not tell you the exact time they’ll infiltrate your afternoon. Prepare to be happily surprised. 

Alongside the festivities, the movie screenings is absolutely a must see. With a South Asian focus including India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the Cinema Thali in Raffertys Theater will celebrate young Australian short stories as part of the My Masala film competition.

If you’re not full to the brim already with events, remember to include a peek at the Adorned photography exhibition at the Riverside Theater foyer. It has a strong focus on Parramatta’s diverse cultural community with creative workshops.

Keep your mouth shut as you enjoy the ferry ride to Cremorne Point, simply to contain those bouncing taste buds while you head to Cremorne Point Manor. Awarded with a fifth consecutive Certificate of Excellence by Tripadvisor, sit back and enjoy the stunning Harbour skyline. The views will make your mouth water, all over again.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Eat Your Heart out, Sydney

For the whole of October the Good Food Month event whisks up a storm in Australia, namely Sydney as a focal culinary experience. Powered by the Sydney Morning Herald and Citi Financial Services, this is your time to head to NSW and pack a bit of weight on those hips.
With featured events such as Sweetfest, Growers Bunch and Shoot the Chef, the latter is an annual competition where anyone, nationally can take part of this photography extravaganza. Grab your camera and take a snap of a chef. Maybe it’s your five year old who’s a dab hand at cracking eggs on the kitchen floor, your favorite sous chef in the nearby café or your mother slaving away on Christmas day trying to jam the turkey in the oven. The winner receives $5,000 cash, a snazzy Nikon camera and a multitude of other photography lovers gifts. 

If desserts have your name written all over them, Sweetfest is right up your alley. The Masterclass Stage will showcase Amy Chanta, Dan Lepart and Alistair Wise, amongst others, demonstrating how to ice those buns, cake decorating tips and the art of perfecting super choux pastry, darlings. 

Remember to keep the 5th October at 6.30pm free for a special event. In memory of Josephine Pignolet the Good Food Month will host a very special award of their 25th Anniversary: Young Chefs Dinner. Josephine, a great chef, died in an accident in 1987 and this annual dinner is presented in her honor. It takes place at 11 Bridge Street so if you’re not invited, head down there and start taking snaps of this memorable event.

There are two Lazy Day events within the October calendar, namely Café Collective and Sunday Sessions. Café collective is all about the most important meal of the day: breakfast. Rally a crowd of pals and you can enjoy a set menu during weekdays so remember to tweet #breakfastclub while you’re fressing up a morning storm at numerous featured restaurants hosting these morning glories. Check the website for more details on participating restaurants and their pre fix menu price. 

The event also includes an array of dining experiences, including family friendly ones, and various restaurant offers who are participating in the month long event. Make the most of these deals.

With a stuffed stomach and no room for a morsel more, grab that short ferry ride and head back to Cremorne Point. By the time you take a hefty walk around the scenic area, you’ll have burned off those calories and can enjoy something sweeter: The stunning Harbour view from boutique hotel, Cremorne Point Manor.  It’s a skyline dream you can sink your teeth into without adding a pound, we promise.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Future is Orange – Wine Festival Orange

From October 16 – November 1, the Orange Wine Festival takes place. If you’re thinking the best wineries are in California, Italy and France, you’ve not see what the NSW area has to offer. Australian wines are renowned as one of the greats so zone in on the surrounding Sydney region: you can enjoy from 80 events over two weeks including the Orange Wine Show Dinner. There are tastings, food night markets and local restaurants pairing local vino producers, showcasing with stunning dishes.
The vineyards are sensational and you are invited to a gastro journey through some of the best scenic routes in the area. With the Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains as the hotel of choice, they’re offering a special rate for Orange Festival attendees – luxury at its best. Click the above link to book. 

Prime selections on offer for tastings, flight tastings or just a good ole glass of wine and a banter with the sommelier include Orange’s paramount range: Chardonnay, Reisling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Shiraz, Pinot Noir and sparkling wines. Most of the wineries are open daily from around 11am – 5pm but click the program link for specific venue openings. Remember to ask them about private tastings and booking appointments, especially in groups. Then you can claim uninterripted attention by the winery team and learn a few sniff, taste and spittoon tricks of the trade.

The festival also holds an excellent itinerary of what’s going on and where including Cider Lunches, Movie Nights, Barrel Tasting, Art Exhibition, Boozy Breakfasts and (our favourite) Garden Ramble.
There’s also a Wine Show Trophy Dinner and Wine Show Tastings. Showcasing a Masterclass demonstration, experts will explain why the Orange region is so scrumptiously unique, different from other global wineries. One event we love is Wine in the Vines, explaining the process from soil, climate and grape, right up to barreling and the finale adoration of liquid in a bottle. Also keep the 30th October free for the night market, in Robertson Park where you can taste, buy and chill out among wine lovers t the communal tables.

Even though the festival is packed day and night with activities, if you’re visiting NSW for the first time, it’s a good weekend getaway from the city to experience life as a local. It’s a 3.30 hour drive from Cremorne Point but the road to and from is a must see. When you’re full of fruit, head back to Cremorne Point Manor’s boutique hotel. Grab yourself a glass of wine you bought while you were in Orange, sit back, relax and gaze at the mind blowing Harbour skyline from our hotel. Yet another happy ending to a grape escape (sorry, we couldn’t resist).

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Chocaholics Not So Anonymous in Sydney

If chocolate is your vice, which it is for a high percentage of the global population, then on the 12th – 13th September, head to The Rocks for the Smooth Festival of Chocolate.
Partnering with the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, the Festival of Chocolate literally turns The Rocks into a new age Willy Wonka. Two days of jaw dropping and mouth watering sweets at its finest includes over 60 stalls. So you can put on your roller blades and spin around, tasting samples and indulge to the point we advise you to wear big elasticated trousers. 

From the Test Kitchen by Cameron Daddo’s live cooking demonstrations to featuring the city’s finest exhibitors, this new annual event is a must sniff out. It only launched last year but based on the popularity of cocoa fans, it’s now an annual fixture. 

Macaroons are now the crème de la crème of sweets for dahlings and if you need to seriously taste before you buy, MakMak will be exhibiting. Voted by Time Out at the top of the league in their blind tasting by expert judges, they won hands down. Ever had a Bombay Sapphire Gin macaroon? This is your time to do it. Possibly heard of the lemon myrtle or the strawberry gum macaroon? Then bring your pad & pen so you can cross these off your bucket list.

We all love venturing back down memory lane and remembering sweets we had as a kid. Well Anna Polyviou will be headlining the festival and hitting the high notes. As the Executive Pastry Chef of the Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, she’s going to take Wagon Wheels, Push Pops and Donuts to a stratosphere that even Las Vegas will blush in envy. It’s guaranteed to bring out the 5 year old in everyone attending.

One page we love about the Festival website is their recipe section. You may not be a dab hand in the kitchen but with recipes featuring chocolate and raspberry entremets to callebaut millefeulle, you can give it a whirl and see if your apple, hazelnut and chocolate popsicle is worth licking the bowl for. 

The website doesn’t mention a fee so we’re hoping that the best things in like (aka eating your body weight in chocolate) are at no cost. When you’re done wiping your face, plates and eaten your body weight in freebies, hop on a ferry ride to Cremorne Point and waddle over to our Manor. Grab a glass of wine, sit at your hotel room balcony and watch the Sydney skyline from our award winning hotel.  The water may not be made of chocolate nor a mouth waterer but it’s guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes – it’s stunning!