Luxurious Bed & Breakfast On Kangaroo Island

We have discovered a luxurious place to stay on the north coast of Kangaroo Island. Seascape on Emu Bay is a Bed and Breakfast ideal for the traveller in search of tranquility in the surrounds of exceptionally beautiful landscape. Whilst settling in to your luxurious bedroom, it is clear to see that the location of this B&B is one of the highlights. The lodge overlooks the beautiful Emu Bay, this stretch of pristine coastline spans nearly five kilometres. The view of the bay from your room is amazing. In the morning, why not take a walk or a run along the beach? A quick tip from us: sleep with your curtains open and you will wake to the most glorious sunrise. What a way to start your day, all from the comfort of your king size bed! Your hosts, not only extremely friendly and exceptionally accommodating, proved to be excellent cooks too. So much so that we could easily devote a separate article to the food that is served. If the dinner is a lavish feast for the taste buds, wait until you see the breakfast!
At Seascape on Emu Bay, everything is perfect. We were very impressed with this high quality accommodation!

iPhoneography Oz was a guest of Seascape on Emu Bay.

Why Visit Kangaroo Island?

Kangaroo Island, situated off the Fleurieu Peninsula, is not to be missed. Tourist guides advise a minimum of two days to visit it. We recommend you spend a week there. This island, the third largest in Australia, is perhaps one of the most incredible places in the world to see wildlife in its natural environment. Kangaroo Island also offers breathtaking scenery. Along its shores, you can access deserted beaches that stretch for miles. Swimmers, surfers and fishermen... there is something here for everyone. All are not listed in guidebooks, but since we like to walk off the beaten tracks at iPhoneography Oz, we reveal one of the best kept secrets of the island: Red Banks. This stretch of colorful cliffs, sheltered from tourists is located just a few minutes north of American River. The path to the bay below the cliffs is not easy to find. Strolling along the beach just before sunset is an unique experience! This is a dream location for photographers. And for us it is simply the most beautiful beach in Australia (at least from what we have seen since the beginning of this project).

Australian Fine Dining In McLaren Vale

We visited another restaurant in McLaren Vale before leaving the Fleurieu Peninsula on our way to Kangaroo Island. Coterie is the restaurant of Woodstock Wine Estate. What is really impressive when you arrive, is the architecture. The building of twenty years old has been designed in a semicircle to blend with the shape of the land, so much so that not one tree was cut down during construction. The windows of the restaurant offer a beautiful view of the lush gardens of the property. The slogan of the house at the entrance of the restaurant says it all: great food, good company and finest wines! The atmosphere is really friendly. The food is actually excellent contemporary fine Australian cuisine. You will not want it to end! The products are fresh and seasonal. The vegetables are from the garden. The fish is caught an hour before being cooked. Our favourite: oven baked hand made pumpkin and mushroom cannelloni (although char-grilled kangaroo tenderloin with quenelle dark chocolate ganache seemed very appetizing too!). As for the chocolate soufflé, served with Spanish churros and thick dark chocolate dipping sauce, it alone is worth the trip! Note that you can enjoy a tasting in the cellar door whilst waiting for your meal: a great idea to help you choose the wine that will accompany your food experience! Finally we suggest you go for a walk around the wildlife sanctuary of the property to digest everything.

The writers were guests of Woodstock Coterie.

Dinner In Currency Creek

Currency Creek is located about twenty minutes northeast of Middleton. This small town in the Fleurieu Peninsula is famous for having been proposed as a potential site to house the state capital of South Australia, a role which is played today by Adelaide. Nowadays, the region is known for its vineyards. Currency Creek Winery is perhaps the most famous of them. On site, in addition to wine-tasting, you can dine in the restaurant or stay in one of the six luxurious villas of the property. The a la carte menu offers an appetizing selection of local produces. On Friday night, the chef offers the "T" Night which consists of a three-course meal including two glasses of wine from their vineyard for just over $30. This seems to be a very popular choice and hopefully you will get the chance to try it for yourself.

The writers were guests of Currency Creek Winery.

Surfing Lesson On The Fleurieu Peninsula Breaks

The Fleurieu Peninsula is a destination to consider particularly for its beaches. Those located on the south coast are usually found in small coves protected by granite boulders. Whether for swimming or surfing, the conditions are ideal. In Middleton, we took a surfing lesson with Dan from South Coast Surf Academy. After receiving a very informative course on water safety and the formation of waves, it was time to get down to the finer details of the art of surfing. Even if the ocean is cold at this time of year, they supply full length wetsuits to keep you warm once thrown into the deep end. Each student moves at their own pace to successfully find the right wave and stand up on the board. If you need a helping hand to propel you, the instructor is never far away. A priceless moment that definitely leaves you wanting more!

The writers were guests of South Coast Surf Academy.

Beach Huts Middleton

Southern Fleurieu Peninsula is a tourist destination becoming increasingly popular in South Australia. Fortunately the region still retains its natural tranquility. The coastline that stretches more than fifteen kilometres between the historic river port of Goolwa and Victor Harbor offers beautiful beaches in summer and is a great place to spot migrating whales in winter. It is no surprise therefore to find many hosting options in the area. The most famous and certainly the most unique, are the Beach Huts. Located within walking distance of Middleton Beach, these twelve self-contained accommodations are absolutely lovely. All are decorated differently from each other, inside and out. Some are even equipped with a spa. Upon your arrival, a bottle of sparkling wine and provisions for breakfast await you in your room. It is a quaint and novel concept, done really well. The Beach Huts are clean, modern, cozy:  in short, it feels great to stay there! Note that you can also enjoy the barbecue and tennis court on site.

The writers were guests of Beach Huts.

Photo: Beach Huts Middleton

Fine Dining Restaurant With Amazing Views

Our culinary discovery of the day takes us to Star of Greece restaurant, located ten minutes away from Willunga and McLaren Vale. If one of the first determining factors of success in hospitality is location, then this place is already a huge success! Star of Greece is located on the edge of a cliff overlooking the bay of Port Willunga, which apparently appears in the top 20 destination beaches in the world. Contrary to what its name might suggest there is no pita or baklava but sophisticated Australian cuisine with Asian and Mediterranean inspiration. Here they do not rely on the service and decor to impress you, it is the food that does the dazzling! Unfortunately the quality of the photo does not reflect the outstanding quality of the cuisine. The food is fresh and seasonal. The chef sources ingredients directly from local producers, breeders and growers in the region of the Fleurieu Peninsula and more widely in South Australia. Our favourites: duck doughnuts, whipped goat cheese, seared duck breast and the inevitable chocolate pavé. Go there for lunch not to miss the view. We certainly recommend this place!

The writers were guests of Star of Greece.

Luxury Accommodation In McLaren Vale

iPhoneography Oz stayed in Willunga during its visit to McLaren Vale. This charming little village, known for its Sunday Saturday Farmers' Market and for being host to the Tour Down Under every year, is located just minutes away from the vineyards. We stayed in the luxurious property of Evelyn Homestead. This historic building built in the 1850s is now a luxury destination in the McLaren Vale, where celebrities and politicians choose to come and spend a few days. Totally renovated, the villa was built on a beautiful garden of 1,800 m² and has still retained its original charm. The thickness of the walls are there to remind you of its era. It is the attention to detail that makes a place special and inside this beautiful cottage nothing is overlooked to ensure the comfort of guests: two rooms decorated with style (bedroom 1, bedroom 2), a large bathroom with a spa, provisions for breakfast, a bottle of wine plus chocolate to welcome you. What more could you want! If you are not convinced, take a look at the website of Port Willunga Cottages where you will find two other equally charming hosting alternatives. To have experienced it we can say that the best way to resist the temptation of such quality accommodation, it is to give in! You will not be disappointed especially considering how competitive the price is.

The writers were guests of Port Willunga Cottages.

McLaren Vale: Dream Destination For Foodies

South Australia, with its many wine regions, is a dream destination for foodies. We visited the Coonawarra region a few days ago. In the coming days we will spend some time in McLaren Vale. This region, in the Fleurieu Peninsula south of Adelaide, is home to over 60 wineries. It produces very good Shiraz, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. For our first tasting, we stopped at The Kitchen Door, the restaurant at Penny's Hill Winery. With a menu that changes every two months, you are sure to enjoy seasonal produce. We recommend the tasting menu, a four-course menu that offers an excellent selection of local produce. Dishes can be, at your convenience, married with the best wines of the vineyard. The dining experience is heavenly and the variety, quality, taste and presentation of the products is second to none. If you like cheese and desserts, you will not be disappointed either. Taste the frozen chocolate mousse and give us your opinion! The Kitchen Door restaurant is a culinary delight that we highly recommend.

The writers were guests of The Kitchen Door.

Luxury Accommodation In The Murray River Region

The Murray River region is a charming destination within two hours drive from Adelaide. A cruise along the river seems to be the ideal local activity. Unfortunately during our stay the weather was a bit dismal. We therefore opted for another charming...and dry destination. Riverview Rise Retreats is a unique style of accommodation overlooking the river from the heights of Mannum. Choosing to stay here is like a dream come true and nothing less! Each of the retreats, three in total, are secluded from each other and extremely private. They are beautifully furnished in oppulent style. The attention to detail creates pure comfort. The view is fantastic. A luxurious getaway ideal for relaxation, romance and rejuvination. Staying at Riverview Rise Retreats is the guarantee to leave the stress of everyday life behind. It definitely deserves its five stars!

The writers were guests of Riverview Rise Retreats.

Photo: Riverview Rise Retreats

Life In Pioneer Times

Visit the open-air museum of Old Tailem Town to get an idea of what life was like for pioneers in South Australia in the nineteenth century. It is so realistic that during our visit, we were wondering if it was a revival or an original town. Old Tailem Town has now over than a hundred buildings most of which were taken as is from their original location. The oldest building in the park is from 1870, an eternity in the history of this young country which is Australia. The owner is an enthusiast who has put a lot of heart into it, and it shows! He has paid great attention to detail furnishing each of the buildings with items from that era. A not to be missed activity on your travels across the Murray River!

Farm Stay In The Land Of White Kangaroos

Bordertown, in the north of the Limestone Coast, is the birthplace of former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke. But if we suggest you to go there, it is mainly because this border town of Victoria is home to the only colony of white kangaroos in Australia! They can be easily seen in a paddock that borders the main road on the eastern outskirts of the city. Bordertown is a good stopover between Melbourne and Adelaide and a good base for exploring the Ngarjat and Big Desert National Parks. And since it is a bit far (about 1h30 drive north of Coonawarra's vineyards), we also suggest you to spend a night there. With this in mind, we tried and tested Dunalan Cottage. More than just a bed and breakfast, you have access to one of the two houses in the compound of a family farm whose owners are very friendly. The rooms of the house in which iPhoneography Oz stayed are really spacious with high ceilings. A good excuse to warm up with a chimney fire. The cottage, fully equipped, is decorated with "old fashioned" furniture from the family patrimony, which has an antique home feel. The property is so big that you feel like lost in the wilderness. During your stay, be sure to visit the farm animals!

The writers were guests of Dunalan Cottage.

Where To Stay Near Coonawarra's Vineyards?

It is a place of choice, nothing short of perfect and just a few minutes away from Coonawarra's vineyards. Murray's Country Cottages, two in total, sit comfortably alongside the private golf course of the property (which customers have free access). The gorgeous log cabins are full of delightful character. Fully equipped, you quickly feel at home. The surroundings are peaceful and unique! The owners, Bill and Marg, are among the sweetest people we have encountered since the beginning of this project. We could easily dedicate them a full separate article in recognition of their generosity, culture and dynamism. Having met several people in the area, it seems also that much of the local community is just as warm and educated. A real love at first sight that we would recommend to anyone without any hesitation!

iPhoneography Oz was guest of Murray's Country Cottages.

Win 2 nights!

Winter Wine & Chocolate Tasting In Coonawarra

Coonawarra, an hour's drive north of Mount Gambier, is a little piece of paradise. The kind of paradise that foodies of the world love. Coonawarra has long been recognized as one of the best wine regions of Australia. With its mild climate and the unique composition of its soil, premium red wines with intense fruit character have been produced there for over a century. Cabernet Sauvignon, the local speciality, along with Shiraz represent 80% of the total regional production. Along the way, we stopped for a tasting at Zema Estate which is currently hosting its annual Winter Wine & Chocolate tasting. The marriage of these two indulgences is surprisingly complimentary. Enhancing the wine's already fine taste, it is a pleasure for the palate. We particularly enjoyed it. The property is reknowned for producing delicious red wines. Greg Clayfield, its winemaker, won the 1998 IWSC International Winemaker of the Year.
The "little" Coonawarra (less than 10% of the South Australia's wine production) might not be present in every single guidebooks, but we strongly recommend it to you!

Win 1 bottle of 2008 'Cluny' (Cabernet Merlot) or 2008 Shiraz from Zema Estate Wines!

Exploring Mount Gambier

Mount Gambier is our first stop in the state of South Australia. This small and friendly town on the Limestone Coast is the state's second largest after Adelaide. It is worth stopping there at least for one night. The area includes some geological sites of national or international importance. A few minutes walk from the centre of Mount Gambier, the Blue Lake fills the crater of an extinct volcano. In summer, the water is an incredible blue. In winter, it is tinged with gray. It seems that it is the only blue lake in the world. The Umpherston Sinkhole, located in the heart of the town, has a garden at the bottom of an impressive natural crater. We suggest visiting it at night to be able to approach and feed the possums that inhabit it.

Where To Stay In Halls Gap?

Halls Gap is a small village located in the heart of the Grampians. This is where the "human presence" of the region is concentrated. The visitor information centre, a petrol station, several restaurants and cafes and a few shops are there. During our visit, we stayed at Halls Haven Holiday Units, located a few kilometers away from the village. This small friendly complex is ideal for relaxing. Far away from the road, every one can enjoy the silence. The units are located around a small pond with the Grampians as a backdrop. On site, visitors have access to different activities such as tennis, cycling or DVD rental. The self-contained accommodation is equipped with a full kitchen. In fact this is a perfect place for families and budget travelers who want to stay in Halls Gap!

The writers were guests of Halls Haven Holiday Units.

Aboriginal Rock Art In The Grampians

The Grampians are very important to the Aborigines from south-west Victoria. The national park is host to more than 80% of the state's Aboriginal rock art works sites. Only five, scattered to the four corners of the park, are open to the public. We feel truly privileged to have access to them. The Brambuk National Park & Cultural Centre located just outside of Halls Gap, in addition to being a building with stunning architecture, allows you to learn a lot about the history and culture of local Aboriginal communities. A must see!

Gourmet Experience In The Grampians

We had no idea that the Northern Grampians had a Mediterranean climate and favorable complex sandy soils for olive trees. Whilst driving on the trails of the region, lost in the middle of nowhere, we stumbled upon the largest olive grove that we have ever seen: 28,000 olive trees planted on a property of 1,200 acres. Welcome to Toscana Olives. It is quite impressive especially when you do not expect to come across it! It is one of Australia's oldest groves. It produces extra virgin organic olive oils. The olives are cold pressed onsite immediately after picking. Actually it is possible to attend a tour of the pressing process at this time of year. It is really interesting to witness the behind the scenes of this production. If, like us, you love olive oil, make sure you stop at the farm gate shop for a tasting of their full range of award winning gourmet products. You will fall in love. The foodies that are not close by can also buy online. Our very favourite gourmet experience during our visit to the Grampians!

Win 1 bottle of Premium Organic Olive Oil (375 ml)!

The writers were guests of Toscana Olives.

Renting A Holiday House In The Grampians

Want to know where to sleep in the Grampians? We stayed in a special place around thirty kilometres northwest of Halls Gap. A country house overlooking a vast acreage immersed in the wonders of nature: Kangaroos in the Top Paddock. This house is the perfect place for a peaceful and restful stay. Because, trust us, long term travel can be exhausting! Staying in the comfort of this home away from home allows you to completely relax among the kangaroos that come to feed on the property while being able to admire an amazing view of the surrounding mountains. The house, indoor and outdoor, is furnished in style with attention to detail. Beyond a fully equipped modern kitchen, you can also enjoy a fireplace, barbecue, pergola, a collection of books, CDs and DVDs etc. During the three days of our stay, we had permanent sunshine. In short, everything you need to unwind and rejuvinate is right here waiting for you!

iPhoneography Oz was a guest of Kangaroos in the Top Paddock.

Visit The Grampians

Between Adelaide and Melbourne, the Grampians are one of the most impressive natural sites in Victoria. These mountain ranges are a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. There are many hiking trails and climbing areas to be found. The few kilometers between Troopers Creek campground and top of Mount Difficult are beautiful. If you are not particularly fond of hiking, it is still possible to drive to amazing lookouts. The views from Boroka Lookout (photo) and Reeds Lookout are worth the drive. They are located a few kilometers east of Halls Gap, the charming little village that is used as a stopover in the area. On the road, keep your eyes open, the area is abundant with kangaroos.

Chateau Life On The Edge Of The Great Ocean Road

iPhoneography Oz spent a few days at Saint Patrick's Luxury Boutique Hotel. As its name suggests, here we do not skimp on comfort! This superb accommodation, a cross between a bed & breakfast and a hotel, is located in Koroit. This small Irish rural town lies at the western end of the Great Ocean Road. The building is an impressive convent which has been renovated to provide all the necessary comfort. The interior design, combining antique and contemporary style, is amazing. There are five bedrooms in total which are all different from each other. The one we stayed in is handsomely appointed including a small lounge with armchairs covered in burgundy velvet. The bathroom has a retro claw-foot tub and a huge shower. On the ground floor, you can spend time in the Lilac Lounge or the library where you can borrow books and DVDs for your room. We did not experience the breakfast but know that it is included in the room price. Staying at Saint Patrick's Luxury Boutique Hotel is an affordable luxury that we highly recommend!

The writers were guests of Saint Patrick's Luxury Boutique Hotel.

Where To Stay When Visiting The Twelve Apostles?

The village of Port Campbell is an excellent base to explore the Twelve Apostles and other rock formations of the Great Ocean Road. It is located a little over two hours west of Melbourne. We spent one night there at Port O Call Motel. This little stop-over is located in the centre of the village, just five minutes drive away from the Twelve Apostles. The rooms are as large as the ceilings are high: you will not feel a lack of space. Each room has access to free Wi-Fi and cable television. If weather permits, outside your room, you can spend time on the veranda overlooking a lovely garden. Finally, although the visitor information centre is located across the street, be sure to talk to the venue owners. They have lived in the area for generations and are an absolute wealth of information!

The writers were guests of Port O Call Motel.

The Twelve Apostles

This is the most visited and most photographed area of the Great Ocean Road. The coastline that stretches for several kilometers near Port Campbell consists of impressive cliffs overlooking a raging ocean. Over time, the sea has carved the rocks turning them into a set of canyons, arches and caves. The erosion rate is estimated at two centimeters per year. The most famous rock formations are the Twelve Apostles which stand in the middle of the ocean. Today only six are still "alive". In the neighborhood, do not miss the Gibsons Steps that let you walk down onto the beach and close to one of the apostles. Loch Ard Gorge and London Arch (formerly London Bridge) are also to be seen.

Surfing At World Famous Beaches

Torquay is a coastal town in Victoria, located at the eastern end of the Great Ocean Road. The small seaside town is home to the largest surf companies. It is also in Torquay where you will find the legendary Bells Beach, world famous for hosting the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, the oldest international surfing competition. This beach was written in to the final scene of Point Break. In Torquay we took part in a surfing lesson given by Go Ride A Wave. The company, which has over 25 years experience, has various locations along the coast of Australia including the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. With the approach of winter, a wetsuit is provided to students. Therefore it is very unlikely that you will be cold once in the water. The instructor is passionate and makes ​​sure that you get the most out of your experience. Within two hours, you are able to stand and to have fun on your board. What a great feeling!

iPhoneography Oz was a guest of Go Ride A Wave.

The Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road is a road in Victoria that follows the coast for over 200 kilometres. It is the Grand Pacific Drive's big sister. The road is located west of Melbourne, between Torquay and Warrnambool. Throughout the drive, the landscapes are absolutely beautiful. The cliffs and rock formations sometimes recall the Corniche d'Or in the Esterel Massif (France). Some coastal towns such as Lorne and Apollo Bay are quite charming. Over the next few days, we will post about places that caught our attention.

The Rip That Will Rock You

"The Rip" is a power of nature beyond human control. This is an extremely dangerous pass which links Port Phillip to Bass Strait. It is not wide at all. The tides are so powerful that "The Rip" has caused many human and material losses. Experts are unanimous about it: it is the world's most dangerous shipping path. From or into Melbourne, you can not avoid it as it is the only crossing possible for boats. We experienced it recently on our way to Tasmania. You certainly feel it!

Sydney In Winter: A Green City

Here is the last picture of our Sydney in Winter series. A snapshot reflecting Sydney's relationship with nature and parks. Walking through Domain Park (photo), next to the Royal Botanical Gardens, provides some comfort and healing in the heart of Sydney. If you have visited New York City and enjoyed Central Park, you will love Moore Park and Centennial Parklands. Sydney is also a city dedicated to the ocean. Ferry, boat tour and cruise, kayak: multiple options for exploring the wilderness of Sydney Harbour bay. At Bondi Beach, you can walk along the coast on an absolutely beautiful trail that leads you to Coogee. And if you were not satisfied enough, remember that the Blue Mountains are not too far away!

The writers were guests of Destination NSW.

Sydney In Winter: A Shopping Destination

Sydney is arguably the fashion capital of Australia. The city also hosts twice a year the famous Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia. If looking for internationally renowned or Australian designers, no matter what your style, you will love to shop in Sydney. The Fashion & Shopping section on Sydney website (really helpful and well made website) will guide you depending on what you are looking for. In Sydney, and in any little town, do not miss the famous Op Shops which are an institution in Australia. These thrift stores are made to raise funds for charities that manage them. Because the items for sale were donated, prices are extremely competitive. And this also applies for brands of the biggest international fashion designers! You are guaranteed to stumble across a bargain or two!

The writers were guests of Destination NSW.

Sydney In Winter: A City Of Entertainment

Sydney Opera House is probably one of the most famous buildings in the world and arguably one of the biggest icons of the city and Australia itself. It hosts Opera Australia, the Sydney Theatre Company led by Cate Blanchett and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, to which must be added a multitude of international artistic productions. But do not summarize the cultural and artistic scene of Sydney by its opera only. Because Sydney is a city of entertainment that hosts international sporting events (Olympics, Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, International tennis, etc.), renowned festivals (Vivid Sydney) or art exhibitions just to name a few. To appreciate how vibrant Sydney city is in winter, iPhoneography Oz was able to attend in the space of a few days three main events:

The writers were guests of Destination NSW.