Sydney is set to sparkle even brighter with a revitalisation of the CBD planned by the City of Sydney and NSW Government this summer. Supporting the city’s recovery efforts after last year’s lockdowns, the new plans include funding live music, performance and art in hospitality venues; funding public art in laneways; allowing more alfresco dining; and keeping Sydney’s cultural organisations open late into the evening. Sunset Piazza is a new outdoor concert series that runs until 21 March at a pop-up stage at Cathedral Square. Tickets are just $25 and there will be 32 performances including Peking Duck, Ben Lee, Sneaky Sound System and more, along with outdoor dining and drinks. You can also head to the Barlow Street Forest to discover a micro-forest in the heart of Haymarket; and look out for Sydney-based artist Adam Norton's giant nostalgic badges pinned up around Barrack Street.
Award-winning cocktail bar Maybe Sammy opens its first daytime café Sammy Junior this month. Opening on the ground level of Art Deco heritage building 66 King Street, the new venue is set to caffeinate Sydney’s CBD with a bespoke espresso blend specially crafted by Maybe Sammy co-founder Martin Hudak, while chef Robert Lechowicz of Cronulla's Blackwood Pantry has curated the classic Aussie brunch menu. Mini cocktails will also be available on tap for afternoon drinking sessions.
|Dine in the private cellar in the Shaw Escape experience|
It’s wine time in the Canberra District. Family-owned and operated Shaw Wines has launched two new luxury tasting experiences to take wine appreciation to new heights in Murrumbateman. The Premium Private Cellar Tasting includes four Reserve wines to try using a set of Riedel varietal glasses — yours to take home after the session — plus a glass of Estate wine and a vineyard platter ($275pp; Wednesdays and Thursdays only). Elevate your tasting with The Shaw Escape, including a private plane ride for up to six people direct from Sydney to Canberra; a private helicopter ride landing directly beside the Shaw vines; seated wine tasting; and three-course lunch with your choice of Shaw wines in the private cellar before returning home (from $2750pp).
A new sun-filled café has opened at the heritage Coolamon Railway Station, in the country town of Coolamon in The Riverina. The Station Collective celebrates coffee, conversation and community, and on the menu expect house-made cookies, delicious lunches and iced tea made with native Aussie ingredients.
|The Djaadjawan Dancers will perform at Four Winds 2021. Credit: Raine Brown|
South Coast music and arts festival Four Winds will return to Barragga Bay for the 2021 Easter weekend. Launching Friday 2 April and finishing on Sunday 4 April, this year’s Four Winds Festival theme is ‘Reconnect’ and will feature a range of performances, from English Baroque to Candelo folk, from Middle Eastern song to contemporary dance, from Yuin culture to ancient Greek tales, and from romantic poetry to Ravel piano trios. Free shuttle buses are available to and from the festival from Bermagui, just 15 minutes away.
After a decade-long hiatus, Qantas resumes flights between Melbourne and Newcastle from 1 February, flying 12 return services per week including early morning flights from both airports. The revived route comes after demand for regional travel has increased, and more routes from Melbourne to regional NSW airports are being introduced including Merimbula also from 1 February, and Wagga Wagga and Albury from 28 March.
The rugged coastline of Lake Macquarie, on NSW’s Central Coast, is best explored on foot on CoastXP’s Caves Coastal Hike. On the two-hour, 8.5-kilometre trek, you’ll discover sea caves, spot native wildlife, wander by spotted gum forests and learn about local geology, Indigenous history and conservation of this precious coastal paradise.
|Learn the convict history of Harper’s Mansion in Berrima, on Yesterday Stories|
Gain a deeper connection to the important Indigenous, migrant, colonial and industrial history as you travel NSW with the new Yesterday Stories app and website. The new interactive map shares video stories from locals about significant landmarks, art, monuments and poignant personal memories of the area. Locations are continually growing, but current destinations include the Female Factory in Parramatta, the Bega Cheese Factory, the Old Goulburn Brewery and more. The app also allows users to upload their own stories to share, and a heritage trail is in development to connect these stories on a path together.
On the banks of the NSW edge of the Murray River is Perricoota Station, a popular wedding destination with The Packing Shed function area and spacious five-bedroom homestead. A new addition is The Quarters, boutique accommodation inside an original collection of buildings on the property. The thoughtful restoration retains the rustic heritage and brings a contemporary style reflecting the hues and textures of this beautiful region.
In the heart of Holbrook, a small town in southern NSW, a light and bright cottage circa 1880s has been restored for holiday accommodation. Step inside 6 Hume Street to discover three bedrooms with plush, country style, a well-equipped kitchen and relaxing lounge with books, puzzles and memorabilia. Holbrook is a pretty town to explore, boasting museums, galleries, boutiques and right near Woomargama National Park.
In the Riverina Murray, the Khancoban General Store will open in February with a wonderful new café and providore and much more. It’s been closed since 2016, but now a new refurbishment will see this Snowy Mountains gem supplying coffee and fresh produce to the community once again.