Get us in your inbox

Rebecca Zhuang

Rebecca Zhuang

Articles (5)

The most beautiful Lunar New Year celebrations in the world

The most beautiful Lunar New Year celebrations in the world

Whether you know the Lunar New Year as Tet, Seollal, or Chinese New Year, the beginning of the lunar calendar is a time for new beginnings and fresh starts for everyone. To celebrate the start of the Year of the Ox, we’ve picked the most gorgeous of the Lunar New Year celebrations that normally take place around the world – from extravagant street parades and raucous day parties that carry into the night to illuminated, life-sized lanterns and stunning pyrotechnic displays. Of course, Lunar New Year festivities won’t look the same this year. But here’s a reminder of the most spectacular celebrations, from Asia to North America and beyond, to say goodbye to the Year of the Rat – and all of the evil spirits that came with it.

Six ways to beat the heat in Sydney

Six ways to beat the heat in Sydney

When the temperature peaks, sweat's dripping down your back, and you're on to your umpteenth T-shirt change of the day, it's time to cool off, preferably as quickly as poss. Here are a few suggestions on where to go when it's just too hot in Sydney. If you're a sun-seeker who can handle the heat, you better head to one of Sydney's amazing beaches. 

Where to go horse riding in Sydney

Where to go horse riding in Sydney

Hot to trot? From scenic country trails to pony parties, we’ve found a list of charming places to go horse riding in New South Wales. They offer beginners’ lessons and easy one-hour guided rides, as well as stables to hire if you’re already a paid-up member of the pony club. Stretch your legs on these 10 running routes around Sydney. Rather exercise indoors? Check out these undercover trampolining parks.

A student's guide to Sydney

A student's guide to Sydney

When you’re working with a tight budget, it’s frustrating when you’re forced to blow half your pay cheque on necessities. We’ve put together a guide to cheap, student-friendly picks that won’t put a dent in your wallet but are a guaranteed day or night around town.

Booze-free team building activities

Booze-free team building activities

Regret over sharing at a work function? Tired of nursing a hangover while trying to meet a deadline? We know the feeling, which is why we’ve found ten alcohol-free team-bonding activities that’ll give you quality, out-of-office time with your co-workers – without the stinking headache.

Listings and reviews (11)

Elf Help

Elf Help

Elf Help deliver, install, decorate and un-install real Christmas trees for homes (as well as artificial trees and decorating for businesses) – taking all the hassle out of whether it’ll be green and red this year, or gold and silver – and who gets to put the star/angel on top. Whether you’re looking to purchase or hire a Christmas tree, Elf Help will transport a fully decorated tree in your choice of traditional red, Champagne gold, snow white and blue or striking pink and purple ornaments and ribbons. Rather decorate it yourself? Elf Help also sell and deliver undecorated Christmas trees starting from $198. Tree deliveries, installation, de-installation and pick-up range from $286 to $1210. Elf Help is open to the public from mid-November.

Merlino’s Christmas Trees

Merlino’s Christmas Trees

Whether you’re after a towering tree or a mini potted tree, Merlino’s Christmas Trees are sure to have what you need. At the warehouse in Five Dock there's real cut Christmas trees (starting at $70) and cute little potted pines available (from $100) in two species and multiple sizes. Delivery starts at $20. Merlino's is open from late November until December 23, or while stocks last. 

Sydney Opera House Tour

Sydney Opera House Tour

It’s a rare chance that you’ll have the opportunity to explore a completely empty Opera House theatre. On this tour, you’ll be able to visit all of the main theatres (dependant on if there are shows on) – from the majestic Concert Hall to the quaint Drama Theatre and, if you’re lucky, get a sneak peek of a rehearsal. You’ll walk along the outside of the Opera House, past roped off areas and learn all there is to know about Sydney’s famous House of art and culture. Discover what inspired the Danish architect Jorn Utzon to enter the international competition to design the Opera House; where his idea to create a sail-like building came from, and how and why the building was declared ‘unbuildable’ by engineers. Find out where the materials to build the Opera House came from and run your hands along a few of the million white ceramic tiles that make up the glistening exterior.   The tour goes for approximately one hour and there is plenty of time to take photos and revel in the beauty of this phenomenal building. The tour guides are incredibly knowledgeable and, more importantly, come bearing a microphone and individual headsets so you don’t have to worry about being out of earshot for any important info.

Dural Christmas Tree Farm

Dural Christmas Tree Farm

Not only do Dural Christmas Tree Farm sell real pine Christmas trees that are available for delivery, but also they also offer post-Christmas tree pick-up and recycling. For $35-$65, they’ll pick up your used tree; mulch it back at their farm and use the waste to help look after next year’s crop. If you can’t make it out to their farm, which is open to vistors from November 16 – where you can also visit real reindeers and farm animals – Dural Christmas Tree Farm takes care of orders online and over the phone, and they will also be at Carriageworks Farmers Markets on November 30 and December 7 and 14. The Christmas trees range from 5-14ft and start from $88. Delivery (including tree installation in a Cinco stand) is dependent on your postcode and ranges from $60 to $140.

Sydney Opera House Backstage Tour

Sydney Opera House Backstage Tour

It’s a rare chance that you’ll have the opportunity to explore a completely empty Opera House theatre. On this tour, you’ll be able to visit all of the main theatres (dependant on if there are shows on) – from the majestic Concert Hall to the quaint Drama Theatre and, if you’re lucky, get a sneak peek of a rehearsal. You’ll walk along the outside of the Opera House, past roped off areas and learn all there is to know about Sydney’s famous House of art and culture. Discover what inspired the Danish architect Jorn Utzon to enter the international competition to design the Opera House; where his idea to create a sail-like building came from, and how and why the building was declared ‘unbuildable’ by engineers. Find out where the materials to build the Opera House came from and run your hands along a few of the million white ceramic tiles that make up the glistening exterior. The tour goes for approximately one hour and there is plenty of time to take photos and revel in the beauty of this phenomenal building. The tour guides are incredibly knowledgeable and, more importantly, come bearing a microphone and individual headsets so you don’t have to worry about being out of earshot for any important info.

Kemps Creek Christmas Tree Farm

Kemps Creek Christmas Tree Farm

For those on the hunt for a real Christmas tree that you don’t have to travel too far for, look no further than Kemps Creek Christmas Tree Farm. Based 15km from Parramatta and 10 minutes from the M7, Kemps Creek Christmas Tree Farm sell real pine trees straight from the farm – all you have to do is make a trip out to Kemps Creek, walk around the paddock, pick your tree and you’ll get it freshly cut and ready for you to take home. But remember to bring your coin purse, Kemps Christmas Tree Farm accept cash only and prices start from $50.

Botany View Hotel

Botany View Hotel

3 out of 5 stars

When one music venue closes its doors, another one opens, or at least this seems to be the way things are going down on South King Street of late. The Newtown Social Club may have gone to the big green room in the sky (it’s now a mini-golf bar called Holey Moley) but we’ve been gifted a new band room in its place, only a short walk further down the road. The Botany View has been taken over by Paddy Coughlan (the guy behind the revamps of Chippendale’s Lord Gladstone and Camperdown’s Lady Hampshire), and he has restored this old pub to a Sydney muso hotspot with free live music in the front room every Friday and Saturday night. From 8pm, local bands set up where the old blues jammers used to sit, and instead of classic hits you’re more likely to get an indie-rock four-piece playing energetic originals. The room is filled to the brim with a rowdy rabble of 20 to 40 year olds and you’ll be hard pressed to find an audience member who isn’t head-bopping or dancing – the bands are a drawcard, not a thing you tolerate while downing a schooey. Across the rest of the pub’s two storeys the atmosphere is equally as buzzy. Hipsters sink jugs in the upstairs beer garden; sports fanatics sprawl across couches with their eyes glued to the telly; young parents here for dinner wrangle their children; and pub regulars sit on bar stools sipping New. Anyone who thought pubs were done should see the three-deep queues at both bars here. The only place you can have an audible conversation without

Benny Burger

Benny Burger

Shannon Bennett, the head chef of Vue de Monde is the latest high-profile chef to open up a fast-food joint. The culinary mastermind behind Melbourne’s three-hatted restaurant has opened Benny Burger, a burger shop in Richmond.   Benny Burger, which opens on Saturday, 17 June, is inspired by Bennett’s dad, Benny, who showed Shannon “just how good a burger could be”. The secret to the Benny Burger is organic, sustainable ingredients. Benny Burgers source Wagyu beef from Blackmore’s, hand-caught fish from Mark Eather, eggs from the free-range hens of Goulburn Valley Farm and cheese from South Australian local farm, Schulz Organic Dairy. You’ll be able to purchase all day brekky burgers including the Apprentice (bacon and fried egg) or the Tradie (beef, bacon and egg); vegetarian burgers like the Yoga Burger (beetroot and chickpea patty) as well as all your humble cheeseburger staple, the Cheesy Burns. And like every good burger restaurant, there’s fries (including the option to ‘load’ them); salads and desserts.    

4Fingers

4Fingers

Singaporean fried chicken legends, 4Fingers, have brought their Asian-inspired fast food to Australian shores. Born from the adventures of four foodies friends who were disenchanted by the fried chicken of fast food chains, 4Fingers was created to produce high-quality, sustainable and gosh darn delicious chicken dishes free from antibiotics, hormones and MSG.   The chains have been such a hit across Asia that they’ve opened their inaugural store in Melbourne’s CBD, which is now serving up their signature, hand-brushed chicken (available in soy garlic or hot and spicy sauce); chicken burgers served with in-house fermented kimchi and rice boxes with chicken, tofu or seafood. Turns out you don’t have to eat crap chicken when you fancy a little fried treat. 4FINGERS is set to expand to Westfield Chermside and Albert Street, Brisbane.

Eastside Riding Academy

Eastside Riding Academy

The animals are beautiful, incredibly obedient and just happen to be the best company for a stroll around Centennial Park. Eastside Riding Academy offers riding lessons for all ages and experience levels – for a beginner without any experience, you’ll be taken around the perimeter of the Park with a member of staff. From here you’ll be able to see all the park going-ons and although it might not be the most inconspicuous viewing point, it sure is the most majestic. Expect lots of kids pointing at you and yelling, ‘horsie!’

Saporium

Saporium

Think Sydney’s answer to Queen Victoria Markets and you'll get an idea of where they're headed with Saporioum. It's a warehouse turned marketplace where you can combine your weekly grocery shop with cooking classes. You'll find it, like everything else cool in Rosebery, in the Cannery Rosebery, and right now they've got the Eastern suburb's organic grocery store Wholefoods House, Grain Organic Bakery, Zeus Street Greek supplying Hellenic food, a sweet wonderland called the Choc Pot, and 5th Earl, which is an eatery that offers a fusion of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Australian cuisine. The Vive Cooking School is located at the heart of Saporium. Here you’ll be able learn how to make the perfect soufflé, become skilled in the art of sushi making or discover the techniques of butchering and knife sharpening. In an effort to bring the old fashioned market system back into Inner Sydney they're on the hunt for new providores. New additions include family-owned and run artisan butcher, Kingsmore Meats; Welcome Dose Speciality Coffee Roasters; and Red Spoon Co.

News (10)

Want to see Australia’s best emerging artists before they take over the music world?

Want to see Australia’s best emerging artists before they take over the music world?

Lucky for you, the Plot is returning to Parramatta Park on November 18. The music festival has made a name for itself by scoring some of Australia’s best emerging artists before they make the big time; they've hosted the likes of DJ Snake, Tash Sultana, Alison Wonderland and SAFIA. And this year, the Plot's line-up of upcoming, home-grown Aussie talent does not disappoint. On the bill are two-time ARIA nominees Sleepmakeswaves, Melbourne six-piece Northeast Party House, 2016 Triple J Unearthed finalist Ninajirachi, Gold Coast sibling act Lastlings, Byron Bay surfer-rock trio Skegss and energetic live act Confidence Man. They’ll be joined by Bec Sandridge, Jess Locke, Many Crook$, Haiku Hands, Airling, Dear Seattle, Saatsuma and more.     Northeast Party House Photograph: Supplied       Tickets are just $89 (or $79 if you’ve been to the festival before). And, if you purchase four tickets in one transaction, the kind folks at the Plot will send you 80 bucks just to spend on food and drinks on the day. Plus, there’ll be 30 more artists announced in the coming weeks.  Full line-up (alphabetical order):Airling Alex the AstronautAlice IvyBec SandridgeCable TiesConfidence Man Dean LewisDear SeattleHaiku HandsHollow CovesJess LockeKurenKyle LionhartLastlingsMaddy JaneMany Crook$NinjarachiNortheast Party HouseNyxen (Live)Ruby FieldsSaatsumaSkeggsSleepmakeswavesThe Teskey BrothersTigertown+ more to be announced See the full event details for the Plot.  Check out this year's Lost Para

You can book in for a $1 yoga or pilates class this weekend

You can book in for a $1 yoga or pilates class this weekend

Have you always been a little bit curious about yoga but don’t want to forfeit the usual big bucks for a trial class? Well, here’s your chance to see what the fuss is about – for the same price as a 7/11 coffee. This Sunday, Leichhardt's Oasis Yoga Studio is hosting an open house for beginners and seasoned yogis, running classes for one buck. From noon to 6pm, visitors can try out a range of classes from their new timetable, including hatha yoga, remedial yoga, pilates, back pain prevention classes, mindfulness yoga, mat classes and stretch classes. There’ll be free green tea and refreshments all day, too – so you can live your best mindful life without the price tag. You can book your spot on their website. Oasis Studios, 9 McAleer St, Leichhardt 2040. Sun Jul 30. Noon-6pm. $1. Find free things to do every day of the week, plus cheap things to do in Sydney.

Wild Life Sydney welcomes its new 4.2m crocodile

Wild Life Sydney welcomes its new 4.2m crocodile

Reptile-lovers who were familiar with Wild Life Sydney’s last croc, Rex (RIP), will be glad to hear that they’ve got a brand new croc to fill the swampy void. The croc, who is yet to be named, has been transported over 15,000 km from Rockhampton, Queensland to reach his new inner-city home. He’s around 30-to-40 years old (they can’t be sure), 4.2m long, weighs a whopping 365 kilograms and has a light yellow tint – a rare variant from the typical dark hue of a saltwater croc. He’s spent his last few days settling into his new environment at Wild Life Sydney, with zookeepers keeping a close eye for signs of attitude and personality. "We’re waiting to name him,” says the Zoo’s senior reptile keeper, Mick Craig. “We don’t want to call him something like ‘Princess’ and then he ends up being really aggressive.”   The new croc was eager to get into his new homePhotograph: Supplied     So far he’s been very active in his pool and has only shown a slight bit of aggression – but perhaps that’s because he’s yet to have a bite to eat... Or maybe that’s just his natural temperament! “It’s actually quite normal for crocodiles not to eat for up to five months as they settle into their new environments,” Craig tell us. “When he decides he wants something to eat, he’ll most likely sit up on the rocks with his mouth open.” Craig says his first meal will probably be something “decent-sized” like a roo or a piglet. He says they made Rex wait three months before he ate his first meal, so the un

Sydney gets a new beach for summer

Sydney gets a new beach for summer

Ever found yourself wandering the CBD on a stinking hot day, wishing you were at the beach? It seems there’s now a solution, as Darling Harbour have created a waterside sandpit that they’re calling Harbour Sands. The new pop-up is beach right in the middle of Darling Harbour. It’s fitted out with umbrellas, deck chairs and plenty of sand – 150 tonnes of it to be exact. But, before you whip out your cossie, you should know that Harbour Sands is missing one crucial element of a beach: water. You can’t swim in Cockle Bay – it’s not exactly a pleasant place to take a dip, and it’s busy with boats and ferries. Regardless, Harbour Sands will have a beach patrol, who – instead of rescuing swimmers stuck in rips – will be busy giving out sunscreen, spraying jets of water and offering free bucket and spades hire. For entertainment, there are giant board games like chess, jenga and snakes and ladders.   Photograph: Supplied   Harbour Sands will also have free live music on Thursdays through to Sundays (6-9pm) and a fireworks display on Saturday January 14. Nearby, Cockle Bay Wharf has a four-tonne sand sculpture that you can check out, and they’ll host sunset DJ sessions on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Harbour Sands is open daily from 9am to 9pm until January 22. If you’d rather check out a real beach, here are five secret beaches in Sydney.

King Gizzard have just been added to the Laneway Festival line-up

King Gizzard have just been added to the Laneway Festival line-up

Psychedelic seven-piece King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard (more affectionately known as King Gizz) are no strangers to the festival circuit. Coming off a nationwide tour of their very own mini-festival, Gizzfest, and performances at Meredith and Fairgrounds, the Melbourne-based band are an exciting addition to the already impressive line-up for Laneway Festival. The King Gizz boys, who have released eight albums since forming in 2010, have just announced that they’ll be releasing five albums (yes, FIVE) in 2017. And with the first of five albums (Flying Microtonal Banana) to be released on February 24, you can bet their Laneway performance will include a tonne of new tracks – and of course, a bunch from their ARIA-award winning album Nonagon Infinity. With so much new music to be released in 2017, it’s likely that King Gizz’s Laneway show will be the last in Sydney for some time. The boys have already locked in tours in Europe, Canada and North America, with their name recently announced on the bill for California’s famous desert festival Coachella. St Jerome's Laneway Festival takes place in Sydney on Saturday February 4 at Sydney College of the Arts, Rozelle. The line-up includes Tame Impala, Young Thug, Flight Facilities, DMA’s, Tycho, Nick Murphy (Chet Faker) and more.  

Ten edible Christmas gift ideas

Ten edible Christmas gift ideas

We all know that the best gifts are the ones you can chew, swallow and digest. Whether you’re buying for a craft beer fanatic, a health enthusiast or a friend with a giant sweet tooth, there’s sure to be a present on this list for even the pickiest person you have in mind. Treat your friends, loved ones or colleagues to some edible goodies because really, what’s Christmas without a little bit of indulgence? 1. Sample Coffee Roasters subscriptionWho for? The coffee addict Price: $23.80-$68.80Know someone who’s a bit of a coffee snob? Surprise them with a subscription. Sample Coffee Roasters (the crew behind the famous Surry Hills hole-in-the-wall shop) offers fortnightly or monthly deliveries of freshly roasted coffee direct to your doorstep. Choose between Sample’s seasonal espresso blend designed for milk or rich espresso, or Brew Crew which’ll get you a new single origin blend from around the world each delivery. There are 250g, 420g or 1kg sizes – depending how caffeine-crazed your buddy is. Photograph: Kiera Chevell     2. Archie Rose Distilling Co spiritsWho for? Your boozy bestie Price: $94-$99Create a tailored spirit for someone truly special. Archie Rose Distilling Co sell custom bottles of vodka or gin – all you have to do is select a bunch of botanicals (e.g. lemon myrtle, blood lime, juniper berry, angelica root) set their strength and let Archie Rose work their magic. They’ll even chuck you and your friend's names on the label. And don’t worry if you’ve left Chr

Victoria Park is getting a new year makeover

Victoria Park is getting a new year makeover

Located on the corner of Parramatta and City Road, Victoria Park has long been a popular destination for Sydney University students to relax between classes, as well as stopgap for nearby shoppers from Broadway Shopping Centre. It’s long been a reliable spot for lunch thanks to the Gardener’s Lodge Cafe, but it could do with a facelift. Thankfully, the City of Sydney thinks so too. Starting from January 2017, the 9.2 hectare park will undergo renovations to improve the park for Sydney’s growing population. There’ll be a new perimeter loop path and new path lights to improve night-time safety, new seats, bubblers and park signs, new plants and pavements, and an upgraded entryway to Sydney University.   City of Sydney is building more pathways and installing more lighting at the parkImage: City of Sydney     Northam Lake, the park’s central water feature, will receive new stormwater filters and wetland plants to improve its water quality. Plus, there’ll be new table tennis tables and netball courts for active park-goers to enjoy. Look out for information on upcoming events in Victoria Park, including Mardi Gras Fair Day, Yabun Festival, Picnic in the Park and Soulfest. Find the best parks for a picnic and the best playgrounds in Sydney.

Here’s your chance to get an ear composition from a world-famous piercer

Here’s your chance to get an ear composition from a world-famous piercer

After piercing the likes of Emma Stone and Scarlett Johansson, J. Colby Smith is coming to Australia If you’re going to trust anyone to stick a metal rod through your ear, it should be J. Colby Smith. You only have to glance through his Instagram feed (which, by the way, has 22.5k followers) to see his impressive portfolio of beautiful piercings on A-list celebrity clients and model-types. His intricate combination of piercings all work together in the ear to create a coherent whole, or “composition” – think three lobe piercings paired with a rook piercing or a double helix paired with a conch. They’re delicate and bespoke; the piercings are designed to suit the individual and Smith only installs the highest quality jewellery. Lucky for you, thanks to beauty website The File, J. Colby Smith is coming to Australia for four days of piercing at Bondi’s Koda Cutters. Smith will be available for piercings between 3.30pm and 9pm from Thursday December 8 to Sunday December 11. Each appointment goes for 30 minutes, with each session priced at $40 (and $20 for any additional piercings). Jewellery can be purchased separately and you’ll also have the opportunity to be pierced with an exclusive J Colby Smith x Sarah and Sebastian design – a collaboration between Smith and the Sydney-based jewellery label, who use reclaimed gold, silver and ethically sourced stones for their pieces. Book your appointment here.   

Is this what Australia tastes like?

Is this what Australia tastes like?

You don’t need to travel across our great southern land to get a taste of each state because Luke Ashton, star bartender and owner of Sydney bar, This Must Be The Place, has made the ultimate Australian cocktail featuring ingredients from every state. The ‘Great Southern Spritz’ cocktail is a combination of native and wild foraged ingredients fused with high-end Australian wine and locally crafted gin. Handpicked from each of the states, the Great Southern Spritz is the ultimate Aussie beverage that captures the diversity that exists across our landscape and coastline. The ingredients include West Winds Sabre gin from Western Australia, sauvignon blanc/riesling from Victoria, semi-fermented charred pineapple from Queensland, lemon myrtle tincture from New South Wales, plus rain water and pepperberry tincture from Tasmania. He's also added a little Olsson’s salt and sea blite from South Australia for good measure. The drink was made after Luke was announced as the first of the short-listed finalists in Luke Mangan's Search for a CEO (Culinary Experience Officer) campaign that will see the crowned 'CEO' travelling across Mangan's international restaurant group with the restaurateur himself. The short list process required Luke to create a cocktail inspired by Australia to be showcased at the Australian Tourism Exchange Gala and voilá, here we are with a continent distilled down into a single drink.   

An urban market is the latest win for Rosebery

An urban market is the latest win for Rosebery

Oh Rosebery, you get all the nice things. Not only do you have Messina HQ, a Black Star Pastry outlet, Archie Rose Distillery, Three Blue Ducks' new café and Da Mario's top tier wood-fired pizzas all in the same block, but now you've gone and added an urban marketplace to the mix. Think Sydney’s answer to Queen Victoria Markets and you'll get an idea of where they're headed with Saporioum. It's a warehouse turned marketplace where you can combine your weekly grocery shop with cooking classes and leave with a delectable dessert in hand. Saporium – a hybrid word derived from Sapor, meaning flavour, and Emporium, meaning trading place or market – is designed as a hub for all things food and drink. It’s intended to be a place where producers, shoppers and food-lovers can come together to celebrate everything we love about produce in Australia. You'll find it, like everything else cool in Rosebery, in the Cannery, and right now it's currently home to eight purveyors, with another six joining by the end of the year. The current store holders include the Eastern suburb's organic grocery store Wholefoods House, Grain Organic Bakery, Zeus Street Greek supplying Hellenic food, a sweet wonderland called the Choc Pot, and 5th Earl, which is an eatery that offers a fusion of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Australian cuisine. If you have a love for creating food as well as eating it, you'll be pleased to know the Vive Cooking School is located at the heart of Saporium. Here you’ll be ab