An insider's guide to Sydney travel
Short escapes from Sydney, within driving distance
Interstate trips from Sydney
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Your guide to Hong Kong this Rugby Sevens
Early next April, Hong Kong will be hosting the biggest party of the year. The Rugby Sevens are coming to town from April 7 to 9, and the city is set to spring to life with edge-of-your-seat sportsmanship and plenty of parties, side gigs and excitement. Featuring 28 teams and 120,000 fans, this time of year is when the world truly comes out to play in this spectacular city. There are direct flights departing from Australia to Hong Kong several times daily, and the flight time is under ten hours. That makes this trip an easy first step into a world of action. What's more, April is the perfect time to visit Hong Kong. Sure, the Sevens are a reason to come, but Hong Kong Stadium can be a launch pad for a trip packed with amazing eating, celebrating and even wilderness adventures. Events Worldwide Travel are an official travel agent of the Hong Kong Sevens, so make sure to check out their special packages, and check out the Hong Kong Tourism Board for more inspiration. In the meantime here’s how to take advantage of the city, and linger a little longer once the Sevens are done.
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Stockroom Restaurant and Stillery Cocktail Bar
Surrounded by the retail and tree-lined streets of Double Bay is the InterContinental hotel, a charming destination whose marble and gold interiors house a restaurant and cocktail lounge that any passer-by can experience. Enter the hotel via the regal, winding marble staircase and try the gin-focused menu at the sophisticated Stillery lounge. Or sidle into Stockroom Restaurant for a seasonally-inspired menu utilising the best of local produce, and a casual atmosphere. With more than 100 varieties of rare, vintage and limited-edition gin and an innovative menu of aromatic G&Ts, Stillery is your place to start. Each of their unique G&Ts is elaborately garnished with botanicals matched to the base gin's flavour profile. A Gin Mare, for example, is a savoury Mediterranean sipper that arrives crowned by ripe basil leaves, rosemary twigs and a juicy cherry tomato with fever tree tonic, adding botanical-enhancing flavour and aromas. You can settle in here with a long list of gin cocktails and accompanying tasting plates or head to the adjoining dining room for more. Stockroom Restaurant is offering a three-course menu paired with a Stillery G&T for $69 per person this autumn. Stockroom Restaurant’s Executive Chef, Alex Vilches, has designed the menu to pair nicely with the flavours of gin. Dishes are made with floral elements in mind, like the glistening kingfish carpaccio which arrives dotted with crunchy black sesame and delicate edible flower petals, the fresh and light bites
Two hours north of Sydney, the Hunter Valley’s Lovedale is a community well known for its produce and wineries (among them Wandin Valley Estate). It’s also the home of the Lovedale Long Lunch, where the region’s leading chefs and winemakers come together and work together once a year, sharing a table and freezer space. And it’s in Lovedale you’ll find the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, home to Redsalt – a restaurant showcasing the best of local produce all year round. Redsalt’s menu is under the direction of executive chef James Ashton, taking his lead from the seasons and sourcing local ingredients. Free-range poultry hails from a farm across in Thirlmere, while leaves of red elk, rocket and spinach come, we’re told, “from Gloria” – a grower whose property you pass on the way in. Among the starters, go for fois gras parfait, spread, country-style, across the sweet and soft brioche, which is baked in-house. Prawns grilled à la grecque come stacked over a cocktail sauce in the American Floridian style – a tomato base with horseradish, tarragon and a touch of mayo. Shrimp share the plate with softly charred cos lettuce that gives the dish smokiness, while pickled watermelon rind teases out the sweetness of the sauce. Mains are built around a grill concept, with a feature dish by Ross Lusted from much-awarded Sydney restaurant the Bridge Room – a grilled Wagyu loin with spinach butter, bone marrow, heirloom carrots, dried morels and a stick veal jus. But today, it’s the dry-a
Sculpture at Scenic World
When art escapes the galleries and gets out into the landscape, magical things can happen. There’s nothing quite like trekking through a Jurassic-era rainforest, rounding a corner and suddenly spying a cloud of red snowballs, a mosaic of mirrors, a convoy of toy trucks, or a squadron of ninja koalas. That’s the appeal of Sculpture at Scenic World – the element of surprise, delight, to have our senses confounded, our minds provoked – and the reason why the event is enjoying a sixth season in 2017. The exhibition, which kicks off on April 7 and goes for just one month, brings another dimension to Scenic World in Katoomba, and makes a visit especially appealing for parents who want to expose their kids to art as well as the great outdoors. Take the trip down the steepest railway in the world (the Scenic Railway), then make your way along Australia’s longest elevated boardwalk (the Scenic Walkway) to discover the exhibition. Thirty-five local, interstate and international artists have created works specifically to be installed in the rainforest along the Scenic Walkway. As part of this year’s Sculpture at Scenic World, there is a program of workshops for children called Sculpture for Small People that encourages kids to engage with the artists and their works. These are fun, educational workshops on Saturday and Sunday mornings that cost $15, including all materials, in which children can create their own artworks to take home – from ceramics and Easter Eggs to spider web