While we won’t be travelling for the foreseeable future, it’s never too early to start dreaming about your first trip once international travel is a reality again. Of course, that first trip will have to be a trip of a lifetime and if it’s not on the ‘gram, did it really happen? Undeniably, this generation of travellers curate their itineraries like they do their feed. From stunning nature views to breath-taking architecture — there’s no Instagrammable destination quite like Sydney. You have the sand, surf, city and nature all rolled into one amazing, unforgettable destination. Bookmark these locations for your next visit, you’re going to want to get them all.
1. Bondi Icebergs
Sydney is renowned for its incredible ocean pools but none are as iconic as Bondi Icebergs. The 50 metre stretch of turquoise is set against the backdrop of the expansive ocean and crashing waves, and is truly a sight to behold. Whether you’re getting a shot in the water or a bird’s eye view from Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Bondi Icebergs is arguably the most photogenic pool in the world and worth a visit.
2. Bronte Bath Viewpoint
Already captured your iconic Bondi Icebergs shot? Why not do the scenic Bondi to Bronte Walk and get yourself to the Bronte Baths? Nestled between the well-loved Bondi and Coogee beaches in Sydney’s east, Bronte Beach is where the locals go. The hidden gem is a pictorial haven, offering balmy seaside parks for picnics, a crystal-clear aquatic reserve for snorkelling and diving, as well as an ocean pool for protected swimming. Built into the rocky cliffside in 1887, the Bronte Baths can be found at the beach’s southern headland and travellers can access the panoramic viewpoint by heading to the end of the walkway and climbing up the rocks. From the semi-shaded cove, soak in the sweeping views of the bay and the ocean horizon; early birds will be rewarded with a remarkable sunrise.
3. Mrs Macquarie’s Chair
Mrs Macquarie’s Chair has some of the best views of Sydney’s iconic skyline – you’ll be able to get the Sydney Harbour, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge all in one frame for that money shot. Located east of the Sydney Opera House on the edge of The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, you can set up picnic rugs alongside the western side of Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and if you’re there at dusk, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the sun setting behind the Sydney Opera House. This is a sight for sore eyes, and one sure to satisfy your followers and get the likes rolling in.
4. Manly Wormhole
One of the city’s best-kept secrets is the Queenscliff Tunnel, also known as the Manly Wormhole. The tunnel is said to have been dug out a century ago by local fishermen as a shortcut between Freshwater Beach and Manly. Follow in the fishermen’s footsteps down the 50-metre long tunnel that burrows straight through the cliff. There will be a few boulders to climb over but the view of the expansive ocean framed beautifully by the opening of the tunnel is truly worth the trip. Budding geologists can also appreciate the rock formations and cross-section of the rock layers along the way.
5. Queen Victoria Building
Dating back to 1898, the Queen Victoria Building replaced the original Sydney markets on the site and spans an entire block along George Street. The elaborate Romanesque architecture – with its semi-circular arches, stained glass windows and mighty domes – was planned specifically to employ many out-of-work craftsmen during the recession. Now, these heritage architectural features make the landmark hard to miss as you walk down George Street and its many nooks and crannies provide a magnificent backdrop for that perfect Instagram shot.
6. Wendy’s Secret Garden
Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden is a popular spot for locals. Nestled in the Lavender Bay Parklands, the garden is a whimsical oasis that allows you to escape the busy city and get a good dose of the best that Mother Nature has to offer. Get lost amongst the towering foliage, lush plantings and meandering paths, while stopping for the occasional artwork and sculpture along the way. The myriad of green tones and pops of colours from the native flowers will have you snapping away.
7. Forgotten Songs, Angel Place
An ethereal cluster of over a hundred cages is suspended above Angel Place, a pedestrian lane that runs between George Street and Pitt Street. The creator of this artwork, Michael Thomas Hill, explains how the striking installation explores how Sydney’s fauna has evolved and adapted to co-exist with increased urbanisation. Once you’ve captured your shot, take a second to listen to the bird calls, which change as day shifts to night.
8. Paddington Reservoir
A short drive from the CBD, the Paddington Reservoir is a heritage-listed public park. Built in the early 1800s, the reservoir was decommissioned in 1914 and has since then been transformed into a Romanesque sunken garden with a lake of contemplation at its centre, a hanging garden canopy around the perimeter and an eastern chamber left empty but for the wall art. The preservation of much of its original architecture – think towering archways, brick and iron structures – make for a rustic Instagrammable spot.
9. Bare Island, La Perouse
One of the many hidden gems in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, Bare Island is a small atoll that houses a 19th-century fort and old wooden footbridge connecting the island to the mainland. With dreamy coastal views of Botany Bay, this photo spot is the perfect blend of history and nature. Fun fact: the fort features in Mission: Impossible 2 as the hideout of villain Sean Ambrose.
10. Green Square Library
Boasting floor-to-ceiling shelves lined with a multicolour array of books, Green Square Library seems to have been made for the ‘gram. Besides the impressive rainbow book wall, the library also has reading nooks tucked within the bookshelves, as well as 40 skylights to make sure you get all the natural light you need for your shot and your reading! The photogenic library is a short 15 minute train trip from Circular Quay and is a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
With all of us practicing social distancing and staying at home, livestream videos have become part of our everyday life. Companies and brands are now offering armchair travellers a virtual travel experience to some of the world’s most far-flung places. Here are V&VPR’s top picks to make isolation more thrilling:
Journey into the wilderness with Singita
Singita brings the stories of Africa to your home. Wildlife enthusiasts can either enjoy the calming sounds of Singita and listen to Africa’s enchanting bird song, or journey into the bush for a virtual game drive – allowing guests to get up close with some of Africa’s incredible wildlife. Curating the ultimate safari experience, Singita’s lodges are placed in 6 different regions of Africa and each lodge employs the very best guides and trackers to teach guests about the African wilderness and it’s magnificent inhabitants. Accompanied by Field Guides Ross Couper and Johan Ndlovu,
viewers can enjoy an African safari in either Sabi Sand and Grumeti Reserve, whilst sitting on their sofa, Singita’s virtual game drives are available for everyone to enjoy. Visit Singita’s Vimeo channel here and see what you find!
Witness the animals at Australian Reptile Park
The wildlife sanctuary on the Central Coast of New South Wales closed their doors back in March. However, keepers are still hard at work feeding and looking after all the animals. This award-winning wildlife park is making educational videos for school kids to assist parents who are now homeschooling their children. Named ‘Animal Tales With Tim Faulkner’ the live-streaming videos are of zookeepers showcasing their favourite animals and answering viewer questions. This includes feeding Elvis, the MASSIVE Saltwater Crocodile, play time and cuddles with dingoes, feeding cuddly koalas and virtual tours of different areas within the Park. Staff at the wildlife sanctuary are extremely excited to bring their animals into everyone’s sitting rooms. Live streams are available on the Australian Reptile Park’s Facebook, Instagram and TikTok pages.
Hike the most iconic rock climb in the world
Yosemite, located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, is a diverse, natural landscape. Home to more than 400 species of animals, including the magnificent American black bear, rare snowshoe hares and endangered bats. The park’s iconic, El Capitan, stands over 900 metres tall, with a vertical cliff face. From the comfort of your sofa, you can now Scale the mountain with top climber Lynn Hill and her team. The experience promises to teach more climbing skills, techniques and the necessary equipment needed to ascend this incredible height. Explore the park with these 360-degree images, accompanied with sound effects from the Ahwahnee Meadow and Nevada Fall.
Wonder at the Northern Lights
Renowned for its magnificent beauty, the aurora borealis is a dazzling natural phenomenon. The northern lights are visible from countries at northern latitudes, including Scandinavia, Russia, Iceland, Greenland and Canada. Lights over Lapland takes travellers on a journey through a series of stunning 360-degree videos, starting at the famous Icehotel before venturing into the wilderness on a reindeer sleigh past sights such as Lake Torneträsk and an Arctic birch forest. Explorers will wonder at a series of time-lapse videos, showing the lights dancing overhead with vibrant colours and impressive arcs of deep green.
Escape with these virtual travel experiences, or Check out the rest of our page here for more travel inspiration!
Perth has a number of beautiful hotels across the city, the V&VPR girls have suggested our favourite three places to stay – ideal for a weekend trip, or a longer visit:
Located in Perth’s CBD, the five-star InterContinental Perth is a stylish space with lush interior decorations and 20th century architecture. The hotel boasts an eclectic selection of restaurants both in and along the establishment including Ascua Spanish Grill, The Loft Lounge & Bar, and Grafitti. Hotel guests will also be conveniently within reach of Elizabeth Quay, an exciting waterfront precinct; and Hay Street Mall, Perth’s extensive retail core.
Based in the historic heart of Perth city, COMO The Treasury is a contemporary luxury hotel designed by Australian architect Kerry Hill. After spending the day exploring the city, guests can unwind with a classic afternoon tea at the Treasury Lounge and Bar or spoil themselves with the hotel’s varying list of wellness sessions and treatments ranging from facials, massage therapy, yoga and personal training.
The Colony at Mandoon Estate is perfect for those who would like to escape the hustle and bustle of the city in preference for exploring quaint historic towns, and investigating Perth’s best food and wine trails. Overlooking the banks of the Swan River and Mandoon Estate’s sprawling vineyards, this five-star accommodation provides an unparalleled sense of peace and is conveniently located near some of the Swan Valley region’s top attractions and trails.
Perth is a city with a plethora of beautiful restaurants, bustling cafes and vibrant bars. The V&VPR girls have selected their favourite spots of where to eat and drink:
Famous for its fresh local seafood, invigorating tipples and gorgeous sunset views across the sea, Bathers Beach House holds the key to the perfect summer evening in Western Australia. Diners can order the seafood board to share, featuring an assortment of the day’s catch including flaky grilled fish, tangy squid, buttery prawns and chargrilled octopus. The menu also boasts a fine selection of draught beers and ciders, as well as a curated selection of sundowners to sip on.
Helmed by Chef Matthew Sartori, Wildflower is perched on the top of COMO The Treasury and has gained international acclaim for being one of Western Australia’s top restaurants. Diners will be treated to a curated menu of dishes that evolve according to the seasons. Many of the offerings at Wildflower are made using local produce including wildflower honey, eucalyptus, pepperberries and a myriad of native herbs.
Down by Watermans Bay lies The Little Bay café, a charming dining establishment with lush foliage, minimalistic coastal interiors and a phenomenal ocean view. Guests can expect impeccable service, and a contemporary breakfast and lunch menu that also caters for gluten/dairy-free, vegan and vegetarian diets. Highlights include the Turkish Eggs with dill, Greek yoghurt, and poached eggs served with toasted ciabatta, and the Beef Ragu Pappardelle with beef brisket, radicchio, hazelnut, saltbush and parmesan. Dishes can be paired with the café’s curated wine and cocktail list.
Having started 25 years ago, family owned Vans has become something of an institution in Perth and a hotspot for locals and tourists alike. Renowned for curating an ever-changing menu that features the freshest seasonal and local produce, Vans reinvents bistro classics with a twist for an impressive array of contemporary fusion –indulge in Vans’ healthy house made sodas, and the delicious spicy Indonesian style fried eggs. Diners will enjoy a relaxed and bustling atmosphere, with seating areas either indoors or outside.
Overlooking Swanbourne Beach, The Shorehouse is a coastal culinary haven that showcases modern Australian cuisine, combined with a Mediterranean influence from head chef Oliver Gould. Designed as a celebration of coastal living, The Shorehouse features a large deck, whitewashed walls and bright pastel colours for a laid-back beach-side eatery. As well as delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, there is also a ‘small deck menu’ that includes oysters, sandwiches and other seaside-friendly snacks ideal for watching the waves and surfers on an afternoon.
Record-breaking temperatures, combined with severe drought, have fueled bushfires across Australia, which have been blazing since September.
Over the past two weeks, the fires have further intensified; so far, at least 24 people (including 3 volunteer firefighters) and an estimated half a billion animals have been killed, and over 63,000 sq km of land has been destroyed.
Here are some ways you can help:
Direct donations to charities and organisations who are responding to the crisis:
- Australian Red Cross Disaster Recovery and Relief – the Australian Red Cross are supporting thousands of people and offering emergency assistance in evacuation centres and recovery hubs across Australia. The Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery also offer psychological first aid to reduce trauma, and emergency assistance such as cash grants for those who have lost their homes
- Salvation Army – Salvation Army teams are providing meals to evacuees and frontline responders in various locations across Australia, with additional teams on standby
- NSW Rural Fire Service – New South Wales is the worth-hit state, with over 1,300 houses having been destroyed to date. Donations made to NSW RFS or other local Rural Fire Brigades directly benefit volunteer firefighters, who are playing an integral role in combatting bushfires
- NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) – WIRES have been rescuing and caring for native animals for over 30 years. Thousands of volunteers are dedicated to rescuing and caring for sick, injured and orphaned animals –in December 2019, they attended over 3,300 rescues
- Port Macquarie Koala Hospital – the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital have been working alongside National Park teams to rescue koalas from fire grounds. Once admitted, the koalas are rehydrated and treated for burns. Some of the funds raised will also be used to create a ‘Koala Ark’ to rehabilitate surviving koalas
- Adelaide & Hills Koala Rescue – Adelaide and Hills Koala Rescue are the largest group of experienced & dedicated Volunteer Koala Carers and Rescuers in South Australia
Shop sensibly through fashion brands who have pledged to donate a portion of sales to help the charities and organisations who are on the frontline:
- Frank Body – for the entire month of January, skincare brand Frank Body will donate 100% of all sales of their A-Beauty scrub to Wires, the Country Fire Authority and the NSW Rural Fire Service
- Lee Matthews – Australian fashion brand, Lee Matthews, will be donating 50% of all sales online and in-store to a different charity every day this week (ends 12th January)
- Barrineau – until 12th January, all sales made by US-based hangbag company, Barrineau, will be donated to WIRES Wildlife Rescue
- MLM Label – 30% of all online sales made before 12th January will be donated to Red Cross Australia and WIRES Wildlife Rescue
Buy from the Bush – new social initiative, Buy from the Bush was created in October to showcase small businesses based in drought-affected areas, which have been impacted by the fires. Buy from the Bush shines a spotlight on these businesses in order to help stabilise the economy and invest in the future of these communities.
Dine to donate – several Australia-based restaurants and chefs are planning special dining events and menus, the profits of which will be donated to help the relief efforts:
- Cook for the Bush – Nomad (Sunday 12th January) – beginning at 10am, Cook for the Bush will see some of Sydney’s top chefs collaborate on a custom à la carte brunch menu that’s available until 3pm, as well as a range of takeaway baked goods.
- Icebergs Sundays Icebergs Dining Room and Bar (12th January) – this iconic, Insta-famous hangout is hosting another of its popular Icebergs Sundays shindigs, with all bar proceeds being donated to Rural Aid Australia
- Isabel Bondi – Isabel Bondi will donate all profits and tips made until 19th January to WIRES Wildlife Rescue
Our thoughts are with Australia and all those who have suffered. We believe that every little helps, and urge you to take action today.
Renowned for its sprawling vineyards, bustling markets and tasteful bars and restaurants, Perth positions itself as the quintessential holiday getaway just a stone’s throw away from Singapore by plane. Here are some of the V&VPR girls’ top picks for travellers making their first foray into this mesmerizing part of Western Australia.
WHERE TO GO
Located along the streets of Fremantle, this prominent weekend market has a rich history spanning more than a century since its humble beginnings in 1897. Open every Friday to Sunday, the market features a range of stalls selling unique and locally made gifts, products and souvenirs as well as a range of eclectic food offerings and fresh produce.
Cottesloe Beach comes alive in the summer with snorkelers, swimmers and surfers. This beloved seaside destination is a favourite for both locals and tourists alike, and boasts sapphire blue waters, stunning trails along the coast and beachside dining establishments with a view. Travellers making a trip down in March will be able to catch Sculpture by the Sea, a free exhibition on Cottesloe Beach with giant sculptures dotting the coastline.
Nestled in Caversham, Swan Valley – the oldest wine region in Western Australia, is Mandoon Estate, Western Australia’s most awarded boutique winery. Guests can take part in a private wine tasting in an underground cellar, tour the grounds of this iconic destination, or go on a 30-minute chopper flight over picturesque Perth. More adventurous travellers would enjoy the Bush Tucker Tasting, which will give them insight into the area’s history and culture whilst tasting local indigenous food.
Just 45 minutes by ferry from Perth city is a little island paradise. Surrounded by crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, and an abundance of smiley, furry marsupials – namely the quokka – Rottnest Island brings together the best of both worlds for lovers of nature and wildlife. Guests can frolic on the beach in the summer, go whale-watching in the winter, glamping on the island’s beachfront estate, and meet friendly wild quokkas (who are apparently the world’s most photogenic animal).
3-hours from Perth city by car lies the Margaret River region, an area south of Perth that’s well known for its premium wineries, picturesque coastlines, and natural limestone caves. Travellers can stop at Canal Rocks along the cape-to-cape track taking in grand views of the swirling Indian Ocean; have lunch at Leeuwin Estate, an established winery with an international reputation; or go on tours of Lake or Mammoth Cave – natural limestone caves that formed thousands of years ago deep below Australian soil.