Mix Business with Pleasure

That celebratory Friday afternoon bubbly need only be the start of a weekend of gourmet delights and entertainment in South Australia’s charming capital.

The top 10 cities for business travel, as identified by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2007 Business Travel Index, include three Virgin Australia destinations. And there’s more than professional success to celebrate in them. So go on, stay for a couple of days.

 

48 Hours in Adelaide

That celebratory Friday afternoon bubbly need only be the start of a weekend of gourmet delights and entertainment in South Australia’s charming capital.

Friday

5pm: Meet your partner (or friend), hop in a cab and head out to Belair, 15 minutes' drive from the city. At the Windy Point Restaurant and Caf’e, enjoy panoramic views of the city while choosing from a menu that includes spiced kangaroo saddle. Complement with a local Barossa or Clare Valley wine.

Saturday

9am: Hire a car and make the 25-minute journey to the Adelaide Hills wine region. Drop in at cellar doors such as Bird in Hand, Nepenthe and Barratt Wines. If you like wine tasting, but prefer someone else to do the driving, check out Life is a Cabernet. Choose from the Chrysler 300C Sedan or the Chrysler Grand Voyager Limited (with onboard DVD) and be chauffeured in style. Owner Ralf Hadzic can also create an itinerary tailored to your tastebuds, should you wish.

1pm: Stop for lunch at Petaluma Restaurant at Bridgewater Mill, a standout for exquisite food and a wine list brimming with vintages and classic imports.

3pm: It’s a shame to hurry back from this picturesque region, so make a beeline for Chocolate @ N°5 in Hahndorf, where you can indulge in decadent desserts such as fondues and waffles, or a warming winter hot chocolate.

6pm: Sip pre-dinner cocktails and watch the world go by on the balcony at first at Hotel Richmond.

7.30pm: Dine by the water’s edge at the Red Ochre Grill. The menu features indigenous Australian treats, such as salmon baked in paper bark and wallaby shanks.

9.30pm: Head for a live music performance at The Promethean — a beautifully renovated gothic church, which now showcases live jazz, country and rock.

Sunday

10am: Check out the Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery at the South Australia Museum. Here, you’ll find the world’s largest collection of Australian Aboriginal artefacts and material.

Noon: Pick up your chopsticks at Ding Hao Restaurant, one of Adelaide’s most cavernous and popular yum cha hangouts.

1pm: Escape the city bustle with a stroll through the city’s tranquil Botanic Garden.

3pm: Take tea at Saldechin. The Emperor’s High Tea includes a glass of sparkling wine while you soak up the atmosphere of the grand surrounds. Bookings are essential.

5pm: Time to head home, but not before grabbing a premium SA sweet treat at Cocolat & Wicked Desserts cafe at Adelaide airport.

 

48 Hours in Perth

Western Australia’s capital is a haven for stylish bars, cultural diversions and golden treats.

Friday

5pm: Kick off your break with refreshments at Must Winebar, just north of the CBD. The new Champagne Lounge boasts opulent, Louis XV-inspired armchairs and long lounges, plus there are 24 Champagne houses represented in a gold-framed display cabinet.

8pm: Sit down for dinner at Opus Restaurant, situated within five-star boutique hotel The Richardson. As well as dining on French-inspired cuisine with hints of the Orient, Opus has its own Wine Annex — a raised semi-private area displaying a library of fine wines, which are all available for tasting. There’s also a cocktail bar on-site.

Saturday

10am: Make tracks to The Subiaco Hotel and feast on a hearty, warming breakfast of porridge with rhubarb and apple compote or eggs Benedict.

11am: Pop into The Perth Mint and watch a gold pouring demonstration, where molten gold is turned into a solid bar. The Mint is also home to the world’s greatest collection of international gold bars and Australia’s largest natural nugget collection. Enjoy a traditional high tea, including sumptuous scones, in the gardens while you’re there.

2pm: Stroll through Kings Park, which is the world’s largest inner city park. With its botanic gardens and remarkable expanse of bushland  home to more than 70 species of bird  you’ll discover amazing city and river views with a panorama to the Darling Range. If you’re there in September, catch the annual Kings Park Festival and witness the spectacular blooming wildflowers.

3:30pm: De-stress at ThoSona with a revitalising Vital Mix massage and facial. The luxurious day spa is located smack bang in the heart of the park.

6pm: Savour modern Australian cuisine at Halo Restaurant, while looking out over the Swan River.

7:30pm: Catch a show at His Majesty’s Theatre, where the WA Ballet and WA Opera perform on a regular basis.

10:30pm: Have a nightcap at the decadent Luxe Bar. The owners describe walking into its plush interior as like ‘diving head first into a chocolate martini’. They’re not wrong.

Sunday

9am: Head for breakfast at Cottesloe Beach. Whether you’re in speedos or a suit, Barchetta’s floor-to-ceiling windows make it one of the best places to hang out and admire the sweep of the Indian Ocean beyond.

11am: Drive only 25 minutes out of the city to the Swan Valley, WA’s oldest wine region. Take your pick from many outstanding wineries, including a charming mix of big international players and family-run establishments where you can chat with the owners over a fruity red. Pull in for a late lunch at RiverBank Estate or Sandalford Wines.

5pm: Fly home.

 

48 hours in Auckland

Turn New Zealand’s stunning harbour city into your weekend playground for adventurous sailing, fine dining and scenic helicopter trips.

Friday

5pm: Toast the start of the weekend at the Hilton Auckland’s Bellini bar. The cocktail list features creations from Kiwi fashion designers Trelise Cooper and Kate Sylvester. Sip yours to a backdrop of spectacular harbour views.

7pm: Dine at Antoine’s Restaurant from either the regular menu or the nostalgia menu, which includes a tripe entree and duck in Grand Marnier sauce main.

Saturday

10am: After breakfast, pamper yourself at Spa Auckland with one of the two-to-four-hour Ultimate Experiences, incorporating massages and/or facials.

12:30pm: Enjoy a spot of lunch at the O’Connell Street Bistro. The proprietor, Chris Upton, spent
four years working on board the Queen Elizabeth 2, while head chef Stephen Ward previously worked at Terence Conran’s London restaurant Bluebird. Don’t be fooled by the claim they’re a ‘backstreet bistro’ either. This intimate haven is seriously stylish.

2pm: Sail on an America’s Cup racing yacht around the Waitemata Harbour with Sail NZ. Re-create the thrill of race day or just soak up the scenery.

4:30pm: Hop into a helicopter for a tour with Helilink. Within an hour, you’ll be getting a bird’s-eye view of both Auckland’s east and west coast beaches.

8pm: Head to award-winning The French Cafe’, which prides itself on its attention to detail, sophistication and service.

10pm: End your evening with a nightcap on the terrace at Viaduct Harbour’s Soul Bar & Bistro.

Sunday

9am: Put your best foot forward on the Tamaki Hikoi Maori guided walk. The three-hour journey begins at Maungawhau (Mt Eden), the site of a majestic Pa (Maori strategic stronghold). You’ll pass iconic Auckland landmarks and stop in at places of historical significance to the Maori.

1pm: Enjoy lunch at dine by Peter Gordon, which is co-owned and operated by the New Zealand celebrity chef. Located within the Grand Hotel at SKYCITY, the menu’s offerings include rare roasted venison loin with chocolate sauce and Hawkes Bay lamb saddle.

5pm: Fly home.

Words by Bryson King - Published in Voyeur August 2008
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