Noosa

Noosa Long Weekend Festival Set To Attract Record Crowd

Do you need an extra reason to visit the “sunshine state” this winter? Here it is: the 2015 Noosa Long Weekend Festival, featuring more than 75 cultural events at various locations around the popular Queensland region, from July 14-26.

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Tickets are selling fast to the much-anticipated annual festival, which will showcase literature events, forums, live music, theatre performances, interactive art, films, cabaret and supper clubs.

And the literary luncheons are already in hot demand, with book lovers embracing events such as the In Conversation series which sees top authors interviewed by the likes of ABC journalist Kerry O’Brien about their inspiration and writing process.

This year’s author line-up includes Helen Garner, author of This House of Grief; Barrie Cassidy, host of ABC’s Insiders and author of the bestselling book The Party Thieves and Private Bill; and best-selling author Liane Moriarty (pictured), author The New York Times bestseller The Husband’s Secret and her recent sixth novel Big Little Lies, which has been adapted into a TV series of the same name.

Noosa Long Weekend Festival, Noosa, visit Queensland

And this year’s festival will also include a twist on the more traditional literary events, incorporating a five-course degustation dinner focusing on authors Evan and Brian Mitchell’s bestselling book The Psychology of Wine.

But it’s far from being just about books: this year’s expanded festival is expected to attract record crowds to other top events such as a special one-off performance by Opera Australia; An Evening with the Queensland Ballet; and David Williamson’s new play Dream Home.

Last year’s festival attracted more than 10,000 visitors to 35 venues and locations, says event director Ian Mackellar.

“Last year’s festival was undoubtedly a hard act to follow, with but we’ve worked hard to lift the bar even higher in 2015 and are thrilled to have Opera Australia perform a fully staged production of its acclaimed opera The Magic Flute — the last opera ever written by Mozart — to the Sunshine Coast for the first time,” Mr Mackellar said.

“The cast and orchestra will open the festival and will set the stage alive with an Egyptian-themed set and costumes straight from the 1930s.”

Noosa Long Weekend Festival, Noosa, visit Queensland

Fast Facts

  • 13-day festival
  • 75 ticketed and free events
  • 35 locations around Noosa
  • 260 nationally and internationally acclaimed actors, writers, artists, musicians, performers, film makers, environmentalists and commentators
  • 9000 tickets on sale
  • Book tickets and more information via noosalongweekend.com

Spring Into Spring With These Australian Getaways

Now that winter is officially over and the warmer weather is on the way, it’s time to get back into the sunshine and enjoy all that Australia has to offer. So where are some of the best spots to head this spring?  Read on to find out…

Noosa

If you fancy heading to the beach to enjoy the sun that you missed so much during winter then consider taking a trip to Noosa in the Sunshine Coast, just 90 minutes north of Brisbane. Famous for its pristine beaches and trendy cafes, Noosa is a sub-tropical paradise where you can sit back and relax and watch the world go by. If you want to get away with the family, take a trip to Noosa in the second weekend of September when the Noosa Country Show is in full swing. Held in the hinterland you’ll find live music, stage shows, sheep shearing an animal nursery, monster trucks and a sideshow alley.

Toowoomba

Just 90 minutes from Brisbane, Toowoomba sits overlooking the Lockyer Valley and is the perfect place to visit in spring when it’s in full colour. The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is a ten day event held in September each year and is Australia’s longest running horticultural festival. Soak up the sun in Queens Park at the Food and Wine Festival whilst relaxing to the sounds of live music or take a walk through one of the many gardens that have been planted especially for the event. Aside from the festival, Toowoomba is also home to the historic and interactive Cobb & Co Museum, art galleries, wineries and a huge number of parks where you can enjoy that springtime sun.

Hunter Valley

If you’re looking for a getaway full of food and wine then head to the Hunter Valley in New South Wales where the first new buds from the grapevines will be bursting to life. In spring the days are typically sunny and mild followed by cooler nights, so stay in accommodation that has a log fire to cosy up to in the evenings. At the end of October, the Hunter Valley comes alive with the Jazz in the Vines Festival where you’ll find local gourmet produce and local wines on display, all within six hectares of Hunter Valley Countryside where you can dance the night away to live music.

Melbourne

Fancy doing a spot of shopping, eating some delectable food and having a flutter on the horses? Head to Melbourne in spring if this sounds like your idea of a spring getaway. This vibrant city is home to some of Australia’s top boutiques, luxurious restaurants and serene parks and gardens so soak up the springtime sun. From September through to November, there are numerous race days to attend so dust off the frocks and fascinators for a day at the racecourse. The most famous event is Melbourne Cup Day held in November where you’ll see flamboyant fashion paraded amongst the 100,000 strong crowd.

Image via saltpropertymanagement.com.au

Take Me Away: The Ultimate Girl’s Escape

If it’s possible to feel homesick for a resort – and heartsick to have to leave – then that is what I truly feel for Noosa’s amazing 5-star Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort and Spa. I recently packed my bags for a one-night solo mini-break at the opulent resort; Noosa is on the Sunshine Coast, just over an hour’s drive north of the Queensland capital of Brisbane. Of course, being a local, it was only just up the road for me, but what a lovely and rejuvenating experience it was.

It’s rare to have an emotional connection to a resort – but I savoured every minute of blissful solitude at my spacious, stylish and cosy one-bedroom apartment nestled beside the Noosa National Park (pictured), also conveniently located right beside the idyllic Stephanies Ocean Spa, but more on the latter later. I just felt so ridiculously grateful to have chanced upon the award-winning resort. I mean, I’d heard of it – but I never expected it to be this good. Cue happy dance on arrival! Add this one to your bucket list, ladies!

Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort and Spa opened in 2010 and is the region’s first internationally-managed 5-star resort in 20 years, renowned for its environmentally sustainable resort design. My apartment was the perfect setting for a girlie escape and much-needed R&R – I immediately felt at home and had to force myself to get out and enjoy the sunshine exploring Noosa’s famous nearby shopping/retail hub, Hastings St. I opted to walk the scenic 500m journey, but a cute dude in one of the resort’s fab, new, solar-powered electric buggies offered to drop me off, who was I to resist?

The eco-designed resort offers self-contained one, two and three-bedroom apartments, plus villas and penthouses; all of which looked pretty damn fine as we whizzed past, but it’s the hotel’s rainforest setting that sets it apart. Upon my return (successful shopping mission accomplished, tick!), I sat on my private balcony, in the sun, soaking up the Zen, complete with rainforest orchestra. A whipbird (I think, I’m no bird expert) made its soothing, harmonic whip-crack call many times that day – indeed it woke me up the following morning. How cool is that?

But back to that magical day – I trotted off to Stephanies Ocean Spa in the late afternoon for a beauty treatment, as part of my R&R mission, and was immediately impressed with the large, tranquil, candle-lit waiting lounge (pictured).Take me away: the ultimate girl’s escape
I opted to enjoy a pedicure, but Stephanies offers the full gamut of your day spa menu, with a twist – there’s luxurious mineral floatation treatments, hot-stone massages and anti-aging vino therapies in 11 treatment rooms.

Post-treatment, all shiny and new, I floated back to my apartment for the night, opting to order in some culinary delights from the on-site View On Little Hastings Restaurant and Bar. I popped some bubbly, turned on Max Music and I was in heaven! Other resort facilities include a very purrty heated resort pool and lap pool.

Villas, penthouses and treetop villas also offer guests exclusive use of Brooke’s Pool (pictured below), with sweeping views of Laguna Bay and Double Island Point. All in all, I had a fabulous time and I can’t wait to get back there!

Take me away: the ultimate girl’s escape

Visit www.outriggeraustralia.com and www.stephanies.com.au.

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