Slow Living takes a trip to Australia this week, talking to resort owners and chefs from regions that bring slow living to life. We begin our journey in Queensland's Sunshine Coast Hinterland, then head down to New South Wales, and into the Blue Mountains which stand sentry over Sydney.
|Noosa Beach, Queensland|
|Narrows Escape, Montville|
Queensland's Sunshine Coast
Our first four days of "slow" paradise begins.....
|Berardo's on the Beach, Noosa|
|Hastings Street Noosa, with Aroma's in the foreground|
To meet our first guest, we head just over an hour into the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, stopping at the charming town of Montville with it's panoramic views over the coastline, quaint shops, galleries and cafes. A short drive inland brings us into the rainforest, to a place where you immediately feel your muscles relax and your lungs expand with the fresh eucalyptus scented air - Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat.
|Mark Skinner on a deck at Narrows Escape|
Montville, Queensland’s Sunshine Coast
Montville, on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, was their landing spot, where they literally stumbled onto the property (thanks to google!) and instantly fell in love with the beautiful rainforest setting, the serene environment and the promise of a simpler lifestyle.
Montville, population 400, is a picturesque rural community, situated in the mountains behind the beautiful beaches of the Sunshine Coast, about 30 minute drive in distance and a million miles away in contrast. The property consists of six self-contained villas, each privately nestled in pristine rainforest.
Mark and Jenny’s mission has been to blend luxury, sophistication and relaxation into a personal natural rainforest experience.
Mark came from the world of education and business, and Joanne from the health sector, with a dive charter interlude, so the bed and breakfast industry was as far removed as you could imagine. They soon found out that there is more to the tourism industry under the surface than the couple realized, and soon they embarked on their goal, to ensure the business retained its native charm, while being established as a premier accommodation venue in the broader market.
The reward that they have received has been the delight of guests, which has translated into the successful multi-awarded resort that is Narrows Escape Rainforest. And they are loving every minute of it!
About Narrows Escape
Narrows Escape is nestled amongst the treetops in Montville, the cultural heart of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Six delightful pavilions dot the property with just trees and earth as your closest neighbours. Invigorate your senses with a peaceful escape where relaxation is the only item on your agenda.
Perfect for a romantic weekend, honeymoon, artistic sanctuary or simply a rest from everyday life. With gourmet food hampers delivered to your door on request all you will have to do is kick back in the hammock with a good book.
Revive your senses and spirit with a swim in the saltwater pool, a massage in your pavilion, or just wander the forest trail and listen to the bubbling creek.
To find out next guest, we return to the town of Montville and pull up the long driveway, pass between the grand figs, jacarandas, groves of magnolias and gardenias that surround the stunning French-provincial Spicers Clovelly Estate. Here, Chef Cameron Matthews wows diners, "French Laundry-meets-Noma style" in their signature restaurant the Long Apron Restaurant.
Spicers Clovelly Estate
Montville, Queensland’s Sunshine Coast
In a career spanning 17 years, this passionate chef has been Head Chef of Simone’s, Executive Chef de Cuisine at Siggi’s Restaurant, Brisbane and Executive Chef of Restaurant Lurleen’s at the Sirromet Winery. He now leads a talented team dedicated to delivering innovative, distinctive food created from local, seasonal produce cooked in a modern European manner with a French accent.
About the Long Apron
More to do on the Sunshine Coast.....
Turn your vacation into a week and you've more than plenty to do. A trip wouldn't be complete without roaming the vast selection of wares and food at one of Australia's largest open air markets in Eumundi and having a very Bohemian lunch with local ingredients in creative Mod Oz ways at the Bohemian Bungalow.
Then turn the corner into Yandina where you'll find The Ginger Factory, foodie Disneyland for ginger lovers and even with a "Disney-like" ride for kids to find the Gingerbread man.
For nature and architecture lovers, take an eco-cruise through the everglades or through the canals with Noosa Ferry Cruise Company.
Our next taste of Australian paradise comes perched on top of one of the world's most beautiful heritage listed regions. Few cities in the world can boast such a site, just over an hour from the city centre, but Sydney can, with the glorious Blue Mountains. Over one million hectares of eucalypt-covered landscape lined with sheer cliffs the stand sentry over rugged tablelands, deep valleys, stunning waterfalls, rivers and lakes, and a network of hiking trails throughout. Then there's the wallabies, wombats, native birdlife, such as the bellbirds and rosellas and glorious native trees, the air filled with that head clearing scent of Eucalyptus. The mountains actually gain their name from the blue haze that emits from the Eucalyptus oil in the leaves, and which also lulls the koalas into their deep 20 hour a day snooze. The region is dotted with small towns, all with their unique charm and character, and breathtaking vistas. Add to that the amazing gastronomic diversity, and you have a destination well worth the journey.
Our destination is Lilianfels, with panoramic views over the valley and cliffs, and a luxurious charm that makes you feel like you've stepped into another time - one that welcomes switching off for a while and making the most of the natural surrounds, while being pampered as much as your heart desires.
Katoomba, New South Wales’ Blue Mountains
As Darleys head chef, Kwiez is blending his vast national food networks and an endless pantry of premium regional produce to create a unique epicurean experience.
Despite his incredible repertoire, it was his mother’s Shepherd’s pie that first ignited his passion for sublime flavours. At the age of 16, Kwiez stepped into a professional kitchen on work experience at Maxwell’s Table in the NSW Hawkesbury region, working under the esteemed Hugh Whitehouse. Two years’ later he rejoined the restaurant as an apprentice chef.
After five years Kwiez travelled to Switzerland to join the 5-star Dolder Grand Hotel as the Commis de Cuisine. He then returned to Australia as the demi-chef/commis chef at Queensland’s Hayman Island Resort before again exploring wider and taking a position in 1997 as chef de partie at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Canada, catering for up to 1000 seated guests.
With a long-term chapter of his journey in Australia, Kwiiz was fast establishing a reputation as a serious food practitioner.
In 2000, Kwiez again joined his food mentor Hugh Whitehouse, the Executive chef at acclaimed Milsons Restaurant at Kirribilli, NSW. It wasn’t long before his pedigree was acknowledges and he became the restaurants new Executive chef, for 7 years, leading a team of highly skilled chefs to secure six consecutive Sydney Morning Herald 1 Chef Hat ranking.
With a desire to cook in the freedom of a regional kitchen – just as he started – Kwiez joined Darleys restaurant at Lilianfels Resort and Spa in June 2012. Kwiez can now be found returning to the historic 1880s cottage with crates of season and regional produce from a nearby foraging or farmgate trip amongst the peace of the luxurious building and World Heritage rainforest atmosphere just below the restaurant.
Steeped in history, Darleys Restaurant is set in the heritage listed, original homestead of Sir Frederick Darley, the sixth Chief Justice of NSW and is a tribute to a bygone era.
Darley’s Restaurant is situated in the original Lilianfels House, which was built over 100 years ago. The restaurant has recently undergone a fresh refurbishment and still resides at Lilianfels Resort and Spa. Its soaring mountain views and lush manicured gardens have lured guests from around the world, who come to experience a culinary journey and immerse in the timeless beauty that abounds at Lilianfels.
With its magnificent décor, Darleys sparkles with newly revived old world charm accentuated by a spectacular setting and unrivalled destination - The World Heritage Listed Blue Mountains.
|A predinner game of billiards perhaps?|