In this month's edition of This is WA, read about Margaret River Gourmet Escape being crowned Australia's Best Tourism Event, COMO The Treasury being named second best hotel in the world, the openings of two new accommodation offerings in Perth CBD, a world-first golf tournament for Perth and the 400th anniversary of Dirk Hartog Island. There's also all the latest news on WA tours, accommodation, food, wine and events.
Margaret River Gourmet Escape crowned Australia's Best Tourism Event
The Margaret River Gourmet Escape was crowned Best Tourism Event at last month's Australian Event Awards ceremony. This year's Margaret River Gourmet Escape program has been expanded with the release of more tickets to popular events, such as the Audi Gourmet Beach BBQ, Margaret River Icon Tasting, Augusta Seafood Discovery as well as a selection of new attractions across the festival's buzzing world of culinary delight that is the Gourmet Village. For Nigella Lawson fans, an extra session has been released for the cooking goddess' book signing, which offers guests the chance to get up close to the queen of home cooking and this year's festival headliner. For further details and to purchase tickets, visit the event website.
COMO The Treasury named second-best hotel in the world
Perth's COMO The Treasury has been voted the second best hotel in the world, according to leading travel publisher Conde Nast. Perth is COMO's first hotel in Australia, offering 48 contemporary luxury rooms in the CBD's newly revitalised historic heart. Occupied within the State Buildings, which date back to the mid-19th century, COMO The Treasury opens up the city with new experiences by way of two restaurants, a bar, 20-metre indoor pool and world renowned COMO Shambhala wellness therapies. To celebrate the establishment's first anniversary, it is offering an indulgent two night getaway package for $1,495, including a stay in the hotel's Heritage Room and a fine-dining experience at rooftop restaurant Wildflower.
Next stage of development unveiled at Elizabeth Quay
Concept designs have been unveiled for Elizabeth Quay's next stage of development, which includes premier hotel, residential and commercial buildings. WA architect Kerry Hill has been awarded the contract for designing the development, which will comprise of Australia's only high-rise public art museum and viewing area, with expansive views across Perth and out to Rottnest Island. Construction on the $385 million dollar development will commence in 2017, and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019.
World-first golf tournament format for Perth
International golf will return to Perth in a world-first format at Lake Karrinyup Golf Course, from February 16-19, 2017. World Super 6 Perth has been created by the European Tour and PGA to make golf more exciting and aggressive. The major difference to the format is that on the final day of play, 24 players will battle it out over six-hole matches, with any ties decided by playing a new knockout hole. Tickets to the event will be made available to the general public soon.
Peppers Hotel hits Perth's doorstep
Perth's newest five-star hotel will open its doors next month, with the 120-room Peppers Hotel boasting a refined design and experience. The hotel will be home to an onsite restaurant, kitchen and bar, executive club lounge, concierge with valet parking service, the fastest Wi-Fi connection to be installed in a Perth hotel (complimentary in guest rooms) and a 24-hour reception. Visit the website to make a booking.
Perth International Arts Festival releases sneak peek at 2017 program
The longest running annual multi-arts celebration in the Southern Hemisphere, Perth International Arts Festival has released a sneak peek into the 2017 program. Experiencing The Trees Speak with the Boorna Waanginy people will be one of the program's highlights. Over three extraordinary nights Kings Park will transform into a cathedral of light, sound and imagery to explain the six seasons of WA's south west. Elizabeth Quay will again be the home of the Perth International Arts Festival's popular Chevron Festival Gardens, which will run from February 10 to March 5, 2017. The full program of events will be launched on November 2, with tickets going on sale November 5.
LIFESTYLE AND CULTURE
A year of new horizons for Black Swan in 2017
Black Swan Theatre Company has released its much anticipated 2017 program. Highlights include Michael Gow's heartfelt Once in Royal David's City and Joanna Murray-Smith's thriller Switzerland, to be held in the iconic Heath Ledger Theatre and Studio Underground. The exciting season of performance will also celebrate WA artists and playwrights, including Will O'Mahony and Hellie Turner.
Bernard Fanning to headline Leeuwin Estate's Family Concert
One of Australia's most loved musicians, Bernard Fanning, will return to Leeuwin Estate for the winery's annual Family Concert on January 7, 2017. Since 1985, Leeuwin Estate has seen families bring a picnic and enjoy a casual evening of summertime alfresco music on the estate's manicured lawns. On sale now, general admission tickets are $95 per adult and $30 per child.
Islands of Australia explores WA's natural assets
Some of WA's most fascinating and historic islands and coastlines have been showcased to audiences worldwide in a new, three-part television series, Islands of Australia. Program host, Martin Clunes (Men Behaving Badly, Doc Martin), explored WA's most scenic islands and coastal regions, including Rottnest Island, Ningaloo, Abrolhos Islands and Carnac Islands. Martin remarked that “by far, the most surreal and exciting experience when filming Islands of Oz was swimming with whale sharks near Exmouth.” Australian viewers can watch Islands of Australia online at this link.
FOOD AND WINE
delicious. produce award goes to Margaret River
Margaret River has cemented its position as Australia's top food and wine destination for the second time, taking out the top award in the Outstanding Region in Australia - Readers Choice category at the 2016 delicious. Produce Awards. The world-renowned region was commended for its outstanding wine and food experiences, combined with its breathtaking natural beauty, as well as the region continuing to be the shining light for food tourism in Australia. For the full list of winners, visit this link.
Swan Valley welcomes cheese and wine tour
Join Explore Tours Perth for a new hands-on and informative cheese and wine experience in WA's oldest wine growing region, the Swan Valley. Customers will make cheese from scratch with Tanya Barretto from The Cheese Maker, before getting creative with their own cheese creations. After lunch there will be a private tour and tasting at Talijancich Winery, led by international award-winning wine maker, James Talijancich. The new tour will launch in mid-October, starting at $189 per person.
New food offering at Houghton Wineries
Perth celebrity chef Herb Faust has partnered up with Houghton Wines in the Swan Valley to run an on-ground café at WA's oldest winery. Patrons can taste the well-known wines at the cellar door and then choose a glass or bottle to enjoy with their meal at the cafe. Herb's seasonal menus have been developed with an emphasis on fresh, local produce, offering a selection of shared solo, side and sweets plates.
New on Perth's food scene
Located in Northbridge, Meat Candy specialises in fried chicken and smoked meat and is already gaining a reputation for its tasty bloody Mary cocktails. The well-priced menu runs from $5 to $24 and includes Australian favourites like crunchy coleslaw.
Honey Crème Australia
Organic soft serve ice cream that has been naturally sweetened with local honey, is now on offer at Honey Cream Australia on Barrack Street in Perth's CBD. Originating from Korea, this ice cream shop opened its doors in September and has already seen floods of people coming to try the Cotton Candy Affogato cup.
TOURS, ATTRACTIONS AND ACCOMMODATION
Segways are rolling in Fremantle
Segway Tours have launched in Fremantle, giving visitors an opportunity to use this unique mode of transport to explore Perth's 'hipster' port city. Enthusiastic guides will retell stories of Fremantle's shipwrecks, famous pioneers, early settlers, while pointing out historic 19th century architecture and landmarks. Tour prices start from $89 per adult.
New Ngalang Wongi cultural tour in Ferguson Valley
Ngalang Wongi Aboriginal Cultural Tours is now offering Sunday tours in Ferguson Valley, located a 90-minute drive from Perth CBD. The full-day tour provides insight into traditional and cultural indigenous stories of the area, and visits significant sites and spectacular natural attractions. At lunch, tour guests have the opportunity to try some local bush tucker and indulge in some fresh WA produce.
National Anzac Centre tops TripAdvisor list
Albany's National Anzac Centre has been named Australia's number one museum by TripAdvisor users, with more than 800 positive reviews on the popular travel website. The centre has attracted more than 136,000 visitors since opening its doors in November 2014, with its unique and moving depiction of World War I through the voices of Anzac soldiers. This popular tourist attraction has scooped a number of accolades, including best new tourism business at the 2015 Perth Airport WA Tourism Awards and is ranked number 21 in Lonely Planet's top new travel experiences.
Quest East Perth now open
The newly opened Quest East Perth offers 130 stylishly appointed studios, one and two bedroom apartments. The new property features high-speed WiFi internet access, a fully equipped kitchen (kitchenette in studio rooms), work desk and Foxtel TV. The property is only a short walk from the heart of Perth's CBD and close to an exciting range of different restaurants and public transport options.
Dive into the Shark Bay World Heritage Area
Tourists can now dive around the remote coastline of the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, including Steep Point and Dirk Hartog Island. The region's aquamarine waters are full of beautiful corals and brimming with marine life, making it the perfect dive and snorkelling location. Shark Bay Dive and Marine Safaris offer dive tours as well as accredited PADI open water dive courses. Visit the website to view the selection of tours and courses on offer.
400 year journey to Dirk Hartog Island
Western Australia's remote Dirk Hartog Island has a rich Australian and Dutch history dating back 400 years, with the indigenous locals having been on the land for more than 40,000 years.
On October 25, 1616, Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog and his crew landed at Cape Inscription during his voyage on the Eendracht for the mighty Dutch East India Company. His ship ran too far east and arrived on Dirk Hartog Island while transporting gold pieces to trade for spice in Jakarta. These were the first recorded European steps on WA soil, with a pewter plate being laid to rest as a mark.
Dirk Hartog Island is part of the World Heritage listed Shark Bay area, made famous by bottlenose dolphins who regularly visit the shores of Monkey Mia to interact with humans. This region of the Coral Coast is where the rust red landscape collides with the turquoise blue Indian Ocean, coral reefs and an abundance of marine wildlife.
The island is an ark for endangered wildlife and a unique place for visitors to enjoy an island adventure. It's the most western point of Australia and a melting pot of Australian history.
Sebastian Hartog is a first generation Australian born of Dutch parents, who started to trace his family history a few years back. His father was born in Curacao in the Dutch Antilles and mother in The Hague, the Netherlands. It was in 2008 that Sebastian hatched the plan to re-trace Dirk Hartog's voyage that landed him on the shores of WA in 1616.
“I've been making plans to trace our family history to this unique part of the world for a while now, so I am stoked to be journeying to the island and celebrating where Dirk Hartog landed” Sebastian said.
This month commemorates 400 years since Dirk Hartog landed in WA. To celebrate the anniversary, the Dirk Hartog Voyage of Discovery: Shark Bay 1616 festival will be held from October 21 to 25, and will host a five-day program of arts, music, food and historical events.
This anniversary has spurred Sebastian to make homage to his heritage and embark on a journey to seek out his ancestors steps. He, along with many others, will explore and celebrate one of the more mysterious and spectacular regions of the Australian coastline.
For further details about the event visit http://www.sharkbay1616.com.au/
NEW IMAGES of Dirk Hartog Island and Shark Bay World Heritage Area by Summersite will be available upon request.
Act-Belong-Commit Augusta Adventure Fest
November 5-6, 2016, August, Australia's South West
There's something on offer for everyone at the Act-Belong-Commit Augusta Adventure Fest. Competitors can choose from three different events for adventurers of all ages, and four different off-road disciplines, including ocean swimming and kayaking, trail running and mountain biking. Recognised as the world's biggest adventure race, the multi-race, multi-adventure weekend has something for everyone, taking place amidst the rugged landscapes of the South West.
Margaret River Gourmet Escape
November 18 – 20, 2016, Margaret River, Australia's South West
The Margaret River Gourmet Escape has an unparalleled line up of international and local food and wine celebrities, iconic and breathtaking host locations, money can't buy culinary experiences and a premium focus on 'the world's best'. World-famous television cook and food writer Nigella Lawson will be experiencing Gourmet Escape for the first time in 2016, along with an all-star line-up of international chefs, including Dominique Crenn, Janice Wong, Rick Stein, Ashley Palmer-Watts and Mauro Colagreco.
November 25 to 27, 2016, Elizabeth Quay, Experience Perth
A 50-tonne, fire-breathing spider will land at Perth's Elizabeth Quay this November for three exclusive shows as part of Arcadia, which will include a performance of Yallor Keeninyarra (Dance of the Wadjuk Nyungar people), lead by Noongar representative Barry McGuire. The Arcadia Spectacular is an Australian-first and will combine theatre, circus, music, aerial performance, robotics and pyrotechnics. Artists will perform in the belly of the beast, allowing audiences to stand under and around the 360-degree structure.
King of the Cut
December 3-4, 2016, Mandurah, Experience Perth
Australia's premiere ocean race, King of the Cut, offers paddlers the chance to experience one of the best downwind runs in the coastal city of Mandurah. The 24 kilometre course is considered one of the finest downwind runs on the planet. The event is also the headline act of Wardan Marr Week, which combines five races in the space of a week, attracting plenty of world class ocean athletes.
Redbull Lighthouse to Leighton
December 3, 2016, Rottnest and Perth, Experience Perth
Now in its seventh year, the highly anticipated Redbull Lighthouse to Leighton kiteboard race will run on December 3, 2016. Entries are now open to experienced kiteboarders for the 19 kilometre race from Rottnest Island to Fremantle's Leighton Beach. There will be a number of international kite racers in town for the event, ready to take on the locals who have a hometown advantage knowing the wind and water conditions.
Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival
December 9-11, 2016, Manjimup, Australia's South West
The Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival is a celebration of the cultural diversity of Manjimup, highlighting and promoting the horticultural products that are grown (particularly cherries) and the value they add to the region. The festival attracts visitors from around the State and is held during the optimum cherry season in December.
January 1-7, 2017, Perth, Experience Perth
Hopman Cup is the official mixed teams' competition of the International Tennis Federation. Set at the spectacular Perth Arena, the event attracts some of the world's best tennis players as they prepare for the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open. With an all-star line-up set to be confirmed for 2017 the Hopman Cup is the exciting launch to the Australian Summer of Tennis.
Lancelin Ocean Classic
January 12-15, 2017, Lancelin, Experience Perth
The Lancelin Ocean Classic each year attracts world-class competitors to the picturesque crayfishing town of Lancelin. The event features three water sport disciplines and has competitors from more than 13 countries competing in spectacular wind and water conditions over four days.
Mount Barker Co-operative Grapes and Gallops Festival
January 22, 2017, Mount Barker, Australia's South West
Locals and visitors to the area can enjoy a day of great food and wine, fashion and horse racing at the Mount Barker Co-operative Grapes and Gallops Festival. Throughout the day there will be ten horse races plus local wineries showing their award winning wines and regional food, plus there will be a range of activities on offer for the whole family.