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Hotel Review: Novotel Canberra

Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia

We often stay at Novotel hotels when we travel because they are always to the high standard we expect from hotels in this brand’s family. The Novotel Canberra is no exception.

Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia

With its excellent location right in the centre of Canberra, the hotel is a fantastic place to stay when visiting Australia’s capital city. A short walk away you will find restaurants, shops, a pharmacy, convenience stores, taxis and buses. It’s an excellent place to base yourself for a Canberra visit.

Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia

The Novotel Canberra is a 4 ½ star hotel with 286 rooms. It’s located 0.2km from the city centre, entertainment and retail precincts and 8km from the airport. 24 hour room service is available, with healthy meal options, plus the hotel offers a complimentary in-room yoga channel with yoga mats available, a newly renovated indoor swimming pool as well as gymnasium, spa and sauna.

Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia

Reception is manned 24 hours a day, which is great for late and early check ins/outs. There is a small play area in reception for kids to play while adults are handling the paperwork.

Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia

Our room was light and spacious, with two queen beds, tea and coffee making facilities, a bar fridge and a great Angry Birds welcome gift for kids.

Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia

Wifi is offered for free to members (it’s free to sign up).

We always drive to Canberra and were pleased to see that we could park underground at the Novotel Canberra at a cost of $20/night. A bit pricey for parking, but the hotel locations is such that you would otherwise struggle to find anywhere near the hotel to park.

Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia

As always, we highly enjoyed our stay at the Novotel Canberra.

Novotel Canberra
65 Northbourne Ave, Canberra
Book your stay at the Novotel Canberra

I received a media rate for our stay. All opinions are my own. Affiliate links are used on this page. This means if you use a link to purchase or book something, I will receive a small commission at zero extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Adventure, Baby!

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Why You Should Visit Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan

As I was heading off to Japan this week a friend commented to me that they’d never thought of visiting Universal Studios outside of Hollywood, as this is the original studio and why wouldn’t you visit any but the original?

It was an interesting question, and I have the answer! It turns out that each Universal Studios has unique elements that are special to that location only, so visiting each park you are able to experience attractions or meet characters that you are only able to in that specific location. If you’re wondering why you should visit Universal Studio Japan, even if you’ve been to both Universal parks in Hollywood and Orlando, here is your answer.

The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan

Minion Park
The world’s largest Minion-themed attraction opened in March 2017. Take a spin on the incredible Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem ride, try Minion-themed snacks, watch the crazy Minions street show and meet the characters afterwards. It’s all Minions, all the time! More info on the amazing Minions Park here.

Universal Studios Japan

Cool Japan
The attractions in the Cool Japan section of the park are all based on iconic anime, video game, music, and manga titles produced in Japan. They change seasonally so there is always something new to see. The attractions are based on games and movies such as Resident Evil, Godzilla and, when I visited, Dragon Quest.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan

Black Lake in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
While you can visit Hogwarts and Hogsmeade elsewhere, Universal Studios Japan is the only place where you can see Hogwarts overlooking the majestic Black Lake. Honestly, the view from here is incredible and watching the evening show with fireworks reflected on the lake is just amazing. More info on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter here.

Sesame Street
This is the place to go to meet all your favourite Sesame Street characters and take a spin on some similarly themed rides. The Count, Elmo, Cookie Monster and Abby Cadabby are all ready to meet guests with hugs. Universal Studios Japan is also home to Moppy, the adorable pink Japanese Sesame Street character.

Hello Kitty
It’s no surprise to find Hello Kitty here! She is everywhere in the park, from a life-size character you can meet and take photos with, to shops, merchandise and a design studio.

Snoopy and Friends
All the Peanuts characters are here, plus a Snoopy-themed cafe and ride for littlies. Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Lucy were all around for photo ops when we visited.

Universal Studios Japan Tickets
A studio pass grants you admission to the park and a Universal Express® Pass will shorten the waiting time for attractions. The admission ticket includes park entrance and use of all attractions in the park. You can buy tickets in advance from these travel agencies or on the day at the park. Ticket Booths are open from one hour before the park opens for business.

Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan

Where to stay
I stayed at the offical Universal Studios Hotel, Hotel Universal Port, which is just a short walk from the park and about 10-15 min train ride from Osaka CBD. It has fantastic Minions theming in the lobby and a few of the rooms.

Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan

There are plenty of food options outside the park as well as restaurants inside the hotels if you stay onsite. You could easily spend two days at Universal Studios Japan and if you do, it’s a good idea to stay at a nearby hotel to make the commute easier.

Get more info on my stay at Hotel Universal Port.

Universal Studios Japan
Japan, 〒554-0031 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Konohana Ward, Sakurajima, 2 Chome−1−33. Universal Studios Japan Online

How to get there:
Take the subway to Universal City station (JR Yumesaki line). Universal Studios Japan is about a 5-minute walk from there.

For more information on on Osaka and Universal Studios Japan, head to gdayjapan.com.au

Planning a trip to Japan? Get fantastic ideas for your Japan itinerary from Sher She Goes.

I visited as a guest of Universal Studios Japan and the Japanese National Tourism Organization. I genuinely loved the experience and all opinions are my own. Additional images courtesy of Universal Studios Japan.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan

Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan

The Hotel Universal Port is the perfect place to stay for a visit to Universal Studios. Located a short stroll from the entrance to the park, it’s an easy place to stay for quick access and a fast homecoming – perfect for when you’ve had a long day at the park and just want to get back to your room and rest.

Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan

Theming is something Universal Studios does particularly well, and the Hotel Universal Port is no exception. The outside has fantastic Jurassic Park theming, while the inside has a T-Rex-themed cafe plus the new Minions all over the main foyer.

Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan

Minions statues, plushes and images are displayed all over the lobby, as well as playing the movies on a TV screen near a small soft play area for small children.

Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan

If you are particularly mad about Minions you can stay in a Minions-themed room as well.

The regular rooms, which is where I stayed, are standard hotel rooms. Mine had two twin beds, but there are larger rooms available that suit families in size. Each room has a standard bathroom, free Wifi, a TV, fridge and tea making facilities.

Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan

I found the room to be comfortable and contain everything I needed for a short stay. I also enjoyed the excellent view of the park out of the window! It put me right into the mood for visiting the park.

Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan

Breakfast was included in the package and was a highlight each morning. The breakfast buffet served up around 90 dishes, all of which were traditionally Japanese as the hotel caters mostly to local tourists. A map available at the entrance explains the layout in both Japanese and English so it’s easy to understand where everything is, and each dish is labelled both with a name and ingredients in both languages too. A word of warning – the labels are not 100% accurate so approach items like dumplings with caution if you have dietary restrictions.

Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan

The hotel has a casual cafe in the lobby area that serves traditional Japanese food such as udon noodles and so forth, which is great to grab dinner from after a long day at the park. They also serve amazing looking cakes if you’ve got a sweet tooth like me.

Hotel Universal Port
Japan, 〒554-0031 Osaka Prefecture, 大阪市此花区Konohana Ward, Sakurajima, 1 Chome−1−111
http://www.hoteluniversalport.jp/en

I stayed at the hotel as a guest of Universal Studios Japan. All opinions are my own. 

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan

The magical world of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan is a must-visit for fans of the books and movies. Inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the village of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts have been faithfully recreated for fans to immerse themselves inside the story.

From the entrance to the world, it’s clear that this is a distinctly seperate part of the park from the other attractions. Harry Potter theme music plays as you walk up the path, lined by trees and featuring the famous Flying Ford Anglia from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It flashes its lights and honks as it lies crashed into a tree – a sign that you’re about to embark on a magical adventure through the world of Harry Potter.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan

Inside the entrance to Hogsmeade lies the Hogwarts Express steam train. You can take a photo next to the train and with its conductor, or if you walk around the corner you can have your photo taken inside a replica of one of the train’s carriages.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan

Nearby, Butterbeer, in various varieties, is available for sale, as are plenty of other Harry Potter-themed food, clothing, and, of course, wands. Hogsmeade village is lined with shops each selling various items.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan

Visit Honeydukes sweetshop to buy your own Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans™ and Chocolate Frogs™, and Ollivanders™ for your very own wand. A small alleyway next to Ollivanders is where you can line up to see a wand choosing a wizard.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan

The main restaurant in this part of the park is Three Broomsticks™, a tavern-themed eatery where you can buy Butterbeer in a collectable take-home mug and traditional British dishes such as fish and chips and shepherd’s pie.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan

Outside, the dining area has the best view of Hogwarts castle in the park, overlooking the Black Lake – a feature that is unique to Universal Studios Japan. The dining area is a great place to watch the evening light show from as there are minimal crowds.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan

A brand new feature of the park when I visited was “Wand Magic”. After buying a special magic wand from Ollivanders, visitors are able to cast their own spells in the village.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan

At various points around Hogsmeade such as a window, stone wall and in a back alley, muggles wishing to be magicians can chant special spells, wave their wands and, if they’re performed the words and actions correctly, watch magic happen before their eyes.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan

There are two rides in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Flight of the Hippogriff™, which is a small, family-friendly rollercoaster, and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™ in 4K3D, which is the main attraction.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan

To enter this ride, one must walk through Hogwarts™ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which as been recreated with extraordinary attention to detail. Pass through Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor™ common room and the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom before embarking on a thrilling journey on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™. The ride is incredible, and completely immerses riders in a magical journey.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan

A new evening light show is also on offer for guests. The show plays twice and I would strongly recommend arriving early to mind a place at the front where you can see the action.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan

The show takes place above eye line however, with projections on the castle, so even if you’re not right at the front you’ll be able to see the magical experience very well.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan

The light show is a perfect way to end a day at Universal Studios Japan – it’s exciting, awe inspiring and extravagant, and leaves guests on a high as they make their way to the exit.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan

Note: On weekends and busy days, guests must collect a free, timed entry ticket for entrance into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ at a designated time.

Universal Studios Japan Tickets
A studio pass grants you admission to the park and a Universal Express® Pass will shorten the waiting time for attractions. The admission ticket includes park entrance and use of all attractions in the park. You can buy tickets in advance from these travel agencies or on the day at the park. Ticket Booths are open from one hour before the park
opens for business.

Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan

Where to stay
I stayed at the offical Universal Studios Hotel, Hotel Universal Port, which is just a short walk from the park and about 10-15 min train ride from Osaka CBD. There are plenty of food options outside the park as well as restaurants inside the hotels if you stay onsite. You could easily spend two days at Universal Studios Japan and if you do, it’s a good idea to stay at a nearby hotel to make the commute easier.

Get more info on my stay at Hotel Universal Port.

Universal Studios Japan
Japan, 〒554-0031 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Konohana Ward, Sakurajima, 2 Chome−1−33
Universal Studios Japan Online

How to get there:
Take the subway to Universal City station (JR Yumesaki line). Universal Studios Japan is about a 5-minute walk from there.

For more information on on Osaka and Universal Studios Japan, head to gdayjapan.com.au

Thinking of heading to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando? Get tips on saving money, time and hassle here via the Barefoot Nomad, and here for an excellent overview of visiting with kids via the Kid Bucket List.

I visited as a guest of Universal Studios Japan and the Japanese National Tourism Organization. I genuinely loved the experience and all opinions are my own. Additional images courtesy of Universal Studios Japan.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Minion Park at Universal Studios Japan

Minion Park, Universal Studios, Osaka, Japan

The mischief-loving Minions have a new home at Universal Studios Japan.

“Minion Park” has recently opened inside Universal Studios, and is proudly the largest Minions-themed attraction in the world.

The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan

The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan

Inside the plaza, the mayhem of Minions reigns supreme. Try a Minion-themed snack, pose for a photo, watch a Minions show and jump on the brand new Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride.

The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan

The plaza is so full of Minions that it’s difficult to know what to look at first. Do you pose for a photo with a Minion?

The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan

Or do you try a snack? I absolutely loved these Minion-inspired cookies from the Delicious Me store. They have a biscuit base and a choice of fillings. I selected the cream with fruit and the cookie tasted like a delicious fruit tart.

The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan

The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan

Other Minion-themed snacks include a fluffy pork bun, banana and caramel-flavoured popcorn in the cutest collectable carrier, and Minions-themed hamburger at The Happiness Cafe.

The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan

The Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride is the centerpiece of the plaza. It’s an incredible ride featuring hyper-realistic projections that takes you whirling through the chaotic world of Minions. It’s a heart-stopping, thrilling ride that is fun, fantastical and you’ll absolutely want to jump straight back on and ride it all over again.

The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan

The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan

Dotted around the plaza are Minion-themed shops and statues that are incredibly fun to shop for Minions goodies and get a great selfie with.

The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan

Stop by Sweet Surrender for unique Minions plushies, food, clothing and toys. They’re incredibly cute and make for great souvenirs to take home.

The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan

A Minions street show completes the new attraction. The show is performed multiple times a day and is filled with chaos, fun and mayhem, just what you would expect from the Minions!

The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan

After the show you can get a photo with the Minions if you feel like braving the crowds. I would advise seeing if you can find out what times the Minions appear in the plaza for photo opportunities throughout the day instead of lining up after a show.

The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan

The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan

The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan

Tips for visiting Minions Plaza
Be early! The Minions area is incredibly popular and was busier when we visited than the Harry Potter section of the park. I would recommend heading there as soon as the park gates open.

Get into the spirit! Wear anything Minions-themed that you own and you will fit in well with the crowd.

Try a bit of everything! The snacks are all quirky and fun. I loved the biscuit and popcorn as I have a sweet tooth.

Get to the show early. It’s super popular too with people sitting on the ground in preparation well in advance of the show time.

The World of Minions at Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan Tickets
A studio pass grants you admission to the park and a Universal Express® Pass will shorten the waiting time for attractions. The admission ticket includes park entrance and use of all attractions in the park. You can buy tickets in advance from these travel agencies or on the day at the park. Ticket Booths are open from one hour before the park opens for business.

Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan

Where to stay
I stayed at the offical Universal Studios Hotel, Hotel Universal Port, which is just a short walk from the park and about 10-15 min train ride from Osaka CBD. It has fantastic Minions theming in the lobby and a few of the rooms.

Hotel Universal Port, Osaka, Japan

There are plenty of food options outside the park as well as restaurants inside the hotels if you stay onsite. You could easily spend two days at Universal Studios Japan and if you do, it’s a good idea to stay at a nearby hotel to make the commute easier.

Get more info on my stay at Hotel Universal Port.

Universal Studios Japan
Japan, 〒554-0031 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Konohana Ward, Sakurajima, 2 Chome−1−33. Universal Studios Japan Online

How to get there:
Take the subway to Universal City station (JR Yumesaki line). Universal Studios Japan is about a 5-minute walk from there.

For more information on on Osaka and Universal Studios Japan, head to gdayjapan.com.au.

I visited as a guest of Universal Studios Japan and the Japanese National Tourism Organization. I genuinely loved the experience and all opinions are my own. Additional images courtesy of Universal Studios Japan.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

The very instagrammable East Hotel is our fave place to stay in Canberra. It’s a vibrant, contemporary, very artsy hotel, in the perfect location for a stay in our nation’s capital.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

Located only 2.3 km from Parliament House and 2.9 km from the National Gallery of Australia, the East Hotel is what I would class as walking distance to all the major attractions we like to hit up in Canberra. When we travel with the little one we taker her scooter so the distances are still manageable for her, and a good amount of exercise for us.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

The hotel is fantastically designed to appeal to a wide range of people – from young hip couples thanks to its visual appeal, to families wanting more space and amenities. The free lollies and fruit at reception doesn’t hurt its popularity either – it’s hard to tell who liked the lollies more, the kids or the adults!

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

A big draw of the East Hotel, beyond the contemporary aesthetic, are the bright rooms that feature either kitchens or kitchenettes, balconies, free limited Wi-Fi and Nespresso machines. There are one and two-bedroom apartments that have full kitchens, and fantastic rooms for kids with bunk beds, bean bags and Xbox 360 video game consoles.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

We had a one-bedroom apartment with a king bed and fold out bed in the living room, with a full kitchen. It was a huge room for the three of us, compared to the amount of space we usually have in a hotel.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia The full kitchen is amazing and means we can buy plenty of food and make our own stuff, cutting down massively on the costs of eating out – as well as making sure we always have something on hand for the fussy five-year-old to eat.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

While the popular “Kid Cubby” rooms, that feature the bunk beds, Xbox 360 and other fun stuff were all booked out for our stay, we still really enjoyed the extra toys, games and books the staff thoughtfully put in our room for us.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

We stayed over Easter weekend and the staff very thoughtfully held a free Easter egg hunt for the guests.

If biking is your thing, the East Hotel offers free bike rental at reception, including kids bikes.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

Parking is available under the hotel for $10 a night. Check the website for special offers, however, as I happened to find a voucher just as I was checking in that gave me free parking plus two free drinks from Joe’s Bar in the lobby.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

An added draw for the hotel is the brand new restaurant that lives on the base level of the hotel, Agostinis. This gorgeous Italian restaurant has beautiful decor, a welcoming vibe and, most importantly, delicious food.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

Guests of the East Hotel can order room service from Agostinis by dialling hotel dining on the room phones. Our meal arrive quickly and was honestly the best room service we’d probably ever had.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

We also chose to dine in the restaurant the following night because the room service was so good, and had a wonderful evening in this very family-friendly, chic restaurant. The staff were friendly and attentive, the food exceptional.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

From the menu we selected the Insalata Caprese Con Burrata (heirloom tomatoes, Burrata cheese, basil & Agostinis’ olive oil, $15), the Spaghetti Al Pomodoro E Basilico (fresh house-made pasta with tomato, garlic, basil, $18) and the Capricciosa (prosciutto cotto, mushrooms, artichokes, olives & Fior di Latte mozzarella, $24). For the little one, she had one of the kids pizza and pasta meals $15 each (including a drink and gelato for dessert).

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia
East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

I would highly recommend dining at Agostinis regardless of where you are staying in Canberra!

East Hotel
69 Canberra Ave, Kingston ACT
Book your stay at the East Hotel

We received a media rate when staying at the East Hotel. We have previously stayed paying the full rate. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission if you book using my links. It will not cost you any extra. Thanks for supporting Adventure, baby!

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Bishop’s Court Estate: A Luxury Stay in Bathurst

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

A stay at the Bishop’s Court Estate is like spending the night at the house of a friend. If your friend lived in a luxurious, historic mansion, that is. Built in 1870 as the home of the first Anglican Bishop, Bishops Court Estate is a two-storey Victorian mansion that has been exquisitely restored to its former glory by owner Christine Le Fevre.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

Le Fevre greets us by name as we arrive, and ushers us into our rooms, which all have their own name and character. There are only six rooms in this boutique hotel, making the stay a cosy, intimate affair. My room for the night is the Bishops Room – the bedroom that was previously reserved for the Bishop of the house.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

The room is spacious and elegant, decorated with a unique art collection and European inspired furniture. There is direct access to the upper terrace from the room, which overlooks the chapel and garden. It’s peaceful, luscious and so relaxing. Complimentary port and choccies await me in the room, a lovely surprise gift for guests.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

A big quick of the rooms at Bishop’s Court Estate is their lack of in-room ensuites. Only one room at the hotel has a bathroom ensuite, the rest, all large, luxurious bathrooms, are allocated to each room in different locations nearby. It’s pretty easy to slip on the provided plush robe and totter down the hall, and kind of feels like I’m on set at Downton Abbey when I do.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

In the evening the chapel is filled with candles and transformed into the ethereal eatery that is 9inety 2wo restaurant. They serve Modern Australian cuisine in one of the most beautiful surrounds I’ve ever dined in.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

Our meal is delicious. I enjoy the twice baked asparagus Soufflé with blue cheese and parmesan crisp, hand-cut pasta with mushrooms and baked stuffed eggplant with asparagus risotto, braised okra and spinach sauce. I’m similarly stuffed and can’t fit in dessert, which is a crying shame as it’s an exquisite-looking creme brulee.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

It’s to bed after dinner, which is a wonderfully short stroll up the stairs, and to sleep on my bed, which is so comfortable it feels like sleeping on a cloud.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

In the morning I’m cheerfully greeted by Le Fevre when I emerge downstairs, and step outside to explore the gardens. Serene angel statues are dotted throughout the greenery, giving the garden a celestial feel that, when combined with the solitude of the estate, gives a feeling of supreme peace.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia
Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia
Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia
Around the corner from the chapel is the chook shed, where the “Spice Girls”, Le Fevre’s much-loved chickens, live a life of luxury.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

The eggs served at breakfast in the house dish, the “Bishop’s Court Stack” are freshly laid by the Spice Girls, with the fruit grown in the kitchen garden. We sit at a long table, strangers no more. We depart Bishop’s Court Estate as newly found friends, thanks to Le Fevre’s extraordinary warmth and hospitality, and the unique bonding experience of spending a night in this gorgeous estate.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

Bishop’s Court Estate
226 Seymour St, Bathurst
Online
Bishop's Court Estate Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I was hosted by Bishop’s Court Estate, Destination NSW, Bathurst Council and Mayfield Gardens for my stay in Bathurst. All opinions are my own.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

A Whimsical Day at Mayfield Garden, Oberon, NSW, Australia

A whimsical visit to Mayfield Gardens, NSW, Australia

Nestled on the outskirts of the Blue Mountains, in the central tablelands area of NSW, lies a hidden gem called Mayfield Garden.

Created by the Hawkins family in the mid 1990s, Mayfield is now one of the world’s largest privately-owned cool climate gardens. Set on a working farm spanning thousands of acres, the European-inspired garden is at once both intimate and immense.

A visit to Mayfield takes an entire day. It’s just that big, and, with a stunning landscape to explore such as this, why would you want to rush your visit?

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

Mayfield is open year-round, only closing on Christmas Day and Boxing Day (or if there is snow and staff can’t get to the garden). I would strongly advise visiting in different seasons; waterlilies in summer, colourful foliage in autumn, raw structure of plants in winter and fragrant blooms in spring.

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

In addition to the year-round garden, the additional private family garden is open four times a year during the Festival Seasons: The last two weeks in January, April, July and October. In this additional garden you can enjoy an 80m cascade, rose garden, croquet court, creek gardens, walled kitchen garden, sunken garden rooms and the brand new maze.

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

There is an onsite cafe for dining, with a paddock & garden to plate menu. With 80% of what is served in the cafe comes directly from Mayfield’s produce, and the remaining is handpicked from local suppliers.

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

Breakfast is served from 9am-12pm, with dishes ranging from $10-$20. Lunch is served from 12-3pm, $10-$18 entree and $19.50-$29.50 mains.

Kids meals range from $8.50-$9.50 and includes toasties, eggs, pancakes, burgers and steak with chips. In the kitchen garden area, near the café, a kids play area is opening in July.

Another fun feature for kids is the flying fox that is next to the chook houses up the top of the garden, next to the walled kitchen garden – adults are welcome to take a ride too!

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

On the weekends, the kitchen garden comes alive with local talent performing at the “Bedford Stage” (aka the back of the Bedford truck!) in the kitchen garden area outside the café.

During peak periods (including the festival seasons) additional food options are available including woodfired pizza, gourmet pies, coffee and donuts at the Mayfield Kiosk and a gourmet sandwich bar at the Chapel & cider + swine bar.

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

2017 Festival Season Dates:

Autumn: April 15th – April 30th

Winter: July 1st – July 16th

Spring: October 14th – October 29th

Summer: January 12th – January 26th  2018

The only way to visit the private garden; which includes the Chinese pagoda and croquet I visited, plus the blue stone chapel, Mayfield’s cascade and temple, the walled kitchen garden and maze, is during these festival times. The brand new maze is NSW’s second largest fully hedge maze

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

During the Festival Seasons, five red row boats are available for free use, and interactive old-school games such as croquet, chess and bocce are set up in front of the obelisk for visitors to play with.

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

To help visitors navigate the large garden, a courtesy bus runs in a loop during the Festival Season, dropping at around six different locations around the garden. The bus is free and stops every 15 minutes at each station.

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

Cirkus Surreal in the Garden

When we visited we were fortunate enough to enjoy a performance by students from nearby Kelso High in a program called Cirkus Surreal. The program was designed to take at-risk youths in the community, teach them a circus skill, and, more importantly, pride in themselves and a place in their community. Through this award-winning circus program, Kelso High students perform regularly across NSW as well as internationally. They are regular performers at Mayfield Gardens, adding a whimsical ambience to the gardens.

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

Tips for visiting Mayfield
Be prepared for the climate! Bring a hat, sunscreen, warm clothing, an umbrella or jacket and walking shoes.

Keep children under close supervision around areas such as bridges, waterways and stone stairs.

Many of the paths allow access for wheelchairs and strollers, however there are also many areas where exploring requires going off road, so plan accordingly.

There are change tables in the bathrooms if you’re travelling with a baby.

Keep an eye out for the many upcoming events and workshops at http://www.mayfieldgarden.com/events/

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia
Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

 

Mayfield Garden
530 Mayfield Road Oberon
Hours: Open daily (except Christmas Day and Boxing Day), 9am-4:30pm (last entry 3pm)
Prices: Adult $20, Concession $18, Child $10. Kids aged 7 and under free. During the garden festivals, Adult $30, Concession $27, Child $15
http://www.MayfieldGarden.com.au
Get Directions

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Bathurst is home to 1000 heritage buildings, with over 200 years of European history, and tens of thousands of years of indigenous heritage. It’s a small country town yet it is bustling with energy and colour, the locals’ pride in their town unmistakable.

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

On May 7, 1815 Bathurst was declared a townsite by Governor Lachlan Macquarie making it Australia’s oldest inland settlement. It was a prominent town during the gold-rush, and features many well preserved buildings from the 1800s.

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

A walk along the streets of Bathurst is like strolling through an open air museum, with buildings from its past including workers’ cottages, industrial and commercial buildings, terrace houses, mansions, slab huts and grand civic structures from 1815 to the 1950 still intact around the town.

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Plenty of architecture from The Colonial Period (1815-1840) can be seen in the simple structure of the buildings, mostly of characteristic Bathurst red brick, sometimes lime washed.

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Before Europeans came to Bathurst, the indigenous Wiradjuri people lived in the surrounding lands for more than 40,000 years. You can read more about the history of the Wiradjuri people and European settlement of the area here.

Things to see and do

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Mount Panorama
Not a rev head? Me neither. I still recommend a drive up the top of Mount Panorama to admire the spectacular view of Bathurst down below, and for the experience of driving around the world-famous race track that is available to drive as a public road 27/7 (albeit at a much-slower 60km per hour).

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Mountain Straight, Mount Panorama
Online

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Step back in time
Pick up a free map and take yourself on a walk through Bathurst’s past. The streets of Bathurst are lined with impressive buildings, impressive monuments and gorgeous parks that reflect the history of the city. Particular buildings of note include the Bathurst Court House, built in 1880, and the Bathurst Railway Station (pictured above, circa 1875) with its historic Chifley Engine is on display.
Bathurst Information Visitors Centre, 1 Kendall Ave, Bathurst

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Bathurst Regional Art Gallery (BRAG)
A modern, highly celebrated regional gallery with free entry, specialising in contemporary art. If you’re visiting over the school holidays, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery runs hands-on workshops for kids in conjunction with the Bathurst City Library.
70–78 Keppel St, Bathurst
Online

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum
Get an up close look at the natural history of Earth. Almost 2000 fossil and mineral specimens are displayed in two exhibitions – the MasterFoods Fossil Gallery and the Minerals Gallery. On show are rare mineral specimens and even a few dinosaurs and fossilized eggs.
224 Howick St, Bathurst
Online

Play outside
Take kids to the Adventure Playground, a state-of-the-art outdoor play space designed for children of all-abilities. Featuring dinosaur statues and footprints, a dual flying fox, slides, a maze and sandpit, you’ll find it hard to drag the kids away.
Victoria Park, on the corner of Durham and Hope Street

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

The Begonia House and Machattie Park
This council-owned and operated greenhouse is a perfect example of the town’s pride in it’s appearance and culture. Begonia House is filled with stunning begonia flowers between February and April (9am-4pm weekdays, 11am-3pm weekends).

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Begonia House is situated in beautiful Machattie Park park which has a fair amount of pretty flowers itself, plus a fountain and arbour. Its history is more gruesome – it used to be the site of the old city gaol and executions took place where the beautiful greenery now lies.
Machattie Park on the corner of William and Keppel Streets 


Where to eat

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Legall Patisserie Cafe
A little slice of France in regional Australia. Legall is owned and run by Frenchman Phillippe Le Gall, and is renowned for its macarons, éclairs, fruit tartlets and freshly baked bread.
56 Keppel St, Bathurst
Online

The Hub Espresso, Bar & Eatery
Serving up modern cafe food with a twist, The Hub is a favourite with locals and visitors alike. The Hub has won Best breakfast Cafe in Australia in the Restaurant & Catering Awards several years in a row.
52 Keppel St, Bathurst
Online

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Church Bar & Woodfired Pizza
Housed inside an old Anglican Church School, Church Bar serves up delicious pizza with a dash of old-world charm.
1 Ribbon Gang Ln, Bathurst 
Online

Annies Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlour
Serving up fresh, homemade ice cream in an old fashioned 1950s-style milk bar. Try their local specialty, the Sofala Gold.
82/86 George St, Bathurst 
Online

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

The George Hotel
A family-friendly gastro pub offering a seasonal menu made from local produce.
201 George St, Bathurst
Online

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW

Where to stay
I stayed at Bishop’s Court Estate, a Victorian mansion built in 1870 by Australia’s first Anglican Bishop, Samuel Marsden. Interior designer Christine Le Fevre bought the mansion in 2001, restored it to its current magnificent state and turned it into an award-winning, luxury boutique hotel. Guests arrive at Bishop’s Court Estate as strangers and leave as friends, thanks to the warm welcome given by owner Le Fevre, her cuddly cats and “spice girls”, the much-pampered chickens who live a life of luxury while providing guests with eggs for brekkie. Get more info on my stay here.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW

Bishop’s Court Estate, 226 Seymour St, Bathurst NSW
Online

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Getting around
I toured Bathurst with the wonderful Ian, owner of Bathurst Tours. I can highly recommend him for any of your touring needs! If you are self-driving, Bathurst is an easy town to drive around.

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW
Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Thanks to Mayfield Gardens, Destination NSW, Bathurst Tours, Bishop’s Court Estate and Bathurst Council for hosting my wonderful Bathurst stay.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

High Tea and History at the Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, Australia

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

The Hydro Majestic Hotel Medlow Bath in the Blue Mountains is one of Australia’s most iconic hotels. Perched atop an escarpment overlooking the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park, a visit to the Hydro Majestic is a stylish experience filled with fascinating history, delicious food and plenty of relaxation.

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Stepping into the Hydro Majestic’s breathtaking Casino Lobby is akin to walking back in time to an age of opulence and elegance. The hotel opened its doors in 1904, built by retailing magnate Mark Foy who had an eye for detail and a flair for the dramatic. His “palace in the bush” is a beautiful tribute to a bygone age, with a creative mix of art deco, art nouveaux and gothic designs, and luxurious oriental furnishings.

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

The hotel has undergone a significant refurbishment. After being closed for six years, it reopened in 2014, returned to its former opulent glory.

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Blue Mountains Afternoon High Tea

High tea is served in the elegant Wintergarden, with panoramic views overlooking the Megalong Valley.

Choose from the traditional High Tea, Eastern High Tea or Gluten-Free High Tea, each served to the table on a three-tiered silver stand and including a range of tea and coffee.

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Traditional High Tea

A selection of pastries, scones, clotted cream, jam and your choice of tea or coffee.

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
Savouries
My vegetarian option included an egg sandwich, salad wraps, a small frittata and a goat’s curt tart. They were just delicious. Fresh ingredients, fluffy bread, and a copious amount, which I prefer with a high tea.

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Scones
Two scones per serving, one plain and one with fruit. The scones were excellent, large, fluffy and fresh, with a strong fruit jam that I suspect is locally made and right cream.

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Pastries
An array of desserts including maracons, chocolate squares, hedgehog slice, raspberry tart and fruit jelly (using a vegetarian alternative to gelatine). I was so full from the rest of the food I struggled to fit in all of the sweets, so save room! The sweets were perfectly bite sized and filled with vibrant flavours. Not only did they look gorgeous, they tasted delicious, too.

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

$55.00 per person (weekday) and $65.00 per person (Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday), Deluxe High Tea from $69.00 per person including a glass of Australian sparkling wine (weekday) and $79.00 per person including a glass of Australian sparkling wine (Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday), Luxurious High Tea from $75.00 per person including a glass of Pol Roger NV French Champagne (weekday) and $85.00 per person including a glass of Pol Roger NV French Champagne (Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday)

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Eastern High Tea

A selection of steamed eastern dumplings, crispy bbq duck spring roll, prawn and vegetarian rice paper roll, twice cooked pork belly and a selection of eastern and western desserts and your choice of tea or coffee.

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

$60.00 per person (weekday) and $70.00 per person (Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday). $69.00 per person with a flute of sparkling wine and $75.00 per person with a flute of Pol Roger NV Champagne (weekday). $79.00 per person with a flute of sparkling wine and $85.00 per person with a flute of Pol Roger NV Champagne (Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday)

Also on offer is a Kids High Tea
A selection of soldier sandwiches, sweet treats and pikelets with jam and cream and your choice of tea or hot chocolate $35.00 per person (3 – 12 years).

Beverages offered
Espresso, long black, flat white, cappuccino, café latte, chai latte, macchiato, mocha, hot chocolate

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Tea Selection
English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Green, Lemon and Ginger, Peppermint, Darjeeling, Chamomile, Oolong. Blossom Tea: For an additional $5 per pot, try a gorgeous blossom tea. Each blossom slowly unfurls into an elegant display when placed in warm water.

Vegetarian and gluten free options can be catered for at no additional cost, please advise any dietary requirements at the time of booking. 

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

History Tour

After a luxurious high tea, be sure to take a wander around the property and soak in its history. If you’re really keen on knowing more, I highly recommend the guided history tour. The tour begins in the Casino lobby with its iconic domed roof, then takes in the vibrant Salon Due Thé and Cat’s Alley, the stunning Majestic Ballroom and concludes in the Hydro Majestic Pavilion with its colour displays of Hydro’s historic past along with boutique and regional food and wine from the Blue Mountains and its regions.

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Tour Details
Cost: 10pp
Monday to Friday commencing at 11am and 3pm
Saturday and Sunday commencing at 10am, 11am, 3pm and 4pm.
Arrive 10 minutes prior to the commencement of the tour.
All tours run for approximately 30-45 minutes and start from the Casino Lobby and finish in the Hydro Majestic Pavilion
Bookings are essential

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

The Hydro Majestic
52-88 Great Western Hwy, Medlow Bath NSW
Phone: (02) 4782 6885
Afternoon High Tea Sittings: Mon – Fri 11.00am – 3.30pm, Sat – Sun 10.30am – 3.30pm
Reservations essential
Get Directions

I was hosted during my time at the Hydro Majestic. All opinion are my own.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!