If you’re in need of a holiday your next getaway may be closer than you think. Bathed in warm sunshine and cool breeze, the Ocean Road TV crew skimmed by the Gold Coast Broadwater and the million dollar mansions of Sovereign Island before reaching our filming destination at Couran Cove. Although we were just minutes from the hustle and bustle of the Gold Coast’s Surfers Paradise, we felt a million miles away in the peaceful seclusion of Stradbroke Island. Native wildlife, heritage listed rainforest, amazing surf breaks and Australian architecture are combined harmoniously to create the perfect getaway for a broad audience. Upon arrival we were met with many friendly staff of the island who seated us at a table overlooking the marina. An acai and muesli combo was my pick on the menu for breakfast that morning, aware the day was bound to be action packed. Energetic resort CEO John Muntz, offered to give us a full island tour once our food settled. As we explored we soon learnt that this place is eco friendly, with many sustainability measures put in place to minimize their environmental footprint – We are a fan! After a stroll through the rainforest we found stark contrast in the environment once we reached the beach on the East side of the island. Perfect A-frame waves rolled in, and I felt frustrated that I was without a board and “working” on such a day. In order to unwind further, we stopped by at the Day Spa before indulging in a 6 course Degustation lunch. Helicopter and speedboat rides were the afternoon highlights just when I thought our day couldn’t get better. You’ll have to see the footage for yourself to understand how special this place is…
27 August 2014, we gathered at the iconic Brisbane City Hall in the heart of the CBD for the 9th Annual Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival.
Every year the event grows to accommodate more designers and retailers, creating a media frenzy and stimulating the local industry.
The place was buzzing with leggy models, fashion fans and of course the latest spring and summer trends.
Fortunately, I was able to go back stage to see Lisa Browns newest range with my own eyes and to chat with her about her design transition from creation to catwalk.
We were seated in block A, front row with what was arguably the best view of the stage. We were blown away with the local talent, our favorite Australian designers and emerging artists.
Post show guests were invited to shop their favorite looks hot off the runway! A fantastic opportunity for designers and retailers to foster strong customer-business relations.
Polo is one of the oldest sports in the world, as it dates back at least 2,000 years. Today, more than 77 countries play polo. Once the game was primarily played by Royalty and later cavalry, today the sport has become more accessible and attracts a broader spectrum of society. Over recent years, the growth of the sport across the globe has been substantial, and in Australia, the sport is being embraced by young urban professionals captivated by the excitement and adrenaline of the sport. The 2014 Polo by the Sea fashion on the field and entertainment expectations were definitely met! The only downer on the day was the weather, as some guests questioned if it was polo or water polo! None the less, I would not miss this event if I were you, it’s definitely the highlight of my social calendar.
A DIFFERENT TAKE ON POLO DOWN UNDER-STYLE Source: www.xoprivate.com
It takes a healthy dose of Aussie flair to take something that could traditionally be seen as the elitist Sport of Kings and turn it into an extravaganza that introduces the sport of polo to a much wider audience, while promoting professional polo players and attracting new players to the game. Whereas some polo events, such as the Cartier Queen’s Cup, are steeped in tradition and predominantly attended by the aristocracy and wealthy upper class, Polo by the Sea however positions itself at the other end of the spectrum by bringing us a typical ‘Hamptons vibe’. Introducing a casual front row beer garden dubbed the ‘Polo Lounge’ with live music and DJs, the popular ‘Fashion in the Field’ contest, swimwear fashion parades and bare-chested male therapists for complimentary shoulder massages, this definitely isn’t your typical polo event. Opulence, glamour and stylish entertainment are still perfectly executed though with seaplane transfers, front row VIP tables, designer briefed social photographers and a plethora of sponsors who are keen to partner up with this unique polo frenzy where the competitors mingle with the crowd.
Polo by the Sea actually is the sister event to the award winning Polo in the City, which is the brainchild of Ruki Baillieu (professional polo player) and Janek Gazecki (amateur polo player, polo journalist and former lawyer). They established Polo Enterprise Australia Pty Limited (PEA) back in 2005 and since its inception PEA has managed to significantly increase polo club membership across the country, while creating effective marketing platforms for performance and premium brands, as well as unique corporate entertainment opportunities. Not only is its Polo in the City flagship series considered as one of the best events of the year by many media outlets, but it was actually awarded ‘Best State Event’ at the 2013 Australian Event Awards. That same year Polo by the Sea was first staged on the Gold Coast’s Main Beach, with the Palm Beach edition following in the gallop in January 2015, adding a competitive dimension by also creating rivalling teams in the process.
Both Polo by the Sea events are perfectly located with the upcoming Gold Coast fixture being based at Doug Jennings Park which lies at the North end of the Spit at Main Beach Surfers Paradise. As you turn onto the Spit, the first glimpse of the yachts on the water sets the scene for a glamorous and memorable day out.
Ruki Baillieu and Janek Gazecki have managed to create an extremely successful and engaging spectator sports’ event that is also proving to be very popular with a younger audience. With the ponies going at speeds of up to 60 kilometres per hour and being capable of stopping and turning on the proverbial sixpence, the crowds are guaranteed some seriously intense and extreme action. Visitors are often surprised and impressed when they first experience the fast-paced exhilarating game that polo actually is.
Where Polo by the Sea – and Polo in the City for that matter – are truly unique is in the way that spectators are constantly engaged not only by stomping the divots at half time, but also by being able to mingle and chat with the competitors or to go out on the field to pat the horses, which offers a refreshingly appealing experience when compared to most other sports. It is no wonder then that PEA’s events are quickly becoming part of Australia’s social calendar, attracting A-listers, celebrities and even royalty, in turn adding to the polo crowd watching appeal of this increasingly popular ‘spectator sport’.
With high hopes to see the best of Bali in a short time frame, my sister Bianca and I decided to hire a taxi driver for the day. Our drivers name was Gede (Pronounced G’day an easy to remember Aussie greeting), but we affectionately referred to our new friend as ‘Wildcat’ for his contagious positivity and Cheshire cat smile. Nothing was a problem for Wildcat. We believe we found a rare companion in our driver as he was a confident, knowledgeable speaker, fluent in English, Japanese and Indonesian. Wildcat’s services cost 600,000 rupiah (approximately $60AU), which covered the use of a 4WD (to fit my surfboard), fuel, our own personal photographer and tour guide. That day we traveled an impressive distance visiting many well-known attractions including sacred temples, Ubud (adored by many yogis), Gitgit Waterfall, Hot Springs, Mt. Agung, and Lavina Dolphin Hotel (I’ll tell you later why this last activity was not a highlight after all). If you’re time poor on your trip definitely consider a driver service for the day!
As a gift to our friend Wildcat – here is his number HP: 6281 338 705 424 – if you ever need an amazing driver to look after you.
Gitgit Waterfall is one of the famous tourist destinations in North Bali which is located in Gitgit countryside, in the Sukasada sub district about 70 Km from Denpasar Airport. Earlier that week I sighted the waterfall on a girlfriends Instagram and was determined to see it for myself. To my delight it was even better than expected. It cost 20,000 rupiah ($2.00AU) to view the natural attraction. You’ll be in awe at the sheer size of the falls and the incredible energy which vibrates through the lush valley.
Banjar Hot Springs, locally referred to as ‘Air Panas Banjar’, are located approximately 5km southwest from the Lovina coast in North Bali. It was a hot, muggy July day in tropical Bali when we saw the Holy Hot Springs! Perhaps a bit too warm for the Holy Hot Springs, but regardless it was interesting to see this attraction. I’d recommend visiting this place in winter!
It was confronting to step out into the crisp air of Mt. Agung’s altitude. That same day we had enjoyed the warm tropical weather elsewhere are were not dressed appropriately for the cooler climate – take a jumper! Next time I’d love to hike the mountain in the wee hours of the morning to catch a glimpse from the top at sunrise. One of my friends said she enjoyed the experience, but I was shocked to learn she watched as locals retrieved the body of a European tourist who had fallen into the center of the volcano 2 days prior. If that doesn’t get your heart racing, I’m not sure what will…
Melka Excelsior Dolphin Hotel
Most girls would agree that at some point in their childhood they have dreamt of swimming with dolphins. Well on this day I was able to do just that… and at first I was beyond excited. When I heard that there was an opportunity to swim with dolphins I had envisaged wild dolphins lapping the shores freely at feeding time, but what I found was very disturbing. Melka Excelsior Hotel Resort is the first hotel in the world with dolphins in their pools for swimming and hopefully the last. At reception we were told the experience cost 150,000 rupiah (or $150.00AU) for 15 minutes in the water. We said that we wanted to see the dolphins before paying for the animal encounter as we were unsure of the experience conditions. Begrudgingly, staff escorted us through the resort to a tiny salt water swimming pool where one lonely, lifeless dolphin was trapped. The intelligent creature struggled to acknowledge our presence and genuinely looked distressed. The murky lime green water appeared unhygienic for swimming let alone to house such a stunning animal. I felt sick being there, and refuse to support such unhealthy animal captivity. Anyone who visits such a hotel is encouraging such sad exploitation.