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Lifestyle : Short Spring Breaks
1HERSA1 U002 iG5398521AA-160912 Great weekend, mid week, family & couples packages available. Less than 3 hrs north of Sydney on beautiful Boomerang Beach. www.mobysretreat.com.au 1800 655 322 RE AL A A I G G DB E HAVE M ME T THAT PEAK HELL Take time off, travel and save 20% off hotel rooms and dining for those treasured moments Book from now till 26 eptember and enjoy 20% off rooms and dining at Hilton ydney Get more out of your travels and spend quality time with the family B a a ©2012 Hilton orldwide Book between August 8, 2012 and eptember 26, 2012 and stay at Hilton ydney between August 13, 2012 and December 31, 2012 ubject to availability Fu - fu a a qu a f k Mu k a a f a a a f a a S a Discount is 20% off Best Available Rate and total food and beverage bill at participating outlets in the specific properties Blackout dates may apply and vary by property Food and beverage discount may not be used in conjunction with any other food and beverage discount, promotion or offer Additional restrictions apply; for full terms and conditions, please visit HH 488 George treet I ydney I 2000 I Australia TA HILT G EVER HERE SPRING BREAKS SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2012 THE SUN HERALD 2 Special report Show of petal powe Winter is over at last and Katrina Lobley rediscovers the sunshine on adventures not far from home. BLUE MOUNTAINS Spring highlights The region's cool-climate, English- style gardens look their most glorious over the next three months. Eleven of the best, including the National Trust property Everglades, will swing open their gates for the 2012 Leura Gardens Festival (September 29-October 7, leuragardensfestival.com). This year, the festival includes new events such as a family twilight ramble around Leura Golf Club on October 7 -- the first day of daylight saving. This weekend, Everglades starts selling picnics that include pate, pork pies and strawberries for visitors to enjoy on a blanket somewhere in the stunning 1930s-era grounds (everglades.org.au). The Blackheath Rhododendron Festival (October 19-November 25, rhodofestival.com.au) gives the flower its own moment in the spotlight. Where to stay Stay in high style at Lilianfels or the more intimate adjoining property, Echoes, in Katoomba overlooking the spectacular Jamison Valley. Midweek stays including dinner start from $550 a room at Lilianfels and from $595 a room at Echoes. luxurycollection.com/lilianfels, luxurycollection.com/echoes. As part of a $10 million revamp, Leura's Fairmont Resort MGallery has opened a 128-seat auditorium. The operatic burlesque show The Carnival plays Friday nights throughout spring. Accommodation-show packages from $199. fairmontresort.com.au. Catch kangaroos grazing at dusk by pitching a tent at Euroka near Glenbrook in the lower mountains; vehicle day pass $7, camping $10 an adult and $5 a child a night. environment.nsw.gov.au. Driving Katoomba is 100 kilometres, or about two hours' drive, from Sydney. More info visitbluemountains.com.au. HUNTER VALLEY Spring highlights While grape-growers keep a watchful eye on early bud bursts, visitors can enjoy quaffing the fruits of seasons past (the region's semillon is considered the benchmark for the varietal). Fine food and wine will be on the radar for most people visiting the region, which is home to more than 150 wineries, but Hunter Valley Gardens (hvg.com.au) at Pokolbin is also worth a detour. After the Spring Festival of Flowers wraps on September 30, the gardens will celebrate its ninth birthday from October 6 to 7 with pony rides, face painting and birthday cake, and then ready itself for the Rose Spectacular (October 15-November 18) when 2 million blooms put on quite the show. Where to stay Three of Spicers Vineyards Estate's eight suites offer views across grapevines to the striking Brokenback Ranges; ground-floor suites have french doors opening to a verandah. All suites come with a bottle of bubbles. A midweek stay starts at $395 a night. spicersgroup.com.au. Famed for its warm hospitality, Splinters Guesthouse has a pool and practice putting green. From $180 a night midweek. splinters.com.au. Staying at the Willow Tree Inn (from $105 a night midweek) puts you within drooling distance of the in- house Graze Restaurant, famed for its dry-aged Black Angus bred in paddocks just two kilometres away. Willow Tree is about 160 kilometres from Pokolbin in the Upper Hunter. grazewillowtree.com.au. Driving Pokolbin is 160 kilometres, or about two hours, 20 minutes' drive, from Sydney. More info winecountry.com.au. CENTRAL WEST Spring highlights The Mudgee Wine & Food Festival (mudgeewine.com.au) continues throughout September: catch winemaker David Lowe's mini-wine school (September 19 and 26), where students are encouraged to express their own feelings during a blind tasting of flights of red and white wines. The Mudgee business district will also host a street festival and night markets next Saturday that showcase regional flavours. Or raise a glass to
Taste of Asia 2012
Party Planning 2012