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There's nothing new about Nordic interiors - blond timbers, concrete surfaces, warm, mid-century charm without the twee - and thank heavens for that. It's a style that augments the beauty of everything around it, in this case, gorgeous Hobart harbour, which makes up one whole wall. What is new here, however, is the food - by veterans of Garagistes, which once dazzled diners down the road, Vue de Monde in Melbourne and Gordon Ramsay worldwide. There's a strong Asian bent, but with Tasmanian ingredients. In fact, the kitchen's love of the local verges on obsessive - coconut milk in an aromatic fish curry is replaced with Tasmanian-grown fig leaf simmered in cream to mimic the flavour. Other standouts include a gutsy red-braised lamb with gai lan and chewy cassia spaetzle, pigs' ears zingy with Sichuan pepper and a fresh, springy berry dessert. While the food is sourced locally, the generous wine list spans the planet. 

Secret Tuscany

A far cry from Tuscany’s familiar gently rolling hills, Monte Argentario’s appealing mix of mountain, ocean, island and lagoon makes it one of Italy’s hidden treasures, writes Emiko Davies.

Farro recipes

Farro can be used in almost any dish, from a robust salad to accompany hearty beer-glazed beef short ribs to a new take on risotto with mushrooms, leek and parmesan. Here are 14 ways with this versatile grain.

Moon Park to open Paper Bird in Potts Point

No, it’s not a pop-up. The team behind Sydney’s Moon Park is back with an all-day east-Asian eatery.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

Grilled apricot salad with jamon and Manchego

Here we've scorched apricots on the grill and served them with torn jamon, shaved Manchego and peppery rocket leaves. Think of it as a twist on the good old melon-prosciutto routine. The mixture would also be great served on charred sourdough.

Discovering Macedonia

Like its oft-disputed name, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia defies simple definition but its rich diversity extends from the dinner table to the welcoming locals, writes Richard Cooke.


Prepare to enter a picture of the countryside framed by note-perfect Australiana but painted in bold, elegant and unsentimental strokes. Over 10 or more courses, Dan Hunter celebrates his region with dishes that are formally daring (Crunchy prawn heads! Creamy oyster soft-serve! Sea urchin and chicory bread pudding!), yet rich in flavour and substance. The menu could benefit from an edit, but the plates are tightly composed - and what could you cut? Certainly not the limpid broth bathing fronds of abalone and calamari, nor the clever arrangement of lobster played off against charred waxy fingerlings under a swatch of milk skin. The adventure is significantly the richer for the cool gloss of the dining room, some of the most engaging service in the nation and wine pairings that roam with an easy-going confidence. Maturing and relaxing without surrendering a drop of its ambition, Brae is more compelling than ever.

Long-haul flights from Australia have rarely been so cheap

American Airlines

American Airlines

Increased competition, low fuel prices and next-gen technology mean international flights from Australia have even further to fall.

A thousand dollars gets Australian travellers a long way at the moment, and the bargains are set to continue next year as airlines and flyers share a rare alignment of good fortune.

Jet-fuel prices have halved since 2014, delivering windfall savings to airlines, cutting as much as 20 per cent from the operating cost of every seat. At the same time, intensifying competition between carriers on routes between Australasia and the United States and Europe has brought rarely seen bargains to long-haul flyers.

Airlines are also beginning to bank dividends on investments made nearly a decade ago in next-generation fuel-efficient technology and aircraft. Boeing's 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350, for example, are flying long-haul routes with the same per-seat cost efficiency of the much larger Boeing 747 workhorses they are replacing. The advent of the Dreamliner, in particular, has been a key factor in the flurry of new competition on trans-Pacific routes to the US.

The latest wave of bargains between Australia and the US began a year ago when American Airlines launched a daily Boeing 777-300ER service between Sydney and Los Angeles. Rather than battle its codeshare partner, Qantas withdrew a daily 747 return flight from the Sydney to Los Angeles route and reactivated its Sydney to San Francisco service, which it abandoned in 2011 when it decided to focus on its then-new west coast bypass from Sydney to Dallas.

Related: The world's most beautiful airports

Nevertheless, the new American Airlines LAX flights flattened fares on Australia to US routes by boosting the number of daily one-way seats linking the two countries by about 110,000 a year (around 10 per cent). United Airlines also resumed direct flights between Melbourne and Los Angeles and has launched Auckland to San Francisco direct flights, while American Airlines has launched a daily Auckland to Los Angeles service - all with Dreamliners.

The trans-Pacific competitive landscape has been redrawn in the past 10 years. A decade ago, Qantas and Air New Zealand were the only rivals to a crippled United Airlines, which was technically bankrupt as a result of the travel recession triggered by the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Back then, return fares from Australia to the US west coast hovered around $2,000, and there was little change from $3,000 for flights to the US east coast.

All that changed in 2008 when Virgin Australia, using a subsidiary then named V Australia, won the right to compete with Qantas and United on Australia to US routes with its new Boeing 777-300ERs. V Australia and its future partner Delta Airlines launched Sydney to Los Angeles routes in 2009.

The glut of seats was a bonanza for travellers. Australia to US return fares from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane plummeted to below $900.

By 2014, the market had digested the competition and fares edged back to $1,400 to $1,600. With a flurry of new competition this year and more than 200,000 extra Australia-US return seats to fill, bargains as low as $900 have returned.

For the first time, however, fares to the US east coast are also being discounted heavily. Return fares from Australian gateways to New York for about $1,050 have been advertised recently by Australia's biggest travel retailer, Flight Centre.

There are eight airlines flying direct routes to the US - four American carriers (Delta, United, American, Hawaiian) and four Australasian (Qantas, Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand and Jetstar) - and competition is furious at both ends of their planes as they seek to attract the corporate flyers who represent their future profits.

In the past two years there have been business-class revamps by Virgin Australia, Qantas, Air New Zealand, American and Hawaiian; United and Delta have announced that business-class makeovers are on the way.

The cheapest fares between Australia and Europe, meanwhile, stuck for years at $1,500 to $1,800 return, have plunged in the past six months to just above $1,000 return - and that's on full-service airlines.

That's not much more than the bargain-basement $800 return flights offered soon after the global financial crisis by no-frills AirAsia X from Australia to Paris and London; they were abandoned in 2012.

Competition among low-cost carriers from Australia to Europe is set to intensify next year. Singapore's Scoot Airlines will fly Dreamliners to Athens and another as-yet-unannounced European city in 2017; and AirAsia X has announced it will begin flying the first of a new fleet of Airbus A330neo airliners ("neo" stands for new engine option) to London in 2018.

Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

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Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

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2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

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