Travel, Food & Wine

Mercedes-Benz appreciating experiences that inspire and delight.

The world is diverse, colourful and flavourful. As a brand we savour innovation, whether it’s on the road, in the air or at the dining table. Innovation is also at the heart of modern cuisine and fine wine – savouring the new, experiencing the unique and letting your sense guide you in unexpected directions. Like travel, those who make their way to their destination by car experience stories on the way that otherwise would have remained hidden. This is how a Mercedes-Benz becomes a kind of home on the way. Along the route, special places inspire drivers. Whether it’s a new model or a classic, a Mercedes-Benz reliably guides its passengers to the remotest places and makes the road trip a wonderful, unforgettable event.


Partnerships


Partnerships

Mercedes-Benz x Mt Buller

Mercedes-Benz x Mt Buller

Mercedes-Benz x Mt Buller

Mercedes-Benz will continue to partner with Mt Buller in 2019

Mercedes-Benz will continue to partner with Mt Buller in 2019

Stories


Indulge and unwind on the Mornington Peninsula 

September 2019

Switch on your out-of-office, turn your phone to silent and give yourself permission to indulge in a weekend on Victoria’s picturesque Mornington Peninsula.

Stories


Indulge and unwind on the Mornington Peninsula 

September 2019

Switch on your out-of-office, turn your phone to silent and give yourself permission to indulge in a weekend on Victoria’s picturesque Mornington Peninsula.

Picnic by the vines at Montalto in summer

The expression ‘treat yo self’ will become somewhat of a mantra during a weekend away on the Mornington Peninsula – where a justification for enjoyment is not required. The easy one-and-a-half-hour drive from Melbourne’s CBD alone will help you shed the shackles of the week, preparing you for rest, relaxation and replenishment.

 

Replenish

 

A light lunch at Tucks, in Red Hill, should be the first stop on your weekend itinerary. Sit overlooking the vineyards and olive groves of neighbouring Montalto winery and sample the produce grown just a stone’s throw from your relaxed position. A bowl of flavoursome estate olives, followed by crunchy rustic house bread, with dukkah and home-grown olive oil for dipping, will pair with a Tucks NOW Pinot Noir 2017 or a lighter Tucks Savagnin 2018.

 

If an indulgent lunch is on the cards, then Montalto Restaurant is a clear winner. Floor-to-ceiling windows bathe the refined country-style interior in sunlight on a clear day or provide a moody backdrop to a rainy afternoon. Prepare to (reluctantly) share the à la carte menu or book in for a Taste of Estate menu, which will take you on a culinary tour of the winery and garden. The Sher 9+ wagyu striploin and cheek is a standout on the menu, and a dessert of sesame parfait with orange and praline will be the much-anticipated encore to your meal.

 

While no special occasion is necessary, a visit to Jackalope’s Doot Doot Doot will certainly gain you brownie points for an anniversary of some sort. Treat your tastebuds to a dinner reservation and experience the expertly curated five-course tasting menu. Matched wines or non-alcoholic pairings from a mix of local and international locations are a necessary accompaniment for dilettantes of food and drink.

Jackalope Architecture

Rest

 

Allow the worries of your week to slip out of reach as soon as you check into Jackalope Hotel. The sleek exterior of this five-star accommodation seamlessly continues through to the modern interior, which is chic without being showy.

 

The generously sized rooms have either a car park or winery outlook (it’s worth spending a little extra on the winery views) and the magnificent black bath will convert even the most devout shower fans.

 

The nightly turn-down service is a small touch that adds distinct luxury to the experience – look out for the complimentary toiletry gift and illustrated weather card each evening.

 

It’s the thoughtful details that make the stay particularly personal – from the welcome drink at the downstairs bar to the complimentary breakfast at Doot Doot Doot.

Jackalope Flaggerdoot Bar

Refill

 

The cool climate of the region makes it ideal for wine growing (and snuggling in front of a fire) and the focus for most vineyards has been on pinot noir, a wine that Montalto does particularly well.

 

For those planning ahead, the Perfect Pairing experience gets you a seat at the high table overlooking the vineyard in Montalto’s Wine Room; sip the range of wines that have been perfectly paired, as the name suggests, with bite-sized canapes. If you’re travelling during the summer months a picnic experience (prepared by the restaurant and set up for you on the day) at one of the 10 sites is a definite addition to the bucket list.

 

Drinks with a side of lunch at Rare Hare, overlooking the rolling green of the Willow Creek vineyard, is another must-stop. Long wooden communal tables allow for big dining parties and the chance to turn to your neighbour and gush about how delicious the food and wine is.

 

Stop by the cellar door for a tasting of Rare Hare or Willow Creek wines and make sure you allow enough baggage to take home a few bottles. The standout dishes on the share menu are the starter of sardines on toast with preserved lemon and the staples of roasted parsnip with feta, macadamia and fried sage and the lamb rump with freekeh, eggplant relish and hummus. Plus the woodfired chocolate cookie is an absolute must for dessert.

Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs

Recharge

 

Walk or ride the Red Hill Rail Trail for an easy 6.5km stroll that will take you from near the Red Hill Cellar and Pantry to the coastal hamlet of Merricks. You’ll find many swimming and surfing beaches all over the peninsula, but if you’re on the search for some beach walks then head to Point Nepean National Park.

 

Relaxation will be a must for your weekend away and a few hours of soaking at the Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs won’t go astray. Make sure to pre-book as it can get busy over the weekend.

 

If you’re wanting a more secluded pampering session then the spa at Jackalope Hotel will, as the tagline suggests, steer your overstimulated mind to a better place.

Words Georgia Lejeune

* Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific Pty Ltd at all times promotes the responsible service and consumption of alcohol.

Stories


Escape to a private island in Vanuatu 

September 2019

Stories


Escape to a private island in Vanuatu 

September 2019

Ratua Island

Images: Ratua Island Resort.

An island caretaker guides us and our three young horses out into the sapphire blue waters of Ratua. We’re traversing a spec of palm tree-covered land in the north of the Vanuatu archipelago, barely a square kilometre and almost impossible to see on Google Earth.

 

In a little under 10 minutes we go from riding across Ratua’s hot white sand to slipping gently into the sea. As we slide off each horse’s back, we hold on tightly to their manes and almost instinctively they start gliding through the water in a way that feels strangely natural.

Ratua Island Resort and Spa

Images: Ratua Island Resort.

Ratua Island Resort and Spa is an exclusive luxury getaway that’s wedged between the twin islands of Malo and Aore off the south-east coast of Espiritu Santo (Vanuatu’s largest island).

 

We arrive into Santo’s capital Luganville on a steamy, humid morning and make a beeline for Ratua’s private dock before we’re whipped off the busy mainland in a hurry. The island’s team has us transferring seamlessly, but it’s the 35-minute boat trip that heightens the sense of remoteness.

 

The resort is made up of just 15 hand-crafted Javanese teak villas, each dotted around the shoreline as if they were washed ashore like driftwood.

 

There’s an indescribable barefoot luxury about Ratua that makes you feel as if you’ve been shipwrecked on a deserted island, but at the same time you’re comfortably at home. The uniquely designed villas are a big part of this and while the floors might be uneven and the windows don’t close properly, that’s part of the allure. Perfectly imperfect and effortlessly beautiful.

 

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served around the resort’s comfortable central village, while a well-appointed deck with undercover lounging areas help to establish a community feel amongst a maximum of just 38 other guests.

 

Fresh local produce is sourced from the island and when you speak to staff or management, they all take pride in their commitment to sustainability. Often, you’ll find them foraging in the huge organic garden as roaming goats, pigs and cattle are reared on the island and prepared in the daily menus.

 

A no-plastic policy also ensures you leave a gentle environmental footprint during your visit.

 

“By coming to this island you become part of a noble endeavour. Thank you for choosing to be here,” Ratua’s general manager Wilber ‘Bong’ Sariment says as the Ratua string band serenades us at sunset.

 

Bong tells us about French philanthropist and winemaker Mark Henon, who originally founded Ratua as a private resort back in 2005. A big part of his endeavour was to also give back to the local ni-Vanuatu. As such, proceeds from the resort still go to funding their local education charity, the Ratua Foundation.

 

But sometimes to truly experience the magic of a place you need to look back on it from a distance.

 

At Ratua, you can do this by lying beneath the shuttered windows of its world class spa, which extends out into the sea like a giant finger gesturing you in for a massage. Or ponder your surroundings as you cruise back to the shoreline from a private kayaking discovery tour of the nearby Malo Island blue hole.

 

Forget clean lines, chlorine pools and air-conditioned hotel rooms. Ratua is a place that redefines what we know of luxury. It’s Pacific island perfection right on our doorstep.

Words Jeremy Drake

Stories


The isles at the end of the earth

September 2019

Stories


The isles at the end of the earth

September 2019

THE FAROES. From above

Image: Benjamin Hardman/visitfaroeislands.com

Even from the air, the Faroe Islands’ distinctive natural beauty is palpable. Green, undulating, unblemished and rising sharply out of the sea, the land that suddenly unfurls below makes for an arresting sight. It’s only a two-hour plane ride from Copenhagen to this bleakly beautiful archipelago, but it feels as if the Faroes perch at the edge of the world. And stealing peeks at the surreal terrain through breaks in the fleecy white cloud will validate your decision to visit before you’ve touched down.   

 

An obscure constellation of 18 volcanic isles stranded in the North Atlantic, the Faroe Islands are located some 320 kilometres north of Scotland. While tourism here has increased exponentially over the last five years, it's still very much in its infancy. Around 100,000 visitors hit these shores last year – a fraction of the two million-plus that neighbour Iceland received in 2017. But that’s not because the Faroes are hard to reach. Not only is there the popular route from Copenhagen, but there are also direct flights from Edinburgh, Paris, Barcelona, Reykjavik and more with national carrier Atlantic Airways. And with weekly direct flights set to launch from New York City in late 2019, the number of visitors looks set to boom.

While this rugged and mountainous territory officially falls under the jurisdiction of Denmark, really it’s ruled by the elements. Here, the weather is so fickle that locals call it ‘The Land of Maybe’. Not a single native tree grows, the ocean is never more than five kilometres away, and come summer, the midnight sun reigns supreme.

Puffin in the wild

Image: Valentin & Roman

Though the wind-whipped landscape of fjords, lakes, sea cliffs and waterfalls is barren, wildlife can still be found. Sheep outnumber people 70,000 to 50,000, and the country’s very name derives from the old Norse Færeyjar, which literally means ‘Sheep Islands’. Some 300 different bird species have been recorded here too; the resident colonies of puffins, gannets and European storm petrels are so vast that the islands have become something of a mecca among birders. And in the frigid waters around the Faroes grey seals, orcas and long-finned pilot whales can also be found, gorging on the abundant local seafood.

 

While there are copious ways to explore these islands, from hiking and diving to sailing, sea kayaking, speed-boating, rappelling, cliff jumping and even surfing, another, less active form of adventure has become increasingly popular among intrepid visitors: eating. Typical Faroese dishes lie at the very frontiers of what the average western palate would consider edible. Skerpikjøt, a type of wind-dried mutton, has arguably become the island’s national dish; roasted puffin has long been found on dinner tables; and whale meat and blubber still confront restaurant diners.

KOKS restaurant

As of February 2019, the Faroe Islands have become home to two-Michelin-starred restaurant Koks, which is perhaps the biggest champion of traditional Faroese food. “We have a big menu [that allows us] to balance between challenging and pleasing people,” explains head chef Poul Andrias Ziska of the restaurant’s concept. “I don’t want all our dishes to be flavours that are strange and birds that people haven’t heard of. We want guests to experience what the Faroe Islands have to offer in terms of raw materials.”

 

Getting around and where to stay: Hiring a car is the easiest way to travel around the islands, the majority of which are connected by undersea tunnels. A few islands can only be accessed via ferry.

 

Most hotels are based in the Faroese capital, Torshavn, though guesthouses can be found throughout the islands. Havgrim Seaside Hotel 1948 is arguably the best option in the city, and the only true boutique hotel among all the islands.

Words Chloe Cann