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Monday 30 April 2018

Henschke to mark 150th anniversary with new icon shiraz

Henschke, one of Australia's most-storied winemakers, will commemorate 150 years of family winemaking with the launch of a new single-vineyard Eden Valley Shiraz to be known as The Wheelwright. 

The Wheelwright ($130) is a tribute to Henschke founder Johann Christian Henschke, the first-generation winemaker, a skilled stonemason and wheelwright.

The release coincides with the first commercial vintage in 1868 at Henschke's Eden Valley cellars. The family will mark this anniversary on September 3, 2018, with the launch of their world-renowned Henschke Hill of Grace 2013 and The Wheelwright 2015.

The 2013 vintage of Henschke Hill of Grace is one of the smaller vintages in recent years, from a dry year which delivered beautiful though tiny yields from the dry-grown, 153-year-old ‘Grandfather vines’ nurtured by viticulturist Prue Henschke.

From the Henschke Eden Valley vineyard on Cranes Range Road, The Wheelwright is crafted from low-yielding, ungrafted, biodynamically-grown shiraz grapes. At 50 years of age these vines, planted in 1968 by Johann Christian’s great-grandson and fourth-generation Henschke winemaker, Cyril, are designated Old Vine.

This vineyard, on ancient red-brown earths, is located at 500 metres and sits south of the highly regarded Henschke vineyards of Mount Edelstone and Hill of Grace, overlooking the village of Eden Valley.

The Wheelwright Shiraz was cool-fermented in open-top submerged cap fermenters for seven to 10 days on skins before being matured in 5% new and 95% seasoned (75% French, 25% American) oak hogsheads for 20 months prior to blending and bottling. 

The Henschke family says the 2015 vintage was an exceptional quality vintage in the Eden Valley. 

For more information visit the Henschke website at

Sunday 29 April 2018

First speed dating; now speed tasting

You've heard of speed dating - but how about speed wine tasting? 

Mitchell Harris Wines in Ballarat will host a showcase of the best of Western Victorian wines as part of the inaugural Plate Up Ballarat, a month-long food festival, next month. 

The evening is billed as “Speed Dating with Wine” and will allow each guest 10 minutes and two wines with each of the winemakers in attendance, along with a matching morsel of food. 

The night on May 16 is billed as Vino Veloce: "one of your most delicious two hours of the year". 

Local producers at this event will include Attwoods Wines, Amherst Winery, Summerfield Winery, Taltarni Vineyards, Blue Pyrenees Estate, Mount Langi Ghiran, Clarnette and Ludvigsen, Best's Wines and Mitchell Harris Wines

Tickets are $45 per person and Mitchell Harris is at Doveton St North, Ballarat. 

Saturday 28 April 2018

Overcrowded Venice to segregate tourists from locals

Visitors to Venice over the May Day long weekend will find themselves segregated from locals as the Italian city bids to cope with a growing influx of cruise ships and Airbnb guests.

The Daily Telegraph and other media have reported that Venice authorities are to employ unprecedented crowd control measures to separate tourists from locals during the busy bank holiday weekend ahead.

Tourists heading for landmarks such as St Mark's Square and the Rialto Bridge will be diverted to tourist-only routes, away from locals who have for years complained that their day-to-day lives are made a misery by the invasion of visitors. 

Certain areas will only be accessible to residents and regular visitors of the city (those with a Venezia Unica card).
Tourist numbers are expected to peak between on Tuesday, May 1, which is a public holiday in Italy and many other countries. Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said he has signed a decree which contains "urgent measures to guarantee public safety, security and livability in the historic city of Venice".
"The tourist flows heading to Rialto or San Marco will be directed on alternative routes," the city council said.

The measure is partly in response to this year's Easter long weekend, when Venice was inundated with even more tourists than usual and visitors had to wait for up to an hour to board the city's vaporetto water buses. 

Responsible Travel founder and CEO Justin Francis said the news of "over tourism" was sad. 

"How has this beautiful city ended up in this position?" he asked. "For decades tourism has been threatening Venice.

"They've found it impossible, or been unwilling, to confront the growth of tourists visiting from cruise ships or as Airbnb guests.

"The mentality has been one of 'growth at all costs', to the detriment of local people and the very soul and essence of the city. 

"It seems it's now official that Venice has been reduced to a theme park, with Disney crowd control enforced.

"Tourism is about bringing people together, locals and visitors, and when done properly, both parties should reap the benefits. It should never be about segregation. In my view, it's tragic that it has come to this." 

Venice has a population of 50,000 but receives 30 million tourists a year. 

Friday 27 April 2018

Bargain rooms for Sydney's Vivid Festival

Sydney hotel prices tend to go through the roof whenever Australia's biggest city hosts a major event or festival. 

With hundreds of thousands of visitors set to converge on the city for the Vivid Sydney Festival from  May 25-June 16, rooms will almost certainly be hard to come by.

Now in its 10th year, the festival of light, music and ideas will again draw massive crowds ( 

Metro Hotels & Apartments in Sydney are offering value packages at several of their properties for the duration of Vivid Sydney, starting from just $175 per night. 

Here's a selection: 

Metro Aspire Hotel Sydney: One night’s accommodation in a premium room, two for one breakfast, 20% off dinner in Gumtree Restaurant, glow bracelets and a bottle of wine on arrival from $199. 

Metro Apartments on Darling Harbour: Vivid Brilliance Package from $229 includes accommodation, a Vivid gift bag on arrival containing various glow items and a bottle of sparkling wine. 

Metro Apartments on King: Vivid Brilliance Package from $175 including accommodation, a Vivid gift bag on arrival containing various glow items and a bottle of sparkling wine. 

Metro Hotel Marlow Sydney Central (above): Vivid Sydney Hot Deal from $175. Package includes one night’s accommodation in a superior room and a Vivid gift bag on arrival containing a bottle of sparkling wine, chocolates and various Vivid glow items. 

Book online

Tasmanian boutique vodka shines on the world stage

It was just three years ago that Ryan Hartshorn launched his unique Sheep's Whey Vodka from the family sheep farm and cheesery tucked away in the deep south of Tasmania. 
This week that same innovative drink was named as the Best Vodka at the World Vodka Awards 2018 in London.

Hartshorn Distillery scored the top award (the very top gong) for its unfiltered sheep whey vodka at the awards - the first time an Australian distiller has won the trophy.
The judges said the vodka was "Sweet on the nose. Mild fruity notes, caramel and sweet buttery taste. Gentle spicy finish."
“It’s what I’ve always wanted to achieve; I just didn’t think it would happen this quickly,” Hartshorn told local media. 
The 33-year-old was named Tasmania’s 2017 Young Innovator of the Year for converting whey, a waste by-product from the family business, Grandvewe Cheeses, into vodka. 
Each bottle is hand painted - and a work of art. 
Sales of the spirit now outstrip those of cheese - a remarkable effort in three years - and another Tasmanian success story. 

Thursday 26 April 2018

Time to book for one of Australia's iconic gourmet festivals

For over a quarter of a century, the McLaren Vale Sea & Vines Festival has been one of Australia's premier wine and food events. 

And Sea & Vines is back in 2018 with 45 gourmet events across three days of the June long weekend.

The 2018 program includes brand new events as well as some returning favourites, including a tribute music festival, western-themed hoedown, food trucks, long-table degustations, a dog-friendly wine tasting and a day dedicated entirely to family fun. 

Woodstock Wines will celebrate two significant anniversaries this year - 45 years of winery operations and 30 years of the Coterie Restaurant.

"Woodstock has participated in the Sea & Vines Festival since its inception more than 25 year's ago," said communications manager Amber Kemp. 

"It’s an important annual event for us and for the region, so we are celebrating our anniversaries over the June long weekend with two days of peace, wine and music.

"Attendees will enjoy a celebration of the music from the most famous music festival of all time including Janice Joplin, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young & Creedence Clearwater Revival, as well as tasty food options and, of course, great wine."

McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association general manager Jennifer Lynch is eager to showcase the very best of McLaren Vale’s producers and the unique offering visitors can experience in the region year-round.

"The 1969 Woodstock Festival attracted more than 400,000 revellers - whilst we don't anticipate an audience of that size, we welcomed more than 20,000 in 2017 and are looking forward to delivering another successful festival weekend showcasing the best of our region's wine-tourism hospitality," she said.

For full details see: 

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Popular wine bar schedules pop-up tasting parties

Cumulus Up, part of the Andrew McConnell empire and one of Australia's best wine bars, is a launching monthly Saturday afternoon pop-up wine tasting parties in the Melbourne CBD.

The events, which will run from noon-4pm, are designed for wine lovers who do not have the time or inclination to get to regional wine centres. 

Cumulus Up, on Flinders Lane, aims to offer samplings of some of Australia’s most exciting and interesting varietals and vintages. 

The City Cellar Door season will run until October 2018 with one Saturday each month seeing Cumulus Up Wine Bar packed with winemakers and wine tasters - and entry to the afternoon tastings will be by gold coin donation. 

The tastings are aimed at providing "a full cellar door experience without leaving the city" and will feature winemakers who have developed a relationship with Cumulus Up over the years. 

The tastings will feature Victorian regions; and then Tasmania in October. 

A seasonal snack menu will also be available to complement the wine styles of the featured region. 

Upcoming regions to be featured are: May 5: Mornington Peninsula, June 2: Central Victoria, July 7: Gippsland, August 4: Yarra Valley, September 1: North-East Victoria. October 13: Tasmania.  

For full details phone (03) 9650 1445 or visit

Bargain prices on winter hotel breaks

Need a winter break? The Mantra Hotel group, one of the largest in Australia, will launch a one-week sale on Monday across the portfolio of Art Series, Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree properties.

The deals include locations across Australia, New Zealand, Bali and Hawaii (below) and prices start from under $100 per night at various retreats, hotels, resorts and apartments. 

Many of the deals are valid for travel up until December 14, but bookings must be made between April 30 and May 6 by visiting or calling the 24-hour Reservations Centre on 1300 987 603.

Here are some of the highlights:

Port Douglas: Mantra PortSea offers accommodation, a swim-up pool bar and a range of leisure facilities from $119 per night with a two-night minimum stay. 

Gold Coast: Mantra Legends Hotel in the heart of Surfers Paradise offers stays in twin rooms from $109 per night with a two-night minimum and includes a two-for-one seafood buffet dinner voucher.


Kingscliff: Mantra on Salt Beach rooms (below) start from $109 per night, including a dining voucher, free wifi and  parking. 

Sydney: The Mantra Hotel at Sydney Airport, within walking distance of the domestic terminal, has studio king rooms from $145 per night Friday to Sunday. 

Melbourne: Enjoy a city escape at Mantra on Jolimont in a one-bedroom apartment from $109 per night (Sunday to Thursday). Valid for travel from 1 May, 2018 until 14 December, 2018.


Adelaide: Located in Adelaide’s thriving West End, the heart of the city’s thriving arts, dining and entertainment precincts, BreakFree Adelaide has Studio Rooms from $99 per night including wifi. 


Christchurch: BreakFree on Cashel is centrally located within the Christchurch culture hub and offers urban double rooms from NZ$79 per night, including wifi and parking. 


Honolulu: Ala Moana Hotel by Mantra is next to the Ala Moana Shopping Centre and city mountain view rooms start from US$149 per night including breakfast. 

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Airline puts up easel in arrivals hall

A press release informs me that British Airways "is celebrating the happy news that the royal baby has landed safely".

In honour of the arrival of the baby boy, the airline put a replica of the royal easel in its arrivals hall at Heathrow Terminal 5 to share the happy news with customers who had just landed from their flights.

So there you go. If you need any more info contact the high-powered British Airways PR team.

Sunday 22 April 2018

A vineyard escape with a difference

Nashdale Lane vineyard outside Orange is a place to disconnect, to relax and immerse yourself in the great outdoors.

Guests can enjoy simple pleasures; sleeping in the vineyard; enjoying local produce and fine wine by the wood fire and enjoying the Central West New South Wales night sky. 

Glamping at family-owned Nashdale Lane, 10km outside the town of Orange, offers an outdoor experience without giving up any of the comforts expected of high-end accommodation.

The Nashdale Lane Glamping experience is nestled in an established vineyard (planted in 2000) at almost 900 metres above sea level. Each glamping cabin (for just two people) enjoys privacy, mountain air and views to Mount Canobolas. 

With hardwood flooring throughout, private luxurious toilet and bathroom facilities, kitchen, custom-made four-poster queen-sized bed and sunken outdoor lounge, each cabin also includes an al fresco deck and barbecue area. 

For full details see: 

Saturday 21 April 2018

Unique new Tasmanian drink combines cider and whisky flavours

Two of Tasmania's iconic drinks producers have combined to create a unique new cider released this week. 

Innovative cider producer Willie Smith’s has joined award-winning Sullivans Cove distillery for its latest limited-edition special release; a whisky-aged cider. 

The Huon Valley cidery has worked with Sullivans Cove using hand-selected barrels to develop a complex product it hopes will excite the taste buds of craft cider connoisseurs.

It is the first collaboration between Willie Smith’s and Sullivans Cove, which have both
enjoyed recent international success.

Sullivans Cove won big at the World Whiskies Awards, with the World’s Best Single Cask Single Malt Whisky for 2018.

Willie Smith’s was lauded at the International Cider Awards in Spain late last
year, with its 2017 special release, Somerset Redstreak, winning the best traditional English
cider at the awards.

Willie Smith’s Head Cider Maker Dr Tim Jones said the collaboration was extremely

“One of the great things about working in the Tasmanian craft industry is the opportunity to
work with other like-minded, innovative producers,” Jones said.

“In this case, the opportunity to work with Sullivans Cove was very much well received by
the team and we are very excited to be able to work with such an iconic Tasmanian whisky

The barrels used were American oak, ex-bourbon casks that matured whisky for at least years. 

“We aged the best of our dry cider in their whisky casks for 16 months," said Jones. "What that did was combine the flavour of Sullivans Cove whisky with that of our cider, producing a very complex and unique product."

The 2018 limited-edition Special Reserve Willie Smith’s Whisky-Aged Cider was officially
unveiled in Melbourne and retails for $50 a 750ml bottle. 

Sullivans Cove Whisky-Aged Cider is available at the home of Willie Smith’s, the Willie
Smith’s Apple Shed, 2064 Huon Highway, Grove, Tasmania, or selected outlets and restaurants Australia wide. 

It is also available to purchase online at www.williesmith’

Friday 20 April 2018

Hunter magician takes his show on the road

Andrew Thomas is a pretty engaging character and one of the finest exponents of semillon and shiraz in the Hunter Valley. 
Now the gregarious Thomas is taking his show on the road for a series of lunches and dinners during May to mark the official launch of Thomas Wines range of 2016 shirazes.

"While all our 2016 shirazes are looking outstanding, the very limited quantities and cult following of Kiss Shiraz will ensure that it will be the talk of these events," says the man known to all and sundry as Thommo. 
The tasting extravaganzas will feature 10 wines (including some back vintage Kiss - think 2006, and 2013 in magnum) paired with four courses prepared by talented chefs.
The Kiss and Tell Tour includes events in Melbourne, Brisbane, North Sydney, Sydney (sold out but they might put you on the wait list) and Pokolbin throughout May.

Thursday 19 April 2018

Tasmanian wine lovers to pay tribute to industry pioneer

Moorilla and Domaine A will on Sunday celebrate the enormous contribution Peter and Ruth Althaus have made to Tasmania’s wine industry over close to three decades. And wine lovers are welcome to attend.

Moorilla, owned by MONA entrepreneur David Walsh, announced its purchase of Domaine A/Stoney Vineyard in February and will host an open day as "a chance for old and new friends of Domaine A to come together".

The Domaine A and Moorilla teams have been working together since the acquisition was made official.

"It seems right that the legacies created by two Tasmanian wine pioneers are now in the careful and capable hands of the same custodian,” said Domaine A sales manager Lauren Sheppard. 

"It’s easy to see the differences in the two businesses, but it’s the similarities that will ensure a successful transition. They’re both forward-thinking brands, who have a history of showcasing the beauty and benefits of Tasmania, and all it has to offer, to the world."

And in some ways the two wineries have always worked together.

When Peter Althaus took over the reins at Domain A in 1990 he expanded the vineyard with cuttings from around Tasmania.

Part of Domaine A’s “D Block” started from cabernet cuttings from Moorilla.

“We recognise Domaine A/Stoney Vineyard as a cornerstone of quality Tasmanian winemaking and are delighted to now have it join our portfolio,” said Moorilla winemaker and general manager Conor van der Reest.

“Moorilla and Domaine A are both very much focused on making wines that truly show what Tasmania and our individual vineyards have to offer.

“We look forward to working with Peter and Ruth to make sure we protect the integrity of this brand that has such a loyal and well-deserved customer base.”

Retiring Domaine A winemaker Peter Althaus has been at the helm of the business for almost three decades.

“My retirement and the decision to sell the business was certainly not an easy one, but from many interested parties (both local and international) I am confident I have chosen the right organisation, winemaker and people to maintain my label’s integrities and qualities," he said.

“In keeping with my ethos of winemaking and business, this decision had very little to do with money! It was, most importantly, about feeling assured that the legacy I have built will be in the hands of the appropriate custodians.”

The Open Day on Sunday will run from 11am to 4pm at the Domaine A/Stoney Vineyard, 105 Tea Tree Road, Campania in the Coal River Valley. 

Wednesday 18 April 2018

A new Tasmanian drink - and it is not a wine or a whisky

Tasmania is known for having some of the clearest air and cleanest water in the world - hence the birth of Tasmanian Springs water. 

Tasmanian Springs is collected by Tasmanian Mountain Waters from a natural single source spring flowing to the surface at an amazing 33 million litres every day, providing consistent and balanced mineral content.

Bottled only with oxygen to sterilise, Tasmanian Springs adopts a chemical free policy so drinkers can be sure of a safe product, says distributor Damon Wecker.

The waters are available in 10-litre and 5-litre casks, as well as 750ml bottles, all designed by local Launceston company Walker Designs.

I liked the sparkling mineral water a lot, with its well-sized bubbles and refreshing minerally zestiness.  

For details, check out

Tuesday 17 April 2018

Swiss cities lay out red carpet for tourists

While countries like Japan and cities like Toronto have recently imposed extra taxes on visitors, sever of the major cities in Switzerland lay out a red carpet for tourists with free transport and entry to local attractions. 

Hotel bookings in a number of major Swiss cities come with complimentary local travel cards and maps - which can mean a serious saving. 

The city cards provide travellers with free access to not only each city’s public transportation network, including the buses, trains and boats; but in certain cities, experiential activities as well.

The delightful city of Bern
Here are five examples: 

Basel Card
Apart from unlimited access to the city’s public trains and buses, the Basel Card gives holders access to free wifii at 17 hotspots around the city; one ferry ride; and 50% off admissions to Basel Zoo, Theatre Basel, a two-hour sight-seeing bus, a walking tour of old town and scheduled river cruises.

Bern Ticket
This not only offers hotel guests free travel on city public transportation, but also airport transfers, rides on the Gurten Mountain Funicular, the funicular Marzilibahn and the elevator to the Minster terrace.

Lucerne Mobility Card
This card entitles hotel guests to free travel on the city’s trains and buses for the duration of their stay. 

Lausanne Transport Card
This allows holders up to 15 days of free travel while staying in any hotel in Lausanne. The card also grants holders discounts at selected shops, eateries, cinemas and theatres, nightclubs and museums. 
Montreux overlooks Lake Geneva 
Montreux Riviera Card
As well as free travel, this card offers holders a complimentary welcome drink at the Montreux-Vevey Tourism office, 50% off the city walking tours in Montreux and Vevey, and on a number of rail journeys, cruises and activities in the Lake Geneva Region.

Each person on the hotel booking will be given their own city card detailing the arrival and departure dates  For more information see

Monday 16 April 2018

Meet the tourist destination that is closing because it became too popular

On April 26, one of the most popular resort destinations in the Philippines will shut its doors after becoming too popular.

Boracay will go into virtual lockdown and will be manned by hundreds of riot police during its closure for rehabilitation.

And there could be a permanent cap on the number of visitors to Boracay when the island reopens after its expected six-month closure. 

The island closes for a rehabilitation project later this month after capacity has risen from 25,000 in 2008 to an estimated 75,000. Infrastructure was unable to cope and the beautiful island was described as "a cesspool". 
Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo confirmed a maximum cap on arrivals is being considered and said several mega projects announced for the island before the decision was made to close it down may now be in jeopardy.
These include a $500 million casino resort and a 1,000-room beachfront hotel.

Teo also said the country's tourism target of 7.5 million arrivals this year remains unchanged despite Boracay's closure.

"We will work on it. The target will still be the same. Let's not think that there will be no more tourism when Boracay is closed. Actually, there are still a lot of tourism products that we can offer."
The Government said it was prepared to suffer a blow to tourism by closing Boracay for a massive clean-up that would include improvements to roads, sewerage treatment and waste disposal.
“We have to swallow the bitter pill if we wish to sustain and protect the island of Boracay,” assistant secretary for tourism Frederick Alegre said.
“It is a temporary setback but we will recover the glory days of Boracay.”

Sunday 15 April 2018

Welcome to Las Vegas. Would you like a spliff or two?

I had a lunch meeting with the Las Vegas tourism people in Sydney a couple of months ago. We were talking about what is new in Nevada. 

Strangely, they did not mention that it is now legal to buy and use marijuana. So legal, in fact, that the local professional soccer team is sponsored by a marijuana dispensary.

The Las Vegas Lights (who play in the second-level USL professional soccer competition), announced this weekend that they were lighting up with NuWu Cannabis. 

The Lights have made history by becoming the first professional sports team in the U.S. to team up with a 24-hour drive-in marijuana business.

“The good people of Nevada voted in support of it, and we are in support of Las Vegas. We are in support of Downtown Las Vegas. We are in support of our neighbors,” said Brett Lashbrook, the team owner and CEO. 
Lashbrook added that although marijuana is a completely legalized and regulated, he still sees a stigma attached to the industry and hopes that this partnership will help normalize it.
Even though NuWu sponsors the team and has a large display at the ground, it is still against the law for marijuana to be sold or consumed at games. 

In fact, the 43 million tourists visiting the city each year can buy the product, but there are few places, other than private homes, where someone can legally light up a joint.
In Nevada, and the seven other US states that allow people to consume marijuana for fun, it’s typically illegal to smoke or ingest the drug in dispensaries, bars, restaurants, city parks and public streets. Hotels and landlords often ban people from using the drug on their property.
NuWu Cannabis Marketplace, just a couple of blocks off the strip, boasts on its website that it offers "hundreds of marijuana products and paraphernalia and is the "largest recreational marijuana store on the planet!"

Saturday 14 April 2018

Wines aged in spirit barrels proving all the rage

Back in 2014, Jacob's Creek launched its Double Barrel range of wines from the 2012 vintage that had been finished in aged whisky barrels.

The wines were an immediate success; with Jacob's Creek promoting them as "rich reds finished in aged whisky barrels to build additional layers of complexity and an incredibly smooth finish".

The three reds in the range, a shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and a shiraz-cabernet blend have now been joined by a chardonnay, and sales have far exceeded initial expectations for owners Pernod Ricd.

Nothing is unique in the wine industry for long, however, and a Californian zinfandel aged in bourbon barrels is booming in the US market, along with Napa winery Cooper & Thief's sauvignon blanc aged in former tequila barrels. 

The bourbon-barrel aged zin is made by Fetzer Vineyards ­– owned since 2011 by Chile’s Concha y Toro – and has enjoyed growth from 5,000 cases in 2014 to 120,000 cases of annual sales in the past 12 months. 

Called 1000 Stories, the zinfandel was the result of a “brainstorming session” almost five years ago at Fetzer, and has become much sought-after in its domestic market. It is also a big hit in Denmark. 

1000 Stories sells for around $18 in the US, and is soon to be exported to the UK.

Friday 13 April 2018

Pretentiousness rules: Meet a "fish butcher"

Wikipedia assures me that a fishmonger is "someone who sells raw fish and seafood. Fishmongers can be wholesalers or retailers, and are trained at selecting and purchasing, handling, gutting, boning, filleting, displaying, merchandising and selling their product". 

I have no idea however, what differentiates a fishmonger from a "fish butcher". 

This thought is prompted by a press release that tells me Saint Peter chef-patron Josh Niland's Fish Butchery will open this Tuesday, April 17, at 388 Oxford St, Paddington, Sydney.
The Fish Butchery. Photo: Mark Best
It goes on to tell me the fish butcher is "the first of its kind". The first, perhaps, to use such a pretentious name. 

"The Fish Butchery is a boutique retail store selling high-quality Australian fish, cut and prepared to order and handed to the customer together with cooking advice from a skilled fish butcher."

Niland says. “Opening Fish Butchery is part of our on-going dream to encourage people to eat a wider variety of fish. We want to make those lesser-known varieties of fish not just a restaurant experience but commonplace at home. 

"They taste great, so our aim is for customer enjoyment but also to support sustainable fishing. There is a plethora of under-utilised fish in our waters and it’s often the case when the right method of cookery is applied, results exceed your expectations. By eating a wider variety, we take the pressure off the stock standard and highly commercialised selection”

Fish Butchery will display the fish in a static cool room with a temperature of 0-2 degrees celsius rather than resting on mounds of wet ice.

So. Pretty much identical to a fishmonger then. Same, same, but different. Maybe call it a seafood shop. 

Visiting Japan about to become more expensive

Visitors to Japan will pay a new departure tax of 1,000 yen ($12) per person which will take effect from January next year.

Travelers, whether Japanese or from overseas, will be required to pay the levy when they leave Japan by airplane or ship, the House of Councillors decided.

The new tax is designed to build necessary infrastructure and improve services to accommodate an expected increase in visitor numbers to Japan leading up to and beyond the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Under the new law, toddlers under the age of two and transit passengers leaving Japan within 24 hours of arrival will be exempted, The Japan Times reported.

The country has enjoyed a surge of inbound tourist numbers, who have helped lift the world’s third-largest economy in recent years. The government hopes to boost tourism using the departure tax — expected to raise ¥43 billion a year — as it seeks to attract 40 million visitors annually by 2020.

Between January and March next year, Tokyo estimates revenue from the new tax will reach ¥6 billion and plans to allocate part of it to the installation of gates equipped with facial recognition.

Politicians had already passed legislation limiting the use of departure tax revenue to tourism-related projects, countering criticism that it could be diverted for other purposes.

The tax will be included as part of air fares.