The Rozak House

 

If you can imagine a veranda hovering over a rocky cliff face high amongst the trees – you’ve just pictured the Rozak House.

Located on a secluded 60 acre block of bushland at Lake Bennett, 80 kilometres south of Darwin, the Rozak House was the vision of retired Microsoft software engineer, Mike Rozak.

He bought the land in 1999 after he fell in love with the raw, unspoilt natural beauty of the Northern Territory and lived in the Rozak House until he sadly passed away in 2013.

Rozak worked with local firm, Troppo Architects, to design the award-winning house and deliver his dream of a home that truly blurs the line between “inside” and “outside”. The result, a house that epitomises tropical living with three separate, elevated pavilions connected by slatted timber decking.

“Mike relished the remoteness of his house, its glorious seclusion and fantastic views,” says Tony Rozak, Mike’s father.

“He loved to share his house. His doors were always open to the local wildlife and to his friends.”

Perched more than 60 metres high above the Lake, you can’t see the house from the main road. In fact, it’s so hidden, only glimpses of its tin roof can be caught through the trees as you approach via a steep driveway.

Only recently the house has been listed on Airbnb, with Mike’s family keen to see his legacy of sustainable living (the house is completely off the grid) and love for the natural environment and wildlife embraced and shared.

And while Mike famously slept only in hammocks, queen beds have been added for guests. Some hammocks still remain though – perfect for curling back with a good book.

The first thing we noticed about the Rozak House was: there are no walls.

Instead, insect mesh and louvered windows from floor to ceiling provide sweeping views of the surrounding bush down to the Lake below. They also keep thing nice and breezy (there were ceiling fans but we didn’t need to use them).

After being bathed in the most incredible golden light in the “living” pavilion, we enjoyed a glass of red, feet up, totally relaxed as the sun set.

Even the shower is connected to the outdoors here, with insect-mesh walls and timber slat flooring.

And those lack of walls make for a pretty incredible sight come sunrise.

From the eastern bedroom pavilion, we watched from our beds as the sky caught fire, casting an ethereal glow over the tree-tops.

According to his family, Mike Rozak referred to his home as a “thinking house”.

And, after witnessing THAT view, there was only one thought on our minds.

Total Bliss.

 

More info:

www.rozak.com

Book via Airbnb here

Trader Bar pop-up dance festival

The crew from the ultra trendy Trader Bar are on the move.

The heaving weekend hotspot will pack up their cocktail shakers, load up their lemons and move outside under the stars for one night only on Saturday 2 June.

And it’s going to be big.

Surrounded by the lush, tropical setting of the Darwin Botanic Gardens, the Trader Bar are taking their normal Saturday night antics to another level collaborating with WHY NOT DANCE, an all-new, all-day dance festival.

“Darwin has never seen anything like this before,” says Trader Bar co-owner, Pippa Ainsworth.

“It’s going to be fresh and different and a brand new experience.”

Also behind the popular Hangover Cruise events in previous years, Pippa and Co. are upping their game with WHY NOT DANCE with 10 times the DJs.

The national and international acts are regulars on the festival circuit and Melbourne and Sydney club scene (more on the line up here) leading Pippa to liken the festival to the outdoor day clubs you find dotted about Europe in the summer.

Fortunately, the Darwin Botanic Gardens are a lot closer to home.

As well as “sexy beats”, the festival will also feature tantalising food options from food truck favs La French, Ruby G’s Canteen and Bakery, Hansel & Gretel and beef brisket sliders from Pony & Sid.

Expect to see the familiar Trader Bar chic, tropical aesthetic on show, with the pop-up bar and stage to be handmade using recycled timber from fallen trees in Cyclone Marcus, the Category 2 storm that tore through Darwin in March.

As for the forecast for this cocktail party?

The only damage might just be on the dance floor.

 

More Info:

WHY NOT Dance Event

Saturday 2 June, Darwin Botanic Gardens

www.whynotdanceevent.com

Or check out Facebook here.

New kid on the block: Frankie’s Pizza Joint

 

“Casual, chic, disco, fun,” is how owner of Frankie’s Pizza Joint, Alana Matthews, sums up the new Darwin City restaurant/bar.

Located in the Smith Street Mall (the old Viva’s bar), a stone’s throw away from PM Eat & Drink, the tapas restaurant Alana and husband Ji opened to acclaim in 2016, Frankie’s is very much the couple’s “second child”. Quite literally.

As well as the pair’s second business, Frankie is also the name picked out for a potential second child.

Inside this new kid on the foodie block, the first thing you notice is the shiny disco ball hanging from the ceiling complete with neon pink lights. It sets the mood from the moment you walk in the door.

“We wanted to create a place that was really casual and fun where you could be sitting with friends drinking wine and having a great time and then you look at the time and realise its 1:30am,” says Ji.

Like the décor, the wine list is also a point of difference to PM. It’s noticeably cheaper. And deliberately so.

Alana and Ji make no secret Frankie’s is targeting a younger crowd with disco beats and a DJ on Friday and Saturday nights.

Speaking of wine, of course they’re all Italian, much like the two chefs in the kitchen who hail from Milan and Venice and make all the pizza dough, pasta and bread on site everyday from scratch.

And it shows. The gnocchi was the best we’ve ever had.

Five stars also goes to the venue’s signature cocktail, Frankie’s Sweet Heart.

In keeping with the blush colour palette of the interiors, it’s a sweeter, “pink” take on the traditional Aperol Spritz with Limoncello and cranberry added.

Which brings us to the pizza. And yes we saved the best for last.

As Ji says: “They’re light and fresh and won’t leave you with a food coma.”

We had the FFPJ, the pizza named after the venue, with prosciutto, cherry tomato, rocket, fior di latte (Italian mozzarella) and oregano.

But wait, we hear you say, what does the extra F stand for?

Well, after spending months pouring blood, sweat and tears into the new business, Ji says the name evolved into something else… F*cking Frankie’s Pizza Joint – FFPJ see?

As for our verdict on the new place?

It’s F*cking awesome.

 

Frankie’s Pizza Joint

Paspalis Building, Smith Street Mall (the old Viva’s bar)

Open:

Tues-Thurs 12pm-10pm

Fri-Sat 12pm-2am

More information here.

Gorge-ous Girls Weekend

There’s something about Nitmiluk National Park that keeps drawing us back. Girlfriends in tow.

Maybe it’s that feeling you get when you swap the city for the open road, or that first sight of the Gorge soaring up into the sky.

It defiantly could be that taste of a cocktail in the Cicada Lodge pool on a 41 degree day.

Or the colours of a bush sunset, watched with your besties by your side.

All of the above are on the menu during our Gorge-ous Girls Weekend at the delightful Cicada Lodge, where all worries are forgotten the moment a mango-flavoured welcome cocktail slides down your throat. It’s like liquid gold on a seriously hot day.

Even Mother Nature got the Girls Weekend memo.

The sky lighting up the prettiest shade of pink as we end a day of cocktails, canapés and river cruising with a sunset hike to Baruwei Lookout.

Thankfully, our Girls Weekend late checkout means after a luxe brekkie by the pool we can head off on our fav thing to do at Nitmiluk: Hike to Pat’s Lookout.

Having last visited bang-on the middle of the Wet Season, we were blown away by how different the landscape looked. Everything a rusty orange.

With no river crossings to manoeuvre, we “power-walked” the 8.5km return trek in around 1hour 45 minutes. #GirlPower

And much like the bush hike was a welcome change of scenery from slogging it out in the gym, our Girls Weekend at Cicada Lodge was a refreshing change of pace from everyday life.

And maybe that’s the thing.

The thing that keeps us coming back.

 

More info on Cicada Lodge’s Gorge-ous Girls Weekend here.

Flame Trees and Urban Myths

 

 

A blazing bouquet of flame-red flowers, the Poinciana Tree at Darwin’s Botanic Gardens is arguably the City’s most beautiful tree.

The ‘Flame Trees’ are also home to one of the town’s urban myths – The Poinciana Woman.

A haunting ghost story, only kids who grow up here during the 80s and 90s would recall it.

As the story goes the ‘Poinciana Woman’ hung herself from a branch of a Poinciana Tree after she was raped and fell pregnant. Apparently, you can hear her high-pitched screams in the dark and you can call her “back” if you stand under one of the trees and call her name three times… (*eeeeep!)

Whether you believe the myth or not, the trees are truly beautiful.

But, like a ghost in the night, blink and you’ll miss them.

The ‘Flame Trees’ are only in full bloom for around 4-6 weeks traditionally during October-November.

Just in time for Halloween…

 

Hat: Akubra

Skirt: Rowie the Label

Top: Rowie the Label

Darwin Heli-Pub Crawl

Beer. Helicopters. More beer. It’s no wonder you’ll find the Darwin Heli-Pub Tour at the top of even most locals’ bucket list.

This local included.

So, when we recently had the opportunity to tick it off ours, naturally we headed straight to Delaney’s and bought a new akubra just for the occasion.

When you’re about to go on the most outback tour imaginable – hey, you gotta look the part!

So, Akubra in hand we belt up for our three-pub tour (there’s also the option of visiting five pubs), which starts with a scenic flight to the first stop: Crab Claw Island.

The fly over is a feast for the eyes with incredible views over Darwin Harbour, its vivid blues flowing in twists and turns through luscious green mangroves.

Crab Claw Island Resort is nestled on a peaceful stretch of beach and offers a typical Territory style pub where you can unwind under the palm trees and savour that first beer of the day.

After soaring over vast bush land and mountains of termite mounds, we land at pub number two: Darwin River Tavern.

This place oozes outback, from the timber walls to pet buffaloes, but the menu is surprisingly extensive.

Fresh barramundi and wagyu beef burgers were washed down with yet more beer before it was time to head to the third and final pub: Goat Island Lodge.

This place is folklore in the Top End so we were itching to see it for ourselves.

If you’re not aware of the backstory, Goat Island, situated in the middle of the crocodile infested Adelaide River, is owned by Dutchman Kai “Happy” Hansen and it’s population is: 1.

Well, that’s if you don’t count Kai’s crazy dog “Hotdog” or pet crocodile ***eeeeep!

King Kai, as he prefers to be called, has an open bar policy, loves beer and a laugh and is THE most Territory bloke you will ever meet.

On Goat Island the pace is slow, the yarns are long and strangers quickly become friends.

So take your time, it is a pub “crawl” after all.

 

Darwin Heli-Pub Tour:

Airborne Solutions

 

All set for Fashions on the Field

In Part Two of our Darwin Cup preview, we get down to the nitty gritty about the Dos and Don’ts if you’re planning on entering this year’s Fashions on the Field (FOTF).

With a mini competition for the kids at Family Day tomorrow (check out our inspo featuring our beautiful nieces above) Fashions on the Field gets down to serious business on Ladies’ Day with the ultimate winner to be crowned on Darwin Cup Day.

With a Darwin filly winning the coveted FOTF title on Melbourne Cup Day not once, but twice, the local competition is of high standard and you can expect the fashion race to be just as fierce as the Darwin Cup itself!

So, if you’re planning on entering this year, here are some hot tips from style guru and head FOTF judge, Georgie Murphy, which may just help get you first past the post.

DS: Hi Georgie, welcome back and looking forward to judging a few of the FOTF race days with you again this year! Let’s start with the top. Hat or fascinator?

GM: I like a hat, but I think the shift from fascinator to headbands and crowns is great one!

DS: Me too, amen to that!

DS: Moving on to the rest of the outfit now, which can be overwhelming at times… What bag? What shoes? What colour nails? Eeeeep! To break it down for us, what are five quick tips for anyone planning on entering FOTF?

GM: Ok here goes:

  1. Let your personality shine through in your outfit (and smile!).
  2. Consider current fashion trends but remember you’re at the races.
  3. Embrace the carnival of colour theming (see previous post for more on that here).
  4. Think of your outfit from top-to-toe, headwear, accessories, shoes, nails, make-up and hair style included – it’s the overall picture that counts!
  5. Have a try on your full outfit in advance of race day and visit a seamstress (unless of course, you’re handy with a sewing machine yourself!) for any last minute tailoring – it might be a hem, cuffs or collar that needs quick attention that could make all the difference.

DS: And I’m going to add to that and say take your time on the catwalk! Remember, it’s not a sprint and the more time we have to take in your whole outfit, the better it is for us to judge.

DS: What about any big No Nos?

GM: You need headwear. That’s a non-negotiable.

Short skirts, low cut tops and lycra are also something that won’t score well. Leave them in your wardrobe for the dance floor later on in the day.

For everything else, it’s about how it’s worn and how the complete outfit looks. For example, a smattering of sequins or embellishment could make a FOTF outfit a winner. A gown that is top to toe in glitter won’t do as well.

DS: So that’s the ladies covered, now what about the men?

GM: For the guys, think about fit – doesn’t matter whether you’re donning the suit or a pair of shorts and a casual collared shirt, it’s a good idea to make sure it flatters you. Remember you’ll be in our outfit all day, so make sure it’s suitable and comfortable.

Consider summery fabrics like cotton and linen for your top half, and have fun with prints, colours and textures for your shorts or trousers.

Don’t forget accessories, like a cool belt, perhaps some new shoes or a pocket square for a pop of colour. Don’t be a slave to exactly match your tie, pocket square and your belt, it just get’s a bit much.

Men entering Fashions on the Field would typically wear a hat, but it’s not a definite must do. Hats are a great to complete an outfit for the track, whether you’re hitting the FOTF catwalk or not.

The good things about men’s hats for the track is they are typically a little more practical than the millinery women wear, and provide some shelter from the Darwin sun. Look for light weight material wide brimmed numbers like a panama.

DS: Great advice as always Miss Murphy! Looking forward to seeing some handsome men line up for FOTF on Cup Day!

 

Find out more about the 2017 Darwin Turf Club children’s, men’s and women’s Fashion on the Field competitions here.

 

Blue dress –Just Looking Boutique

Girls headbands – Monsoon Millinery

Blue earrings, pink flower headband – Pink Hill

Giddy up for the Carnival of Colour

We’re thrilled to be teaming up with the Darwin Turf Club this year to promote the Darwin Cup Carnival!

This year’s theme is ‘Carnival of Colour’ which is a great fit for the Top End’s vibrant lifestyle.

The month-long Carnival includes a host of on and off-track social events as well as eight race meets culminating in the Darwin Cup on the first Monday in August, a public holiday in Darwin.

For those un-initiated to the Darwin Cup Carnival, it’s far more laidback than its southern counterparts. While Flemington has its famous roses, the Darwin Cup Carnival is more renowned for its dirt track which turns into a dance floor after the Darwin Cup.

In other words, the emphasis is on fun.

But, while the mood may be relaxed, the fashion stakes are just as high as you’ll find in Melbourne or Sydney.

So, the question is what to wear?

To help you out, we’ve put together a few race looks for inspiration and got some hot tips from Darwin Turf Club Head Fashions on the Field Judge (and our style crush) Georgie Murphy.

DS: Hi Georgie, let’s start off with what are your top three race wear trends for the Carnival?

GM: In no particular order, three of my faves are the midi length skirt, mixing textures and the use of accessories to complete a look.

The midi-length skirt is flattering, can be worn a variety ways (my personal favourite is the pencil skirt) and to me, the midi length is the epitome of race day elegance.

Using a variety of textures in one outfit, be it lace and leather or even heavier fabrics like a wool or felt with lighter fabrics like linen, allow racegoers to create a unique take on any look. It also means Territorians can embrace autumn and winter fashion trends despite our warm climate!

Accessories are no longer just an afterthought to an outfit. That’s been shown across catwalks, to street style and of course trackside.  They’re available at all different price points and can allow you to add a new edge to clothes you already own.

DS: Yes! We loooooove big earrings at the moment!

DS: What about your tips for embracing the carnival of colour theme?

GM: This year’s carnival of colour will allow racegoers to embrace their favourite colours and maybe even try a new colour palette too. Rather than going top-to-toe in one colour, mix different shades, into your look.

Bypass old rules like “blue and green should never be seen” and instead, experiment with colours that might clash or loud prints and patterns.

With eight race days across Darwin Cup Carnival allow each day at the track to have its own personality – some are more casual, others more chic. Keep this in mind as you decided what to wear!

DS: Thanks Georgie, see you at the track!

Buy tickets here.

**Thanks to the beautiful Mavericks for being such a handsome model on this shoot 🙂

 

Red dress, shoes & gloves – Love thy Label

Red Hat – Maria Koko Designs

Earrings – Christie Nicolaides

 

Orange dress – Pink Hill

Multi-colour fascinator – Monsoon Millinery

Blue shoes & blue bracelet – Stomp Shoes Darwin

Blue bag, yellow bracelet & gold earrings – Pink Hill

 

Kakadu

With the Dry Season now well and truly underway, a weekend pilgrimage to Kakadu is as popular in Darwin as a market fresh mango smoothie for breakfast (NB: VERY popular).

Fortunately, our recent trip to the National Park was during the week so we were able to beat most of the crowds that flock here for a smorgasbord of Lion King-like landscapes, crystal-clear swimming holes, ancient Aboriginal rock art, magical sunsets and star gazing at the Milky Way.

About a three hour drive from Darwin, our base for discovering Kakadu was Cooinda Lodge, where I can honestly say I experienced some of the best service of my life!

Our Cooinda stay kicked off with the Yellow Waters Sunrise Cruise, which not surprisingly delivered an epic sunrise that cast an incredible golden light over everything – including the crocodiles! And there were plenty of those, as well as the most gorgeous water lilies and an abundance of bird life.

Out trip continued with a walk through Nourlangie Rock, home to some of Kakadu’s most iconic Aboriginal rock art, followed by sunset at the nearby Nawurlandja Lookout. This was the perfect spot to watch the colours of the mammoth Nourlangie Rock change with the sky. It was also a deeply spiritual experience with Nawurlandja an official sacred site home to burial grounds of the local Aborigianal people who lived there for 20,000 years.

The highlight of the trip was definitely Maguk Gorge. While the popular swimming hole wasn’t open to the public just yet, we were lucky enough to receive an escorted tour by local Park ranges to the top of the waterfall where we had several plunge pools and waterfalls to ourselves all afternoon!

It’s no wonder #KakadaDope became the official hashtag of our little road trip!

 

Girls Weekend at Cicada Lodge

A luxury weekend escape and a wet and wild adventure don’t normally go hand in hand but that’s what we got from our recent girls weekend at Cicada Lodge in Nitmiluk National Park.

A four hour drive from Darwin, Nitmiluk is normally packed with tourists during the Top End’s “Dry Season” (aka May-October) but it’s during the Wet Season where you’ll have way more fun.

Think: Mother Nature’s version of a water park.

100 per cent owned by the local Jawoyn people, Cicada Lodge is a luxury lodge perched above Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge, where the ancient dreamtime culture of the Jawoyn collide with contemporary comforts.

Indigenous paintings from local artists line the walls of the elegant rooms, which all contain private balconies that open out to the tranquil bush surroundings.

Our girls weekend kicks off with a River Cruise run by Nitmiluk Tours.

The two-hour cruise takes in two of the Gorges (there are 13 all up!) and you change boats at one point where the water is not high enough to connect the gorges. The benefit of doing this tour during the Wet Season (Nov-April) is dotted along the 12km maze of waterways you’ll find dozens of mini waterfalls springing out from hidden holes on the 70m high rock face.

After our river cruise we return to Cicada Lodge in time for sunset canapés and cocktails by the pool before a three course dinner (complete with personalised menus!) inspired by local bush tucker.

Yes, crocodile meat makes an appearance while other dishes we had included a damper-style tomato and blue cheese ciabatta, braised kangaroo served with a truffle, parmesan and pomme puree, pan fried chicken breast served with asparagus, pea risotto and roast vine tomatoes and red velvet brownie served with cream cheese Chantilly and red chocolate ice-cream. Yuuuuuuuuum!

Tip: make sure you get the “Katherine Cooler” cocktail, as the name suggests it’s the perfect refreshment after a hot day on the river.

After falling asleep to the pitter-patter of rain on our roof, we wake up to find everything fresh and dewy. Speaking of fresh, our breakfast comes with some of the best OJ you’ll ever taste as well as seasonal fruit, yoghurt and a DIY-style croissant with meat and cheese.

Once we’ve had breakfast we hit the walking track early for the 90min hike to the Southern Rockhole – a waterfall and swimming hole located around 4km from the Lodge.

For those who don’t like to walk you can also book a ferry through the Visitor Centre (we booked the ferry back it’s $12 p/p) however, the hike itself is relatively easy with the track well-marked.

There’s just one thing. In the Wet Season, that track we mentioned? It actually resembles more of a stream in some areas especially if you go after a heavy overnight downpour like we did.

But getting down and dirty is what coming to Nitmiluk in the Wet Season is all about. So get your shoes wet, splash in puddles, soak in the lush green landscapes and embrace the adventure.

Those creek crossings are all worth it when you get to ‘Pat’s Lookout’ which is a short walk from the Southern Rockhole track turnoff. The views over the Gorge from here are simply breathtaking. Sit, stand and take it all in before snapping that Insta pic that will make all your friends jealous.

Not to be outdone, the Southern Rockhole is equally as spectacular. Powered by the rain, a huge torrent of water cascades into the pool below which you will practically have to yourself as crowds are non-existent this time of year.

With so much water around you, it’s hard to believe in the Dry Season the Rockhole is empty!

After the short ferry ride back to the Visitor Centre we squeeze in one last swim in Cicada’s luxurious pool and take in the incredible views before it’s time to say goodbye, or as the Jawoyn prefer to say “Bobo”, which means “Goodbye, see you soon”.

Yes, yes you will.

More info: http://www.cicadalodge.com.au/

**Check road and parks closures during the Wet Season before you leave here.