About Rich Laburn

Rich Laburn

Rich Laburn is filmmaker, photographer and writer who is based at Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa. Spending his time capturing scenes of the wild and communicating the beauty of the African bushveld, he runs the Londolozi Blog as a way to entertain and engage people wishing to visit these wild lands.


Latest Posts by Rich Laburn

15 Incredible Photos of African Wildlife

November 24, 2014 by  

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Summer is always a great time in the African bush. Full of new borns, the migrant birds are back and the contrasting colours of the natural vegetation is always a beautiful sight.

Two of the Majingilane in full cry as they battle for the right to mate with the Sparta females. With all four of these males taking on a single Selati male, you can only begin to imagine the noise and carnage of the scene.

Tsalala lionessAfter a night of unsuccessful hunting a hungry lioness of the Tsalala pride watches as vultures circle overhead.

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The Tamboti female catches her breath after being chased by a herd of elephants during the afternoon heat.

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A closeup of the striking painted reed frog.

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The Piva young male asserting his dominance.

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This white-crowned lapwing was seen wading through the waters of the Sand River.

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I used this image to experiment with post-processing and while this image was taken in the day, I managed to create the effect of a night scene.

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Often confused with a yawn this male hippo is actually showing his dominance.

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This young female cheetah amused us with her playful nature and her general excitement for life.

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I got some good macro shots of this little fella – the painted reed frog.

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The Goliath heron patiently awaiting an easy meal in the Sand River.

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The Nanga young male shows up beautifully in this backlight.

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There’s no better way to start your day than with a beautiful sunrise.

Written and Photographed by: Trevor Ryan McCall-Peat

 

 

 

 

Bone Dry African Bush and the Wildlife in It

November 21, 2014 by  

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As the rains become more regular, we slowly start to accept the fact that we might not end every drive bone dry but that has not in any way put a dampener on the anticipation of what is to be experienced out at this time of year. With just about every outing into the South African bush, summer migrant bird species are being seen for the first time in months as well as other new arrivals like the flood of impala lambs appearing throughout the property.

This is not only a great boost for the impala numbers but offers numerous opportunities to see the predators at work. Exciting viewing is an understatement with many possible hunting opportunities presenting themselves.

The Mashaba female desperately flirts with the Marthly male. Despite all her attempts he was not at all interested in mating and snarled and hissed at her to show her his displeasure.

The Mashaba female desperately flirts with the Marthly male. Despite all her attempts he was not at all interested in mating and snarled and hissed at her to show her his displeasure. Amy Attenborough

The Mashaba female attempts to sneak up on a herd of unsuspecting impala. The female impala have just begun to drop their lambs, making them the easiest prey at the moment. Amy Attenborough

The Mashaba female attempts to sneak up on a herd of unsuspecting impala. The female impala have just begun to drop their lambs, making them the easiest prey at the moment. Amy Attenborough

A hippo bull rests while a red-billed oxpecker shouts noisily from his back. These oxpeckers will often use the hippos as platforms from which they can drink.

A hippo bull rests while a red-billed oxpecker shouts noisily from his back. These oxpeckers will often use the hippos as platforms from which they can drink. Amy Attenborough

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A young hyena curiously explores a dry mud wallow close tho their den site. Simon Smit

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The Marthly male leopard on a termite mound that he regularly visits in hope of preying on the warthogs that call this mound home. Simon Smit

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Professional, friend and teacher Foster. Simon Smit

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An event that I will never get tired of seeing, a herd crossing the Sand River. Simon Smit

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Photographing close ups of elephants is something I thoroughly enjoy. Simon Smit

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An incredibly beautiful leopard in the heart of her breathtaking territory, the Tutlwa female with Ximpalapala koppie as a back drop. Simon Smit

A slightly different angle on the gorgeous lilac breasted roller. The vibrancy of its plumage and the light in its eyes are what make the image for me. Amy Attenborough

A slightly different angle on the gorgeous lilac breasted roller. The vibrancy of its plumage and the light in its eyes are what make the image for me. Amy Attenborough

The Tutlwa Female drinks from the Sand River. High prey density, thick cover, ideal den sites and permanent water make this the most sought after territory for both male and female leopards on Londolozi. Amy Attenborough

The Tutlwa Female drinks from the Sand River. High prey density, thick cover, ideal den sites and permanent water make this the most sought after territory for both male and female leopards. Amy Attenborough

An African Jacana sprints across the algae stained water of Camp Pan. They have incredibly long toes and large feet, which enable them to run on vegetation and give them the nickname of ‘the Jesus bird’ or ‘lily trotter’. Amy Attenborough

An African Jacana sprints across the algae stained water of Camp Pan. They have incredibly long toes and large feet, which enable them to run on vegetation and give them the nickname of ‘the Jesus bird’ or ‘lily trotter’. Amy Attenborough

Two of the young lionesses from the Tsalala Pride cuddle each other during an afternoon sleep. Both these lionesses will stay with their mothers as they get older and are in fact the future of this pride. Amy Attenborough

Two of the young lionesses from the Tsalala Pride cuddle each other during an afternoon sleep. Both these lionesses will stay with their mothers as they get older and are in fact the future of this pride. Amy Attenborough

A wild dog grabs a recently caught Impala by its muzzle. Despite appearances, wild dog kills are in fact rather ‘humane’. The pack tears at the stomach of the impala and it dies from shock and blood loss and because the pack eats so quickly, the process is much faster than the suffocation technique used by the big cats.

A wild dog grabs a recently caught Impala by its muzzle. Despite appearances, wild dog kills are in fact rather ‘humane’. The pack tears at the stomach of the impala and it dies from shock and blood loss and because the pack eats so quickly, the process is much faster than the suffocation technique used by the big cats.

A water monitor moves about in the early morning sun. They are certainly not fussy eaters but some of its favoured food items include birds’ eggs, frogs, young chicks, small mammals and carrion. Amy Attenborough

A water monitor moves about in the early morning sun. They are certainly not fussy eaters but some of its favoured food items include birds’ eggs, frogs, young chicks, small mammals and carrion. Amy Attenborough

Wild dogs epitomise play and movement. They seem to have endless energy and time spent with them is always fun.

Wild dogs epitomise play and movement. They seem to have endless energy and time spent with them is always fun.

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Hanging on but wising up, the Majingilane coalition is spending more time together as a unit. Simon Smit

 

Written by Simon Smit

Photographed by: Simon Smit and Amy Attenborough

Defining Magic Moments in the South African Bush

November 19, 2014 by  

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Three years ago, I found myself staring at a huge male lion in southern Africa, my face less than a metre away from his… and I wasn’t in a circus but lying in jeep; my camera barely jutting out from the customized photography gap in the side of the vehicle. What a spectacular sight to have one of the Majingilane brothers walk past my face…since then, I have had many magical moments in the bush thanks to great rangers and trackers.

DAY 1:

Some travellers wait their whole lives to see this but we were privileged to spend precious moments with a family of wild dogs!

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DAY 2:

To keep in tempo, we observed at dusk, a leopard, chasing impalas and taking with her the last rays of sunshine as she disappeared alongside a hill… We were fortunate to see a few leopards during our stay as seen below.

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DAY 3:

The zebras and the giraffes were waiting for us and showing off their reflections in the lake. An African fish eagle, invited us to a spot of fishing. We gazed at the elephants and the rhinos, sipping Amarula infused hot chocolate (it is in fact forbidden to consume hot chocolate without Amarula in South Africa!)

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DAY 4:

To finish in style, we came across an amazing scene: two leopards mating while a third finished his lunch in a nearby tree. Meanwhile, a bold hyena, completely unimpressed by the goings-on, neared the leopards to claim her part of the feast (in fact the entire spread, seeing as she then proceeded to attack each leopard in turn to steal their meal!)

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Written and Photographed by: Bruno Bervoets

The Magic Behind Photographing Water in Nature

November 15, 2014 by  

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Water can be an incredible medium to shoot wildlife photographs because of its importance to animals in the African bush or anywhere in nature really. Water sustains but also the character it can add to what you are about to capture.

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There are one or two things to consider that could possibly enhance your image when you come across a wildlife subject around water.

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A perfectly symmetrical reflection of one of the young Tsalala lions. Captured as soon as it started drinking to try and avoid the water surface being disturbed by the lion lapping it up.

An undisturbed body of water is a powerful tool and something that can add huge value to an image. Keep this in mind and be careful when composing shots with the option of a reflection – try not to cut this off.

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Landscapes can be equally appealing.

The patterns and textures created by droplets and splashes can be captured in many different ways. A high shutter speed is necessary to freeze the droplets as gravity takes hold and they begin to fall. If there is a great deal of movement with a subject crossing or playing in water, it can easily become a touch blurred and lose effect unless that is the intent. A very slow shutter speed, especially under overcast conditions can be effective.

Freezing droplets in bright light is very effective.

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A moment like this is best captured using a high shutter speed, to freeze the playful gesture of this elephant just enjoying the water.

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Tough low light conditions forced me to experiment a little. The water almost has a firework effect to it as it moves along while the shutter stays open a fraction.

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A similar effect in the same sighting.

As the rains continue to fall small puddles will become more and more prevalent in the bush. These provide easy access to water for animals wanting to quench their thirst and amazing opportunities for us to capture them drinking.

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The marthly male quenching his thirst. Make sure to level the water in your photo. Eyes in photography try and aim to have eye contact and your subject’s tongue out in a drinking shot.

Written and photographed by Simon Smit

 

Is There Really a National Dish of Australia?

November 13, 2014 by  

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Anna writes in her quest to find the National Dish of Australia on her food tour through the country: “Not to say that I hadn’t eaten an incredible amount of seriously delicious and mouth-watering food, I was still looking for a national dish from the Land Down Under – a dish that was synonymous with the country, a dish that anyone worldwide would know was affiliated with Australia – so, I headed off to Perth after Melbourne and Sydney…”

Perth is a vibrant city home to the beautiful Kings Park – an estuary of green grass, indigenous trees and plants and exotic birdlife – an idyllic place to have a picnic.

I was fortunate to have a brilliant tour guide, in the form of my brother Paul! Together with his family we headed off to the Swan River Valley where an entire food haven awaited. For any foodie or wine fundi, take a day in Perth to amble through the city’s amazing estates.

I discovered an immense liking for Sauvignon Blanc Semillon whilst in Perth, so we started at Houghton Wines – Houghton Winery has been proudly producing award-winning Western Australian wines for over 175 years.

After tasting their selection we then headed off to The Nougat Company, The HoneyBee, Whistler Chocolate and The Cheese Barrell, stopping for a delicious Iced Coffee at Yahava.

Houghton Wines – delicious Sauvignon Blanc

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Any chocolate you could imagine…

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Left: A few tasters – why not? Right: Nougat making – a very popular sweet in Australia!

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Left: Honey Tasting in the Swan Valley – an amazing experience. Right: Anna’s happy place – a chocolate factory!

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Meredith Chevre, Tarago Jensen Red & Tarago Shadows of Blue from Victoria and a fabulous Healy’s Pyengana Cheddar from Pyengana, Tasmania.

One of my favourite things to eat is a good cheese, and I wasn’t disappointed at the Cheese Barrel in the Swan Valley. We had two different platters with a “Flight of Australian Wines” – the cheese was distinctly different in flavour to any South African Cheese I’d ever tasted.

As many of you will know, I’m a pushover for a good supermarket or food market. A brand new Coles had opened in Joondalup and as the main sponsor of Masterchef Food items, I had to go check it out.

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Right: Delicious specials

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Left: Preparing for a feast! Right: Lamb and Ricotta tortellini

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Left: Fried Three cheese gnocchi with an Arrabbiata dip Right: Prawn linguine – delicious with a touch of chilli

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Left: The Fish Plank. Right: Pickles, green chillies, caperberries and olives

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Left: Fantastic bread baskets – $1 is donated to the homeless. Right: Beetroot Cured Salmon

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Australian Lamb chops grilled under a brick with a pickled mint, tarragon and red onion salad and lemon dressing

Still on my venture for the ultimate Australian dish, and after an exhausting two hours in Coles, up and down every aisle checking out the many different varieties of food, it was time to head off to try the Grill’d burger – a burger joint that serves up “healthy burgers”.

Grill’d has a simple mission – to make burgers good. They use 100% grass fed lean beef and lamb that is free from all added antibiotics and hormones – just like their chicken. After having the lamb burger with beetroot relish (a rather common Australian combination it seems!) I did not disagree – it was delicious.

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The delicious lamb burger

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Outside the new Coles in Joondalup – Anna’s favourite place

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Asparagus on ice

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Vibrant colours

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Scouting For Australia’s National Dish

My next stop was at Jamie Oliver’s Italian in the city centre of Perth. What a treat to get a booking and a bigger treat to dine with my brother who is also a great foodie. As I am not a great decision maker when it comes to delicious food, we ordered a selection of dishes. I’d heard about the Lamb Tortellini and the Seafood Pasta – this did not disappoint.

One of the great things about Perth is how many beautiful places you can visit all within 30 minutes to an hour’s drive.

On my last Saturday, we headed to the town of Fremantle – an amazing town steeped in culture. A quick train ride from the city and we started to stroll down the streets – I was on a mission to find the Organic market – only open on Fridays and Saturdays, and I did…

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Mmmmm Strawberry dipped in chocolate

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Treats!

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Fruits, vegetables and pricy biltong Down Under!

Reflections of the Trip

As I flew back from Australia after an incredible Food Safari, I sat and thought again – what is Australia’s National Dish? Had I found it? Is there one? I mentioned that I had spoken to many Aussie locals about this, they also weren’t quite sure. These were a few suggestions…

Lamingtons, Lamb, Beetroot, Coleslaw, Pies, Tim Tams, Rocky Road?

In conclusion I came up with the notion that there is NO actual national dish of Australia!

Australia has the most incredible collection of fusion foods – you can enjoy Italian, Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Indian or Mexican basically all on one street.

In my opinion, I would say that the only “food” synonymous with Australia is the Tim Tam and even this humble chocolate biscuit has been hyped up by celebrity chefs such as Adrian Zumba – Red Velvet, Turkish Delight and Orange are some of the new flavours.

Written and Photographed by: Anna Ridgewell

 

Sydney’s Baroque Pantry & Chiswick Restaurants Are Must Stops

November 6, 2014 by  

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I’m in foodie heaven in Sydney Australia. After I wandered around the city checking out the trends, the bakery’s, the markets and the many Macaroon shops, I stopped in at Baroque Pantry for a Black Truffle Cheeseburger which was delicious. Sipping on some good Australian wine I later watched the flurry of activity from my spot at the Opera Bar situated below the Sydney Opera house.

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Then, one of my dreams came true! I was fortunate to be taken to Matt Moran’s Chiswick Restaurant and it just so happened he was there! (Thank you Helen and Harry!) As well as meeting him, we dined on incredible food ending with Fresh Mint Tea from the gardens surrounding the restaurant.

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With a grin the size of a Cheshire cat! Matt Moran and Anna!

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Kingfish Sashimi, Sesame, Yuzu and Coriander – due to my sesame allergy it was served on the side!

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Seared scallops, celeriac, fresh Western Australia truffle

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Roast pork belly, toasted barley, shallot dressing

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Crispy fired quail, lime, shallot, ginger – also known as KFQ! Highly delicious.

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Whole roasted rainbow trout, garden herbs, baby leeks.

Details:

Chiswick Restaurant

65 Ocean Street

Woollahra, NSW 2025

Australia

+61.2.8388.8688

Baroque Pantry

88 George Street

Sydney NSW 2000

Australia

+61.2.9241.4811

Contributed by Anna Ridgewell

Porcupines Get Lions Curious About Their Prickly Skin

November 4, 2014 by  

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As a safari guide I have a bucket list of various sightings that I dream of seeing. The more time I spend in the bush, the more amazing things I have seen over the years, the more outrageous my bucket list seems to become.

A few nights ago, I managed to tick one major sighting off my bucket list that I have been hoping, dreaming and imagining for many years. We were lucky enough to spend the afternoon with the Mhangeni pride and the four coalition males. The lions were restful for most of the afternoon until it darkened into evening and began to cool. The pride soon became active and started to move with the four male lions in tow. Suddenly we saw the group clump together and it looked like they were surrounding something of interest.

My imagination started to race, trying to figure out what they had found… To my surprise it was a rather unfortunate porcupine surrounded by 13 lion and four male lions. This is not an ideal place to be, especially if you feature on the menu of a lion!

The Mhangeni pride and the four coalition males take an interest in an unfortunate porcupine.

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The porcupine defends itself using its quills to ward off the curious lions

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The porcupine backs into an approaching lion – the quills make a distracting noise

All was not lost however and the porcupine began to shake its tail (known as a rattle) – the sound of the quills makes a distracting noise. The porcupine began to run backwards into any lion that would come too close for comfort, a common defense mechanism for a threatened porcupine. If the porcupine manages to get close enough to a predator, it does not shoot its quills as many people may think. Rather the quills have micro-barbs, which hook into the face or paws of a predator that may get too close. The quills simply pull out of the porcupines skin without causing damage to the prickly creature. The predator then has to deal with a painful quill. The downside of this is that there is a chance of the quill breaking off in the skin and this can cause a major infection. The porcupine simply re-grows any lost quills – the quills are a type of fused hair.

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If the porcupine manages to get close enough to a predator, it does not shoot its quills as many people may think. Rather the quills have micro-barbs, which hook into the face or paws of a predator that may get too close.

Sydney Foodie Finds: The Bridge Room & The Fish Market

November 4, 2014 by  

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I had heard about a restaurant in Sydney owned and run by a South African Chef, so was determined to get a booking, despite the fact that his restaurant is typically fully booked because of the fact that he had just won the prestigious Chef of the Year title. Instead I managed to get a booking at The Bridge Room and was not disappointed.

Two-Hatted Sydney restaurant, The Bridge Room, owned by Ross and Sunny Lusted has a menu that includes dishes inspired from Europe and Asia, some cooked over charcoal and slow smoked in the Japanese Robata style.

Ross Lusted was awarded Chef of the Year by the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide and amusingly the hottest chef in Australia by the Weekend Australian Magazine Hot 50 Restaurants in Australia 2014. Let’s see how he does shall we? More foodie heaven.

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A amouse bouche of Spanner Crab Risotto– definitely set the standard of what I was about to dine on!

 

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Robata grilled Southern calamari, salsify parsley root cream, whipped prawn bisque. The most incredible ‘melt in your mouth’ sensation.

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Rangers Valley 7+ Wagyu Sirloin. Oxtail pillows, ash grilled carrots, smoked onion, spinach.

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Simply delicious – bowl of Australian mussels, Tomato and chili sauce with fresh ciabatta – amazing. All washed down with my new favourite beverage – prosecco and elderflower cordial

My last day in Sydney was spent zipping around with Rob and Vicky to Bondi Beach where I was introduced to a fabulous café called Brown Sugar – I highly recommend this to anyone who’s in Bondi. You may have to wait a bit, but trust me for someone who doesn’t normally wait, I was very happy I did!

You can’t really leave Sydney as a foodie without a trip to the Sydney Fish Market. The choice, quality and quantity of fresh seafood is simply mind blowing.

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The Sydney Fish Market

Contributed by Anna Ridgewell

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