Sydney-based Melissa Hoyer is one of Australia’s leading media and television journalists and commentators. An expert in lifestyle, fashion, food, and her favorite—travel — her highly engaged social media channels are a love affair to Sydney, style, and global setting adventures.
What inspired your love of travel?
“I took my first plane ride to New Zealand from Sydney, for a fly/drive holiday with my family at age nine, and travel instantly seeped into my DNA. We went to Auckland, Rotorua, Lake Te Anau, Milford Sound, and Queenstown and, I remember standing on top of a Queenstown mountain on a blue-bird day, and thinking ‘How can I be on the peak of a mountain and wearing shorts and a singlet?’ That was one thing that came to mind and piqued my interest in the world and how every country is different. I have a Czech-born dad, so the idea of global travel has also been in my blood since childhood.”
What is your travel happy place?
Quite simply, I love a great airport lounge, a brilliant flight, and a fabulous hotel. If I had to name a favorite hotel in the world and that is SO hard, but it would be Firmdale’s Hamyard Hotel in London simply because it is exactly what a hotel should be – full of class, a little quirky, beautiful service and in the best position. I also love The Plaza in New York and the Ritz in Paris – both old school, but that is their charm. As for airport lounges, I always feel right at home in Qantas lounges in Sydney and Los Angeles because I walk in a feel like I am either on my way home or saying goodbye to ‘home’ for a while. The first-class lounge is just brilliant, I always try to get there a while before my flights depart, so I can soak up the atmos, ohh, and some champagne and amazing corn fritters.”
Name your favorite places on the globe?
Some of my standout destinations and trips include Chile, walking the Camino Trail in France and Spain, going to Rio and London for the Olympics, cruising to Montenegro, Olympus, Venice, and Croatia, and covering the international fashion shows in my beloved Paris (with visits to France’s Champagne region). I adore Italy (with Puglia on my agenda soon), Greece, New Zealand, Hawaii, Vietnam, Germany, the Czech Republic, Fiji (Kokomo is a fave and a trip to Tokoriki Island is also coming up). China was an experience; Japan was remarkable while skiing in Aspen, Whistler, Queenstown, and private boat trips to the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean were spine-tingling moments.A brilliant trip to the tantalizing isles of Tahiti including a stay in the mind-blowing The Brando Resort was sublime. Oh and SO many trips to the US and the UK in between. And there is STILL so much to do.
Now that Australia’s open again, where should we go?
I have visited every state in Australia and had extraordinary adventures to Broome, Hobart, Port Douglas, Uluṟu, Byron Bay, the Gold Coast, Adelaide, the Bungle-Bungles in WA, Melbourne, Kangaroo Island. Islands in the far north like Hayman Island, Hamilton Island’s Qualia, and Wilson Island are also a must for that sense that you have truly gone away. The rooms and service at Qualia on Hamilton Island are just to-die-fo. I love getting on the launch from Hamilton Island, with a glass of bubbly d heading over to stay at the Intercontinental on Hayman.
When the global pandemic hit, I looked closer to home, even jumping into a couple of motorhomes for some great fun road trips discovering the coasts of Australia. First I did a trip up to Byron Bay via stops in Foster, Taree, Coffs Harbour, Yamba (which I love) before landing at the Clark’s Beach Resort Park in Byron. Loved my road trip down the south coast of NSW too via the Southern Highlands (and particularly Robertson, Berrima, and Burradoo) before driving towards the coast of Kiama, Mollymook, Milton, Huskisson, South Durras, and Broulee. It truly is a spectacular country.
Was there a trip that changed your life?
I had an extraordinary trip to northern India before the pandemic hit and it was a sensory travel sensation. I will never forget the collection of Taj Hotels and Palaces we stayed in – from Bangalore to Kerala, Bekal. Hyderabad and the unbelievable Taj Falaknuma Palace, where they showered petals on us as soon as we arrived. I loved India and am itching to get back. Koh Samui, Thailand is also on my must-do trip temptation list – I’d actually booked a trip to stay at Kamalaya and had to cancel because of Covid. and I’m looking for a relaxing escape full of zen moments and it looks like a paradise with its incredible resorts and spas, palm-fringed beaches with turquoise water, coconut groves, rainforests, and serenity. The plan will be to spend days eating the freshest food, doing absolutely nothing, soaking up the sun-fuelled activities, and watching the sunset with a killer cocktail in hand.
What do you never leave home without?
I always take a smaller cosmetic bag with dry shampoo, moisturizer, wipes, and a face mask, onto the plane for a long-haul flight and the rest go into my checked baggage. I avoid make-up and apply the face or eye mask during the flight, it might look ridiculous but it helps the skin. A black wool-cashmere wrap is also in my carry-on in case I get cold and it feels so cozy — and I wear loose pants, change into a loose top, and comfy flats. And of course my ear pods. As for what I actually pack to wear when I am away? Well, that is a whole other story.