The October Country

There’s no doubting that Queenstown left a lasting impression on us. After spending four days fully experiencing the city and the surrounding area, we could see why anyone would want to pick up and relocate to this mountain town. Driving past strategically placed modern dwellings perched above the lake, every suburban block looked like a cutout from the pages of Dwell. With just a little over one million inhabitants living on the south island in New Zealand, we thought for certain they wouldn’t mind if we relocated the Anthem offices to Queenstown. But alas, reality set in and we realized that the city is at the center of who we are and what we do so we jetted off to our second stop, Sydney, Australia.

We fell in love with Sydney a few years ago and rekindled our relationship with its brilliant skyline and sunny skies in 2007 after attending the Ksubi loves Jeremy [Scott] launch party and making friends with the lovely editor of Summer Winter magazine, Jess Scully who went on to pen a story on the up and coming fashion designers, filmmakers and musicians coming out of her lovely hometown. We were reminded of how on-point she was while attending a party at the new Incu boutique celebrating the latest collection for Birthday Suit by The Kingpins. After commenting to our good friend Chris Woo of Pop Frenzy records that we had asked the Summer Winter team to edit part of that issue his exuberance was a testament to a job well done.

It’s refreshing to have friends half way across the world that share similar sentiments and are working to espouse the lifestyle that the Anthem brand portrays.

We made quick haste of packing about a week’s worth of meets and greets into two days while passing through Sydney before heading off to Jindabyne in the interior of Australia. We had no idea what was in store for us.

In his book, The October Country, Ray Bradbury paints a canvas of colorful characters living in a Twighlight Zone-like world where the sum of normally the most banal details sends shivers up your spine. It wouldn’t surprise us if Bradbury had spent some time in between Canberra and Jindabyne. Along the road leading up to the Snowy Mountains you pass various small villages nestled amongst monochromatic rock formations and Eucalyptus trees, many of which are dead, yet seemingly alive. As you enter higher elevations, what appear to be sandbags sprayed with neon pink paint are actually the remains of dozens of dead kangaroos and wombats. The animals are checked for young and left to decay at the edge of the road.

As we passed through the town abreast a lake, which had fallen dozens of feet below the normal level due to the recent drought, the red earth provided an eerie backdrop for an already macabre scene. Slowly making our way through a roundabout to head up to Perisher Blue ski resort, someone dressed as the Grim Reaper was taping various nondescript pieces of paper to the back of the street signs. If we didn’t know any better we would have though that we walked onto the set for the sequel to Donnie Darko.

Perisher Blue set the stage for a very redeeming experience to a slightly awkward journey, as we arrived just in time to catch the Burton Australian Open. The Snowy Mountains received record snowfall this year providing perfect conditions for the half-pipe and slope-style competitions. Burton riders Mason Aguirre and Hannah Teter both took home #1 titles for the half-pipe competition, while Torstein Horgmo and Jamie Anderson dominated the slope style contest.

The forecast called for stormy weather so we made quick work of partly cloudy skies and rode amidst the life-like eucalyptus trees, which seemed less menacing covered in snow. Much like the feeling we got in Queenstown, the country was a nice place to visit, but the city is where our heart is so we made our way back to Sydney, which at least for this trip seemed like home.

On The Itinerary:

Hilton Sydney / 488 George St.: Right in the thick of it on George St., this luxury hotel went through renovation in 2005. Inviting, updated modern design with all the accoutrements to boot makes this a perfect place to stay.

Sushi E / Level 4, 252 George St., Sydney: The foyer of this building is practically a welcoming committee and the food at Sushi E is virtually a personal party.

Perisher Blue Ski Resort / A mere six hour drive from Sydney, Perisher Blue is Australia’s largest ski resort and almost otherworldly.

Incu Boutique / The Galleries Victoria, 500 George St.: Sydney’s now staple boutique and hub for all-things-cool, is split between women’s and men’s carrying practically every line worthy under the sun from the likes of Shipley and Halmos to Maison Martin Margiela. A must stop.

Ariel Bookstore / 42 Oxford St. Paddington., Sydney: A must stop for anyone convinced that print isn’t dead.

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