An expert expat’s travel tips for Malibu, California


Malibu hugs the California coast. Photo: iStock

In 2002, Sydneysider Nick Mathers was passing through New York on his way to London. “But I fell in love with Manhattan’s Mulberry Street and opened my first cafe, Ruby’s, bringing quality Australian coffee and avocado toast to New York,” says the former Killara resident. He moved to Los Angeles 10 years later, opening several properties including Elephante, Belle’s Beach House and The Eveleigh. “I love splitting my time between my Malibu and Santa Monica houses, so I am always by the water,” says the owner-restaurateur. See


I love art, so I am always visiting smaller galleries whenever I get a chance. Some top recommendations would be the David Kordansky Gallery, Hauser & Wirth and LAXART. A local spot I visit often is The Getty Villa, which is close by Malibu in the Palisades and free to visit. Once you’ve checked out the incredible ancient Greek and Roman art, be sure to leave enough time to explore the gardens which are a highlight. See,,,

Nick Mathers loves being by the water.
Nick Mathers loves being by the water. 


I surf every chance I get, not only for the physical exercise but the calm it brings me to start each day in the water. One of my favourite spots near my home in Malibu is Point Dume, which is one of the city’s best kept secrets and the perfect way to clear my head in the morning.

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Some of my favourite spots in Malibu (outside of my own restaurants, of course) are Sun Life Organics, for fresh juices and smoothies and then there is Lilly’s, a go-to for an amazing breakfast burrito. See,


There is nothing better to me than having the signature Elephante cocktail, with mezcal, sitting at the bar and watching the sun set over palm trees and an ocean view. It still blows me away, even after being there so many times. I also like spending the afternoon at Soho House Malibu, my favourite of their cocktails is a classic Margarita. See,


The biggest mistake I see Australians make when they move over is not understanding the importance of the tip culture here. Most services require a tip and the hard-working staff rely on that for their income. It can feel a little overwhelming at first learning what service expects a tip, but just check in with a local and always follow their advice. There’s nothing worse than getting a reputation as someone who doesn’t tip properly.


I genuinely believe that health is a combination of all aspects of your life. This might mean I have been in LA too long, but I believe in fresh organic produce, moving your body, and trying not to internalise stress. For me, this includes surfing, daily walks on the beach and meditating while overlooking the ocean at my home in Malibu, which helps to bring a calm to my everyday routine.


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