Kings CanyonTour, Part One – On the road to Kings

AAT kings tour, Ayers Rock Resort to Kings Canyon, is big day out. That’s why Im breaking this article into two, otherwise we just cannot do it justice.With chilly night air carpeting the outback, we left the warmth of our hotel and comfortable beds for the trip to Kings Canyon, which started from the hotel at 4:30am. During the planning for the whole trip, we knew this was going to be the biggest day and it did not disappoint.

Ivor was our driver today, whilst Mitch & Tachi were our guides. Our safety brief for the coach included wearing seatbelts, as we were going to be travelling through the outback where the chances of wild animals darting out onto the road in front of the bus, was a definite possibility.

The best part of the coach ride, we were not crammed onto this big coach like sardines. There was plenty of room to spread out, and before long, most passengers had drifted back off to sleep. After all, within about 15 minutes of leaving the resort, we were now completely out of all services, no phone or internet for the rest of today. Fantastic!Ivor carefully guided the comfortable coach along the deserted outback highway. Mitch added the extra set of eyes for wildlife spotting. Yes certainly seemed like we were in good hands, so oh well, yawn and catch a few zz’s for most. Not for me, I find it very difficult to doze when travelling, but was happy to chill and watch the road ahead.

As light started to filter onto the horizon, passengers stirred, some watching the incredible hues of sunrise light up the outback sky. For the past few hours, we had only had a couple of vehicles heading in the opposite direction or the bumps as we crossed cattle barriers between stations. Other than that there had been a whole lot of nothing. The odd cattle beast or wild brumby came into view on the roads edge as light broke, watching whilst we nosed our way carefully past.

Mitch began to share a few things with us, encouraging people to wake up and start to stretch in anticipation of the station breakfast we were about to consume, all located within around 3 hours drive from the resort.Kings Creek Station is a working cattle & camel station, settled in 1982 by Ian & Lyn Conway. Ian is the grandson of an early indigenous pioneer, whilst Lyn was born in Adelaide. They met in Alice Springs. The station is around 1800 square kilometres, 1700 of which are Crown land, the remaining 110 square is freehold. In the vastness of Australia’s outback, this working station is considered to be a mere hobby farm. Out here, 250 acres is required to maintain 4 head of cattle. That’s a lot of land for not much return.

Not only have they set up this station, Ian & Lyn have poured a lot of their time into providing educational opportunities for Cultural Aboriginal children from this remote outback area. You have to admire people who give back to others.

Over the years, the station has evolved from a working cattle station to becoming the largest exporter of wild camels in Australia, as well as tapping into the lucrative tourism market.

Ian & Lyn have built this station, including the homestead, cafe and the now camping area, all from the ground up. When they came out here there was nothing. One cannot begin to imagine the hardships faced over the years struggling to turn this vast area into a business and family home.Often, Ian will come down and join the tour visitors for breakfast, but unfortunately on this occasion he was not at home. I love to not only delve into the history of how things came to be, but to speak with those who were involved. What you can learn is infinite, knowledge is an incredible part of our life.Leo is the part dingo dog who might be hanging around the breakfast station whilst you visit. He’s allowed your scraps but only if he sits and shakes. Leo didn’t see that as a problem and was most happy to oblige. Unfortunately for Leo, this hearty breakfast was exactly what I needed to start a day which had some physical challenges ahead. Sorry Leo, you missed out on mine!

Charlie on the other hand is the white cockatoo who has his residence on tree branch outside the cafe. Charlie is a little more dismissive, choosing to pose or interact only if it suits him. He’ll let you know if he’s had enough, either turning his back or chewing at the shade cloth whilst always keeping one knowing eye on what you are doing. To me it would have been an absolute treat to spend a few days on this station. But thats not what today was about, and by 7:15am we had vacated this oasis on our way to traverse Kings Canyon, located around 36kms away. I’d love to come back to this area and really delve into the workings, its hard to do something like this justice when you’re just passing through.

As I said, not far to Kings and by 9am we were making our way up the stony climb, onward and upward!

Thank you to all the staff at the station, you were happy to chat, filled our bellies with a good hearty breakfast, and provided an area for some welcome stretches prior to the rest of our day.

If you have the opportunity to visit this station, don’t pass it by. They have a lot of activities as well as accommodation choices available. Immerse yourself in the outback by learning what life is really like here. Hopefully one day, the opportunity will present itself for us to return.

Dine Live Travel is now offering an itinerary service. If you would like some insider information on the places we have visited, then contact dinelivetravel@yahoo.com.au or via Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. You can leave a comment here on the website too.

Or if you’ve ever wanted a nice photo book for you coffee table, these can be put together on any of areas visited, using my photos. Canvas photos also available.

Uluru. Camel Ride to Sunset, the end of Day 1

We had an exciting first day, with everything new as we explored our temporary surroundings. There are some viewing areas set up on the raised sand dunes around the resort. From here you can watch the sun rise or set, whilst enjoying the changing canvas spread out before you. In one direction you have the imposing Uluru itself. In another, the interesting formations of Kata Tjuta dominate the horizon.Fantastic viewing from so close to your accommodation, with all the platforms an easy 5-10 minute stroll from the ring road, this one right opposite our accommodation.

But, this is our first fun filled day here. It’s been exciting, its been very long with an early start to catch that first flight, so how are we going to finish today? With a Camel Ride to Sunset. And this is one of those all inclusive tours with warm beer damper, bush foods, beer and wine provided at the end of the ride. Exciting!

By 4:15pm we were out the front of our hotel waiting for the 4:20 bus pickup which would take us to the Camel farm. In no time we had boarded the mini bus with the friendly Bella, who also turned out to be one of our helpful cameleers for the evening.

The Camel farm is located just off the resort ring road, an easy 5-10 minute drive. With anticipation mounting, we disembarked the bus and went through the shop front to check out our transport and sunset viewing platform for tonight.Well thats encouraging, not only does the camel look to be smiling slightly, he looks very placid. Or does this mean a bit of cat nap makes for a lively camel?? Hmm…

Our helpful cameleers, provided the safety information required, before dividing the group into the number of camels waiting patiently for their rider/s. Either two per camel, or one who sits the back seat of the saddle, not the front. Seated quietly in their two rows, the camels showed little interest as this new group approached. The cameleers were fantastic help and very encouraging, assisting everyone to mount their ride correctly. Starting at the back of the line, the last camel’s riders mounted first, with their camel standing up when instructed. This continued on down the line, until the cameleer took the lead camel. In our case, it was the friendly Bella who would lead us on tonight’s adventure.

Oh and did I mention, of course we were on the back camel and the first to mount. Positive side I guess, you do get to spend more time on your ride. Ours was Darcy, who’s name we changed to Mr Darcy, for the duration of the ride, purely out of respect of course. Tonight I was the back rider, with one in front, oh well there went those shots down through the camels ears I’d been hoping for, but that was ok, I could see it was going to be even more of a challenge, taking manual photos from this position, and still holding on. Challenge accepted.

Meandering our way across the farm, we had the informative Chloe walking alongside our camel caravan, answering questions as we slowly became accustomed to the odd movement underneath where one side moves, then the other. If you’re a horse rider, its not going to make any difference, these guys are in a world of their own.

They are fascinating creatures, as I’d discovered previously this year with an instameet at Summerland Camel Farm, near Brisbane. There’s an estimated 600 000 to one million of these guys running wild in the expanse of the Australian Outback. And yet, for the travelling we did in this area, we never saw one wild camel., and these are not small animals. That’s how big it is out here. Mind blowingly big, something I will probably keep reminding you of, as it really is incredible to experience this area of the world.

The sand dunes we were headed to, were directly behind the farm, not far, it just takes a while as the camels were certainly in no hurry to go anywhere. Mr Darcy was more than happy to lag along behind and seemed slightly peeved if he had to speed up at all to catch up with the line ahead. I think Smarty, just in front of us, was purposely throwing in some longer strides just to annoy the more relaxed Darcy.

Stopping for photos with Uluru in the background, you then head around the sand dune to come out atop the other side, in time to see the sun as it begins to lower over Kata Tjuta, directly in front. On your left is Uluru, which changes colour as the sun drops.As you sit atop your personal viewing platform, which moves occasionally as the odd camel fidgets or changes position, causing a domino effect to the back of the line, you cannot help but be mesmerised by the beautiful scene playing out in front, but also the silence. No noisy traffic highways out here. The silence is like a blanket covering the vast scene laid out around here. Describing in words the feeling you have on this experience, is impossible. You need to live it, but hopefully, this helps to immerse you in what it feels like to be atop one of these incredible creatures, as the sun plays a colourful game on the land, all coated in silence broken only by light conversation from your group and the occasional sliding plop of camel toes, gliding across the red sand.

Challenging to take a good photo with your camera or phone too, just as you have it right, your platform sways. Hence the photos aren’t as sharp as most.I feel the best days are those which begin with a sunrise viewing and ends with a sunset. For me, these are the two best parts of any day and a wonderful time for quiet reflection. One day I will have a house with verandah which allows for both of these special times to be viewed in peace.

As the sun drops behind Kata Tjuta, your helpful cameleers guide the caravan back to the farm below, where you dismount and thank your ride. If you’re at the back of the line, you will be dismounting last so be prepared to wait whilst everyone in front dismounts one by one.

Smarty, the camel in front of us, decided he didn’t particularly want to lie down again, which aggrieved Mr Darcy somewhat, as he was definitely up for another nap. Eventually though after voicing his displeasure and upsetting the other camels, Smarty obeyed and grudgingly dropped to the ground. A relived Mr Darcy was more than happy to drop fast, and he did, so he could rest his weary head again.After those final thank you’s and grateful pats, the blood flow returns to your legs, feet and extremities, which you may have forgotten about since you have been spending time in the unnatural position across the camel. Now you can head into the warmth of the shop for your food and beverage treats.

Lily was running the bar, offering beer, wine and soft drink, with a table laid out showcasing some interesting bush foods and that tasty warm beer damper. Relieved riders were more than happy to treat themselves to a welcome drink and tasty nibbles.

Take time to look around the shop, theres some interesting items displayed, including a camel Skeleton which explains their anatomy for you, a huge array of trophies from the camel races and plenty of options if you’d like to purchase a lasting memory to take home.

Thank you to the all the staff who assisted, your friendliness and information knowledge was fantastic. A lovely way to finish to with bar set up, it really did help everyone unwind and relax after their exciting experience.

An extra thank you to Bella who handed me the feathers in her hat which I admired on the bus ride back to the hotel. They were part of dress up for the Camel Cup Races we had just missed over the weekend. It sounds like an awesome experience and one day, might just be something to go back for.

Day One in the Outback is now done and dusted. Slipping into the comfy beds, after being retuned to our hotel, it was time to recharge those tired batteries for the big day planned tomorrow, a drive out to climb Kings Canyon. This will be a two part article as there is so much content to cover. Sweet dreams!

Dine Live Travel is now offering an itinerary service. If you would like some insider information on the places we have visited, then contact dinelivetravel@yahoo.com.au or via Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. You can leave a comment here on the website too.

So many stories to tell from this incredible area! Keep watching!

Uluru. What you need to know before you visit.

Welcome to the first part of my Uluru series. Preparing for your trip to Uluru is a fantastic way to build the anticipation. Leaving the coastal built up areas behind, you are going to be venturing into the remoteness off Australia’s vast outback.

How do you get there? There’s a lot of choices. Depending on your location, driving could take few days, or, fly in with direct flights from most major metropolitan cities. From Brisbane, Jetstar runs a direct flight, not every day, but at around three hours of flying time, it allows you a much easier trip than passing through Sydney, Adelaide or Melbourne enroute.

We farewelled Brisbane through the smudgy window of our Jetstar flight, as the sun rose on a new day.

The mind blowing part of your flight, is spending a couple of hours flying over mainly uninhabited land, with red sand, punctuated with rare long straight dirt roads, stretching as far as the eye can see, and literally nothing. The further inland you go, the redder that sand becomes. Starting off as an orangey brown closer to the coast, the rich red sand dominates the landscape, and is going to be something you become very familiar with over the next few days. You are about to be surrounded by it. I did feel for the resort cleaners, it must be a battle to remove this fine sand from the carpets and floors, as it does attach itself to everything.

In the photo below, you can see a couple of salt lakes come into view. There are some massive salt lakes out this way, more on those in future articles.

Voyagers Ayers Rock Resort has a number of accommodation options, from a camping ground to individual hotel rooms or suites. When booking, check the package options, sometimes there are good deals, we found that to do the tours we wanted, it was easier and cheaper to book accommodation, flights and tours separately.

Don’t be fooled as you fly in from the East, that first big projection from the earth you see is not Ayers Rock/Uluru, its ‘Fooluru’. Commonly known as Mt Conner. Watch out for further information on this formation in future articles. From the other direction, you will first fly over Kata Tjuta, also known as The Olgas.

Everything out at Uluru runs like a well oiled machine, from the buses which collect and drop you at the airport, to the tours themselves and everything in between. If you’re a person who likes to sleep in, I suggest you prepare yourself for some early rising as you will miss some pretty incredible experiences and sunrises if you don’t make the effort to leave the warmth of your bed.

Our trip was at the end of May. Superb time to visit with the desert heat being in the easy tolerable low twenties range during the day. Nights did go down to 2-4 degrees during our stay. And it is cold. Once the sun drops, the temperature plummets. But, if you have a balcony, check out this incredible sunset we were treated to. All without leaving our balcony.

Luckily we took our own flynets. These can be purchased at the resort (until they ran out of stock) but we found them on eBay very cheap, around $1 each, so stocked up prior to leaving. Luckily the flies don’t like the cold so they disappear during the night, resurfacing as the day warms up. Around the resort the flies were patchy. More likely at this time of year to get one those small persistent little ones who keep coming back to your face no matter how many times you swipe.

Leave the resort though and there will be areas where you are walking through swarms of flies. That’s when you will realise how important that flynet is. Plus you get very good at the bus wave! As each person enters the bus, the one behind waves all the flies off their back. Keep in mind too, those little flies much prefer darker colours, they didn’t seem keen to settle on bright colours!

Sails in the Desert was our accommodation choice for this trip. Located on the ring road that makes up the resort, Sails was clean, comfortable and had the added bonus of being an Accor hotel, for those Accor Plus members looking for discounts on meals, or looking forward to your free welcome drink. Wifi is available, free to a certain download amount each day, but if you are on an Australian plan, you will probably find your own internet connection quicker.

The rooms here had a small bar fridge, plus the usual coffee/tea set up. Amenities were interesting in the bathroom, with camel milk used in products like the lotion, made just for the resort. More on those camels in the next article!

Dining options are many throughout the resort. You can purchase your own food at the IGA in the town centre or dine at one of the hotel restaurants, or cafes, anything from a cook your own bbq to some very pricey options. We had a couple of meals during the week at Gecko’s Cafe, the first being lunch on the initial day whilst we explored our new temporary home. Great to see the initiative given to training for the indigenous and local youngsters. Service was really good, the menu doesn’t host too many choices but enough to cater for most tastes. Food was tasty and enjoyable, and the atmosphere over all is quite pleasant.Certainly nothing wrong with these meals!

When choosing your tours, we found a few which provided breakfast or dinner, some with drinks too, so we didn’t actually need to many other meals. Yes it’s a captured market out here and it’s not cheap to freight anything out this way. this particular week it was $42 for a takeaway six pack of beer or $42 for a packet of 25 cigarettes. If you’re a smoker I suggest you take enough with you for the week. If you’re a drinker, remember this is a dry area, you can only purchase alcohol at one of the bars if you are staying at the resort. They will ask for your room key to check before selling you alcohol. Those food and alcohol inclusive tours are looking pretty good now aren’t they!

The resort is a short ten minute bus ride from the airport and about 30 minutes to Uluru itself. If you don’t wish to spend money in tours, you can self drive, there are hire cars available, or, utilise the hop on hop off bus which takes you to my points around the base of Uluru itself and Kata Tjuta. At the moment its under $50 per adult to have a day pass.

The resort has a number of free activities as well. On our first day, we listened to the bush yarn given by the informative Natalie. She popped up in a few of the free activities and was very interesting to listen to. As part of the bush yarn, Natalie showed us some of the indigenous artwork. I’m featuring this one below as Natalie did advise the artist was more than happy to have her work photographed, providing she received credit for the work. Thank you Rosalind Dixon, I think its wonderful you allow people to take those memories with them.

I do hope you have enjoyed the first article. Feel free to ask any questions on this area, more than happy to assist in your planning.

Dine Live Travel is now offering an itinerary service. If you would like some insider information on the places we have visited, then contact dinelivetravel@yahoo.com.au or via Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. You can leave a comment here on the website too.

So many stories to tell from this incredible area! Keep watching!

Meet the Artist behind Sonya Rae Designs

Art is heart. Yes that’s my take. Every artist no matter their field puts their heart into their work. You may not like it, we get that. But for those of you who appreciate individual expression, every artist thanks you.

When I say art or artist there are many forms and talents. Right now it is my pleasure to promote an awesome artist. Trust me, there are many out there, but this incredibly talented lady, is featuring now. I hope to have the opportunity to work with other artists over different fields, and assist in their promotion, showcasing their work.Sonya Rae Erhart possesses not only, unbelievable talent, but patience way beyond most parameters. I spent some one on one time in her studio to understand her work. And, I was completely mesmerised.

I asked Sonya to tell me her story, how did you get here? And in her own words, she told me,

“Art has always been a huge passion of mine especially portraiture. Discovering the love of Airbrushing started after watching an Artist complete an amazing portrait in 20 minutes. Totally blown away….I just had to learn the skill..!!!

So I attended an Airbrushing Night Course and then an Advanced the following year. It wasn’t an easy journey though… probably took at least five months to get control of the Airbrush. The fun really began when I bought my own Badger Airbrush to practise at home. I now have four Iwata’s which I think are the Queen of Airbrushes.

Greatest satisfaction for me is seeing a client’s face after I show them my creation….especially a Commission Painting. Knowing my Art is displayed in someone’s home and enjoyed by others is extremely rewarding.”

Tools of the trade are important for any artist, and Sonya has come a long way in perfecting choices in her chosen field. From the canvas through to the types of mediums and airbrushes used, Sonya not only ran me through her processes and equipment, she did it with the enthusiasm of a beautifully proud new parent.

After projecting an image onto the canvas, Sonya then sketches the outline in pencil. Very light, so you wont pick it up in this photo, however there is a faint outline of the hat and collar. And yes, the little picture taped on the left, is what she uses to guide her way through the colours and shapes, after choosing her subject.

Always by her side, are these two adorable boys, Beau & Bobby. They keep their human Mum well within their range and ensure she always has company.I looked into the history of airbrushing, to understand its origins. The first airbrush or paint distributor/atomiser as they were first named, was patented in 1876 by Edgar Francis Stanley in Massachusetts. Crude designs were invented until Walkup who repatented his work, with a name thought of by his wife, Phoebe, “air-brush”.

At a stakeholders meeting of the new Air Brush Manufacturing Co at 7pm on 6 October 1883, the name Air Brush was formalised.

This pressurised method of painting has been improved over the years, with some amazingly talented artists continuing to wow the general population with their impressions.

The finished Clint Eastwood canvas used in this article? That is now proudly on display at a local Brisbane Northside Cafe, Aarth Cafe, who are in the process of revamping their popular cafe to include and showcase Sonyas work. All work displayed at the cafe, will also be for sale. Watch out for the article once the revamp is complete, which is when you see the completed piece. I would love your feedback, as would Sonya and Aarth Cafe owner, Sunny.

Sonya has some new experiences on the horizon, something she excitedly shared with me. Keep watching and follow her on instagram @sonyaraedesigns. Don’t be shy, contact Sonya for commission work or if you would like to purchase her art. From what I have heard and was shown, the skills of this particular artist are improving to the point of mind blowing.

Remember also to follow @dinelivetravel on Instagram , Facebook , Twitter , Snapchat, Stellar and Pinterest, to keep up with the talent I intend to uncover and showcase.

In the meantime, here a few of Sonyas finished works. Including both a surf and skate board. The surfboard has been signed by subject, Mark Occhilupo, unfortunately though Sonya did not get to meet him. I hope she does one day.

*All photos included in article and promotion, were taken with the permission of the artist. Should you wish to utilise photos or article content for commercial purposes, please contact the writer, or artist directly.

Velvets Restaurant, Two. Tails Winery, Nana Glen NSW

A couple of years ago, we travelled through NSW and stopped, for our very first stay at a B&B. Not only did we totally love the experience, but, the people were amazing! Oh and did I mention it was attached to a winery?? Nana Glen is less than a 30 minute drive from Coffs Harbour. An intriguing country area, with a drive through some simply beautiful locations, as you traverse Orara Way, between Coffs Harbour & Grafton.

But this location, Two Tails Winery, is beautifully inspiring. Our first visit here, we listened to the owners, as they outlined their plans for the future. A couple of years down the track, and we finally returned. To see the dreams come to fruition was not only admirable, but heartfelt. We felt like we knew this.Theres around 12 wines to taste test here. And now, there is a totally city worthy restaurant, Velvets. The Head Chef, Jodie Thornber, was Russell Crowes personal head chef for 14 years. And yes she knows her industry.

Now Ive worked with Chefs throughout the years, but, I have never, ever, met such a humble, down to earth, balanced chef as Jodie. Not only is her work amazing, she is a beautiful soul.

Saturday’s and Sunday’s, breakfast is available. Hmm, tempting, very.

Plus if you stay in the B&B, you have a choice, cook your own brekky with the breakfast food provided, or head to the restaurant at the weekends. Here you can have standard bacon & eggs, or, $10 off normal brekky menu. The standard meal, as far as I was concerned, was more than sufficient. Ok, also I didn’t have to cook or clean up, so yes, Im sold!There’s a lot of options out here. I mean seriously, who does not want to go and enjoy a long lunch. Oh! Or high tea, look at this set up! No food included yet, just the table setup.

Now that I have your attention, how about the food. Ok I’m a tapas fan. At the end of the day, meals can be too much to process, but tapas, oh yes. Pick and choose, nothing is too big.The first one trialled, was this incredibly soft, moreish, Camembert. With a delicious gooey centre, partnered with an interesting popcorn, this highly recommended dish, was delicious.

This is what I like about tapas. Not a Food Coma or overload. Have a taste, savour and enjoy. Eat as much or as little as you like. Not like a meal where you feel obligated to eat everything, plenty of choice here, seafood (check above) or perhaps the lamb meatballs below, are more to your taste. Choices are, well lets go with varied and many!

And if you’re into dessert as Hubby is, then try these, first up is the churros, followed by an crispy brandy basket ….Remember all of this is enjoyed as you overlook the vineyard. The sun sets over there and its truely mesmerising.

Watch out for the events. Throughout the year, this local venue, promotes different occasions. Support them, as you would support everything local.

We were very lucky to be included as part of the locals’s celebrations for the tapas and cocktails with music event. Tapas and cocktails $10 each. Lovely way to spend the afternoon.

Always keep in touch with Dine Live Travel on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Steller, Twitter, Snapchat and of course this website, http://www.dinelivetravel.com.

Stop, stay for a while, but enjoy. And remember the B&B. Let me know your thoughts! @dinelivetravel

Bean N Loaf – The Nest

Brisbane Suburbs are growing, quite rapidly. With the relatively new Fitzgibbon Chase area being one of those spreading its wings into the world beyond. Community, it really is all about your local community being the main focus.

This business, Bean N Loaf have taken the community integration onboard and over the past few months, since opening in the latter part of 2018, have established strong ties to this local area.

Family friendly, including your four pawed friend, Bean N Loaf have adapted their concept to the needs of this growing, local community.

With water bowls on hand for your furry friend, plus a multitude of people, namely staff and customers, offering free pats, your pooch will enjoy their visit.

For the kids theres all sorts of little treats, including a kids menu, and those special baby chinos for the mini me.

Stop by for some bakery, a revitalising coffee, or smoothie, but dont forget to try the menu as well. There are some enjoyable meals to be had.

Using as many local businesses for ingredients as they can, Bean N Loaf pull out all stops to support their chosen corner of the world.

The salmon fillet makes for a very special treat for the day. Gorgeously soft, served alongside an interesting side salad, this meal certainly fills the spot.

Or, if you prefer some pastry and chips, try a pie with a side of fries. Hubbys had no complaints at any time for these dishes and savours them immensely.

There is a special wall area set aside for business cards promoting local business, competitions regularly occur to mark different occasions and a new initiative, just starting, is the book swap. Take along one of your previously read books and swap if for someone else’s preloaded book.

Opening from 6am, 7 days a week, the smiling staff will always be there to happily greet you.

Anzac Day has its own special significance for young and old alike. And, on this day, Bean N Loaf staff are opening even earlier, with coffee served from 4am, including a free coffee for veterans. Lest we forget.

Be sure to have a chat to the owners, Rudra & Saboo, as well as their friendly staff. They are more than happy to meet their supportive customers.

For more on Bean N Loaf, follow Dine Live Travel on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Steller and Twitter.

Goldies – The Island, Surfers Paradise

Located on Surfers Paradise Boulevard, just one block back from the iconic Surfers Beach, sits one of the original Gold Coast Hotels, The Island.

Goldies is the downstairs restaurant and bar, open from 7am, seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This expansive restaurant is a wonderful place to catch the cooling sea breeze. Sit ourself next to one of the large open window spaces and watch the world go by.

Trams are literally on the doorstep, connecting different areas of the expansive Gold Coast, together. This is the right on the beating heart of Surfers. Pretty much, everything you want or need is nearby. But today, is about Goldies.

Menus here were reasonably priced, with a good choice of items. Judging by the cocktail menu and the selection of cocktail “additions” behind the bar, these guys know how to mix something for all tastes.

I am going to mention the service here, as the staff were absolutely awesome. Not only attentive and aware of their surroundings, but informative and helpful also. You deserve the recognition. Well done.

This southern fried chicken burger was an absolute hit with Hubby. From the jalapeño skewered through the top of the bun, to the deliciously crunchy chicken matched with smokey bacon, every morsel was consumed with rapture. Not only that, this burger was matched to literally the coldest on tap Stella Artois beer, hubby has ever had the fortune to drink. he even had a second 500ml on tap beer to make use, the first one was not just a happy accident. It wasn’t!

The light meal of salt and pepper calamari was my choice today. With a beetroot hummus cris crossed with a black squid ink aioli, what can I say, this was totally delightful.

In recommending this venue, I will mention, what a wonderful location to wile away the day. If you’re into people watching, this is definitely the place to be.

Have a chat to the enthusiastic staff, they are proud to briefly tell you the history behind The Island. Once holding the most unfortunate of reputations, but now, totally redeemed with the work put into this iconic Surfers Paradise venue.

The new area, which is being worked on now, well, I’m excited, as someone who has been to the awesome bar upstairs, which I thought was really very cool, but the staff assured me, the new area is going to be amazing!

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Would also love you to comment or email dinelivetravel@yahoo.com.au with your feedback. Thank you!

Shorncliffe Pier

With a history dating back to the 1800’s, the Shorncliffe Pier has been rebuilt and revamped over the years. Most recently reopening on Good Friday, 2016.

The 351.5 metres of wooden pier, stretches out into Bramble Bay, making it, not only the longest wooden pier in Brisbane, one of the longest in Australia, but also, a very impressive structure.

Locals and visitors alike are drawn to the Pier. Photographers love the sunrise opportunities offered by the area. Dogs play with their owners on the beach or frolic in the gentle waves, walkers, joggers, cyclists, fishermen, and children make great use of what this family orientated piece of greater Brisbane.

Shelters housing chunky wooden tables and benches, down near the end of the Pier provide a nice resting place for families to stop and wile away some time. If you’re fishing, then you are well provided for with steel stations along the pier for cleaning your catch before heading home.

Brisbane is home to a widely diverse selection of recreation areas. This white washed structure, connecting the local area to the bay is definitely one worth visiting. The views around here are stunning, with Redcliffe and its connecting bridges, Moreton Island and the Port of Brisbane all visible from the Pier.

Posts visible at low tide, remain from the days of the swimming bath which adjourned the Pier. An amusement park was also on the shore in days gone by, now replaced with picnic shelters and playground.

One of the shelters on this particular day, was being utilised by a static cycle class. With a large trailer full of static cycles unloaded into the shelter, class participants then carried out their class under instruction from their trainer, all the while having a stunning vista ahead of them.

Take some time to head our to the Pier, its a highly popular area, especially on weekends, with some annual activities taking place too. The long table fine dining event is highly popular and fills up fast each year, whilst the Brisbane to Gladstone yacht race, starts from here on Good Friday, each year.

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Tempest Seafood Restaurant and Teppanyaki Grill

Known previously as Morgans, the Tempest Seafood Restaurant houses a Teppanyaki Grill area.

For those who have not experienced Teppanyaki, this is not just a meal out, it is a highly entertaining experience. Sitting on stools around the grill, your skilled personal Chef uses flair coupled with interesting commentary to prepare your chosen menu choice in front of you.

With a variety of teppanyaki menu choices, you can pick your preferred option to suit your taste and budget.

A wonderful assasination on the senses commences. Smell, see, hear, taste, feel, no sensory organs are missed for the next couple of diner interactive hours.

Heat threatens to scorch your eyebrows as towering brilliantly orange flames dance in front of you. Food sizzles loudly, emitting seductive scents designed to alert your appetite to the upcoming feast.

We began with Miso shiro, a soybean soup and a fresh salad.. Flames leapt from the grill as vegetables were cooked to perfection for the Yasai Itame dish. Prawns, tender calamari, chicken, wagyu steak, fried rice all followed.Seasonings enhance the fresh tender foods which melt in your mouth. No dish was less than superb. Even the prawn bodies are grilled to a crisp for those who wish to add some crunch.

No need to go anywhere, wait staff attentively serve your drink requirements so you can stay seated, and not miss a moment of the brilliant performance being enacted right in front of you.

Laughter as we know is good for the soul and our healthy well being. Try Teppanyaki, afterwards, no-one will be anything less than happily relaxed afterwards. It’s a fantastic icebreaker for your group too.

I’m not going to give too much away, you really should check it out. Be sure to enjoy the light palate sorbet cleanser at the end. Enjoy your visit!

Sunday’s Cafe Rocklea

Directly across the road from the Rocklea train Station, you will find Sunday’s Cafe. Clean, sharp and fresh looking, the cafe sports a large covered area outside, on two sides of the building. Heavy wooden tables and long wooden seats, invite you to stay a while. Bring your furry friend too, they are most welcome.Inside, a couple of small tables sit in front of a cleverly painted mural, framing the kitchen area, yet giving you a peaceful desert feel.

Quite a popular cafe, on this particular day, and I was informed it usually is busy on weekends, most trade coming from the local markets, yet surprisingly, not really anything from the train station.

Sorry commuters but you are seriously missing out here. Perhaps we should all take sometime to actually see what surrounds us.

Menu covers pretty much any taste. Short, simple and catering to your required choice.

Smoothies, coffees, plenty to choose from here.

Staff were friendly, helpful. Could not do enough in that regard, including asking if the dog needed a water bowl. Nice touch.

Service of food was quite adequate, we were there to chill and catch up so enjoyed the no rush, jam it down approach. If you’re expecting something nice you cannot expect that to arrive instantaneously.

Totally recommending this dish. Vege salad can be hard to balance and still be appetising, especially when its cold, but this dish, was seriously delicious. The turmeric paste mixed so well with the Vegetables. Not hot or over the top, just a really nice mix.

Add to your big breakfast with this seriously incredible pulled lamb. Tasted totally devine. I was lucky to try a small morsel.

Or, check out the mushrooms.

Topped with a poached egg, again lovely presentation, another delightful dish. Also, Im told, somewhat tasty.

This cafe has a few siblings. Check them out if they are in your area. Definitely worth a look,

And to those train commuters, stop and look around, you really are missing out.

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