Eat Street Markets – Portside, Brisbane

As the Pacific Jewel reverses out of dock to turn around and head downstream, the ship provided an imposing sight, towering above the market area. Somewhat daunting to look up and see the bow of the ship pointed in your direction as you enjoy some of the delicious fare on offer at the markets.

Colourful, vibrant, bustling, with an amazing selection of food, drinks and a smattering of craft stalls. With free parking and a mere $2 entry fee, designed to cover maintenance of the area, the Eat Street Markets are different to the usual markets.

Shipping containers have been changed to provide kitchens and shops for the stall holders. Strategically placed, the containers appear to take you on a world food tour. Here you really are spoilt for choice.



Food choice here is so very diverse, you can enjoy a meal from one stall or taste your way around a number of stalls. Seafood chowder served in a cob loaf, pizzas, burgers, mushrooms, honey puffs, noodles, vegetarian, the cuisine choice is never ending. All choices, tastes and price ranges are catered for here.

Of course all this food requires something to wash it down. Wine and cocktail stalls appear at intervals between containers. Cocktails were slushie style and at $12 each, fairly expensive given they were served in a small disposable cup. Mulled wine, soft drinks, beer, iced teas, coffees, milk shakes, the list is endless.


Stacked wooden pallets and plastic milk crates, all topped with artificial grass provide seating, are interspersed throughout the venue. Some stalls have their own table settings as well. Even with the large number of patrons, we had no problems finding seats when required.

Open on Friday and Saturday evenings from 4pm, plus Sundays 11am-7pm, the area is very popular. At times so busy, it does feel like you are at a music festival, especially with waves of live music, following you through the alleyways. On a Sunday afternoon, we found the area pumping when we arrived about 2pm. Around an hour later it was noticeably quieter.

With the large number of stall choices on hand, there weren’t large queues, in fact one or two people were the most we encountered. As far as the stall holders are concerned though, it must feel like a constant, never ending stream of people.

Treat yourself to some fruit or a sweet to finish. These chocolate fountains were rather hard to resist!

If you’re not lucky enough to be on one of the cruise ships sailing from Portside, right next door to the markets, then console yourself with a mini world food cruise round the Eat Street Markets.

There’s plenty here to feed, rehydrate and entertain everyone, even if you only drop in for a bite, or, you may prefer to linger and wile away the afternoon amid a myriad of smells, tastes, sights and sounds.

Stop in for a look one day, you never know what hidden little gems you may discover here.

Northshore Riverside Cafe -Sunday Breakfast

Rolling fog hugging the ground on the drive to breakfast gave an eerie magical feel to the morning. No hooded horsemen loomed out of the fog, although somehow the expectation was there!

This restaurant was well worth the early morning drive, and very impressive on a number of counts. Firstly the setting, nestled next to the edge of the Brisbane river, alongside a city cat terminal, with the gateway bridges nearby. Secondly the interesting way the area has been set out. Once you take in the overall view, enjoy a short stroll, stopping to read the pavers, with many interesting little stories engraved on them.

The restaurant is spacious with room between tables and large glass panels which looked set up to slide back and take advantage of the awesome setting when the weather was warm. On the other side of the restaurant is a little nook style area, near one of the entrances.


Service was good with no problems experienced for our group, although we were the only table sitting most of the time. By the look of the reserved signs on other tables, they were expecting more customers later in the morning.

Meals were beautifully presented, fresh and cooked to perfection. Extremely impressive on all counts. For me, it was refreshing to find a smoked salmon which was real piece of juicy salmon with crispy skin as opposed to the usual rolled slices of supermarket packet salmon. We all did add a couple of extras to our meals, my choice being wilted spinach which teamed well with the salmon meal.

The pulled pork breakfast was a hit with hubby, including his extra of cheese kransky.

Another meal at our table was eggs benedict with a couple of extras too.

And finally a pan roasted mushroom breakfast with an extra side of real hollandise sauce.

If you’re near portside sometime, drive a little further down the road past Eat Street Markets, until you reach the Northshore Development. I must admit a little envy for those living in the apartments in this area, how wonderful to have all this at your doorstep.

Be sure to order a juice or milkshake, they arrive in these novel glasses!

Now we have the challenge of finding somewhere else to match this standard……

Port Denarau – Fiji

Right next to the expensive looking boats bobbing around on their moorings, is a modernised shopping area. This area has been designed with tourists in mind. Port Denarau itself is located close to the Nadi airport, as well as a number of resorts.

Restaurants abound here, including Hard Rock Cafe. There’s even McDonalds in Fiji which, I to be honest I found a shame.

Maybe I’m just used to Vanuatu where these takeaway places are unheard of. However you are most definitely spoilt for choice with many restaurants in this precinct. If you are coming off a cruise ship, you probably won’t be looking for a meal, although you won’t have trouble finding a table somewhere to watch the world go by as you enjoy a cold Fiji Local beer or cocktail.


Jacks is one of the popular shops within the precinct for souvenir’s and gifts.
Here, one of the shop assistants will probably carry your shopping basket and accompany you round the store, happily giving you answers to any questions you may have.

Upstairs, on the left of the shopping centre, there is a large duty free shop catering for all you duty free purchases. Just below this shop, you will find the Bula Bus. These are continuous and you can hop on for a very nominal fee, to either take a sightseeing tour around or hop on and off at your leisure, whenever you find something of interest to you.

Enjoy your time here, this is definitely a tourist orientated spot. Very pretty, clean, tidy and with most tastes catered for.

Coral Sea Restaurant – Kedron Wavell Services Club

A recent special birthday celebration, saw us attending a family/friend function at the Coral Sea Restaurant Buffet.

Selection of food is impressive. If you are dining on a Friday or Saturday night, your meal selection will include a continuous supply of seafood, including fresh oysters, prawns and crab. A variety of salads and cold cuts, hot meats and vegetables are also included in the buffet. Choose your preferences, returning for top ups as many times as you like. Good buying for under $40.


For those with seafood or other food related allergies, staff are happy to help and will assist you with the correct menu choices to suit you.

This is a large, roomy restaurant, including between tables, however it may pay to book, to ensure a table is available. At the time of our visit, the club was undergoing major renovations, which didn’t affect this restaurant that much, apart from the lack of upstairs bathrooms. A trip downstairs is required, at the moment, if you are in need of the facilities whilst dining.

Don’t forget to choose your sweet palate finisher, from the selection of desserts, including pavlova, mousse plus a selection of fruit and cheese.

Enjoy the clever lighting outside the club as you arrive and depart for the evening. This certainly helps to bring the club to life at night.

As with most clubs, meals and drinks are reasonably priced, cheaper if you are a member. Definitely worth a visit should you be in the area or looking for a reasonably priced buffet or seafood buffet, with good quality food.

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Enjoy the buffet !!

Serotina, Wilston, Brisbane

Sparkling trees light up the entrance to this wee gem of restaurant located in Wilston, Brisbane. Definitely a nice way to light up your evening on a cold winter night. Enjoy an intimate setting here, with room around your table or there is an option of a lounge area.

Service was definitely very good, with menus, water and a drinks order taken upon seating. Everything is reasonably priced, even the usually higher priced wines, with Moët available by the glass for the champagne lover. Menu choices covered everything from salads, gluten free and vegetarian through to a choice of many meat meals. Something for everyone.

After ordering the meals, the shared entree arrived in good time.

This cobb loaf was tasty, filling and warming on wintery evening. A wonderful start to a very enjoyable evening.

The staff left an ideal amount of time between finishing the entrees to delivering the mains, which were hot, nicely presented and cooked to perfection.


Pictured above, are the barbecued salmon with Asian green vegetables and honey mustard, plus the chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto, with gravy mash and vegetables.

Who can resist a dessert to finish! The vanilla bean pane-cotta with raspberry sauce provided an absolutely divine, beautifully presented and tasty finish to the meal.

The total of this evening out for two, three course meal, including a glass if Moët and drinks, was about $120. Good value for an enjoyable evening out.

If you are checking the website, be aware the dinner menu has changed, but as yet has not been updated on the restaurant’s site.

Definitely worth a visit to check out this gem of a restaurant. Enjoy!


Tucked away off the main highway, across the road from the hustle and bustle of the Northlakes shopping centre, is this sophisticated yet friendly salon. The hours here cater for most, with late nights Wednesday & Friday, plus Saturday days, for those unable to go through the week. On the other hand, if you are dropping children to Northlakes College, this salon is ideally located to pop in for a colour, cut or makeover.

Bright, airy, modern this business and the staff will not disappoint. Here you feel like the treatment is tailored for you, as opposed to a larger salon where it is more of a numbers game, and you are processed through quickly.

To Hair with Attitude, keep those ideas like the blow dry bar, rolling specials and all inclusive packages rolling. This is a good business in an equally good and accessible location.

To the customers looking in the Northlakes/Mango Hill area, give this salon a try, it could well be just what you are looking for.


Specials run for different times of the year, be sure to check the website

Isle of Pines, New Caledonia

Another stop on some cruises, is the Isle of Pines. When you first see this island, the number of pine trees spread across the island, does make it seem appropriately named. Pine trees give the impression of a very spiky hairdo, as their tops pierce the sky above,

Tenders are used to transport passengers to the island where locals greet you with twisted plant headgear for each passenger. Here you may find a few available taxis, if you would like a look around the island.

Water surrounding the island, is beautifully clear, providing ideal snorkelling areas.

For the best snorkelling, closest to the wharf, take a stroll down the road, past the markets, to the rock. Here, you have a relatively sheltered area, with some fantastic fish to see, especially up close to the Rock. Keep in mind it is taboo to climb onto the Rock. As always it is important to respect other cultures and beliefs when in their country.


There are a few market stalls, enough to purchase your trinkets without having to much choice. They certainly help to give you a leisurely stroll back to the wharf. AUD are accepted here as well as local currency.

Enjoy the snorkelling- you never know who may be watching !


Vanilla Farm – Lifou, New Caledonia

The first and only time we have booked a tour onboard a cruise, was to the Vanilla Factory, Lifou, New Caledonia. A couple of things drew us to this tour, firstly, compared to all the other tours it seemed to be reasonably priced. Secondly, it sounded interesting and we thought would be a good way to have a drive over the island for a look around.

Turns out we were right on both counts. Our minibus took us through the little local townships via some of the island scenery on our way to the factory. Always fascinating to drive through another country and take a peek into their way of life. The most colourful looking area was the local cemetery where flowers adorned all the graves. Most of the traditional huts and houses, did not have windows. We did pass by a couple of the local schools, churches and a few villages, while the factory itself was down a grassy track, next to one of the vanilla farms.


We were escorted through the local farm by our two guides, where we saw the vanilla bean plants as pictured above. After an informative session on vanilla, everyone meandered their way through the farm track, stopping to take photos of the farms inhabitants, coconut crabs, a massive snake and the pigs.

After the farm tour, we entered the factory itself to see the vanilla process. Only eight people work in this factory at its peak. Somewhat surprising when this is a main factory for vanilla in the pacific area.

At the end of the factory tour we were given tastings of vanilla food and drink, a vanilla bean packet to take home, plus we could purchase from the small souvenir shop.

Highly recommend this tour, not only is it interesting and informative, it is a great way to have a look around the island.

Outside the factory we were all amused by the farmers dog who spent his entire time tailing the goat who was tethered to a high running wire, then leaping in the air periodically to try and catch the buoys on the wire.


Lifou -New Caledonia

As your ship cruises into the bay, you will spot the lonely white church atop the point of the island. Shortly you will hear the anchor drop as the ship starts the process of disembarking passengers to head over to this uplifted limestone island.

Pretty. This is the word I have most often heard people use to describe Lifou. (Lifu). Tenders transport passengers across to the island. The wharf is over a beautiful beach area where snorkelling is popular. Here there are some colourful fish, and if you are in the right place at the right time, you could swim with large turtles who inhabit the bay.


The village directly off the wharf, contains a cluster of thatched native huts. Vibrant markets full of locally made and other trinkets, take up a large partially enclosed area. Hair braiding, local foods and other activities are also on offer.

From the dock area you can walk to different areas close by. Keep in mind that although you will see mini buses etc as you land, these are pre booked for tours and your chance of finding a driver to take you around the island would be slim, if at all. The church and snorkelling bay on the other side of the point are a relatively close walk, not flat however with some uphill walking involved.


As with any of the island stops, there are a variety of tours which can be prebooked. This is the only stop where we have prebooked a tour, to the Vanilla Farm. This one was definitely worth booking and hence a post with write up on the tour will be published in the next couple of days.

We did speak with a family at the wharf, prior to boarding the ship, who were very disappointed after having booked a swim with the turtles, which was not cheap. Unfortunately on this day, they never saw a turtle on their tour. However three large turtles appeared close to the wharf, casually feeding as they cruised around the bay. Somewhat bitter sweet for this family who did get to see turtles, without needing to pay.

Keep an eye out for this whale like point topped with a church, on your cruise, it means you are about to drop anchor at Lifou.


Muscle on The Mountain

Fundraising to raise awareness for men’s health by creating a car show event, is certainly an excellent way to reel in a good crowd.


Whether you are a car enthusiast or are simply interested in looking at some classic cars, this event is a chance to mix, mingle and chat with the vehicle owners.

A gold coin for each person was the total of the entry fee. Men's prostate cancer was the beneficiary of the proceeds for 2014.

The rumble of the big motor's, sparkling mirrored chrome everywhere you look, some amazing paintwork, car interiors which look too good to sit in and the photo opportunities with the car of your dreams. Not a bad way to fill in a Sunday, all for a good cause.



Event was well organised and all the volunteers assisting through the day did a fantastic job. Well done to everyone involved and also for not setting high entry fees. There really isn’t any doubt the small donation entry fee helped contribute to the large numbers of vehicles and spectators.


The Maleny Showgrounds are set in a basin close to the quaint township area of Maleny. Vistas during the drive out are amazing to say the least. Every now and then the Glasshouse Mountains pop into view between trees. In the distance, on the other side of the road, you can see through to the ocean. If nothing else, it’s certainly worth taking a drive out this way, you never know what you may stumble across.