Sky Lounge Rooftop Venue – Ibis Brisbane Airport

Exiting the lift into the Sky Lounge Rooftop Venue, the first thing that strikes you is the massive photo on the end wall depicting a bygone era.

Across the expansive room you can already see a stunning, uninterrupted view across Brisbane Airport and surrounds. Dine Live Travel was fortunate to be invited to a private function this week, hosted by Travel Massive and the Brisbane Airport Hotels Group.

Available for private hire, the spacious, comfortable and inviting area has its own impressive bar, which at night, reflected the airport lights in the big mirrors behind.

Glass and stainless blend seamlessly with the comfortable muted surroundings. Here inside, meets outside, leading on to that incredible view, where the sky is pierced regularly with planes arriving and leaving Brisbane Airport. If you’re a plane enthusiast, this will give you one of the best views in Brisbane. Even if you’re not, you cannot help but be impressed by the ever changing scene below as those long, metal, cigar shapes busily play out their orchestrated movements, leading to a symphony of precision.

Staff on site this evening were friendly, obliging and professional, ensuring everyone was looked after at all times. Finger food served was superb. An array of of food choices was constantly circled through the mingling patrons.We were also lucky enough to be given a tour of the onsite hotel rooms. Now keep in mind this venue is at the airport, you could have guests fly in for a function, stay the night and fly out the following morning if they were on a tight schedule. Having only opened in October, the rooms are fresh and clean.

This room above was in the Ibis. Plenty of room, quiet, comfortable, a large bathroom, and to top it off, a fabulous large window framing the Airport. In here, there was not even a whisper from those massive jet engines traversing the runway.

Next stop, the Pullman right next door, where we were treated to a tour of a couple of suites and standard room, as well as the executive lounge.The suite above is popular with business executives flying in for meetings. In the suite you have a large dining table with half a dozen chairs, meaning you can have a private meeting without having to hire a boardroom. The impressively large pod coffee machine would be a sure bet hit with those meeting attendees too!

Keep this venue in mind should you be looking to host a function on a rooftop in Brisbane. Or, for anyone stopping over briefly, these hotels are perfect should you not wish to go into the city or leave the airport. For those of us who are Accor Plus members, here are another couple of venues for utilising those membership advantages.

Thank you to Travel Massive and Brisbane Airport Hotels Group for giving us the opportunity to check out this venue.

Mecure Clear Mountain Resort

Imagine if you may, waking up to the rolling vistas from you your own room at the Mecure Clear Mountain Resort. With a location so close to Brisbane’s northside, yet you feel a complete world away, this really is a wonderful place to escape to.

We first visited last year and could not wait to book another weekend escape. When the opportunity arose, we booked in that precious two night escape and looked forward to February when it would finally arrive. Which before long, it did. Time to chillout and relax.

So close to Brisbane, its an easy drive up the mountain to our weekend break.Excitingly enough we were lucky to be staying in one of the Lodge Suites, this is where being an accor plus member and booking those special member only deals, is handy as well as fulfilling . Check out the size of the beautiful twin head rain shower. Matching this was a roomy bathroom with twin handbasins and a free standing bath.Light brightens the room through the skylights, everything in here was beautifully clean with plenty of amenities available.

Space and roominess give you a wonderful relaxed feeling. Nothing to do here, just breathe, chill and relax.

There are a number of things to do on site. Stephanie’s provide an array of spa treatment, or enjoy the pool,tennis court and gym provided. Add to this the wonderful on site main restaurant, Lakeview. You can wile a day away here if you like, partake of the extensive buffet breakfast, whilst drinking in the view and enjoying the company of the local wildlife, then stay on for lunch, nibbles or drinks.Rain or shine, the locals will show up hoping for some soft tasty meat morsels. How heartwarming as well as a wonderful down to earth experience to interact with wildlife. Popping up anywhere, so dont be surprised if you pass a kookaburra sitting quietly on the railing. They wont move, just sit quietly and observe as you go past,or make their day and stop for a quick chat. Even better, offer some of their favourite soft meat to become their friend. Don’t worry they wont bite, just take the offerings from your fingers.

When you’re weary and hungry, enjoy a bite,there so much choice at the Lakeview or at the adult only restaurant Mandys on the Mountain.

If you cant stay, just drop by for a drink or meal. The staff here are simply awesome. No matter what area they work in, everyone we interacted with was friendly, helpful and best of all, some of the staff remembered us from our last visit. Now thats personal service! Highly recommend visiting this venue,no matter what the weather or reason. .

Tin Can Bay

Taking a break this week from the NZ blogs to write about Tin Can Bay. After we returned from NZ, we undertook the short 2 1/2 hour drive from Brisbane to spend a few days relaxing at Tin Can Bay. Our choice for accommodation here was at Dolphin Waters Motel, on the Esplanade. Very friendly motel managers, big roomy apartments including kitchen and laundry facilities. All in all good value for the price.

Upstairs, we had a wonderful peaceful view across the Esplanade. The generous balcony was plenty roomy enough for us, also making a fantastic temporary outdoor office for keeping up with work commitments. Sunrise was definitely worth being up and about for. Filtered golden hues of sun rays dancing across the water, providing a wonderfully colourful backdrop from the motel balcony.

The pool area is inviting with a natural rock look, your eyes are drawn across the mirrored pool to the esplanade beyond. Here, we were lucky to meet an amazing group travelling through who were also out to relax and enjoy.

Exploring our area, we stopped in for lunch at the Marina, where we discovered the laid back restaurant Marina Bar & Grill, with lovely, well presented food and an entertaining owner who fed the fish in the marina for us to show how many there were. Enjoying our view across the Marina, the stresses of life started to slip away. Usually all the water is clear, however recent rains had left a muddied look through the sea water. We still had a clear view of the many fish swimming happily around the marina area.

700 metres approximately from the Dolphin Waters Motel, Barnacles Cafe & Dolphin Centre, not only a cafe which provides fulfilling meals but also the opportunity each morning to feed the wild dolphins. For a $5 entry fee you can learn about the dolphins plus receive a discount on your breakfast. Nice, hearty meals, certainly worth sitting here with a cuppa whilst watching the dolphin, listening to the volunteer talks and, participating in the feeding. On two days we made the trip down to hand feed the dolphins. What a wonderful soul cleansing experience. There is no other way to describe this without experiencing for yourself.

We found the locals to be friendly, relaxed and out of all the places we have visited, this little gem close to home really tugged the heart strings. We loved it. All the meals we had were fantastic, accommodation was great value and the dolphins, well that was on another level again.

After being invited by the lovely group we met at the pool, we joined them for dinner at the local bowls club, making use of the bowls club courtesy bus.

True honest meals at a very affordable price, with raffles and a couple of pokie machines, the evening was a lot of fun.

Close by are Rainbow Beach and Inskip point, where we took a drive one day for a look around. Beautiful vistas everywhere we stopped. Well worth a drive around.

We have yet to visit Fraser Island, but for anyone doing so, take particular care to read and understand all the warnings and advice given, particularly for 4WD vehicles heading over.

We fell in love with Tin Can Bay, mainly due to its fabulous relaxed feel. Most definitely heading back. Ill leave you with this chap, a pelican with attitude who frequents Barnacles Cafe. Happy to have his photo taken by his adoring fans, however everyone was warned not to get to close, he has been know to show his disapproval with a little more than a peck!

Novotel Surfers Paradise – Hanlans Restaurant/Bar

Mini Breaks are a great way to give your mind and body a chance to take a breath before you launch back into the routine of life. This view of Surfers Paradise Main Beach area, could be all yours at Novotel Surfers Paradise.  As an Accor Plus member, the complimentary room for the year was still waiting to be utilised.  Hence a visit to Novotel Surfers Paradise.

Our view from the room, was mesmerising.  From here we could watch the activity on the streets below, check for whales passing out at sea, view the river and its boats, or simply chill out and enjoy the landscape canvas rolled out before us.   Sunset and Sunrise views, were nothing less than superb!

Day rolled into night, with outstanding orange hues as the sun dropped in behind the Western Ranges.  As the hunger pains set in, we visited the Novotel Restaurant, Hanlans.  Located on Level 1 of the complex, the expansive restaurant mainly operates as a buffet for both breakfast and dinner.   On the ground floor, Hanlans Bar is open through the day, with a breakfast and lunch mini menu to keep you going.Staff here are attentive.  Water is topped up throughout your meal, plates are cleared in a timely fashion and above all else, every staff member we came across, throughout the hotel, from reception, concierge through to bar, restaurant and cleaners, were professional yet friendly.  Its a rare venue to have all staff displaying good quality customer service.

From fresh seafood, to seafood salads and other salads or meats, through to a delectable dessert selection, along with many options in between, there is plenty to choose from.

Should you have the prilege of being an Accor Plus member, you will receive big discounts of your meals.  For two people with one membership, this results in a 50% meal discount, essentially one of you eats for free.

Rooms are comfortable, clean, with balconies plus the added bonus of being so close to a lot of options, where you will likely park the car and leave it there.  Shopping is below the hotel, or walk to the beach in 5 minutes.  Check out the Q1 tower for a birds eye view, barely 10 minutes walk or visit the many other attractions in the area.  

As night falls, life does not become quieter on the streets below. Patrons flock to the nightlife, bathing in the depth of colourful lights, twinkling around them from all angles.

A winter sunrise in Queensland is stunning.  Orange hues light up the fiery sky before fading through to the daylight blue.  Take a short walk to the beach and you may have the opportunity to see a surfer disappearing into the waves. 

Silhouettes outlined by. the rising sun provide not only fantastic photo opportunities, but also those moments where time stands still, momentarily.  Indulge yourself, take the walk and wonder at the colourful birth of a new day.

All the food we enjoyed at the Novotel was fresh, nicely presented, and enjoyable.  Below are some food images from our weekend stay.Caesar Salad with Chicken tenders at Hanlans Bar.

Love the presentation of the loose leaf tea.

Calamari & salad at Hanlans Bar.

Cheese plate at Hanlans Bar.Burger at Hanlans Bar.

Ice cream is made fresh on the premises.

I love this personal touch with what we think are staff handprints across the front window, making an interesting view from Hanlans Bar.   Sit down in the bar, enjoy a barista or bar drink whilst you watch the world go by.   There is always something happening in Surfers. This is a venue we will return to, look forward to seeing you there!

Two Tails Wines Bed and Breakfast – Nana Glen NSW

Prior to the Easter break, we made the decision to stop midway on our return from Newcastle area to Brisbane.  Unfortunately when you travel at Easter prices tend to go through the roof.   The Ibsis Budget we stopped in for a brief break on the way down, was worth the small amount we had paid for the night, but not double the price expected for Easter Sunday.  Hello google, lets see what we can find.  

Presto, up came a B & B in the Coffs Harbour Hinterland.  Loved the look of the room with the chandelier and warm inviting feel.   We touched base and as the room was vacant on that night, so it was decided to give our first B & B experience a go as it all sounded so reasonable.

Arriving at the Winery late afternoon, just in time to catch a wine tasting, we immediately clicked with the owners Madonna & Barry, who were so genuine, inviting and welcoming.

Now keep in mind. Hubby had been a bit like, oh winery well what will I drink??   Not being a wine drinker, except the odd sweet wine, we had thought a trip to the pub might be necessary to satisfy his thirst.   Apparently not.   The selection here is fascinating.   Dry wines to sweet, including blueberry, raspberry and wonderful fortified wine called Lizards Blood.

By the end of the tasting, Hubbys seclection of choice was more than mine!  Oh well, looks like we will have to drop back down this way to keep the wine fridge topped up.   Best thing was, of the ones I tried, there were no bad choices.   

Have to mention the bubbles, wonderfully light small bubbles, very easy to drink.   Love to enjoy some bubbles on occasions and both of the Two Tails Bubbly Wines have now made the favourite bubbly list.This small vineyard is a credit to the owners, with neat tidy rows and vines.   Take a stroll around when you stay there, Madonna & Barry have no problem with that.   Definitely they have a little slice of paradise here, and its pretty awesome.

The room has a large bathroom including spa bath, nice tidy kitchenette with a bar fridge, microwave, electric frypan, toaster, jug and basic kitchen essentials.   Breakfast was waiting in the fridge for the next morning, with bacon eggs, bread for toasting, even a couple of cereals there if you desired as well.  Everything was neat tidy, clean, and very inviting.

The large country style verandah outside the door, has a BBQ as well as outside dining setting and a small coffee table setting.   We were offered the choice of sitting on the wonderful verandah outside the winery door as well.  Next time, I think we will, it certainly looked like an awesome place to wile away some time whilst kicking back enjoying a vino or two.  Not that there was anything wrong with the the verandah at the house, a nice relaxing place to watch the world go by.

If you give plenty of notice, check the website as your welcoming hosts give you some bbq dinner options.   We decided a couple of weeks prior to have  T-bone steak meal each.  Great decision that one.   The Tbones were huge, fantastic butcher quality steaks.   Complimented by the tasty salad and fresh buns, not forgetting a drop or two of the Two Tails Wine and you have a restaurant style meal.   Even better maybe as you get to cook that meat to your suit your palate.   All the condiments were provided too so you can stop here without bringing food at all.   

There are a couple of local pubs too, and two interesting looking cafes close by.   Certainly wont go hungry or thirsty in this area.  

We really cannot recommend this place highly enough.   As our first B&B experience with the owners onsite, it was simply fabulous.   Your hosts are friendly intriguing and we enjoyed sharing some time with them.   Certainly an excellent choice of venue to which we will return.

Even if you cannot stay, at least drop in and check out the winery.  If you really dont want to try any wine, Barry has a fridge of beer varieties at the cellar door as well as some non alchohoic drinks.   There is something here for everyone.

Perhaps you’re wondering where the name came from, Two tails came about because of the two tailed lizard.  Plenty of interesting facts to find out.   

Keep an eye out for updates on the two new rooms, restaurant, annual music festival, and oh so much this go ahead winery has to offer. Keep in mind the affordability of this no way is anything overpriced.

Enjoy your time and have a chat with the hosts, Maddona & Barry.   We had some hilarious conversations.  Thank you both for a fabulous experience.    We are definitely coming back!

Ibsis Bdget – Coffs Harbour

To live is to explore the world around us.  Too many are caught up in everyday routines, or staying with the familiar.  Why not, change tact every now and then.

With Easter on the horizon, we set off on a road trip from Queensland into New South Wales.  Nothng better than a few days away. Road tripping,  love it.

To break up the 9-10 hour trip, we decided to stop about halfway, at Ibsis Budget Coffs Harbour.  Reviews had slammed this place as being budget accommodation.  I’m not sure what these people missed but I’m pretty sure that was obvious in the name!  We were arriving late night, leaving early morning and to be fair, I’m not prepared to pay good or top dollars for a place you when don’t have time to enjoy the amenities on offer.

Ibsis Budget it was. Yes that came from Accor Plus membership , but here you cannot use your points, or gain points. No problem, to be honest for about $80, two people, room & breakfast, we are not complaining.  Although many have.

Om a side note here, Accor have their basis covered. For sure.  From basic accommodation to the best, they have it, and would have to say, good thnking.

The room is basic, as we expected.  In saying that it was sufficient.  Bed, TV, private bathroom, even basic coffee facilities and bar fridge.  We needed no more, particularly when you roll through the door late at night just to sleep and freshen up.

Not only sufficient, clean, tidy and the added plus of friendly helpful staff.  Even a phone call to check how we were travelling before they closed reception at 10pm.  Don’t panic if you do go over reception time.  They will call you, give you a code to enter a locked box outside, which will have your room key in it.Plenty of car parking, yes you probably look out onto a carpark, no balconies here, but as I said, we were just passing through for a few hours. It really doesn’t matter.

Buffet continental breakfast.  Again not sure why some expected a full cooked breakfast or a kitchen to open, as it was clearly advertised. Certainly again sufficient to top up after your snooze and refresh.

You cannot top service or cleanliness.  The young lady on reception and gentleman on buffet, were both friendly outgoing, helpful and very down to earth,   Most impressive service for budget accommodation.  Well done.  

Sure, I would not recommend staying here for a holiday, however, to break a road trip with a brief stopover,  highly recommended.  

Clovely Estate Bed & Breakfast

Have you ever dreamed of a cellar door within easy walking distance from your back door?  You can make this a reality without winning the lotto, your own piece of paradise for a couple of days.  Step out the backdoor of this Queenslander to duck down the end of the lawn for a quick wine tasting, or select a bottle to accompany dinner.

 Buildings date back to the dairy farm days, with this shed retaining its old farm charm on the outside, but restored inside to make a comfortable wine tasting setting.    

For reasonable cost, bring some friends and fill the house, which becomes yours entirely once the cellar door closes each day.   Breakfast supplies come with the house including bacon & eggs left in the fridge.   Walking into the house is like walking into a home.    You will need to bring lunch or dinner food, however all the main kitchen essentials are taken care of, with a barbecue on the verandah.

Keep in mind there is an Irish Pub/Restaurant a very short drive away so you may prefer to eat out rather than taking food to cook.   

Furnishings are to the era of this close to century old home.    Polished floors throughout, two full bathrooms, 4 double rooms, one with an additional single bed in the room, plus one separate single room, an extra toilet and a huge dining/ kitchen, through to lounge room make the home complete.   Laundry facilities are in a separate building located down the stairs.

Well worth the drive from Brisbane, keep this in mind as a place to visit for a weekend getaway.  Bring the family or some friends and drink in the peacefulness of this beautiful area.   Drink in the beauty of the sun setting over the vines, whilst you enjoy the peacefulness of this beautiful countryside.   Gaze upon and uninterrupted carpet of stars on a clear night, no city lights here to spoil the view!  

Make sure you check this place out!   We are already planning a trip back….

Great Sandy Straits Marina, Hervey Bay

What can I say, we really have fallen in love with this delightful area.  When you continually experience views like this, how could you not be taken aback by the beauty of natures canvas.

 Staying again @mantraherveybay it has been our pleasure to once more enjoy the hospitality of some of the businesses around the area.

One of our favourite breakfast  Cafes has closed.  This time, we gave the friendly ladies at ‘Chit Chat with Flavours Cafee’ a try.   Their personalised service, ability to interact, have a laugh and show such genuine gratitude when thanked for their food and service, is definitely a draw card for us.  The coffee here was deemed by our group, as the best on the Marina, with the food very homemade and down to earth..   OverallVery homely, and an enjoyable experience.   Basic meals without all the frills attached. 

  I savoured every morsel of this delicious omelette, with the lot.   To be honest, one of the best omelettes I’ve enjoyed in a long time.  Filled with ham, plus bursting with the genuine home / farm style taste of days gone by, certainly helped to make this a most enjoyable start to the day. 
Be sure to drop by and visit these lovely ladies,  atmosphere and general chit chat will kick you off on a nice way start to the day. Or perhaps you would prefer go relax with a coffee throughout the day.   As with any of the cafes/restaurants along here, the vistas across the marina toward Fraser Island are one of the most relaxing and constantly moving views anywhere.  There is always something to watch.

 The ever changing moods are fabulous.   Enjoy a walk along the well designed boardwalk, stroll up to the local boat club for a meal or entertainment, visit one of the friendly Boardwalk businesses or simply relax on your balcony.

As evening draws closer, just as the sun is setting, be prepared for the amazing spectacular sight of thousands upon thousands of bats.  Very silently, over the course  of five-ten minutes, they arise en mass from the park they have slept in for the day, heading towards Fraser Island, before peeling off to their chosen feeding destination.   An every day occurrence for the locals, but an awesome sight for visitors.  

Don’t forget to drop into Harvey’s Bar & Bistro!- Check their review being posted with this one……Enjoy your stay in Harvey Bay!   We are definitely returning!

The Point Hotel – Kangaroo Point Brisbane

 We recently enjoyed a night at The Point Hotel, located near the Story Bridge, in Brisbane.   One of the bonuses here, is the very close location to the Brisbane River.  A mere few minutes walk to take the free ferry service, giving you the opportunity to hop across the river and check out the city or Southbank.

Rooms are very roomy, service was of a high standard and the added perks of a cheese platter with bottle of bubbly with the room, were a definite draw card.


The pool was popular with patrons, enjoying the private location, tucked away from prevailing winds.   Nearby the cosy bar offered bar meals as well as a cocktail list.  


Ok two drinks in a row, however you may be starting to get the point here.  We found this place very relaxing.  Yes I do admit, to preferring a nice balcony, however the atmosphere inside the hotel, helped one to chill out.  A definite bonus.  

The restaurant attached  was Lambets.  Plenty of space, nice vistas over the pool if you are seated on that side, with friendly helpful staff.   Meals were well presented.

 Now tell me these do not look appealing !!Cinnamon donuts with the softest inners, pork belly, figs and an awesome barramundi.   Presentation feeds the eyes which in turn encourages the stomach.  Not one of these dishes disappointed in any way.   

How can you top a night like this?   Go to your room, step upon the balcony and be met with what we considered to be an impromptu fireworks display.   Still not sure of the reason behind the explosions of colour, however, it was most enjoyed.

I would only offer  one fair criticism for the hotel and that is the time to return the credit card deposit.  We find most hotels to be prompt with the cancellation of bonds, however a few do straggle behind.    My tip, particularly if you are going to be staying at subsequent hotels, is to pay your room deposit via cash.     We are always told it is the bank holding the deposit which may be the case, however if it is, why do different hotels return the deposit from the same bank immediately, whilst our worst case scenario is two full weeks.    A small point which needs to be considered, particularly if you are on holiday and hotel hopping.   

If you are a visitor to Brisbane, this is a good choice of hotel, mainly give location, value and size of the rooms.  Check out Lambets too, those meals are fantastic !

The Sebel & Palettes Restaurant- Brisbane

 Enjoy an evening drink or nightcap on the balcony of your Sebel Apartment, in Brisbane.  Watch the city light up at night as you gaze through the intricate designs of high rises.   This was an impromptu night out, a last minute decision for a quick weekend getaway.  

Reasonably priced, the apartments are fully equipped with kitchen/laundry facilities teamed with a very comfortable, roomy living area.   Of course Le Accor members will receive those extra points and bonuses, dependant on your membership level.   

Reception staff here were friendly and helpful.  With valet or self parking, heated pool, gym, room service and on site restaurant, you should have no problem relaxing.

Of course you can take all your own food and drinks to prepare a gourmet meal in your own apartment, or, venture down to Palettes, the onsite restaurant/bar.  Partake of a cocktail, enjoy a lingering lunch with an option of selected $5 beverage to wash your lunch down, or dine for an evening meal.     

Yumm, cocktails šŸ˜„ 
Lcated on the corner, only a block from the heart of Queen Street Mall, there is always something to see through the expanse of glass surrounding the restaurant, or whilst seated at the tables in the footpath area.   Staff here were helpful and attentive too. Well done.

People watching is an amusing hobby, with this location ideal as there is always something to see.   From the stumbling load of bucks party participants who emerged from a maxicab, to the on duty police officers issuing warnings and infringements to jay walkers and the guy in that station wagon who just…did he really drive the wrong way down a one way street??  Yes he did!  Lucky it was quiet, he managed to turn around and sail past us in the correct direction, trying to pretend the first part never happened.  Ah the world viewed through a wine glass,such an entertaining place.


 The menu here is small, but sufficient with a varied choice to satisfy most tastes. Loved this Cajun calamari for lunch.  Always do enjoy finding a calamari dish where you aren’t consuming what tastes like rubber or string.   This one was quite a delightful meal.  Hubby really enjoyed his steak baguette below too.  Very nice I was told.   

Don’t forget room service!  What nicer way to top off the evening than dessert delivered to the room.  And this deconstructed pavlova definitely satisfied the sweet craving. 

   In summary, we would definitely return, loved the spaciousness of the rooms, location so handy to the centre of Brisbane, and enjoyed really good service.   I wouldn’t class the restaurant as fine dining if that is more to your taste, and there isn’t really a relaxing bar area, however, it is a short walk to many bars and restaurants, all a stones throw away.  For a laid back lingering meal though, with fresh nicely presented food at a reasonable price, you cannot go past Palettes.  Give the Sebel a try sometime.  You too could be enjoying this sunrise from your balcony…