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 πŸ˜„ 
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…


Comfort Inn Blue Lagoon, Dubbo

At some point, you may bc seeking clean, comfortable accommodation in Dubbo.   Located on Cobra Street, also known as the Mitchell Highway, you will find the Comfort Inn Bkue Lagoon.

Rooms are not expensive here, there is plenty of uncovered parking, and they even provide superbly designed kennels , if you should wish to bring your canine friend.  The huge kennels are located at the back corner of the motel complex, with a large fenced, grassy area to stretch those four paws.  You will sleep well knowing your dog is residing in a comfortable environment.

Although not large, airconditioned rooms contain the usual  basic comforts you require whilst away from home.   Ensuite shower bathroom, large wardrobe, desk, single & queen beds, table with two chairs,  tv, bar fridge, tea/coffee facilities, including a toaster.   

There are no separate room balconies although if you prefer to watch the world go by outside, the walk through area is wide enough to take the seats out to, and not block everyone’s path.

A nice place to sit and drink in the fabulous sunsets, if you should be in one of the higher rooms.

 Other facilities here, included a free guest laundry with front loader machine & dryer.  Laundry powder can be purchased at the front desk, if you don’t have your own.

The large unground swimming pool near reception, is a definite plus for beating the summer heat.  Plenty of room to swim a few laps or cool off with the family.

Sails, is the onsite restaurant.  Open for breakfast and dinner, the food was superb, including presentation, taste & variety.  Service was also of a very high standard, with a full review already posted at http://www.dinelivetravel.com.

Breakfast can be delivered to your room, choosing from a basic cooked breakfast menu, for $9 per person, or, you can partake of the extensive onsite buffet.  Usually closed on Monday, the owners chose to open on the Monday we were there, possibly due to the high number of tenants onsite that morning.  Remember to book in for breakfast to receive a discount.

Onsite owners/managers and staff were friendly, helpful and happy to discuss the local area with you.    As the complex is within walking distance of some main town areas, you will find it a handy place to stop.   Fast food outlets are within a few hundred metres, with the Taronga Zoo Dubbo, around about a five minute drive.

Recommended to us as being a good place to stay, we would definitely return whenever we next pass through or visit .Dubbo.

Check the restaurant,  Dubbo Zoo reviews and photos  on this blog, Instagram, Steller Stories and Facebook.

Link Apartments, Portside Wharf Precinct, Hamilton, Brisbane

  For a long time we have enjoyed the odd visit to Portside, usually to enjoy a relaxing meal.   However, on this occasion, we took the time to spend a few nights in the precinct to enjoy the fireworks on New Years Eve and explore the facilities on offer.

Usually choosing the  city for New Year, we wanted to avoid the big crowds this time round. Plus were also,looking for something a little more reasonably priced as city accomodation prices, rise immensely just for the one night.  A little research inspired us to book into the Link Portside Apartments.     For a full, modern, fully self-contained apartment, prices are affordable, with better value if you stay an extra night or two.  Well appointed, with your own balcony, these apartments are certainly clean and comfortable.   Apartment is definitely roomy enough for a couple.   Two fans, one over the bed in the bedroom, plus airconditioning in the main living area, help to cool the apartment. We did find the bedroom was a little hot unless you left the air conditioner to run longer, assisted by the two fans.   As long as you prepared in advance, there was no problem cooling the bedroom down before you retired.   To be fair this was the only point we did notice.   Balance this against all the pluses for this property though, and it definitely receives the thumbs up.

Not a high rise, 4 levels, but to be able to take the lift downstairs emerging a few steps away from the shops, is very convenient.   Your car stays tucked up underground, making use of the free parking attached to the apartment booking.

Supplies are easy from the IGA across from the apartments.   Friendly staff, coupled with a supermarket style shop, make it easy to pick up the items you need for your kitchen pantry. A short stroll towards the river, through the restaurant precinct, and you can take a stroll long the foreshore, or simply enjoy the views offered in this area.   Always someone out testing one of their water sport craft on the Brisbane River. Only takes a leisurely walk and you can catch a ferry to the city as well.

Prefer a movie?  Check out Dendy in this complex.   Good value tickets, plays buy your wine or beer at the bar, and the helpful staff will pop it in an ice bucket for you to take in with you.  Very clean tidy and roomy theatres make this much better value than gold class.

A smattering of retail shops provide an outlet for the shoppers amongst you.   For those cruising, should you need to come to Brisbane before or after  your cruise, consider staying here, as you simply wheel your luggage a couple of hundred metres around the corner and hey presto, there’s the cruise terminal, right on your doorstep. 

Next to the cruise terminal are the infamous Eat Street Markets, where the variety of food is endless.    Latest attraction for the markets, is the outdoor drive (or walk in) movie theatre.

One has to mention, the very helpful, well informed ladies taking bookings and checking you in.   They make the process easy and painless.

Must admit, Portside is one of my personal favourite parts of Brisbane.   πŸ˜„πŸ‘ 

Mantra Hervey Bay, Fraser Coast QLD

 With views across the Marina towards Fraser and surrounding islands, visible from the majority of units, you will find every excuse to relax out on your balcony.   Reasonably priced with hotel room, plus one or two bedrooms fully equipped apartments, you really are setting the scene for a fantastic break away.

On this occasion, we were staying for a three night relaxing, chilled out break, therefore we chose the hotel room option.  Did I mention each room comes with one of these?  The hotel room, also doubles as the second bedroom to a one bedroom apartment.  However it is a seperate room complete with its own balcony,  TV, tea & coffee facilities, a bar fridge which isn’t already full of mini bar items, allowing plenty of room to store your own food or drinks, as well as an ensuite which includes a spa bath.

There are two card only accessible parking areas for those staying.  However even when it was as quiet as it happened to be in mid August, there still seemed to be a battle at later times in the day to find a secure park.  We discovered the key was to go out in the early morning, then have the car parked up around mid day.  This way we were able to secure the same shade sail covered park each day.  

As you have walking access to the Marina Boardwalk running along the waterfront of the hotel, if you were looking to relax, then there was no need go anywhere else. 

The Marina houses a few shops, laundrette, plus a selection of restaurants & cafes.    A mere stones throw down the road from the Matina Shops and you have the fully facilititated Yacht Club at your disposal.   Meals, bar, pokie area and pkenty of room available, it’s certainly worth a visit.  Remember to sign in as a visitor upon entry!

From your room you can most likely see the spit on the outer side of the Marina, helping to provide a safe haven for all the boats housed within the marina.  Roughly a 5km round walk, it’s worth taking a stroll out to the end of the spit, to visit the monument rerected to recognise those lost at sea, and to view your temporary home from a different angle.

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Hervey Bay, give the Mantra some thought.   Pools, gym & other facilities, friendly, helpful staff, plus the convenience of the marina, you really can’t go past it.

I certainly didn’t complain about waking up to this view each morning !


Hotel Urban- Brisbane

Not our first visit to this delightfully trendy yet laid back complex in Spring Hill.  With enough height to give a birds eye view over different areas of Brisbane, as well as only being a short walk from the heart of Brisbane or the Roma Street transport complex, location is paramount. A crystal view of Brisbane from a one bedroom unit on the 6th floor.

This visit, our second family function here, was not going to disappoint.  Staff have always generally not only been good to deal with, but come with a sense of humour as well.

Tonight the function was held in the loft.  The short hike up the stairs, after the lift reaches its limits, is definitely worth it, to see the fabulous sparkling lights of Brisbane surrounding you.  With a neat selection of rooms, including toilets, private bar and a large outside balcony, this is an all inclusive, ideal function venue.   Added bonus, are the rooms available below to give you a mini break away and avoid the trip home after your function finishes.

Above photo taken by instagramer @amberrk_92

The views across Brisbane from up here, are superb.   Unfortunately on this night, I was rather busy so didn’t have the time to take my usual happy snaps.

I did however, manage to secure a few of the sunset from our 6th floor one bedroom unit.  The  rooms here are tidy, clean and comfortable.  Everything from hotel to two bedroom rooms, have their own balconys.  One & two bedroom units do have the better views with their location across the front of the complex, and very large balconies.  There used to be a coffee Nespresso machine in each of the units, however ours didn’t have one on this occasion.  Tea & coffee facilities were still provided in room though.

The one bedroom boasts a very roomy lounge/dining area as well as the usual ensuite & wardobe space in the main bedroom.   There are mini bar facilities, however the fridge still has plenty of space to put your own food or drinks in.   There are no kitchen or laundry facilities in the one of two bedroom units.

Two bedrooms, have a strange design, whereby you have to walk through the main bedroom to access the second room.  Probably more suited to families with young children.  Parking your car onsite can be a little challenging, particularly if you drive a larger vehicle, which we do, however we find a few manoeuvres will have you skirting the multiple structural poles, which appear to be inconveniently located  around the carpark.   A little testing for some perhaps, with the bonus being secure undercover car parking.  Worth the effort πŸ‘.

Adjourning the huge, Alice in Wonderland feeling lobby, sits a very comfortable restaurant/bar area.  Plenty of room around the tables, with a large undercover area.   Outside, there are lounge and high stool/table settings, giving you plenty of seating choice.

 The morning after the function, we enjoyed a lingering buffet breakfast which gave everyone a great opportunity to catch up. Hot & cold buffet was $30 per head, with plenty of choice available.  Hot drinks from the large coffee machine, or a selection of cold juices were included in the buffet.   We enjoy visiting the Hotel Urban.   With a few lazy afternoons spent here in the past, enjoying lunch over a couple of afternoon drinks.  Or an evening spent savouring the dinner menu, before retiring to enjoy the view from your balcony upstairs over a nightcap.  Anytime we have spent here, has always been relaxing and enjoyable.   As I said earlier, staff are generally very good, most with a good sense of humour.

I have no doubt we will return to the Urban again, maybe we will see you there!

Mecure Gold Coast Resort

An impromptu stay on the Gold Coast to meet visiting family, resulted in a frantic search for accommodation during the fully booked school holidays.

Broadbeach was where we needed to be, but there was nothing available for a night. Having stayed at the Mecure before , a quick phone call after checking Le Accor’s website, (which said they were fully booked), and we successfully secured a room.

Located near Broadbeach, close to the Carrara Markets, this is a beautiful spot if you’re not after a beach high rise. The short drive into the Mecure takes you through towering palms, with rolling immaculate golf course, either side. Imagine driving down here in a Ferrari with the top down and the wind caressing your hair. This drive, gives you a brief feeling of driving into the grounds of a mansion, maybe in California. Already you are feeling relaxed.

This time round the staff were again fantastic. Valet parking is beyond awesome here, $5.50 for the duration of the stay and the wonderful friendly staff will happily park your vehicle in the undercover car park, retrieving it with a smile, whenever you require it back. Quite refreshing to have such awesome service at a very nominal fee. To be honest, it would be so easy to park your own vehicle, but when you have the opportunity to talk with the wonderful staff, why would you? Much more fun to valet park :).

The resort rooms are nicely equipped, roomy and come with either your own balcony or a little garden. One thing we have noticed here, the rooms are very quiet. This time round we were right next to the hotel entry. A steady stream of vehicles drove through, yet we never heard a sound all night. Nice! Another refreshing change, no mini bar!!! Bring your own fridge supplies, as the room fridge is empty, awesome!!

Off to breakfast at 6.30 when the buffet opened, and we were met with two of these ballon baskets, returning to drop guests off after their pre breakfast flight.

A little hint with breakfast, book when you check in if your booking didn’t include this already, as you will save around $7 per person per day, rather than just turning up for brekky each morning. Hot & cold buffet, plus pastries, this is a very nice buffet.

I’ve checked out the gym area, very nice. Plenty of room, tidy, reasonable equipment. There’s a couple of pools, a nice spa with an extensive menu, a handy on site shop, plus a restaurant and bar area. The restaurant area is currently being renovated. Sure to be nice when it’s finished.

Keep this resort in mind, we have the enjoyed a couple of overnight stays, to be honest though, we would quite happily stay here for a few days. Perhaps sooner rather than later!

Only just over $20 for a cab through to Broadbeach, where you have an amazing array of restaurants, as well as the beach and plenty of shopping.