Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast

Brisbane is lucky to have easy access to both Gold and Sunshine Coasts. We recently spent a week in Mooloolaba, which was a totally awesome week away.

Sunrise from the beach is captivating

Accommodation and food choices here are many and varied with something to suit all tastes and budgets. As an Accor Plus member, our choice of apartment for this trip was Mantra Sirocco. Mantras are an absolute coup for Accor who were lacking in apartment style holiday accommodation, but not now.

View from our private rooftop at Mantra Sirocco

Exit the Mantra lift on level 1, which puts you in the midst of a mini retail hub, including news agency, beauty and clothing/accessories. Through the door to the Esplanade and you have an array of restaurants cafe and retail shops at your disposal. The variety of menus on offer is incredibly diverse.

Sunset Dining on the Mooloolaba Esplanade opposite the beach

If you’re a seafood buff, be sure to order seafood whilst in Mooloolaba. With the wharf precinct at the end of the Esplanade, sitting alongside canals which house multitudes of fishing trawlers, you can be assured the seafood here is usually coming fresh from the boat. And it is delicious.

One of our simply delightful seafood meals, Risotto Marina at Bella Venezia

The Esplanade bars and restaurants we visited were many, from Bayrische Beach Bar and Cafe at the base of the Mantra Sirocco, through to the Surf Club, O’Malley’s Irish Bar, Elevate, Quarterdeck, Bella Venezia, and numerous cafes in between. Oh and ice cream parlours, Mooloolaba has it all! Remember all of these venues are within a short 5 or so minute walk from the Mantra Sirocco.

Gourmet pancakes, Mooloolaba Esplanade style

Whilst sitting in the wonderfully warm atmosphere of O’Malley’s Irish Bar, this eagle eye spotted a wonderfully enticing venue, Naked Day Spa & Cocktail lounge. Blinged to the max, with incredibly warm-hearted, engaging staff, this little day spa became a favourite. Both hubby and I decided to indulge, in some treatments, and yes, cocktails!

Just a small selection at Naked Day Spa & Cocktail lounge
Enjoy whilst the staff wipe away the stresses of life.

Mooloolaba, a fantastic hub on the Sunshine Coast, perched right on the beach front, surrounded by an amazingly diverse area of hinterland, costal towns and activities. Too much to tell you about here, but there will be separate blogs for our short cruises, from the Wharf.

Burning sunrise from Mooloolaba Beach

We were lucky, wake up walk across the road and from right there the most mind blowing sunrises occurred, every morning.

A little lens ball play

Visit the Sunshine Coast, it’s an area waiting to embrace you! More photos from Dine Live Travel on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. All photos are copyright, with prints available for sale.

Aarth Cafe Functions – Taigum Village

We are lucky to know some amazing people in our world. They really do exist and one of those is the lovely Sunny who owns and manages Aarth Cafe at Taigum Village. When Covid messed up plans for Hubbys 50th, I dropped past Aarth and asked Sunny if he would consider doing a private function, after hours.

And so it evolved. Sunny confirmed he could do this with his team, and the planning began.

Ideas popped back and forth but Sunny created an event menu for twenty people in a few days. Next, he added the red lounge for a backdrop, something which would be instagramable. Sunnys enthusiasm and ideas were contagious, we added props for a photo booth effect.

After choosing four entrees, each guest then pre ordered their main and dessert, the choices being emailed to Aarth at least a week prior to the event. This way all tastes could be catered for. No problem if people have allergies or certain tastes, ie, vegetarian. Sunny and his team adjusted menu items to suit the individuals. Something which can be done if the restaurant has plenty of notice.

This licenced venue can cater easily for small groups of about twenty. Our event was 20 people exactly which meant the cafe could be divided into two areas. Outside area was used for pre dinner drinks and continuous entrees. Inside area was set up with three tables seating a total of 20.

In agreement with Sunny, I had added a welcome drink to the package for each guest. Aarth has a range of beer and wines, including some Marlborough NZ Black Cottage varieties, however they don’t cater for individual spirits. A limited range of spirits are available as cocktails though, which went down well as welcome drinks.

Once your guests have mingled for a couple of hours, head on inside for your meals. There is a TV used for the cafes own advertising, which Sunny is more than happy to change to your digital photos for the duration of your private event.

Sunny and his team went to a lot of effort to set up the event and make sure things ran smoothly. With the ground work, pre done, it meant we could all relax whilst the event ran like clockwork. Remember to check the walls too, there is a local artist Sonya Rae, who displays her beautiful airbrushing at the cafe. All are for sale too!

We cannot highly recommend Sunny for a private event enough. Aarth Cafe will design a package to suit your small group. Drop by Aarth or contact via message on Facebook or Instagram. Sunny would be delighted to assist with hosting your small event.

Thank you to Sunny and his wonderful, team for hosting such a successful event! Much gratitude 🙏.

Photo above compliments of @reve_cherie photography who was our photographer for the evening.

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Lake Moogerah & Kalbar, Queensland

We have been lucky in Queensland to have the opportunity to explore our state, whilst other states unfortunately stay locked down.

Lake Moogerah

Whilst we have this opportunity, it is important to support businesses and areas who are struggling to return after hurting badly from shutdowns. And there are a lot in the outer regions who need support.

Lake Moogerah

Our recent car club run out to the stunning Lake Moogerah area, in the picturesque Scenic Rim, was a fantastic opportunity to visit this corner of Queensland. Located above Fassifern Valley, around 60km from the city of Ipswich , the Moogerah Dam and Lake areas are a popular recreational area

Clear waters, directly behind the dam wall

The odd jet ski, or boat, occasionally shot around the Lake, with a number of campers and day trippers enjoying the extra land surface, given the low water levels on the lake.

Moogerah is derived from Moogirah, which is the Aboriginal word for ‘Home of the Thunderstorm’. The 38 metre high, 219 metre long dam, supplies areas beneath, including Boonah and Ipswich.

Water rushes from the dam spillway

With plenty of parking, shaded areas and seating, social distancing is not a problem out here. A kiosk supplies a few basic essentials to save a trip further afield. We didn’t check out the camping areas, bu they do have a camp kitchen and choices of powered or non-powered sites.

Take a walk across the dam wall, which is the accessway to Moogerah Peaks National Park, home to Mount Edwards.

Picturesque mountains surround the lake area.

After enjoying the beautiful surroundings, we headed to a local iconic pub, the Royal Hotel, Kalbar.

The large deck area at the Royal Hotel, Kalbar

Popular with locals, day trippers and tourists alike, the original hotel was established in1900.

Food was good quality pub fare, with plenty on the plate. Staff were kept busy serving customers

All in a all a fantastic way to close an enjoyable morning out.

On a more somber note, after witnessing a severe traffic accident when homeward bound, a reminder to please drive safely, no matter how close to home you are or, how far away those accidents still occur in a split second. Drive safely and stay aware of your surroundings.

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Farm House, Kedron

Most Brisbanites, particularly those familiar with the Northside, will remember Farmer Joes produce store, which sadly closed its doors in 2009, to make way for the new road associated with the Airport Link Tunnel. Farm House is a tribute to Farmer Joes, using farm fresh, quality foods for their busy venue.

Have a bubbly brunch if you like, there’s alcoholic drinks, as well as coffees on the menu.

Like the majority of venues at the moment, you need to book in advance and you may be time limited. Weekends are exceptionally busy, so plan well ahead to ensure you secure a spot.

Order and pay with your phone

Farm House gives you a couple of ordering options. There’s the traditional method of presenting at the counter, or, order and pay from your phone whilst seated, if you do not wish to mingle.

We trialled the phone ordering system, which in itself is a great concept, but, unfortunately the internet is a bit slow in the area. If you’re patient you will be fine, if not, suggest you order the traditional way to save any frustration.

Freshness simply oozes from the plate

Meals were delivered quickly, much quicker than we anticipated. All were fresh as promised, nicely presented and perfectly tasty.

Fruit and flowers present beautifully

The staff definitely deserve a mention, if not more. All were friendly, helpful and more than willing to do their best to accommodate. At no point did you feel like you were in their way. They welcomed all patrons with open arms.

Now that’s a brunch!

This is a busy corner of the world, but most definitely still worth a visit. Next time, we might try a weekday to avoid the crowds of people. Be sure to give them a try, the rustic surroundings are appealing and relaxing. Couple this with the delightfully fresh food and service, you now have a winning combination!

More photos are posted on Instagram and Facebook. Be sure to follow Dine Live Travel on all platforms, as you never know where we will be next. Stay safe everyone!

Pullman King George Square – Brisbane

We live in a different world now, with 2020 delivering a sharp reminder to us all, that at the end of the day, we are human, we are vulnerable.

A time for reflection

Lockdowns completed, with restrictions on everyone’s lifestyle, beginning to ease in Queensland, it was time to start venturing out and try to make sense of our new world. After weeks at home, we treated ourselves to a night for an anniversary celebration.

Having never stayed at the Pullman King George Square, we decided to give it a test run, and we were not disappointed. Staff here were fantastic, friendly and very helpful. Hospitality staff have not had it easy over the past few months and it was great to see them smiling and carrying on their work professionally.

Fresh, clean and relaxing at Goldfinch Restaurant

After being treated to an early check in, we headed downstairs to the Goldfinch restaurant for an enjoyable lunch. Spacious, airy vibes greeted us, along with the wonderful staff, as we were seated next to an huge windows. Our view was of King George Square, with a constant moving canvas outside as everyone went about their business.

Little Gem Salad
Antipasti

Remember, anywhere you wish to dine now, you should book in advance and don’t be surprised if you are time limited. We were lucky here as the expansive area easily catered to the number of diners at that particular time. You still need to sign in, so that your party can be traced should there be any outbreaks of Covid.

View from Sixteen Antlers

After a break in between venues, we headed up to our booking at the rooftop bar, Sixteen Antlers. The Mercure and Pullman share all of these areas, which includes the pool, gym, Goldfinch and Sixteen Antlers. The rooftop bar is a very popular area so you will be time limited to 2 hours during current climate.

One night off a full moon rising

As the sun set in the West, we were treated to the rising of an almost full moon to the East. The corner table we had been allocated was perfect for viewing. Enjoying cocktails, and an evening beverage, this was a fantastic space to sit and wile away some time.

Sixteen Antlers Rooftop Bar

As the evening progressed, more patrons began to enter the popular venue. This was also at a time where you could not approach the bar, so friendly staff will seat you in one place, ensuring they are then attentive to your needs.

Reflections on the moon rising

This venue really is worth a visit, remember to book well in advance, as it is very popular.

Thank you to all the staff, we very much enjoyed our stay and the special gift in our room as well as the upgrade, was very much appreciated for our celebration night away.

Executive Room at Pullman King George Square

We look forward to seeing you all again soon!

Further photos are available on Dine Live Travel Instagram and Facebook. Thank you for your interest, it’s been fantastic to start moving around again, as our restrictions ease!

In Memory of The Buffet

We live in changing times, this year more so than usual. 2020 began as a year of hope, yet many hopes were dashed within a short couple of months.

In those few short months life changed, not just for one person, for everyone. The freedom to holiday and eat where we wanted was dashed, along with many other things we took for granted in life. Many have had their lives change suddenly for better, or for worse. Some are finding it hard, others are doing well, but, one thing we may not see again in the foreseeable future? The buffet.

Remember that time you went to a venue, the food is laid out, and you chose as little or as much as you wanted from what is usually a big, enticing variety. Sorry everyone, but it looks like the buffet as we know it, is gone forever.

Or when you chose from variety of canapés on a platter? Maybe walked up and down the rows of hot and cold food offerings? Keep those memories close, it may not happen again, or if it does it won’t be for a long time.

We can now dine in house with a few others, numbers dependent on your location. But, the buffet is not allowed. A la carte only.

Simply you choose and eat your meal only. No random unlimited choices. No wastage for the items you chose and decided not to eat. It used to be individual choice, with buffets very popular, particularly for some hotel meals. Easy to maintain, easier on staff, but not now.

Where ever you are in our world, support your local entities and businesses. These ones have strived long and hard to come up with solutions to ensure their business survives and the local community is sustained during these unprecedented times.

Life might not be a buffet anymore, your choices maybe limited, but, if you were to be completely honest, is that a bad thing? Maybe not.

Stay safe everyone, keep well and keep those options open. Try not to burn bridges, remember everyone and every place is in your life for a reason. Take care and stay strong 💪

Cafe Wisteria – Ascot

Happy to have started our regular brunch, random choice sessions again for this year. This choice was picked simply by going for a drive and choosing what looked like a nice venue.

Located on the edge of the Coles Complex, the cafe is split easily across the footpath. With partial walls, giving open an airy open space feeling, decorated with hanging wisteria and herbs, the dining area next to the road edge, is definitely a relaxing place to sit and enjoy your meal.

Menu choice was enough to cover for all tastes, so we were interested as to what ordered meals would be like.

Staff here, were not only exceptionally friendly and helpful, they were very accommodating, giving only their best attitude to visiting customers.

Presentation of the tea was intriguing. So often tea is overlooked as everyone scrambles for coffee. Luckily, I’m not a coffee drinker, hence tea presentation is what I notice. And yes, i liked this simple eye catching assortment for the tea ordered,

Meals arrived in a timely fashion, nicely presented, with a complete order looking very tasty.

My choice on this occasion was the Salmon on corn fritters with a side of mushrooms.

Yes, it did taste even better than what it looks. Fresh, light and very enjoyable, this was quite a filling meal.

An interesting choice was the bacon pancakes with maple syrup and ice cream. Pancakes were light and airy, topped with tasty bacon rashers and a side of maple.

They have a pretty awesome selection of juices and other drinks here. You can choose your own ingredients to try something a little different. Worth a try, you. Never know what you might end up with!

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Royal Rajputana – Fitzgibbon Chase

Royal Rajputana has just turned one year old. Part of the Fitzgibbon Chase community shops, this is an innovative venue, bringing city style to the suburbs.

Rajputana means “Land of Rajputs”. This was an area in India which included some of the modern day Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan as well as parts of Sindh in southern Pakistan, covering a total of around 343 thousand square kilometres.

The Rajput race is considered the proudest and most noble race in India. Hence the inclusion of Royal in the name.

If you are seeking a good Indian curry, spiced to your taste, then you’ve come to right place.From butter chicken through to vegetarian or meat, the extensive menu is catering for a majority of tastes. Saffron rice was light, fluffy and very aromatic, making for an awesome accompaniment to your choice of curry.

All food was well presented, fresh, tasty and definitely a winner for our group. Prices are not expensive for the meal quality delivered. Those Naan breads too, very tasty!

The atmosphere is casual relaxed, with a good sprinkle of quality. Service is attentive, friendly as well as being focused on making sure you are comfortable, relaxed and enjoying your experience.

Water is plentiful, refilled regularly, whilst the well stocked bar provides for your wine or non/alcoholic preference.Take some time to stop by. Have a chat, watch the world go by and enjoy some good quality Indian cuisine.

Maybe we will see you there? Remember to follow Dine Live Travel on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and snapchat to stay updated. You never know where we will be!

Spicers Balfour Hotel – New Farm, Brisbane

Brisbane never ceases to surprise. Just when you think you are getting to know this city, you stumble across another hidden gem. Today, this was to be the intriguing Spicers Balfour Hotel.

The close proximity to the iconic Story Bridge, has the hotel within easy walking distance to Howard Street Wharves complex.From the moment you enter the property, you’re engulfed in a homely, friendly atmosphere. Staff here cannot do enough for you. To them you are an individual, not just another tenant.

We were onsite today for a meeting, with an impressive array of platters served in the courtyard area. Surrounded by greenery, trees decorated with lights, and glimpses of heritage listed buildings, you have a lovely, private space for entertaining.

We were given a tour through the buildings, with remnants of bygone eras everywhere. The finishing touches here have been very well thought out and implemented.

Yes, I did say buildings, as there are two. One houses rooms, boardroom as well as restaurant, bar and a cute little rooftop bar with views overlooking the iconic Story Bridge. The other, houses another boardroom, as well as apartment style rooms.Can you see what I mean about finishing touches? Very well done. This cosy area is part of one of the apartments, with a separate bedroom and ensuite included.These apartments make for an awesome place a couples retreat away from day to day life or stress.

Solo business women prefer the studio rooms here to large hotel complexes, as they feel safe, welcomed and unbothered. I can see why it would appeal to the solo female traveller, as this venue definitely ticks all of those boxes.

Spend some time over a leisurely breakfast, lunch or dinner in the top Vietnamese Restaurant, not only in Queensland, but Australia. That’s a massive achievement for this boutique hotel.

And dont forget to check out that rooftop bar! Such a gorgeous intimate area, with a bonus stunning vista.

Urge you all to check out this superb multi award winning venue. Definitely on my list to return!

Thank you to Travel Massive and Spicers Balfour for hosting at this truely superb venue.

Stellarossa – Aspley

A relative newbie to the Robinson Road complex, Stellarossa is a surprisingly large cafe, with an equally surprising, menu.

Prices are reasonable and the food, is nicely presented, in generous portions.

Savoury mince can even be added as a side, and trust me, it is worth it.

The cafe is clean tidy and expansive, with a number of table choices. Staff always appear friendly, helpful, aiming to make your experience a pleasant one.

This is another cafe born from a passion for good coffee, flavours and service. From what we have experienced so far, they do seem to have incorporated all of those into this venue.

Ok I’m not a coffee drinker, but Hubby was more than happy with his coffee choice. There is a small tea selection and a number of other drink choices for the non-coffee drinkers amongst us.A great way to kickstart your day with one of the all day breakfast choices, or choose from burgers, sandwiches or general cafe food.

These guys support a great cause too, assisting in raising funds for the PA Research Foundation. This foundation helps to bring research projects to the lab, and on to becoming patient trials for those in need.

The Robinson Road complex is a great little shopping area, housing a few of the essential shops, without having to go to a bigger centre.

Stop in when you’re shopping and give this cafe a try. It certainly is worth it.