Whale One – Mooloolaba

Late in August, we enjoyed a whale watching cruise out of Mooloolaba. Whale One leaves from the Wharf complex at Mooloolaba and heads out to sea to look for whales.

As you can see from the background, we didn’t have to go far to come across our first whale encounter. This was closely followed our second whale who was ready to play and show off.

Breaching, clapping, tail slapping and just generally showing off, the second whale put on a quite a performance before they slid quietly under the surface to do whatever whales do.

Have you noticed how close to the beach we are? Not far is it. For those who worry about sea sickness, just take that calming tablet before you leave and there’s a pretty good chance you won’t even notice, particularly if you meet some entertaining whales!

Humpbacks are a species of baleen whale. These adults can weight 25-30 tons, with a length of 12-16 metres. Their distinctive knobbly head, long pectoral fins and body shape, along with their love of breaching, playing on the surface, make them very popular with whale watchers.

Capturing these majestic creatures on camera is not easy. You’re never sure where they will surface or what their next move will be. And it happens quickly, very fast. No time to set up here, so be ready for some quick shots.

It’s quite an experience to be an experience to be aboard a whale watching boat. Especially when the excited chatter turns to hush, as expectant faces hold cameras and phones on the hope of capturing the magic of the day.

These guys are wild creatures, doing their thing. You cannot guarantee they will be around or, if they are, that they will take the time to play for your amusement. Try not to be disappointed if you don’t see any on your trip, you will have a credit towards another trip, which hopefully will be one of the most heartwarming experiences of your life.

Create beautiful memories, by taking a trip. Highly recommend Whale One, the crew were great and the amenities on board include snacks and a bar. There was plenty of room for all to move around too. Just remember to share the space and change location onboard, so others can have a look from a different area. Enjoy the ride!

Coastal Cruises Mooloolaba

Around 1.5 hours of cruising around 3 of Mooloolaba canals, is included in your ticket price. Choose all sorts of upgrades for food and beverage packages, then sit back,relax and enjoy.

Fresh Seafood platter for two

The couple of crew on board the vessel, will go out of their way to make sure the cruise experience is tailored to the individuals. Always helpful and willing to do what they can, so yiu can relax and enjoy. Plenty of interesting information on the history of Mooloolaba canals is given throughout the course of your cruise. You will be surprised when you learn the real history, I’m not giving it away, book a cruise to find out!

The sunset cruise

Our first cruise was the wonderful Sunday evening sunset cruise. Delightful changing hues of colour tinged the surroundings as we cruised gently down the canal.

Sunset slowly makes its way across the canals

Your own group is seated together, no matter if just a couple or a few of you. There’s plenty of room to move around the boat too, once you are underway. Sliding windows next to the bench seats, provide the opportunity for photos without even leaving your seat.

The infamous Croc One

Around halfway through your cruise, a quick stop is made to collect your delicious seafood meal choices. Dine on mouthwatering food, washed down with a bevie or two from the onboard bar, and you have own moving restaurant.

Sunset

Highly recommend cruising with this company. Aaron who was driving the boat, giving commentary and making you feel at ease, was on both the sunset cruise and the day cruise we went on. That second cruise was so we could enjoy another one of those fresh seafood platters and a laugh with the ever helpful crew. Well worth it.

Aaron describes another area of the canals.

Your view from the water is always different from the shore, certainly consider taking a cruise and hearing the fascinating history of this area. The wooden ferry you cruise on, M.V. Mudjimba, is the only genuine historic timber ferry in Mooloolaba.

Safety onboard M.V. Mudjimba

Enjoy, we might even see you there as we will definitely cruise on this great little vessel again!

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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Mercure Clear Mountain Resort

One of our favourite places to go, especially if we are wanting a quick breakaway, close to home. When we visited recently they had only just reopened to the public, post first wave Covid-19.

The staff up here have had around three months of venue closure. They are enthusiastic to return, but still concerned as to if their patrons will do the right thing. Totally understandable. They have stringent rules in place for the staff to ensure they remain healthy.

Postcard perfect vistas

We were among a number who visited in the first couple of weeks of opening. One thing a pandemic cannot ruin, is picture perfect views and that feeling of relaxation which washes over you.

Take a walk around the grounds, there’s a lot to see.

Rooms have their own private balcony, or wile away some time on the huge deck area encasing the restaurant and bar. There’s plenty of room to spread out. And, in all honesty, even though we were told there were a lot staying, we didn’t ever feel crowded or overwhelmed during our couple of nights staying.

One of the friendly local kookaburras

The menu has been adjusted this year to suit new regulations, with no buffet breakfast any longer. Lunch and dinner menus are simple, yet cater for majority of tastes. Rooms here are hotel style, without food facilities, however, you are here to relax and unwind, so it’s just the way it should be.

Breakfast

If you have a special occasion, why not treat yourself to a high tea. This high tea is the best value high tea we have come across over past years. Affordable, yet packed with tasty morsels, we were lucky to enjoy this on the first morning. Remember to book in advance! Two days notice is appreciated to ensure the high tea can be accommodated.

Two of the tiers in a high tea for two
Don’t forget the sandwiches!

We love this venue, for a number of reasons and cannot recommend visiting here, highly enough. Worst case, just pop up from Brisbane for a meal over a couple of hours, it’s so close, yet an entire world away.

Teat yourself at Stephanies Spa, the ladies there will take very good care of you to ensure you are well pampered!

The view from the deck is breathtaking

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Stay safe and thank you for your interest. Our thoughts are with those in hard quarantine conditions and we hope we have helped bring a little light to your life.

What a great place to unwind when the weather is cooler 😍

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!

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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 💪