Frankton Arms Tavern New Zealand

Stunning scenery is par for the course in Queenstown.  However you cannot deny the breathtaking scenery whilst visiting Frankton Arms Tavern.

A big complex located in Frankton, which is next to Queenstown on Lake Wakitipu.  Staff here were very friendly helpful and looked to enjoy their working environment.


Outside there are some very impressive wooden tables, and again, that view!

We loved the meals here, with all of us agreeing the presentation of the bangers and mash was outstanding.  Take a look at this:


This simple meal was turned into a work of art.  Very impressive.


Meal sizes are extra large.  Take a look at this pizza!   

Highly recommend a visit to this great value venue.  It’s worth a trip to Queenstown to enjoy the meals whilst you soak in this beautiful area.   Enjoy😋

Sake – Eagle Street Pier Brisbane (Subarashi!)

Time to sit back relax, enjoy this first class experience.  Lets take a flight!  How about a degustation experience combined with a sake flight.  To experience the Japanese menu with service that went above and beyond, whilst seated in a beautiful expansive restaurant overlooking Eagle Street Pier and Brisbane River, is not only heartwarming, but extremely memorable.

Sake anyone?   This incredible wall of sake kegs is awe inspiring.   Are there really this many sakes?  Well lets take a flight and trial some these babies.

Three sakes start on the right with a lighter sweeter style sake, then work your way down.  The ever attentive staff even suggest to you which sake goes with which meal or dish.    Take your time with this, it may look small doses, but sake packs a heafty punch.

Today was a special birthday treat.  To be fair I wasn’t entirely sure of the menu so left that choice to my birthday treat host.  What better way to experience the delights on offer, than with a set menu.   Now normally you need a few people at your table for any restaurant to offer you the opportunity of a set menu, this menu though, only two.  Chefs New Classic Set Menu that was today’s choice.  What a great way to trial a number of dishes on the menu in one go!  So relax, let those taste buds salivate as we take a flight through the menu.   

First up, Norri crisps.  Delightful crispy seaweed, pairing fantastically with that little soft touch of tuna and seasame on top.  Devine.

With fabulous, yet simplistic presentation, Hiramasa Kingfish drizzled with housemad lime & jalapeño kosho, followed.  The Kingfish had been replaced with another fish, as there not was enough stock on this particular day.  However, this dish was soft, delectable and enjoyable.

Now I hear a few of you, going hmm not much.  But, this to me is the epitome of a degustation style meal. A wonderful opportunity to experience flavours, understanding what you eat and quite simply savouring for enjoyment.   

Grass fed Beef tatakai.   Staff were right, this one matched perfectly with one of the Sakes!  With a little bit of crunch, mixed with a light salad type topping, this rare beef was an absolute treat.

Coated in an incredibly light batter and even lighter mayonnaise, thevpopcorn shrimp dish was superb to say the least.  Totally different to the previous dishes, it was an enlivening dish, which woke not only only your tastebuds, but your whole being with the simple flavours and the pop of shrimp.

And the dishes kept on coming.   Next up this fabulously presented Bass Grouper.  Yum!

House salad topped up the vege intake, providing a refreshingly different taste sensation to the previous fish and beef dishes.   Also an excellent cleanser before the Cape Grim short rib bo ssam which followed.Combing light, crispy and hot, this was an intriguing, very tasty treat!   The pickles confit garlic and ssam sauce paired wonderfully well with the short rib.

What better way to cleanse the palate before finishing with than with traditional miso soup.  Tofu, spring onion and wakame filled this delightful miso was a sensational cleanser.   

Only one dish left to go on this set menu, the Chefs choice of dessert.Oh WOW!   This colourful eye popping delight was a lovely surprise, added to which the combinations of desserts on the plate were enough to give you a sweet taste experience which finished off this meal beautifully.

I cannot recommend this venue highly enough.   Every now and then we do need to treat ourselves.   This $98 per person sensational taste journey was worth every cent.

Thank you Sake!  Kanpai!

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!


Bribe Island – South East Queensland

Brisbane winter weather can be absolutely stunning.  Beautiful clear warm days without the summer humidity, lend themselves to exploring the great outdoors.

On this particular recent winter day, a visit to this interesting piece of beauty, seeped in history, was a most enjoyable experience. Here you could feel the light breeze, soak up the stunning scenery and explore the different areas dotted across the island. Since 1963, when the bridge was built to connect Bribie with the mainland, accessing the island became an easy drive for Brisbane and surrounding area residents.

We found a meandering little walkway. siting between some lucky residences and a bird sanctuary.   A couple of hides had been built along the way to enable you to spend sometime viewing the different bird species as they mingled near the waters edge.

At the end of the track lies a waterway giving local residents access to the bay.  Sun rays danced across the glistening blue water,, highlighting the moving reflections stretched across the mirroring water.

Explore the different areas across the island, there is plenty to see and do.  A number of  cafes and other venues, leave you plenty of choice to enjoy a relaxing bite to eat.

On this occasion, we stopped by the Blue Anchorage, situated near the jetty, for a pleasant lunch.

With a choice of inside, outside dining and table service, the venue was a lovely place to wile away some time,

Enjoy your visit to Bribie Island, its an easy drive from Brisbane.  In fact from Northside you will do this in well under an hour.  Always nice to visit on on a weekday as weekends can be busy out here, with everyone trying to enjoy a slice of heaven on earth.

Carseldine Roadhouse

An impromptu visit to the Carseldine Roadhouse recently, was in no way disappointing.  Part of the Caltex complex on Gympie Road, the final Brisbane service station stop on the main road out of the city heading north, 

Enjoy the Roadhouse restaurant atmosphere here, whilst you maintain expectancy to indulge in a good hearty meal.


Dropping in for breakfast, the simple all day menu still gave enough choice for us both to enjoy a meal.  Staff were friendly and efficient, with not too much of a wait before meals were delivered to the solid wooden table.  

Bursting with flavour, the Italian omelette was my choice today.  Certainly a bigger meal than expected and not one that would leave you hungry afterwards.   


Hubby’s choice was the Grill breakfast with an added extra or two.  The only problem he had was making his way to the end! 

All food was fresh and nicely cooked, without being overdone or tough.   It was a pleasant start to the day,  partaking of the good quality food at the Roadhouse.

Open 7 days with other meal choices available, and some specials available, stop in before you leave Brisbane, or just drop by if you’re in the area looking for a reasonably priced hearty meal.  We were told Thursdays have good specials 👍.  We will have to check that out sometime.


And those large cups on the menu are exactly what they say!

Lakeview and Mandys on the Mountain Restaurants, Mecure Clear Mountain

Beautifully located on the side of Clear Mountain, with incredible vistas to the side and front, you will find the Mecure Clear Mountain Resort.   Two restaurants are onsite.  One being the general Lakeview restaurant boasting a wide wrap around verandah area giving you a choice of indoor or outdoor dining.

The second is the adults only dinner restaurant Mandy’s on the Moutain.  Menus are similar and simplistic, in a good way.  We enjoyed a lunch at Lakeview on a balmy weekend day, followed by an intimate dinner at Mandy’s, with a backdrop of wine, and nightcaps on the balcony overlooking the evertwinkling Brisbane & surounds lights.

This soft shell tempura crab lunch special, was incredibly soft, with the light tempura giving some crispness to the dish.  Presentation was superb.

Pairing well with the stuffed jalapeño dish and delightful platter, lunch was most enjoyable.


With lunch definitely not disappointing, we were left wondering what delights would be in store for this evenings meal at Mandy’s..  

We had a lovely conversation with new restaurant managerduring lunch.  Interesting  to see new staff learning the ropes.  Certainly no complaints from us regarding staff, everyone we came across was friendly and helpful.

Natural oysters displayed on a bed of salt with crisp lime slices,  provided that wonderful raw seafood flavour to the tastebuds.  They were also a perfect starter to our dinner at Mandy’s on the Mountain.Crispy duck was my dinner choice.  Never have I eaten such a delectably soft duck.  With a crunch on the outside, the inside meat simply fell apart and melted in the mouth.Hubby declared his bangers and mash to be superb.  Apparently a very enjoyable dish.Why not finish with a dessert?  This tiramisu with pistachio ice cream, finished off hubby’s meal with that taste of sweet, but not too sweet.  Again service here was superb.

There is no doubt we will be going back to either of these restaurants. To combine this wonderful food, with the atmosphere, views and service, why would we not return!  Look forward to our next visit.

Dragonfly Restaurant – Eden Gardens Carseldine

Situated on the busy corner intersection connecting Beams & Gympie Roads, lies the Eden Gardens. Browse the gardening, landscape and homewares or treat yourself to meal or drink break at the Dragonfly Restaurant.

Local wildlife enjoy the comfortable safe environment, which adds to your relaxing entertainment for the duration of your stay.

Today’s choice for lunch was two of the delectably described salads.   Once you have selected your meals and or drinks, head up to the counter for pay & order.     

The first meal delivered by a very pleasant staff member, was the Avocado Caesar which not only looked superb, but I’m told was most enjoyable.Choosing the Pork Belly salad I was not disappointed.  Juicy pork belly, married beautifully with the soft, slippery noodles and combination salad.   


A very enjoyable meal, nice fresh food and beautiful setting.  Certainly a lovely place to enjoy lunch.

With an intriguing selection of cakes and desserts as well as cold drinks and coffees, you are likely to find something nice here to treat yourself.   Enjoy!

Mecure Clear Mountain Lodge 

Sometimes you need to relax, chillout, have some down time,  What better place than the stunning setting at Mecure Clear Mountain Lodge.   From the time you arrive to the time you reluctantly leave, this location embraces your being with a feeling of peace.  

Stunning vistas unfold in every direction.  The ceremony area frames a picturesque background, who wouldn’t want to tie the knot here.   To have such an incredible venue on the outskirts of Brisbane’s Northside, is a massive bonus in itself.  Couple this with the friendly, helpful staff and food to a high inner city quality, and you have an awesome combination.

Your own balcony, should you choose to take advantage of the onsite accomodations will most likely provide you with a very restful area to spend some time whilst watching the city of Brisbane and surrounds, going about their business.   Planes landing, taking off, cruise ships disappearing into the distance, and a city just doing what a city does.

Pastel hues gave way to the twinkling Brisbane lights as night fell on the area.  Sit back, relax and enjoy.  Maybe from your balcony, maybe from one of the restaurants on site.  Wth a choice of the spacious Lakeview or the more intimate adults only, Mandy’s on the Mountain, you are sure to find something to suit your taste.   To do these restaurants justice, a separate review will follow.  Keep an eye out for it.

On site gardens supply the chefs with fresh produce in the creation of their meals.  Even a small vineyard, supplies grapes which find their way from vineyard to plate.

To give you a taste of what is yet to come, lets tantiilise your tastebuds with this platter for two. Superb!After eating your and drinking your fill, take the time to linger on the deck with a nightcap and drink in the twinkling atmosphere laid out before you.  Eventually you will have to tear yourself away to head back to your  comfortable room, or home, whichever the case may be.  Should you be lucky enough to have decided to stay, see if you can rise in time to watch the sun dawn on a new day.   Our hope is that upon reading this review, you will check this venue out.  Perhaps a wedding venue is what you are after, maybe just somewhere for a relaxing meal, or perhaps you will visit here to enjoy the onsite spa facilities.   Whatever the reason, enjoy your visit.  Remember to take time to relax, its a feeling oozing around you here, which just shouldn’t be resisted.   If you take time to enjoy a restaurant balcony meal, watch out for the local bird life, they enjoy a meat treat, and may feel the need to remove their own meat from your plate if you linger in feeding them!  

One last word in closing, Relax!

Cabarita – The Beach Bar & Grill

Cocktail anyone?

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Drinks are reasonably priced at this bar in Cabarita, right next to the beach.
Staff were friendly and service was of a reasonably high standard. The setting is overall comfortable, modern and roomy.

Our group of four were dining at the dinner service. The restaurant was not busy with many spare tables. Meals were duly decided and ordered at the till.

Entrees which had been ordered arrived quickly. The seafood tasting plate was very tasty, with some of the best calamari ever sampled.

There was unfortunately a problem we encountered with main meals arriving before entrees had been cleared. In fact we were still working on entrees so they hadn’t yet been finished. There was a scramble to clear the plates so the mains could be set down. Two of which had arrived, with long wait for the next two.

However in the end, meals were all good and enjoyed. With a view through to the below beach, the setting is certainly a big plus.

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Hunter Valley Gardens

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A beautiful place for a Sunday drive. There is something for everyone. Located at the top of the Hunter Valley, within easy driving distance of Newcastle.

Over 60 acres of spectacular gardens for viewing, a menagerie of shops ranging from the British Lollie Shop, handbags, nick nacks through to cookie, chocolate, wine, beer and liqueur tastings. Plus don’t forget the helicopter rides and the tunnel of beer!

After some wine tasting and very little convincing, a case of wine for the low price of $50, plus another free bottle for spending over $30, somehow made its way to the boot of the car.

The tunnel of beer is very impressive, with beers from all over the world as well as the opportunity to taste whatever is the tasting beer of the day.

The shops are quirky, cottagey and it’s wonderful to meander your way through the alley ways joining them. Even though this is a very popular destination there is still plenty of room to make your way around no matter how many people are there.