Goldies – The Island, Surfers Paradise

Located on Surfers Paradise Boulevard, just one block back from the iconic Surfers Beach, sits one of the original Gold Coast Hotels, The Island.

Goldies is the downstairs restaurant and bar, open from 7am, seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This expansive restaurant is a wonderful place to catch the cooling sea breeze. Sit ourself next to one of the large open window spaces and watch the world go by.

Trams are literally on the doorstep, connecting different areas of the expansive Gold Coast, together. This is the right on the beating heart of Surfers. Pretty much, everything you want or need is nearby. But today, is about Goldies.

Menus here were reasonably priced, with a good choice of items. Judging by the cocktail menu and the selection of cocktail “additions” behind the bar, these guys know how to mix something for all tastes.

I am going to mention the service here, as the staff were absolutely awesome. Not only attentive and aware of their surroundings, but informative and helpful also. You deserve the recognition. Well done.

This southern fried chicken burger was an absolute hit with Hubby. From the jalapeño skewered through the top of the bun, to the deliciously crunchy chicken matched with smokey bacon, every morsel was consumed with rapture. Not only that, this burger was matched to literally the coldest on tap Stella Artois beer, hubby has ever had the fortune to drink. he even had a second 500ml on tap beer to make use, the first one was not just a happy accident. It wasn’t!

The light meal of salt and pepper calamari was my choice today. With a beetroot hummus cris crossed with a black squid ink aioli, what can I say, this was totally delightful.

In recommending this venue, I will mention, what a wonderful location to wile away the day. If you’re into people watching, this is definitely the place to be.

Have a chat to the enthusiastic staff, they are proud to briefly tell you the history behind The Island. Once holding the most unfortunate of reputations, but now, totally redeemed with the work put into this iconic Surfers Paradise venue.

The new area, which is being worked on now, well, I’m excited, as someone who has been to the awesome bar upstairs, which I thought was really very cool, but the staff assured me, the new area is going to be amazing!

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Shorncliffe Pier

With a history dating back to the 1800’s, the Shorncliffe Pier has been rebuilt and revamped over the years. Most recently reopening on Good Friday, 2016.

The 351.5 metres of wooden pier, stretches out into Bramble Bay, making it, not only the longest wooden pier in Brisbane, one of the longest in Australia, but also, a very impressive structure.

Locals and visitors alike are drawn to the Pier. Photographers love the sunrise opportunities offered by the area. Dogs play with their owners on the beach or frolic in the gentle waves, walkers, joggers, cyclists, fishermen, and children make great use of what this family orientated piece of greater Brisbane.

Shelters housing chunky wooden tables and benches, down near the end of the Pier provide a nice resting place for families to stop and wile away some time. If you’re fishing, then you are well provided for with steel stations along the pier for cleaning your catch before heading home.

Brisbane is home to a widely diverse selection of recreation areas. This white washed structure, connecting the local area to the bay is definitely one worth visiting. The views around here are stunning, with Redcliffe and its connecting bridges, Moreton Island and the Port of Brisbane all visible from the Pier.

Posts visible at low tide, remain from the days of the swimming bath which adjourned the Pier. An amusement park was also on the shore in days gone by, now replaced with picnic shelters and playground.

One of the shelters on this particular day, was being utilised by a static cycle class. With a large trailer full of static cycles unloaded into the shelter, class participants then carried out their class under instruction from their trainer, all the while having a stunning vista ahead of them.

Take some time to head our to the Pier, its a highly popular area, especially on weekends, with some annual activities taking place too. The long table fine dining event is highly popular and fills up fast each year, whilst the Brisbane to Gladstone yacht race, starts from here on Good Friday, each year.

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Sebel Brisbane Margate Beach

At a build cost of around $15million, this recently new hotel for the luxury Sebel brand, has a lot to offer. Sebel brand itself, emerged back in 1963. In those early days, you could expect to mix with a number of celebrities who favoured Sebel. Betty Davis, Elton John, Zsa Zsa Gabour, all enjoyed the comfort of Sebel hotels.

Interior designer, Siobhan Gnomes McNabb, captures many styles with textures ranging through from smooth to exposed brick and concrete, both in the 58 rooms and throughout the hotel. You cannot help but reach out every now and then to run your hands over the corrugated and rough surfaces. Floor to ceiling glass doors which glide easily back to a two third opening, bringing the outside in, creating a wonderful spacious feeling.

Much thought has been given to the small things. The full length mirror, hidden inside the wardrobe door, so as not to detract from the room itself. Beautifully soft, luxurious feeling robes. The heavy stone table on the balcony, is not going to be blown around! A microwave in each room, contained within the workable kitchenette. Historical photos cleverly used in each room, and throughout the hotel.

The local area has a lot of history, first occupied by the Ningy Ningy people, European settlers, headed by Matthew Flinders, did not arrive until 17th July 1799. It is refreshing to see a new establishment retaining reference to days gone by.

The rooftop area, is the crown atop this complex. Full use is made of the large area, with a pool, bar, cabana areas as well as loungers and tables. Plenty of choice for a comfortable evening drink whilst you enjoy the uninterrupted view, from many angles.Sydney the Sebel Bear certainly enjoyed his afternoon chilling on the rooftop, whilst reading his travel book! The area up here is totally different to the Beach House restaurant downstairs. You will hear more about the delightful restaurant, in the next story as I believe, it earned its own review.

The rooftop bar is open for guests on Friday & Saturday evenings, as well as Sunday afternoons, with a barbecue too, subject to weather conditions.

There’s an adequate gym area, with free bicycle hire for guests. Take a bike, or a stroll along the 2km boardwalk which runs along the waterfront, opposite the hotel.

Only around 25 minutes from Brisbane Airport, this area feels like a world away from city life. During the day and over weekends, this popular area bustles with activity. Parking fills up quickly around here, as people enjoy the sun, sand and surf.

Reception staff were efficient and there to assist as required. Really the only problems encountered at this venue, one lift which, is a little slow, and a lack of adequate parking for the hotel. However, if you’re there to chill out, the lift time doesn’t bother you, and, as for the parking, we had no problem securing a park in the underground secured area.Enjoy a sunrise like this from your own private balcony. Treat yourself, to a weekend away or some previous wind down time, you will not be disappointed.

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Jaylianos Steak and Seafood Restaurant -Strathpine

One of the venues we have visited earlier this year, was the all you can eat buffet at Jayliano’s, Strathpine.

Now for me, all you can eat isn’t usually worthwhile, however hubby is a fan. It was a pleasant surprise to find the venue of a much higher quality than expected. No plastic chairs and tables here, a lot of thought has gone into the decor, including furnishings and set up.

So much to see here, with attention to detail really having been taken into account. The flooring helped to soften the background noise, steel has been used to create some interesting pieces.

Staff have a very efficient system in place, from greeting and table allocation at the door, to prompt clearing of tables and swift attention to drinks orders. It certainly helps to ensure you have sufficient staff levels, and Jayliano’s ensure the staff to customer ratio is well balanced.

Drinks prices were reasonable with jugs of soft drinks available too.

But it’s a buffet and its about the food. What a huge variety of food! From fresh seafood, steak, meats, salads, through to Asian style foods, pasta, fried food and a most impressive array of desserts.

The choice of foods is more than enough to satisfy anyone, no matter what your taste or diet. they really have catered well. Not only that, staff were quick to move any serving spoons customers did not remove and top up dishes as required.

The dessert selection included ice cream, miniature desserts, banana fritters, fruit and, the icing on the cake, marshmallows plus a selected fruit which could be dipped under the fast moving chocolate fountain. At $30 for lunch or $35 or dinner, thats pretty good value for the choice you have. A good venue if you have a group of people to cater for, who have varied tastes. At least you know what your meal cost will be.

There’s a well set up tea, coffee and water station too. Why not wash down your meal with a hot drink, or keep the water glass full during your meal.

Also there is a sister shop, over Kippa ring way, Ariala. Pricing is slightly different, however the concept looks similar. Would be interesting to check this one out too and see how it fares next to the Strathpine model. Keep up the good work!

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Drive Mount Mee – including Pitstop on Mt Mee

Life is wonderful thing, but all along the road we are tested. Sometimes you need to take some time to just smell the roses and appreciate the sheer beauty of our extraordinary planet.

To do just this, we took a drive around the beautiful Mt Mee. Located close to Brisbane’s Northside, the area is popular with car and bike clubs and weekend drivers alike. Winding roads open to some stunning locations with incredible views. Even our first foggy, overcast day in months, could not take away the enjoyment of this breathtaking vista.

There is a lot to see on this road. We took a total of around three hours to drive and stop for brunch and photo shoots. A nice way to spend a weekend morning. The two photos above were taken at the Ocean View Area of Mount Mee. You can feel the cortisone levels dropping as you soak in the sheer beauty.

Many places are along the way, including markets,wineries, cafes and restaurants. Today, we chose the Pitstop on Mt Mee. Watch out for those checkered flags on your left as you drive from Dayboro. Go in and check it out.

Memorabilia lines the walls, a motorbike takes pride of place in the middle of the cafe. Don’t stop at the entrance, this location has tables and deck space extending out the back. Grab a menu, find a seat then when you’re ready, head back to the counter and pay for your choices.Meals were delivered in such a quick time. Not only that, they were, hot, tasty and enjoyable. Add that to the good value price and we have a winner. The meal above was the large Pitstop breakfast.

I opted for a small meal, luckily! This Avocado, bacon and one egg mix was perfect.I could not have eaten any more. Note though, the extra large coffee in the background. Not mine, just saying!

They have pancakes for which you choose your own toppings. This one was strawberries with strawberry jam. Lovely jam by the way, I had a little taste. Not overly sweet, with more of small bite to it.

Or, go Canadian style and pile your bacon and maple syrup on the pancakes.

We had chosen the one foggy day in many months. However, its still worth the drive. The venue is a photographers dream. The memorabilia inside, the views outside, where do you start. However, my intention is to return on a clearer day and take some awesome pics. Watch this space.

Continuing on, we drove around Mount Mee, to meet the Bruce Highway, near Caboolture. So many places you can stop along here, depending on your needs. We chose a little lookout with incredible views across the plains and glasshouse mountains below.

No one photo can show you the sheer beauty of these views. Take some time, drive Mt Mee, enjoy. If you need to escape life for a few hours and reconnect with nature, this is one of the better places to do so.

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But I ask you all, please take care of your fellow humans, we are all here to support each other through this thing called life. Never underestimate the value of support. Be thankful we have the ability to do this. Don’t forget, take some time, indulge in the beauty of our earth, None of us would be here without it.

Ginger Flower + Food Festival 2019

Ginger Flowers are not only vibrant colours, their forms are diverse and incredibly interesting. On display last weekend for the annual Ginger Flower + Food Festival, you really could not help but be drawn to what are considered among the most beautiful flowers in the world.

With names like beehive, torch, dancing ladies, spiral, red, shell and moth, these beautiful flowers are quite spellbinding.

The festival is held at the Ginger Factory, located in Yandina in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. A short one hour drive from Brisbane’s Northside, the area makes for a lovely destination day trip.

Entry is free to the complex, with a number of activities on site. Last weekend was busy, with many people around so we didn’t venture too far past the cafe, mainly focusing on the market place which was set up, to showcase ginger products.The products on display, were available for tasting accompanied by informative stall holders who were more than happy to provide the history behind their particular products as well as answer any questions.

Included in the marketplace were Pomodoras Dressings on Obi, with some interesting combinations of balsamic and flavoured dressings. Not only were we given tastings of the products but also treated to some informative narration on how they came to be. the recommendation at this table, was to visit Pomodoras on Obi restaurant. Certainly looks and sounds intriguing! Looking forward to visiting at some stage.

Skin care, honey, tonics, bone broth products, relishes and drinks made up the stalls in the market place. A fantastic idea to showcase products which include the local Buderim Ginger.For us it was pure chance we decided to enjoy a Sunday drive and visit the factory on a day which just happened to coincide with the festival.

We enjoyed our visit to the festival, and now look forward to returning to better explore the activities on offer at this venue. If you are in the Sunshine Coast area during mid-late January, I highly recommend you keep this festival in mind. It really is an interesting, colourful event. Plus you never know who you will run into amongst the flowers….

Novotel Brisbane South Bank

Spaciousness combined with modern, inviting surrounds, greet you in the bar/restaurant area of Novotel Brisbane South Bank.

Refreshing to see such a large area devoted to comfortable lounge style seating in front of the bar. Add to this the bar stools, and you know you’ve found the ideal space to enjoy a coffee, pre dinner drinks or just wile away some time.

Friendly staff help to make this home away from home experience even more enjoyable.Unfortunately on this occasion, we did not have the luxury of staying, this was merely a visit for a business function. Very lucky though to be given a tour of this fabulously fresh and new hotel.

Given the standard of the food we did try, combined with the atmosphere, delightful staff and overall feel of this venue, Dine Live Travel will be back.

A lot of thought went into the design and decoration of this new hotel. Only opened in May of this year, this particular Novotel has been based on a European design which embraces the local area. Here, the outside comes in.Given the handy location to South Bank and all amenities in this area, how cool to see rooms with the bed head area dominated by these incredibly real depictions of the local area!

Immerse yourself in the city of Brisbane, drifting off to sleep under the very real feeling, canopy of the South Bank Arbour. Or, perhaps your room will feature the Channel 7 Wheel of Brisbane.

What a nice surprise when you open the room door to see what delightful artwork is waiting to make you feel a part of this vibrant city. Looking forward to hearing what you think!

From standard hotel rooms to suites with their own lounge, there is plenty on offer for you to to overnight or take a well needed staycation. Some rooms face over the spacious greenery that is Musgrave Park, others towards Southbank and the city. Maybe you will be able to clearly see the real Wheel of Brisbane from your room.

Suites feature an inviting deep bath. Immerse yourself here, with bubbles and champers. Oh yes, can you feel it??

The on site restaurant Spice Central, gives you some pleasant dining options. Here you can choose table dining, or, perhaps you would like to interact with kitchen staff. In this case, choose the bar stools located around the open air kitchen. What a great way to become a part of your meal production process, without the work or the dishes!Highly suggest you pay this venue a visit. It really does tick those boxes. And for those looking to enjoy the many events on offer either at South Bank or in the city, then this location, will definitely suit your needs. Give it a test run, we are going back. Might see you there!

Check this link for more Brisbane information https://snaptravelblog.com/best-place-photograph-story-bridge/

Outback Steakhouse – Aspley

With a refreshingly different style of menu presentation, the Outback Steakhouse provided us with a very pleasant venue for a Fathers Day treat. Once you realise the markings throughout the menu are actually part of it and not the scribbling from a previous patron, you will be somewhat amused!

Staff here will introduce themselves before tending to your table. Overall service was fine, and suited the location. Bar staff deliver the drinks whenever ordered and your wait staff often arrive out with trays to deliver your main meals.

Even when you are the driver for the day, the non alcoholic Mocktails are quite tasty. Yum to this thirst quenching Cherry Limeade!

There’s always a popular favourite entree, here, its the blooming onions. Onion pieces, encrusted in the Outback Steakhouses special recipe, these golden delights are handcrafted for your pleasure. No double dipping now….

This is quite filling, plus those blooming onions, really are quite moreish, you just cant help picking away. Well, I guess its not an everyday thing so once off is ok.

Steak meals abounded at our table, I mean, after all, this is a Steakhouse. This steak was quite eye catching, it really looked like a little loveheart. Rather cute.

Of course Dad is going to want the all in, ribs and steak, no surprises there!Too big a meal for me but hubby loved it and ate every tantalising morsel.

On this occasion I opted for the steak salad. Very happy to see a really good serving of steak covering the salad. Not only that, the steak was quite tender. An enjoyable dish, not too filling, not too light, and, yes you’re right, there were more blooming onions throughout the salad! Too easy to get addicted too!

Now Ive saved this photo for last, if you’re a burger lover, I think you are going to like this.Check out out this packed bun, bursting at the seams. A little note here too, those side salads. Not only pleasing to the eye but very appetising. They side salads exceeded expectation, a lot more than just lettuce mix.

Usually I’d finish with delectable dessert, but on this occasion, we were just too full. Ooops, but I guess you have to knock back on the calorie intake somewhere!

Outback has a number of locations, plus they offer pickup or delivery takeaway meals too. Drop in, its a nice experience. Let me know your thoughts.

Tips for your first day onboard

With a blast on the ships horn we head off on a short three night wine and food cruise, safely onboard P & O’s Pacific Dawn. Having only completed longer cruises, this quick little trip was going to be interesting. Ive been researching for questions from those who have never cruised, this article is number one in a little cruising series I’m going to do. Be interesting to see what you learn.

Let’s start with why we choose a cruise holiday over staying at a resort?

Because we love cruising and no matter what level cabin you choose, your holiday is as packed or chilled as you would like it to be. Everything is done for you. Accommodation, travel, meals and entertainment are all included, except for a few specialty restaurants or some activities onboard which have a surcharge. Added to which you have the bonus of a changing landscape, and, if you’re on one of the longer cruises, different ports to visit without having to pack and unpack.

P & O have a handy little login called cruise control which becomes available once you’ve booked. From this site, you can monitor your payments prepay and order onshore activities, purchase spa voucher/s, or pre order special packages. For instance birthday or special occasion package, or even a bucket of prawns and bottle of wine. Something for everyone. Your final cruise payment is 75 days prior to boarding. After this why not go in and prepay in the months leading up to your vacation, its really worthwhile.

Boarding procedures are the same, no matter what style of cruise. For those who think of they turn up a couple of hours prior to their boarding time they will board the ship early, don’t bother. You won’t. There’s a process starting with priority boarding, depending on your cabin choice. The lower value cabins board last, higher value first.

With priority boarding we were amongst the first keen cruisers to embark. Quickly drop your cabin to drop off hand luggage, meet the cabin stewards, these are the people who work at keeping your cabin clean and ensuring you have what you need, so look aft them.

Do not forget the onboard daily activities guide, (trust me on this one, that guide will become your lifeline), then head straight up on pool deck to the bar! Nothing like being first in line!

From here, consider your dining options and duck into Salt Grill to ensure you book any desired special evenings before their bookings fill up. After which, cruise by the Pantry for lunch. Choose your cuisine and staff will serve you. Gone is the old help yourself buffet, no more dirty spoons contaminating other foods. As a tip, the food on the other side of the buffet is the same as this side. Keep that in mind.

Peruse the activities guide whilst partaking of a leisurely lunch. Eventually, time to leave the table and head off to the entrance to Waterfront restaurant. Here, put names down for activity bookings, or dinner reservations. As a side note, you could enjoy lunch here too which is an a al carte menu, with sit down service. A tip here, you will need to reserve your dining space for the evening meal if you wish to dine at the Waterfront. The Pantry does not require bookings, just go on in whenever you are hungry. They are only closed a couple of hours throughout the day.

For the Waterfront, Breakfast and lunch are walk ins, however dinner is pre booked only. Same applies to specialty restaurants onboard, for example Salt Grill, all which must be booked in advance.

Swing back past the cabin, pick up the life jackets, and work out your muster station. Trust me, yes you need these jackets today. If its a beautiful day, head back up on the pool deck whilst you wait for all passengers to embark and the ship to set sail.

Of course if you are one of the last ones to board, my tip to you would be to head straight to the cabin, pick up your life jacket and keep it with you until the drill begins.

Once all are on board, everyone has to present to their muster station, including crew, for the mandatory emergency drill. This is where you must have your life jacket. Your cruise card is scanned so they do know who is there. Don’t be the person holding everyone else’s holiday up trying to get out of it, the crew will find you.

Formalities over its time to drop those life jackets off and enjoy your time on this floating resort!

Now you explore, drink in hand if you so wish. Check out the bars, the spaces, spa, gym, adults only area. If you spend your first afternoon orientating yourself to the ships facilities and their location, it will make your onboard life so much easier…..Work out where your favourite spot might be, there’s so many comfy areas to choose from. For the smokers, there will be one corner of seats allocated up on pool deck plus usually one side of ship around a middle deck. Strictly no smoking anywhere else, including your balconies.

Remember that activities guide? Yes? Well make sure you take some time each day to go through tomorrow’s guide and work out what you’d like to do. The guide will appear in your cabin mailbox each afternoon/evening. The choices in this four page publication are phenomenal. Some activities are free, some have a charge. Another tip, if you like a drink, sign up for the cocktail making or tasting classes, They are great value.For the wine drinker, this is the most expensive drink on board. On 7 day or longer cruises, consider the drink packages, they do represent good value. Another option is to prepay and preorder packages prior to boarding.

On our short cruise, I had three bottles of wine included in packages we ordered, already paid for, with some delivered to cabin before we boarded, others arrive when you ordered your package to be delivered to your cabin.

One last question for this article, what sort of cabin should we have booked? My answer, entirely up to you. But, consider why you are going cruising. If, like us, you like to have some quiet time away from it all, then yes highly recommend a balcony. We love to sit for a an hour or two each day and just chill out in privacy.

But, if you’re a party animal or some one with kids who will always be on the go, then go the cheaper inside cabins, you’re not going to be spending any time there anyway so what pay for the balcony privilege if you don’t need it.

Enjoy your cruise! Watch out for the next in this little series and comment any questions you would like answered!

Corner Store Cafe – Toowong, Brisbane

Open the gate, come on in. Welcome to the Corner Store Cafe!

Always enjoy seeing the fresh garden produce available to chefs. Not all venues have the room, however as our city rapidly expands. Refreshing plots of fresh produce at your choice of cafe or restaurant, gives you that relaxing vibe. It really does just wash over you in one of those aaah moments!

Sharp eyes will have noted this venue is cycle friendly. There’s rack room out the front of the gates under the beautiful umbrella shaped tree, and, on a Sunday, plenty of parking in the streets around. Or, a private little table where you and your bike can enjoy an awesome coffee or top up your energy levels with food.

Note the subtle green blanket on the chair back. not something you see often in Brisbane, however a nice touch for those chilly, pre stunning day, winter mornings.

Somewhat out of the box, but today my choice was this superbly creamy apple & cinnamon porridge, topped with tasty berries, strawberry compote and a most delicious, macadamia crumble. Presentation was superb, I mean, end of the day, this is porridge right?? But, to make a porridge look and taste this appetising, takes some talent.

Should you have a preference for greens, why not try the green bowl. Add a side of salmon if that is to your taste. Again, presentation superb!

I must mention the staff. Not only were they were smartly dressed, all were friendly and happy to oblige. Finished dishes were cleared in reasonable speed and no request was a problem.Perhaps your preference is chorizo. This chorizo and potato hash was a delightful dance on the tastebuds. If you are a chorizo fan, give it a try. Most likely something you will not only enjoy, but savour.

Last, but not least, sweet potato waffles paired with a curried savoury mince, and an added side of delicious bacon. Superb pop of added colour with the beetroot!

Coffee, I’m told was superb. I can definitely confirm the Sri Lankan, honeydew green was a very nice tea choice.

Drop by here, they are well worth the visit. Should you feel the need the need to dispose of the breakfast calories, there are tennis courts across the road! Or just bring your bike.