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!

Blockhouse Coffee & Eats

Tucked away in the Northside suburb of Nundah is a really cool collection of specialty shops, which include the sleek, clean, Blockhouse Bar.Seating is a mix of tables, bar stools, indoor & outdoor settings, there’s plenty to choose from here. We dropped by early in the week for a brunch and were not disappointed.

If you’re seated inside, the big floor to ceilings windows add a feeling of spaciousness, beautifully blending the line between indoors and out.

The menu choice on this particular day was the Mothers Day brunch menu, which boasted some very interesting, mouthwatering meals.

We took our time to choose, after all, it’s not easy when the selection is so inviting, and different to the normal brekky / brunch choices.

Eventually though, after careful consideration, whilst sipping on refreshing wine and mimosa, the choice was made. I chose the gnocchi.

Certainly not disappointing, in any way, shape or form. This dish was simply delicious. Soft, melt in the mouth gnocchi, blended fabulously with the goat cheese, pumpkin and all ingredients. Not only a filling dish, this one was very tasty. Overall, very happy with my choice!

The other dish chosen today was an interesting chilli scrambled egg. The chilli was not overpowering, and the maple bacon, simply delicious! Oh yes I did have just a little taste, luckily!

As I mentioned there’s plenty of seating choices and we enjoyed the outdoor view, wiling away some time, watching the world pass by.

Stop by, spend some time and browse the interesting specialty shops, before you indulge in a bite to eat or refreshing beverage.

Keep this one in mind, it’s certainly worth a visit!

Cryptic Artt -Rice Cooking Event

We enjoy going anywhere and experiencing what life has to offer. Hence, upon receiving an invitation to attend a rice cooking event, to aid a good friend with their art project, we were happy to accept. I will note here too, we weren’t invited for me to take photos or write, this was simply something I chose to do as the photo opportunities presented on this day were, I felt, really cool, and different.

The idea behind the event, was to complete a uni project studying “relationship”, “human interaction” and the idea of “sharing within a multicultural environment”.

After rounding up a number of friends and their families, Jodesa from Cryptic Artt, had everything set up with cooking equipment and food preparation, ready to go.Watching the process, participating as well as interaction, really was a lot of fun. The rice dishes included some delicious recipes from China, Korea, Carribean, and the Philippines.

Those couple of hours spent, chatting, tasting new dishes and ingredients, plus learning new processes, really was quite enjoyable and I would be interested to see the results of this event.

Everyone was more than happy to offer information on the types of food and ingredients. Me, well I came away that day with a bit more knowledge than I had prior to the event. That to me, makes it worthwhile. Learning new things not only expands the mind, you open doors to other things you may have never considered before.This Korean rice dish above, sported a symphony of colours and textures, added to which it was superb! What was the key behaviour everyone took away from this? I believe it would be the completely relaxed, non judgemental and friendly attitude of everyone involved, no matter what background or culture. A reminder that you do not have to step too far from your comfort zone to be surprised by what is out there.

For something quite different, and being a person who believes artists should be supported in their endeavours, not only was this a pleasant afternoon, but to have the pleasure of tasting and devouring the end results- unbeatable!

Check out @cryptic_artt on instagram, Jodesa’s ideas are offer an interesting look at how she views the world. Love how everyone’s mind has that different perspective!

FV By Peppers – Fortitude Valley Brisbane

Thank you to Travel Massive and FV By Peppers for an interesting, informative evening last week. To attend a meeting at this newly opened complex was a privilege to say the least.The view from the restaurant and bar located on level 6, was certainly stunning as the sun set. Huge, inviting lounges, invite you to rest your feet and enjoy the location. The bar and restaurant area has massive doors opening to this secluded location.

To give some background FV by Peppers is still under construction. In saying that, its only the third accomodation tower which is yet to be finished. Tower One & Two are open for business. Offering both hotel and apartment accommodation, FV by Peppers gives you plenty of choice. Oh yes and you can live here too! Short stay, long stay, corporate, everything is on offer.

Based on skyscraper architecture, New York style, the building is impressive, including the u shaped swimming pool which offers a breathtaking area to both swim and chill- and includes a swim up bar, looking towards Brisbane city.

We were incredibly lucky to be treated to a private tour. So many hidden surprises here, and I would have to say, we were impressed. In fact so much so, that already we have a few groups of people we know making plans to stay. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool.

Hotel rooms, one bedroom and two bedroom apartments, there’s plenty of choice. And when I say apartments, I’m talking full kitchens. These apartments are built to live in, not just stay.

The two bedroomed apartment we viewed, had a gorgeous view of the story bridge at night, as you entered the second bedroom. Muted colours throughout enhanced the beautiful lights outside.

Comfortable lounge setting, leads onto the enclosed glass balcony. Everything you need for a chilled out stay has been included.

There are some impressive extras here you can enjoy with a group of friends or family. For a mere $30, hire one of the four large, beautifully appointed spa rooms and enjoy 4 hours of fun and relaxation.

Relax in the bubbling spa, letting your stress disappear and muscles relax, whilst you either enjoy the city view or watch the TV. There’s plenty of comfortable seating and even your own private bar where staff will provide you with food and drinks (not included in the hire fee), during the course of your four hours.

Should you maybe wish to continue your fun, there is also the moonlight theatre for hire. Again you and your friends relax, enjoy, whilst staff tend to your tends using the private bar (not included in hire fee), contained within the theatre. Bean bags or comfortable lounges make for a sprawling good time!

Even the gym is impressive, roomy plenty of new equipment to keep everyone happy, a wonderful city view, and the cherry on top, will be a new yoga area due to open soon.

Mantra Group have done well to ensure not only do you have the comforts of home, but that extra added luxury at a very reasonable price. For those of us who are Accor Plus members, be sure to keep on checking on how the Mantra Group bid is progressing. To have the Peppers and Mantra complex’s added to Accor portfolio options will be quite the feather in their cap!

And, should you be looking for something special, keep these hire rooms in mind. They aren’t available unless you are staying on site, but what a wonderful treat this could be!

Finally, as with most venues, weekends are busier and it might be that bit harder to secure a private spa or the theatre, so if you are able to stay during the week, chances are you will have most opportunities open to you. Enjoy, we are looking forward to visiting again, perhaps we will even see you there!

Anzac Day 25 April

On the eve of Anzac Day 2018, the setting sun provided a fitting commemorative backdrop to the day which was next to dawn.Pink skies morphed into fiery orange. A sunset befitting to the memory of so many lives lost.

This year, our choice was to attend the Pinnaroo Service, held amongst the War Graves at dawn, A heart wrenching location at the best of times.

To see so many gathered to keep the memories of those incredible souls alive, including many from the younger generations, is heartwarming.

Pink tinged the grey clouds as the sun rose over the cemetery. Tall palms standing proudly in their specific spots, set off by the carpet of neatly mowed lawns surrounding the graves. Wafts of rosemary scent drift through the air.

Medals are worn on the left if you’ve served, on the right if wearing on behalf of your family family or others who served.

The speeches, the Ode & the wreath laying, are the foundation for the haunting bugle, breaking the silence with the eerie sounds of The Last Post, playing either side of the minutes silence.

As the tears slide down, the National anthems of New Zealand and Australia are played, sending a massive wave of pride and patriotism across the assembled crowd.

All over Australia, New Zealand and in many parts of the world, commemorative services and parades take place. It is a time for the generations of the future to honour and remember those who made sacrifices for our freedom, and those who continue to bear the burden of wounds from the far too many wars our troops and support crews, have fought.

The Ode of Remembrance – Laurence Binyon (Extract from his poem For The Fallen)

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the and in the morning,

We will remember them.

Lest we forget❤️

Site Cafe – Banyo

A relaxing start to Sunday morning with SereniTea at Site Cafe Banyo. Located next to the Banyo Train Station, this cafe makes up for size with what it has to offer. Enjoy a meal, partake of cake and coffee, or if you cannot spare the time to visit yourself, Uber Eats will deliver to you.

With an interesting choice of meals, the dilemma of what to choose, was no easy task. Site’s menu descriptions have you starting to salivate whilst deciding on the choice. Eventually, after narrowing it down to 4, I chose the Site Fritters, adding salmon instead of bacon.

Now the photo is somewhat deceiving as these fritters were huge, and try as I might, the last one, just could not fit it in my packed belly. A mix of pumpkin, zucchini and corn, the fritters are a solid filler to start your day. My favourite part, was the labna on top. This really is a delightful velvety sauce, originating from Middle Eastern culture which paired extremely well with the fritters. Best part, there was plenty of it!

Spicy Chorizo surrounded the towering vegetable stack. Resting in a superb truffled hollandaise sauce, the stack was made up of crunchy croquette hash, bacon, egg and wilted spinach. I’m told the dish was delicious, maybe needing just a little more of the beautifully spicy chorizo, with the truffled sauce certainly helping the meal hit the right spot.

For those sporting a hearty appetite, the Breakfast Tapas might be the right choice for you. A full plate with cauliflower and Parmesan fritter, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, croquettes hash, the list goes on! There is a vegetable Tapas meal choice too, should you wish to go meatless.

Or perhaps you would like to try the Arabian Eggs? Cooked then presented in the same pan, this mix of baked eggs, bean and chorizo, haloumi , savoury mince with a side of Turkish bread, also makes for a belly full of food.

Whatever your choice to start the day, you will definitely find something on this menu to satisfy your hunger. Staff are friendly and helpful, willing to go just that little bit extra to enhance your overall experience.

Pull up one of those seats next to the large opening window, and wile away some time whilst you indulge in a meal or coffee. With the corner site, there is plenty to see. If you’re really wanting that sweet finish, choose from the cake cabinet, or, how about trying the sweet waffles. And on that light, sweet note, I shall leave you for now….

Dolphin Waters Holiday Apartments – Tin Can Bay

Managers Greg & Karen run a wonderfully clean complex. Apartments are spacious with the location being ideal. Relax in the sparkling pool or enjoy the view from an upstairs balcony.

Fully furnished with kitchen and laundry facilities allowing the opportunity to stay in comfort and enjoy your home away from home.

Should you prefer someone else to cook, the apartments are located directly across the road from the beach, with the takeaway Snack Shack within a few metres of the complex or a very short walk to the marina where the Marina Bar & Grill provides a relaxing atmosphere for enjoying a delicious meal or drinks.

You too could enjoy a wonderful mix of fresh seafood at the Marina. Certainly a filling meal, with good food down and to earth service delivered at a great price.

The view directly across from the apartments is beautifully serene. Occasionally punctuated with a windsurfer whipping over the water, providing the extra splash of colour, there is always something to see on this constantly changing canvas.

Low tide provides an opportunity to stroll out across the vast area of sand. Blue crabs traverse the flats, scurrying in their small armies to stay out of your way.

An easy walk or couple of minutes drive early in the morning, will bring you to the wild dolphin feeding at Barnacles Cafe. Such a wonderful experience for a mere few do.lars.

We enjoy the wonderfully chilled atmosphere at this resort, and Tin Can Bay itself. If you should be planning a visit, choose this complex to stay, Greg & Karen will do everything to make your stay as comfortable as possible.

Check in, unpack then sit back and relax. Enjoy your stay!

Silky Oak Tea Gardens ~ Kia Ora Qld

Driving along the Tin Can Bay Road, after leaving Gympie, you will see this sign. If you are an adventurous spirit, don’t pass by, stop in. Should you choose to drive in, you are going to blown away with what you find, the name really doesn’t give away what wonderful secrets lie within.

Firstly, yes tea and cake if you wish, or perhaps a craft beer? Or, if you really do have an adventurous spirit, why not visit for one of the famous pig on the spit nights, which are bound to be filled with music and and a fantastic party atmosphere of some sort.

Your hosts, Helen & Daryl, have built this incredibly diverse country hotel business, over the past twenty years. And yet, this place seems to be one of the best kept secrets in Queensland. Take some time to have a chat to Daryl & Helen, they are the secret behind the success of this business. Plus the stories and down to earth chatter will have you in stitches.

The area is huge, with tall shady trees and interesting gardens opening into a number of different areas. Plenty of seating, starting with the plastic chairs, tables, and umbrellas for extra shade. Follow through though, as you will not be expecting what you find at the end. I’m not going to give all the secrets away, you need to satisfy your curiosity with a visit. It will be worth it!

Every pocket hides a new surprise, the mish mash of ideas here, really works well, blending to morph into one of the most iconic and interesting places we have visited. So many photo opportunities here, but I showed huge restraint, only because you need to go yourself.

Try a pub meal, test that cold beer, savour tea and cake, purchase some lemonade fruit, or country preserves. Oh and we highly recommend the pig on the spit! Unfortunately though when you are enjoying yourself so much, you forget to take photos 🤗. Whatever you do here, one thing is certain the stress of life will be forgotten whilst you linger beneath the canopy of shade.

This best kept secret needs to be unveiled, be sure to include Silky Oak Tea Garden on your next exploration journey. We are already planning the next visit!