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!

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!

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!

Childers – Queensland

With a history dating back to the 1850’s, Childers wears a shroud of mystery. Partly due to the origin of the name, was it after an English town or a particular gentleman of that era? No one is sure and the answer can be of your own decision.

As we travelled from Brisbane to Childers, the change from dark soil to red soil is noticeable over the landscape. Childers is reknown for its sugar cane and fruit trees. .

Take the time to have a stroll through Childers as you pass by or stop for awhile. This town is interesting,even the footpaths tell a tale.Clever artwork abounds in this town. Historic buildings and peaceful surrounds are captivating, but remember to look down. There’s a lot of history here. So much to see, packed into a small area with less than around 1500 residents. Ok maybe the elephant is a little random, but I’m told this is a special place here who can produce animals of all dimensions.

We missed a lot that Childers offers, only due to the very short time we had. However take the time and check it out, there’s some wineries, a reptile park and do not forget the memorial at the Palace Hotel. Again we missed the opening hours, but if you have time, check out the memorial mural. Or, walk the Main Street, there’s a lot to offer. We strolled down the Main Street, it’s interesting and well worth a look. Between the footpaths and historic buildings seeping in days gone by you cannot just past by. This town is really worth a look..When you’re hungry there’s a lot to choose from. Maybe the bakery, hubby loved his apple turnover, fresh delicious!

Take the time to stop. It is worth it and if you need to stay, we tried the Gateway Motor Inn just as you enter Childers from the South. Geoff and Nicole are wonderful hosts. Relaxed, easy going and willing. Here it’s clean comfortable as well as meals available should you meet the meal deadlines.Childers is worth a look. Take the time, you won’t regret it.

Remember to look at the gateway menus, keep them in mind 👍 Say hi to Geoff and Nicole, they will look after you.

Mecure Clear Mountain Resort

Imagine if you may, waking up to the rolling vistas from you your own room at the Mecure Clear Mountain Resort. With a location so close to Brisbane’s northside, yet you feel a complete world away, this really is a wonderful place to escape to.

We first visited last year and could not wait to book another weekend escape. When the opportunity arose, we booked in that precious two night escape and looked forward to February when it would finally arrive. Which before long, it did. Time to chillout and relax.

So close to Brisbane, its an easy drive up the mountain to our weekend break.Excitingly enough we were lucky to be staying in one of the Lodge Suites, this is where being an accor plus member and booking those special member only deals, is handy as well as fulfilling . Check out the size of the beautiful twin head rain shower. Matching this was a roomy bathroom with twin handbasins and a free standing bath.Light brightens the room through the skylights, everything in here was beautifully clean with plenty of amenities available.

Space and roominess give you a wonderful relaxed feeling. Nothing to do here, just breathe, chill and relax.

There are a number of things to do on site. Stephanie’s provide an array of spa treatment, or enjoy the pool,tennis court and gym provided. Add to this the wonderful on site main restaurant, Lakeview. You can wile a day away here if you like, partake of the extensive buffet breakfast, whilst drinking in the view and enjoying the company of the local wildlife, then stay on for lunch, nibbles or drinks.Rain or shine, the locals will show up hoping for some soft tasty meat morsels. How heartwarming as well as a wonderful down to earth experience to interact with wildlife. Popping up anywhere, so dont be surprised if you pass a kookaburra sitting quietly on the railing. They wont move, just sit quietly and observe as you go past,or make their day and stop for a quick chat. Even better, offer some of their favourite soft meat to become their friend. Don’t worry they wont bite, just take the offerings from your fingers.

When you’re weary and hungry, enjoy a bite,there so much choice at the Lakeview or at the adult only restaurant Mandys on the Mountain.

If you cant stay, just drop by for a drink or meal. The staff here are simply awesome. No matter what area they work in, everyone we interacted with was friendly, helpful and best of all, some of the staff remembered us from our last visit. Now thats personal service! Highly recommend visiting this venue,no matter what the weather or reason. .

Blenheim / Picton

Finally finishing the New Zealand story with our end destination, Blenheim.

Sprawling over a flat area, Blenheim’s best viewing point is from the Wither Hills walkway looking towards the Richmond Ranges. This popular area hosts a number of tracks through a local farm. Some steep gradients will have you at a good vantage point with 15 minutes.

Wineries, the Marlborough Sounds, mussels, where do I stop. . Marlborough is synonymous with all of these and more. Cafes, restaurants, if you’re looking for food you won’t go hungry. We were on a very limited time span, however did manage to fit in a couple of places.

A quick catch up, called for breakfast at Speights Ale House Springlands.

Service was nice and adequate with interesting surroundings, plus we had a room to ourselves. Nice when you want to have a catch up. Food was definitely good quality and generous serves. We never had the opportunity to return for other meals but can definitely recommend breakfast.

Take a drive to Picton, either directly from Blenheim or via the Queen Charlotte drive and Havelock. With limited time, we did manage a quick trip to Picton for lunch. Cafe Cortado was the recommended choice for another enjoyable catch up. Located on the waterfront with a South American infused menu, lunch was enjoyable. Choosing an outside table with a view across to the Waterfront, we settled in for a nice lunch . Plenty to see here, with the daily life of locals and tourists alike unfolding before your eyes, with a pleasant sea breeze keeping the suns rays at bay.

Loved the fresh herbs in pots!

Service was adequate and meals arrived in good time. Pizza was popular today, plus I chose a very appetising salad. Well to be fair the trip is coming to end, you start to feel like it’s time to pull back.

As I said, time was limited on this trip. However when you visit take the time to visit the many places this region has to offer. No wineries in this trip, but if you have the opportunity to take in a winetasting or lingering lunch there’s many to choose from. Or take a boat trip down the sounds. Take your time and relax, there’s a lot to see!

Aarth Cafe, Taigum – New Menu Reviewed

This week we were privileged to attend Aarth Cafe for an early introduction to some of the new menu changes. Starting with entree, choices on tonight’s test menu were a couple of new bread, calamari, Haloumi, soft shell crab and pork belly.

Lets fade into these entrees as we begin our food journey ….

My choices this evening I decided, needed to be foods which can be overcooked easily. Tonight I chose to start with the Grilled Haloumi Salad which sat atop a delightful mixed salad accompanied by an interesting mix of pomegranate & date jam. This jam lifted the Haloumi with a flavour burst which brought the taste buds to life. The thinner slices of haloumi were that little bit crisper compared to larger pieces and were for me, my preferred choice of size. Interestingly the cold carrots on the salad provided a good partner for the jam and haloumi. Will also add here the Endless Pinot Grigio paired beautifully with this dish.

Hubbys choice was the Soft Shell crab with mascarpone and a green apple verjuice salad. We were both tasting the dishes and I did try this soft shell crab was beautifully crispy and again married well with the salad. In fact the selling point here is Hubby ate all his salad, nothing left on the plate. Now as someone who avoids salad whenever he can, that has to be a good advertising point!

Onto the mains. Tonight’s choice included a burger, chicken schnitzel, salmon, duck, steak, lamb, pork belly and pork ribs. Plenty of choice here. For me, it was to be the confit duck leg and candied orange salad. For hubby, grilled lamb with garlic reduction and a poppadum topped with sumac yoghurt salad.

Presentation of the dishes was certainly eyecatching. The poppadum filled with salad not only looked good, it gave the lamb a boost. As Hubby pointed out, the lamb itself was plain, very tender, and paired exceptionally well with the salad. Again, this salad plate was cleared by Hubby. That’s saying something! I did try this dish and in my opinion, felt the lamb should be plain and not flavoured as the yoghurt salad definitely added the flavour, whilst the poppadum gave you your crunch. Here’s a closer look below at the two dishes.

The duck where do I start. These were very large duck legs, and knowing how duck can be easily dried out during cooking, it was with some trepidation, I sliced into the leg. Juices flowed and the meat simply fell off the boat. Never, have I enjoyed such a beautifully tender duck with the slight crispness around the edges making this a superb dish. The salad also held its own surprise with small candied orange pieces popping up at random. These crunchy citrus delights added to this gastronomical delight, were a fantastic additional choice. I paired this one with a French FB Pinot Noir. Not too bad a match for this dish either.

All credit to Sunny and his team, they did do a fantastic job not only with the running the evening, but also with designing this new menu. I did talk to Robin the chef at the end and he told me the duck is slow cooked, well however its done, keep it up as it most certainly works.

To finish tonight was one dessert, a Belgian Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Bean Icecream, chocolate fudge and whipped cream.

The brownie simply melted in the mouth, a soft chocolate delight. Icecream, big tick, loved it!

Talking with Sunny, his intention was for everyone to give an honest opinion or suggest any changes on the dishes. My husband suggested perhaps a jus or sauce drizzled over the lamb, again this I think depends on your taste.

Sunny and his staff are interesting to talk to and happy to explain or answer questions. The reason behind using the pomegranate was nice to hear, especially how common it was for Sunny growing up to have this fruit which is now not as accessible.

We agree that this menu has upped the ante. These are dishes which need to be going out to the table as soon as they are prepared. The pressure is going to be on the kitchen to uphold the standards and front of house to ensure everything is delivered to diners as soon as it is ready.

Drop in and try for yourself. New menu launches fully on December 6. Check it out and remember Choose YOUR Mood!

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😋

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!