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!

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!

South Burnett, South Queensland

Road tripping.  A fabulous way to explore both new and re-visited areas.   Recently we enjoyed a road trip to an area of Queensland I never before travelled to.   The beautiful South Burnett region in Southern  Queensland.   Blessed with two wine regions, the South Burnett and the Granite Belt, Southern Queensland is a fantastic area to visit and sample a large range of produce.

What better place to start than Taste, located in Kingaroy opposite the Woolworths shopping complex.  Spot the Taste sign out the front then head down the alley to a delightful little shop showcasing an overview of the produce in this area.  Cheeses, meats, olive oils and of course, the wine!   Just to name a few.   

After sampling the wine, select your choice of vino, and don’t forget the selection of cheeses to make your own mouthwatering cheese platter accompaniment.

Now if you’re short on time, this may be your only stop.  Should you however be here to enjoy the natural beauty offered by the South Burnett, then allow me tell you more!

How about a visit to Moffatdale Ridge Wines. A fabulous Tuscan style set up with an array of wines and liqueurs to keep most people’s interest.  

Step through the heavy wooden doors to an inviting, spacious cellar door.  Knowledgeable staff are more than happy to run you through the selection on offer.  Keep an eye out for the current year vintage…. You will understand what I mean once you visit ……

A large selection is up for tasting here.  You are most likely to find something to everyone’s liking.   If wine itself isn’t your thing, perhaps a few sips Turkish Delight liqueur will jumpstart your tastebuds!    Somewhat interesting is the Tuscan events held here.   I myself could definitely wile away some time on the generous balcony overlooking yet another of the areas fabulous views.   But, on this occasion, one must take one for the team so to speak, and continue on to the next venue.

And here it was, with rolling vistas for as far as the eye can see.  All just from visiting the friendly Crane Wines.   Yes you will leave the sealed road for the last kilometre or so, but trust me, it is well worth the drive.  Friendly personalised service, including being greeted and escorted to the cellar door by a very amiable dog, whose name I have forgotten.   

Quite an interesting little cellar door with plenty of interesting wares for you to browse through whilst clasping the wine tasting glass in hand.   Love the family, intimate feel, with the owners Bernie & Judy providing information, not just on their wines, but on the area as a whole.  Fantastic ambassadors with a passion for their region I feel.    Interesting note here, is this was the first winery to open its doors in the region.   

Stop here for a wile, drink in the pure beauty of natures canvas, from your chosen rustic table setting, whilst enjoying a wine or two with a platter.  An excellent way to unwind.  In fact if you find you are enjoying your time at Crane Wines, pick up a brochure and consider staying in one of their private, quiet little homes away from home.  

Again though time to move on.  Today it was heading back to the Dusty Hill Vineyard with the Irish pub onsite.   Obviously very popular, however the large area gives you plenty of choice in regards to sitting inside or out.   

Overlooking a pond fall of budding waterlillies, dotted with drifting ducks, geese and other wildlife, all ingredients for a very relaxing setting.    Our lunch today was interrupted by the loud honking of the geese below, who we could only assume were voicing their displeasure at an adjustment to feeding time.   To add to their concerns, the drake in front, appeared to be along for ride, hoping to score some of their feed.   

One goose took exception to his participation, trying vainly to chase him off.   The honking worked however, with a bartender arriving out the front clutching a bag of feed, which was distributed down by the pond.  Again this did not suit the geese who would have preferred instant food where they were.  Not keen on missing out though, the mismatched trio waddled their way after the bartender, demolishing the food he distributed.   Now the residents were placated, serenity was restored.

Order a Guiness at Prendergasts Irish Tavern, to go with your meal, or to simply enjoy.   Taste some of the Dusty Hill wine selection in the cellar door, also located within the complex.   Or, you may even choose coffee and cake, with a delectable selection of desserts and cakes on offer.

Hubby trialled this hearty bangers and mash meal, which went down a treat.   Ideal Guiness soaking food.

Our final stop today was the Clovely Estate Winery, where we were staying for the weekend.  How fabulous to have your own cellar door at the end of the lawn.  Check my previous Clovely Estate review for a glimpse of this wonderful venue.

Be sure to visit this friendly, inviting  and fabulously interesting area of Southern Queensland.   We are already planning to revisit!

Wine Tasting – Villa d Esta, Nabiac, NSW

Whatever you do, don’t let the roadworks on the entry road put you off visiting this adorable winery.

After negotiating the roadworks you are rewarded with an amazing view at this delightful winery. Rows of Vineyard grape vines tumbling down hill, coupled with the stone block building, give this winery a Tuscan, Italian feel.

Upon entry into the tasting room, you are surrounded, by jars of homemade jams, fudge and pickles amongst other delights. Bottles of wine, port and liqueurs are close to the bar end of the room. To greet you, a sign, asking you to push the intercom button to notify the owners you are there. It only took a few short minutes before we were joined by owner Olly. (Now you’ve meet Olly, you understand the Italian feel).

Very welcoming and friendly, we were given a private wine tasting along with a run down of Olly’s wine selection which include Chardonnay, chambourcin and Cocumbark grapes. A fascinating variety of liqueurs and ports are available for tasting, and, with only a little convincing , we did partake of a few of Olly’s favourites.

Upon finishing our tasting and stocking the car with our purchases, we shook an enthusiastic Olly’s hand, thanked him and were invited to return. However upon our return we must take the time to enjoy a cheese platter whilst we savour the wine tasting… And yes we most certainly will!



Hunter Valley Gardens


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.