Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Food Fest

We seem to be eating our way around the Gold Coast lately, with all the major holidays now over, tourist season completed for yet another year and restaurant deals aplenty.  Yesterday was a perfect example of NINKERS waiting for a lovely day and ready to take on a bargain at Paradise Point, all the restaurants in the street were full of 50 plusers as the $17- $20 lunch deals where taken up - and to be honest you really can't go past them - 2 courses and a wine in a perfect location on the beach.  Great value, great location, good food!


We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and wanted to go somewhere a little more special so headed to one of my all time favorite places The Sheraton Marina Mirage at Main Beach.  They still have one of the best buffets around and right now they are doing their lunchtime winter specials at $45 a head.  Its hard to find any where in the world that has a view like this place and during the week there are not a lot of people around so the atmosphere for lunch is perfect.  Left there feeling a lot fatter than I arrived.  It was lovely to see them bring out our Happy Anniversary platter even though we hadn't arranged for it, when we arrived they just asked where we celebrating anything special and at the end of our gorging they arrived with yet another plate of yummies (I probably would not have had a plate full of delectable deserts if I had know this was coming).  So do you think we have changed much in 25 years!

Loving the High Tea we took D1 to Choccolato at Harbourside Markets for a 22nd Birthday lunch where once again we where filled with fabulous tastes and flavors.

Honestly if you think you will loose weight when you retire, I would think again!  

We had been planning to take our 3 month UK trip today but have been caught up in getting some major repairs done on our home which started to appear during the wet wet wet days in January.  I could easily begin ranting here on the inadequacies of BSA (Building Services Authority) and also of APIA the seniors insurer who to be honest both let us down - I have to laugh every time that APIA add comes on saying "call us for a chat", as communication is not a high point for this lot, but after nearly 4 months of trying to deal with both groups above, we just got on with the task of repairs so our house looks a bit like a war zone at the moment and of course having builders etc around for the last 3 weeks has meant we have not had as much time to get away as much as we would have liked and that we had to cancel our trip to the UK for now anyway, we really need to get everything fixed before we can embark on any major travels.  I can however feel a cruise somewhere in a warmer climate coming on as the days here begin to get too cold for me, but until these works are finished I can't really book anything.

It's Sanctuary Cove Boat Show weekend now so will be heading down there for a few days of great  fun - even if you are not into boating I have to say it is a great day out if you live in this area and always full of great food, shows and of course boats to drool over.

Hopefully by my next blog all the building will be completed and we have gone further afield than we have recently.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Stunning Stanthorpe - Queensland's Wine Capital

The past few weeks have seen us very busy with some great road trips and of course with the fantastic weather a lot of boating. Click here for the full Stunning Stanthorpe Album 

Toasting Marshmallows - Yumbo
Todays blog though is all about Stanthorpe and its surrounding areas, which make for a great short break at this time of the year, the days are so glorious with the nights being just chilly enough to enjoy a fantastic fire in the late afternoon.

It's a place I have always wanted to go to because over the years people I have known to go there love it so much and I can understand why, it really is such a great place for a long weekend and you do feel a million miles away - very similar to the Italian and French country areas we have been to with plenty of different things to do, see and experience.

After scouring through websites, we decided to stay at  Honeysuckle Cottages - taking my 81 year old Mum with us for her birthday, we wanted a 2 bedroom possie, plus why go and stay in a standard Motel , we wanted somewhere quaint and charming plus enjoy wood fires to ensure the break had all the trappings.  Honeysuckle Cottages didn't disappoint it was fantastic, their website and booking services are also outstanding allowing you to pre-book dinner at their own Restaurant The Rocks, order cheese platters and wine tours so costs where kept under control.

A short break in the rest area
The drive from the Goldy was great, even going through Cunninghams Gap seemed to be significantly better than it was years ago - the roads have been well upgraded in this area making the drive much more comfortable than in times past.  With the rain etc the countryside was at its best with lush green grasses and autumn reds, yellows and oranges everywhere. Simply Stunning!

Taking our time to meander to Stanthorpe with some nice short coffee breaks in parks our cabin at Honeysuckle Cottages didn't disappoint - we even got a free bottle of wine for Mum's birthday.  Then along came our breaky basket - we weren't anticipating this but WOW heaps of bacon, sausages, about 2 dozen egges, milk, juice and a basket of spreads - more than enough to keep our strengths up over the days.  Its the small things like this that ensure guests have a great value for money time.

Being mid Friday afternoon by the time we got there and settled in we decided to hit the town and the museum to fill in the rest of the day before our dinner at the Rocks that night.  Must say some fabulous clothes shops in town especially if you are looking for something special in the jumper/jacket area.

At this time of the year it does start to come in chilly by about 4 oclock, so off we went back to our snug cottage to partake in toasted marshmallows and smores at the fire place - yummy!

The Rocks Restaurant a short stroll on the property from our cuddly cabin and was fantastic with a lot of ambiance, good service and food well worth it and of course fully included through our booking.

First Wine Tasting at Symphony Hill Wines
Next morning off we went on a full days winery tour of the region, with Filippo's Tours, good group of people and a great host in Tony for the day. We learnt a lot about the area, tasted fantastic wines everywhere we went, stopped at a few good specialty food shops (Mt Sterling Olives, Cheese Factory and a few others all with good sampling available) and of course a terrific lunch at Sheraz.  There is no shortage of wineries in this area with some 50 odd  of which we visited 7 so a full on day finishing up at around 5pm. There is plenty to do in this area - but be aware most places are not open during the week so it is really a long weekend town.

Having had the Town and Country experience, the Wine Touring we decided on Sunday to head to Girraween National Park for the bush experience.  There are some great walks in this area some difficult right up to Bald Rock, and others that are not so onerous which is of course were the ones we did.  The day was perfect for these nice easy bush walks and the views, scenery and landscapes where beautiful and refreshing.
Mum & Derek doing some Metal Detecting

On the drive back from Girraween we detoured via Storm King Dam - yet another little treasure in this area with beautiful picnic areas, lovely water and generally just a great outlook for a nice afternoon tea.

I would highly recommend Stanthorpe for a weekend with a difference at this time of the year.