31 March 2012

Sunshine Coast - Top 5 restaurants and cafes

1. Bistro C restaurant and Bar located on Noosa’s Hastings Street is located right on the sand and is the perfect place for a lazy breakfast or relaxing lunch overlooking the water.

2. Spirit House is an award winning contemporary Thai restaurant tucked away at Yandina, off the highway. Its rainforest setting allows you to relax and enjoy the tranquil pond, bubbling waterfalls and sounds of nature. The food is incredible and if you wish to learn how to make these dishes you can join a class at the on-site cooking school.

3. For good old fashioned fish and chips or other seafood dishes dine at Fisheries on the Spit at Mooloolaba. Here you have the chance to see fisherman arriving with their daily catch and you can work off your meal with a walk along the beach.

4. Enjoy delicious food and a beautiful view at the Boat Shed in Cotton Tree. Head there for an early dinner to catch the sun setting over the water. Best to book, this place is popular.

5. Amazing breakfast options are available at Café by the Beach at Moffat Beach, Caloundra. From omelettes, full English breakfast, bircher museli to indulgent honeycomb or butterscotch drizzled pancakes there is an dish for all tastes. It is extremely popular on the weekends with locals, for its relaxed beach vibe, cool ocean breezes and views of the surf.

Dining at Noosa's Main Beach

30 March 2012

Top 5 Day Tours from Brisbane

1. Story Bridge
Adventure Climb 

Experience Brisbane
from an 80 metre summit as you experience a soft adventure experience with a difference. The climb offers magnificent views of the city, the river, the mountains and Moreton Bay Islands. Hear about fascinating history and heritage of the bridge and the city from your trusty experienced climb leader. All together the experience lasts 2 hours and 30 minutes and departs daily from Kangaroo point. Now all you have to do is decide wether you would like a day climb, twilight climb or night climb for your experience of a lifetime. This climb experience is only one of three in the world. Price is between $99 and $130 and includes a climb suit, hat and safety briefing.

    Story Bridge - Day Climb

    2. Croc Express to Australia Zoo

    Enjoy almost 6 hours at the iconic Australia Zoo which is home to an array of animals and the Irwin Family. You will see many shows and demonstrations including crocodile feeding and snake handling. There is so much to see and do with the zoo housing 1,000 native and exotic species including koalas, tigers, red pandas, rhinos and more. The croc express departs Brisbane Transit Centre daily at 8.45am. Price is $126 for adults and $82 for children and includes Admission, reserved setting at the Crocoseum and return transfers.  

    Australia Zoo
3. Brisbane Whale Watching
From June to November the magnificent humpback whales come out to play. A purpose built luxury catamaran offers a perfect viewing experience of the whales as they frolic, blow and splash only metres away. On the day trip you will enjoy morning and afternoon tea and a delicious fresh seafood buffet lunch. The catamaran leaves daily from Redcliff Jetty at 9.30 am and return transfers from Brisbane accommodation are available. Prices for adults are $135 each and with transfer $165. The price is lower for concession and children and there are family packages available. 
    Whale Watching

    4. The Workshops Rail Museum

Located at the birthplace of rail in Queensland the tour is an interactive authentic heritage and cultural experience. There are over 15 interactive exhibits to explore including multi media encounters, colourful stories, huge steam locomotives and massive industrial machinery. Go behind the scenes and experience active railway workshops and see real restorations. The tour is located at North Street, North Ipswich and opens daily at 9.30am. Prices for adults are $57, concession $54 and children $42 this includes everything plus lunch and mementos.
Workshops Rail Museum

5. Dolphin Adventure Tour

Experience beautiful Moreton Bay Island with a full day tour at Tangalooma Island Resort. Enjoy exhilarating sand tobogganing on the Islands scenic desert sand dunes and finish you day by hand feeding playful wild bottlenose dolphins. There are 40 free activities on the Island for you to enjoy and unlimited use of the day lounge and resort in your spare time. The day tour leaves daily from Holt Street Wharf, Pinkenba at 7.30am or 10am and returns that evening.  Prices are $175 for adults $130 for children and includes everything even a delicious buffet lunch. Return coach transfers from Brisbane accommodation can be organised for an additional fee.

These tours can all be booked through Sunlover Holidays .There are other great day tours available from Brisbane, something to suit everyone.   

Gold Coast - Top 5 Restaurants

1. Il Barocco at Main Beach’s Palazzo Versace offers one of the best seafood buffet in Queensland. The seafood on offer includes Australian Crystal Bay prawns, Sydney Rock Oysters, local Spanner Crabs and Balmain Bugs. Staying for dessert is a must with an internationally renowned array of delicate desserts.

2. Hilton Surfers Paradise is home to the Salt Grill. Offering the finest and freshest local produce, this exclusive restaurant managed by celebrity chef Luke Mangan offers glamorous décor, surprising menu and extensive wine cellar.

3. Enjoy a unique, interactive dining experience at Bazaar, QT Hotel Surfers Paradise. It is a buffet with a difference, offering world cuisines and chefs preparing your dining selection right in front of your eyes. Don’t miss the incredible desert bar including the colourful macarons.

4. Four Winds revolving restaurant at Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise magnetizes diners with a unique multisensory dining experience of captivating views, sumptuous seafood buffet and friendly service.  

5. Seaduction Restaurant + Bar in the new Sea Temple Surfers Paradise overlooks the Esplanade and Surfers Paradise beach offers fine dining with a modern Australian menu mixing international and local flavours.
Four Winds Revolving Restaurant

28 March 2012

Gold Coast - Top 5 places to shop

1. For boutique shopping don’t miss Surfers Paradise and Main Beach where stores intertine with restaurants along the streets. If you prefer upmarket boutiques head to Mariner Mirage in Main Beach, an outdoor shopping centre with shops filled by gorgeous apparel, designer jeans and high quality handbags.  

2. If you love arts and crafts then you will love the night markets along Surfers Paradise beachfront at every Wednesday and Fridays nights.

3. Just west of Broadbeach are the Carrara Markets, Queensland biggest permanent market. It offers fashion, homewares, plants, fresh produce and for the family there are a set of children’s rides, from ponies to merry go rounds.

4. Harbour Town shopping centre is a hive of discounted high street and designer stores, with many of the best known brands represented including adidas, City Beach, Cue, Esprit and Universal Store.  

5. Shopping centres - Robina Town Centre is the coast’s largest indoor shopping centre and has Australia’s best high street chain stores plus David Jones. There is a restaurant strip and cinemas on site. Pacific Fair at Broadbeach offers a range of boutique and high street stores in a relaxed indoor/outdoor setting.

Marina Mirage, Main Beach

27 March 2012

An ode to Stanley, Tasmania

We just had to share this gorgeous video of Stanley, North West Tasmania. It's a picturesque town with a big Nut, small town friendliness and charming heritage buildings.

Tasmania’s Top 5 places to shop

1. Elizabeth Street Mall contains the major national chains including Target and Harris Scarf. The Cat and Fiddle Arcade links Elizabeth Street to centre point and houses specialty shops, a food hall and Myer.

2. Salamanca Place, a busy street of old warehouses from the early 1800’s is now occupied by restaurants and pubs, antique dealers and souvenir shops. Salamanca comes alive every Saturday with street musicians and 300 market stalls.

3. The Market, Penguin. This north western coastal town offers over 100 stalls in an undercover, all weather environment. See Tasmanian woodwork plus handmade craft and jewellery then dine on fresh local produce.

4. Launceston city centre. This small city has the benefit of affordable rent, allowing small boutique stores and independent giftware shops to thrive. Wonder through street wear, ladies boutiques, surf and skate shops along George Street and Charles Street then head to Brisbane Street Mall to see Australia’s oldest bookstore Birchalls and the best high street stores. The Quadrant mall off Brisbane Street offers giftware stores and an old fashioned sweet shop.

5. Latrobe, near Devonport is a small town full of antique and collectible stores that offer furniture, toys, collectibles, china, jewellery and art. The heritage listed buildings offer a wonderful ‘old world’ setting for this satellite town. On the outskirts of town, situated on the highway is The Cherry Shed, offering a fantastic range of cherry based items on their café menu and Anvers chocolate factory, with chocolate making viewing platforms and gift shop in site.

Salamanca Market

26 March 2012

Sunshine Coast - Top 5 Shopping Spots

1. Hastings Street Noosa offers a range of chic boutiques from high fashion to beach wear. End your shopping trip at one of the many cafes along the strip and enjoy a spot of people watching.

Hastings Street Noosa

2. The Eumundi Markets are iconic to Sunshine Coast, offering the coast's most unique arts and crafts for sale on Wednesdays and Saturdays at over 350 stalls. View the local artisans work and enjoy some local food, cooked right in front of you.

3. The Noosa farmers markets are a place for you to taste the local produce and meet the local farmers it is an authentic country style market. Other great farmers markets include the Big Pineapple and Caloundra's farmer markets in Currumundi every Sunday.

4. Maroochydore’s Sunshine Plaza is a creek-side shopping centre offering an array of high street stores and Myer department store. It is also home to a few boutique shops offering evening wear and trendy street wear.  

5. Mooloolaba’s Esplanade offers a range of street wear and designer boutiques plus gift shops and homeware. The majority of the shops are independent, so expect to find one-off offerings and ‘casual, beach style’ summer clothing.

Eumundi Markets

Tasmania's Top 5 Cafes and Restaurants

1. Launceston is home to the award wining restaurants of Stillwater, one of Tasmania’s most talked of and rewarded restaurants. Stillwater features modern Australian cuisine in a beautifully restored 1830’s flour mill beside the picturesque Tamar River in Launceston. For more information visit their website here

2. Recently nominated in the top 100 restaurants in Australia by Gourmet Traveller is the fashionable Garagistes wine bar and restaurant, in Hobart. Garagistes regularly change their menu as they source their produce from many local growers, fisheries and farmers to accompany internationally sourced wines from small artisan growers. For more information visit their website here

3. For a more simplistic meal indulge in Fish Frenzy on the Hobart and Burnie Waterfront’s for fabulous fresh seafood and chips. For more information visit their website here

4. For some of the best pizza in Australia visit the Italian Pizza House on George Street. This small, family owned café and take away store was created by two Italian immigrants and offers fantastic Tasmanian ingredients plus home made gelati.

5. Dine at the Gorge Restaurant in Launceston and you will enjoy fantastic surrounds. In the colour months the restaurant sets up a log fire for a wonderful atmosphere and summer sees the diners spill outdoors across the deck. This restaurant is extremely popular for romantic rendezvous and is regarded as a top wedding venue.

21 March 2012

Top 5 things to see in Sydney

Opera House
The Sydney Opera House can be viewed from the harbour, The Sydney Tower Eye and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The Opera House offers one hour tours half hourly from 9am – 5pm which can be combined with a back stage tour, performance, Sydney highlights seaplane, Taronga zoo admission and a three course dinner. Take to the water and you will receive uninterrupted views of the ‘sails’ of the Opera House. Choose from coffee cruise, high tea, weekend breakfast cruise, top deck lunch or a sunset dinner cruise. For a signature dining experience join the Captain’s Club Dinner and enjoy the city lights. For the most exhilarating view of all join BridgeClimb Sydney and head to the top of the Harbour Bridge.

Sydney Harbour Bridge
There are picturesque views available from all around the Harbour, from Mrs Macquarie’s chair, Circular Quay and the Rocks. For a high view, why not enjoy the views from the revolving Summit restaurant and Orbit Lounge bar? For a glance from a speeding jet, join Jet Boat Thrill Ride for a massive lap of Sydney Harbour full of spins, speed and slides. Lastly, is the impressive North Sydney Olympic Pool, set adjacent to Luna Park it offers a unique view of the underside of the bridge (see image below).

Bondi Beach
Arguably the most iconic beach in Australia, this inner city suburb offers eclectic dining, boutique shopping, Sunday Markets and great surf. For the chance to spot a celebrity (while getting the best views of the beach) visit Icebergs Dining Room and Bar. If you visit in the morning why not pop into Speedo’s (overlooking the beach) for brunch, or dine at one of the many cafes along Beach Road. You can work off the food with a hike around the rocks to Coogee Coastal Walk via Bronte; or taking in a few laps at Icebergs ocean pool. If you are wanting a little adventure join Lets Go Surfing for a surf lesson!

The city caters for well for visitors seeking the local wildlife. Within 12 minutes of the city you can visit an aquarium, wild life precinct and zoo. Darling Harbour is home to Wild Life Sydney and Sydney Aquarium, where you can spot platypus, little penguins, sharks and stingrays. Taronga Zoo is a short scenic trip across the harbour by ferry and offers Australia’s unique wildlife plus the world’s most exotic animals.

The Rocks
Nestled under the shadow of the Sydney Harbour Bridge is the oldest area of the city. The Rocks is a area of historic buildings, hidden laneways and old world charm. The restored precinct offers interesting boutique and designer stores with a splattering of pubs and cafes. Get lost in the old walkways or browse the The Rocks Markets every Saturday and Sunday.

North Sydney Olympic Pool

19 March 2012

The Boys’ Weekend by David Reyne

Gentlemen, it’s time to get organised. The N.R.L. season is underway and the A.F.L. fixture for 2012 kicks off Saturday March the 24th so, the interstate footy trip with the boys is imminent, right? You know from previous experience that if things aren’t meticulously organised the entire experience can grow hairs in a flash and emotions can reach fever pitch, particularly after a late night planning session or two with the lads spent experimenting with ill conceived beverage combinations.

Firstly, booking the flight: Lunch time Friday is good. Not only will this necessitate a day off work, you’ll avoid the morning rush and arrive at your destination at a decent hour. The plane will be quieter enabling extra attention from the flight attendants who enjoy nothing more than dealing with excited men travelling in packs.

Packing: If it doesn’t fit in carry on luggage, don’t take it.
The one item you cannot do without is deodorant. Preferably industrial strength. This is your shower in a can.
Toothpaste would be nice but, let’s face it, not essential.
One pair of underpants per day and then an emergency pair… per day.
Since socks provide dual application, only one pair is required for any two day period. Simply turn them inside out and bingo; fresh… ish.

A suit is essential. It’s uncanny how often you find yourself next to a visiting dignitary at a football match who insists you join him at the Consulate for dinner. The suit will cover this but if it’s formed itself into a crumpled knot in your bag, stick it on a coat hanger, hang it in the hotel bathroom and turn on the hot water.
Tell me how that’s any different to dry cleaning.
However, if you hear sirens at the front door of the hotel followed by an authoritative knock at your door, your in room dry cleaning has probably set off the fire alarm.
Be warned, firemen do not like to come all that way without being given the opportunity to turn on their hose.      

The hotel: Although you plan to spend as little time in it as possible, great care should always be taken when booking accommodation, especially when doing so on behalf of a bunch of mates.
It will need to be of sturdy construction just in case ‘Macca’, who’s now pushing 120 kilos, feels the need to celebrate his team’s win with his signature chook dance.
Your room will need to have been designed with sound proofing in mind and the television must be the size of Tasmania so that the replay of the match you’ve just attended will appear sharp, even though your vision may be blurred.

The bed: Always the tricky part of a boys’ weekend.
You’re sharing to save costs, right? You think therefore that a policy of ‘top and tail’ will save any awkward moments when it comes to sleeping arrangements in the same bed, yeah?
There’s nothing more confronting than waking in the middle of the night with a harsh case of the dry horrors only to find yourself staring directly at Macca’s midriff which, since gravity has combined with his considerable girth sending his zodiac themed boxers to his ankles, is now staring back in all its naked glory.
Both heads should begin on their respective pillows.
What’s the worst that can happen?
Even beer and pizza breath is preferable to Macca’s vast underbelly and its associated attachments?

Behaviour: If the guys decide they’re going to run a book on two raindrops running down the hotel window, get your money out.
It’s about the dumbest pursuit known to man but declining will only cause you to be ostracised for the remainder of the weekend.
If Macca starts getting a little rowdy in public and refuses to quieten down, get his wife on the phone, put her to his ear and watch the immediate transformation from boorish man-mountain to trembling kitten.

Illness: Scotch whiskey will cure anything from a hangover to a septic bullet wound. Apply liberally.

Returning home: Do not, at any time, bring flowers, chocolates or perfume home for the wife. She’ll no doubt smile lovingly but behind this forced expression will be a woman churning with suspicion.
Keep all your weekend washing in its bag until the following weekend and then nip it down to the laundrette.
Household washing appliances have been known to explode when confronted with the soiled attire of a boys’ weekend.

And finally: Remember gentlemen, you may think your rowdy exploits are safe under the ‘what happens on the road, stays on the road’ clause you all agreed to.
Like hell!
There’s always one guy in the pack whose relationship with his wife is the stuff of legend. He’ll be recanting each murky detail with gusto and she, rightfully so, will be gleefully texting all the other wives organising coffee for the following day.

16 March 2012

Wild Life Sydney: Baby Golden Brushtail Possum

A rare Golden Brushtail Possum has been introduced to the public at Wild Life Sydney zoo in Darling Harbour. These brightly coloured possums are rarely seen in the wild, only being found in small pockets of Tasmania. Their colouring and piercing eyes are a result of level levels of melanin in their skin.

The 6 month old named Bailey has been hugely popular guests, with her huge dark eyes, tiny pink nose and fluffy pale yellow coat, she is the new star attraction. Bailey is the latest success in the zoo’s breeding program, being the third Golden Brushtail possum born since her parents arrived in 2008.

Wild Life Sydney’s breeding program also includes baby koalas, frill-necked lizards and quolls. The Darling Harbour attraction offers you the chance to get up close to red kangaroos, stroll through a butterfly hothouse, cuddle a koala and come eye to eye with Rex, one of the world’s largest crocodiles.

Sea World: Animal Adventures

Sea World, located on the Gold Coast, has an array of marine animals for you to see - but for those looking for a bit more there are animal adventures. In these adventures you can get up close and personal with the animal of your choice and have an experience of a lifetime.

Dolphin Aqua Adventure
A dolphin aqua adventure is a dream comes true for any dolphin lover as you have the opportunity to encounter and observe Sea World's beautiful dolphins in their natural habitat. Be amazed while the dolphins show off their personality and tricks only metres away. You will also be provided with some interesting facts and information by your group’s personal dolphin trainer. Each animal adventure comes with a souvenir photo taken by a professional photographer and for a little extra why not get a souvenir DVD to remember you experience. Each adventure is unique to you, the trainer and the dolphin. Dolphin aqua adventures are available in adult, child or family sessions.

Sea World dolphins
Shark Encounter
For the brave that love sharks or those who want to face their fears, a shark encounter will bring you face to face with large shark species. You will experience a thrilling shark feeding session - but don’t worry about loosing an arm because you will be inside an acrylic cage. The shark lagoon is inhabited by large sharks including poetically dangerous species such as the Dusky Whaler Shark which would excite any shark lover or thrill seeker. This is a thrilling and educational experience of a lifetime for anyone over 14 years of age.

Shark at Sea World
This experiences gives you the opportunity to get up close and personal with sharks and other marine life, while accompanied by a qualified Shark bay diver. You will swim in Shark Bay’s reef lagoon as smaller whitetip and blacktip reef sharks swim around you. There is also an opportunity for you to look through to the Shark lagoon to see the larger Sharks which are just a window length away. Each dive is an educational experience and all participants must hold a current Diving Certificate and will receive their very own souvenir photo taken by a professional photographer. Also note that this adventure is only available in the holiday periods.

Tropical Reef Snorkel
For the not so brave, but still want to experience the ‘not so dangerous’ sharks there is the tropical reef snorkel. This allows you to swim inside Sea World’s own barrier reef lagoon and come face to face with tropical fish, rays, plus harmless leopard and whitetip reef sharks. This beautiful reef experience is available for anyone 10 years of age and up. Each participant will receive their very own souvenir photo taken by a professional photographer.

Sea World Experience
Seal Safari
A Seal Safari is perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to get soaking wet, but is happy to hug a huge, wet furry seal. This experience is open to anyone 5 years of age and over. Every participant will get hands on with these big, fun and furry creatures and the lucky ones may even get a kiss. You will sure to be walk away with fishy hands, a souvenir photo and an educational experience that you will always remember. Each seal safari is unique, made up of just you, the trainer and the seal.

Seal Aqua Adventure
If you want to get wet and swim with these furry friends then consider the Seal Aqua Adventure. You will learn about these amazing creatures as you experience full water based interaction. To capture and remember this once in a lifetime experience every participant will receive a souvenir photo of you and your new friend. For even more memories, purchase a souvenir DVD for a small extra cost. Each seal safari provides a one on one experience with a seal, with just a trainer to guide you. Available to anyone aged 14 years and up.

Penguin Antarctic Adventure
They may walk a bit strange…  but enter their below freezing enclosure and you will see how cute, furry and playful they are up close. You will feel like you are in Antarctica while personally interact with the King and Gentoo penguins and exploring their impressive enclosure. If you are a fan of the movies March of The Penguins or Happy Feet this is a great experience for you to learn more about these incredible creatures. Each adventurer will receive a souvenir photo with their favourite penguin. This adventure is available to persons 14 years and over.

Sea World dolphin interaction
All animal adventures are an additional price to your Sea World entry and must be booked in advance. Be aware that each adventure has separate conditions and different age requirements.

There is plenty to see and do at Sea World and there are great accommodation options near by. Stay in nearby Main Beach with glamour 4 and 5 star accommodation or the central tourist hub of Surfers Paradise. If you’d love to travel to Sea World by monorail why not stay at Sea World Resort. The property has a WaterPlay aqua playground open from September to March plus a kids club for children aged 4.5 – 12 years. For tickets to Sea World contact Sunlover Holidays on 13 88 33 or visit  www.sunloverholidays.com.au/attractions.

14 March 2012

Queensland has an island to suit everyone

Queensland offers a range of island paradises, from coral cays to surf beaches, there is a holiday option to suit every traveller. To help you pick your island holiday we’ve put together the best island resorts across Queensland.

The family friendly islands offer great kids activities from adventure playgrounds, kids club, guided tours of reef and wildlife plus free beach activities the whole family can enjoy. 

The indulgent islands offer something special for couples. They are private resorts that offer fine dining, luxurious spa treatments and the highest quality service. Travel to the island can be via ferry or scenic flight. 

Casual islands are suited to both families and couples looking for a great Aussie getaway. The dress code is casual, with thongs (flip flops) allowed in restaurants in the evening and the accommodation ranges from 3 to 4 star. 

Action and Adventure resorts offer a large range of activities both on land and in the water including jet skis, kayaking, windsurfing, paddle skis, ATV 4WDs and  sand tobogganing.

Nature Lover's paradise is for those that want to get in touch with the Australian flora and fauna, to stay in unique natural environment where fish, dolphins, turtles and whales can be spotted. Each island offers a range of tours that allow you to get up close with these animals and learn more about their habitat.

Please continue reading for more information about each resort's facilities, activities, dining and wildlife..

12 March 2012

Gold Coast's beaches

The Gold Coast is a long strip of coastal suburbs, from the quiet surf village of Tweed Heads/Coolangatta to the sophisticated Sanctuary Cove. We’ve put together a guide to help you choose the best suburb for your ideal coastal holiday. 

Sanctuary Cove on Hope Island is a millionaire’s playground, boasting a championship golf course, gourmet goodies and exclusive boutique resorts. It is home to the luxurious Marine Village shopping district and monthly twilight markets. Just a short drive away is Movie World, Dream World and Wet’n’Wild.

Main Beach
Main Beach is set on the most northerly surf beach on the Gold Coast. Home to Sheraton Mirage Resort and Spa (the only beachside resort on the coast) and the opulent and iconic Palazzo Versace the area has a large selection of designer stores, gourmet cafes and restaurants both at the resorts and inside the Marina Mirage shopping complex. 
Sheraton Mirage, Palazzo Versace & Marina Mirage Complex
Yachts fringe the marina and walkers take to the beach as the sun rises. When the sun hits high in the sky Sea World opens and the crowds pour in to enjoy dolphin shows, playful Sea Lions and the polar bears playing in their pool. 

Surfers Paradise beach
Surfers Paradise is the commercial heart of the Gold Coast. It’s where the buildings are tall, clubs are loud and the shops are touristy. The beach here is outstanding, with golden sand and crisp waves. Morning is the best time to hit the sand, before the afternoon sun creates shadows out of the ubiquitous high rises. On the beach you can learn to surf, people watch or walk the kilometres of white sand. 

Surfers Paradise shopping
Redevelopment has seen Surfers Paradise go upmarket with the new Sea Temple Surfers Paradise and Circle on Cavill shopping precinct. The shops are open late and the clubs even later. Orchid Avenue, off the Cavill Mall, is the heart of the nightclub district, where you can enjoy a cool drink, sip a cocktail at a chic lounge bar or dance through the night. Surfers Paradise is also set up for indoor fun from ice skating, Infinity Attraction, Ripleys Believe it or Not, Wax Museum and SkyPoint observation deck.

Broadbeach is a sophisticated strip with a variety of restaurants, classy bars and trendy nightclubs. There is a range of 4.5 and 5 star resorts including Peppers Broadbeach (who offer iPads available for hire) and the 5 star Jupiters Hotel and Casino Gold Coast. The beach is pristine and perfect for for activities during the day then at night the casino come alive with live stage shows, casino tables and bars. For shopping, choose from Surf Parade’s boutiques, Oasis Shopping Centre (home to the monorail) and Pacific Fair shopping centre. On the third Sunday of each month Broadbeach Art and Craft markets offers unique gifts, funky souvenirs and delicious local treats.

From Mermaid Beach to Burleigh Heads there is a range of quiet apartment hotels for families and couples. Burleigh Head’s patrolled beaches are lined with parklands and the nearby national park offers scenic walking trails along the coastline. 

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Currumbin Creek lends itself to gentle surf, rock pools and water activities including kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. Don’t miss Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for an opportunity to cuddle a koala, feed Lorikeet and get close to marsupials and reptiles. The zoo also has a Wildlife Hospital and adventure park – both of which are open to visitors.

Greenmount headland walk

Kirra, Coolangatta, Rainbow Bay and Tweed Heads are known for their great surf, thanks to sand pumping from the Tweed River. Around every corner is a surf shop offering the best Australian surf brand clothing, surfboards and body boards. It is also home to Twin Towns, a large members club well known for its live stage shows and pokies. The Tweed River is a great base for coastal fun including fishing, river cruising and crabbing.  

Salt Village
Over the border is the resort village of Kingscliff, where the pace of life slows down to match the soft ocean breeze. Browse the boutiques, take a relaxing afternoon walk along the beach or spoil yourself with a spa treatment. Salt Village combines a village ambience with the convenience of quality bars and restaurants.

Home Valley Station

Home Valley Station ranges
Set off Gibb River Road in Eastern Kimberley, Home Valley Station offers a quintessential outback Australian adventure. 

The land is magnificiently ancient, large and remote.. with majestic ranges and dusty cracked mud flats. The winter brings big blue skies and cool nights, then the wet brings a huge amount of birdlife as the gorges spring to life.

Home Valley Station
The property offers a range of accommodation to suit all travellers. The Grass Castles are set on idyllic Bindoola Creek and provide guests with comfortable lodgings for couples. The Guesthouse Rooms in the Homestead are designed for couples or families. The Eco Tents, are safari style accommodation in a quiet bush location and are perfect for those wanting to get in touch with nature.

The Station offers an array of activities to get a bushman busy, from gorge walks and boating; some of the best fishing locations and adventurous horse treks. 

Fishing at Home Valley Station
To experience daily life on the station join in a cattle muster. The property offers a variety of natural attraction from towering gorges, waterholes, untouched beaches, waterfalls and ranges. 

Mustering instruction at Home Valley Station
After a hard day on the land hit The Dusty Bar and Grill for some quality Aussie grub, made with the finest local produce. For a unique touch the chefs work with the best of the bush, including local fruits, seeds and bush herbs. The bar offers a variety of Australian wines and beers and the night comes alive when the Station’s friendly staff finish their day’s work.

Dusty Bar and Grill

9 March 2012

Melbourne Fashion Festival

Melbourne Fashion Festival March 8 to 15. 2012.
By David Reyne

Melbourne is set to prove once again that it is the fashion capital of Australia. I realise such a statement is likely to put Sydney’s fashion followers noses’ out of joint but, get over it. Besides, they’ve got the world’s most beautiful harbour. And better weather… well, sometimes.

From the 8th to the 15th of March, the Melbourne Fashion Festival will transform the city’s infamous Docklands precinct into an utterly glamorous destination.  

The Fashion Festival itself never fails to jolt the nation’s grooviest into an excited frenzy. Whether it’s the sight of all those alluring catwalk angels strutting like newborn mules, the sizzling creations of the design elite, the often chaotic concoctions worn by the hysterical in attendance, or the cocktail fuelled, doof-doof powered after parties, the Melbourne Fashion Festival can always be relied upon to create an unforgettable spectacle.

And Melbourne, as always, rises to the occasion. Visitors might like to take advantage of the best coffee in the country, throw back a few silky lattes and stay awake for the duration of the festival. 

But, if coffee seems to pump too many amps to your already frazzled nerve ends, soothe them by turning left down any city lane where you’ll find impossibly hip bars hidden away in candle-lit bolt holes. 

As for Docklands, well, Melbournians remain undecided. Edgy, angular apartment buildings vie for space with the colour crazed facades of numerous corporate headquarters while, at their feet, row upon row of sleek yachts and polished cruisers are fringed by freeway ramps, container ship commotion and big city shadows. It’s well worth a ponderous look.

No-one should ever need an excuse to visit Melbourne but if your life requires an injection of style, stoke and stimulation, Melbourne Fashion Festival week could be the mainline hit you need.