Situated right in town but feeling like an oasis set under the rainforest canopy is Watergate.
My friend had recommended it as one of her favourite restaurants in Port Douglas and it didn’t disappoint. The staff are awesome – David met us and was very amiable and informative then handed over to Jill.
The Watergate menu is great – not too much but enough to have a wide selection without boggling you down and making you go around in circles.
Offering an interesting selection of Australian fare with Asian influences we settle on the Crocodile Karaage, Lamb Ribs in Korean sauce, Tuna Tataki and Watergate salad.
Maman has just opened in Burleigh Heads and sometimes Saturdays and trips to the hardware shop end up as random days discovering new restaurants.
This is one of those Saturdays and this is our Maman discovery.
After an organic shop at the Burleigh Markets we are in search of flowers and find ourselves wandering along the streets of Burleigh Heads. It’s a hot day that rapid morphs to a winters day due to a sudden cold front and storm hitting Burleigh.
It’s lunch time and I spot (almost) a hole in the wall.
The paddock to plate, garden to plate philosophy of Harvest, saw it booked out for Oprah and her entourage in 2010 when she visited.
Since then, this once bakery, cafe has become a destination.
Now days the main highway bypasses the town and it’s probably best to put the address into your maps and understand you’ll be weaving a little bit through the country side before arriving.
You won’t be disappointed.
The township of Nearby is quiticential of most Australian towns in the northern rivers of New South Wales; a pub, a garage and a milk bar. Harvest has certainly put the town on the map and now the town boasts an art and homeware collective, an antique shop and a few other places to drift in and out of.
We didn’t make a booking (I strongly recommend you do) so we sat on the balcony. It was a rainy cold winter’s day but fortunately the heater on the deck and the food distracted from the cool.
We weren’t necessarily after a big long lunch, so settled on the carrots (grown on site) roasted in the oven with …
For main, I chose a burger which was OK. The produce was locally sourced but not abundant. I get it, it’s a fine dining restaruant.
My partner had the eye fillet which was also wonderful but served as it. You really need to order sides.
I was a little bit disappointed with the menu on this day but apparently it changes regularly depending on the seasonal foods and produce available.
To be fair we didn’t have a booking, the place was pumping with people streaming in regularly and was clearly very popular.
The gardens are uplifting and worth strolling through, as much of the product served inside is from their own garden. A fully functioning bakery is out the back and you can see the guys in action as well as having their own bee hives.
The importance of bees and pollination of crops a very topical conversation piece in the Northern Rivers. On this ocassion food was 4/5, service 5/5. WE will be back to see if we can give them the 10/10.
You know when you hear mixed revues about a restaurant, rather than inspire it tends to make you pause to race there? This was my response to Balboa. A silly trap that I have fallen into before which only has lead to denial of a wonderful Italian restaurant boasting very good food.
The purpose built Balboa Italian situated on the Gold Coast Highway in Palm Beach opened only a few years ago.
Sporting a healthy clientele and return customers because of their pizzas, (they look amazing), the pasta (apparently the gnocchi is to die for) and the al la carte.
I was super impressed by the table service which in a country like Australia is often lacking.
We order an Italian chardonnay – I’m not sure that is was a true chardonnay but a delicate light white, more like a chablis from France. Perfect for our meal.
Scallops for entree which were delicious, light and tasty.
The calamari salad also delicious and could be a meal in its own right. Light, tasty healthy.
For mains we share the lamb shoulder which is delicately served on a bed of puree, beans and tomatoes.
We accompany this with the house made potato chips and aolii and broccolini.
The cocktails are wonderful and my partner orders an old fashion which is served with the smoke trapped inside the glass.
I can highly recommend it. Service 5/5, food 5/5 overall 10/10.
Sofra is a Turkish restaurant in Toowoomba and as someone else said “it’s not bad for a big country town.” Which is probably how I would sum it up.
Maybe due to all its raves and the awesome menu we were looking forward to our feed. It was however quite disappointing.
We ordered the seafood mezze share plate for two ; mussels, calamari, swordfish kebab, prawns, dip, olives, small salad, haloumi and bread. I guess being mediterranean we expected great seafood grilled with amazing spices. Instead the calamari and mussels were deep fried and repeated on us all afternoon.
For mains we shared a mixed grilled plate; lamb kebab, chicken kebab and Turkish mince kebab. Once again it was slightly underwhelming and a bit dry.
Previously when I have had Turkish grills the meat is juicy, succulent and full of flavours. This was quite short of that.
The wines selection wasn’t great and fairly overpriced for what it was with most glasses being $10 per glass.
Overall I would rate this restaurant as 2/5 and most points due to the friendly staff.
Set in the very pretty northern suburbs of Toowoomba but still walking distance to town (albeit a long walk) is their cottage and loft.
The cottage is anything but a cottage and is a large family home with wonderful living spaces, but on this occasion we stay in the self contained loft.
It is a beautiful loft with self contained kitchen, separate bathroom and walk in waldrobe.
The furnishings are delightful with little gestures such as fresh water and chocolates.
The bed is firm and comfy with electric blankets so the room is cosy and the bed toasty.
A big surprise is the breakfast which is included. We are gluten and dairy free so didn’t want to inconvenience Shelly but she made the most amazing hamper with coconut yogurt, granola, fresh berries, dairy free cheese, GF bread, GF banana cake, ham and home made relief.
I am happy to recommend this place and we will be making this our stay-place when we come to Toowoomba. Thank you Shelly and Jonathon.
When you receive an invite to have dinner at a pub in the middle of nowhere (well for city folks), you have to say yes, but later go “why?”
It’s a long drive, someone has to drive, what is the food going to be like etc etc.
Let me reassure you that Rudd’s Pub is iconic and very much worth the effort from where ever you are coming from.
It has a typical Aussie bar at the front and the staff are awesome as well as swift. People say g’day and want to meet you, which isn’t always the case in cities.
The pub has massive history and was originally built in 1893.
Its big claim to fame was the writing of many of the series of the radio series called Dad & Dave which was broadcast on Australian radio from 1937 – 1953. You can read a little more about the series here.
The food is great and what Aussies would call good “pub grub.” The meals are cooked out the back by the owners so whilst yummy may take a while if you have a large group. I suggest putting your food order in early if you are hungry and having a couple of “bevvies” with the locals while it is cooked up.
The menu is quite extensive and includes gluten free options and all the great pub favourites of steaks, chicken parmies and bangers + mash. I am told the rissoles are great as they are home made and home made Aussie rissoles are awesome.
There is accommodation out the back so you can stay on your travels through, a nice venue room for parties and events and lots of memorabilia on the walls to check out.
This good old fashion Australia regional town is a large enough to get lost but small enough to walk around.
Situated only 90 minutes from Brisbane it is the last of the larger towns going west and is renown for it’s pretty gardens and flowers.
I have been coming here for years and have always had a pleasant stay. The town folk are friendly and it is a much different vibe to the closest Aussie cities of Brisbane and Gold Coast.
I am usually here for a work engagement, children’s sporting event or visiting family.
This visit we decide to pop up for 2 nights as Covid restrictions means no international travel, so it’s time to revisit our famous Aussie towns.
We stay in a beautiful airbnb and do a lot but also nothing.
Toowoomba, being the city of gardens, does have many beautiful outdoor spaces. Gardens, flower shows, a Japanese garden and just walking through the beautiful wide streets will leave you inspired.
In September is the famous flower show but every time of year there are delightful gardens to have picnics in or wander through.
The other places of interest are Cobb & Co museum, the beautiful architecture of the CBD and Picnic Point.
The town is perched up quite high on what is called the scenic rim. There are many walks to do along the rim but this weekend we are blessed with rain so don’t venture too far from our airbnb and friends.
For a great coffee head to Nick’s place called Wendlands Fine Foods. Although there are many awesome coffee houses around town.
Preston Peak Wineries is a ten minute drive south of town but is closed for a private function on the day we go but has beautiful commanding views over the Lockyer Valley.
The main shopping precinct is called Grand Central and is like every other big shopping centre in the world but great if you do want to catch up on some shopping or having retail withdrawals.
All in all Toowoomba is a great rural country town and very different to the sea towns in Australia. You will need wheels to get around and if you are willing to explore can pick up some mustering, polo games, dirt bike events and more.
A new addition to Mona art gallery is the contemporary Australian restaurant called Faro.
Entry is via the museum but it is open out of hours and the entry is
from the car park.
I really like the space and openness of the restaurant.
In the middle of the room is an art exhibit which is in keeping with the randomness of Mona. You can sit and have a funky cocktail or dine by the water.
On the first day I dine with my sister and we score the table
overlooking the water. It is a gift.
The food is very good, a little pricey but it is 5 star dining. I have the seafood extravaganza which is perfect for a snack for two.
The service is OK. It could be better with just a smile or two. For
those of us mere mortals traveling through Mona this is a radical experience
for us, help us enjoy it.
The second time I visit here is for an afternoon cocktail. They are
delicious – very pricey ($20 and up) but extremely delicious. I would suggest
ordering some nibbles, such as the olives, as the cocktails can go down too
My over all rating is 4/5 and it only loses out because of the staff
and pricing. Otherwise a world class venue.