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.
Opened us recently by the owners of the funky Mexican eatery, Bonita Bonita, is Mermaid Beach’s very own Poke Poke cafe.
The poke poke concept is one adopted from Hawaii. Big bowls, typically a shelled coconut, is filled with fresh salad delights with add-ons. Such as sushimi tuna, salmon, chicken, endamame, sea weed, nuts, seeds, condiments of all sorts.
It’s one of those places though where you find a favourite style and stick with it for life.
I found my fav poke on the first visit. It is called Tuna Me On. Sashimi grade tuna w soy & sesame, avocado, crispy shallots, pickled cabbage, edamame, onion & wasabi mayo on brown rice.
The variety of food is good. They even offer curries, vegetarian dishes and sides.
The side of endamame and pee dip with wonton crackers, was humongous and scrummy.
They are licensed as well, so a cheeky cocktail with lunch is very doable! My fav type of eatery…
Go to the beach down the road, have a swim or surf, slide back for a healthy feed and feel pumped and healthy.
There’s something very Ned Kelly about Binna Burra and the Gold Coast Hinterland.
I am always surprised more people don’t visit as it is so close to the coast and yet, offers a totally different perspective of Australiana. Green bush, misty fog, a cooler climate – it is actually like leaving Queensland for the day and entering into a southern alpine region and stepping back in time. Well so I play out in my mind.
Today I just wanted to escape the four walls of my office and clear my head around some work planning.
The drive up requires concentration as it does weave and swerve but once up the top of Beechmont Mountain Range the views are inspiring and the traffic light.
A few of the tracks are closed at the moment – still from the floods and land slides we had at the beginning of the year. You can check on what is open when you get up there or on the QLD National Parks website here.
I like the Cave walk but it is closed today – so I have to settle for the border walk and just turn around after I am satisfied my brain is clear!
Pademelons bounce around the bush, whip birds send their amazing “whip” sound into the air and trees with hundreds of years wisdom groan in unison. I really love the Aussie bush.
Today a koala perches in a tree – a friendly reminder that wild life still dominates the Australian Bush.
The Binna Burra Lodge is a beautiful place to relax. Upstairs is a loft – the library lounge, and I have done much work up there over the years.
The cafe is OK. Nothing special and most of the menu contains gluten which is a shame.
I have been going to Binna Burra for years and it used to thrive where as no days it is much quieter. The midweek crowd is the tourist bushwalker and the grey rinse brigade.
And me! I still love it and will continue to go.
When you go for a walk in the rain you have to check yourself for leeches and when it is dry ticks. And of course like any Aussie bush carry a stick in case of snakes… and don’t touch spiders and watch out for boobie traps! The last one was a joke.
The QuickSilver Pro has been drawing the world’s best surfers for years, and my all time fav Kelly Slater carves up the waves only meters in front of you! Definitely worth going down to watch if you are around Late February, early March.
At other times of the year, it is still worth drifting down to the southern end of the Gold Coast to have lunch at the Rainbow Bay Surf Club.
The food at this surf club is OK. It’s a kin to a good counter meal. Most the surf clubs are similar. Rainbow does offer lunch time specials so for a reasonable price you can grab a beer and feed, or wine and feed overlooking one of Australia’s most amazing ocean views from which to eat above.
These are “clubs” but visitors are welcome. You will be asked to sign in on arrival or join, which is a nominal fee of around $5.
These photos are from my iphone so I will have to go back during the day and take my camera.
Tonight is packed and it’s only the second week this new creation of Bine and Ex Nobby’s Arc owner has been open.
I recognise many of my favorite waitresses and bar tenders from around the coast and as expected the chef (ex Etsu) concocts amazing food bites.
The menu is extensive and delicious. I don’t think you can go wrong and it’s the place to lash out and be adventurous.
We try a variety of “street foods” which is the gist of the place.
We start with Beef Cheek Rendang done with coconut cream and Crispy Prawns with jalepeno salsa. Delicious and enough to wet our appetites. I want more.
I am a little overwhelmed with the menu to be honest and struggle to settle on one item so happily hand it over to my friends who have at least 2-3 things they all want to try.
Our tasters are followed by Pork Belly with apple and cabbage, served in lettuce cups and so much fun. I love getting down and dirty with food and having the sauces drip down my sleeve as I eat makes me feel alive and in love with food.
The Mooloolaba Prawns are delicious with Asian sauce and the boys fill up with a pad thai.
Lately I have become a big fan of cocktails . The Kama Sutra is devine. It’s a vodka, elderflower, lime concoction – elegant and not over the top.
The wine however takes the winning drink award tonight. It is a Tomich chardonnay from the Adelaide Hills and is served chilled to perfection.
Surrounding the incredible food action is a bustling vibe, loads of energy and movement. The restaurant does capture a “street” vibe. Clad with graffiti and funky umbrellas outside I feel like the Gold Coast is finally catching up with swankier and adventurous Asian districts like Hong Kong.
Oh and for some fun, have a drink on one of the bars funky swinging chairs. And I am sure you could pop in for a fun cocktail on your way to else where.
This is a definite place to book ahead as you won’t get a table.
Winter has set in on the Gold Coast and the kids and I are looking for activities to do. I suggest ice skating and the kids leap at the idea.
It doesn’t sound right does it? A mecca for surfing, sunbaking and bush walking, the Gold Coast attracts people who love the sun and surf. However in winter it is winterish and ice skating makes sense.
We put on snow gear and head up the road to Ice Land, only 10 minutes from Surfers Paradise.
The prices are reasonable, and includes skate hire and as a parent, the session of 90 minutes is perfect.
There is a “warm” room for non-participants and that’s where I bail up with my laptop. It’s perfect, the kids skating, I am blogging and warm!
After a few circuits the kids start to pick it up and aside from some spills, they really enjoy it.
It’s a great day out and something we will be doing again and as a parent looking for healthy activities for children to do in winter (that uses up their energy) this is perfect 🙂
The last 24 hours have been superb. So relaxing, so decadent and wonderfully fun.
My friend came to stay with me last week and seeing as we have both been working a lot we decided to have a mini holiday.
We headed off for an amazing dinner at my GC fav: Fishhouse in Burleigh Heads. From the minute you enter the service and experience is everything you would hope for in a five star restaurant.
Bread made fresh, clean wines and an extensive list and the BEST seafood in town.
I settled on my favourite seafood, scallops, for entree and a fish I had never heard of for dinner. I will have to go back and write a full review as this doesn’t do it justice!
A lazy sleep in, then off to Rainbow Bay Surf Club for remarkable views and an excellent $10 lunch! I had sea trout, chips and salad and my friend has whiting, chips and salad. A great meal and worth it just for the views.
To finish off a magnificent short break, we head to the Kiva Spa in Mullumbimby.
Timid at first (neither of us had been there before) we pushed through our anxieties and were greeted by a romantic escape that felt like a week.
We both agreed our massages were the best – leaving us in a semi comatosed state, and then we drifted around the bath house, in and out of hot tubs, plunge pool, steam room and the magnificent fire sauna. I couldn’t take photos (cameras not allowed) but the memories you take from your trip are all that are needed.
We needed to “earth” ourselves before driving back to reality so headed to the Mullum pub. Or correctly the Middle Pub.
Established in 1904 the pub has a lot of character and interesting things to look at. Period photos of the last turn of the centre, beautiful stainless glass images and funky furniture. The wine went down even better.
Truly relaxing and a wonderful way to round of a min 24 hour holiday on the Gold Coast.
It is the start of April and a few hundred competitors line up to do the classic swim.
Classic it is!
Today is a special day for me- a day when I was returning to swimming (following my near-crippling neck injury) . It is also the first ocean swim my nine year old son has done.
We both agreed to ease ourselves into it – my son opting for the 300 metre swim this time and myself the 1km.
The day was so well organised, no stress, no over zealous organisers, just let’s all have some fun, and as the lady on the starting line said “look after each other”.
Bare bodies, bare personalities and bare facts.
The small talk on the beach before taking off is always interesting.
Some people are taking it really seriously and not up for much chat. Others are in it for the personal challenge and others are in it and truly regreting it… It’s a mixed bag and I think talking to total strangers in your togs is always liberating. Bare bodies, bare personalities and bare facts. I like it!
Today the thoughts going through my mind were about feeling happy and successful.
To get to this point, the point of standing on the beach at Coolangatta in my togs ready to swim 1000m has been a long road.
It doesn’t sound like much but after my neck injury a few years ago it was a huge moment.
No one will really know what it felt like 3 years ago when I thought I would never be able to swim again.
At the time, I saw two neurosurgeons and they both muttered I was lucky not to be in a wheel chair: “..This is an injury we see with car accidents...” but I had been hit by a guy in water polo.
The result was two damaged neck discs.
Over the month following the injury I lost 7 kgs, couldn’t use my left arm and had issues swallowing. I was in pain regularly and sleep was nearly impossible.
I decided though, after hours of crying and hanging in the neck brace that I did not have an option. I had to get better.
I did what the surgeons said, I considered their surgical offer, a fusion, but decided I would see if I could fix it myself.
Over the last three years I have seen my friends – both chiropractors, who I believe have helped me heal. Dr.Jay Miller is awesome and has been a close friend for years, and then last year, I swapped to Dr. Kieran Crowe as he has a different technique. Both very good and over the year my pins and needles, pain and awareness of the injury dissipated.
Two weeks ago an uber driver told me about the Cooly Classic and said he was swimming and I should check it out. I did then I decided.
I decided to do it.
I hadn’t swum for weeks but I knew my heart and determination would carry me over the distance. I just didn’t know how much I would enjoy it.
Over last week I did four swims and they were pretty lame and certainly no where near the 1000 meters I need to be able to swim but I knew I could do it.
And then I stopped thinking about it and just started trusting.
I trusted the factI had always been a swimmer.
I trusted the fact that even if my fitness let me down I could breast stroke.
And I also trusted the fact that if everything caved in there were plenty of event life guards to rescue me.
This clip is funny…
Off we went…. striding through the ankle deep, then knee deep waves…. until I tripped, like most, and decided it was time to swim.
Unlike other ocean swims where you can’t see the bottom, (and can spook yourself), the water here was crystal clear and relaxing.
What an experience.
I feel like Dory in the Movie Finding Nemo when she is released to swim again. The new “old” world opened up.
The Underwater World is incredible.
Around Coolangatta and Kirra even more incredible.
Beautiful, turquoise blue warm waters washing away any stresses and enticing day dreams and thoughts of success.
I can’t describe it entirely but I wish I had swum with a go pro.
It’s the sort of thing you could watch over and over at night to wind down… add some beautiful back ground music and I could fall asleep to it. It was hypnotic, meditative and empowering. Just me, my intact neck and the magic blue ocean.
I love it and it was FUN!
At the end I found a little reserve to do a beach sprint (always a self conscious moment for a mother of three) but I gave it my best.
I had a few minutes at the end when the adrenaline hit me and I nearly wanted to vomit but I am sure it was a mixture of physical exertion and emotional over whelm.
After my swim I raced over to watch my son.
His first ocean swim.
He ended up loving it too and found his competitive spirit coming out of the water.
All afternoon he relived his moment of glory and wanted to know his time. A transformation compared to his mindset before the swim!
Everyone swimming would have their own reason for swimming and their own personal stories just like mine. That’s what makes these events special. People pushing themselves outside their normal boundaries.
After wards there were a few sponsors and co-sponsor was swimming legend Michael Klim.
Michael had won a few medals in the Olympics and has been a lot of older swimmers icon. He had plenty of time to spend with the kids and adults and was inspirational for all.
I will be checking out his baby and adult skin care range called Milk & Co.
After the swim we headed up to the Kirra Surf Club. Along with neighbouring clubs – Rainbow Bay, Coolangatta and to the north, Currumbin, Kirra boasts one of the best views on the Gold Coast…. and no one knows about it.
I am looking forward to Noosa swim now and so is my son and friend that came down. We are thinking about making the weekend a family weekend and hiring a house and taking a few people up. I can’t wait.
Thanks guys for a wonderful event and for getting me back in the water.
Gringoloco a taste of Mexico in Surfer’s Paradise.
Time with my son is special as I only have my children one week in two and this week has been extra special as it has just been him and me. We have had a relaxed time and today we didn’t have much on the agenda except my son wanted to go to a buffet for lunch (special treat time) and I wanted to catch a Reelife film panel discussion at the Gold Coast Film Festival.
Off we went on our bikes on the glorious day. Into Surfers, the buffet was closed so we decided on a Mexican restaurant beach side.
GringoLoco had a good atmosphere – open but still well decked out and the food was good. I thought it was a little pricey but if the quality of food is good and the views were great – one doesn’t mind so much.
We shared nachos with beef cheek and two prawn tacos.
I would recommend having 2 tacos per person as they are quite small.
The Gringo Margarita was delicious and I will probably return simply for the margarita and views.
It’s been years since I stayed here but the place still holds a certain charm and “newness”.
I have fond memories of coming here – located beside a world class marina, surrounded by a world class golf course and access to many restaurants – it is great to be back.
The layout of the resort has always been appealing – loads of space, open air, great weather and lots to do (or not if you prefer).
It’s neatly groomed gardens, magnificent pools and private rooms make this a fantastic getaway.
The staff here are excellent – all polite, helpful and well, just here to make one’s trip memorable (for all the right reasons). Everyone I have had contact with has been wonderful.
There is lots to do here. Aside from playing golf on one of Australia’s best known golf courses (and home to PGA cutie Adam Scott), there is swimming, a gym, a spa, BIG chess, walks around the marina and many firesides and enclaves to chat with someone or daydream and read a book.