Hobart 2016-02-26 079w

City Profile : Hobart

Hobart 2016-02-26 085w


Hobart is a beautiful city that has retained the nostalgia of its history beautifully. Founded in 1804 as a penal colony, Hobart was initially known as Hobart Town or Hobarton, after Lord Hobart, the colonial secretary. Settlement wasn’t easy due to violent conflicts with the traditional owners – the bloodshed and introduction of disease reduced the aboriginal population rapidly. Nearly 40 years after settlement, Hobart became a city and was finally renamed Hobart in 1881.


Hobart 2016-02-29 164w


The first thing we noticed about Hobart was the traffic. Of course, arriving during peak hour wasn’t helpful but it gave us a true impression of how bad the congestion actually is. Apparently, this issue has arisen because of a change in the bus timetables. The locals cracked the shits and decided to drive in to work instead but it just made things worse.


The second thing we noticed was the scenery. Hobart sits in the valley of the Derwent River, a sparkling feature, not some dirty sewer that runs through the city, like the Yarra River in Melbourne.  The surrounding foothills seem to create a bit of an amphitheatre around the city, and many of the charming houses have two storeys to best utilise the inclined landscape. The main mountain that dominates the city skyline is Mount Wellington.


Hobart 2016-02-26 079w


We made a bee-line straight for the Royal Hobart Showgrounds for a shower before heading into town for some dinner and sightseeing. We planned to spend the morning in Hobart before heading south for the weekend, and then returning to Hobart on Monday to stay at the Hobart Central YHA after a pub crawl.


Fast Facts

  • Hobart is the most populated city in Tasmania.
  • It is the second oldest capital city behind Sydney and has a population of approximately 218,000 people.
  • Much of the Waterfront area is reclaimed land as a result of convict labour in the 1830s.
  • Charles Darwin visited Hobart in 1836 and climbed Mount Wellington.
  • The average temperature during the summer months is around 21 degrees and the winter average is 12 degrees.


Hobart 2016-02-26 074w

Things To Do

Royal Botanic Gardens

Courses for horses – we like Botanic Gardens. They had a great selection of plant varieties, including a Japanese Garden, herb garden and orchid house. The gardens are quite historical and started off as a veggie garden in 1806. It was eventually known as the Colonial Gardens and cultivated fresh fruits and vegetables, some new to Tasmania at the time.


It wasn’t until 1818 that the gardens were officially dubbed the Royal Botanical Gardens, making them the second oldest gardens in Australia behind the Sydney Botanic Gardens.


Hobart 2016-02-26 067w


Salamanca Markets

Occurring every Saturday morning in the Salamanca district, the markets are a great event for tourists and locals alike. Stalls include various delights such as fudge, wood crafts, leathergoods, gems and jewellery, wine and whisky tasting, colourful clothes, fresh flowers and vegetables.


Hobart 2016-02-27 008w


There are also buskers and food vans, where we ate wallaby for the first time in burrito form. It was delicious.


Hobart 2016-02-27 009w


Salamanca Place is also the location of many heritage-listed buildings and is where most of Hobart’s nightlife occurs.



An acronym for the Museum of Old and New Art, this interesting art space opened in 2011 and has been intriguing, insulting and disgusting people ever since.  Reputed to be the most offensive art gallery around, the collections are displayed underground in the bunker-like halls below the main entrance.


Unlike many art galleries that can be a bit posh, stuffy or sterile, MONA has a more relaxed, creative and tongue in cheek attitude. Visitors explore the museum with an interactive “O” device that contains the information about the art instead of labelling each piece.


Hobart 2016-02-29 025w


While we were there, the main show was the Gilbert & George exhibition, a thought-provoking and colourful display of current affairs and personal opinions. There was also a… “ladies’ parts” exhibit, with over 70 plaster casts of wall-mounted fannies, and the Death Gallery where upon entering, you put yourself at risk of falling into eerie black water.


Possibly the most offensive piece, to Juz’s sensitive nose at least, was Cloaca – the poop machine. It is fed twice a day and poops daily, and it stunk really bad. Apparently, the commentary behind the work is that art is shit anyway, so the artist created a piece of art that creates pieces of art.




Mount Wellington

Towering over the city, Mount Wellington stands 1,271 metres high and provides killer views of Hobart and the surrounding area, as far as Bruny Island. The terrain at the peak is very rocky and harsh, probably because it’s so freaking windy and cold!



Food & Drink

We were actually quite impressed with the offerings of Hobart’s food and drink. We made sure we tasted the best that Hobart had to offer, including coffee, breakfast, pub meals and something a little different.



While Machine Laundry Cafe is a widely popular cafe for breakfast and lunch, we just stopped in for coffee before perusing the Salamanca markets. Despite the long wait, the coffee was fantastic and surprisingly cheaper than what we usually pay for a long macchiato and soy latte – $7.70.


Hobart 2016-02-27 007w


The other cafe we visited was Pilgrim Coffee on Argyle Street, just a few blocks from the Hobart Central YHA.  It’s a popular spot for caffeination before work, and while the coffee was good, it wasn’t as good as the ones from Machine Laundry Cafe.


Hobart 2016-03-01 012w



There were heaps of places we wanted to try, and if we had more time, then we would have, but we limited our breakfast outings to two only. Our first breakfast was at Daci & Daci Bakery, an incredibly popular French bakery with a huge selection and display of cakes, pastries and other delicious delights.


Hobart 2016-02-27 012w


Dave ordered the French toast with bacon, scrambled eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes and ajvar relish, while he enjoyed his breakfast, he said it was nothing to write home about and had serious food envy for Juz’s Croque Monsieur. While it wasn’t much to look at and many may see it as a glorified toasted sandwich, it was bloody delicious. The croque was filled with prosciutto, gruyere and Dijon mustard and had an excellent burst of flavour from the quality fillings.


Hobart 2016-02-27 015w


Our second and last breakfast was at a little cafe called Pigeon Hole in West Hobart. It’s owned by Weston Farms, a local farm to the north of Hobart that wanted to bring its seasonal and organic produce to the people via the cafe. When you read the menu, whatever has come off the farm is highlighted in green text. We parked our car on the hilly street adjacent to the cafe – we reckon the incline was about 30 degrees.


Hobart 2016-03-01 044w


They also had a croque monsieur on the menu, so we shared this with a serve of soft baked eggs flavoured with lemon, taleggio cheese and herbs. It was refreshingly tangy from the citrus and delicately flavoursome. The side of toasted sourdough bread was the perfect accompaniment.


Hobart 2016-03-01 046w


The croque monsieur was also a hit – a thick layer of ham, savoury raclette cheese and mustard for tang was squished and toasted between two thick slices of seedy bread. Different from the Daci & Daci croque but still delicious in its own way.


Lunch or Dinner

Recommended to us by a friend, we attended Mures Lower Deck for a fish and chip dinner. Geez it was busy – probably with both locals and tourists. Dave ordered the Catch of the Day – school shark with chips – while Juz wanted a taste of everything so she got the Fisherman’s Basket with blue grenadier, prawns, scallops, marinated fish, squid and chips.


Hobart 2016-02-26 090w


As far as fish and chips go, it was fresh and tasty, but also a bit pricy. We didn’t want to know how much it would cost to eat on the upper deck.


Hope & Anchor Hotel

This tavern was built in 1807 and claims to be Australia’s oldest pub.  It’s accumulated wealth from its years can be seen if you go upstairs to the beautiful dining rooms.


Hobart 2016-02-29 090w


Our pub crawl started at the Hope and Anchor so we had a big lunch. Dave had a whole Aussie parmi with egg and bacon while Juz got a half Mexican jalapeno parmi and a chicken tandoori burger, both with sweet potato chips instead of regular chips. Everything was well priced and tasted fantastic. We highly recommend this pub for both drinks and meals.


Hobart 2016-02-29 094w


The Winston

This was our oddball meal – the Winston is a pub with an American twist and seems to be popular with the locals. The menu has a variety of ribs, buffalo wings, burgers and such that sound very Yankee, and there is also a great selection of hot sauces available.


Dave ordered the Winston burger, the first Winston for the night. This novel burger is stuffed with deep fried bacon, grilled chicken, dill ranch sauce between two waffles – served in a dog bowl. He couldn’t finish it so we doggy-bagged the rest for our lunch the next day.


Hobart 2016-02-29 172w


Juz ordered the buffalo chicken burger with blue cheese sauce and fries. For sides, she also got a serve of massive onion rings and buffalo chicken wings with more blue cheese sauce to share with Dave. Everything was really tasty.


Cascade Brewery

Cascade Brewery is the oldest brewery in Australia, established in the early 1830s by a convict. The brewery itself is quite a sight, but it’s also worth stopping in at the Visitors Centre for a tasting paddle.




Larks Distillery

Located close to the Waterfront, Larks Distillery is a popular spot with locals and tourists. They offer a tasting of three whiskies – you can read up about it here…


Information & Accommodation

The Hobart Visitor Information Centre is located at 16-20 Davey St in the CBD. It’s open daily from 9am to 5pm.


Royal Hobart Showgrounds – For only $10, we had a place to stay near the city, hot showers, toilets and a community of other travellers to mingle with. Of course, we met another Troopy legend there and chatted about our adventures until bedtime. Considering how many people were camped there, it didn’t feel crowded at all because of how much space is available.


For more central accommodation, check out the Hobart Central YHA near the corner of Macquarie and Argyle Street. Everything is within walking distance, particularly a major supermarket, the Information Centre and coffee.


Hobart 2016-02-26 109w



Devonport 2016-02-21 024w

Touchdown : Devonport & Latrobe

Flavour Trail 2016-02-21 002w

We rolled off the Spirit of Tasmania and has a very brief stop in Devonport for coffee and breakfast before continuing on to more exciting ventures.



Devonport is a simple city of just over 25,000 people. It started off as two settlements on either side of the Mersey River – Formby and Torquay. As the shipping industry grew and the Bluff lighthouse was built, regular services to and from Melbourne began and in 1890, a public vote united the two settlements and they became the town of Devonport. It was declared a city in 1981.

There isn’t that much to do in Devonport so after you’ve grabbed a coffee and done your grocery shopping, it’s time to move on.


The Ferry Terminal

The first place we touched down onto Tasmanian soil. It’s amazing to watch the Spirit of Tasmania come and go, with a big bellow of its horn. The Spirit’s presence in Devonport would be a safe and familiar thing for the locals.


Spirit of Tasmania 2016-02-21 015w


The Rectory Cafe

We met up with Scott after disembarking and had a coffee here. The place is totally cute but the coffee was not quite up to scratch.


Devonport 2016-02-21 001 - Copy


The Laneway

This place was on our radar for breakfast because it’s the highest rated cafe in Devonport. We can declare that the coffee is great, and while the prices are a little high, the meals are good too. Dave got the Laneway Breakfast with mushroom, spinach, hash browns, bacon, eggs, local chipolatas and sourdough bread. Juz was craving some smashed avo, broad beans and feta, with crispy pancetta and sourdough toast. The cafe also sells local produce like eggs and deli meats.


Devonport 2016-02-21 027w


Spirit of the Sea statue

At the entrance of the Mersey River is a fountain of nude Poseidon, named the Spirit of the Sea. While it may not have any significant connection with the Devonport community, its perch offers great views of the coastline around Devonport. There’s a great walking track on the foreshore that follows the coast all the way to Mersey Bluff.


Devonport 2016-02-21 009w


Mersey Bluff Lookout

The Mersey Bluff is the home of the Mersey Bluff Lighthouse, which stands 37 metres tall and was built in 1889 just before Devonport was established as one town instead of two settlements.   There’s a path that goes around the base of the bluff to a lookout over the Bass Strait.


Devonport 2016-02-21 024w



This small town is located just 8km south of Devonport along the Mersey River. The area was first settled in 1826 and in 1973, the town was officially named after Charles Joseph Latrobe – the administrator for the colony of Tasmania.

Even though the town is small, it’s alive and has its own personality. There are trash and treasure markets every Sunday, and just alongside the variety store is the best display of photo ops we have seen in a while.



The Australian Axemans Hall of Fame

There are a few reasons to stop off at this location. This tourist information and function centre is a great place to stop for maps and info on the local area, learn about the achievements of Australia’s sporting wood choppers, and see one of Australia’s big things – the Big Platypus.


Flavour Trail 2016-02-21 059w - Copy


Shoalhaven 2015-07-29 004

Eating Out : Coastal Kitchen & Coffee

Shoalhaven 2015-07-23 001


Coastal Kitchen & Coffee is a bright and eclectic cafe in the historic little town of Milton on the Shoalhaven coast.  We highly recommend this place if you’re passing through the area, not only because our mates Joe and Kate run the place, but also because they serve up some wicked sandwiches.


Our favourite was the magnificent Breakfast Burger!  This giant tower of bacon, egg and hash brown was a great way to start the day.


Shoalhaven 2015-07-29 004


Later in the week, we stopped by for lunch and killed a steak sandwich and chilli chicken burger… and are you seeing these chips? Amazing!


Shoalhaven 2015-07-25 012


Coastal Kitchen also do coffee, cakes and freshly squeezed juices. If you’re in the area, stop by for a feed – you won’t regret it.


Thanks Kate & Joe, for having us while we were on the Shoalhaven Coast. We had an awesome time staying with you and we look forward to seeing you again soon!


Shoalhaven 2015-07-29 005s


Sydney 2015-07-20 069w

Eating Out : Great places for a bite in Sydney

Sydney 2015-07-06 066


We were spoilt for choice when it came to food. There are so many cafes, pubs, restaurants and eateries – more than we had ever seen on our travels – so we aimed for either the best or the offbeat.  Perhaps the kookiest thing was a soft serve ice cream from Aqua S in the city.  Their specialty is sea salt ice cream, a style of ice cream from Japan.  Luckily we were there for popping candy week, so we sampled their sea salt flavour with cranberry, sprinkled with pop rocks.


Sydney 2015-07-20 086w



While we had several coffees in Sydney, we had two favourites.  The first came from Mecca Espresso, a small outlet on King Street that offers cheap take aways and makes a smooth and creamy coffee.  The second came from The Fine Food Store on The Rocks.  We sat in and had breakfast as well – a savoury Croque Sir Grill with prosciutto, a poached egg and aioli.


Sydney 2015-07-20 002w



Who would have thought that stuff in bread could be so good.  Mr Crackles on Oxford Street in Darlinghurst is open for lunch until late in the night for all your crackly cravings.  We got the Crackle Classic and BBQ Pork Roll with onion rings for an awesome lunch.



Another great lunch was thanks to Marrickville Pork Roll.  This popular spot is a tiny shop that usually has a line out the front.  For $4.50, you get a flavoursome Vietnamese sandwich that is good until it’s gone.


Sydney 2015-07-07 043w


North of the harbour is Vienna Sandwiches, another little outlet that smashes out a wicked sandwich.  We got the Chicken Gangnam Style sandwich and it blew our minds.


Sydney 2015-07-09 135w


Further north along the Pittwater is Newport Chicken.  It might seem like a regular take away place but the boys behind the counter seem to love what they do and make a ripper chicken burger.


Sydney 2015-07-06 020w


Asian Food

We sampled Asian from both ends of the scale – cheap food court fare to high end yum cha.  Our favourite food court in the city was the Market City Food Court, where we got a massive feed for around $20.




In Chatswood, we met up with fans Chris and Betty at New Shanghai and had a few plates of delicious dumplings.  In the shire, we had a fancy dinner at Din Tai Fung Restaurant with Dave’s uncle and his family.  Apart from dishing out some great dumplings, their fried meats and noodle dishes were amazing too.



We took a break from pizza after our Cairns Pizza Quest, but by the time we got to Sydney, we were ready.  Our first pizza was from Gourmet Pizza Pantry in Gladesville.  We got two large pizzas – Caprice and Tijuana – and a regular garlic pizza for $37.  The Caprice was essentially a capricciosa while the Tijuana was a Mexicana with chilli con carne, jalapenos, corn chips and guacamole – both were awesome.


Sydney 2015-07-08 126w


In the shire, we had a pizza fest at Queen Margherita’s of Savoy.  These pizzas have such a thin base, that they cook in less than 90 seconds.  The bases are almost like pancakes but they taste so good and the toppings are top notch quality.


Sydney 2015-07-12 033w



We sniffed out a few breweries in Sydney, only missing out on one in the Rocks.  They all had a great selection of beers but our favourites were Young Henry’s in Newtown and Batch Brewing Co in Marrickville.  Check out our post about Sydney Breweries here.

 Sydney 2015-07-06 025w



Tamborine Mountain 2015-06-10 002w

Adventure : Thunderbird Park

Tamborine Mountain 2015-06-10 002w


Thunderbird Park is the ultimate destination in Mount Tambourine.  You really don’t need to go anywhere else.  Set on 120 acres of rainforest, Thunderbird Park can take care of your meals and accommodation while you go on an adventure in the trees, challenge your friends on a mini golf course, fossick for prehistoric treasure or indulge in a massage in your lodge.


The Activities

There are so many activities at Thunderbird Park to cater for people of all ages and groups of all sizes.  Animal lovers can go horse riding, large groups can book themselves in for laser skirmish amongst the trees, there are some walking tracks around the park and several rock pools along Cedar Creek that are perfect for a swim.


Tamborine Mountain 2015-06-10 015w


Tree Top Challenge

This was our favourite attraction at Thunderbird Park – an elevated ropes course in the trees with over 100 challenges like ladders, suspension bridges, rope crossings and exhilarating flying foxes.  As you make your way through the course, the challenges progressively get more difficult and the platforms get higher too.


Combining activity with fun, it’s a fantastic workout.  Allow yourself plenty of time to complete the courses – we played on the ropes for nearly three hours but Dave could’ve spent all day on them!  Bookings are essential and your admission covers equipment hire, training and access to the course for the entire time you’re at Thunderbird Park.


Tamborine Mountain 2015-06-10 095w


Mini Golf Championship Course

The Championship Course is the newest addition to Thunderbird Park, with its grand opening on the 1st of January 2015.  It’s currently 9 holes, with future plans to extend it to 18 holes, and the professionally designed landscape includes rocks, sand bunkers, bridges and water hazards!


Minigolf3 (1)


Thunderegg Fossicking

This was great fun – we were given a bucket and a pick and sent to the mine to search for thunder eggs.  Thunderbird Park is home to the world’s largest deposit of thundereggs, prehistoric remnants that are over 200 million years old.  They’re created by bubbles in solidified volcanic lava.  Over the years, minerals seep into the bubbles and pressure causes crystallisation.  Any thundereggs that you take back to the Rock Shop can be cut open to reveal various shapes and colours inside.


Tamborine Mountain 2015-06-10 074w


The Terrace Kiosk & Rainforest Restaurant

Breakfast with the Birds is available daily in the Rainforest Restaurant between 8am and 10am.  It’s a buffet style breakfast with both hot and cold items, or you can opt for more traditional breakfast dishes from the menu.


Tamborine Mountain 2015-06-11 048w


Lunch at the Terrace Kiosk is available from 9am to 4pm.  We got the Italiano pizza with a small side of chips.  Both the pizza and the chips were great and a fantastic way to fuel up before doing the Tree Top Challenge.  They also do coffee and snacks, and because they’re licensed, you can even enjoy a beer or wine on the terrace.


Tamborine Mountain 2015-06-10 088w


Dinner in the Rainforest Restaurant was wonderfully intimate.  We had the choice of ordering another pizza or trying something different – a chicken stir fry.  We went with the stir fry and it was delicious, full of tender chicken and fresh vegetables.


The Essentials

Accommodation options include powered and unpowered sites, bunk rooms or the luxurious Cedar Creek Lodges.  We stayed in a Creek Lodge, complete with a balcony overlooking the banks of Cedar Creek, a kitchenette, spa and heated towel racks, and a wood heater to keep us warm.  Our visit turned into a special weekend getaway.



Thunderbird Park has the capacity to cater for couples, families, groups and school camps, as well as conferences, events and weddings.  Wi-Fi access is available at the main building and there is an ATM near reception.


Tamborine Mountain 2015-06-10 004w


For more information, call 07 5545 1468 or visit their website at http://www.thunderbirdpark.com/



City Profile : Cairns



Cairns is a city in tropical north Queensland and is a major tourism destination for both Australians and Internationals.  We were here for around 7 months and really got to know Cairns – we even got to meet a fellow blogger, Kate Richards (AdventureMumma).


Outdoor fitness is a big focus in Cairns, with a timetable of free activities on offer along the Esplanade, like yoga, Zumba and tai chi.  The Lagoon is also popular with everyone.  Many locals also run along the Promenade or work out at one of the fitness stations.


Cairns 2014-10-17 003


One thing you’ll notice about Cairns is the smelly bats.  They hang around in the trees near the library and Cairns City bus terminal during the day and once the sun starts to set, they get active and take flight to find their dinner.  If you’re looking for a car park and don’t mind a bit of poop on your car, there is usually a spot or two available next to the library.


Cairns 2015-03-06 002sm


Fast Facts

  • Cairns is one of the fastest growing towns in Queensland, with a population of over 151,000 people and is a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest.
  • Over 2 million Aussie and international tourists visit Cairns every year.
  • The region is home to the world’s most dangerous bird – the cassowary – and the world’s largest moth – the Hercules moth.
  • Queensland’s highest mountain Mount Bartle Frere (1622m) is 51km to the south.
  • Cairns has the highest youth unemployment rate in Queensland with over 21% of 15 to 24 year olds not working (December 2014)



Cairns, like many other towns in Australia, was founded after the discovery of gold.  The city was named after Sir William Wellington Cairns, an Irish fellow who was appointed the governor of Queensland in 1875, one year before Cairns was founded.


Cairns started off as an uninhabitable swamp with nothing much to offer until a railway was built to connect the coast to the Tablelands.  After nearly 30 years of settlement, Cairns finally became a town in 1903 with a population of 3,500.  Once the gold rush died down, the railway was used for agricultural purposes to transport fruit and dairy to the coastal flats, where the sugar cane grew and still grows to this day.


Being in the tropics isn’t all sunshine and coconuts – cyclones can sweep through at any time during the wet season and cause some serious damage.  Cairns met Cyclone Willis in 1927 and Cyclone Agnes in 1956, and while both were fairly destructive, Cairns recovered.


Tourism in Cairns became a major industry in the 1980s with the opening of the international airport and listing of World Heritage areas in the surrounding rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.  It is still a major tourism city that attracts visitors from all over the world who want to see the reef and explore the Daintree.


Great Barrier Reef - Justine snorkling


Places of Interest

Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome

This awesome place is located in the dome on top of the Casino.  Meet some cute Aussie animals and brave the zip line and rope course above, all in one day!


Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome


The Esplanade & Marina

Cairns may be a major tourism centre but for the locals, outdoor fitness and activities make up a big part of the culture.  The Esplanade is reclaimed land that has been renovated into a wonderful outdoor venue for everyone.  Have a picnic on the grass, go for a run along the promenade, or have a splash in the lagoon.  There are free fitness activities on every week, like yoga, volleyball or Zumba, and there is also a Saturday morning market.


The marina is just around the corner and is a great place to buy some fresh seafood straight from the fishing boats.  The Pier Shopping Centre nearby has a variety of bars, restaurants and retail shops.



Rusty’s Markets

Rusty’s is open on Friday night, Saturday and Sunday, but the best time to go for cheap fruit and vegetable is between 2pm and 4pm on Sunday.  There’s a huge variety of tropical fruits, Asian greens and unusual produce.  There’s also a few food trucks and stalls selling bags, bibs and bobs.


The Night Markets

On every night from 4:30pm, the night markets are accessible from the Esplanade and feature a variety of stalls from jewellery and lanolin creams to massage and souvenirs galore.  The food court on the Esplanade side is a good place for a cheap feed.  For $14.90, purchase an extra large tub and fill it with ALL THE FOODS – octopus, battered fish, fried prawns, omelette, everything…


Centenary Lakes Botanic Garden

A few clicks out of town you’ll find the Cairns botanic gardens.  There is a beautiful rainforest section, bamboo gardens, lakes with turtles and a variety of birds and for the fabulously fit, the Red Arrow Walk will reward you with great views over the airport.


Nearby is the Tanks Art Centre, which holds monthly markets during the dry season, and the Flecker Gardens display a diverse range of tropical plants and pretty flowers – keep your eyes open for the White Bat Flower – amazing.


Cairns Botanic Gardens


Palm Cove

About 27km north of Cairns is Palm Cove – a little beach community that is popular with holiday makers and weddings.  The esplanade is choc-a-block with fancy and award-winning restaurants, hotels and tourist outlets that are built around old Melaleuca trees, while the long white beach lined with palm trees is perfect for wedding photos or a great holiday snap.


We rocked up to Palm Cove just in time for the Reef Feast festival, and sampled some of the food on offer from some of the best restaurants in the village.


Palm Cove, Cairns


Behana Gorge & Walsh’s Pyramid

Walsh’s Pyramid is visible from the top of the Casino in Cairns, but it is about 28km south along the A1 highway.  At 922m, it is believed to be the highest freestanding pyramid in the world, and is a part of the same mountain range as Queensland’s two highest mountains, Mount Bartle Frere (1622 m) and Mount Bellenden Ker (1593 m).


Nestled in between the peaks is Behana Gorge.  Be prepared for the long walk but it’s worth it once you get to explore the gorge and cool off in the waters that make up Cairns’ water supply.


Behana Gorge Cairns


Crystal Cascades

A little closer to town is a secluded swimming hole that is quite the local hotspot.  Crystal Cascades is about 5km south of Redlynch and is popular during the summer months as visitors cool off in the fresh water pools.


Cairns 2014-11-17 057


Big Captain Cook & Big Marlin

Cairns has two Big Things – one can be seen as you drive along the Cook Highway while the other is near Stockland Shopping Centre in Earlville.


Food & Drink

Our first visit to Cairns started with a pub crawl through town, and from that venture, we can say that the Union Jack and the Courthouse Hotel are great pubs for a Sunday sesh, while the Croc Bar at the Grand Hotel is a sight to see.  If you prefer to party, check out Gilligan’s.



We also went to a few trivia nights throughout the week.  Thursday nights was at the Salthouse – meals and drinks are expensive but the pork belly pizza is delicious, and there are plenty of prizes to be won.  Sunday nights at the Serpent Bar at Nomads on Lake Street is a very cheap night in terms of meals and drinks, but there is only one prize – a round of drinks for the winning team.  Monday nights at the Red Beret in Redlynch was our favourite trivia spot – not only because it was close to home and the trivia format was good, but the chicken fajitas won Juz over.  Don’t try the pizza though – Roscoe’s across the road is much better.


Here are a few other eateries worth mentioning…


Asian Delights

If you love noodle soup and dumplings, there are two locations that are perfect.  Rest assured that if the wait for a table at Ganbaranba Noodle Colosseum is too long, you can wander around the corner to Tokyo Dumpling and still be satisfied with a great value meal.  Another great Asian place is BaMien Vietnamese Cafe.  We had visitors from Melbourne and took them here for lunch.  It was a fluke that this place turned out to be fantastic.  The dishes were well priced, well portioned and absolutely delicious.


Ganbaranba Noodle Colosseum Cairns


Great Cafes

Coffee lovers can head to two locations in the city – Caffiend and Smith Street Cafe.  Both offer great coffee in a funky environment.  If you’re after a tasty breakfast, try the Lillipad Cafe or Ozmosis near the Botanic Gardens.  Lillipad has some great vegetarian options while Ozmosis gets you out of the city with their scrumptious Eggs Benedict.


Cairns 2014-11-09 009


Ochre Restaurant

Having won multiple awards, Ochre Restaurant is considered to be the best restaurant in Cairns. Juz’s awesome sister got us an Ochre gift voucher for Christmas so we got to indulge in a bit of modern Australian cuisine, like wallaby steak, Davidson plum jam and lemon myrtle sweet chilli sauce.


Cairns 2015-04-07 008sm


Pizza Quest

We were in Cairns for around 6 months and took it upon ourselves to find the best pizza.  Some pizzas were too soggy, lacked flavour or were overpriced.  All in all, we found some great pizzas


Information & Accommodation

Cairns Tourist Information Centre – Cnr Alplin St & The Esplanade, Cairns.  Ph: (07) 4031 1751

Public transport in Cairns is mainly a bus network operated by SunBus.  For information about ticketing and timetables, go here: http://www.sunbus.com.au/sit_cairns.htm


Cairns Central YHA is conveniently located in the city at 20-26 McLeod Street.  To make a booking, call (07) 4051 0772 or visit their website. 



Cape York

Eating Out : Out of the Blue Cafe, Portland Roads QLD

Cape York


We heard a rumour that a café at Portland Roads was well worth visiting, with claims that it was possibly the best seafood on the Cape.  We weren’t super hungry but figured that a coffee couldn’t hurt.  If the café was that good, then the coffee should be excellent.  We rocked up at around 10:30am and had just missed out on breakfast, so we checked out the lunch menu instead.


Most of it was seafood – prawn rolls, Greek-style calamari, and fish and chips – and they also had a selection of cakes and hot beverages.  Dave went with the plunger coffee while Juz ordered the chai tea.  Both were $4 and there was enough in both to get two serves.  The coffee came with a little pot of milk while the chai tea was served with a dish of local honey.


Cape York


It would have been silly to leave without trying some seafood so we ordered the seafood medley for $29, which included four boiled prawns, four tempura prawns and two pieces of crumbed fish with fresh lemon, tartare sauce, a crisp salad and the best damn chips we have in ages.  We are happy to say that the rumours are true – best damn seafood on the Cape.


Cape York


The chef came out from the kitchen to collect our crockery and when we complimented him on his chips, he told us there’s a guy who often travels over a hundred kilometres regularly just to get some of these chips!  Considering how good they were, we weren’t surprised at all.  We ended up having a long chat with the chef about photography, side projects and life in the tropics.  Before we left, he gave us a soursop fruit from the café gardens, which we ate on our way south to the quarantine checkpoint.


We really enjoyed the food, the location and the conversation we had at Out Of The Blue Café.  If you happen to find yourself out near Lockhart River or Chilli Beach, you should definitely duck in and check it out – don’t forget to try the chips!




Natural Wonders : Undara Volcanic National Park



About 190,000 years ago, when Australia was a lot different to what it is now, there was an eruption.  Not a violent, ‘Dante’s Peak’ eruption.  The ground grumbled, dark smoke and steam billowed from a crack in the rocky terrain, and molten rock from below the earth’s crust oozed from the fissure.  When Undara erupted, it left its mark on the land and today, we can get a glimpse into the tremendous enormity of volcanos.


Located along the Savannah Way, Undara Experience is a remarkable opportunity to explore Australia’s natural geological wonders and experience true hospitality in a brilliant outback environment. 


The Collins family were the first white settlers in the area and have owned the property since 1862. It wasn’t until 1987 when fourth generation member Gerry Collins submitted an application to showcase the lava tubes while still maintaining sustainability and environmental consciousness.  In partnership with the regional and state governments, Undara Volcanic National Park was gazetted and tours of the caves were to be provided via the Collins family lodge.


The birth of the Undara Experience followed in 1990 when the Collins family acquired the old railway carriages. They were used during the early 1900s and once they were decommissioned, the Queensland Government was planning to scrap them.  When Gerry caught wind of this news, he negotiated a deal and took them of the government’s hands, refurbished them, and set them amongst the trees.  They now have a new life, providing a unique style of accommodation and an eccentric atmosphere to the bar and bistro.


The Lava Tubes

Undara means “long way” in the local Aboriginal dialect, referring to the distance that the lava flowed from Undara volcano 190,000 years ago, and today, 164 craters can be found in the national park.  The only way to see the lava tubes is by guided tour, and we were stoked to go on the Archway Explorer tour with 20 other lucky explorers.  We learnt a lot about the geology of the surrounding area, from the pink granite boulders that are 350-400 million years old, to the vesicular basalt that has bubbles in it caused by gases from the last volcanic eruption, about 190,000 years ago.


We descended into a valley that was green and lush compared to the savannah scrub above, and strolled along boardwalks until we got to our first set of lava tubes.  These valleys were created by sections of the lava tubes that had collapsed and are now vegetated with semi-evergreen vine thicket.


The lava tubes are a result of the eruption of the Undara volcano.  It was a shield volcano about 340m wide, and the eruption was a non-violent event, more like a pot on the stove boiling over.  The lava flowed out of the volcano along water courses at about 900m per hour – the outsides of the lava cooled while the centre stayed fluid and kept flowing.  The lava tubes extend about 160km from the volcano, making the lava tubes at Undara the longest flow from a single volcano in the world.


So far, 69 tubes have been found in Undara Volcanic National Park.  Tours allow the public access to eight of them, as the others are not safe for humans due to their extremely high levels of CO2.  The Archway Explorer tour was so interesting that before we knew it, time was up and we were back on the bus and heading back to the resort.  Other tours include the Active Explorer, Volcano Valley and Wildlife at Sunset, which gives guests the opportunity to see the wildlife that visits the tubes at dusk.




The Resort

Accommodation varies from fully air-conditioned Pioneer Huts, restored Railway Carriages, Swag Tents and Safari Shelters, or you can bring your own tent or caravan and set up in one of the powered or unpowered sites.  Facilities include a guest laundry at $2 per load, fuel and Wi-Fi access.  Wallabies and kangaroos wander around the park, some with joeys hanging out of their pouches.





Activities around the resort include meals at the Fettlers Iron Pot Bistro (watch out for the thieving kookaburras), a nightcap of their delicious Undara Lava Tawny at the Saloon Car, self-guided walks that explore the surrounding bush, or a lazy afternoon by the pool.  In the evenings from 8pm, there are also various campfire activities.  We sat and listened to readings from great Aussie poets, like Banjo Patterson while treating ourselves to their delicious signature chocolate volcano dessert.




One of our favourite activities was the Bush Breakfast.  We had just returned from a sunrise hike around Kalkani Crater and our tummies were grumbling. A path through the bush brought us to a clearing with the most wonderful smells.  There were two campfires – one for bush tea and coffee, the other for toasting your own bread.  There were also sausages, eggs and bacon on the BBQ, with beans and vegie ratatouille on the side.  A table was set up with all the breakfast staples – juice, milk, soy, four kinds of cereal, butter and vegemite, and a wide variety of fruit – with tin cups and plates and log stumps for tables.  We feasted, and did not need to eat again until dinnertime.





The Essentials

Undara Experience is located 40km east of Mount Surprise, and the road in is fully sealed, so it’s easily accessible by car and caravan.  We cannot express how impressive the Undara Experience is.  We could have easily spent a week going on the tours and guided walks, playing pool in the Saloon Car or just relaxing by the pool.


To have your own Undara Experience, book now by calling 1800 990 992.  For more information, visit their website at undara.com.au


Please be aware of wildlife on the way into Undara. The road in is nicknamed Kangaroo Alley, and we actually clipped the backside of a kangaroo on the way back from Kalkani. We’re happy to say that it continued to bounce away but would have copped a nasty bruise on its backside.




Epilogue Cafe & Lounge

Eating Out : Epilogue Café & Restaurant, Alice Springs NT

Epilogue Cafe & Lounge


If you’re looking for a great place for breakfast and an even better place to relax with a cocktail in the evenings, then check out Epilogue.  Located on Todd Mall in Alice Springs, it combines hipster coffee culture with a shabby chic cocktail bar, complete with chandeliers and a great tapas menu.


Our first encounter was for Saturday morning breakfast.  We perused the menu of Mexican-style breakfasts and both settled on the breakfast burrito.  After we ordered our food and coffee, we sat outside in the toasty sun.


Epilogue Cafe & Lounge


The coffees were surprisingly fast to arrive, and Juz’s soy latte was topped with the most delectable layer of microfoam.  Dave’s macchiato was fantastic too.  Expectations were high for the food.


Shortly afterwards, our burritos arrived.  Two halves stacked on top of each other, stuffed with scrambled eggs, bacon, guacamole, salsa and beans with a side of chilli sauce.  While there was definitely enough food and it was well prepared and presented, Juz was hoping for a little more POW from the chilli sauce and the guacamole, but putting her fussy tastes aside, it was a good breakfast.


Epilogue Cafe & Lounge



The second time we went to Epilogue, it was to meet up with Amanda and Gary from Travel Outback Australia.  We had a wonderful night of conversation, food and wine.  The first thing we sampled was the espresso martini.  This was absolutely delicious and set us up for the rest of the night.  We also ordered two pizzas – the mexitarian and duck pizza.  These were absolutely fantastic in flavour and valued at $16 each.  We also got some nachos which were fresh and great to share, as well as some pork meatballs.


Epilogue Cafe & Lounge


We visited a third time when our friend Jenny from Lorella Springs was in Alice Springs for a day.  We took her to all the important places like Mount Gillen, Anzac Hill and the Reptile Centre, and before dropping her off at her hostel for the night, we took her to Epilogue for a drink while the open mic session provided entertainment.


Epilogue Cafe & Lounge


Epilogue Lounge Cafe & Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Daly Waters Historic Pub

Eating Out : Daly Waters Historic Pub, NT

Daly Waters Historic Pub


It was about 7:30am and our tummies were grumbling.  We had just hit the T-intersection of the Carpentaria Highway with the Stuart Highway, and Daly Waters Historic Pub was just around the corner.


Daly Waters was named by John McDouall Stuart in 1862, after he discovered fresh water in the area.  Refreshing his expedition party here finally lead to his first successful expedition across the continent.  Daly Waters ended up being an important landmark for cattle drovers, who would water their stock before crossing the Murranji Stock Route.  In 1930, a local tin miner and his wife opened a store in Daly Waters to service travellers, settlers and drovers, and after the pub was given a jug licence in 1938, it has continued to water travellers, settlers and drovers ever since.


This award-winning pub is famous for the memorabilia that hangs on the walls… and ceilings, and support posts, EVERYWHERE, and anything from money, undies, hats, licences, passports, business cards, bras, shirts, tools, bottles, thongs, passport photos, flags, police patches.  You name it, it’s hanging somewhere!  They serve their world famous beef and barra every night during the dry season and Happy Hour from 5-6pm offers really cheap drinks, like $3.50 for a pot of Coopers or VB.  We were a little bummed that we were there in the morning, not in the afternoon but still sat down for some breakfast.




Dave ordered the croissants with ham and Swiss cheese for $10.50, and they were two medium sized croissants that were generously filled with ham and full flavoured cheese.  Juz got the breakfast wrap filled with egg, tomato, cheese, onion, spinach, and hash brown for $11.  The wrap bread was fantastic and everything was fresh and delicious.  It was a great feed.


Daly Waters Historic Pub Daly Waters Historic Pub


Over the road was a souvenir shop and book exchange that is owned by the pub.  We swapped some books at the exchange and had a chat with the man behind the table before heading back to the Troopy.  We bumped into a Scottish couple who were travelling in a decked out Delica.  They have always been travellers, even from a young age, and they highly recommended that we visit Tasmania, as it is just like a little Scotland.


Daly Waters Historic Pub


On our way back to the Stuart Highway, we passed the Stuart Tree, a dead tree stump marked with an ‘S’ by one of John McDouall Stuart’s party.  We met another traveller there – Vincent, who is riding his bike across Australia.  We were inspired by him and his warm and open nature.  Here’s a picture of one of our great Aussie legends.


Daly Waters Historic Pub


FYI – diesel at Daly Waters was $1.95.  If you want the cheaper stuff, fill up at the Hi Way Inn.  It’s a few minutes away at the intersection of Stuart Highway and Carpentaria Highway and the diesel was $1.82 when we visited.


Daly Waters Historic Pub


Meals are available from 7am to 8:30pm.

Phone: 08 8975 9927

Email: dalywaterspub@bigpond.com

Website: http://www.dalywaterspub.com/


Daly Waters Historic Pub


Pulp Kitchen

Eating Out : Pulp Kitchen, Palmerston NT

Pulp Kitchen

After a successful morning of op shopping, our tummies were grumbling so we made our way to Pulp Kitchen in Palmerston for a feed.  We had driven past this place a few times and really liked their image.  Following their play on the Pulp Fiction theme, they have Jules and Vincent stenciled on the walls inside and outside of the building holding ketchup and mustard guns.  It gives the place a trendy look, and was one of the reasons why we wanted to try the place out.


Inside, there’s a huge open kitchen with heaps of staff and there’s plenty of seating inside and out.  The menu consists mainly of burgers and breakfast, but you can also get fish and chips, gyros and milkshakes.


We started off by ordering coffee.  Dave’s macchiato was strong, smooth and chocolaty and a little bit of sugar really set it off.  It had just the right amount of milk but was served so hot that Dave had to let it sit before he could drink it.  Juz’s Soy Latte was weak and the foam was really bubbly.  It wasn’t impressive at all and her expectations for the food plummeted.



Dave got the Ahhh-Yummm Burger, which consisted of slow cooked beef, coleslaw, Swiss cheese and pickles on a fresh focaccia bun.  The beef was super sweet and tasted great but was so juicy that the bottom bun got soggy so Dave left it on his plate – well, it wasn’t really a plate, it was served in a cardboard tray.  Regardless of the crockery and sogginess, Juz felt a little pang of food envy.


We got some chips to share and they were also served in a cardboard tray but this was apt.  The chips were well cooked and seasoned with chicken salt.  We tried to add a bit more salt but the shaker’s contents had fused from the humidity and nothing would come out.


Juz’s Eggs Benedict was awesome.  A big slice of toasted bread topped with juicy ham-off-the-bone, two perfectly poached eggs and tonnes of smooth, creamy hollandaise sauce with just the right amount of tang.  Everything was delicious and the plate was almost clean when she finished.


We didn’t quite know what to expect and were pleasantly surprised with the quality and value of Pulp Kitchen.  The staff genuinely want to please customers and produce great food and drinks. If we’re in Palmerston during breakfast or second breakfast time again, we will definitely visit Pulp Kitchen again.
Pulp Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Roma Bar

Eating Out : Roma Bar, Darwin NT

Roma Bar

We had heard mixed reviews about breakfast at Roma Bar but after we heard that they do thick cut ham on their eggs benedict, we had to give it a try.  From the outside, the place looks like it might be a bit daggy and run down but surprise, surprise, it was actually quite trendy.


They had an outside eating area with tables that overlooked the street, as well as a big bench made of polished wood that had been roughly cut.  It was bright and spacious inside the café, with another gorgeous wooden table surrounded by stools.  The chick behind the counter was exceptionally friendly and energetic.  We ordered two coffees and two eggs benedicts, and took our number to a table outside.


Roma Bar


Before long, our coffee arrived.  Dave’s macchiato was cascading and had clear layers of froth, milk and dark coffee.  Juz’s latte looked nice and strong, and the soy milk was frothed really well.  Both were deliciously smooth without any bitter or burnt taste.  Considering that we didn’t specifically ask for strong coffee but we got it anyway, we knew we were at a quality establishment.


Roma Bar


Our breakfast arrived shortly afterwards.  Two muffins topped with wilted spinach, ham cut straight off the bone and poached egg with a dishlette of hollandaise on the side.  This was unusual, and after we tasted the hollandaise, we understood why.  The sauce was really thick and packed with a super tangy punch, so the side serve gives the diner an opportunity to add tang to taste.  We loved the tang and the dishlettes were empty at the end of our meal.


Roma Bar


We really enjoyed our breakfast at Roma Bar.  The staff were super friendly, the coffee was magnificent and the thick ham on the eggs benedict is a great way to stand out from the crowd.  We will definitely go back again, perhaps to try the Indian breakfast of dahl, yoghurt and roti, or the flamenco breakfast.


9-11 Cavanagh Street, Darwin

Phone: (08) 8981 6729

Roma Bar on Urbanspoon

Jamaica Blue

Eating Out : Jamaica Blue, Casuarina NT

We were due for another café breakfast and chose to visit some place close to home so we ventured to Casuarina Shopping Centre to break our fast at Jamaica Blue.  This franchise is run by an Australian company and has been around for about 20 years.  They take pride in serving great coffee and food made from locally sourced ingredients.  We hadn’t visited a Jamaica Blue outlet on our travels before and we thought this was the perfect time to do so.


We found a table that overlooked the food court below and ordered our coffee and breakfast.



Our first round of coffee was made with the signature blend.  It was smooth and easy to drink.  Juz was especially happy with her soy latte because Jamaica Blue now uses Australian Grown organic soy and to celebrate, they don’t charge for soy anymore!  Dave thoroughly enjoyed his macchiato.  It was nice and strong, with an acidic tang that was subdued with a sprinkle of sugar.


We both ended up ordering the same thing for breakfast – it just sounded too good.  A croissant topped with egg and bacon, and served with a side of hollandaise sauce.  Dave went with scrambled eggs while Juz got her eggs poached.  Everything was just divine, especially the hollandaise sauce, which was smooth and creamy with just enough tang.  The croissant was a bit decadent but the buttery flavour went well with everything.


The second round of coffee was two macchiatos made with Wallenford Estate Single Origin Mountain coffee.  This full-bodied coffee had an earthy smell and an intense and pungent flavour.  If you are a coffee connoisseur, then this brew will keep you busy.


This breakfast was probably one of the best we’ve had in a long time and we will definitely go back for another round.  The coffee is great and that hollandaise sauce – wow!


Jamaica Blue


Jamaica Blue on Urbanspoon