Long Walks & Leisure Times at the 'cliff

It's a few months back now, but this little adventure one weekend in the Summer was too lovely not to mention.    
Sally & her family were staying in a big house with bedrooms a plenty, this thanks to it once being a nunnery.  Always a most hospitable & generous family, I was fortunate enough to hang out with them for a few days in the lovely surrounds of Queenscliff.  
This is what we got up to: long walks, long talks, dining out & (as they are the finest of foodies) grand cook ups.

My first morning there & we were right into it, nice & early.  After all, we were on a schedule.  Based around food? Perhaps. But after a long walk of twenty odd kilometres, one needs to plan ahead & make the destination really count, right?

Having taken in the peaceful pastures, with crickets' chirps riding the breeze & butterflies hovering close by, we found ourselves back in civilisation when we reached Terindah Estate winery.

This buzzing place was very popular (as you might have noticed) with both the kitchen & wait staff busy as bees.

After ordering from the day's menu (the dishes are continually being adapted according to season & availability of produce) we were presented with these beauties.

Lamb with root vegetables & oriental-esque salad.

Flathead fillets, buttered, over a simple yet super tasty mix of green peas & orzo.

Tenderloin steak over a myriad of colour.  My memory is not serving me 100% but I do recall reading purple potatoes on the menu.  We can just let our imaginations run wild with this one.

After polishing off lunch, we took a tour of the neighbouring cellar door & then headed onto Jack Rabbit estate for some spectacular views.

And maybe a spot of people watching . . .

On the way home, inspired by the delicious creations at lunch, we made a few stops for some groceries.  As a guest or two more were due at Casa Hayes of Queenscliff, we set about spending the remaining hours of the late afternoon playing in the kitchen.

Fortunately, long walks conjured memories of the Camino Trail walk undertaken by Sally's mother last year.  So, in light of that, & because we had a bounty of squid, Sal's Mum went to work in recreating her favourite Spanish dish of Galicia.

The following morning found Sally & I out and about once more.  This time for a slightly more modest 10km number.

Special thanks to the Hayes family for having me stay.  A beautiful beach holiday with beautiful company (see above :-)


Beach Times Part III

Welcome to the final instalment of the Beach Times series.  Here you will explore a few different spots - mostly ones I've taken you to before but which are that special that they warrant multiple visits. 
The weather was too glorious, the company too lovely, & the food too yummy not to share here. So, with Jess still on board, the crew & I headed to one of my favourite spots.  The magical Rainforest Café, hidden at the base of Mount Warning. 

J & I, inspired by our green surroundings, tried to blend in by holding some Tree yoga poses.

My tree, you can see, blowing in the light breeze & peaking out to say hello behind J's serene & steady one.

After a blissful tea & cake break, we took a turn around the grounds, wandering down to the quiet river & taking in the rays of sunshine poking through the canopy. 
Revitalised by the fresh air & cool shade, we headed back to Cabarita HQ to see J off & an early night before the morning excursion the following day . . . 

. . . where we ventured to none other than Harvest Cafe in Newrybar.
The morning began as cool & overcast - perfect brunch weather in my opinion, but, then again, pretty well all weather is perfect for brunching.

After perusing the menu, we made our final decisions & came up trumps.  Still no doubt that Harvest can be relied on to deliver the goods each time.

The breakfast platter

Poached eggs on baked polenta

Self explanatory poached eggs on toast with gravalax, 

Post-feast, we made an obligatory trip to the neighbouring shops, both of which are beautifully laid out & brim-full with treasures.  The first is the Harvest Deli, where many goodies abound.  The other is the clothing boutique where the overall vibe is a lovely mix of urban chic with a wild spirit.

And I mustn't forget to make mention of the Harvest kitchen garden!

Until the next time

Beach Times Part II

Part II gets a bit exciting because my good pal, Jessie, came to spend a few days hanging out at the Cabarita house & roaming the neighbourhood.  As Jess drove her automobile down, we were able to take a spin & travel further inland.  The wind in our hair, with the perfect beach mode music playing on the stereo, we eventually happened upon a treasure like no other . . . 

That's right, amigos, Tropical Fruit World!!!

As the above sign reads, 'welcome', & allow me to show you around . . .


Now, as J & I got our time differences mixed up between New South Wales & Queensland - there was an hour difference - we thought we had almost missed the Tropical Fruit World boat, so to speak.  But we were just in the knick of time, it turned out!
We didn't quite have enough time to roam the entire premises & stuck mainly to the gift shop area, perusing the various delights derived from fruits & learning some facts.  So here's today's lesson for willing students:

Stocked up with products, some conversation-starters & - wait for it - Chocolate Fruit (also known as the Black Sapote) & avocado icy poles (!), we took a stroll outside to admire the view across the valley.  

After a sufficient time spent staring across to the crater's edge, we hopped back in the car, bound for Cabarita town & some beach frolicking.

After many cartwheels & a jaunt to the headland, the fading light & rumbling tummies told us it was nearing dinner time.  The treat that lay ahead was Fins restaurant, an old & steady favourite of the area.  I managed only a couple snaps of the beautiful spread so you may have to venture there yourself.  It will be a much more fulfilling experience than drooling over food photos, I assure you!

Bon appétit & bonne nuit for now!