Category Archives: Reviews

Campfire Dip

I’ve had a fantastic response from Pinners to the photo I uploaded from a trip to Moreton Island.

Ideally you would share this with a few friends and beers/wines in the late afternoon, maybe with some cheeses and dips.

Campfire Dip - Moreton Island

Campfire Dip – Moreton Island

Ingredients:

2 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 x tub of pre sliced mushrooms

1 x small onion finely chopped

Tin of tomatoes

1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese

Glove or two of garlic, crushed

salt and pepper

Damper

Optional:

A splash of wine, red, white, doesn’t matter

Chilli to taste

Leftover sausages – I had some chorizo on hand

50-100g of sundried tomatoes or olives chopped finely

Directions:

  1. In the skillet put the olive oil, onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until soft.
  2. Add the mushrooms, cook for a few more minutes.
  3. Add the tin of tomatoes, salt and pepper and any of the optional extras as this point.
  4. Loosely place some al foil over the top and cook for 10 mins.
  5. Grab small handfuls of mozzarella and put them in little piles on top of the tomato sauce. Put the al foil back on and cook for another 5-10 mins until the mozzarella has melted.
  6. Slice the damper and either dip it in or spoon the sauce on and enjoy with your beer/wine.

Note:

This can be made in a normal fry pan on a gas cook top if the fire isn’t an option.

Any leftover? Use it as a pasta sauce, filling for jaffles, on top of bakes tomatoes the next day.

 

 

The Ugly Side of Moreton Island

Everyone says that Moreton Island is beautiful, and it is; however, that beauty is marred by the amount of washed up rubbish littering these beautiful beaches.

Moreton Island Matress

About halfway through our trip I realised that the pictures I was taking weren’t accurately portraying the island at all; therefore, I was actually doing it a great disservice.

If someone had told me that Moreton suffers from a serious rubbish issue, I would have packed extra rubbish bags,  some gardening gloves and Johny and I would have done our little bit to try and help out.

Moreton Island Rubbish

 

 

Moreton Island RubbishThis problem hasn’t gone completely unnoticed with the SEQ Catchments teaming up with P7 Offroad Driving to try and alleviate some of the problem.

However, this is only a patch up job, the underlying issues still exist.

Moreton Island Rubbish

 

 

 

So, although we weren’t able to help much on this trip, I hope this blog inspires you to do the right thing and contribute when you visit Moreton Island.

 

 

Our Weekend at Beautiful Bribie Island

Finally we’ve had a break from the seemingly never-ending downpour plaguing Brisbane for the past 3 months. To celebrate, Johny and I took our newly decked out 4WD and went bush/beach for a night. Our destination this weekend was the beautiful Bribie Island. We had only ever been to Bribie once and had no idea that beyond the suburban sprawl of Bongaree was a stunning natural recreation area.

Friday night was organised our camping and vehicle permits* and early Saturday morning we took off. Bribie is only an hour’s drive from Brisbane so we arrived early in the day. There was plenty of 4WD action happening when we arrived at the car park where the off road track began. It seemed other people had the same idea to take advantage of the fine weekend. We quickly deflated our tyres and took off down the track straight onto soft sand and beach.

Driving onto the beach

This was the first time we have been sand/beach driving and was quite an experience. The sand was soft and churned up by the numerous vehicles that had come before us. The beach was glorious. A wide, white ribbon of sand wove along the coastline and we drove straight down the centre of it. The waves were crashing on one side of us with sand dunes and native shrubbery on the other. It was a 19km drive to our campsite, since the speed limit on the sand was 30km/hr we had a lot of time to enjoy the breathtaking scenery.

When we reached our campsite we set up our new roof top tent, opened up the side awning, took out our camp chairs and had some lunch. During the afternoon we went for walks along the beach, sat in the water and played frisbee. By about 5pm it was getting cooler so we had dinner and sat in the tent. We fell asleep to the gentle sound of waves rolling in the distance.

Decked out 4WD

I woke up at about 6am; I climbed out of the tent with my camera, went down to the beach and caught the tail end of the sunrise. I stayed out there for about an hour. I nearly had the beach to myself at that time of the morning with only a couple of fisherman to share with. I walked up and down and took numerous photos. The tide had removed nearly all the tire treds from the vehicles traversing the beach the day before. Everything felt fresh, new and peaceful. I could have stayed out there for hours if my tummy hadn’t started talking to me.

Morning Beach IMG_3763

I went back to our campsite, woke Johny, made breakfast and packed up the site. We drove a little further down the beach and parked. From there we went on a 5km return walk down to the World War 2 fortifications, which extend up to the northern tip of the island. There is no much left, just a few crumbling buildings set into the beach. I wonder what the island was like back in the first half of last century? Did the beach look the same? We’re there this many March flies and mozzies? How did they cope without A/C? Seriously, it’s bloody hot!

World War 2 Ruins World War 2 Ruins

To get back to Bongaree we took the Northern Access Track, which went inland and down. The sand was incredibly soft, the track narrow and we didn’t always have great visibility. We had to make a number of stops to let other cars through and more then one nearly slid right into us.

On return to Bongaree we stopped for fish & chips and a beer overlooking the water. We then went home to wash down the car and unpacked. Since Johny bought us a year vehicle permit to drive on Bribie, I know we will definitely be visiting a lot more over the next 12 months.

* A must for camping and driving through the recreation area. Obtained from http://nprsr.qld.gov.au

Washed out of Harry’s Hut

What was meant to be a relaxing weekend for two turned into mud. We decided to take a nice romantic weekend for two up to Harry’s Hut just north of Noosa.

The traffic was terrible as we attempted to leave the city. The intention was to leave early to miss the mass exodus of citysiders leaving Brisbane for the weekend. Unfortunately our planning was for nothing as we were caught in the mass crush of vehicles for over an hour. On top of this a constant rain was coming down heavily, which probably should have been a sign.

Eventually we got free of the jams and entered into more country areas. We drove through tiny pockets of settlements, a number of isolated properties and rolling green hills. I wonder, while we drive, what it would be like to live in these tiny pocket towns so far away from the city and isolated in nature? How do these tiny little towns survive? Where do people work?

Rolling green hills

Rolling green hills

As the case seems to be with all of our trips, the GPS got us lost. It took us down a road which turned out to be a dead end. There were no sign posts, nothing. I programmed the GPS to find an alternate route which we followed. The total lack of signage ensured that we didn’t know if we were even on the right road or heading in the right direction.

We slid around on a clay packed road (Johny was in 4WD heaven) and then turned onto a forest track. By this time is was getting dark. On either side of the wet pot holed road were tall trees, the scene looked like something out of a horror story. We drove through long vine tentrils hanging thickly down the middle of the road hitting the windscreen as we drove through. Our progression was long and slow going through puddles of unknown depth splashing the windows as we drove through. Always in the back of my mind was the fact that we mightn’t have even been on the right road and there was no option to turn around, we just couldn’t fit!

Eventually in the pitch black we came across a campground. We drove through slowly, no street lights here to guide us, and allocated ourselves a site. Completely stressed out by this stage we managed to set the tent up; dinner was and informal fare of cheese, wine and a few games of Blitz followed promptly by sleep.

It rained on and off during the night. Camping in the rain is an interesting experience. The sound of drops hitting the canvas on and off, hard and soft, in patches or constant; and it is loud, so loud. Thankfully there was no storm, no wind, just heavy rain.

We awoke early, as you do when camping, to the sounds of the bush. Native birds, insects and frogs. People moving about, the camp was stirring. We set up the annex area of the camper; cooked some breaky on our new Weber and took the kayaks down to the river.

Even though we had never been to Harrys hut; we could see that the river had risen significantly as the jetty was completely under water. This didn’t deter us and we took the kayaks onto the river. As we are novices we never take the kayaks far; but, we didn’t have to, we were completely alone. The river looked like a large container full to the brim of water. There were no dry, parched banks; everything was full to the top.

On our return the Park Rangers had arrived. Tewantin, further up the river, had a lot of rain overnight and the water was coming our way. They had been instructed to ask all of the campers to move out. So with a soggy heart we packed up our little campsite which we had just set up and drove ourselves out and back home.

Tree corridor on the way out

Tree corridor on the way out

Flooded road on the way out

Flooded road on the way out

One for the 4WD Enthusiasts

Who doesn’t love a long weekend? Yep, we had another one this weekend, I’m not sure why but, I don’t question these things.

Fortunately this weekend we were able to attend a 4WD course we booked earlier this year. We left on Friday afternoon for Landcruiser Park, approx 60km out of Kilcoy. Landcruiser Park is about 41 squared Km’s. Located in the Jimna Range, the park is a working cattle farm, wilderness park as well as having over 200km’s of 4WD tracks.

We had a few engine troubles but managed to get there in time to set up our trailer in the last of the light. We were camped in the driver training “VIP” area. The rest of the park was full of people but we had a massive area, which we only had to share with 2 other cars. It felt like we had the park to ourselves, perfect isolation.

Camp Oven Roast

Once the trailer was up we lit a nice big fire and I cooked my first lot of damper and a lamb roast in our camp oven, it was cooked to perfection.  We then sat back with a stubbie and chilled out before bed.

Beautiful views from our campsite

More views

First thing in the morning we all met our instructor/owner, Dave from P7 Offroad Driving Accreditation. In a previous life Dave was an Outdoor Ed Teacher. His job was to “take other people’s kids camping”. Once had started his family he decided to go into business for himself and since he was passionate about the outdoors and 4WDing thats what he went into.

The group was mainly beginners and we went through a few driving exercises one by one.

Johny going up a log

Me in the Wombat Holes

Wombat Holes again

There was also a fair chunk of wisdom imparted to us by Dave, who was incredibly knowledgeable, has soooo much experience and was great about answering all of our questions. He was a very patient man!

The group was a mix of people ranging from guys who had done a fair bit of 4WDing before, families with their kids and quite of few females on their own as well. It was a great mix of people and cars and by the end of the day we were all getting along nicely.

Gorgeous Scenery

The next day we were invited along to watch the advanced accreditation course. We were incredibly grateful for this opportunity as we leant so much more about tougher tracks and winching and were able to watch them in action.

Advanced Driver Training

Winching

We had a fantastic time and met some lovely people who have given us so much information on 4WD’s, camping and all of the other things that come with this hobby. I also highly recommend checking out the P7 website and consider doing a course with Dave.

Foggy last morning

Beer Review – MT Brewery

I went to Mount Tamborine with my Mum and we stopped briefly at the MT Brewery. MT Brewery is in a little complex, which also houses Witches Falls Cheese. The bar was closed when we got there, however, the bar tender very kindly sold me a sampler 6 pack of the beer anyway.

MT Brewery’s passion is “to produce our award winning beer with the best ingredients sourced using traditional brewing methods, proper maturation times, while totally avoiding pasteurization, additives and over filtration.”

The bottles are all different and quite cute.

The first beer I sampled that evening at Mount Tamborine was the Moderation Golden Ale. This ale was a light at only 2.8% and unfortunately this was quite evident. The flavour was lovely, very easy drinking, but had a watery finish.

On the 2nd night at Binna Burra I got through the Curvee Belgium Blonde 5.2%, nothing particularly exciting about this one, it was very easy drinking. Also the St Bridget Dubell 7.2%, the plumminess and spice came through. I didn’t really get to look at the colour and head of this one as.

Black Cockatoo 4.8% was consumed after completing a 17km hike around the Coomera Circuit, Lamington National Partk. First mouthful was a burnt bitterness, which gave way to coffee flavours. It was actually quite smooth and went down a treat with the Locally made Swiss style cheeses from Fromart that we purchased days earlier from the markets.

Since one is never enough I also polished off the Settlers Wheat Beer. It was a cloudy gold in colour, not a lot of head and I didn’t think anything particularly special to write home about.

The last and final beer, Rainforest Lager, was consumed while lounging around in the sun at Mount Warning Holiday Park. It was yellow in colour and nice and clear, not a lot of head. Really sweet, nearly wine like, but lovely and refreshing. I could definitely have consumed a couple more of these while sitting in the sun.

My favourites out of this batch were definitely the Black Cockatoo and Rainforest Lager. All of the beers were nice in their own way; however, these 2 were definitely my favs. I recommend going to MT Brewery and trying a couple of their lovely beers and while you’re there check out Witch Falls cheese next door.

Beer Review – Murray’s Craft Brewing & Burleigh Brewing Co

So I’ve been soaking up some rays in sunny Gold Coast while I’m in between jobs. We found this fantastic little caravan park between the theme parks, which is where Johny is working at the moment. Since he needed to be here all week I thought, why let him have all the fun? So I packed everything up and came down with him. I have spent the last week sitting in the hot spa next to the pool, walking around, reading, writing, drawing and meditating. I feel fantastic!

On my travels I came across a Dan Murphy (One of my two favourite bottle shops) and decided to have a sticky. Dan did not disappoint as I found a large collection of local craft beers on hand. Since one of my goals during our trip around Oz involves tasting craft beers what better time then the present to start practising?

Beer number 1: Murray’s Craft Brewing  – Angry Man Pale Ale. On second look at the bottle I realised that this is actually a NSW beer from Nelsons Bay. So not a QLD beer at all, oops! Anyway since I’d cracked it open I didn’t want to waste it. This beer is featured as number 10/100 in 2011.

I must say that the label was the initial draw card from me. I like to choose bottles with interesting labels and stories on the back. The label features a man and boxing kangaroo.

Angry Man Pale Ale was a lovely golden colour and still retains the yeast sediment in the bottom of the bottle, which makes it a little cloudy. It smelt yummy, the beer maker calls is spicy-citrusy and if I smelt hard enough I got it. It is big on taste but it’s a bit harsh on the old tongue and I’m not terribly fond of the after taste.

Food matching is with spicy food, maybe some Thai. I would say that I probably wouldn’t go back for a second bottle. One with dinner would be quite enough.

Beer number 2: The Burleigh Brewing Co – My Wifes Bitter. This one is definitely from Queensland. Thankfully I found during my research on this beer that it’s name is a declaration of love rather then public jape.

Again, I loved the image on the bottle; this is what initially drew me in after the fact that it is a local beer. I had read some less then glowing reports on this beer which was a bit concerning. However being a VB girl, classy I know, I was willing to give it a go.

First sniff and I got burnt toast. Not a lot of head and a nice amber colour. I got a very quick short burst of bitter toffee and then nothing. After the initial mouthful it feels a little watery, but I don’t mind it.

I had this beer with a posh Mac & Cheese (with Chorizo) and quite enjoyed both.

Beer number 3: The Burleigh Brewing Co – Hef

This beer was my hands down favourite out of the 3 I’ve sampled.

Hef made in a German Wheat beer style. I read that this beer has banana and clove characteristics. How can you get a banana beer? First mouthful and all I could taste was banana lollies, sounds weird, and tasted delicious.

There was a nice creamy head to the beer. It’s a dull gold and a little bity bit cloudy and is lovely and creamy with a hint of sweet.

In true German style I had this beer with a sausage. It was a French style Toulouse sausage (made by the local butcher in Oxenford) on a fresh bun with mustard. I tell you what this foodie/boozie could not be a happier chicky right now.

If ever you’re in the Gold Coast region I highly recommend either stopping in at the Burleigh Brewing Co as they run tours of their brewery in Burleigh Heads or stop in at your local Dan M’s.

Lamington National Park

On a Saturday we started out early to get to Lamington National Park. Once we reached Canungra, we headed up into the Mountains by way of a 36km, windy road that took about three quarters of an hour to drive through. The scenery was beautiful but the road was scary with the whole trip being blind hairpin turns all the way up.

Finally we reached the Green Mountain campground, situated next to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. Our campsite was situated right at the back of the campground in a hidden camping area for the Great Walk Hikers. We set up in a little alcove hidden behind some trees, very cute!

Lamington National Park has a number of walks. The first walking track we did was the Python Rock lookout, a short 3km walk passing through rainforest and eucalyptus with a platform at the end looking over the valley and Moran falls.

We then went the other direction and walked to Moran falls where the water has eroded the volcanic rock away and overtime became a waterfall. Both of these are beautiful and quite easy walks to do.

We then headed back to camp for some lunch, wine and R&R. Lunch and wine were lovely; however, for the next 2 hours the sky was filled with helicopters. They were bright yellow so we figured they were probably private transport to O’Reilly’s or tourists rides. Whatever they were they went on for hours and seriously killed my zen, to the point where I would probably not recommend camping here on the weekend if you’re there to relax.

We then had dinner, more wine and as you do when camping, headed to bed early. It got very cold quickly. It was quite windy during the night and the bush turkeys kept jumping on our table, which was irritating.

In the morning we had breaky and then packed up. We were going to do another short walk but due to my female navigational skills we drove out in the direction opposite to where we needed to go to do the walk so we decided to head home slowly.

We stopped off at a lama farm/shop/cafe. There were some cute Lama’s in the paddock. The gift show was nice but really expensive, but if you walk out the back of the shop to the cafe sit down area there is an amazing view of the mountains, definitely worth the stop just for that!

Further down we came across a winery, Sarabah Estate. The signs seemed to indicate you needed to book to see the vineyard, so we kept going. I later found information at the visitor’s centre, which indicated otherwise. We drove a little further and came to O’Reilly’s Vineyard; we stopped here while I did a tasting, $3 for 5 tastings and tried a lovely sparkling chambourcin. One thing I have found in QLD is that a lot of cellar doors charge for tastings. Usually it is refunded if you buy something but still quite irritating.

We then drove into Canungra for lunch. We checked out the historic Canungra Hotel and then had pie at the Outpost Cafe before heading home.