Archives

Everything You Could Want

Square Perspectives Photo Challenge ~ Australian Landscapes #4

Destination: Murray’s Craft Brewing Co, Bobs Farm Port Stephens, New South Wales

When you’re hungry and thirsty, Murray’s Craft Brewing Co on Nelson Bay Road is the place to be.

There’s plenty of beer on tap, along with local wines created by Port Stephens Winery. The restaurant has an extensive menu and the servings are generous and delicious.

After your cravings have been satisfied there’s room out on the grass for a friendly game,

which is sure to leave you feeling thirsty again.

 

While our travel plans are on hold I’m joining in every day with Becky’s July Square Perspectives Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: photos must be square and fit the theme of perspective. My posts represent the definition of perspective as a vista – seeing something over distance or time.

Chocolate Heaven

Exploring Australia
Have you ever been able to enter a chocolate shop and walk out empty handed? No?
Me neither.
And when the shop is attached to a chocolate factory the temptation is even greater. Even those with the strongest willpower will find a purchase impossible to resist if they visit The Factory in the New South Wales coastal city of West Gosford.
In the large factory shop packets and boxes of chocolate, nougat and marshmallows are artfully stacked in tantalising displays.
Handmade confections named after iconic Australian places fill large glass cabinets.
Through the porthole windows between the shop and the factory floor visitors can see all these treats being made. I have to confess I’m too busy tasting free samples to take photos of the production line.
Luckily I remember to use my camera in the café, where the menu boasts five special hot chocolate creations.
A morsel of cake accompanies each drink, just enough to complement its rich flavours and decadent toppings. With such mouthwatering descriptions, it takes much longer to decide which to choose than it does to devour our treats when they arrive.
When afternoon tea is finished and we return to the shop, it’s even harder to select just a few favourites to take away.
I think I might need one of everything!

Another Top Drop

Western Queensland Road Trip Square Tops Challenge #29

It might have been quiet at Nindigully Pub, but it was the opposite the day we went to Riversands Wines.

The car park was packed, marquees filled the garden and a band was warming up on stage. We’d obviously gatecrashed a party!

It was the St George winery’s annual Easter in the Vines celebration and by the time we arrived it was completely booked out. That didn’t stop winemaker David welcoming us with a warm smile and a few samples of his award winning wines. A bottle of his delicious Stirling’s Reserve Red Liqueur Muscat was soon in my bag.

We were too late to join in the “cook your own” barbecue lunch, but David found us a table under a shady tree.

Anyway, who needs steak when there’s coffee and freshly baked scones with homemade grape jam and cream on the side?

While our travels are on hold, I’m joining in every day with Becky’s April Square Tops Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: photos must be square and fit the theme word “top”.

Top Rated

Western Queensland Road Trip Square Tops Challenge #14

According to the tourist brochures, Deb’s Cafe is the best in Bollon. It’s also the only cafe in Bollon.

The cafe’s top rating is no surprise. You can get a tip top tasty lunch and your live bait for fishing, both at the same time!

While our travels are on hold, I’m joining in every day with Becky’s April Square Tops Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: photos must be square and fit the theme word “top”.

Top Choice

Western Queensland Road Trip Square Tops Challenge #8

Scones in Wyandra and cake in Cunnamulla – we’re not likely to pass by a café without stopping for a treat. But there’s not always a café or coffee shop out in the bush.

We always carry sweet supplies just in case and when the home-baked goods are gone, Mr ET has a special favourite. There’s sure to be a box stashed away in the caravan for emergencies.

Mr ET’s top choice of camping treat is:

While our travels are on hold, I’m joining in every day with Becky’s April Square Tops Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: photos must be square and fit the theme word “top”.

What’s Up Top?

Western Queensland Road Trip Square Tops Challenge #7

It’s not the delicious cakes in the cabinet which first attract our attention when we enter the Gidgee Bean Café in Cunnamulla.

The old building is enjoying a new lease of life but the interior gives clues to its age. The pressed metal ceiling and broad high skylight immediately draw our gaze upwards. And right at the top is a tiny door, mysteriously leading nowhere.

Down at floor level, an eclectic collection of china sits in mismatched cupboards and old black and white photos of Cunnamulla’s past decorate the walls.

We’re distracted by the arrival of our almond and orange cake and we forget about the oddly placed door for a while.

It’s only as we’re leaving that I remember to ask about the building and that door. It turns out to be not so peculiar after all. The building used to be a haberdashery with a second floor, long since removed, used for storage.

The Up the Top Mystery is solved!

While our travels are on hold, I’m joining in every day with Becky’s April Square Tops Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: photos must be square and fit the theme word “top”.

A Slice of Melon

Western Queensland Road Trip #1 Chinchilla

Australia is renowned for its collection of “big things” – there are more than 150 over-sized objects scattered across the country.

Goulburn, New South Wales, is the centre of a prosperous wool growing district and there you’ll find the Big Merino.

In the fruit growing region of northern Victoria is the Big Strawberry, on the Goulburn Valley Highway at Koonoomoo.

The Big Rocking Horse is located at Gumerach in South Australia, outside a wooden toy factory.

And the Big Galah, on the Eyre Highway at Kimba, South Australia, is located exactly halfway between Sydney and Perth.

Have you heard about Australia’s newest “big thing”?

In 2018, the vacation booking website Wotif launched a nation-wide competition, asking Australians to help select their next big thing. The finalists included a big kilt in Glen Innes, a big peanut in Kingaroy and a big tulip in Mittagong, all reflecting each district’s community or industry. The winner, voted by the Australian public as their favourite, was The Big Melon in the western Queensland town of Chinchilla.

With a warm temperate climate perfect for melon farming, Chinchilla is the centre of Australia’s most productive melon growing region. Every second year, the community celebrates their love of melons during the Chinchilla Melon Festival. Activities during February’s four day event incorporate everything melon related, including pip spitting, melon tossing and melon skiing competitions.

If you’re travelling on the Warrego Highway and you pass through Chinchilla during melon season, make sure you allow a little extra time. Once you see The Big Melon, you’ll be wanting some of the real thing.

 

Canada’s Best

Canada #45

“What was the best thing about your trip?”

We’re often asked this question when we return from a holiday and it’s always difficult to give just one answer. After five weeks in Canada, here are the things we loved best.

The Best Party 

The Best Airbnb View

Vancouver, from our 21st floor apartment – by day,

at night,

and early in the morning as the cruise ships arrived at Canada Place.

The Best Water View

Pitt River

The Best Mountain Views

Sky Pilot and Co-Pilot, Coast Ranges, Squamish BC

Fitzsimmons Range, Whistler BC

The Best Wildlife Encounters

chipmunk, Whistler BC

raccoon family, Mount Royal, Montréal QC

and the squirrels, who were everywhere!

The Best Food

20 flavours of hot chocolate, enormous ice cream sundaes, chocolate pizza! Even the ceiling was all about chocolate at Chocolato, Montréal QC

The Best Garden

Jardins Gamelin, Place Émilie-Gamelin, Montréal QC

a free community garden with a cafe, space for games, music and family activities

and several themed gardens, educational for both adults and children

The Best Adventures

For me, a birthday trip to Niagara Falls

For Glen, EdgeWalk – 356 metres above the ground at CN Tower, Toronto ON

So many wonderful experiences in a truly amazing country. Canada, we’ll be back!

Let’s Go Shopping!

Canada #39 Montréal

With fresh produce of all sorts in bountiful supply in Canada, it’s no surprise to find wonderful markets everywhere. While St Lawrence Market in Toronto has been declared the world’s best food market, Jean-Talon Market in Montréal lays claim to being one of North America’s largest open air food markets.

Located since 1933 in the Little Italy district of Montréal, this market is open all year round. In summer the stalls are filled to capacity by more than 300 vendors. Fresh seasonal produce sold by local farmers is complemented by delicious treats from bakers, butchers and fishmongers and stallholders selling cheeses, spices and international foods.

With such a wide selection shoppers take their time, sometimes seeming almost perplexed by the choices on offer.

There is even a book shop dedicated to recipe books; when the decisions are finally made, there’s a good chance of enjoying a delicious meal later in the day.

Competition can be fierce among the vendors and samples of food are on offer at most stalls. Visitors can easily eat their way around the market, tasting everything from freshly harvested berries to aged salami.

At one stall, the farmer is happy to discuss the difference in sweetness in his two varieties of corn and shares a piece of each, hot and steaming straight from the pot.

Along with all the food sellers there are stalls packed with cut flowers and potted plants.

Flowers of all varieties are ready to take home to decorate the table or the garden, while other plants offer more edible options.

Some even boast of their ability to repel unwanted visitors. Mosquitos, squirrels and cats beware!

With an abundance of wonderful food at Jean-Talon Market, there’s no need to leave hungry.

 

Join Jo for Monday Walks

To Market, To Market

Canada #30 St Lawrence Market, Toronto

On Front Street the façade of St Lawrence Market has an almost stately appearance. The red of the bricks is enhanced by overflowing tubs of begonias, shady market umbrellas and a line of Canadian flags flapping in the breeze.

Step through the wide timber doors and the feeling of calm elegance disappears, as the bustle of vendors selling their wares is matched by the urgency of shoppers in search of the freshest produce and best bargains.

There has been a public market on this site since 1803, first in the north building and, since 1845, in the south. Today more than 120 specialty stores sell fresh foods – fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, bakery and dairy products.

As well as filling their baskets with fresh food to take home, hungry shoppers flock to the restaurants and cafés to fill up on local delicacies and traditional treats.

In April 2012, St Lawrence Market was declared by National Geographic as the world’s best food market.

After devouring our lunch of freshly made crêpes filled with fruit and cream, we could understand why!