Sunset Macleay Island

Travel: Macleay Island

Macleay Island

In my experience, you can never tell how long you are going to live somewhere. Sure, some people live in the same house, or even the same suburb for most of their adult life, but it’s not my experience. I’ve been living in Brisbane for 31/2 years now and it’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere since 2006. I tend to move around every two years, so when I live in a certain area, I like to throw myself into the region, because, you never know when you’ll be back again.

So it was with this background, that I decided to tick off another Island in Moreton Bay- Macleay Island. As you know we recently ticked off Coochie Mudlow Island and the kids thoroughly enjoyed it. My excuse for another short break was the combined 40th and 65th birthday celebrations of my mum and I.  We’re actually travelling to Tasmania for the “real” celebrations, however, the children will not be with us. They spend two weeks each Christmas with their father.  So, we needed to have a “celebration” so they could tick that off their list, and not miss us whilst we are away.

After scanning the opportunities on Stayz and AirBNB we decided on Sunset Waters. You can see why in the photos below.

It’s in a word spectacular, and fully equipped with everything you need to not only cook up a storm (trust me, this is often a down in a holiday apartment or house, where the kitchen is sparsely populated), but to enjoy your time in a relaxing environment. There was a cupboard filled with board games, a chess set, puzzles and DVDs both appropriate for kids and adults. There was a iPod docking system with stereo, a big TV and DVD player plus a bookcase full of magazines and books. There were also basics in the pantry – e.g. glad wrap, mozzie repellant and fresh milk in the fridge. As a bonus there was also a chilled bottle of champagne awaiting our arrival!  For those who arrive having forgotten wine, there is also a selection of Queensland wine available for purchase at cost price.

Sunset Waters Mcleay Isand

We were greeted by the caretaker, who happens to live next door. She pointed out that the shed outside contained bikes and fishing rods and a tackle box. We’re not fishermen, but appreciated the detail, especially given that there is a jetty out front, and can imagine that many guests spend the day fishing to their heart’s content.

It was a cold and rainy day on arrival and we decided to leave exploring until the following day and simply relax. I headed up to the master bedroom with views of the water to read a book that I had missed reading earlier in the year for my book club, and the boys starting drawing and chatting with my mum.  A little while later I got the call to come downstairs for my “birthday” afternoon tea. We indulged in a decadent chocolate mousse cake from “The Welsh Lady” and a bottle of Bollinger which was given to mum as a Christmas gift last year by Russell.


On Saturday morning, I thought I would rise with the sun and go and capture it through the lens. The bed was too comfy… After breakfast we decided to explore the island. The kids would have been happy staying in the house relaxing, however, there’s no point in staying inside, when there is an island to explore! Our first stop was the organic farm and market. However, the island’s map is almost impossible to read, and does not contain all the street names, so we ended up at the Lion’s Christmas Markets instead 😉 Not long after that, however, we found ourselves at the very unique and fascinating organic markets. It was bit like stepping back into time- the kids found hula hoops, roosters, a pet kangaroo, a pig, a turkey and its many babies, a shetland pony and many horses. Mum explored the organic market, and we were invited back to the fancy dress “Rocky Horror” outdoor movie screening and party that evening, however, we had other plans…


Next stop, to find a park for the kids to play in, and perhaps somewhere to swim! As we drove towards the park, we drove past an ambulance and a police car decorated in tinsel. Mum said- “I told you, there is a parade”. A good old Aussie christmas parade. It dawned on me what she actually meant as we kept driving and passed a bunch of locals on their bikes and pushing prams, and finally another van with a tray back, covered in tinsel and with loads of people hanging out the back and over the top waving. We had just driven past the parade. It is the one time that I have actually lost my nerve. I would have had some classic Aussie christmas photos, but I kept going, so you’ll have to use your imagination….

Pat’s Park

According to the tourism brochure Pat’s Park was one of the island’s main oyster camps. Today it is the site of the ANZAC day dawn service and is the location of the netted swimming beach.


Dalpura Beach

Our next stop was Dalpura Beach. Although it was picturesque, the tide really was too low to swim. The view across the bay was of Coochie Mudlow Island.


Macleay Island is a beautiful location for sunset. We were told however, that the sunsets we experienced were not up to scratch as the best often have purples and pinks and blues. We however, enjoyed the ones we experienced 😉

Karragarra Island

On our final morning, we decided to catch the ferry across to Karragarra Island, to wear the boys out, and give them an opportunity to have a swim. The ferry trip took a whole two minutes, and we were really surprised by the number of people who were using the passenger ferry to travel between the islands, and to the mainland. Karragarra island is the only island to have more crabs than humans! There are only 160 residents, and no shops, and I believe the locals like it that way…  The beach is netted and is tidal, so if you’re planning on travelling over, make sure you check the tides….

Crabs- Macleay Island

This little fella wasn’t so sure about me. A moment later he/she was gone down the hole, and busy blocking the hole with sand.

The verdict:

A peaceful and relaxing weekend away! The perfect location for a family who love fishing and a touch of luxury or a group who just want to chill out, read books and have a weekend of wine and cooking.

How to get there

To book the car or passenger ferry visit this page. Make sure you choose the correct ferry or you will head to North Stradbroke Island!



Berrinba Wetlands- Logan

Travel: Berrinba Wetlands

Berrinba Wetlands- Logan

Say the word Logan, and it’s not usually associated with “tourism”. On my quest to keep discovering the greater south-east I went exploring the Berrinba Wetlands. The wetlands are man-made as the result of sand and mining operations after WW2, and I think the locals and the council should be commended for their efforts in conservation and the creation of new habitats.

So what’s different about these wetlands in Browns Plains?

Berrinba Wetlands- Logan

  • The number one difference which makes it worth a visit is the paved paths that surround it- there are eight kilometres of paths! You can walk or cycle or jog- we cycled.


Berrinba Wetlands- Logan

Great features of the wetlands:

  • Quiet
  • Easy to access
  • Ample parking
  • 6 electric bbqs
  • Plenty of space for picnics
  • Saturdays you can join in the fun of a free family 5km park run at 7am.
  • 8km of walking paths
  • Wheelchair accessible toilets
  • Abundance of lotus flowers- I only wish that I had a long lens with me rather than my multi purpose lens.

Berrinba Wetlands- Logan

Wildlife in the wetlands

  • Pelicans and Herons which we saw
  • We didn’t see Koalas, Frogs, Wallaby, White Bellied Sea Eagle, pygmy goose, gliders and the Wallum Frog and possums

Berrinba Wetlands- Logan


  • Interpretative centre needs an upgrade as there are only a few posters left in what was once obviously a high-tech centre. I contacted Logan City Council to speak to someone in Tourism or in maintenance to see if there was a scheduled upgrade for the wetlands, however, despite speaking to a couple of representatives no one with the correct information could be pinpointed.

My recommendation:

  • Go early before it heats up!
  • To see more active wildlife, visit at dawn.

Berrinba Wetlands- Logan

For further information visit

How to get there:

Fraser Island

Travel: Fraser Island by Angus

Today I’m really proud to introduce you to a very special debut guest blogger: Angus Ellerman.  Angus just finished year three and is nine years old. He recently travelled to Fraser Island with his dad Anthony and took lots of photos and made a video about his trip.

Fraser Island by Angus Ellerman

All packed and ready to go

A couple of weeks ago, Daddy and I went to Fraser Island. We left at 4:50am in the Subaru Brumby. Dad had already packed the previous night. We set off for our trip. We drove for a while until we got to where we could drive along the beach.

Rainbow Beach Coloured Sands

We drove along the beach, which was the first time I have ever driven along a beach. It was fun. I wasn’t used to looking out the window and seeing the sea beside us in the car. I usually stand still in front of the water. We saw the coloured rocks that looked amazing. They were red, orange, brown and yellow. We went into a bush track and eventually got to Rainbow Beach. At Rainbow Beach we had some breakfast; huge plates of fried egg and bacon and orange juice. I was pretty hungry by then.

After breakfast we drove up to the point, where we got onto the car ferry. The car ferry was green. We hopped out of the car onto the sand to have a quick stretch of our legs before the ferry arrived. The ferry trip was not very long. When we got to Fraser Island, we drove along the beach to get to the inland track , following some tour buses. The tour buses went past the inland track and kept going along the beach. We decided to go the inland track.

Inland track Fraser Island

We stopped at some lakes – Eurong Lake. We had a quick splash in the water and then we started driving again, off to central station.

Eurong Lake- Angus Ellerman blog

We would be camping at central station. After we had set up camp, we drove to get to Lake Mackenzie. It was an amazing time at Lake Mackenzie.

Selfie with dad- Angus Ellerman blog-66


The lake was refreshing and the water was so clear and blue. We were lucky at the time we arrived because it wasn’t very crowded at all. There were only three other people there! We spent about two hours swimming and then we headed back to the camp site.

Fraser Island

Before we started driving we had a few crackers- which were chilly flavoured. I didn’t like them one bit! We headed off back to Central Station. For dinner we had steak, packet pasta and cooked tomatoes. Before we went to beat, the marsh flies and mosquitoes started buzzing around. We were quick to get in the tent by 6pm.

We slept for a few hours when a storm woke us up! There was lots of lightning and thunder and I found it hard to go back to sleep. There was a lot of heavy rain and dad had to check that we weren’t getting wet. But the next morning, our tarp had completely collapsed! It was bent in the middle! We spent numerous hours in the morning trying to fix it! Eventually we had rip off the metal on the end, to roll it up.

Eli Creek Fraser Island

We headed off to see some things. But first a stop at Lake Mackenzie!  We spent less time this time as we needed to head off soon. When we went off, our first stop was Eurong beach. We had some lunch which was some meat pies. Next we went to Eli Creek, which wasn’t far. I got my boogie board out and kicked along the creek. It was pretty fun as it wasn’t too shallow until it got to the end, when it trailed out to the sea.

ship wreck- Angus Ellerman blog

Then we went to see the ship wreck. It wasn’t in one piece. It was in three. We had a look around it and then we decided we needed to go. We drove along the beach to get to the ferry area. There was a big line and we got out for about ten minutes before the ferry arrived to pick us up. When we got on the other side, we decided to get back home via the highway instead of the beach. Dad had to pump up the tyres as we let the air out, to drive on the beach.

Selfie with dad- Angus Ellerman blog-79

When we got home it was about six o’clock. We had pizza for dinner with Hamish and Natasha. It was great fun weekend and a cool adventure to have!

Angus Ellerman

Travel: a surprise lunch in the vines


Last Saturday I went for a five km walk around the Enoggera Reservoir. I was finished by 8:20am and home and showered by 9:30am, which got me thinking, what was I going to do for the rest of the day?

travel- enoggerareserveouir

I escaped both the heat of the day and the crowds by completing my walk around the Enoggera Reservoir by 8:20am

I had no plans, and didn’t want to end up spending the day at my desk, catching up on work. I wanted to go somewhere, except for the fact that it was the long weekend, and you know what long weekends mean- TRAFFIC.

Wouldn’t it be lovely to go out somewhere for lunch and make a day of it? I thought. My mind started its auto search and bingo, I remembered a winery out Samford way, that I had been meaning to try.

So I rang the winery to see if they had any tables available and then rang mum. I asked her if she had anything planned, and as she began to tell me about her never-ending list of jobs (when you are a widow, it seems like a never-ending list because it takes a lot to keep a house maintained by yourself). Today’s list was the watering system.

I had anticipated that there would be jobs, and told her- well, I need your help. Unless it’s absolutely urgent that you fix those sprinklers right now, then I need you to help me come and research something for the blog. Ok she said what? Never you mind I said, just shower and I’ll pick you up at 10:45am. Wear something nice.

I knew she’d be in an absolute flap. I’ve always been spontaneous and it takes me a whole of ten minutes to shower and get dressed for the day. Mum on the other hand, has a complicated beauty, hair and makeup routine and it can take her an hour alone to get ready.

10:35 I arrived and I could hear the hairdryer still going.
“Mum, I’m here- we have to leave by 10:45 at the absolute latest as our table booking is for 12:00 and it’s at least an hour’s drive to where we are going.”

Now I had her attention.

“You can do your makeup in the car….” (I’ve never seen her resort to that in her entire life).

“Where are we going?”

“It’s a surprise.”

Eventually I told her that we were heading to Mount Mee, to Ocean View Estates Winery.

I’d never been to the winery, and so it was a gamble, however, I knew that Sirromet: Mount Cotton Estate was not an option as the freeway to the Gold Coast would be chock a block with traffic.

ocean view estate winery

Entrance to Ocean View Estate Winery at Mt Mee, Qld, Australia.

We ended taking a very very scenic route there, however, we made it in time for our booking. The first thing we noticed at the winery was the elevation. We were up high and it was much cooler here. (500 meters above sea level to be precise) I affectionately call mum a lizard as she always needs to warm up in the sun, and so she was glad we were visiting in spring and not winter.

We were shown to our table at the enclosed verandah, which had peaceful views of the vineyard and the heart shaped lake. (Really, I promise it was shaped like a heart).

We ordered two glasses of the Reserve Viognier and a shared Charcuterie Plate which contained serrano, soppressa, fresh marinated anchovies, pepperdew with truffled mascarpone, peppered pecorino, marinated mixed olives, cornichons, and sourdough bread.

For main I ordered the fish of the day, which was Barramundi, served with soubise, sea spray, crushed peas, goats curd, and edamame. I recommended mum order the twice-cooked crispy duck, with candied orange, mushroom dumpling, kale, and port jus. I had seen that the reviews for the restaurant on Trip Advisor were mixed, but that the best reviews were from those who had ordered the duck.

We both thoroughly enjoyed our meals- mum was not so sure about the mushroom in the dumpling and would have appreciated some mashed potato with her dish, however, it did not impact upon her satisfaction.

We were too full for desert, however the people at the next table certainly looked to be enjoying theirs.


Outside dining option

It was too cool for mum to want to wander around the vineyard and she wasn’t interested in tasting more wine, so we decide to leave that for another time.


Some of the wines on offer at Ocean View Estate Winery

As we left we noticed that a large group of people were eating lunch outside and had just finished a horse ride around th winery (horses tied up nearby).


Horse ride around the vines anyone?

The restaurant was also putting their finishing touches together for a wedding that afternoon, down by the heart shaped lake! Now I understood….


Setting up for an afternoon wedding.


The lake of love- told you it was heart shaped.

All in all a lovely afternoon and highly recommended, especially if you are staying for a relaxing weekend at a B&B in the Daybro, Mount Mee or Samford regions. If you want to have the full experience, complete with vineyard and winery tour at 11am, a tasting in the cellar door followed by lunch in the restaurant, then I recommend staying on the property in their accommodation.

The winery also can organize a picnic in the vines, a helicopter wine tour, a “just girls getaway day” as well as a ride on those horse I mentioned earlier.

I think mum enjoyed herself much more than staying at home fixing those darn sprinklers…

Things you need to know:

Opening Hours:

Wednesday 10:00-3:00pm Thursday to Sat 10:00pm til late Sunday 8:30am – 5:00pm

Restaurant bookings 07 3425 3900.

Vineyard and winery tours 11am daily

Owners: Thomas and Kate Honnef

Coochiemudlo Island

Travel Inspiration: Coochiemudlo Island

Coochiemudlo Island

Coochiemudlo Island

Having moved back to Brisbane three years ago, I am on a quest to discover places in South East Queensland that I have never travelled to. So often when we grow up in a city and return as an adult we make many assumptions about what there is to see and do. For example, the islands of Redland Bay; if you think you’ve seen it all just because you’ve been to North Stradbroke Island, you’re wrong.

Coochiemudlo Island (Kutchi-mudlo) is a name that many people have not heard since the 1980s. I know, because I recently surveyed my Facebook friends and the responses were, well a little interesting… It seems that not many had been back to the island since their high school science excursion where the only thing they remember is being knee-deep in mud.

So now, I was curious. Why had no one been back? Was there something wrong with the island? We spent a weekend there to find out exactly what the island offered.

Up for the challenge were my two children and friend and fellow Instagrammer Amanda. Amanda took care of the logistics and found a friend who let us stay at his holiday house, so that we could provide you with an objective view of the island.

How to get there:

Ferry from Redland Bay. You can travel on the passenger only ferry (perfect for a day trip) or the vehicle ferry. You’ll have to reverse onto the vehicle ferry so that you can drive off forward when you reach the island.


The history of the island:

  • Matthew Flinders landed here in 1799, and the first white settlers came in 1895, however it took until 1978 for electricity to come to the island! Coochiemudlo retains its Aboriginal name and although thought not to have been settled by the traditional land owners of Australia, they did use the island for collecting shellfish and other bush tucker. As at 2008, 708 people were recorded by the Australian Census as living here.

Top ten things to do on the island:

ride your bikeThere’s a 5km bike track that starts at the ferry and meanders through wetlands and beach. Or, if you’re like Amanda, you can jog it! Bring your own bike on the ferry or, hire a fancy one.

Cocchiemudlocollect shells
Collect shells at low tide. I have never seen as many whelks as there are on Coochie. This place is kid heaven for collecting all things fascinating.
3. SUP
SUP: Stand Up Paddle boarding at high tide. Amanda took her board out and paddled through the mangroves.
4. Have fun on the water
Hire a kayak, tinnie, BBQ boat, or aquaboat from Coochie Boat and Bike Hire and have some fun on the water!
5. Get Wet!Get your togs on (or cozzie’s if your from the south and visiting) this is the best place to swim at high tide for the kids- there’s no surf, so the water’s calm.
6. gorge yourself (1)

Eat- we found a mulberry tree and gorged ourselves. If you’re more civilised you might like to try dining at Red Rock Cafe, or enjoy licking an ice-cream on the beach from the kiosk.

7. relax
Relax and read a book while the kids play at the park, or even better, join this vibrant community of artists, photographers and writers, and take a retreat and write your own book here!
8. Get your camera out
Get your camera out, there’s tranquility, rugged beauty and an abundance of wildlife! Bring a waterproof camera if you like exploring the mangroves at low tide.
9. Play Golf
Yep, you’re right, that’s definitely not a photo of a golf ball. But the kids didn’t want to get off their bikes and hike down to the course, so you’ll have to imagine it is. Betcha didn’t think there was a golf course on Coochie!
10. exfoliate
Get more than dirty in the mangroves- have a professional give you a real exfoliation, massage or beauty treatment.

Our verdict:

This is good old fashioned fun at its best! Time out in nature, where wildlife is at your doorstep and there’s no pressure to fill your time with expensive activities and a never ending list of restaurants. This island is about spending time with and actually talking to your holiday companions, and doing the simple things that you used to enjoy before we came obsessed with bucket lists, and instagramming our every meal.

To find out more about Coochie, and see fabulous photos, visit our destination page. Why not head there this weekend?

Who Cares- book launch

There are some books which are published after you need them. These are the books that speak to your heart because they seem to understand exactly what you have been going through. Joan Wilson-Jones has written a book  called “Who Cares” which my mother and I wish was published before my father died. Her book is part memoir and part practical handbook, and is based on her experience caring for her partner, who died as a result of Prostate Cancer. She wrote the book because she could not find anything like it, when she was looking for something to guide her through the difficult job of being a carer.

Click on image to be taken to

Joan is having her book launch this Friday.  I can’t attend as I will be setting up my photographic exhibition for the weekend, however, I strongly urge any who is caring for a seriously ill person to attend this book launch. This book is invaluable.

Joan Wilson- Jones introducing her book and her journey at an impromptu gathering at Karuna Hospice.

Joan Wilson- Jones introducing her book and her journey at an impromptu gathering at Karuna Hospice.




The colours of autumn

There’s something magical about the golden colours of autumn. The bright reds and greens which over time fade into rustic colours before they drop to the ground. Living in Brisbane we don’t experience the dramatic changes in season. There is a Maple Leaf tree in our street, but to experience the real colours of autumn, you need to travel somewhere colder.  Stanthorpe is a perfect location for this.

I highly recommend that you call the Visitor Information Centre before going, to ensure that the leaves are still on the trees. A three hour trip is a long way to go if they have already fallen…  1800 SO COOL is their phone number.

Copyright- Katische Haberfield

Quart Pot Creek, Stanthorpe. Copyright- Katische Haberfield


Copyright- Katische Haberfield

Copyright- Katische Haberfield

Copyright- Katische Haberfield

Copyright- Katische Haberfield


Escape to the country

Mallow Cottage Stanthorpe

Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt

The nights are getting cooler, and retailers are trying to convince us it is time to rug up in winter woolies, despite the unusually warm weather we are experiencing in Brisbane. As soon as it gets cool, I start dreaming of getaways that involve log fires, red wine and doing nothing.

The Granite Belt region, and the town of Stanthorpe is the perfect location for this- two and a half hours drive from Brisbane. With the Autumn upon us, the leaves will start changing colours and it will hit peak accommodation season in the region.

We hit the road with our dog over the New Years Break, seeking solitude, a location that would accept a pet and a new adventure. It had been at least a decade since our last visit to the region and despite the easy access to restaurants and wineries, we just wanted to chill. Our taxing holiday wish list was to read books, eat good food, and pull out the cameras when we were inspired.

sunflowers Allora

To start our journey we visited the famous Sunflower fields of Allora, and ran into a number of other Instagrammers who were there to do exactly the same – capture the illusive photo. As luck had it, the Sunflowers were about to be harvested and had lost their petals, however it made for a stunning stop regardless.

The road past Mallow Cottages Stanthorpe

Mallow Cottage has its own private entrance on the property and is fully fenced to ensure the safety of your pet or children. There is no wifi and minimal phone reception, so you can truly disconnect and enjoy the moment, your partner and your surroundings. Helen the owner checked on us each day to see if there was anything we needed, but otherwise left us to enjoy the peace. We ordered a pack of organic lamb chops and sausages to cook on the bbq and enjoyed dining on the verandah.

Sheep Stanthorpe

The free range pasture feeding and certified organic farming practices and care for the welfare (there is no mulesing) certainly agrees with the sheep. And we’re not the only people to think so- Mallow Organic Lamb was a Medalist in the Paddock section of ABC’s Delicious Magazine’s Produce Award in 2012. The camera’s got a workout, and the books stayed beside the bed.

Shearing Shed- Stanthorpe

Helen invited us to wander the property at our leisure. Mallow Cottages is a photographic heaven. Black cockatoos, Willy wagtails, kookaburras and butterflies galore visited us.  Not to mention the resident sheep. The property is a working organic lamb farm, complete with historic shearing shed, which was a Cobb and Co stop and a pub to name a few things.

Shearing Shed Stanthorpe

The cottage itself is a delight, tastefully renovated in a style sympathetic to its farmhouse origins, using where possible sustainable or salvaged materials and furnishings. This is line with Helen and Andrew’s philosophy of ‘creating a lighter footprint’.

Secret Lake House Stanthorpe

Near the dam is a secret summerhouse, which although we didn’t use it, would be a fantastic place to watch the colours of the afternoon golden hour, whilst relaxing with a bottle of wine. During our time we were treated to spectacular sunsets over the dam, and a storm, which brought magical clouds and freshness to the country air.

Sunset Stanthorpe

Two of our three days were spent relaxing and exploring the property, and New Year’s day we ventured out to explore the historic Wallangarra Railway station on the border of Qld and NSW and the Boonooboonoo falls near Tenterfield.

Wallangarra Historic Railway Station

We were so taken by the property we didn’t get a chance to explore Stanthorpe or its wineries. Stanthorpe is a fantastic spot to escape the searing heat of summer, due to its elevation, however, we look forward to returning to stoke up the fire and enjoy the chill of a proper winter.



The writer and her partner stayed at Mallow Cottages and Organic Farm at their own expense. They have fallen in love with the property and the owners, not to mention the lambs and will be back with their kids as soon as possible.

From $327 per night for all three bedrooms, or just $ 192 for the one bedroom for a romantic escape. ( We booked through