Indulge in a culinary voyage through Taste & Travel, where flavours mingle with adventure. Discover gastronomic delights, from savoury dishes to fine wines, while exploring diverse cultures and landscapes. Embark on a journey that tantalizes the senses, blending culinary experiences with the thrill of exploration and the joy of discovery.

Discover the mystical Mammoth Cave & beyond

HIDDEN beneath the picturesque landscapes of Margaret River lies an ancient, subterranean world waiting to be explored.

In this journey through time and nature, we will delve into the depths of Mammoth Cave and its neighbouring wonders, Lake Cave and Jewel Cave.

These underground chambers are not merely geological formations but portals to a realm teeming with history, beauty, and the remnants of long-extinct creatures.

Join us as we embark on a mesmerizing adventure, guided by the whispers of the earth itself.

Mammoth Cave

Mammoth Cave: A Self-Guided Odyssey

Mammoth Cave, nestled just a short drive south of Margaret River in Western Australia, stands as a testament to the Earth’s profound history.

It beckons with its unique allure, thanks in part to its audio self-guiding system. This innovative approach allows visitors to immerse themselves in the cavern’s captivating mysteries at their own pace.

But what lies beneath the surface of Mammoth Cave is a treasure trove of prehistoric secrets.

Lake Cave: A Pristine Subterranean Paradise

Mammoth Cave

Directly below Cave Works, Lake Cave awaits, a pristine chamber hidden deep within the Earth’s embrace.

Upon descending the staircase, a tranquil lake that mirrors delicate formations of breathtaking beauty greets visitors.

Towering karri trees loom overhead, evoking the primeval splendour of a lost world.

Lake Cave emerges as one of Western Australia’s most enchanting natural wonders, a serene sanctuary beneath the earth’s surface.

Jewel Cave: Nature’s Grand Masterpiece

Jewel Cave stands as a testament to nature’s grandeur, challenging the very laws of scale.

As visitors venture into its lofty chambers, a spectacle of intricate decorations and sheer magnitude unfolds before their eyes.

Within its depths, one can marvel at one of the world’s longest straw stalactites found in any tourist cave.

Nature’s artistic prowess is on full display in Jewel Cave, a majestic underground realm that dwarfs all who enter.

Giant Trees: Guardians of the Subterranean Realm

The journey beneath Margaret River’s surface is not complete without acknowledging the guardians of this subterranean realm—karri and marri trees.

These towering giants dominate the surrounding forest, creating an enchanting backdrop for the caves.

Karri trees, reaching up to 90 meters in height, stretch across the landscape in a breathtaking display.

Their smooth, multi-coloured bark shifts with maturity, while white blossoms in spring add a touch of ethereal beauty to the forest.

Marri trees, belonging to the “bloodwood” group, contribute their unique essence to the ecosystem.

Their resin, oozing from rough, fibrous bark, plays a vital role, especially during late summer.

Local vignerons depend on marri flowering to divert birds away from their ripening grapes, making these trees an unexpected saviour for winemakers.

Mammoth Cave - towering karri trees

Mammoth Stream: Nature’s Sculptor

Mammoth Stream, a seemingly unassuming waterway, played a pivotal role in creating Mammoth Cave’s stunning underground expanse.

Collecting drainage from the adjacent Nindup Plain, it embarks on a westward journey towards the sea.

However, its path is not without challenges. The limestone barrier known as the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge stands in its way.

Yet, the stream’s tannin-stained, acidic waters have a unique power—they dissolve the limestone, carving channels that allow the stream to flow through the ridge.

Mammoth Cave is a testament to the stream’s sculpting prowess, shaped over millennia.

Mesmerizing journey through time

Mammoth Cave and its neighbouring underground wonders, Lake Cave and Jewel Cave, offer a mesmerizing journey through time, nature, and geology.

In the heart of Margaret River, these caves unveil the Earth’s secrets, from ancient fossils to towering karri trees.

As we explore these subterranean realms, they remind us of the wonders that lie beneath the surface, waiting to be discovered and cherished.

How to get there

Mammoth Cave, Lake Cave, and Jewel Cave are in the Margaret River Region in Australia’s southwest. For more information and bookings, visit Margaret River Attractions

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Jocelyn Magazine is an affiliate of Booking.com. Purchases made by clicking on their links on this website may reward us with a small finder’s fee. It’s an easy way to show support for us and our mission to provide you with more awesome content to enjoy.

First published 2013; updated 19 September 2023.

PHOTOS: Jocelyn Watts

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If you enjoyed this article, you might also like Mead: Our New Favourite Drink

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Ready for another holiday?

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The Majestic Tingle Trees: Explore the Forest Canopy

THE majestic giant tingle trees in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park hold a rich history that spans centuries. If these trees could talk, they would undoubtedly have fascinating tales to tell.

Standing tall for over four hundred years, these ancient giants have witnessed the arrival of European settlers and the growth of the southwest corner of Western Australia.

Today, visitors can walk among the towering tingle trees and experience the awe-inspiring Tree Top Walk, offering a unique perspective from the forest canopy.

Giant Tingle Trees

Jocelyn and her husband Don Watts on a Giant Tree Top Walk in the Valley of the Giants in 2007.

A Journey through Time in Walpole-Nornalup National Park

King Charles I of England, ruling from 1625 to 1649, was but a pup when the mighty tingle trees in the Valley of the Giants began their journey towards the sky.

These enormous trees have weathered the passage of time and silently bear witness to the footsteps of pioneers who walked among them during the settlement of Western Australia’s southwest region.

The red tingle tree, found within this magnificent forest, is renowned as one of the largest trees in the whole of Western Australia. With a girth of up to 16 meters at the base, these giants establish sturdy buttresses to support themselves due to relatively small root systems.

As visitors venture along the suspended steel walkways of the Tree Top Walk, linked with circular platforms, they are offered an extraordinary opportunity to immerse themselves in the forest canopy. This 600-meter one-way loop lifts individuals about 40 meters above the forest floor, providing breathtaking bird’s eye views of the surrounding landscape.

Descending from the heights of the Tree Top Walk, a path leads to the Ancient Empire Walk, where explorers can meander through the understorey of the forest.

This captivating trail allows visitors to get up close and personal with the unique flora and fauna that thrive amidst the tingle trees. Feel the presence of countless generations as you stroll through this awe-inspiring forest, breathing in the fresh scent of nature and marveling at the depths of history contained within each tree’s embrace.

The Ancient Empire Walk serves as a reminder of the resilience and grandeur of these ancient giants. As you wander through the forest understorey, you’ll encounter gnarled trunks and twisted root systems that tell stories of resilience and adaptation.

It’s an immersive experience that allows you to connect with the natural world in a profound way, fostering a sense of reverence for the power and beauty of nature.

 

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Jocelyn Magazine is a proud affiliate of Booking.com. Purchases made by clicking on their links on this website may reward us with a small finder’s fee. It’s an easy way to show support for us and our mission to provide you with more awesome content to enjoy.

Embrace the Power of Nature: A Reverent Walk among the Tingle Trees

Walking among the tingle trees in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park is a journey through time. These colossal ancient giants have stood tall for centuries, silently witnessing the passage of history and welcoming generations of visitors to experience their awe-inspiring presence.

The Tree Top Walk and Ancient Empire Walk offer an opportunity to connect with nature in a unique and profound way, allowing individuals to immerse themselves in the majesty of the forest canopy and explore the understorey that teems with life.

So, lace up your shoes and embark on a journey that intertwines past and present—a walk among the tingle trees that will leave you with a deep appreciation for the remarkable beauty and endurance of nature.

Immerse Yourself in the Beauty of Walpole-Nornalup National Park

To experience the wonder of the tingle trees and immerse yourself in the captivating beauty of the Walpole-Nornalup National Park, plan your visit today.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore the Tree Top Walk and Ancient Empire Walk, where history and nature intertwine to create an unforgettable experience. Join us on this extraordinary journey through time and nature!

How to get there

The Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk is at Tingledale, Western Australia, in the Walpole Wilderness.

For more information and bookings, visit https://www.valleyofthegiants.com.au/listing/tree-top-walk/

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First published 2013; updated 18 September 2023

PHOTOS: Jocelyn Watts

 

Giant Tingle Trees - Bridge

Giant Tingle Trees - giant tree trunk

Giant Tingle Tree Trunk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you enjoyed this story, you might also like Mammoth Cave: A Subterranean Marvel

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Ready for another holiday?

Don’t miss out on discovering your next destination with Booking.com. With countless amazing deals on accommodation and more, you’re bound to find what you’re searching for. So, why wait? Click the links here to explore BOOKING.COM today and plan your next trip.

Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with Booking.com. When you make a booking through links on the website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.

 

Ultimate Adventure: Explore Australia & New Zealand!

ARE you planning an adventure in Australia and New Zealand? Get ready to explore the best places these stunning countries offer!

From iconic city landmarks to breathtaking landscapes and adrenaline-pumping activities, there is something for every type of traveller.

Here we have curated 10 must-visit destinations that will make your holiday unforgettable.

Read on to discover the highlights of each location and start planning your dream getaway now.

1. Sydney, Australia

A cityscape of the Sydney Opera House, harbour and bridge at sunrise. Photo: Shutterstock.

Experience the Iconic Opera House and Breathtaking Harbour Views

Spend your holiday in the vibrant city of Sydney, Australia, and immerse yourself in its iconic sights. The Sydney Opera House, a world-famous architectural masterpiece, awaits your exploration. Take a guided tour or catch a performance to truly appreciate its grandeur. Don’t forget to stroll along Circular Quay and indulge in stunning views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

BOOK A TRIP TO SYDNEY NOW!

***Jocelyn Magazine is a proud affiliate of Booking.com. Purchases made by clicking on their links on this website may reward us with a small finder’s fee. It’s an easy way to show support for our team and our mission to provide you with more awesome content to enjoy! ***

2. Melbourne, Australia

Australia and New Zealand -Melboure

A dusk view of Melbourne’s famous skyline and cricket ground stadium. Photo: Shutterstock.

Explore the City’s Vibrant Street Art and Cultural Attractions

Discover the artistic heart of Australia in Melbourne. You can explore the thriving street art scene in areas like Hosier Lane in this cosmopolitan city. Dive into Melbourne’s cultural side by visiting its many galleries and museums, such as the National Gallery of Victoria and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. Enjoy the city’s vibrant neighbourhoods, world-class restaurants, and buzzing nightlife.

BOOK A TRIP TO MELBOURNE NOW!

3. Perth, Australia

Australia and New Zealand - Quokka on Rottnest Island, Perth.

A quokka is enjoying a swing on Rottnest Island, Perth, Australia. Photo: Hideaki Edo Photography, Shutterstock.

Visit Rottnest Island for its Stunning Beaches and Wildlife

Escape to Perth and embark on a day trip to Rottnest Island. This idyllic island paradise, located just off the coast, is a haven of pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and unique wildlife. Be sure to keep an eye out for the friendly quokkas, small marsupials that have become a symbol of the island. Explore the island by bike or hop on a guided bus tour to make the most of your visit.

BOOK A TRIP TO PERTH NOW!

4. Auckland, New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand - Auckland cityscape.

A cityscape of Auckland’s skyline, New Zealand, at sunrise. Photo: Rudy Balasko, Shutterstock.

Take in the Picturesque Landscapes of the North Island

Head to beautiful Auckland on New Zealand’s North Island and let its stunning landscapes captivate you. Take a trip up the iconic Sky Tower for panoramic views of the city and its surrounding volcanic cones. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the nearby Waiheke Island, known for its vineyards and breathtaking beaches. Immerse yourself in Maori culture and explore the vibrant art scene in this remarkable city.

BOOK A TRIP TO AUCKLAND NOW!

5. Queenstown, New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand - Queenstown.

A majestic mountain and lake landscape of Queenstown, New Zealand. Photo: Naruedom Yaempongsa, Shutterstock.

Enjoy Adventure Activities Such as Bungy Jumping and Skydiving

For adrenaline junkies seeking excitement, Queenstown is the place to be. Nestled amidst New Zealand’s breathtaking Southern Alps, this adventure capital offers a plethora of thrilling activities. Take a leap of faith with bungy jumping off the Kawarau Bridge or experience the exhilaration of skydiving above awe-inspiring landscapes. Queenstown’s stunning scenery and heart-pumping adventures will make for an unforgettable adventure.

BOOK A TRIP TO QUEENSTOWN NOW!

 

6. Christchurch, New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand - Christchurch

The restored Peacock Fountain in Christchurch Botanic Gardens at twilight with the Arts Centre in the background. Photo: Travellight, Shutterstock.

Explore the Historic City Centre and Gardens

Discover the charm of Christchurch, a city that perfectly blends history with natural beauty. Wander through the tranquil Christchurch Botanic Gardens and admire the vibrant flora. Don’t miss the incredible street art and innovative architecture that has emerged in the city following the devastating earthquakes. Experience the resilience and spirit of this remarkable place as it continues to rebuild itself.

BOOK A TRIP TO CHRISTCHURCH NOW!

7. Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand - Bay of Islands

An aerial shot of Urapukapuka Island, Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Photo: Ruth Lawton, Shutterstock.

Soak up Some of the Country’s Most Beautiful Scenery

Escape to the Bay of Islands, a breathtakingly beautiful region in New Zealand. With over 140 subtropical islands, this paradise is perfect for beach lovers and water enthusiasts. Explore secluded bays, snorkel or dive in crystal-clear waters, and cruise around islands teeming with wildlife. Immerse yourself in nature and unwind amidst stunning landscapes that showcase New Zealand’s natural splendour.

BOOK A TRIP TO BAY OF ISLANDS NOW!

8. Gold Coast, Australia

Australia and New Zealand -Gold Coast.

A view from the water of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, Australia. Photo: Shutterstock.

Hit Up Some of the World’s Best Beaches for Surfers and Sunbathers Alike

Head to the Gold Coast, renowned for its pristine sandy beaches and sunny weather. Surfers Paradise is a must-visit for wave enthusiasts, offering excellent surfing conditions. If relaxation is what you seek, lounge on the golden shores, soak up the sun, and enjoy the lively beach atmosphere. Explore the coastal hinterland for lush rainforests, stunning waterfalls, and vibrant wildlife.

BOOK A TRIP TO THE GOLD COAST NOW!

9. K’gari, Australia

Australia and New Zealand - K'gari

Tourists flock to Lake Mackenzie on K’gari year-round to enjoy the cool fresh water. Photo: Cam Laird, Shutterstock.

Visit this Untouched Paradise off the Coast of Queensland

Discover the untouched beauty of K’gari (formerly Fraser Island), an exquisite gem off the coast of Queensland. This World Heritage-listed site boasts pristine beaches, crystal-clear lakes, and ancient rainforests. Explore the island’s unique attractions, such as the stunning Lake McKenzie and the vibrant Maheno Shipwreck. Embark on adventurous 4×4 tours or simply relax and soak in the tranquillity of this paradise.

Follow this link to read more about K’gari!

BOOK A TRIP TO K’GARI NOW!

10. Cairns, Australia

Australia and New Zealand - Cairns

A professional underwater photographer captures nature and wildlife in the Great Barrier Reef near Cairns. Photo: ChameleonsEye, Shutterstock.

Immerse Yourself in the Lush Rainforest Surrounding this Popular Tourist Spot

Indulge in the lush rainforest and tropical beauty surrounding Cairns, a bustling gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Immerse yourself in nature as you visit the stunning Mossman Gorge or take an exhilarating cable car ride above the rainforest canopy in Kuranda. Dive into the breathtaking underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef or simply unwind on the palm-fringed beaches while enjoying the warm sunshine.

BOOK A TRIP TO CAIRNS NOW!

Start planning your Australia and New Zealand adventure today!

Australia and New Zealand hold an abundance of natural beauty, cultural wonders, and thrilling experiences that make them ideal destinations for a getaway. Whether you prefer city adventures, beach relaxation, or immersing yourself in nature, these 10 best places offer something for everyone.

Begin your journey by exploring the iconic Opera House in Sydney or taking in the picturesque landscapes of Auckland. Dive into the adventure-filled activities in Queenstown or unwind on the stunning beaches of the Gold Coast. The choice is yours!

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the beauty and diversity of these incredible destinations. Start planning your trip today and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Follow the links to Booking.com and book your adventure now!

 

Feature photo: A spectacular sunrise over the city of Perth, Australia, by Cloudsrest Images; Shutterstock.
Published: 16 September 2023.

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Where to next?

Don’t miss out on discovering your next destination with Booking.com. With countless amazing deals on accommodation and more, you’re bound to find what you’re searching for. So, why wait? Click the links here to explore BOOKING.COM today and plan your next trip.

 

***Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet and Booking.com. When you make purchases through links on the website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.***

Indulge in the delicious combination of Kombucha and gin or rum

WHO knew you could mix Kombucha with alcohol to create delicious cocktails?

I didn’t, but at the 2023 Taste Bundaberg Festival, I discovered an exciting collaboration between The Deli, Bundaberg Ferments, Kalki Moon Distilling & Brewing, and Bundaberg Rum.

Together, they introduced festival-goers to Kombucha cocktails, which really caught my attention, so naturally, I had to chat with Mark Rabbitt from Bundaberg Ferments to find out more.

Here’s the scoop he gave me.

Table of Contents

Refresh yourself with Kombucha mixers

Kombucha - man showing bottles

Mark Rabbitt from Bundaberg Ferments chats about Kombucha Cocktails.

It’s no surprise that drinking alcohol has been a part of social gatherings for eons, but what do you do if you’re like Mark and don’t imbibe?

Well, he has the perfect solution for you! Enter Kombucha, a fermented tea, which has been gaining popularity for its health-promoting benefits.

When combined with spirits, Kombucha creates a refreshing and complex drink that will tantalize your taste buds.

Mark said if you’re going to drink alcohol, why not do it with Kombucha?

“It’s a great way to prevent hangovers because of the electrolytes it contains. It’s also full of B vitamins. For those who partake in alcohol, I’m all for them trying it with Kombucha!”

 

Kombucha

Fermented raw Kombucha tea with different flavourings. Photo: Shutterstock.

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***Jocelyn Magazine is a proud affiliate of Booking.com. Purchases made by clicking on their links on this website will reward us with a small finder’s fee. It’s an easy way to show support for our team and our mission to provide you with more awesome content to enjoy! ***

Kombucha: The perfect addition to your healthy lifestyle

Mark stopped drinking alcohol close to 10 years ago, soon after he and his wife Jess became the proud parents of twins, a boy and a girl.

“When it came time to introduce solids, Jess felt there were more options than bread crusts and cow’s milk for the kids. So she discovered how we used to eat traditionally, and that set us on the path of fuelling our bodies using traditional methods, including ferments.

“Jess spearheaded the change to a healthier lifestyle. Her focus dramatically changed to caring for them; she instinctively wanted to find better things and products for them.

“I didn’t really want to follow her down this path of health, but there was no stopping her. She was a new mum, so she went full-on and I jumped on the bandwagon.

“She was buying all the groceries, but that got me doing research about health and wellness and I ended up going into nutritional ketosis.

“That path led me to Kombucha. I still wanted to drink something that wasn’t just water. Kombucha I could drink and stay in nutritional ketosis.

“Skip forward 10 years… a recent study out of the University of Sydney showed Kombucha helps lower blood sugars; interestingly, the study was using the same culture that we’re using today.”

Sip low-sugar Kombucha and enjoy the perfect balance of sweet and tart

“Kombucha is fermented tea, so we get green tea and oolong tea that’s all certified organic because we are doing this for the health benefits, as well as making a delicious drink,” Mark said.

“First, we make a brew of tea and put a lot of sugar into it. I’m talking a lot; you taste it and it’s like lolly water; it’s really sweet.

“Then we introduce our culture – a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) – which contains sugar-metabolising microbes that eat away the sugars.

A man places a SCOBY in a glass jar of sweetened black tea to start the fermentation process to make Kombucha. Photo: Shutterstock.

“The microbes consume most of it, but if they consume it all, they’ve got nothing else to consume and they die, so we leave some sugar in.

“We’re sitting around in .6 grams per 100 ml, which is relatively low for what’s out there for Kombucha.

“You look at soft drinks; some can have 10 teaspoons of sugar or more, so comparing our Kombucha with that, we’re extremely low. Even compared to other Kombucha, were still on the low side of things.

“I’d prefer no sugar, but we need to leave a little in there for the microbes to stay alive because we want them to still keep doing what they do.

“The study that I previously mentioned showed even though there’s still a little sugar in Kombucha, it is helping lower blood sugars.”

Mark said throughout their brewing process, he tastes his batches all the time to pinpoint when it switches from being sweet to acidic.

“If it’s too acidic, that’s why some people say Kombucha tastes like vinegar. If we brewed Kombucha all the way and got rid of all the sugar, we would end up with vinegar. But that’s where all the health benefits are involved, so we want that, but it also needs to be just sweet enough to be palatable for people to enjoy. It’s a fine art of where we stop the fermentation process.”

Unlock a holistic approach to health & wellness with Kombucha

“There’s been a lot of research showing that many things from mental clarity to a strong immune system start with the gut, and Kombucha can help with that,” Mark said.

“The health aspects of Kombucha are fascinating topics that I highly recommend looking into.

“While I can share my opinion, there’s so much information out there that I encourage everyone to explore it for themselves and listen to the advice of experts.

“It’s important to consider your individual circumstances and health when deciding if it’s right for you. Kombucha is not a magical cure-all, but a holistic approach to overall health.

“If you have health concerns, it’s crucial to take those into account and seek the advice of your health care professional.”

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Enjoy the unique combos of Australian Kombucha

Four of Bundaberg Ferments’ flavours.

Bundaberg Ferments currently offers five delicious Kombucha flavours.

“We’ve got Kakadu Plum, which is the brand new one. That’s an amazing one. It’s probably my new favourite,” Mark said.

“Kakadu Plums are largely overlooked, I think. It’s a native Australian plum, and we like to include as many native ingredients as we can.”

Did you know that the Kakadu Plum is rumoured to have the highest amount of Vitamin C in any food worldwide? It packs a whopping 7000 mg/100g DW, which is a staggering 100 times more than what you’d find in oranges. That’s some seriously powerful Vitamin C!

“Then we’ve got Bush Fruits, which is used in strawberry gum leaf, another native plant. That has sugar gum leaf, marshmallow roots, hibiscus, banana, and strawberry – it’s a beautiful medley. This was always my favourite and I still love it, but the new Kakadu Plum, it’s kind of got me a bit.

“We also have Pineapple and Ginger, which is our biggest seller; it’s a classic combo for Kombucha especially with ginger. The first Kombucha I had was a lemon and ginger, but I wanted to do something different from the standard lemon and ginger, so we chose pineapple instead of lemon.

“We’ve also got Myrtle Mint, using lemon myrtle, another Australian native plant. I recently discovered it and again, it’s just not used enough, I think. That Kombucha also has peppermint and a bit of spirulina.

“And, we also have Cascara.  The flavour comes across like a sparkling apple, but it’s got no apple in it. It’s the fruit of the coffee tree. So, that little cherry you get on coffee trees, inside that is the bean. We don’t use that. We’re using the flesh of the fruit, so forget about it tasting like coffee. Think of it as an apple cider soft drink; to me, it’s very similar to that.”

Find delicious Kombucha at Bundaberg and Hervey Bay

Kombucha

River Cruz Café & Restaurant in Bundaberg stocks Kombucha.

Looking for some delicious Kombucha? You don’t have to search far and wide if you live in, or are visiting, the Bundaberg or Hervey Bay regions. Bundaberg Ferments’ Kombucha is available across both.

“We have a special focus on refills, so when you find us at the markets, we supply our Kombucha in 750 ml glass bottles that we encourage you to take them home, enjoy every sip, clean them out, and bring them back for a refill.

“You can find us at Shalom Market in Bundaberg, the Urangan Park market at Hervey Bay every Saturday, and the Agnes Water market every second Sunday and every Sunday during school holidays.

“Besides the markets, we collaborate with various shops that offer refills. The Barn Whole Foods on Takalvin Street in Bundaberg and the Windmill Cafe in Bargara are two options. If you are in Moore Park Beach, you can visit our local IGA Supermarket and enjoy the refill station.

“In Hervey Bay, Go Natural Foods is another great spot to get your Kombucha drinks.

“However, not all outlets have refill stations. It’s understandable, as setting up the equipment can be a big expense. That’s why some businesses, like River Cruz Café & Restaurant, opt for offering our Kombucha in convenient 330ml bottles.

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Chilled Kombucha – tastier than ever!

Kombucha

Chilled is best, says Mark.

“Kombucha is a drink that can benefit everyone, but timing is key,” Mark said.

“If you haven’t tried it yet, I recommend drinking it super cold, just like you would with beer. The colder, the better! As you get used to the taste, the temperature becomes less important, but I still enjoy my Kombucha ice-cold.

“Some people who are more focused on improving their gut health may prefer room temperature, but that’s more for practical reasons than taste.

“Overall, a nice, cold Kombucha is a delicious healthy treat for most people.”

Try the latest cocktail flavour fad – Kombucha + Gin or Rum

You may have heard about the latest trend in the world of cocktails – Kombucha mixed with gin or rum. And, for those who enjoy alcoholic drinks, it’s a match made in beverage heaven.

When you mix Kombucha with gin or rum, the results can be amazing. The botanicals in gin or the caramel notes in rum complement the natural tartness of Kombucha perfectly, resulting in a smoother, more complex cocktail.

But that’s not all – besides being a tasty treat, this combination also has many health benefits.

Kombucha is known for improving digestion, boosting the immune system, and reducing inflammation. Gin and rum are both made with herbs and spices that have been used as natural remedies for centuries. For example, gin is typically made with juniper berries, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. And rum is often made with spices such as cinnamon, which has been shown to lower blood sugar levels.

Kombucha-gin and Kombucha-rum cocktails are delicious ways to unwind after a long day and a great way to give your body a little extra love. With so many flavors of Kombucha and types of gin and rum available, the possibilities for experimentation are endless.

Support local at The Deli Bundaberg

 

Sharon Schumacher serves a cocktail made with Pineapple & Ginger Kombucha at The Deli.

The Deli Bundaberg, nestled in the heart of Bundaberg, Queensland, collaborated with Bundaberg Ferments,  Kalki Moon Distilling & Brewing, and Bundaberg Rum to create some delightful Kombucha cocktails at this year’s Taste Bundaberg Festival.

I recently had the chance to chat with Hayley Anderson and Ashley Matthews, the brilliant minds behind this awesome idea.

Hayley said they wanted to do something different and showcase the unique flavors of Kalki Moon Gin and Bundaberg Rum, paired with the delicious taste of Bundaberg Ferments’ Kombucha.

So, The Deli team came up with unique cocktail recipes, using only fresh, local fruit and beverages. The cocktails were a true representation of Bundaberg’s finest products.

But The Deli Bundaberg isn’t just about the food and drinks.

Hayley and Ashley are committed to supporting their local community. They employ a team of staff, many of whom have disabilities. The Deli provides them with opportunities not only to earn a wage, but to gain experience in the food and drinks retail industry.

The Deli Bundaberg also offers regular monthly events, and their Facebook and Instagram pages keep customers informed of upcoming events. The team recently opened the Airport Café, which employs more staff and offers a delicious selection of food and drinks. The Deli also caters for Christmas parties and other events, both in-store and at other locations.

The business is a true asset to the area. Their gourmet toasties are to die for, and their commitment to the community is inspiring. If you’re ever in the Bundaberg area, be sure to stop by The Deli and try one of their Kombucha cocktails along with something scrumptious from their menu.

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Discover the new twist on cocktails

Kombucha

Jocelyn chills out with a glass of Kombucha! Photo by Brian Pickering.

Combining Kombucha with gin and rum is a journey of unique taste and health opportunities for everyone.

Mark said they were pleased to have worked with The Deli, Kalki Moon Distilling & Brewing, and Bundaberg Rum to introduce people to Kombucha cocktails.

If you love a twist to your cocktails, this collaboration offers the perfect combination. The flavors and ingredients from each provider create a delightful pairing not found anywhere else.

Whether you’re already a fan of Kombucha cocktails or are new to this genre of drinks, these products offer something truly innovative.

To experience it for yourself, head to Bundaberg, Queensland, and try The Deli’s original recipes. You won’t be disappointed!

***

Jocelyn travelled to Bundaberg at her own cost and did not receive sponsorships from Bundaberg Ferments, The Deli, Kalki Moon Distilling & Brewing, Bundaberg Rum, or Taste Bundaberg for the publishing of this article.

Published 12 September 2023.

Photos by Jocelyn Watts & Shutterstock.

***

If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy reading:

A Croquet-lover’s Guide to Exploring the Wide Bay

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Discover North Queensland on a railway adventure

AH, THE peace and tranquillity that comes with travelling by train.

Kicking back in my high-back leather-look seat, letting time pass me by as the scenery rushes past outside – it was an experience I hadn’t had for several years until I embarked on a long-haul journey from Maryborough to North Queensland in July 2023.

Instead of dealing with the usual stress of airports and traffic, this year my annual trip north took me on a slow yet mesmerizing voyage of discovery from Maryborough to Townsville and Tully on the Spirit of Queensland.

What unfolded over the next 10 days was not just stunning vistas and family fun, but also interesting conversations with fellow passengers, making this an unforgettable adventure.

Let me tell you about my recent rail journey to North Queensland.

 

Rail Journey - Spirit of Queensland at Tully

The Spirit of Queensland pulls into Tully Railway Station.

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A slow yet mesmerizing rail journey

Picture this – a long-haul rail journey from Maryborough to Townsville and Tully, surrounded by breathtaking scenery and wildlife. It was a peaceful escape from the daily grind, allowing me to truly relax and take in the beauty around me.

At Townsville, I had something truly exciting waiting for me. My youngest son and his partner had just welcomed the newest addition to our family, little Bryson. The joy of meeting my grandchild was indescribable.

After enjoying lots of baby cuddles and exploring the stunning sights of Townsville, such as the breathtaking vistas from Castle Hill to Magnetic Island, and strolling along the vibrant Strand, it was time for my next adventure.

My other son whisked me off for a 2.5-hour drive north to the charming town of Tully, known for being one of Queensland’s major sugar hotspots and arguably the rainiest spot in Australia.

Life with his wife and kiddies, Riley and Rhys, in the coastal village that’s a half-hour drive from Mission Beach is nothing short of idyllic. Palm-fringed beaches, tropical rainforests, and the magnificent Great Barrier Reef are just a stone’s throw away. It’s paradise.

But, before I take you further, let us go back to the beginning of this epic journey.

Rail Journey - Overlooking Townsville from the top of Castle Hill

Overlooking Townsville from the top of Castle Hill.

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Don’t miss out next winter – book your railbed early!

I caught the Queensland Rail bus from Stocklands Shopping Centre in Hervey Bay for a smooth half-hour ride to the Maryborough Transit Centre, where fellow travellers joined us for the next leg of the adventure.

Maryborough, with all its heritage buildings, cultural significance, and industrial history, was my home for 27 years before moving to Hervey Bay in 2019. The city holds a special place in my heart.

Fun fact: Maryborough is the birthplace of P.L. Travers, the author of the classic children’s book and movie Mary Poppins. There’s a touch of magic in the air!

Rail journey - train interior

Economy class is comfortable with high-back leather-look seats and plenty of legroom.

As I waited for the train at Maryborough West Railway Station, the chilly winds were relentless, but the friendly Queensland Rail staff made me feel welcome and guided me to my designated, and sheltered, spot. At 7.30 pm, the train departed, and I settled into my economy-class seat.

Now, I had grand plans of booking one of those luxurious Railbeds, but alas, they were all booked out. Winter months in Queensland are prime travel time, so you have to plan well ahead.

Instead, I treated myself to a Trtl Travel Pillow. Compact, lightweight, and endorsed by Lonely Planet Magazine, it made the journey feel like first class.

And so, my adventure began. A 14-hour journey lay ahead of me, with the promise of arriving in Townsville at 9.38 am the next day. Well, if you count the Rail Bus leg from Hervey Bay to Maryborough, it’s more like 15.5 hours. But who’s counting when you’re having the time of your life?

Be comfortable in economy with a Trtl Travel Pillow

You’ve probably heard horror stories of being stuck beside an annoying traveller on long-haul journeys. But lucky for me, I have yet to experience such an ordeal, and this trip was no exception.

I was lucky enough to be seated next to an absolute gem of a guy, John Corbett, whom I’ll affectionately call Mr Cyclist. He’s a retired essential service officer who now spends much of his time exploring the world on his bike.

Mr Cyclist was on his way to Townsville with his trusty road bike in the luggage carriage, and planned to pedal all the way back down south along the National Trail, a grand adventure akin to Bill Bryson’s famous A Walk in the Woods.

The National Trail is Australia’s ultimate quest for independent explorers, spanning 5330 kilometers from Cooktown to Healesville. This incredible trail takes adventurers through stock routes, bush tracks, fire trails, and scenic roads along the Great Dividing Range.

For over three decades, the iconic R.M. Williams has lent his name to this extraordinary expedition. Teaming up with the Australian Trail Horse Riders Association, they have brought to life a trail that immerses hikers, horse riders, cyclists, and packers in the rich history of Australia’s stock routes.

Overnight, however, Mr Cyclist attempted to catch some much-needed shut-eye, but his quest for comfort came up short. Like me, a fellow survivor of missed opportunities, he had missed out on a coveted luxurious Railbed booking and settled for economy class.

Little did he know, a Trtl Travel Pillow could have been his saving grace. Instead, he resorted to stretching out on a dining car seat, only to be chipped by a rail staff member for his audacity. Turns out that sleeping in the dining car is against QR’s rules. Oops!

rail travel - man collecting his bike from a train.

John Corbett, aka Mr Cyclist, collects his bike from the baggage area on the Townsville Railway Station platform.

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Rise and shine!

As we opened our eyes the next morning, the sun greeted us with a breathtaking show over mountains near Mackay. We couldn’t help but soak in the beauty while savouring a breakfast of raisin toast and tea in the dining car.

Here’s the plot twist: our train had a bit of a hiccup with the signals during the night, causing it to run behind schedule. But hey, that only added to the adventure! Finally, we arrived in Townsville around 11 am, ready to continue our epic journeys.

All aboard! Family fun on the Innisfail Mini Rail

In Tully, I had a blast with my family. Our adventure started with a quick jaunt to Innisfail, 53 kilometres to the north, where we all took rides on the Innisfail Mini Rail.

This delightful miniature train chugs along every second Sunday of the month at the beautiful 50-ha Warrina Lakes Park. We soaked up the scenery as we zipped past the serene lily-covered lake and ventured through lush pockets of rainforest.

The Innisfail Mini Rail Club, a squad of awesome volunteers, is the brains behind this fantastic train ride that has been entertaining folks since 2017.

Oh, and there was a terrific kids’ playground nearby too!

rail journey - Innisfail Mini Rail

Families enjoy a ride on the Innisfail Mini Rail.

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Roll on down to Murdering Point Winery

Despite the ominous name, Murdering Point Winery was anything but scary.

As we adults sipped on top-notch wines, the little ones, Riley and Thomas-the-Tank-Engine-fanatic Rhys, were in awe as a cane train hauling sugar cane rolled right by the entrance.

Founded in 2001 by the Berryman family, Murdering Point Winery has gained a reputation for its exceptional wines and innovative use of exotic tropical fruits.

The winery offers an array of uniquely Australian red and white fruit wines, ports, liqueurs, and creams that transports your taste buds to a tropical paradise.

rail journey - Jodie pours a sample of delicious tropical fruit wine at Murdering Point Winery.

Jody pours a sample of delicious tropical fruit wine at Murdering Point Winery.

Fish & Chips on the Beach with Tully Coast Guard

What’s better than white sand and kids’ playgrounds at Mission Beach? How about enjoying Fish & Chips on the Beach at the Tully Coast Guard’s annual fundraising event with the stunning sunset as the backdrop? It was the perfect finale for my time in Tully for 2023.

rail journey - sunset at Tully

The brilliant finale to my North Queensland visit was the Tully Coast Guard’s Fish & Chips on the Beach with this stunning sunset at the backdrop.

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Discover a lush oasis at Tully Railway Station

rail journey - Tully railway station platform

Potted ferns dot the Tully Railway Station.

Too soon, it was time to bid farewell to the family escapade and make my way back to Hervey Bay. At about 11.30 am, I hopped aboard the Spirit of Queensland once more at the charming Tully Railway Station, nestled near the heart of town.

This station had quite the eventful past – it endured some serious water damage thanks to the notorious Cyclone Yasi back in February 2011, but it’s since undergone a refurbishment. You can still spot the remnants of the old station building on the south side, with visible battle scars.

With potted palms and lush hanging ferns dotting the platform, it exudes an enchanting tropical atmosphere. It’s the perfect spot to kick back and wait for the next leg of my adventure. Time flies when you’re surrounded by this blissful oasis.

 

Find a travel buddy on the Spirit of Queensland

On my return journey from Tully to Maryborough, first I had the pleasure of sitting next to Mr Garden Guru, a fascinating chap with long hair, a beard, and a love for faded jeans.

Not only was he a successful garden business owner in Cairns, but he was also a marketing guru who spilled the beans on using artificial intelligence for blogging.

But wait, there’s more! He was also a vegan on the hunt for some fruit in the train’s galley, only to be disappointed. Luckily, he had a stash of lychees in his backpack, which he happily devoured.

When Mr Garden Guru hopped off in Townsville to pick up his new ute and return to Cairns, I was accompanied by my new travel buddy – Mr Entrepreneur.

This former tobacco farmer turned restaurant owner turned garden maintenance enthusiast knew how to make some serious money by mowing grass and trimming shrubs in North Queensland.

He was headed to Brisbane to reunite with his wife, who had arrived a few days earlier.

Together, they were going on a shopping adventure looking for a motorhome, eager to join the ranks of the “grey nomads.”

As for me, my time on the Spirit of Queensland came to an end at Maryborough West at about 7.30 am and I boarded the Queensland Rail Bus bound for Hervey Bay.

After a total of about 37 hours of rail time (including delays), I left with cherished memories and a renewed appreciation for the magic of rail travel.

 

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North or south? The choice is yours!

Looking for a relaxing way to tour Queensland’s breathtaking coast? Meet the Spirit of Queensland, your ticket to adventure!

rail journey - train at a platform

With regular weekly services, this fabulous train will take you to see friends and family, or let you explore some of Queensland’s most stunning destinations.

Think Whitsundays, Townsville, Cairns, Bundaberg, Fraser Coast, Sunshine Coast, and Brisbane – the list goes on. And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can even connect to the glamorous Gold Coast.

Whether you crave the natural wonders of the north or the dazzling lights of Brisbane, the Spirit of Queensland has got you covered.

It’s a convenient way to travel between Brisbane and Cairns. So why wait? Hop aboard and let the journey begin!

 

Jocelyn travelled on the Spirit of Queensland at her own cost.
Published 20 July 2023

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If you enjoyed this train-inspired post, you might also enjoy these:

A Croquet-lover’s Guide to Exploring the Wide Bay
All Aboard the Mary Valley Rattler
Murder on a Runaway Train

***

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Don’t miss out on discovering your next destination with Booking.com. With countless amazing deals on accommodation and more, you’re bound to find what you’re searching for. So, why wait? Click the links here to explore BOOKING.COM today and plan your next trip.

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‘Tis the season to see humpback whales in the wild

WHAT could be more idyllic than a perfect day in paradise, watching majestic humpback whales breaching and blowing?

The moment we stepped onboard Whale One with Sunreef Mooloolaba at The Wharf, it was obvious we were in for an exceptional whale-watching tour.

The blue sky stretched endlessly above us, and the glittering ocean below was (almost) smooth as glass.

The excited chatter of fellow travellers filled the air; some had seen whales before, but for many, it was their whale-watching debut.

Dolphins frolicking and humpbacks breaching gave us an amazing tour filled with new experiences.

Whether you’re an experienced ocean explorer or just looking to try something new, this is certainly a day trip not to be missed.

Our tour went like this…

Sunreef Mooloolaba - Whale One

Sunreef Mooloolaba’s Whale One is set for another day of whale-watching adventure.

Experience the thrill of whale watching in paradise

Welcome aboard, mates! Captain Paul here, with our trusty crew – Heidi, Savannah and Rebecca, and our assistant Dan (aka Salty)… although none of us really knows what he does!

Now, Heidi gave us a great rundown on the boat’s safety features and what to do if you’re feeling seasick.

If you are, head downstairs where the boat is more stable and where you can get some fresh air. The top deck can get a bit rocky!

And hey, let’s not forget the open bar with delicious cocktails, chips, and snacks on offer.

Sunreef Mooloolaba - humpback whale breaching

A humpback whale breaching.

But all that doesn’t compare to the sight we’re hoping to see – the majestic humpback whales! These creatures have been around for millions of years, and they’ve got some awesome skills to show off.

Keep your eyes peeled for breaches, where they jump out of the water and land with a tremendous splash, or the blow that comes from a hole on top of their head; you’ll see a huge puff of air for about five seconds, shooting up to four to five metres in height.

We’ve got everyone on whale patrol, so if you spot anything, call it out, loud and proud, like we’re a clock – 12 o’clock for anything on the bow, 6 o’clock on the stern, 3 o’clock on the starboard side, and 9 o’clock on the port side – and estimate the distance, if you can.

It could be whales, dolphins, or any other sea creatures surfacing.

Today’s a calm day, which should make it easier to spot whales… unless they decide to hold their breath for up to 45 minutes! But they usually only hold it for 5 to 15 minutes on their migration, as they are now, on their way from the Antarctic, through Sunshine Coast waters to Hervey Bay & K’gari.

As we leave Mooloolaba for our four-hour tour, be sure to take in the beautiful scenery.

Sunreef Mooloolaba

One of the many stunning houses seen along the shore of Mooloolaba bay as we headed out to see on Whale One.

Get your binoculars ready for a whale adventure

As soon as the music started playing, a group of young adults started dancing on the top deck. The playlist included hits such as Notion by Kings of Leon, Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show, and No Ceiling by Eddie Vedder.

Australia has a whopping 45 species of whales, but on this trip, we were on the lookout for the humpbacks. They’re usually easy to spot thanks to their unique features–a sleek dark grey or black body with white patches along the belly, and pectoral fins.

Sunreef Mooloolaba

Kaye Browne from Food Wine Pets Travel.

Sunreef Mooloolaba - Jocelyn & Brian

The writer of this article, Jocelyn Watts, and Brian Pickering from Food Wine Pets Travel.

Heidi, one of the knowledgeable crew members, said to watch for blows in the distance. If you spot a whale’s tail popping up and diving, it’s a good sign they’re preparing to breach. After about 15 minutes, the colossal creature emerges from the water.

At around 9 o’clock (port side), we had our first sighting of a humpback’s body near the surface.

Later, about two and a half hours into the trip, we experienced what we had all been waiting for–a stunning double breach at around 3 o’clock (stern side), some 100 to 200 meters away from us.

The crowd erupted into a chorus of “oohs” and “ahs.”

Some of us were lucky enough to witness these majestic creatures for the first time, while others were back for another round.

“A sublime day in paradise!” – Marie Walton-Mahon.

Marie Walton-Mahon OAM, from PBT (Progressing Ballet Technique) Dance, had booked her third cruise with Sunreef Mooloolaba.

The company offers a 100% guarantee that you’ll see a whale or the next trip is on them. Marie noted that on her two previous trips, the most exciting animals she saw were pelicans.

On this trip, a very excited Marie exclaimed, “Those two that were jumping up and down, synchronised, were absolutely spectacular! Happy days! It was a sublime day in paradise!”

“A sublime day in paradise!” – Whale watcher Marie Walton-Mahon OAM.

Sail away to encounter whales with Sunreef Mooloolaba

All things considered, this day of whale watching was an incredible one. We could not have asked for a better experience; the crew was incredibly friendly and helpful, and they kept the amenities immaculate.

We’d highly suggest to anyone looking for a similar activity, that they join a Sunreef whale-watching tour. The scenery and wildlife around us were breathtaking; it truly felt like paradise.

I’d like to end this writeup by saying a big thank you to everyone at Sunreef Mooloolaba –they made our cruise as perfect as possible – and Visit Sunshine Coast for their assistance.

For an unforgettable experience filled with fun and excitement, head over to the Sunreef website (https://Sunreef Mooloolaba.com.au/whales/) and book your tickets.

Humpback whales generally come to the Queensland coast from late Autumn to late Spring. During this time, they migrate through Sunshine Coast waters to Hervey Bay & K’gari where you can catch mothers with their newborn calves, and on to the Great Barrier Reef before returning south again.

Spectacular views, chance encounters with some lovely ocean life, and a friendly, knowledgeable crew are all worth it. Happy sailing!

Sunreef Mooloolaba

A humpback whale blow! Photo: Shutterstock

Check out this amazing video from FoodWinePetsTravel!

Jocelyn Magazine and FoodWinePetsTravel were guests of Sunreef Mooloolaba and Visit Sunshine Coast.

FIND OUT WHEN AND WHERE TO SPOT HUMPBACK WHALES

***

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Have a whale of a time on the Sunshine Coast

THE first humpback whales for the 2023 season have been sited off Mooloolaba, heralding the arrival of some 40,000 whales expected to traverse the Sunshine and Fraser coasts over the next five months.

Sunshine Coast’s leading marine tours operator, Sunreef, has announced a wide range of whale-watching cruises for the season, including their pioneering Swim with Whales tours.

The season will run through till the end of October, capturing the progress of the whales on their 10,000km return journey from the Antarctic, firstly as they swim north to Hervey Bay, K’gari (formerly Fraser Island), and the Great Barrier Reef, and then return later in the year, often accompanied by their calves.

whales - whale breaching off Cooloom

Five months of ‘Whale Central’ coming soon

Sunreef operates from its base at The Wharf Mooloolaba, which is set to become “Whale Central” over the next five months. 

New activations will include special kids “find the whale” competitions during school holidays, and in an Australian – possibly world – first, a special Ocean’s Journey Whale Ale has been created by Mooloolaba craft brewer Blackflag inspired by the awesome spectacle of whale migration.

The craft beer will be available from restaurants and bars throughout The Wharf.

According to Blackflag: “Ocean’s Journey Whale Ale is a masterfully crafted Coastal Pale that pays homage to the grandeur of whale migration.

With its vibrant citrus notes, tropical fruit flavours, and balanced bitterness, this beer captures the essence of the ocean and the awe-inspiring journey of these majestic creatures. Raise a glass, savour the flavours, and join in the celebration of the wonder and beauty that is whale migration.”

Blackflag has also committed to donating a portion of the profit from Whale Ale sales to the Australian Marine Conservation Society. 

Shore thing: nature-based experiences for you

This year’s whale-watching season was already attracting considerable interest from both interstate and overseas, Sunreef Mooloolaba’s Philip Hart said.

“The message is that people want premium nature-based experiences.  

“Whale numbers appear to be increasing at an average of about 10% a year, and given the interest, we are extending opportunities for people to view these remarkable mammals in what is one of Australia’s most pristine environments. 

“With international capacity beginning to return to 2019 levels, we are receiving strong overseas interest for our Swim with Whales tours. People are prepared to travel considerable distances for such a unique opportunity. 

“One of the major attractions is that we only offer these tours on the whales’ terms.  We have the strictest code of conduct, only operate with small groups, and invariably provide a profound and memorable experience.” 

Whale watching: take the plunge!

Swim with Whales cruises are restricted to a maximum of 15 participants, who are outfitted with wetsuits, fins, masks, and snorkels.whales - swimming with whales

The expert crew first spots the whales, then the vessel is positioned ahead of the humpbacks’ predicted route and snorkelers enter the water and wait for the magic to happen.  

“The rest is completely up to the whale,” said Mr Hart “If they want to come to you, they come to you – and more often than not, they do. They’re just as interested in us as we are in them. They’re very curious creatures.

Swim with Whales cruises start from 1 July, with daily cruises (subject to conditions) through to October. Adult tickets are available for $249 and include all equipment, expert commentary and guiding, and refreshments.

Sunreef’s whale watching season has already begun, with the purpose-designed Whale One vessel providing daily cruises. Adult tickets are $85, children $65.

Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Matt Stoeckel, said that the whale watching and swimming tours support Sunshine Coast’s reputation as a leading nature-based tourism destination. 

“We know our whale experiences are top of our visitors’ to-do list across the winter months.

Need a pint? Try the first-ever ‘Whale Ale’

“This year it has been great to see the Sunshine Coast community get on board with the launch of the whale season with a series of events in the planning, even including the creation of a Whale Ale in honour of our migrating mammals,” said Mr Stoeckel.

“As Australia’s ‘Craft Beer Capital’ it was brilliant that Blackflag could capture the vibrancy of the whale migration in this new beverage. It is the perfect addition to our craft brew collection.

“The whale season also arrives at the same time as direct flights from Auckland recommence, enabling our Kiwi friends the opportunity to enjoy ‘sunshine by lunchtime’ and view whales in the afternoon.”

For further information and bookings: https://sunreef.com.au/

Whales - Blackflag Brewery

Enjoying the first-ever ‘Whale Ale’ at Blackflag Brewery on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland’s South East.

Story and photos contributed by Visit Sunshine Coast

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If you enjoyed this story, you might also like Whale Watching For Citizen Scientists

FIND OUT WHEN AND WHERE TO SPOT HUMPBACK WHALES

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Uncover a deliciously smooth texture of Vichyssoise

FRENCH cuisine is known all around the world for its elegance, simplicity, and refinement. And while most of us are familiar with popular dishes like escargots, coq au vin, and macarons, there’s one classic French soup that often gets overlooked – Vichyssoise.

This velvety smooth and refreshing soup has been enjoyed in France since the early 20th century, and yet it remains a virtually unknown dish in many parts of the world. So what exactly is Vichyssoise, and why should you add it to your cooking repertoire? Let’s find out.

How to say Vichyssoise: VISH-ee-SWAHZ, (listen)

Take the mystery out of this classic French dish

Vichyssoise is traditionally a cold soup made from puréed leeks, potatoes, and cream, and it’s usually served as a starter. The soup has a silky texture with a subtle onion flavour, and it’s usually garnished with chives and croutons.

While the origins of Vichyssoise soup are somewhat hazy, it is widely believed to have been created in the early 1900s by a French chef named Louis Diat, who was working at the Ritz-Carlton in New York City.

The story goes that Diat was reminiscing about the cold potato and leek soup his mother used to make when he was a child growing up in France. However, he wanted to create a more refined version of the dish, so he added cream to the mix, giving the soup its smooth and creamy texture.

While Vichyssoise is traditionally served cold, it can also be served hot. This variation of the soup is perfect for the colder months, and, in fact, it is often winterized with a mixture of warming spices like cumin and coriander to elevate the flavour.

So why should you add Vichyssoise to your cooking repertoire?

Well, not only is it a classic French dish that will impress any guest, but it’s also incredibly versatile. You can serve it as a light starter on a hot summer day, or as a hearty winter soup.

It’s also incredibly easy to make and can be prepared ahead of time, making it an excellent option for entertaining.

Plus, the soup can be vegetarian-friendly, making it an ideal choice for those who are looking for meat-free options, or you can add bacon or ham if you wish.

A blend of flavor and health benefits

Vichyssoise isn’t just a delicious meal; it’s packed with health benefits too!Vichyssoise soup ingredient - potatoes

Potatoes and leeks are both stocked with potassium. Having enough potassium in your body is crucial – it helps regulate blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of diabetes.

Plus, potassium is great for heart and kidney health. It keeps blood pressure at normal levels, supports smooth heart function, and helps your kidneys flush out waste.

Leeks are rich in flavonoids, such as kaempferol, which is an antioxidant with potential anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. Plus, they’re loaded with Vitamin K, which helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis.Vichyssoise soup ingredient - Leeks

So why not try a bowl today and treat both your taste buds and your body?

Delight your guests

Vichyssoise is a classic French soup that’s incredibly versatile, easy to make, and delicious.

Whether you serve it hot or cold, as a starter or main course, this soup is sure to impress your guests and leave them wanting more.

So the next time you’re looking for a special dish to serve up on a chilly winter night, or a refreshing soup for a hot summer day, give Vichyssoise a try.

You won’t be disappointed.

Follow these links to discover 5 delicious Vichyssoise recipes

Vichyssoise Soup in a bowl on a plate.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like World Gin Day: Recipes to get you into the spirit!

 

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Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, has designed a fantastic program designed to do just that. With higher protein, low GI eating plans, you can reduce cravings and feel fuller for longer.

Plus, the program includes proven weight loss tools to create positive, lifelong habits that will help you achieve your goals. Ready to start your journey to a healthier you? Click this link to join the program today!

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Raise a toast to World Gin Day 2023

HEY there, gin lovers! World Gin Day 2023 is coming up on June 10, and we’ve got you covered with our top Edinburgh Gin selections from Swiftys.

Plus, we’ve put together some awesome cocktail recipes to help you get in the spirit of the celebration.

Cheers to that!

Edinburgh Gin

Born in 2010, Edinburgh Gin is distilled in the heart and harbour of Scotland’s capital city.

Taking inspiration from the wonder-filled city that is their namesake – a captivating city of contrasts and harmony that blends historic tradition with contemporary creativity, city pride with world citizenship, nature and the urban environment.

Beginning with the Classic, a world-class London Dry, which became the foundation for a series of expressions that led the flavoured gin revolution.

Today, Edinburgh Gin’s suite of beautifully crafted and naturally flavoured gins spans London Dry’s, Gin Liqueurs, Flavoured Gins and Ready To Drink serves. Together they represent one of the most varied and vibrant range of gins in the world.

1. Edinburgh Gin & Tonic

The zesty notes of the classic gin are complemented by a garnish of fresh orange peel.

World Gin Day - Edinburgh Classic Gin

Ingredients:
50ml Edinburgh Gin
50ml of a good quality tonic water
Orange peel to garnish

Method:
Add ice to a glass
Pour the gin over ice and add tonic
Garnish with an orange peel twist

2. Edinburgh Gin’s Seaside Gin & Tonic

The briny botanicals of Seaside Gin are the perfect match for aromatic thyme and zesty grapefruit, in our take on the timeless G&T.

World Gin Day - Edinburgh Seaside Gin

Ingredients:
50ml Edinburgh Gin’s Seaside Gin
50ml of a good quality tonic water
Garnish with samphire and a grapefruit twist

Method:
Add ice to a glass
Pour the gin over ice and add tonic
Garnish with samphire and a grapefruit twist

3. Cannonball Negroni

Edinburgh Cannonball Gin is a gin that lives up to its evocative name. Bottled at 57.2% abv, 100% proof. This higher alcohol content allows distillers to add more botanicals, strong in both alcohol and flavour.

World Gin Day - Edinburgh Cannonball Gin

Ingredients:
25ml Edinburgh Cannonball Gin
25ml Campari
25ml Martini Rosso
Orange peel

Method:
Add ice to a rocks glass. Add ingredients, and stir with a bar spoon until well mixed. Garnish with an orange peel.

4. Edinburgh Gin Rhubarb & Ginger Gin & Tonic

Edinburgh’s Master Distiller has taken great care to get Rhubarb & Ginger Gin just right. Beautifully balanced and crafted, warm spiciness, tangy sweetness, more juniper and more gin. This Rhubarb & Ginger Gin may be inspired by their Liqueur, a true original – but is distinctive in its own right.

World Gin Day - Edinburgh Rhubarb Ginger Gin

Ingredients:
50 ml Edinburgh Rhubarb & Ginger Gin Mediterranean tonic
Kaffir lime leaf and lemon or rhubarb twist to garnish

Method:
Pour the gin into a glass filled with cubed ice. Top up with tonic water and garnish with kaffir lime leaf and lemon.

5. Sicilian Spritz

Inspired by the Sicilian sun-drenched lemon groves and the perfumed scent of jasmine flowers in the height of bloom. This gin is ideal for longer days – a captivatingly fresh and crisp gin.

World Gin Day - Edinburgh Lemon Gasmine Gin

Ingredients:
25ml Edinburgh Lemon & Jasmine Gin
25ml Limoncello
12.5ml lemon juice
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
Sweet lemonade to top up

Method”
Add the gin, Limoncello, and lemon juice into a shaker. Add a sprig of fresh thyme and muddle together. Add ice and shake. Fine strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Top up with sweet lemonade. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.

***To buy Edinburgh Gin, visit Swiftys online.***

Posted: 5 June 2023

 

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Unearth new adventures in these amazing national parks

WITH more than 1,000 protected areas across the state, Queensland is bursting with enchanting and soul-nourishing national parks.

But while travellers are familiar with famous favourites like Noosa National Park and Lamington National Park, there’s a treasure trove of hidden gems that are sure to surprise and delight.

Discover these 15 lesser-known and under-the-radar Queensland national parks that are guaranteed to knock your socks (and hiking boots) off!

1. Blackdown Tableland National Park, Capricorn

A relatively undiscovered sanctuary tucked among the sprawling plains of Central Queensland, Blackdown Tableland National Park has some seriously Instagrammable scenery that’s worth a brag and a tag.

Think sloping sandstone escarpments, echoing gorges, plunging rockpools, and picturesque walking trails.

Visitors to the national park will also find Indigenous rock art on the Mimosa Creek Cultural Trail, sharing stories of the Ghungalu People.

Blackdown Tableland. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

 

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2. St Helena Island National Park, Brisbane

Sitting just 5 km off the coast of Queensland’s capital, St Helena Island was once a colonial penal settlement.

From 1867 until 1932 St Helena Island adopted the role of high-security prison and farm, where inmates helped plant crops, took on trades, and constructed buildings, the ruins of which can still be seen today.

Fast forward to 2023 and the island, now a national park, can be explored by day trippers from Brisbane on a River to Bay ‘Best of Moreton Bay’ cruise or a St Helena Island ‘Prison Life’ experience, led by St Helena Theatre Troupe performers.

Aerial view of St Helena Island. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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3. Mount Walsh National Park, Bundaberg

Mount Walsh National Park, an 80-minute drive southwest of Bundaberg and Hervey Bay, is a beacon for seasoned bushwalkers and adventurers.

The park is characterised by imposing granite rock formations, creeks that drop into rockpools, and Mount Walsh itself protruding from the bedrock.

For experienced hikers, the 703m Mount Walsh Summit takes four hours to ascend and offers views from the peak across the countryside.

Meanwhile, the grade four Rockpool Walk winds through hoop pine forest before following the creek sprinkled with rockpools.

Rock pools at Mt Walsh Waterfall Creek (Utopia Falls). Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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4. Wooroonooran National Park, Cairns & Great Barrier Reef

Coooeee! If the summit hike of Mount Walsh isn’t challenging enough, a climb to the ‘top of Queensland’ is sure to get the legs pushing and the heart pumping.

Perched 1,622m above sea level, Mount Bartle Frere in Wooroonooran National Park, just south of Cairns, is Queensland’s highest peak.

It takes around six to eight hours to conquer, but the views across the Wet Tropics Rainforest and out to the coast are worth the grind.

Also making this national park a must-visit is the lineup of tumbling waterfalls, freshwater rivers, and lush rainforests that intertwine around the mountain.

National Parks - dawn view from a mountain top

Sunrise from the summit of Queensland’s highest mountain, Mount Bartle Frere. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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5. Bunya Mountains National Park, Southern Queensland Country

The Bunya Mountains National Park, just over a three-hour drive from Brisbane, provides an alpine escape perfect for families and romantic getaways.

The mountains are lined with towering bunya pines and the area was once a ceremonial gathering place for a significant Aboriginal festival called the Bonye Bonye festival.

The Bunya Mountains feature more than 100 individual holiday cabins and cottages for rent, ranging from studios to multi-bedroom chalets.

The National Park is home to a large population of wallabies and offers a patchwork of walking trails through the bunya pine forest, including easy waterfall circuits and more intense hikes across the mountainside.

national parks - family on a hike

Walking past a waterfall in the Bunya Mountains National Park. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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6. Porcupine Gorge National Park, Outback Queensland

Winding through the arid savannah terrain, Porcupine Gorge National Park is an outback oasis.

Just over an hour’s drive from Hughenden, the waters of Porcupine Creek, surrounded by a green outline of rich vegetation that lines the gorge, pop against the orange and yellow of the Outback plains.

The most spectacular way to appreciate the vast canyon is with Fox Helicopters on a scenic flight to the upper section of the national park not accessible from the ground.

Camping is available at the Pyramid campsite and there are three marked walking tracks leading hikers to lookouts or down into the gorge.

national parks - outback gorge

Swimming at the Porcupine Gorge National Park. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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7. Conway National Park, Whitsundays

Leafy rainforest canopies, secret beaches, and sparkling views across the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef are all packaged up into 75km of refreshing rainforest coastline in Conway National Park.

Lining the peninsula beyond the hustle and bustle of Airlie Beach, Conway National Park packs a punch with waterfalls and swimming holes, uncrowded beaches, stunning lookouts, and a network of hiking and mountain biking trails.

Hit the dirt with Bike & Hike Whitsunday and experience the ancient rainforest in a guided mountain bike tour.

The national park is also home to six rare and threatened species like the endangered Proserpine Rock Wallaby.

national parks - cycling through a creek bed

Riding through a creek in the rainforest, while on a tour through Conway National Park. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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8. Mount Hypipamee National Park, Cairns & Great Barrier Reef

Mount Hypipamee National Park in Tropical North Queensland has other national parks green with envy thanks to an impressive crater that plunges 58m into the ground.

At the bottom of the volcanic pipe lies a 70m deep lake, coated by an eye-catching lime green blanket of native waterweed.

The crater is thought to have formed after a massive gas explosion ruptured through a crack in the earth’s surface and looks as if nature dropped a huge bowling ball into molten rock.

The best vantage point to take in this geological wonder is from the viewing platform on the Crater Track walk.

national parks - aerial view of a rock pool

Mt Hypipamee National Park. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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9. Girringun National Park, Townsville / Cairns & Great Barrier Reef

Home to Australia’s highest single-drop waterfall, Wallaman Falls, Girringun National Park in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is a heavy hitter when it comes to wonderous waterfalls.

While many flock to watch the waterfall and then dissipate into mist at the bottom of the 268m Wallaman Falls, the dramatic Blencoe Falls in the upper section of the national park are just as remarkable with two levels of waterfall cascading down the gorge.

Closer to the coast, Attie Creek Falls and the Cardwell Spa Pools offer two superb swimming holes.

national parks - waterfall

Wallaman Falls is the highest, permanent, single-drop waterfall in Australia. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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10. Eungella National Park, Mackay

The rainforest refuge that is Eungella National Park is one of the most ecologically diverse pockets of rainforest in Australia, with both tropical and sub-tropical species flourishing under the canopy.

Ever wanted to spot an elusive platypus in the wild? Stay quiet long enough and chances are one will pop its head from the surface of Broken River.

A fan of waterfalls? Check out Araluen Waterfall and the Wheel of Fire Cascades in the Finch Hatton Gorge section of Eungella National Park – both popular with locals.

national parks - lady swimming in a rook pool

Lady swimming in a rock pool at Finch Hatton Gorge. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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11. Kroombit Tops National Park, Gladstone

For history buffs, the little-known Kroombit Tops National Park, southwest of Gladstone, is a destination with a hint of history mixed with a little bit of mystery.

It is the final resting place of the American Liberator WWII bomber, Beautiful Betsy, which vanished over Queensland in 1945 during a flight from Darwin to Brisbane.

The wreckage lay undiscovered for 49 years until a park ranger stumbled on it in 1994 where it remains as a monument to the servicemen onboard who passed away. Kroombit Tops National Park is also home to the critically endangered Kroombit Tinkerfrog of which there are thought to be less than 150 in existence.

B-24D Liberator Bomer, Beautiful Betsy, Kroombit Tops National Park, Gladstone. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

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12. Main Range National Park, Brisbane

Main Range National Park stands high and mighty just a 90-minute’ drive from Brisbane and lies within the World Heritage Gondwana Rainforest.

While many national parks boast outstanding walking tracks, Main Range National Park takes the cake thanks to the luxe Scenic Rim Trail experience.

The six-day all-inclusive guided trek winds through the Scenic Rim and parts of Main Range National Park stopping overnight at a number of Spicers lodge and cabin accommodation including Spicers Hidden Vale and Spicers Peak Lodge.

For those wanting to tackle just a section of the trail, shorter walks are available.

national parks - aerial view of mountain range and accommodation

Aerial view of Spicers Peak Lodge, Main Range National Park, Scenic Rim Trail. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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13. Chillagoe-Mungo National Park, Cairns & Great Barrier Reef

Created more than 400 million years, the extraordinary limestone rock formations and caves of Chillagoe-Mungo National Park hold important natural and cultural significance.

Ranger-guided tours inside the caves showcase the magnificent hanging stalactites, stalagmites, and flowstones that have formed due to dissolving limestone.

The National Park is also home to Aboriginal rock art galleries that can be accessed on various walking trails.

The site was visited by Hollywood heartthrob Zac Efron during the filming of the Netflix series, Down to Earth with Zac Efron.

national parks - family exploring a cave

Family exploring a cave on a ranger-guided Trezkinn Cave Tour at Chillagoe. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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14. Conondale National Park, Sunshine Coast

Take a drive over the hinterland range of the Sunshine Coast to find an effervescent swimming hole the locals have been keeping secret for years.

Booloumba Creek in the Conondale National Park takes natural colour palettes to a whole new level as the freshwater creek blends bright turquoise with deep emerald.

There are a number of camping spots throughout the national park (permit required) and a network of walking trails, of which the Booloumba Falls walk leads to a cascading waterfall and swimming spot.

National parks - huge tree trunk

Figtree Walk, Conondale National Park, Sunshine Coast. Photo: Janelle Lugge/Shutterstock.

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15. Paluma Range National Park, Townsville

Paluma Range National Park sits in the mountain range north of Townsville and is considered the southern entrance to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

The traditional owners of the Paluma Ranges are the Nywaigi Aboriginal People and the Indigenous name for the area is Munan Gumburu, meaning ‘misty mountain’, an appropriate name given the area is often blanketed in a soft cloud of mist.

Take some time to explore this national park by staying overnight at Hidden Valley Cabins.

Walkers and hikers can hit various hiking trails through the rainforest to streams and waterfalls, while peddlers looking to push the limits can enter the Paluma Push, an action-packed event combining the thrill of mountain bike racing with a vibrant festival atmosphere.

national parks - woman sitting beside a waterfall

Small Crystal Creek, Paluma Range National Park. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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Other notable lesser-known national parks:

Log onto queensland.com and start planning your next Queensland national park adventure today.

Content submitted by Tourism and Events Queensland.

***

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***

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***Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet and Booking.com. When you make purchases through links on the website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.***