Wednesday

Take a wild boat ride and explore the edge of the world


It's the only way you'll see some of Australia's highest sea cliffs, rocks that 'breathe', sea caves that have no end, and feel the full might of the Southern Ocean. It's the reason why this Bruny Island Cruises has won two best tourist attraction awards.

It's the same size as Singapore but that's where the similarities end. Bruny Island, on the south eastern tip of Tasmania, has only about 600 permanent residents. 

It's actually two very different islands joined by a narrow isthmus, "The Neck". North Bruny has a drier climate and has some sheep farming whilst South Bruny is more mountainous with large areas of rain forest and sandy heathlands. Both islands have spectacular scenery with wonderful, deserted beaches and abundant wildlife.




I was covered from head to toe in a very unfashionable but extremely practical red rain coat for this morning ride. We were worried about the grey skies but the word was that the sea was calm, a much more important factor as we soon learnt.




Bruny Island Cruises operate a three hour, 50 km expedition along the dramatic coastline sculpted by the ocean's rythums over millions of years. Their bright yellow boats are extremely manoueverable so they can get up quite close to the cliff faces and almost into deep sea caves. 

It's a bit like a jet boat experience with the chance of spray which is why you are outfitted with huge rain ponchos when you board the boat.  Be warned - this is not an experience for someone who suffers from sea sickness, however the boat staff have great techniques to get the vulnerable through tough spots.



The trip leaves from Adventure Bay and it doesn't take long to start seeing the island's wildlife enjoying their coastal lifestyle.  There are sea eagles, pods of dolphins (we saw a baby) and shearwaters skimming the swells.







The 'Breathing Rock', with its dragon-like roar, was a highlight as was the fast trip through a narrow gap in the cliffs and a rock formation known as The Monument.



There also was no doubt of the power of the ocean where the Tasman Sea meets the might of the Southern Ocean, although the resident seals did not seem bothered at all.

You can drive to Bruny Island from Hobart. It takes about 45 minutes to reach the ferry at Kettering which takes you to the island. Bruny Island Cruises operate a pick up from Kettering.




Bottom line: A thrilling ride and exploration which takes you to places that you can't see any other way. An experience to remember.

Bruny Island Cruises

Disclaimer: Kerry Heaney was a guest of Tourism Tasmania.





Tuesday

Lady Lamington, Fortitude Valley

Coco Pops with Baileys and vanilla cream for breakfast?  I was sorely tempted but it's only available after 10am at Lady Lamington, Brunswick Street's newest queen.

Monday

Jam Jar, West End


Sometimes good things happen in the most unexpected way.

Friday night loomed and I thought I was going to be stuck in front of the television watching a boy's choice movie, pretending to like it while I secretly read my iPad. (Love those back lit screens.)

Saturday

Up late at GOMA


There's something delicious about being in a venue after the normal opening hours and Up Late at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) is no exception.

Thursday

Avante Garde Patisserie, Milton


When the boy on the counter tells me Uncle Dean is the one who bakes the cakes and pies, I can't help but be impressed.  I love a family business, especially when it comes to baking.

Wednesday

Gastro Park, Kings Cross, Sydney


When the taxi stopped in this narrow, shady Kings Cross back street and the driver said that's the restaurant, I was surprised and not all that inclined to get out.

And I promise not to mention my first thoughts when I heard the name, Gastro Park, which is designed to evoke thoughts of a playground of good food.

But you can leave all doubts in the taxi because this a restaurant that will surprise and intrigue you.  

Monday

More than Groceries @ Pinkeys


When is a grocery store more than a grocery store? Take a look inside Groceries @ Pinkeys on busy Zillman Street, Hendra and you'll have the answer in a snap.


Friday

It's all about the finer things in life


You're picturing me sleeping on the rough sand of a coral beach, nestled under a swaying palm tree, lulled to sleep by the sweet rhythmic pattern of waves gently rolling into the shore.

Actually I'm very comfortably ensconced in a queen-sized bed perched high above the shore line in plush accommodation known as Peppers Coral Coast.

The weather was not kind on this stay, planes were delayed and plans changed, but that didn't stop us enjoying a fabulous lunch and a very relaxing massage in the onsite day spa at Peppers.  Making lemonade out of lemons, the spa is definitely a great alternative when the weather forbids seaside walks and sun bathing.

But it wasn't all doom and gloom.  The sun poked out its face occasionally and you can see how fabulous the pool is from this photo.


We also enjoyed a flash gourmet tasting lunch where resident chef Greg Devine strutted his stuff and knowlege of local ingredients. It was so good I ate the entire Valrohna Chocolate Tasting Plate on my own, an incident I later regretted.

Here's Greg in the kitchen whipping up lunch.



Here's lunch- yes I ate all that.




The room was very spacious with a huge balcony that would have been perfect for viewing the ocean if it hadn't been pouring down - well there's always next time.  And the spa bath was sized for two - unfortunately I was on my own.



Peppers Coral Coast

Thursday

OB+W, Boundary Road, Bardon


Blink and you would miss this one - a hole in the wall coffee spot that's a bit of a local's secret.

Wednesday

Top 10 Sydney small bars


Have you ever been accused of over sharing?

I've decided that visiting six bars in one busy Sydney night should be a badge of honour rather than one for over sharing which is what I received from Foursquare (a location-based social networking website for smart phones).

Tuesday

Valentine's Day menu that won't weigh you down


Here's a Valentine’s Day menu that will shrink your love handles without assaulting your taste buds and get that lovin' feeling flowing.


Monday

Get more beer cred

Do you know when to choose ale over a porter, stout, pilsner or weissbier?

Don't even know what a weissbier is?

It's okay - you can still drink in public but if you want to do it with a bit more beer clout, you might need to enrole at the Beer Academy.



Saturday

Who wants to be afternoon tea tester for Virgin Atlantic?


I've discovered there's an even a better job than being a food writer - I'd like to add frequent flyer tester for Virgin Atlantic to my resume.


But only for their Upper Class which offers a welcome aboard glass of champagne to toast the journey, a tradition made famous in the golden age of Hollywood. Another great British tradition, afternoon tea, will also be served on individual mini cake stands, but not, sadly, with a cupcake I note. But there will be clotted cream with the jam and scones so that's a plus.

Virgin Atlantic has announced its biggest ever investment into the business class product, as it pledged £100million over the next three years to enhance its Upper Class offering around the world. As part of the investment, on board flights from Sydney to London, a brand new Upper Class ‘fine dining’ experience will take to the skies from March 1, 2012.

Influenced by some of the best British restaurants and private members clubs, the new Upper Class dining service has been completely redesigned and customers will enjoy customised menus, with local delicacies.

The launch of other new business class products will commence on Virgin’s Atlantic’s London Heathrow to New York JFK service with highlights including a new upper class cabin, an enhanced seat, a futuristic bar and many other cabin updates to give passengers a unique flying experience.The new Upper Class cabin will be launched on Virgin Atlantic’s new Airbus A330-300 aircraft.  A new multi million pound Clubhouse at the John F Kennedy airport will also be launched later in the year.


In developing its new Upper Class products, Virgin Atlantic recruited groups of its most frequent fliers to test the ideas and feed into their development - even allowing some to try out the beds with an overnight stay in the airline’s test facility.  They should have asked me - I would have told them afternoon tea is nothing if there's no cupcake involved!

Here's the full tray experience. Find out more at wwww.virginatlantic.com



Friday

Vitamin Me - the best drug around

It's what everyone wants - a sparkle in your eye, a spring in your step, the an-ti-cip-ation of a secret pleasure.

For me it's knowing that my next meal is going to be something special. That's my 'Vitamin Me'.

For the past 12 months I've been travelling Queensland, working through my wish list of foodie delights.  I've been hunting crabs on North Queensland beaches with the Indigenous owners. I've seen happy free range pigs outside Airlie Beach. I've walked through the chocolate room on Hayman Island. I've learned how to make wine at the Queensland College of Wine and shared a harvest feast in the Barrell Room at Ballandean Estate. I've talked to farmers and fishermen, cooks and chefs and plenty of people who love where they live and what they do. And you know what - it's catching!

Where does my 'Vitamin Me' come from?  The fabulous produce of Queensland, sometimes served in wildly inventive ways, sometimes just as it is.  It tastes so good that it gives me a natural high that money can't buy. And it's at its best right where it is grown, caught or farmed.

There have been many more adventures around the state but here are some of my most memorable meals.

Warning: Do not watch this on an empty stomach and don't drool on your keyboard.







So where would I go if I needed some more Vitamin Me and could holiday anywhere in Queensland? Well I'd probably sashay up to a tropical island, Hayman sounds nice, and eat my way through their menu, enjoy some drinks around the pool bar and definitely try one of their very special picnic lunches on a remote island with my loved ones of course. Bliss!

Find all these places and more at Vitamin Me

Test your own Vitamin Me levels here

Thursday

Meet Anthony Bourdain


Most foodies I know would give their eye teeth, well maybe not their eye teeth as that might make eating a little uncomfortable, but surely a significant body part if they could meet the bad boy of cuisine, Anthony Bourdain.

Wednesday

Girls go wild

Ever wondered what I do when I'm not eating and drinking my way around Australia?

Tuesday

Make your cuppa count for Ovarian cancer


This year more than 1,200 Australian women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and sadly, around 800 will die from the disease. However, if diagnosed in the early stages the majority of women survive which is why it is so important for women to know the symptoms.

Thursday

Rude, wrong, fun and exciting, you'll love the art at MONA


A particular mode of pleasure and thought, a subversive 'disneyland' of old and new art displayed with intent, you'll find it all at Tasmania's stunning MONA -Museum of Old and New Art.

A visit here is a real experience, so don't even think of scheduling just a couple of hours or you'll walk away feeling disappointed when it's time to go, as I did.


Here's how I saw MONA





Opened in January 2011, MONA was established by David Walsh to shock and offend as much as challenge, inform and delight.  I wasn't offended, but was sometimes repulsed  by some of the art which is very graphic.  It's a cross section of everything he has enjoyed in other museums around the world and I would guess the envy of many museum curators around the world.

And another art work 'clip'



MONA sits of a 3.5 hectare peninsular which curves into the Derwent River, about 15 minutes north of central Hobart by car.  You can also catch a fast catamaran from the MONA Ferry Terminal at Brooke Street Pier which would be a fabulous 45 minutes journey to the museum.


There are three subterranean museum levels cut into the Triassic sandstone of the river bank, about 17 metres down, all unseen from the top entrance.

MONA also incorporates two eateries - The Source, a fine dining restaurant and a bistro - and is also the home of Moo Brew beer which you can taste on site. You can taste wines at the Cellar Door or go on a Beer Tour and tasting from 4 to 5 pm on Friday evenings (You'll need to book).


Given a wish list, I would stay at the MONA Pavillions and drink in the atmosphere over a couple of days.  It could be an extraordinary visit.





Disclaimer: Ed+bK travelled at a guest of Tourism Tasmania.

Wednesday

Brisbane's new small bars

Do you know where to find Super Whatnot, Scratch, Cabiria or The End?

Read my story in the latest Brisbane Where Magazine to discover all the latest cool bars and surprise your friends by suggesting some new drinking spots.