Of course we arrived too late for lunch, and of course it was all my fault. I wanted to get closer to one of the Glass House mountains and ended up on dirt roads in the middle of the bush leading to nowhere.

Coming from Brisbane, D and I took the Bruce Highway up north to the Glass House Mountains, and after a visit to the lookout and the little foray into the bush (see above), we finally found the car park at the base of Mount Tibrogargan (one of the extinct volcanoes that was formed 27 million to 26 million years ago). After an easy but beautiful hike around the base of the volcano we decided to visit the Flame Hill winery for lunch and a bit of wine tasting. The drive to Montville along the ridge of the mountain chain took us through picturesque scenery and villages, the view to the east stretched far out to the coast, to the west we were overlooking the green rolling hills and pastures of the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

When we finally arrived at the Flame Hill winery it was 3 pm. Lunch was served until, well, 3 pm – sharp. Bad luck. Nevertheless we decided to stay and sit down at a table on the deck overlooking the vineyards where a clutch of guinea fowls was roaming for anything edible. We savoured a charcuterie platter, tea and a glass of pinot gris. It is winter in Australia now, but as long as the sun is out, it is still warm enough to sit outside. Despite the slightly chilly breeze it was good to soak up a few warm sun rays.

After all I thought it was a beautiful and very relaxing afternoon, and last but not least I also bought two bottles of their Summersault white.

A lovely day out!



Please be advised to take a packed lunch when setting out on Marcus Queensland Travel Tours.  Morning tea is scheduled for 12 noon, lunch is served at 3.30pm and dinner is fast forwarded to 7.00pm.  However, while the well-groomed tour guides are friendly, proud of their state and obviously enthusiastic, all eating schedules appear to be at the individual decision of the driver involved.  You get to eat when the driver wants to eat.  So, be warned and pack a vegemite sandwich to see you through the day!

We didn’t sit down to eat or have something to drink at the Leura Garage, but I am mentioning it here as I really liked its commercial/industrial decor, and the food looked beautiful. Apparently they converted an old garage building into a chic café/restaurant space. Painted wheel rims and rustic boards were turned into benches, stacked rubber tyres became part of the interior design. If we hadn’t had lunch at the Red Door café, we would have stayed here for a meal:


Yes, the entrance door is very red indeed… The Red Door café welcomes its patrons with a simple yet very friendly and warm interior, a cosy atmosphere and beautiful food. The café was packed when we arrived, and we sat at the counter by the window for a few minutes before a table became available. The service was friendly, helpful and attentive.  The menu offered a range of very enticing looking dishes.

I had a beautiful smoked rainbow trout salad with lentils and rocket salad while my friend enjoyed a chicken leek pie with garden salad and potato mash. Simple yet delicious food.  I forgot to ask whether it was all organic, but it might as well have been. It all looked jolly healthy.

Interestingly, they don’t have their own web site (at least, I tried to google it and didn’t find any), but you can find a range of reviews of the Red Door.  Check this out:


Among all the different wine-growing areas that I have been able to visit in Australia by now, two regions left lasting impressions: Margaret River in WA, and the Hunter Valley in NSW (and this is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the Barossa Valley and the Adelaide Hills in SA, and the Yarra Valley in VIC).

The Hunter Valley’s scenery is just picturesque, green rolling hills dotted with vineyards, olive tree orchards and wineries with welcoming cellar doors.

We have sampled many different wines, and the following three were my personal favourites:

McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant winery also incorporates a really nice restaurant, and I highly recommend a stopover for lunch.

Audrey Wilkinson’s Gewuerztraminer was one of the best white wines I have tasted in Australia so far (and I am making this statement based on my very individual judgement); this wine was a total surprise to me, I basically tasted it just to see how this grape variety from South Tyrol would turn out in the Australian climate. I was expecting something sweet and a bit overpowering, but this wine was refreshingly dry and crisp, with beautiful aromas of lychees and passion fruit.

Dining out in Brisbane is a bit of a challenge. Not because there aren’t enough places to choose from. You just need to know where to find a good restaurant, and sometimes a good restaurant or eatery is tucked away in the ever sprawling suburbia, in a suburb you would usually never go to unless you happen to live or work there. In other words, the diversity and plentifulness of international cuisine is not right in your face as in Melbourne, in Brisbane it is a journey of discovery. A selection of these (I find) recommendable places are:

Modern Thai in Mt Gravatt:


The Persian in Coorparoo:


The Spaghettihouse (yep, one word) in West End:


The Vine in New Farm:


To be amended…