Hubby and I have been so busy this year, that we totally haven't had time to do some of my favourite ad-hoc adventuring in and around the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Our one son is visiting from overseas, so this gave us the perfect excuse to do some 'touristy stuff'!
Cellar Door and Restaurant, 249 Western Avenue, Montville
Flame Hill Vineyard, home to some excellent wines! Image: Elaine de Wet
First up, was wine tasting! One cannot go past Flame Hill Vineyard in Montville without stopping in, having a tipple or two (I'm not advocating drink and driving, people!) and of course, stocking up on some very desirable wines for the silly season. Flame Hill Vineyard open at 10.00am for wine tasting, but it's never too early for a tasting…is it? - it has to be wine-o'-clock somewhere in the world! Luckily for us, we were the first to arrive - with a very large bus-driven contingent arriving right on our heels - but having arrived first we had the advantage of first come, first served!
Wine Tasting and Sales area at Flame Hill Vineyard - Image: Elaine de Wet
Flame Hill Vineyard is in the enviable position of being the highest point in Montville on the Blackall Range. This charming vineyard produces 100% estate-grown wines, that are hand-harvested and sourced from plantings that are up to eighty years old, ensuring a diverse selection of 'whites', 'reds', 'fortifieds and sparkling'. Join the Flame Hill Wine Club to qualify for twelve months' Wine Club Membership and receive ten percent discount on wine purchases for a year. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Flame Hill Vineyard has stunning views - Image: Elaine de Wet
The wine tasting experience is free for the first three tasters or $6 for six tastings. I have two Flame Hill favourites, one is a 'white', 'Decadence' and the other is a 'rosé' appropriately named 'Wild Child', so without thought or preamble, these were added to our silly season wine rack.
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Secrets on the Lake Café 207 Narrows Road, Montville 07 5478-5888
Intricate and realistic carvings at the entrance to Secrets - Image: Elaine de Wet
Next on our Sherlock Holms'ing was Secrets on the Lake Café - perfectly positioned in a rainforest with panoramic views of Lake Baroon, beckoning us with promises of a cool haven, with what was turning out to be a scorcher of a day in the Hinterland.
Secrets Cafe's unique position in the tree-tops is only intensified with its intimate connection with nature - a trait embraced by Secrets' top chef, Mathew Law, who incorporates this singularity into the incredible food that he prepares. As it wasn't quite lunchtime yet, we chose to have coffee and muffins and to sit back to enjoy the very relaxing ambience of this wonderful Hinterland 'Secret'.
Secrets Cafe has an intimate connection with nature - Image: Elaine de Wet
Secrets Café and Deck has a fully licensed bar that is stocked with an excellent selection of spirits, wines, beers and cocktails. The Café is open six days a week from Tuesday to Sunday from 8.30am to 4.00pm. Bookings are highly recommended as the Secrets' Café tends to be a very popular venue for early morning breakfasts and high teas; whether celebrating a birthday, a catch up with wedding guests for breakfast the morning after or just because. Click here for the delightful breakfast menu offerings.
Delightfully cool and secretive haven - Image: Elaine de Wet
Next stop was Wild Rocket at Misty's Micro Brewery and it wasn't even lunch time yet! We truly are blessed on the Sunshine Coast to have so many quirky attractions in close proximity to one another. Wild Rocket at Misty's is in Main Street and is housed in one of the most historic buildings in Montville (it used to be the 'Fancy Goods and Lolly Shop') and boasts lots of zany nooks and crannies. It also now houses a micro brewery which brews a range of craft beers on tap.
I'm not a beer drinker, so this stop was designed to satisfy the liquid amber lovers, giving me an opportunity to browse this very quaint restaurant. The owners of Misty's are UK chef Peter Brettell and his wife Belinda and they opened Wild Rocket at the start of December 2010, after spending many months sourcing the best local produce and free range organic meats. Beef sausages, breads, stock, sauces and even the jams and chutneys that are served with the scones, are made on site.
The lunch-time crowd was still filtering into Misty's, which meant we had ample choice of seating and could enjoy the live entertainment provided by Andrea Kirwin, a delightful Sunshine Coast singer-songwriter. Andrea's music is an earthy blend of Folk, Roots, hip hop, funk, reggae and soul, with a laid-back vocal tone that gives listeners goosebumps.
Well, we had now reached the magic hour for lunch and you've guessed it, I was ravenous! You can't go through Palmwoods in the Hinterland without a stopover at Rick's Garage Diner!
Rick's Garage Diner was initially a petrol station and workshop and has now been converted into an absolutely awesome retro diner (and still functioning workshop). We, of course, were not interested in the workshop, we were there for the food - hubby knows me well and has no desire for me to reach my 'hangry' stage. Rick's Garage Diner is renowned for having the best burgers and old-school milkshakes throughout the entire Sunshine Coast Region.
Sangria sans wine and chopped fruit, but divine nonetheless - Image: Elaine de Wet
Hubby and I absolutely love Rick's venue - there is always an energetic vibe; the staff are super-friendly; the food never disappoints and the top-notch service is always in record-breaking time.
As mentioned earlier, our ad-hoc adventuring day had turned out to be a real scorcher, so something ice-cold was definitely mandatory. And, along came my Sangria! Ok, granted, a Sangria is an alcoholic beverage, traditionally consisting of red wine and chopped fruit - mine was sans the red wine and I only had a slice of decorative orange, but…it was the best-tasting Sangria I have ever had!
Rick's Side Salad and Peri-Peri Spicy Chicken Wings - Images: Elaine de Wet
For lunch, I ordered a Rick's Side Salad: lettuce, tomato, red onion, cucumber, capsicum, grated carrot, sun-dried tomato (yum), feta and balsamic dressing. My add-on to my very delectable salad was avocado - one cannot have lunch without avo! My salad arrived, beautifully fresh and crisp. My only complaint (if one can call it that) is that the avo wasn't freshly sliced or diced (either/or), but instead arrived as an avo paste. Hubby ordered the Spicy Chicken Wings: Crispy chicken wings served with your choice of peri-peri sauce or blue cheese sauce - or treat yourself and have them both ways!
If you love vintage and retro, Rick's Garage Diner is your go-to venue - Image: Rick's Garage Diner FB
One cannot visit Rick's Diner without somebody having a burger, so it was up to our son to be totally indulgent and have a Rick's Beef Burger: homemade prime Australian beef patty (medium), cheese, lettuce, tomato, beetroot relish, pickles, red onion, onion relish, tomato relish and aioli. The Rick's Beef Burger is small 'fry' in comparison to most of the burgers at Rick's. How's this one for a man-sized appetite?
How's this for a man-sized burger? Image: Rick's Garage Diner FB
If you've never been to Rick's Garage Diner, I can guarantee one visit will turn into multiple visits - the food, the service, the memorabilia, the entertainment and the ambience ensure Rick's devotees keep going back for more!
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A sneak peek at the Mooloolaba Christmas Boat Parade - Image: Elaine de Wet