Staying in Heaven

While holidaying in the Gold Coast, after a few days of sunshine and clear skies, we decided to move into the hinterland. We chose Nambour and opted for an Airbnb @The Dragonfly Retreat, completely secluded in Rosemount, a beautiful part of the Sunshine Coast.

It was an amazing property done by in regal style. The owners had thought of even very small details like providing a torch and umbrellas. It was very close to many attractions around Nambour like Montville, Maleny, Eumundi, and Noosa. In fact, I find myself short of words to describe the opulence of that place. It was super comfortable and sheer heaven-like.

The DragonFly Retreat.

The property had a verandah outside the living room, where you could meditate or practice yoga while the sun rises and the birds start their day. The kitchen was fully functional and included a coffee machine, a slow cooker, a grill, and even a Nutribullet.

View from the Verandah.
An evening @The DragonFly Retreat.
A beautiful garden on the slopes around the property.

The whole house had filtered rainwater (supply permitting) and chemical-free personal care products. We simply had a fabulous time and I would definitely recommend this place for a short holiday.

A tour of Melany Dairy.

During our holiday in the Gold Coast, we had a chance to visit Melany Diary in Melany, Queensland.  We drove down from Nambour, where we were staying in an Airbnb. It was 31 km and it took us a half an hour to drive through the beautiful Queensland countryside. We joined a Group tour lead by a proud local lad, Che, who was really good at his work. Although being from India, I vaguely knew how dairies operate but this was a unique experience and I really learned a lot.

Melany Dairy Farms.
Melany Dairy farms
Children with calves.

Maleny Dairies is a premium milk company of Sunshine Coast owned by the Hooper family since 1948. Currently, it is the third generation of Hoopers, Ross and Sally Hopper,  who are running the show. The Dairy has seen many ups and downs including a really bad time in 2000. The industry was deregulated at that time so thousands of Australian farmers were forced to close their farms. Hoopers, on the other hand, decided to fight back by building their our own processing and bottling plant and like they say rest is history.

In 1948, when Great Grandfather Hooper purchased the land it was for a Cream only farm. However, now Melany Dairy buys milk from other local farmers on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. This benefits both parties with local farmers getting a better price than before.  The present Melany Diary commenced operations in 2002 and has always received a very positive response from its customers.

A kid feeding the Calf.
A Guernsey Cow
Milk vans
Cows are milked here
Milk storage container
Cows being feed

They have Guernsey cows (bred on the Channel Island of Guernsey), which are known to produce the highest percentage of A2 protein in their milk and a high level of butterfat. It has a creamy golden appearance and taste. One of their cows ‘Belladonna’ was a World champion, breaking the records in milk, butterfat and protein production, when she produced an amazing 70.5 litres of milk in one day. An average cow gives only about 15 litres in a day.

Apart from milk, they also sell flavoured milk Yoghurts, Custard and Cream. I really loved their Apricot Yoghurt.

I would definitely recommend this tour for families with young children as they would love the experience.

Why I fell in love with Canberra?

Parliament as viewed from the National Museum.

Though I have regularly visited Australia for the past 12 years, it was my first visit to the Australian capital, Canberra. I have to admit that I am totally impressed with the City and it is not unfair to say that I am in love with it.

Among the various reasons why I feel that way is, the greenery and the low density of population. The city is surrounded by forests and natural reserves from all sides.

Though early European settlers in Australia started exploring Canberra in 1820, it was later designed by an American Architect and designer Walter Burley Griffin, who won the Federal Design Competition in 1911.

It has a population of about 380,000 and it is Australia’s largest inland city. It has many interesting sites for tourists. The major among them are –

The National Museum of Australia.  It opened in its current premises in 2001 and now showcases 50,000 years of Indigenous heritage and largest collection of Indigenous bark painting and stone tools. It is not be missed if you are in Canberra.

The entrance.

Another landmark is Australian Parliament which houses the Senate and House of Representatives which makes laws and policies in Australia. It is a massive and beautiful structure under an impressive flagpole.  The foundation document of democracy, The Magna Carta 1297, is also housed here. In the forecourt of the building is a large ceremonial pool and a central island which has mosaic based on an Indigenous painting by Michael Nelson Jagamara.

The Australian Parliament.

House of Representatives.

The Senate and the Legislation.

Next is the Telstra Tower, a steel structure, 195 meters high at the top of the Black Mountain from where you get a 360 degrees view of the beautiful Canberra. There are two viewing platforms. The tower provides communication services for the National Capital. It opened in 1980.

Telstra Tower.

Canberra as seen from the top of the tower.

Among other landmarks are the Australian War Memorial, dedicated to the Australians who lost their lives for the country. Lake Burley Griffin is also a big tourist attraction particularly in the evenings when a lot of people go for walks and cycling here. The National Bonsai and Penjing Collection has some high quality bonsai plants and again is very popular with tourists for view of the city.

The War Memorial

Inside the memorial.

An evening at Lake Burley Griffin.








Top things to do in Southbank, Melbourne.

Melbourne is a beautiful city and has been rated as the most livable city for six consecutive years. The main business district in heart of town is called the CBD or the Central Business District. South of this suburb, 1 km down, lies the urban suburb called Southbank. On its north runs the Yarra river and to the east is St Kilda.

Before development began here it was an industrial area and now it is home to many high-rise buildings. There are many restaurants, hotels, bars and entertainment places.

If you really want to enjoy & know a city, you need to take a walk. In Melbourne, you can walk right up to the end of Southbank. The path lies next to Yarra,  is tree lined and particularly beautiful at night.

Most prominent landmarks down this route are given below. Check them out at leisure and enjoy Melbourne.

Sandridge Pedestrian Bridge. It is 178 m long and was re-opened in 2006 during Melbourne Commonwealth Games. Artist Nadim Karam has installed his very interesting artwork called The Traveller which welcomes the immigrants who arrived by train.

Polly Woodside Maritime Museum. Polly Woodside is an 1885 tall historic ship which has been rescued by the National Trust. It is originally from Ireland.

Eureka Skydeck 88. has the highest viewing platform in Southern Hemisphere. It is an absolutely must visit.

National Gallery of Victoria, oldest public art gallery and museum in Australia.

River Cruises, start and finish here.

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and Seafarers Bridge.

Crown Entertainment Complex, housing the largest Casino in Southern Hemisphere with hotels, bars, live shows, movies, shopping and a huge Food Court.

Melbourne Arts Centre is more of an institution with three theatres, State Theatre, Playbox and George Fairfax Studio.

The Southbank Promenade, running from Southgate Shopping Centre to The Crown Entertainment Complex.





















If you have never been to Brunetti, you don’t know what you have missed.



(picture from the internet)

Yes, absolutely, if you have never been to Brunetti you don’t know what you have missed in sweeter things in life. Whenever I am in Melbourne, I have to make at least one visit to this iconic shop on Lygon Street.


The history of Brunetti started in 1985 when the family started trading in Faraday Street.  They set up an authentic  Roman Pasticceria. The founder, Giorgio Angele had started really young at the age of 10 and thus had tremendous knowledge of cakes and pastries.

When he was 23 years old, he came to Australia with the Italian Olympic Team as their Pastry Chef in 1956. After working for some time he got an opportunity to permanently migrate to Australia. Since then he has been behind this iconic brand.

Be it Italian coffee from the Bar, or Cakes from Pasticceria or Gelato or tempting savoury, Melbournians have been loving his creations. In 2005 they opened another cafe in City Square and now they have three more in the city at Camberwell, in Myer’s and in the Domestic Terminal at the Melbourne Airport.

This rich Melbourne experience has helped them expand internationally. Tanglin Mall in Singapore opened with a Brunetti in 2011.  Honestly, it is really difficult to choose what to eat here since each of their creations are masterpieces.

Highly recommended for a visit, next time you are in Melbourne. If you live there, what are you waiting for?