117 best hotels in Australia based on customer feedback

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HotelCombined has released a list of the finalists in their first hotelier award for Australian hotels based on customer feedback.

The Recognition of Excellence Awards identifies the top, independent Australian hotels in each state and regional holiday area for outstanding customer satisfaction. Finalists are among the best hotels (by location) for customer service, with results compiled from detailed analysis of the website’s customer feedback.

The Awards are based on a range of criteria including:

  • Quality and consistency of guest reviews
  • Customer ratings
  • Absence of recurring or unresolved issues
  • Social media engagement on blogs, forums and social media posts

All of these hotels are placed within the top three percent of hotels worldwide.

Finalists and winners are representative of the highest standards in the industry, averaging 9.7 out of a possible 10 points – compared to the industry standard of 7.2.

The hotels are listed below by state:

New South Wales

NSW finalists, by region: Sydney

State Region Hotel name
NSW Sydney Adge Apartment Hotel
NSW Sydney Tara Guest House
NSW Sydney Darcys Hotel at Homebush
NSW Sydney Sydney Establishment Hotel
NSW Sydney Verona Guest House

 NSW finalists, by region: Central Coast

State Region Hotel name
NSW Central Coast Avoca Valley Bed and Breakfast
NSW Central Coast The Acreage Bed and Breakfast Central Coast

 NSW finalists, by region: Newcastle

State Region Hotel name
NSW Newcastle Brezza Bella Bed & Breakfast Newcastle
NSW Newcastle Stockton Beach Holiday Park
NSW Newcastle Newcastle’s Bed & Breakfast
NSW Newcastle Chaucer Palms Boutique Bed & Breakfast
NSW Newcastle Everton Apartments

 NSW finalists, by region: North Coast

State Region Hotel name
NSW North Coast Anchors B&B
NSW North Coast The Villas of Byron
NSW North Coast Santa Fe Luxury Bed & Breakfast
NSW North Coast Ballina Manor Boutique Hotel
NSW North Coast Beaches International

 NSW finalists, by region: South Coast

State Region Hotel name
NSW South Coast Snug Cove Villas
NSW South Coast Huskisson Bed and Breakfast
NSW South Coast Crystal Creek Meadows Luxury Cottages & Spa Retreat Kangaroo Valley
NSW South Coast Sails Luxury Apartments
NSW South Coast Kiama Harbour Cabins

 NSW finalists, by region: Snowy Mountains

State Region Hotel name
NSW Snowy Mountains Jindy Inn

 NSW finalists, by region: Blue Mountains

State Region Hotel name
NSW Blue Mountains Melba House
NSW Blue Mountains Edgelinks Country House
NSW Blue Mountains Katoomba Manor
NSW Blue Mountains Broomelea Bed & Breakfast
NSW Blue Mountains Valley of the Waters B&B Wentworth Falls

 NSW finalists, by region: Lord Howe Island

State Region Hotel name
NSW Lord Howe Island Capella Lodge
NSW Lord Howe Island Arajilla Retreat

 NSW finalists, by region: Hunter

State Region Hotel name
NSW Hunter A Room with a View Bed & Breakfast Hunter
NSW Hunter Nelson Bay Bed and Breakfast Hunter
NSW Hunter Thistle Hill Guesthouse Hunter
NSW Hunter Splinters Guest House Hunter Peaceful Palms B&B

Australian Capital Territory

ACT finalists, by region:

State Region Hotel name
ACT Canberra One of a Kind Apartments

South Australia

SA finalists, by region: Adelaide

State Region Hotel name
SA Adelaide Casavino Luxury Villas
SA Adelaide Bellevue Bed & Breakfast McLaren Vale
SA Adelaide Peppercorns Bed and Breakfast
SA Adelaide North Adelaide Heritage Cottages & Apartments
SA Adelaide Seawall Apartments Adelaide

SA finalists, by region: Adelaide Hills

State Region Hotel name
SA Adelaide Hills Amble at Hahndorf
SA Adelaide Hills Hahndorf Oak Tree Cottages
SA Adelaide Hills The Haus Studio Apartments

SA finalists, by region: Barossa

State Region Hotel name
SA Barossa Barossa Pavilions
SA Barossa Whistler Farm B&B
SA Barossa Lanzerac Country Estate

 SA finalists, by region: Limestone Coast

State Region Hotel name
SA Limestone Coast Mid City Motel Mount Gambier
SA Limestone Coast Colhurst House
SA Limestone Coast Alexander Cameron Motel and Apartments

SA finalists, by region: Kangaroo Island

State Region Hotel name
SA Kangaroo Island Stranraer Homestead Bed & Breakfast Kangaroo Island

Victoria

VIC finalists, by region: Melbourne

State Region Hotel name
VIC Melbourne Hilltop Studios Margaret River
VIC Melbourne Caroline Serviced Apartments
VIC Melbourne Moulton Park Cottages
VIC Melbourne Woolrich Historic Garden Accommodation
VIC Melbourne Tuck Inn

VIC finalists, by region: Great Ocean Road

State Region Hotel name
VIC Great Ocean Road The Camperdown Mill – South West Victoria
VIC Great Ocean Road Farmhouse Flat
VIC Great Ocean Road Cape Nelson Lighthouse
VIC Great Ocean Road QDOS Arts Treehouses
VIC Great Ocean Road Warrnambool CBD Townhouses

 VIC finalists, by region: Spa Country

State Region Hotel name
VIC Spa Country Town View Guesthouse
VIC Spa Country Pendower House
VIC Spa Country The Manse

VIC finalists, by region: Peninsula

State Region Hotel name
VIC Peninsula Flinders Hotel
VIC Peninsula Mornington Bed and Breakfast

Queensland

QLD finalists, by region: Brisbane

State Region Hotel name
QLD Brisbane Alex Perry Hotel & Apartments
QLD Brisbane Emporium Hotel
QLD Brisbane Number 12 B&B
QLD Brisbane The Collingwood
QLD Brisbane NICHE Small Luxury Hotel Springfield Lakes

 QLD finalists, by region: Gold Coast

State Region Hotel name
QLD Gold Coast The Mouses House Rainforest Retreat
QLD Gold Coast Allisee Apartments Gold Coast
QLD Gold Coast Rainbow Bay Resort
QLD Gold Coast 2nd Avenue Beachside Apartments
QLD Gold Coast Ocean Sands Resort Gold Coast
QLD Gold Coast Ambience Apartments On Burleigh Beach Gold Coast

QLD finalists, by region: Sunshine Coast

State Region Hotel name
QLD The Sunshine Coast The Mirage Alexandra Headland
QLD The Sunshine Coast Coolum Seaside Apartments
QLD The Sunshine Coast RACV Resort Noosa
QLD The Sunshine Coast Sandy Beach Resort Noosa
QLD The Sunshine Coast Noosa Riviera Resort

 QLD finalists, by region: Whitsundays

State Region Hotel name
QLD Whitsundays Pinnacles Resort
QLD Whitsundays Mirage Whitsundays
QLD Whitsundays Coral Sea Resort Airlie Beach

QLD finalists, by region: Central Queensland

State Region Hotel name
QLD Central Queensland 1770 Getaway
QLD Central Queensland Emerald Motel Apartments
QLD Central Queensland Gladstone Central Plaza Apartment Hotel
QLD Central Queensland Empire Apartment Hotel Rockhampton

QLD finalists, by region: Tropical North Queensland

State Region Hotel name
QLD Tropical North Queensland Kookas Bed & Breakfast
QLD Tropical North Queensland Bellevue at Trinity Beach
QLD Tropical North Queensland Frangipani Bed & Breakfast
QLD Tropical North Queensland Balboa Holiday Apartments
QLD Tropical North Queensland On the Wallaby Backpackers Lodge

Western Australia

WA finalists, by region: Perth

State Region Hotel name
WA Perth Manuel Towers
WA Perth Durack House Bed and Breakfast
WA Perth Burns Beach Bed & Breakfast
WA Perth Lazy River Boutique Bed and Breakfast
WA Perth COMO The Treasury

WA finalists, by region: Australia’s Coral Coast

State Region Hotel name
WA Australia’s Coral Coast Ningaloo Bed and Breakfast

 WA finalists, by region: Australia’s South West

State Region Hotel name
WA South West Prideau’s of Margaret River
WA South West Rosewood Guesthouse
WA South West Riveresque Hotel Margaret River
WA South West Bushy Lake Chalets
WA South West A Vintners Retreat Bed and Breakfast

WA finalists, by region: Australia’s North West

State Region Hotel name
WA North West Broome Town Bed & Breakfast
WA North West The Billi Resort
WA North West Bali Hai Resort & Spa
WA North West Moonlight Bay Suites
WA North West Blue Seas Resort

Northern Territory

NT finalists, by region: Darwin

State Region Hotel name
NT Darwin Darwin Waterfront Luxury Suites
NT Darwin Quest Berrimah Apartments
NT Darwin H 105 Mitchell Hotels & Apartments

Tasmania

TAS finalists

State Region Hotel name
TAS Hobart Apartments on Star Hobart
TAS Hobart Islington Hotel
TAS Hobart Corinda’s Cottages
TAS Coles Bay Freycinet Retreat
TAS Swansea Wagners Cottages

HotelsCombined (hotelscombined.com.au) is the world’s leading hotel price comparison platform.

List of Australian Paleo Websites

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Here is a list of some of the Australian based Paleo and primal food bloggers and websites:

Photo by Jan

Directory of Paleo and Primal Food in Australia

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Here’s our super long list of paleo and primal food in Australia.

Australia wide

Tip – Just ask your local butcher if the meat is grass fed? And how it is finished? We were surprised to find grass fed meat is often not advertised.

  • Almond butter – Macro – Woolworths
  • Chocolate – look for sugar free brands – Lindt 85%, Green and Blacks 85% – Woolworths, Coles, IGA
  • Organic dates –  Coles but not Woolworths
  • Coconut milk and cream with no additives/emulsifiers etc: Ayam-brand coconut milk in the Asian section. There is also an organic line. – Woolworths.
  • Coconut yoghurt: Coyo
  • Grass fed meat – Aldi, Coles, Woolworths
  • Organic shredded coconut, Macro-brand: Woolworths
  • Chocolate, coconut sugar etc – Loving Earth
  • Free range chicken – Coles and Woolworths
  • 180 nutrition protein powder
  • Paleo Hero – muesli, bars and supplements
  • Grass fed butter – Mainland Butter and Anchor butter and Westgold
  • beef jerky – Geronimo Jerky
  • Organic coconut oil
  • Nuilife coconut oil
  • Spiral Foods coconut oil
  • Various – Honest to Goodness

Adelaide and South Australia

  • Meat – organic/grass-fed etc: P&O organic butchers, located in the city in the David Jones basement in Food Glorious Food, and also on Magill Road. The Magill Road one is far more useful if you are looking for the more ‘uncommon’ parts of meat.
  • Coconut Oil – available in several places in and around the Central Market, but for the best value/selection I go to Goodies and Grains in the Central Markets (Gouger St side).
  • Coconut Flour – order it through the health food store in Burnside Village.
  • Spices/nuts/dutch pressed cocoa/agave nectar – Goodies and Grains in Central Market

Brisbane and Queensland

  • Grass fed beef: Super Butchers have a wide selection of grass-fed beef.
  • Grass fed meat: Meatcart – Online butchers
  • Queensland Natural Beef at Toogoolawah have grass-fed beef, lamb and pork
  • Gympie St Terrace Butchery is the place to go. You can even order nitrate free bacon before hand. It’s all grass fed and local meats.
  • My Butcher in Duke St also stock some pretty darned nice beef
  • Eumundi has an organic butcher as well
  • Northey Markets – stock ‘bath’ milk

Canberra and Australian Capital Territory

  • Coconut flour: Healthy life, Woden Westfield. IGA Deakin
  • Griffith shops has an organic butcher
  • Mountain Creek Whole Foods
  • Nut Shoppe at the Fyshwick markets good for coconut flour and oils and nuts

Melbourne and Victoria

  • Supplements and stock Wicked Whey (choc) and Naked Whey (unflavoured), which are good, clean, locally-made, grass-fed whey protein products – Great Earth
  • Kefir – Polish deli at Vic Market
  • Rendina’s Butchery in Balwyn stock a huge range of organic, bio-dynamic and free-range meats, including homemade smallgoods (and are lovely people).
  • The Vic Market is great with loads of super fresh organic veggies, nuts and spices, and the Chicken Pantry in the shop section sells free range and some organic poultry and game. McIntosh’s sell organic coffee beans.
  • Cherry Tree Organics in Beaconsfield are butchers selling their own organic/bio-dynamic lamb and beef as well as pork, chicken and smallgoods. They also have vegetables and some fruit and order bath milk for anyone who likes to take milk baths. They also stock True Organic butter and cheeses.
  • I get coconut flour, flakes, and a couple of different brands of oil from Go Vita Berwick

Perth and Western Australia

  • Free range eggs – Wanneroo markets, local IGAs have Kalbarri eggs
  • Pork Crackle- there’s a local brand called Alan’s Pork Crackle, based in Maddington, you have to hunt down which local IGAs or Farmer Jacks stock them.
  • Spices, alternative flours, chia seeds etc – Wanneroo markets.
  • Coconut flour – Health Kick stores have Nui brand, can ask them to order it in
  • Coconut oil – Health Kick stores and some Friendlies Chemists have them too.
  • Cocoa powder Green and Blacks- Health Kick stores
  • Grass Fed Beef at Subiaco’s farmer’s markets and frozen raw cows milk

Sydney and New South Wales

  • Grassfed beef: Hudson meats in Surry Hills is almost exclusively grass fed. Additionally, I just asked my local butcher, Michael’s Meats (very well priced, in the Surry Hills shopping village) whether his meat was grass fed and he said that almost all of it is. Additionally, Eveleigh Markets near Sydney University on a Saturday grass fed beef stall (Green Hills Organic).
  • grassfed beef, lamb and goat from farms in Bowral – Sydney Meats, Farm Fresh to your Door
  • Fivefingers in Sydney City. They are Australian priced though so cost way more than in the USA. Excellent customer service!
  • Kefir grains, coconut yoghurt and macadamia butter: About Life in Bondi Junction, Sydney
  • Enoki mushrooms – Paddy’s Markets mushroom stand for $1.50 a bunch. Asian Thai-kee IGA above China Town Paddy’s Markets has the same enoki for $1.90
  • Coconut/palm sugar: Thai kee IGA above Paddy’s Markets in Chinatown. They have all the dried seaweeds (and some fresh (frozen) too.
  • The Free Range Butcher, Sydney
  • the Grass Fed Butcher, Balmain markets
  • Nitrite free bacon: Sam the Butcher, Bondi Rd, Bondi.
  • Spaghetti squash: Norton St Grocer in Westfield, Bondi Junction
  • Real sauerkraut: the Russkis Deli on Bond Rd, Bondi
  • Adam’s Quality Meats in Gerringong, NSW has only grass-fed beef and lamb.

Global

  • Supplements – iherb.com – the best place to buy affordable vitamins

Please leave a comment below if you have anything to add or would like your company to be listed.

Australian Paleo Meetup Groups

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There are Paleo meet-up groups in all states of Australia. Meetup helps groups of people with shared interests plan events and facilitates off line group meetings in various localities around the world. For example, the meet-up groups may arrange local dinners, barbecues, picnics, or talks. Meetups are a great way of meeting new people and finding out about Paleo suppliers in your area.

Here is a list of the Paleo Meetup groups in Australia:

It’s free to join up.

Interview with Scott Shoemaker, Yogurtland

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We chatted with Scott Shoemaker, Head Flavourologist of Yogurtland.

1. Tell us about Yogurtland

Yogurtland opened its first location in 2006, introducing a new approach to self-service frozen yogurt – allowing customers to select from 16 premium flavours with a vast array of toppings. You may see others offer self-service but all are a flattering copy of what Yogurtland started eight years ago.  Something else that sets Yogurtland apart from the rest is our own, proprietary flavours, made from real ingredients sourced from their original locations, such as Madagascar vanilla beans from Madagascar and Maqui Berry from Patagonia. No other yoghurt chain offers such original flavours and exciting combinations such as Salted Caramel Pecan, Blackberry Passion Fruit, Lychee, and Dragon Passion Fruit.

2. What does a head flavourologist do?

I have an amazing staff that assists me as we search for new, innovative and cravable flavours. We have developed a philosophy here in the Product Development Department at Yogurtland which is “an empathetic pallet”. We first do a lot of investigating to understand what people expect in a flavour. For example, not everyone likes the same kind of mango, yet they each expect to find the mango that they have come to know in their lifetime in our  Yogurtland flavour. We accomplish this by blending several mangos from around the world so that our customers can find the flavour that they expect. Our goal is to “evoke an emotional response in our customers – that “aha” moment when they recognise the flavour they expect.  So my job is to manage this process, learn what our customers want, taste flavour ingredients to match those expectations and test each batch of product that is produced to make sure it meets our standards.

3. What is your most popular selling frozen yoghurt?

Our most popular flavour is different in each location. In California, plain tart is our most popular, everyday flavour. In other parts of the US and Australia, dutch chocolate, Madagascar vanilla, and strawberry are the most popular. We have special flavours that are also very popular, depending on the time of year – such as chocolate milkshake, salted caramel Pecan and strawberry lemonade sorbet.

4. What do you love about frozen yoghurt?

The versatility of the flavour option is great. We’ve created over 100 different flavours and we still have lots more to share with our customers. I like that we can provide our customers with a bit of indulgence and a healthier alternative that other treats – in a non-fat base and with live and active probiotics.

5. What is your favourite flavour combination?

My personal favourite is toasted coconut with fresh fruit. It’s one of my regular go-to servings.

6. Which frozen yoghurt is your favourite to make and to eat?

I like the nut butters with caramel. Besides salted caramel pecan, we have caramel almond bar and others under development.

7. What’s the biggest mistake people make when preparing dessert?

The two most common shortcomings are not planning ahead and the quality of ingredients. You will never get better than the quality of ingredients in the mix.

8. Best piece of cooking advice.

When I cook, I always read several recipes before I start. What I end up with is usually a combination of the different recipes. My other advice, take a chance. Mistakes are great learning opportunities.

9.  What’s your favourite cooking product?

I actually have three favourites – my spices and cheeses. I am careful to search for the most flavourful spices. Often I will create my own. I am a big fan of Latin style foods. I search for flavourful spices, never keeping them long so that they are always robust in flavour. I roast my own chillis, never buying canned or mixes. I am famous with my friends and family for cheese blends in my cooking, even for something as simple as a grilled cheese sandwich.

10. Do you have a favourite cookbook?

I have quite an eclectic collection. I am a fan of chefs such as Thomas Keller and Rick Bayless and have several cookbooks from both chefs. My favourite cookbook, however, is the Internet. There is so much information available to all and so much creativity that is shared.

Thank you Scott Shoemaker, Yogurtland for taking the time to talk to us.

Willie Smiths, dcider and Batlow cider review

Despite the drizzly rain, we decided to spend our Saturday at the Pig and Whistle’s Fluid Festival. I tried three new exciting ciders I’d like to share with you:

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Willie Smiths Organic apple cider is made from 100% organic apples grown on the farm at Grove in the Huon Valley, Tasmania. It is Australian’s first certified organic Cidery. It had a nice cloudy and pronounced apple taste. I liked it!

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Next I tried the dcider with its distinctive pink labelling. The company is barely a year old and is already winning fans. It’s made with no added sugar and not from concentrate. It has a clean apple taste and is not overly sweet.

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Batlow Premium Cider is the all round good guy of ciders, with 3 and half freshly crushed batlow apples in each bottle and no added sugar. It was very drinkable and refreshing.

Overall three great new ciders to add to my favourites list.

Australian Daintree tea by The Tea Centre review

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The Tea Centre sells two loose leaf teas that are made from Australian tea – Australian Daintree and Australian Sencha.

We decided to taste test the Australian Daintree. It’s a pleasant mild tea which has an earthy taste. Although it is a black tea it brews to a reddish brown shade.

The tea can be taken with or without milk or used to make iced tea. Some chefs even use it as an additive for smoking their fish and meat!

The tea is grown on the Cubbagudta (means rainy place) plantation, which is located in Northern Queensland, just north of Port Douglas. The tea is grown along the fringes of the Daintree rainforest. I was pleased to hear that the plantation does not use pesticides and so the tea contains no pesticide residues or tannic acid.

The plantation is a family owned and operated business and features in the AUSBUY guide as 100% Australian.

Don’t forget to add your tea leaves to compost as they make a great fertiliser.

A great everyday tea that’s Aussie made.

Australian Daintree loose leaf tea
The Tea Centre

Books and ebooks for GAPS and SCD

Here are a list of great resources for anyone on following GAPS or SCD.

Books

Cookbooks

Cookbooks – Others

Ebooks and online courses

Getting started in chickens

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I’ve been doing some research on keeping chickens in our backyard. We are allowed six fowls according to the Brisbane City Council:

Household premises with a total area of more than 800 square metres can keep up to 20 fowl, including ducks, geese and peacocks without a permit.

If your residential premises has a total area less than 800 square metres you can keep up to six fowl.

Poultry sheds must be set back at least one metre from a dividing fence.

I’m pretty sure we will just keep chickens as Matt says ducks and geese are really messy. I was expecting to see something in the law about not allowing roosters.

I’m tossing up between Australorps which Jackie French raves about – they are good layers and make good eating. They are docile, great mothers and are good if you have children. Better yet, they are an Australian breed so they are adjusted to our climate. Silkies will leave your vegetable beds alone and make excellent pets for kids. They are placid and tolerate being handled. We eventually decided on three Australorps, so that we’ll have enough eggs for ourselves and some extra to sell or give away.

You’ll need:

  • chook house, which includes weatherproof shelter and a perch
  • nest and laying box
  • dummy egg
  • organic feed, eg from Country Heritage Feeds
  • water
  • shell grit and dirt

Jackie French suggests growing the following plants for chooks:

  • Amaranth
  • Avocado trees
  • Carob
  • Chilacayote melons
  • Fruit trees
  • Grains and maize
  • Nuts
  • Potatoes (cooked)
  • Quinoa
  • Sunflowers
  • Tree lucerne
  • as well as sweet potato, pumpkin, arrowroot, chestnuts, honey locust, taro, yams, kumara, jerusalem artichoke, and chokos.

Others have suggested comfrey and herbs to repel lice and intestinal worms, including feverfew, tansy, rue and wormwood. It’s ideal to plant these around the chook house.

Chickens

Chicken coops

Chicken accessories

Books

  • Backyard Poultry Naturally – Alanna Moore
  • Chook Book – Jackie French (excellent)
  • Healthy Free Range hens – Neil Christensen
  • How to Care for Your Poultry – New Zealand Lifestyle Block
  • Keeping Chickens – An Australian Guide

Resources