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.

Top food trends at the moment

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Just for a bit of fun, I thought I’d list the top food trends of the moment:

  1. Coconut products – coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut yoghurt. Did you know you could even get coconut vinegar and coconut sugar?
  2. Fermented foods – are sell outs at our local markets, but I’m starting to see it pop up in the popular press with recipes for people to try making them at home.
  3. Bacon wrapped foods – including plaited bacon covering roasts and eggs wrapped in bacon ‘muffins’.
  4. Whole roasted cauliflower
  5. Grass-fed meat – because it is healthier for you and healthier for the animals. It’s starting to appear in the major supermarkets.
  6. Drinking out of glass jars and old-fashioned milk bottles. Now selling in Kmart.
  7. Boutique coffee roasters
  8. Sugar-free diet. Lead by Sarah Wilson and her I Quit Sugar books.
  9. The paleo diet.
  10. Watercress is the new kale. Recently topping a super foods list.

Ghee and lard, intermittent fasting and making your own alternate milks just missed out. I’ve also noticed pineapple motifs are becoming popular.

What food trends have you noticed recently?

Photo by Jan

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.

The top 49 essential cookbooks as voted for on Food52.com

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Here’s a list of the top 49 essential cookbooks as voted for on Food52.com are as follows in order of most votes:

70 – How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
62 – Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child
41 – Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser
49 – Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
37 – Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
37 – Silver Palate Cookbook by Rosso & Lukins
37 – The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters
37 – Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan
32 – Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
31 – Barefoot Contessa by Ina Garten
29 – The Way to Cook by Julia Child
26 – The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers
25 – The Gourmet Cookbook by Ruth Reichl
23 – Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson
23 – Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Going
23 – The Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham
23 – Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
21 – Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen
21 – The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
20 – The Flavor Bible by Page and Dornenburg
20 – Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller
19 – The Italian Baker – Carol Field
19 – Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan
18 – Complete Asian Cookbook – Charmaine Solomon
18 – All About Braising by Molly Stevens
17 – Twelve, A Tuscan Cookbook – Tessa Kiros
17 – New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne
17 – Delia Smiths’s Christmas – Delia Smith
17 – Apples for Jam – Tessa Kiros
17 – America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
16 – Seafood Cookbook – Pierre Franey & Bryan Miller
16 – Saved by Soup – Judith Barrett
16 – Regional Foods of Northern Italy – Marlena de Blasi
16 – Jamie’s 30-minute Meals – Jaime Oliver
16 – Flour by Joanne Chang
16 – Bistro Cooking by Patrica Wells
16 – A Passion for Piedmont – Matt Kramer
15 – Betty Crocker Cookbook– Betty Crocker
14 – Silver Spoon
13 – Tender by Nigel Slater
13 – New Best Recipe by Cook’s Illustrated
13 – Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook, Alice Waters
12 – Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper by Kasper and Swift
12 – Ratio by Michael Ruhlman
12 – The New Basics Cookbook by Rosso and Lukins
12 – Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook by Martha Stewart
12 – Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
12 – The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham

What is on your list of essential cookbooks?

The Ultimate List of Top Chocolatiers in the World

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Here’s a list of some of the most famous producers of the world’s finest chocolate. MC means that they have been given the title master chocolatier.

My favourite chocolate is Camille Bloch. We had little squares of the Swiss chocolate as favours at our wedding.

Who is your favourite chocolate producer?

Austria

Belgium

Canada

France

Germany

Italy

Luxembourg

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

United Kingdom

The United States of America

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

List of biological dentists in Australia

I love this video by David Wolf on how to care for your teeth.

Next time you get your teeth checked look for a biological dentist or a holistic dentist.

If you think you might need fillings make sure you ask for someone who does mercury (amalgam) free fillings.

A good biological dentist will remove any existing mercury fillings safely using a rubber dam and dispose of them correctly. Make sure they have a follow-up protocol.

Your teeth are alive, so look after them.

Here is a list of some of the biological dentists I am aware of:

Queensland

New South Wales

South Australia

Victoria

New Zealand

  • Dr Gregory Gibb, Auckland
  • Dr Mike Godrey, Bay of Plenty

Please leave a comment below if you  have seen any other holistic dentists and can recommend them.

If you are passionate about this subject, you can visit:

Australians for Mercury Free Dentistry
www.facebook.com/MercuryFree

www.twitter.com/Aus4MercuryFree

The Essential List of Fruit Trees for Brisbane Backyards

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I decided to expand our selection of fruit trees in our backyard. Unfortunately, I didn’t own any useful gardening books on fruit trees, particularly ones that would help me decide which fruit trees are suitable for Brisbane’s climate and are less than 5 metres so that I can cram in a ton of different trees.

Fruit trees for Brisbane

Here’s my mega list of fruit trees suitable for Brisbane:

  • acerola cherry
  • apples, dwarf sub-tropical (Golden Dorsett , Tropical Anna, Tropical Sweet)
  • avocado, dwarf
  • banana
  • barbados cherry
  • blueberries (Sharp Blue – self-pollinating and low chill)
  • calamondin
  • crab apple
  • custard apple
  • dragon fruit
  • fig
  • grapes
  • grumichama
  • guava
  • jaboticaba
  • lemon
  • lime
  • longan (protected from birds and possums)
  • lychee
  • macadamia (pot)
  • mandarin, dwarf (freemont)
  • mango, dwarf
  • mulberry, dwarf (red shatoot)
  • native raspberry (scrambling bush)
  • nectarine (low chill)
  • orange – washington; Lanes late; Valencia and red ruby;
  • pawpaw
  • pepino
  • persimmon (but you’d need to prune it to under 5m)
  • pomegranate
  • plumcote
  • pomelo
  • sea grape tree
  • soursop
  • tamarillos
  • thai apple

Thank you to the knowledgeable people on the Brisbane Local Food ning who helped to compile this great list of small Brisbane suitable fruit trees.

I’d love to hear if you are successfully growing any other fruit trees in the Brisbane area?

If you live outside of Brisbane, you may like the list of trees for a suburban food forest.