Kelly Landry's challenge was to prove a romantic weekend for $500 can be had in the Sunshine Coast's Hinterland, a 90-minute drive from Brisbane. Scroll down to see how Kelly spent her $500 budget!
A relaxing place to wander around, there are around 600 stalls and it's more than just a market. Their motto is 'we make it, bake it, grow it, sew it'.
There are original artworks, sculptures, furniture, handmade toys, homewares, lovely old books, fashion and jewellery created by locals. You're bound to find a gift for your other half.
Stop for a bite to eat and choose from Thai cuisine, paella, laksa, seafood, coffee, chocolate, cakes and old fashioned lemonade. Fresh fruit, vegetables and bread, locally made cheeses and yoghurts are all there.
Health and wellbeing practitioners are there to guide you and you can visit a palm reader to see what tour future might hold.
The grand old Queenslander is on the outskirts of Eumundi in the Noosa Hinterland. It is on 1.2 hectares of gardens and orchards and is all about giving guests a memorable and relaxing stay.
It has two queen suites and a king suite with dayroom. Beautiful wrap-around verandahs are off the sitting room, which had an open fireplace, and overlook the saltwater pool and spa and views spread to Mount Eerwah. Surrounding hills are dotted with grazing cattle and horses, and if you're an early riser, you will see wallabies hopping about.
Breakfast can be served on the verandah or in your suite.
Musavale is owned and run by Joe and Chris, a husband and wife team with many years in the hospitality industry. Chris is a cordon bleu chef, trained in Switzerland, and his mouthwatering candlelit dinners on the verandahs are heavenly.
The Spirit House
Kelly says this place in Yandina has the romantic dinner down pat. It's a little piece of Thailand on what was once a horse paddock. The owners found the area lent itself to Thai cuisine with kaffir lime leaves, banana blossoms and leaves, papayas, lychees, chillies, lemongrass, Thai basil, coriander, pineapples and other crucial ingredients almost grow wild there.
The Spirit House's signature dish is crispy fish with tamarind chilli sauce and it has been on the menu since day one.
Lush gardens around a pond, bubbling waterfalls, tinkling wind chimes and the award-winning cuisine create delights for all the senses.
The Spirit House holds day and night cooking classes which are hugely popular and booked out months in advance.
They also run 'Tag Along Tours' to Thailand and Vietnam which specialise in off-the-beaten tourist track destinations, exploring the sights, sounds and tastes of the countries. They sound fantastic so check their website (details below).
Montville is a beautiful village in the hinterland, 400 metres above sea level. It's a charming place to wander, popping in to galleries, restaurants, wineries, cheese factories and craft and clothing shops.
Montville Bakery is a good option for lunch. Everything is made on site breads, pies pastries and cakes with tea or coffee make for the perfect break. The owners say first time visitors are convinced the baker must be French but no. He's an Aussie.
You could make a picnic of your purchases at Gardner's Falls and have a dip in the swimming hole.
Kondalilla Falls is also a beautiful place to visit. Enter a cool, wet eucalypt forest and walk to Picnic Creek. There's a lookout over Obi Obi Valley and a track winding through the forest.
It's a beautiful way to finish a romantic weekend.
The Sunshine Coast Hinterland, a 90-minute drive from Brisbane.
Eumundi Markets open on Wednesdays between 8am and 1.30pm and Saturdays between 6.30am and 2pm.
Musavale Lodge rooms start at $180 a night midweek and $240 on weekends. Afternoon tea, breakfast, snacks and port are included.
Spirit House is open for lunch every day from noon and dinner from 6pm from Wednesday to Saturday. Price ranges between $10 and $50. It is recommended you book well ahead. Four-and-a-half hour cooking classes are $125.
Montville Patisserie and Bakery is open between 7am and 4pm every day.
Prices correct at August 27, 2011.
For more information
73 Memorial Drive
Ph: (07) 5442 7106
55 Musavale Road
Eerwah Vale 4562
Ph: (07) 5442 8678
The Spirit House Restaurant
20 Ninderry Road
Ph: (07) 5446 8994
Montville Patisserie and Bakery
176 Main Street
Ph: (07) 5442 9487
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service
Level 4, 400 George Street
Ph: (07) 3330 5237
Breakdown of the family's $500 weekend:
- Lunch and massage $70
- Bed & Breakfast $240
- Dinner $80
- Lunch $40
- Petrol $60
- Total $490