Food Photography, travel, travel photo, Wellbeing

Grampians Olive Co, The Grampians

Grampians Olive Co. Website

Grampians Olive Co. Full Video

Since moving to Melbourne 3 years ago, we hadn’t actually ventured to the Grampians. There are so many beautiful places for us to still see, so to say we were excited when planning our trip to The Grampians is an understatement.

It was such an enjoyable drive, we stopped at Ballarat along the way for brekkie. We dined at Yellow Espresso. They have a fun menu and the Gold Rush smoothie was yum!  I really love Ballarat and can’t wait to return!

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We arrived at the Grampians Olive Co. around 12pm and met with Greg. We decided to start the tour down where the olives were being harvested, so we could see the tractor they use in action. It was a short drive from the farm shop, enjoyable as the landscape is simply stunning.

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Grampians Olive Co. produces organic olive oil, meaning they do not use pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilisers.

There are over 28,000 olive trees on the 1000 acre property which blows my mind. The trees have been planted in a way that assists with halting any spread of disease. I found it really interesting to learn they do not have any sort of irrigation in place and are solely reliant on rainfall to water the trees.

There are also 27 varieties of olive including some rare varieties. Did you also know, it takes 7kgs of olives to make 1 litre of oil?

The tractor that they use to harvest the olives is so fascinating. An arm tightens around the stump of the tree. A vibration is sent to the tree, causing the olives to fall off. The yellow canvas then acts as a canopy to catch the olives as they fall from the tree. Once finished the canvas retracts and they can move onto the next tree.

This was one of my favourite parts of the tour! I honestly had never seen anything like this.

Photo 1-6-18, 9 22 19 amInside the tractor, lots of olives from the tree!

I found it interesting that there were several sheep on the property. I learnt that they play a vital role in maintaining the olive grove. While they eat the grass and any tree shoots, they also provide natural fertiliser to the trees.

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This here is called “pomace” which is the solid remains of the olives. It reminded me of tapenade however this is not to be eaten. This will actually be composted and put back into the soil to provide essential nutrients for the trees.

Once harvested the olives go through a wash in rainwater, they are then pressed to form a paste. Again, this reminds me of tapenade – yum!

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The machines that are used to press the olives are called Pieralisi. The brand Pieralisi was started by a gentleman called Adeodato Pieralisi in Monsano, Italy in 1888.

The final process is the oil being separated from the paste (tapenade to me).
It is then ready to bottle!

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A sample of oil straight from the press. It tasted so fresh, and had a peppery bite to it. Amazing to think I was tasting oil that came from a tree I just saw being harvested.

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Back in the Farm Shop there are many oils to purchase, including gift packs and other local produce. I picked up a box of 6 infused oils for $40 which I think is great value. I can’t wait to use the Blood Orange infused oil!

They also sell olives in the jar, so I grabbed one of those too.

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While the Grampians Olive Co. offers free tastings, you can also enjoy a tasting platter on the premises for an added cost. The bread dipped in the infused oils was so tasty, and the olives divine!

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While enjoying your tasting platter, you can also indulge in a coffee or, in my case, a jasmine tea. It was lovely sitting by the window enjoying this in the Farm Shop after the tour.

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The Grampians Olive Co. often hosts wood fired pizza days, be sure to check with them when the next one is as they have a beautiful seating area which would be a great spot to enjoy some yummy pizza!

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Thank you to Greg and the team for such a great tour. You are doing great things for Australian Produce!

A big thank you to Adele from Adele Feletto Publicity for organising an amazing tour.

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We left with a bunch of knowledge and a real appreciation for good quality produce.I recommend you pop along for a tour when you can! Tell them Renee sent you!

Have a wonderful week,

Renee
x

 

adventure, Hawaii, Hawaiian adventure, travel, travel blogger, travel photo, travel photography, wonderlust

Dirty 30 in Hawaii

Having travelled to mainland America twice, visiting Hawaii was a new experience. I always thought it would be like the Gold Coast, and while it does have its similarities, you just need to look past the tourist Waikiki to see its real beauty.

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Where to stay
I stayed at the Ohana Waikiki East by Outrigger which is located on Kaiulani Avenue and is in walking distance. Although this isn’t as flash as it’s sister, Outrigger Waikiki (pictured above), it still was an enjoyable stay in a fantastic location. The staff were so welcoming and hospitable and went out of their way to help me with various deliveries on my birthday. When I return to Waikiki, I will most definitely stay at the Ohana Waikiki East by Outrigger.

What to eat
Food and cocktails are in abundance in Waikiki. You will never go hungry or thirsty. I did find the food to be quite expensive and would definitely recommend taking it into consideration when budgeting your trip. For instance a cocktail was roughly $16, add tax and your tip and I would consider it more expensive than Australia. In saying that, you are on holidays, go crazy!

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We enjoyed a lovely dinner at The Veranda, located in the Moana Surfrider. Our host looked after us, even bringing me a glass of pink bubbles to celebrate my birthday! The food was fresh and cooked to perfection.

Of course, we headed to The Royal Hawaiian for their pink pancakes! The Royal Hawaiian is one of my favourite buildings in Waikiki. Its pink! It’s also beautifully furnished and lush. My favourite shop is in there also, Malie Organics.

No trip to Hawaii is without a visit to The Cheesecake Factory. The food servings here were MASSIVE and the menu had all sorts of yummy things. You simply cannot visit The Cheesecake Factory without having a sample of cheesecake. We were so full after our main meals (they call them Entrees in America) we share one between three. So good!

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Some other food to try while there is shrimp. Many food trucks sell these delicious morsels of garlic goodness. You can pick other sauces and they are served with rice and a small salad.

A quick visit to the Dole Plantation is recommended, even if it is to sample the Pineapple Soft Serve with fresh Pineapple!

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Things to do
A visit to Pearl Harbour will move you and you will be glad you visited. This is a touching tribute to those that lost their lives. You will learn more as you watch a movie on the events that unfolded that fateful day, before boarding a boat that takes you to the memorial.

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One of the most amazing things I did was visit the home of Doris Duke. Doris Duke completed the build of Shangri La, an Islamic-style mansion from 1936 to 1938 and has been filled with some amazing Islamic art. The home has the most wonderful gardens.
I absolutely adore Doris Duke, although she was an heiress, and a very wealthy one, she lived a grand life that seemed to hold no boundaries. That I admire. Tours must be booked in advance through the Honolulu Museum of Art.

Kualoa ranch was another fun outing we did. The package we purchased included transport and lunch. We selected to do an ATV tour as part of it, which was so amazing!! I haven’t had that much fun in ages!

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We also did a movie set tour and got to see where they filmed part of Jurassic World! It was so cool!!

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And of course if you have time after all of that, then hire a car and do a drive around the Island. It’s easy to do, car hire is reasonable and getting off the beaten track will show you more of what Waikiki has to offer.

I hope you enjoyed reading!

Mahalo!

Renee

 

adventure, fitness, travel, travel blogger, travel photography, Uncategorized, wonderlust

Dazzling Dubai

After spending 2 short nights in Dubai, I could definitely return in a heartbeat. Two nights simply wasn’t enough. The architecture is stunning. To think, only a handful of years ago Dubai was pure desert.

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We flew into Abu Dhabi and had a taxi drive us to Dubai. From memory it wasn’t too expensive and the drive was interesting. It is basically one long stretch of road.

I picked the Madinat Dar Al Masyaf, part of the Madinat Jumeirah properties. We were not disappointed. Arriving at 7 in the morning, our attendant had a room ready and we were even upgraded! It was so nice being able to have a nice shower before starting our day.

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The rooms are beautifully styled featuring traditional Emirati styling. The bathroom luxurious with full-sized toiletries (my favourite!). Turn down service was prompt each night and it was so lovely coming back to the room with our slippers laid out next to the bed plus little treats like sparkling wine and fruit.

One of the main reasons I chose this property to stay at was the beautiful views of the Burj Al Arab from the beach. Also, the beach front position was also a major drawcard, the water here was so perfection. Think crystal clear waters and white as snow sand.

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While staying at the property you have the choice of taking the Abra, a traditional Emirati boat, or a buggy around the grounds. This makes jumping from restaurant or pool so easy to do, and helps to keep you out of the sun.

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While visiting Dubai, you must do a sand dune tour. What fun! 4WD through crazy sand dunes was so exhilarating, although best not to do after a meal. You end up at a property in the desert for dinner, belly dancing and other traditional Emirati entertainment.

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Please let me know if you are planning a trip to Dubai, I have some excellent restaurants I would love to share with you!

Renee x

adventure, travel, travel blogger, travel photography, wonderlust

Old London Town

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I have been lucky enough to visit London twice now. My first trip was in May 2011 with my mum and then in May 2015 with my Husband on our Honeymoon.

London makes me so happy. The amazing Tube system and those red double decker buses. It’s also where I fell in love with Sephora, before it was a thing here in Australia.

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I have stayed at 2 amazing properties. The exclusive Hotel 41 and the Hotel Megaro.
Hotel 41 was an amazing experience, and the whole time we were treated as VIP’s. Every little detail was looked after, even down to the towels with my initials. The only exception is the rooms are incredibly small but easy enough to deal with when you are overlooking the majestic Royal Mews.
Hotel Megaro was in a great location opposite St Pancras, the gateway to Paris and beyond on the Eurostar. The room was incredibly spacious, quiet and an affordable price. It was also next to a delicious laksa restaurant!

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There are so many beautiful sights and things to do, Buckingham Palace is a must. We also visited the Royal Mews and were able to view the different carriages, even the one Kate used for her 2011 wedding.
A trip to Harrods is a must, even if it is to look at the stunning food hall with every food you can imagine from delicious cakes to any seafood you could think of. I must admit, I am a little obsessed with Harrods tea towels so always make a beeline for the Harrods merchandise. I found the Late Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed memorial very touching, and something you may find interesting if you are fond of the Royals.

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Don’t even get me started on the amazing food and world-famous restaurants. In other parts of the world, restaurant’s use a rating system called the Michelin Star (in Australia it’s Chef Hats). I will be doing a separate post on our amazing experience at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, where I have been able to dine at twice and is a must do!

London Must Do’s!

Where to stay
* Hotel Megaro – https://sphg.co.uk/megaro-hotel-kings-cross-london/
* Hotel 41 – https://www.41hotel.com

Where to eat
* Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
* Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
* High Tea at The Ritz

What to do
* Visit the Royal Mews
* Walk the various gardens scattered through London
* Have a selfie out the front of Buckingham Palace
* Jump on a double decker bus and see where it takes you

Tell me what you love about London and where I should visit next!