Peaceful Songbirds Rainforest Retreat

The end of another competition season means it is time to take a break from training to relax, revive, and rejuvenate. This year my partner, Matt Levy (Paralympic swimmer), and I had the pleasure of spending five indulgent nights at Songbirds Rainforest Retreat in Queensland’s picturesque Tambourine Mountain. Songbirds boasts six luxurious villas and an award-winning restaurant, situated on 50+ acres of pristine emerald rainforest.

Plush King Bed

Our beautifully appointed villa was private and comfortable with everything we needed for a relaxing and peaceful getaway. We felt absolutely spoiled with a plush king-size bed, double spa bath, cosy lounge, gas ember fire place, entertainment system with cable TV, fully stocked bar, and an outdoor deck with spectacular rainforest views. Complimentary tea and coffee is standard in most places, but Songbirds even made that extravagant providing a Delonghi Nespresso Machine with a range of complimentary coffee pods & milk. And for those rare non-coffee drinkers, there was also T2 Tea available in the most adorable little tea pot set.

Rainforest views

If you have read my previous blogs you will know I love nature and animals. Minutes into our stay at Songbirds I spied a Regents Bowerbird making a nest just meters from our balcony. Wildlife euthanises will find themselves in heaven here! As well as wallabies, we spotted many different birds including a very friendly native brush turkey that passed our villa daily.

Native wildlife and vegetation

As a wheelchair user I found Songbirds to be mostly accessible, with the only obstacle some steps on entry to our villa. I could see this easily overcome with a BYO portable ramp or, in my case, a strong man to do all the heavy lifting. Accessibility inside the villa was easy and the bathroom had plenty of space to manoeuvre a wheelchair. However, there are no grab rails inside the bathroom and if you require a showerchair you will need to BYO. The restaurant and reception are accessible only via the staff entrance unless you can manage a gravel path.

Our Villa

Songbirds restaurant is a must! We went for lunch and our meals were exceptional. Staff apologized for not having one ingredient on my partners seafood dish, but generously replaced it with caviar! My dessert, a crème brulee with caramel popcorn was pure decadence! It tasted so good with exquisite presentation, no question why this is an award-winning restaurant!

Our stay exceeded our expectations! Songbirds Rainforest Retreat was truly the perfect place to unwind, recover, and chill-out after such a busy year. If you are looking for a romantic getaway, midweek break, or a stunning venue for a wedding or special function, I highly recommend checking out Songbirds. Thank you Bonnie and crew for your five-star hospitality and superb service. We look forward to our next stay with you!

Photo credits: S.Seipel.


Hila Upcycle – saving our planet!

One of the many things I love about kayaking is that I get to train on the beautiful waterways around the Gold Coast and Brisbane.  During a session, I usually see a range of wildlife enjoying the water from ducks, swans, cormorants, kingfishers and other birds, to water dragons (lizards) and numerous unidentified fish that unexpectedly jump out of the water and scare the life out of you!

Unfortunately, I also see a lot of rubbish floating around in the water mostly, glass bottles and plastic materials.  So, I did a little research and discovered that inorganic waste such as plastic and glass takes a very long time to decompose, if at all! According to the Clean Up Australia website, glass is estimated to take one million years to break down into smaller pieces!

To combat these shocking statistics recycling makes an enormous difference, with glass products able to be recycled infinite times.  Another more sustainable and creative way to reduce waste is upcycling.

“Imagination is the beginning of creation” – Hila Upcycle.

Defined by Wikipedia, upcycling is the process of transforming discarded objects or waste material into a useful product of a higher value and quality with minimal impact on the environment. And unlike the recycling process it uses less energy and produces less emissions and pollution.

I came across Hila Upcycle while searching for gift ideas on Pinterest.  They are a family owned business with 3 generations of experience in the glass industry.  Hila Upcycles’ mission is to create a more sustainable future by offering products that utilise more creativity and less electricity, and reworking materials rescued before ending up in landfill.


And they really do deliver on their promise with a wide range of handmade glass products from drinkware and platters, to jewellery and home décor.  I was absolutely amazed by the creativity and artistry that goes into every piece! With upcycling not only do you get a interesting and one-of-a-kind, handcrafted product, you are contributing positively to our planet!

Photo credits: S.Seipel (top), Hila Upcycle (middle).