Freestyle Escape cooking school, Sunshine Coast, QLD

 

Preparing toppings in Freestyle Escape's outdoor kitchen - photo by Rob McFarland

Preparing toppings in Freestyle Escape’s outdoor kitchen – photo by Rob McFarland

The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia – May 4, 2013

It was with some trepidation that I signed up for a cooking class at Freestyle Escape. The last time I ventured into a professional kitchen I rendered a salad inedible by liberally garnishing it with peppercorns (I thought they were lentils).

But the minute I arrive at Martin Duncan’s outdoor kitchen perched high in the lush Sunshine Coast hinterland, my fears are allayed. It would be hard to imagine a more idyllic spot for a class. In fact, the sweeping views prove to be so distracting that twice during the course of the day I almost lop off the end of one of my fingers.

Read the rest of this story here.

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A night on the Great Barrier Reef

Aerial view of Great Barrier Reef - photo by Rob McFarland

Aerial view of Great Barrier Reef – photo by Rob McFarland

The Star newspaper, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – May 19, 2012

Finalist, 2012 ASTW Best Australian Story under 1000 words

There’s a feeling you get when you say goodbye to family or friends after a long night of entertaining: a mixture of sadness because they’re going and relief because you can finally relax and put your feet up. That’s exactly how I feel now as I watch Fantasea Wonder retreat towards the horizon.

Six hours ago I was one of 120 passengers who boarded the high-speed catamaran at Hamilton Island and made the two-hour cruise to Reefworld – a floating pontoon permanently moored over the Great Barrier Reef. All day we’ve enjoyed snorkeling and diving, made use of the pontoon’s underwater viewing chamber and taken trips on its semi-submersible to gaze at the amazing variety of coral and fish.

There’s been the option to take a helicopter joy-flight over the reef and we’ve feasted on a barbecue lunch under the warm Queensland winter sun.

But while 120 people made the trip out, only 119 are going back. Sadly, someone’s been eaten. I’m kidding. I’ll be staying here overnight.

Read the rest of this story here.