Mount Tamborine’s Songbirds in the Forest today added the Premier of Queensland’s Export Awards 2006 Sports, Events and Tourism category for the Gold Coast and Beenleigh Region to the property’s impressive list of accolades.

Songbirds Rainforest Retreat and Songbirds in the Forest Restaurant has now scored 17 major awards since opening in December 2004. Songbirds’ owner Bonnie Rodwell said she is thrilled with the response from judges and peers.

“When Songbirds was announced as Queensland Restaurant of the Year last week I was over the moon. To win the restaurant industry’s major State award, Queensland’s Best Informal and Queensland’s Best Modern Australian Cuisine Awards was an honour. To crown this with the regional Premier’s Award is beyond my wildest dreams,” she said.

Songbirds in the Forest Restaurant made history at this year’s State awards as the first Gold Coast and first informal establishment to win Queensland Restaurant of the Year in the 60-year history of the event.

Restaurant and Catering Gold Coast chairman Paul Ierna said there are 5700 restaurant and catering businesses in Queensland employing 46,000 people.

“In terms of business numbers, the food service sector is larger than hotel, motel, club and accommodation sectors. Queensland’s food service industry turnover is around $2.02 billion a year,” Mr Ierna said.

Songbirds represents two industry sectors, the restaurant is the focal point of a 51-acre rainforest property with private luxurious accommodation.

Bonnie says she is thrilled with the response to Songbirds and the support she receives. “Staff, customers and suppliers help us achieve our goals. Restaurant and Catering Queensland and Gold Coast, the State Government and Gold Coast Tourism help us get the message out.

“Mount Tamborine was traditionally a weekend destination point for people who live on the Gold Coast or in and around Brisbane. Most people thought it was impossible to develop the destination further.

“I believed a luxurious rainforest experience would appeal to people from near and far. Gold Coast Tourism’s key people shared my belief and this has helped market the destination,” she said.

Songbirds in the Forest Restaurant is a finalist in the Queensland Hotel Awards on October 18 and in the national restaurant awards in Sydney on October 30.