Source: Behind the News

BLOOD red is Bonnie Rodwell’s signature colour, and it appears throughout her restaurant, her home, her extensive clothing collection and even her hair, albeit not quite so red.At 52, the New Zealander, who divides her time between the land of the long white cloud and Mount Tamborine, is comfortable in describing herself as eccentric.And she can afford to be – just this month, her stylish restaurant, Songbirds Rainforest Retreat, carried away Restaurant of the Year at the annual Gold Coast Restaurant and Catering Awards.

It also won best new restaurant and best modern Australian restuarant cuisine.

“It was sensational after only seven months,” Ms Rodwell said.

As head of a multi-million dollar upmarket clothing business, Bonz, which has seven outlets in NZ and Australia, employs 100 staff and sub-contracts 700 knitters, Ms Rodwell knows the value and rewards of hard work.

“I started the business 20 years ago with not a cent,” she said.

Now managing Bonz by “remote control”, Ms Rodwell is focusing her energy on a new project, a holistic health spa, set in the same 20ha rainforest as her restaurant.

Working 120-hour weeks, she hopes to see it open, “to those who know that money can only take them so far”, within three years.

“I love doing what I’m doing, that’s why I work long hours; I’m very passionate about the spa,” Ms Rodwell said.

“I have a vision, I’m very focused and I have high expectations.

“I’ve had a really interesting life and I’ve always known I was here for a purpose – this is my purpose.

“That, and to drink a lot of good wine and be happy.”

Songbirds Rainforest Retreat restaurant on Tamborine Mountain Road is complemented by six luxurious villas.