That’s a wrap – the Bundaberg edition

sugar cane just outside of Bundaberg

So, the week that was…and a mini break to Bundaberg…

I could tell you about how busy the partition job was, I could tell you that I got my copy edit back for I Want You Back, and I could tell you about a new place we tried for lunch on Friday – Chances at Mooloolaba. It was good.

I could also tell you about the lecture I went to on Tuesday about the state of the reefs around the Sunshine Coast – it was put on by Reef Check Australia and it was seriously informative. But I’m not going to tell you about any of that. Instead we’ll talk about the mini break we took this weekend… Oh, and a warning…the weather was dull – really dull…so my photos are too.

Where we went

Bundaberg, or Bundy, as it’s known locally.

Originally a timber town, Bundaberg today is known for sugar and rum – and is the gateway to the southern islands of the Great Barrier Reef.

It’s a few hours drive north from my home on the Sunshine Coast, and we could only manage one night away, but a break is a break, right?

What we came for

I wanted to see sugar cane. I had images in my head of fields of tall sugar cane against an impossibly blue sky. Sadly, all we got was grey skies and drizzle. I managed one shot with some blue sky behind it.

It’s not all about the sugar cane though. The soil around here is incredibly fertile and we saw fields of rockmelons, fields of berries, and fields of sunflowers.

Meanwhile back home in Buderim

The rain sheeted down. We’ve had 2 months worth of rain in 2 days – with more to come.

Where we stopped

All good road trips – even mini ones like this – need a good stop. On the way up we stopped in Maryborough. Yes, it was raining, but this town, on the banks of the Mary River, has some beautiful heritage buildings. One of its claims to fame is that PL Travers, who wrote Mary Poppins was born here.

We had breakfast at a little café in Customs House, A Spoonful of Sugar, and marvelled at just how high the floodwaters had got over the years.

This is a town that I’d like to spend more time in. The history fascinates me and, well, let’s just say I’d like to get under the covers some more.

Where we stayed

Bundaberg Spanish Motor Inn. It was clean, comfortable, blissfully quiet and a great price. The hosts provided a really friendly welcome. I’d absolutely recommend it.

Where we drank rum

Nope, I’m not a rum drinker – unless it’s in a cocktail by the beach. The thing is, Bundy is known for its rum and this weekend happened to be the Bundy Rum Festival – or something like that.

Despite the weather, they’d turned up in hordes to drink the stuff. Some dressed for the occasion, others just covered up in plastic ponchos.

Where we drank beer

The Bargara Brewhouse in Bundaberg. We each had a tasting paddle – and the beer was good. We were there a bit too early for lunch, but I’m told the sliders and chicken wings are worth sampling.

Where we sampled other fizzy stuff

Another thing Bundaberg is known for is ginger and, specifically, ginger beer. They do make other flavours as well – I use the lemon, lime and bitters to make scones, although apparently the ginger beer is good for this too.

I don’t really drink soft drink so the tasting was wasted on me, but you can really taste the fruit in their range – mostly because they use fresh fruit to brew the drinks. Yes, the soft drinks are brewed – just like beer is. At the end of the process though, the alcohol is heated off so you’re left with just the taste. Cool, hey?

Oh, and if you’re on their website, check out the recipes. I think they should turn the recipes into a cookbook…just saying.

Where I would like to spend more time

Bargara. Ok, the beaches aren’t like Mooloolaba but, let’s face it, I’m pretty biased about what I like to think is my beach. The black rocks are quite striking, and it’s a great foreshore area with, I think, the best ever playground I’ve seen.

We had breakfast at Rick’s on the Esplanade. I had the corn and zucchini fritters with bacon and eggs and it was good.

What I’m coming back some day for

The turtles.

Regular readers of the old and anyways blog know that I have a thing about sea turtles. They truly represent sea voyages and exploration and are the sign of the navigator. Anyways, female turtles also return to the beach where they were hatched in order to lay their eggs – and Mon Repos, just north of Bargara, supports the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland and has the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific region. I borrowed that last sentence from the website blurb.

The turtles nest between November and January and then 6-8 weeks later, from January through to late February/March, the little hatchlings emerge to scurry down to the sea. What makes this truly special is just how much the odds are stacked against these babies – just 1 in 1000 are likely to make it to maturity. I could go on, but I can see many of you glazing over already.

Suffice to say, I’ll be back.

How was your week?

22 things I’ve learnt about the Sunshine Coast…

Sunshine Coast Sunrise
Sunrise over Mooloolaba Beach

Ok, so we’ve been residents on the Sunshine Coast for just over a month now (less a couple of weeks in Vietnam). We’ve settled in well and are loving it beyond words. I have a list a mile long of places to explore, but here’s what I’ve learned already:

1.Active wear is appropriate for most social occasions.

2. So are thongs (flip flops or jandals…)

3. Everyone here can tell you exactly how long it takes them to get to Sunshine Plaza and Mooloolaba Beach.

4. The parking is actually free. Yes, really. That means you don’t pay for it. In most places.

5. Nearly everyone living on the Sunshine Coast came here from somewhere else. Apparently we’re all imports – with most of us coming from Sydney, Melbourne or Auckland.

6. There really is a (closed) Facebook group called Haunted: Sunshine Coast, for, well, haunted stuff on the Sunshine Coast.

7. There really is a suburb called Bald Knob, and a beach called Dicky’s. (insert juvenile titters… I said titters)

8. Surely the Sunshine Coast has more yoga classes, new age options, and organic food places than anywhere else – on a per capita basis? (Is there a statistic on this?) And acai bowls. They’re everywhere.

9. There are more markets held each weekend on the Sunshine Coast than anywhere else in Australia – on a per capita basis. (I just made that statistic up, but it seems true).

10. The Sunshine Coast has the lowest rate of smoking than anywhere else in Queensland. (I didn’t make that one up, but read it somewhere – so it must be right.)

11. Indicators on cars seem to be optional extras.

12. You don’t need to leave for the airport three hours before your flight.

13. The sign going into Noosa that points towards Noosa, or “all other destinations” annoys every non-Noosa local. The implication, of course, being that Noosa is the only place that matters.

14. There’s a lot more to the Sunshine Coast than Noosa. I saw this really funny meme that said it all but, in the interest of not upsetting Noosa locals – not that I’ve met any yet, but I’m sure that I’ll like them when I do – I won’t re-post here.

15. There’s a lot more to the Hinterland than Maleny – but Maleny is pretty fabulous.

16. We get annoyed when people mix up Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. It’s like the Australia and Austria thing.

17. There are at least twenty coffee shops in and around Mooloolaba that apparently serve the best coffee on the coast.

18. It’s tough to get a decent dumpling – anyone who knows where the best dumplings are on the coast, please tell me…

19. Beer yoga is a thing – and it’s happening at the pub in Eumundi.

20. Public holidays are really public holidays – even Woolworths and Bunnings is closed. What’s a public holiday without a DIY project (building Australian dreams – one project at a time).

21. The Queen’s Birthday holiday is held in October – which is Labour Day for most of the rest of the country – and Labour Day is held on the first Monday in May – closer to the Queen’s actual birthday. Go figure.

22. There’s absolutely nothing better on earth than watching the sunrise from a Sunshine Coast beach. Nothing. Except maybe a sunset…

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