After a one night stay in Rockhampton to break the trip, we set off for Hervey Bay. Having discovered Insane Caffeine, a gem of cafe in Childers, on our way up, we couldn’t resist stopping there again. It was less than an hour from our final destination, Dundowran Beach at Hervey Bay, which made for a nice relaxing stop. Whilst the food looks amazing, the baked goods are out of this world. This time we opted for a lunch of hummingbird cake served alongside a double shot piccolo. Yummy!
Arriving at our new home
We were excited to be settling down for two weeks, and even happier when we entered our accommodation and saw how pristine, well-eqipped and spacious it was. Being close to the beach was an added bonus but more about that later.
Doc, owner of the “Lodge” met us on arrival and showed us into the gigantic garage – big enough for us to have brought a boat with us! His wife, Kim, was working in Brisbane during our stay, so we didn’t get to meet her, but Thad, the dog was part of the welcoming committee.
The 100m2 home was almost brand new, with all the modern appliances, including the biggest TV I’ve ever seen (except maybe at a commercial venue). The décor was simple and stylish and the patio – which became our breakfast spot – had a perfect view of the surrounding bush and glimpses of the ocean.
Friends & family
Our first day in the Bay had been booked to catch up with Graham, a long-term business associate / colleague / friend of Glenda’s. First venue was his boat, a beautiful 34ft yacht, recently acquired and being lovingly restored. We spent a good hour sitting down below, just enjoying being on a vessel again and staying out of the somewhat cool wind that was blowing. After that, we took a stroll to the nearby marina for lunch. As always, Graham was great company and the time sped by. Too soon, we were saying our goodbyes and heading home. That said, we really couldn’t complain given how nice our home was.
Last year during our stay in Hervey Bay, we had learned that one of Glenda’s family members (by marriage) lived there with her husband. We only found out just before leaving, so this time we were prepared and organised a catchup with Dael & Shaun prior to our arrival. We were to go to a restaurant called Aquavue, right on the be beach along the Esplanade in Hervey Bay. Unfortunately, the eating establishment wasn’t open for dinner on a Wednesday evening (another Covid causalty?) so Dael booked us in to Echo Alpha Tango, a burger place attached to a craft beer house. Coincidentally, the same location also house Minimalist Coffee, our go to coffee shop in Hervey Bay. Sadly, Shaun wasn’t well the evening we were to go, so the two of us went alone.
We did manage to get to breakfast with Dael and Shaun at Aquavue on the Sunday morning, so all’s well that end well.
Sadly, minutes after leaving Aquavue, Glenda received news of her good friend’s passing in Sydney, so the rest of the day was a bit of a blur.
Our previous stay in Hervey Bay was along the Esplanade, very close to the well-renowned and very long pier. Said location is also the start of the Hervey Bay parkrun. This time, our accommodation was a good 20-25 minute drive away, but it gave us a good excuse to go there as we really like it. The first Saturday, we both took it easy, enjoying the buzz and the views out to the ocean and of the long pier. Afterwards we visited the nearby markets and bought a couple of locally grown pineapples – arguably the best pineapples I’ve ever eaten! Another gastronomic highlight are the bacon and egg rolls from a tiny bakery along the Esplanade. Not only is there lots of bacon and a heaps of cheese, but the buns are beautifully fresh.
We’d heard about the paddle out for whales event that was happening that morning – having been postponed due to Covid – and had spotted a couple of the outriggers out to sea whilst at parkrun. So after breakfast, we ventured up the Esplanade. Whilst the event was finished, there was another paddling competition going and as we walked along the beach we saw remnants of the whale paddle out.
The second parkrun of our stay the following weekend started off as a repeat performance. Once again, we munched on bacon & eggs rolls for breakfast and invested in another couple of pineapples. This time we both pushed ourselves a little more on the run and whilst absolutely spent, were rewarded by times that we were very happy with. The other difference second time around was that we decided against the somewhat weak coffee from the bakery and went to Cody’s Beach Shack further up the Esplanade for a piccolo. There was no whale paddle out this time, so after coffee we took a short walk along the Esplanade before driving home.
Given we’d been on the road for a while and our car was due for a service, Walter had booked it in at the Mazda Service centre in Hervey Bay. We decided to drop it off early and go for breakfast and a walk whilst they were working on it. We had been to see a house in Point Vernon, a few kms away, and at that time had stumbled across a café serving Toby’s coffee. With this being one of our favourite coffees and for no other particular reason, we chose Brew & View for our morning extravagance. And boy, we did indulge! Walter had a bacon, egg & cheese roll with double everything and Glenda consumed a stack of pancakes with bacon and maple syrup. Good thing we still had a long walk back.
Our next treat came on a day that we were nowhere near as active. Needing something to keep Glenda’s mind busy, the morning of Tracey’s funeral, we decided to take a drive out to Childers and carry on out to Woodgate Beach. This time, our visit to Insane Caffeine was closer to breakfast time, but it didn’t make much difference. Our eyes were on the baked goods once again, and we both relished the huge slice of baked lemon cheesecake. Years ago, we’d spent a Christmas holiday at Woodgate with Glenda’s family, so it was nice to visit again and see how much it had grown. Even though there are number of new houses, it’s still relatively undeveloped and the beach is a gorgeous long white stretch of sand.
Nearby Walker’s Point gave us a lovely view over the inlet across to Burrum Heads. Not only was the beach teaming in millions of crabs, a couple of tress had been covered with thongs.
Along the beach
Dundowran beach was a favourite with locals, including humans, dogs and horses. At somewhere near 10km in length, we were able to go for plenty of good runs along the beach. The sand was packed pretty hard in most places, to it didn’t require the effort needed for soft sand running. The main thing that we had to watch were the tides. Whilst the tide change is not huge – less than 2m – the beach is extremely flat. The water would disappear far into the distance at low tide, and at high tide, the water line was well up the beach. One morning at low tide, we took a walk more than 1km out and we didn’t even reach the water line. At the opposite extreme, our final morning run had us going off the beach at one point where fallen trees were blocking the path and we didn’t want to wade through water.
Sunset on the beach was spectacular! We probably missed out on enjoying this as often as we would’ve liked as the afternoon wind was strong and a little cool, so we hope to make the most of it next time we visit.
We were sad to leave, but have booked another stay in November, so will be back. And this time hopefully we’ll get to meet Doc’s wife and maybe the girls will take on the boys in a game of pool!