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Easter School Holidays are here

Posted on 28 February 2018
Easter School Holidays are here

It seems like just yesterday you were dropping the kids off for the first day of term one. Yet, here we are again, on the brink of school holidays. While the kids may seem exhausted for the first couple of days (who wouldn't be after such a hectic first term), by the end of the first week they'll be raring to go all over again. So how do we keep the whole family entertained?

Here's your guide to the autumn school holidays in and around Hervey Bay, with everything you need to know about what's on and suitable seasonal activities to keep everyone happy.

Cooking class

While inviting your kids into the kitchen may give some of you actual heart-attacks, never fear, there are plenty of recipes you can enjoy together. Just make sure you find an age-appropriate recipe and if you have accident-prone children, perhaps choose a no-bake one to avoid the possibility of heat-related injuries. If you don't want them anywhere near the kitchen, pre-prepare some cupcakes or cakes and let the kids' imagination run wild as they decorate them until their hearts' content. Remember though, this one is about fun, not necessarily results. You can even make a whole activity around this idea the kids choose what they want to cook or bake, you all head to the shops at Pialba Place together to collect all the ingredients and then head home to get cooking.

Go for a picnic

Whether it's the Burrum Coast National Park or the Arkarra Lagoon, pack up your lunch and the kids and head to the park for a good old fashioned picnic. Or simply head to the local park around the corner and find your spot. Not only does it give you all something to do, it also gets you out and about and enjoying the fresh air. Plus, there's lots of space for the kids to let off some steam. If you head to Arkarra Lagoon, be sure to look out of the wildlife the kids will learn something without even knowing it! There are birds, goannas, echidnas, wallabies, fish and ducks. There's also the Botanic Gardens and Orchid House to enjoy, with tranquil gardens, shady spots around the lagoon and opportunities for the kids to spot fish, dragonflies, ducks and turtles.

Walk for the scenery and the fitness

There are loads of delightful walks you can enjoy around Hervey Bay that all take in the beautiful scenery the region is known for. Better yet, along the way, the kids can enjoy water activities and you can really make a day of it. While there are a couple of longer walks that can take a whole day, it may be worth breaking them up and enjoying a little bit each day to really stretch out the joy. The Esplanade Walk is a great option as it's pretty level the entire way, so you can even take the pram for the little ones for when they get tired. Best of all about this one is that along the way you can visit the WetSide Water Park. Of course, there are plenty of other walks around the Hervey Bay area as well, some requiring a bit of a drive, but all definitely worth it!

Make the most of the community

There will, no doubt, be rainy days. Such is life. But while rainy days are great for the greenery, it can make parents go stir crazy trying to entertain the kids. Never fear though, there are activities galore if you look to your community. Libraries, art centres, senior citizen centres and even shopping centres have activities catering to young kids during the school holidays. For some of them, you can even drop and go, meaning you can get some errands done while your child is looked after and thoroughly entertained.

Take a visit to Mary Poppins

She's not there anymore, and neither is the famous writer who conjured her, but the building sure is. The Maryborough Heritage Centre is where P.L. Travers was born way back in 1899. There's a life-sized statue of the super nanny herself so the kids can snap a picture with her. The area of Maryborough also has a lot to entertain the kids with ghost tours, museums and riverside parks. If you're around at the right time, you can even witness the firing of the Time Cannon just remember to block your ears. You can also take a trip on the Mary Ann Steam Engine, a replica of the first ever steam engine built in Queensland, and if you time it correctly, you can enjoy everything the Heritage Markets have to offer.

Fraser Island

Just a 45-minute ferry away from Hervey Bay, the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island is perfect for a day trip with the whole family. There is so much to do on Fraser Island that you may want to stay for a while. Pack your camping gear and make the most of the camping grounds, or alternatively, check in to the Kingfisher Bay Resort with all the modern conveniences. Take a 4x4 drive through the rainforest, head to the Maheno shipwreck, take a tube down the creek, go for a hike or a fish, and spot some dingoes along the way.

Road trip anyone?

Pack the family into the car and head west. Outback Queensland is a whirlwind of adventure, history and incredible scenery. Got a dinosaur enthusiast in your midst? Take the Dinosaur Trail through Richmond, Hughenden and Winton and uncover a living museum of fossils and geological landscapes that are sure to delight everyone.

Great herds of dinosaurs ruled the Queensland outback and their footsteps can still be seen today, especially if you head to the Lark Quarry Dinosaur Trackways near Winton. A little bit of trivia for you these very footsteps inspired the great Stephen Spielberg's movie Jurassic Park. You can also take part in a real dinosaur dig at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum and prepare a real dinosaur bone in the lab.

If you're more into opals and sapphires, there's something along the road for you too. The Gemfields west of Emerald is the perfect place to sieve for gems. Carnarvon Gorge is also definitely worth a stop.

Gorge away

There are so many gorges around Queensland that it may be hard to choose just one. From jaw dropping pools to the history of the sedimentation, the experience is truly breathtaking. Here are our top three to visit:

  • Cobbold Gorge, Gulf Savannah - the best way to experience this one is by boat as you weave through the maze of cliffs, formed 135 million years ago. The sheer height of the cliffs is nothing short of breathtaking.
  • Porcupine Gorge, Porcupine Gorge National Park - this one is also known as Australia's Little Grand Canyon and it's not hard to see why. Lush forest, towering cliffs and a breathtaking canyon, this one's not to be missed. Relax at Pyramid Lookout and then take a 30-minute stroll into the gorge.
  • Hell Hole Gorge, Hell Hole Gorge National Park - 4-wheel drive your way through this place and you'll constantly be in awe. Deep gorges, gullies and waterholes to dip into, it's really an exhilarating exploration.

Water, water, everywhere

You are in Queensland after all! There are so many water activities, it will be hard to choose just one. Luckily you have the whole school holidays to fill. Head about one hour's drive south of Hervey Bay and you can get up close and personal with the dolphins of Tin Can Bay. You can even hand feed them if you time it right.

Try some water sports with the kids. The great thing about Hervey Bay is the water is nice and calm so there's no thrashing around when you try your hand at kite surfing, paddle boarding or kayaking. It's even good for the little ones because the shallow waters are mostly wave-free.

If you don't feel like getting wet yourself, head to the Reefworld Aquarium, located near the Urangan Pier. You and the kids will enjoy seeing the green sea turtles, sharks and crabs. If you want, you can even touch some of the marine life with the hands-on touch tank and see some of the feedings throughout the day.

 

Best Bike Paths in Hervey Bay

Posted on 29 January 2018
Best Bike Paths in Hervey Bay

Planning an active and budget-friendly Australian holiday? Hervey Bay, located three and a half hours from Brisbane, is the place to go. The city has great cycling opportunities, featuring over 17 kilometres of foreshore bike paths to cruise through that stretch from Urangan to Point Vernon.

Not only that, but the views along the paths are beautiful. Hervey Bay also makes bicycle transportation simple, as it's possible to carry them on public transport and easy to hire them. Keep reading to learn about the best bike paths around Hervey Bay.

1. Foreshore shared path 

Also known as the Hervey Bay Recreational Trails, the Foreshore shared path cycleway runs the full length of the Esplanade from the Urangan Pier to Point Vernon in Hervey Bay. Start with a walk along the iconic Urangan Pier and check out the spectacular sights from the Matthew Flinders Lookout at Dayman Point if you're heading from south to north. If you'd like to spend some time on the water before biking, drop by AquaVue, a cafe in Torquay where you can hire equipment for water activities

The Pialba-Point-Vernon circuit is 13.4 km (around 40 minutes at 20 km/h). The shorter Scarness (4.24 km, around 13 minutes at 20 km/h) and Urangan (7.3 km, around 22 minutes at 20 km/h) routes are also scenic paths to try if you're looking for a shorter ride. Ride through lots of trees and picnic areas, and take in the breathtaking coastal views as you pedal away. The Foreshore shared path is well-lit (as there's generally no twilight in these areas, colonial-like street lamps provide safety if you're caught cycling at dusk) and has several water fountains spaced regularly throughout the whole track.

The good thing about the Foreshore shared path is that it's not just a cycleway; it can actually be a full-on exercise circuit thanks to the various outdoor gym equipment spaced along the track. You'll find a rowing machine, sit-up bench, fly workout and even a stepper. So get off the bike and train other parts of your body as a break from cycling! There's also the possibility to take part in a group workout that's set up along the cycleway, such as Tai Chi, walking, and aerobics.

In addition, the cycleway passes many cafes along the way, making it perfect for when your workout is done and you need some well-deserved coffee or a treat. You'll also find several shopping centres and stores to cover every need, including Woolworths, Australia Post, Pialba Place Shopping Centre, Big W and ALDI.

Don't forget that away from the shared path, Torquay has an amazing beach. Leave your bikes parked on the many bike racks provided and take the rest of your adventure to the ocean. For a refreshing ocean dip, head to the popular Scarness beach.

Depending on which trail you choose, you could pass up to 15 parks offering public amenities like toilets. You'll want to make time for the WetSide Water Park, a beachside park with water slides, a water play arena, and eateries.

2. The Links Corridor

There's no reason to stop with a ride along the Esplanade cycleway! While the path seems to end near the Botanical Gardens, if you keep cycling away, you'll find another segment of the Hervey Bay cycle path that follows the route of the old Maryborough railway that terminates at the pier. This railway line was once brought to life=to connect the cities of Pialba and Urangan, however, it was shut down recently due to dwindling train traffic. While the railway no longer operates, it's now a paradise for bike rides between Elizabeth St and Maryborough Rd - with traffic increasing on Hervey Bay Rd the corridor provides safe access to the beach areas.

You could make time to explore the Discover Sphere and Regional Art Library and the Hervey Bay Historical Village and Museum during your route. The Historical Village and Museum has 19 original buildings housing more than 8,000 local historical items. Stop by Pialba Place for a quick bite to eat and for some shopping. The Links Corridor circuit covers a distance of 8.8 km (around 26 minutes if you're riding at 20 km/h).

3. Hinterland 

Cycling through the hinterland is also an amazing way to discover Hervey Bay while getting some exercise. Visit Tiaro, Bauple, Gunalda, Gundiah and Theebine, located in the Wide Bay hinterland. These historic towns feature quiet country roads, traditional hotels and breathtakingly beautiful scenery.

In Tiaro, don't miss the old Tiaro Railway Station. In Bauple, make a quick stop at the Bauple Museum, where you'll find incredible memorabilia featuring old equipment, photos and books, in addition to a picnic area with barbecues outside. Lastly, in Theebine, don't forget to visit the restored Theebine Hotel, a well-known tourist attraction and historical hotel with plenty of relics to see, great atmosphere and amazing food. If you're up for an adventure, visit the Mary River, where you might get lucky and get a glimpse of the endangered Mary River turtle.

One inland or hinterland trail to try is the Hervey Bay Rail Trail (also known as the Mary to Bay Rail Trail) from Maryborough to Hervey Bay or the reverse. With flat terrain, this 18 km trail is a great one for casual riders. There's a shelter on Chapel Road and plenty of others along the way, some with water fountains. Check out the Hervey Bay Cultural Centre (marked by the statue of a humpback whale), Pialba Place Shopping Centre, Migaloo's Cafe, The Depot Espresso Bar, and end or start with a walk along Urangan Pier.

Since you'll be deciding on your own riding trail in the hinterland, it can be as short or long as you choose.

4. Beaches

Once you've cycled the hinterland, take it to the seas. At the end of the Links Corridor in Pialba, the western beaches are a must-do while cycling through Hervey Bay as the town is infamous for its mesmerising infinite, long beaches. Beaches such as Dundowran, Craignish, Toogoom, Burrum Heads, Torbanlea and Howard are perfect to do as a circuit because of the minimal contact with main roads, which will give your journey a priceless beach and country feel.

Make the most of your cycle

Cycling enthusiast? A trip to Hervey Bay is just what you need. This beautiful Queensland city and natural bay between the mainland and Fraser Island offers beautiful cycleways that stretch along and away from the whole city. Whether you'd like to pedal through the hinterland, coast or the town itself, Hervey Bay offers all the facilities you need to make your next holiday an adventurous one. 

Remember to stop by Pialba Place Shopping Centre, an everyday shopping convenience for locals and visitors.

 

Fraser Coast Storms

Posted on 16 January 2018
Fraser Coast Storms

Too often people leave it too late to get storm ready.  By being prepared well in advance of an extreme weather event you can help to ensure that you have the necessary supplies to get you through.

The Fraser Coast Regional Council has prepared a Fraser Coast Emergency Guide which includes handy tools to assist you to be prepared in your home.

From tips on how to prepare your home, to links to flood cameras and emergency contact numbers, everything you need is in one handy place!

 

Healthiest Summer Sangria Recipes

Posted on 11 January 2018

Sangria is the drink that makes summer ten times better than it already is. Perfect for night gatherings as well as a fantastic daytime or picnic drink, the Spanish punch is the perfect combination of wine and fruit. Its sweet flavour and freshness are bound to keep you refilling your glass. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this delicious drink - from its origins to the healthiest summer sangria recipes.

What is sangria?

You could say sangria came to be by accident - as traditional sangria goes way back as wine mixed with whatever was nearby (sugar or spices), in Greece and Rome. People who lived in what is nowadays Spain were doing something similar with grapevines planted by the Phoenicians. As time went by, variations of the traditional sangria became common, including adding citrus fruit to it. By the 1700s and 1800s, sangria was well-known in the rest of Europe and different recipes were made in France and England.

Wines good for sangria

While early-days sangria was made from red wine (after all, 'sangre' is the Spanish word for blood), nowadays you can find delicious sangria recipes with rose and white wine as well. Whichever one you choose, make sure it isn't expensive and dry. Any affordable wine for the Bottle-O at Pialba Place is a good candidate - as the different fruits that you add to it will give the extra, unique flavour.

When it comes to red wines, you could go with Rioja wine from Spain, or any Malbec or Merlot for a sweeter taste. In the white wine category, think Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Gris.

Fruits good for sangria

You can use any fruit in sangria, although anything citrus, like oranges and lemons, seem to be present in every recipe. Other choices include cherries, peaches, strawberries, mangoes, apples, papaya, pineapple and spices like cloves and cinnamon. You can find a range of fresh, seasonal fruit at Coles in Pialba Place. While the choice of fruit is tied to personal preference, it's always a good idea to consider the type of wine you're using and pick a fruit to pair accordingly. You should aim to add between one and two cups of fruit per pint of sangria.

How to make sangria

As a general rule, buy a couple of bottles of wine, and try using a combination of colours. Some like to add extra alcohol, usually spirits. If this is the case, you should always aim to make it one part spirit to five parts wine.

How to make red sangria

Red sangria is probably the obvious choice when preparing this fresh punch. For basic sangria, you'll need a 750ml bottle of red wine, ¼ cup orange liqueur, ½ cup brandy, 2 apples, 2 oranges and 2-3 cups cold sparkling water.

The procedure is pretty straightforward:

  • Cut the oranges and apples into thin slices or wedges, leaving the peel on, and transfer it into a pitcher.
  • Then, add the brandy, followed by the orange liqueur and the wine.
  • Stir it all, cover the pitcher with a piece of cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours; preferably overnight. This process will allow for the fruit to infuse the wine. Sangria gets softer, sweeter and much better overnight.
  • The next day, and when you're ready to serve, top with sparkling water and stir it gently to combine.

How to make white sangria

For white sangria, you'll need a 750ml bottle of white wine, 3 oranges cut into wedges, 1 lemon cut into wedges, 1 lime cut into wedges, ½ cup of brandy and 2-3 cups of cold sparkling water.

The preparing process is much like making red sangria; follow the same steps, making sure you remove all seeds from the citrus fruits, let is chill overnight and add the sparkling water just before serving.

Health considerations

Let's talk about health and sangria! While the occasional glass of sangria isn't likely to have an impact on your health either way, any alcohol you have in excess is not good for your health. That said, it's wise to get all the facts before making it your alcoholic beverage of choice, as red wine can be healthy. Drinking moderate amounts can slightly boost your levels of high-density lipoprotein (the healthy cholesterol), resulting in a reduction in your risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association. Keep in mind a maximum of 150ml serving of red wine per day is recommended, and that has 125 calories and almost 4 grams of carbs.

There are simple tips and tricks to make your sangria as healthy as possible. If the recipe says to add flavoured soda that contains sugar, replace it with sparkling water. In addition, if the recipe features added sugar, ignore it. The fruit should provide all the natural sugar sangria needs to taste sweet and delicious.

Summer, picnics and sangria go hand-in-hand. Enjoy the sunny days with friends a glass of fruity punch in your hand. While the type of wine and fruits you choose to make your sangria with come down to personal preference, always keep in mind to leave it resting overnight in the fridge to let the flavours sink in and to avoid extra sugar and soda for a guilt-free drinking.

 

Summer is already here

Posted on 11 January 2018
Summer is already here

The best season of the year is finally here. Longer, brighter days; beach escapades and warmer temperatures await. Summer and the holidays come and suddenly everything seems better. And after spring cleaning, redecorating your home in line with the new season is only natural. Don't worry - we're not talking purchasing new furniture, tearing walls down or installing brand new curtains. Just tweaking a few details in your home will do the trick in decorating your home for a summer feel. The golden rule? Bring the outdoors in.

1. Yes to flowers and leafy greens

If the goal is to bring the outdoors in, nature plays a big role in making your home summer-ready. Try to showcase flowers and leafy greens from your garden as much as you can. Place at least two vases in your house. It could be one at the entrance and another one in the kitchen or dining area, or anywhere that you spend the most time.

Flowers are not only easy on the eyes, they also have the power to brighten up any space in a heartbeat. The more colourful they are, the better. And remember, you don't need to spend extra on flowers, you can always purchase beautiful fake ones and make stunning arrangements that'll last forever.

2. Bring the beach in

Australia is lucky to feature an impressive and mesmerising coastline, filled with beautiful beaches. To associate summer with going to the beach is something that's intrinsically very Australian. Take advantage of this and bring the oceans inside your home for the ultimate summer style decoration. Think seashells, nautical-themed decor and paintings, glass bottles, washed-back photo frames, amongst others.

3. Fruit display (garden)

Fruit and fresh produce always get better in summer. Watermelons, nectarines, berries, queen peaches, mangoes you name it. Virtually every fruit gets better in the warmer months. So why not showcase it? Make an easy (and delicious!) centrepiece table with oranges, mangoes, apples, and any other seasonal fruit you can think of. Nothing screams 'summer-time' more than fresh fruit. In addition, it's also a great time to start a veggie garden. So don't just buy the fresh produce, make it yourself!

4. Fresh and sweet scents

It's always a good idea to switch scents in your home whenever a new season starts, to start from scratch. For summer, think fresh or sweet scents, such as vanilla, ginger, citrus, cucumber or ocean breeze. Get new candles, soaps, burning oils and even consider changing your perfume. Change can be strange initially, but it'll make a huge difference in bringing that summer feel into your home.

5. Neutral and lighter colours

Renovating your home for summer may be a tad extreme, but re-dressing can definitely be in the cards! Think neutral or pastel colours to give your home a summer feel. Winter is long gone, so get rid of any wool or heavy-looking throws, as well as any dark or gloomy accessories.

Start with the bedding: choose off-white linen sheets (still light, but warmer than normal white), a floral or pastel quilt and a white or pastel yellow towels for a bathroom refresh. On a budget? Sometimes all your bedding needs is new pillowcases - instead of purchasing a whole new sheet set. You can keep your perfectly fine white sheets, but give your bed a splash of colour and freshness with a new floral or patterned pillowcase. It's a small detail that'll make a huge difference!

After you're done with the bedrooms and bathrooms, you can move on to the common areas. Add colour and texture to your couches by changing the cushion covers to coloured ones or showcasing a new neutral-coloured rug.

6. Let the light in

Summer means more sunlight! Soak it all in by leaving the curtains open as much as you can. It may seem like a small change - but you'll be surprised by how much more inviting and brighter your house will feel if you leave the curtains open for longer. Also, if your budget allows it, think about installing linen curtains in the living room area for an extra summer feel.

7. Concentrate on the outdoor spaces

In summer you'll be using the outdoor spaces way more, so it makes sense to shift your focus over to those areas and create a versatile outdoor area for all to enjoy. Think about new outdoor chairs, maybe installing a hammock, adding more pot plants or even improving the outdoor lighting with fairy lights.

8. Try a new layout

While not necessarily related to summer, consider rearranging your furniture layout in your living area. You could move couches, tables or rugs around in order to try a new look that'll feel fresh and different, just like a new season.

Summer is just upon us. Take advantage of this warmer, brighter season with a house revamp. Simple things like new bedding, new cushion covers, fresh scents, focusing on nautical decor items, adding flower arrangements and focusing on the outdoor spaces are easy and affordable ways to decorate your home for a summer feel. That said, if you're after doing proper renovations or looking to even bring in new furniture, summer is also the perfect time of the year to do so.

You can decorate your home on a budget by shopping for all your home decor needs at Pialba Place. You find everything from mirrors to photo frames to artificial flower arrangements and scented candles at Truckloads, so you can brighten up your home without breaking the bank.

 

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