I spent last week up in Hervey Bay helping Sarah settle into her new place. It’s lovely up there, more laidback even than here. In fact, it feels a little like the sunny coast twenty years ago – and there’s absolutely nothing derogatory in that. It’s like the summer holidays that you remember – kids tearing across dunes to the beach, people with buckets looking for pippies (clams) at low tide. It has a real fishing and boating feel to it. I joke with Sarah that she needs to buy a couple of crab pots and hoist them over the sea wall at high tide and see what’s there at low tide.
Of course, it’s also a town that has problems – doesn’t everywhere? – but I do like it. A lot.
Okay, without further ado, onto the five…it’s been a good week
I spent most of the week writing, walking, or in the water – beach or pool, I wasn’t fussy. On Tuesday morning I took a Turtle Discovery tour with Hervey Bay Eco Marine Tours. The weather was a tad on the manky side and we didn’t see any turtles – or any dugongs – but I saw plenty of fish and was absolutely in my element submerged for a while.
The highlight was when Conway, our indigenous guide, “painted up” to welcome us to country and told us the creation stories of Butchulla Country. He’d previously worked as a ranger for some years on Fraser (K’Gari) and knew the land and the waters well. I could have listened to his stories all day.
2. The tides
Between the mainland and Fraser Island is known as the Great Sandy Straits – Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island. As an aside, the sand on Fraser is completely spherical and has made its way there from the Hawkesbury in Sydney. #funfact
It means that the beaches here have clean, white sand and crystal clear water. And at low tide you’d be forgiven for thinking you could walk to the next island.
I made a point each day of going down at low tide and walking way out to the new waterline.
The water made these fabulous ripply patterns in the sand (that were actually quite tough on my feet) and there were always the little perfectly round pieces of wet sand that the crabs would leave behind.
The other afternoon I saw these strange dark lines in the sand, but when I got closer the lines began to move – they were armies of soldier crabs. They’d march and then disappear into the sand. Freaky, but also pretty cool.
3. The Pier
I walked the pier each morning (and some afternoons).
It was originally built to facilitate the export of sugar, timber and coal and linked up with the railway line that used to run through here. At one point it was a major port, but once Bundaberg Port was built it took over the sugar exports.
When the railway closed there was no longer a use for the port – or the pier – and an order to demolish was made. The public, however, rallied and the pier was not only saved, but restored – not before some of it had been torn down. It still reaches out 800m to sea – not a bad engineering feat when you consider it was built in the early 1900s.
It’s now a great place to stroll and fish, and from the pier you can see plenty of marine life in the super clear waters below. Over the past week I’ve seen fish of all sizes, a couple of dolphins, some rays and plenty of birdlife. My fave, though, is the pair of osprey who perch here most days waiting for the fisherman to throw something back in.
4. Djinang Walking Tour
I’d been so fascinated with the indigenous component of the snorkelling tour the other day that I signed up to do a cultural walking tour on Thursday morning.
It blew my mind. I’ll tell you more about it on Thursday but Aaron, our Butchulla guide showed us how to make smudge sticks, twine and fire, and pointed out both medicine and tucker plants along the way. It was the stories though, that fired my mind.
5. Clay and Wine
My Christmas present from Sarah was a Clay and Wine class at The Pottery Studio at Nambour, which we did on Saturday night.
You take a bottle of wine and they provide the clay and the tools and, spoiler alert, it was heaps of fun. From here our pots are fired and we need to go back and glaze our masterpieces (actually, mine are pretty crap) and then they get fired again.
Well, that was my week. How was yours? Have you ever done a pottery class?