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?
What a wonderful week — and awesome photos!
Sarah gives excellent Christmas presents!
I can’t wait to hear more details about this week.
Doesn’t she just? Now, of course, I want to learn pottery…
What a great week. Loved that you did so much when you were in the bay and the pottery class looked like fun. I remember before Peppers/Oceans/Oaks was built and there were no high-rises at the Urangan end. I used to comment on it being like a little fishing village. My step grandmother and my poppie lived only a few houses down from the sea wall (on the esplanade) and so we did the pier walk a lot. There was a caravan park on the esplanade when I was young.
I can’t imagine how the esplanade would have looked without that. I love that you can remember it though. It’s such a lovely part of the state I want to explore more.
Hi Jo, what a lovely week away you had and I enjoyed reading your post of all the things you got up to. I had fun with Ethan and Elliot in the water too! I must tell them about where you stayed as it looks a lovely spot for adventure and relaxation. Have a great week! xx
It’s such a lovely place. Have a beautiful week Sue.
Well that should have been titled “Ode to Hervey Bay – with a pottery postscript” I think if Sarah stays there long enough you may consider a change of location – taking Mohammed to the mountain so to speak….
It’s pretty lovely up there and I’m glad we have it to visit, but the sunny coast is home.
You’ve had a wonderful week Jo. I’ve never been to Her at Bay but after seeing your gorgeous photos I’m very keen. Those beach photos are amazing. The pottery class sounds great. #lifethisweek
Once the borders open and you can get up here you should go up with your family – it’s a lovely place.
You had a great week Jo! Great photos and I agree Hervey Bay has that laid back feel to it. We went up there a few years ago to go whale watching and stayed a night there. We also caught up with Deb whilst up there! I hope Sarah will enjoy living and working up there. Your pottery class looks like it would’ve been fun. I actually booked myself into a local ‘Tropical Australian Birds Watercolour Workshop’ at the end of January and am very much looking forward to it. Have a great week! x
Oh that watercolour workshop sounds fun too. I’m all about pushing the imagination this year.
What a fabulous week Jo! The water, the sand, the tides, the walking, the cultural tours, the everything! Loved it all 🙂 #lifethisweek
It was pretty fabulous! I spent a lot of it waterlogged which is just as I love it.
That sounds like my kind of week – lots of walking, nature, and art! Those low tides and the crabs are amazing!
It really was pretty perfect. I took a video of the crabs but for some reason couldn’t post it…sigh.
Hervey Bay sounds like heaven! Your daughter must be so glad you are helping her get settled. I love seeing these blue sky/beach photos. It’s cold and gray here.
It’s a lovely place. I really wanted to be there so she had someone to download to when she came home from work in that first week.
I visited Hervey Bay back in 2010 I think as my then partner’s parents lived up there. I do remember the ripples in the sand and I think we did do a day trip to Fraser via a tour and it was lovely. Can’t remember much else though. Seems like you had a lovely time! I’m hoping to try some pottery classes this year if possible.
Feeling the clay is so incredibly grounding and mindful. It seemed to still the chatter in my brain and calm me down. I think I’d like to do a series of classes.
What a fantastic week, Jo! Your photos are stunning and all the activities that you did there sound perfect. Look forward to hearing more details about this week. #lifethisweek
Thanks Natalie, it was a pretty great week all round.
It sounds like a truly amazing week, not sure how you could rate them in order of favorites. Wonderful pictures too. I would love to hear the creation stories. Sounds like you made a lot of memories. The flowers on your pottery plate look interesting. Will you paint it too, or will it be all one color? Looking forward to reading more. Michele #lifethisweek
I wouldn’t even try to rank them – each was special in its own right. Our indigenous culture is so rich – according to many estimates, the oldest living culture – so their stories are so incredibly evocative. We’ll be going back to glaze our work…I’m thinking multi-colours.
I hope you will share the picture! And thank you for bringing a bit of culture our way. Vital.
What a grand week. Isn’t snorkeling other-worldly? I just feel so relaxed, so at peace at the beach, and then snorkeling to discover the world below the water’s surface. When we lived in Panama, I snorkel quite often. Miss those days of walking out the door to the beach.
Glad to see you gals enjoying your pottery class. Terrific gift, by the way. And it reminded me of a pottery class being offered here for Valentine’s Day. Had thought it might be fun.
There really is something so peaceful about snorkelling with just the sound of your breathing. Pottery was so much fun, I think I’d like to do some more classes.
I didn’t know the jetty was that long!
Yep, over 800m. It’s a good walk.
Such a great way to capture a place that will become even more familiar over time. I loved that you did those classes and learned more from the indigenous community. So much we still do not know or understand about the land our first people inhabit. I had a visitor from the local Aboriginal community once when I was principal at Richmond and the school’s location (you might have seen it driving through) is on what was previously a landed gentry property and she felt chills about her walking around the grounds and pointing out what some of the trees may have been used for.
We do need to listen, look and learn more I think. I now acknowledge the Darkinjung people on my blog because this is where I live and I pay my respects. It’s not much but it’s a start.
Thank you for sharing your post in Life This Week, the Monday link up on my blog. Each Monday, there is an optional prompt but you can link up a post (just one) old or new, on or off prompt. Next week’s is 4/51 Cannot. 25 Jan.Hope to see you back here then. Denyse.
It’s such an important conversation, isn’t it? I know there was so much history (most of it murky) in and around Castle Hill and Rouse Hill.
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