It’s hard to believe that it’s taken me over a year to make it to Dundowran. Worse still when you realise I lived back here for 3-4 years in the 1990s and spent my first 17 years on the Fraser Coast, without ever setting foot in some of the region’s smaller beachside locales.
However, I’ve been keen to get to Dundowran since last year when I saw (on Facebook) that the Arkarra Tea Gardens had reopened. I hadn’t heard of them before but liked the idea of something a bit different to the usual cafes – plus I’ve only heard good things from those who’ve visited.
And finally a month or so ago I got to see what the fuss was about when a friend and I headed to the Tea Gardens for Sunday brunch.
I have to admit to being shocked that it was actually so close to Hervey Bay as for some reason I thought Dundowran was much further away – however ‘Where is’ and my own car both informed me it’s about 15km from my place in Urangan (and given that Eli Waters is about 10km, it’s really not that far out of town at all!).
Thankfully my friend used her phone to guide us there once we turned off the main road or we would have had no idea; but once we approached it was kinda obvious cos there were cars everywhere.
I was surprised to see it so busy and we got the last free table.
The dining area is actually spread over a range of levels and locations so it’s kinda got something for everyone. I noticed, for example, some larger groups gathering around tables in the balinese style huts or in the pergola.
We arrived smack bang in the middle of morning tea and my friend eyed off the plump scones that kept wandering past our table, but we were both keen for brekkie.
We ended up going for the Eggs Benedict – which came complete with the usual – poached eggs on Turkish bread and hollandaise sauce but also with spinach and avocado and ham, bacon or salmon. I was happily surprised that they had GF bread AND rolls. The roll wasn’t huge but more exciting than the usual teensy pieces of store-bought bread.
It’s not hugely cheap (I think the Eggs Benedict were about $18) but they arrived quickly and they were delicious. The hollandaise sauce is always all-important in my mind and they nailed it.
I should admit I was also impressed that the person at the counter knew exactly what was and wasn’t gluten-free.
Before leaving we eyed off the lunch menu (so I’m keen to go back and continue my Fraser Coast steak sandwich survey) and the goodies’ cabinet. A GF chocolate brownie caught my eye, but thankfully I was full.
There’s a small gift shop in the café and we also took the opportunity to wander about the gardens and down to the lagoon to walk off our breakfast before heading back to the bay.
My friend and I both agreed we’d be back and without a doubt, Arkarra Tea Gardens may possibly become one of my new local favourites.
The Tea Gardens are located at 28 Panorama Drive, Dundowran Beach and open 7 days a week: 8.00am to 5.00pm. Check out their website, or you can contact them via their Facebook page, email or by calling (07) 4128 8069.