Breakfasting in the borough

I’m almost certainly a social media addict. Don’t get me wrong… I’m not one of those people constantly attached to their phone and I am, quite frankly, horrified that people can go to Twitter jail*, but… I do tend to rely on social media on a daily basis.

When I lived in this State’s capital, Brisbane, I depended on a few different twitter accounts (SEQ Incidents and Qld Rail for example) for advice on traffic conditions and public transport hiccups. And when I moved back to the Fraser Coast I searched out all possible local Facebook and Twitter accounts to follow. Which is why last Thursday I put out a Facebook question about breakfast dining options in Maryborough.

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Sadly suggestions were minimal but… during my day’s online trawling I came across reference to a Maryborough cafe which: 1. Opened early; and 2. Showed some social media savvy.

cafe cru

Cafe Cru is obviously a bit of a hidden gem as my mother (a long-term Maryborough resident) and a couple of other people I spoke to had no idea the place existed or where it could be found (near the Mary Poppins statue, incidentally!). But, after a call to check that gluten-free options were available it was the planned venue for Friday’s breakfast.

However… although the ambience is great (I loved the look and feel of the place including the eclectic furniture), the menu was more limited than I expected.

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If you’re extremely a tad fussy like me you may struggle. Although GF bread was available none of the three or four bruschetta breakfast options tempted me. Mum was happy to have a ham and cheese croissant but, rather than ‘make do’, we decided (albeit reluctantly) to go elsewhere.

Having said that, Cafe Cru obviously attracts a lot of regulars, several customers being greeted by name as they picked up their morning coffee. Plus… some of the stuff on their menu (for non coeliacs) looked AMAZING! (‘Like’ the Cafe Cru Facebook page if you don’t already and you’ll see what I mean!)

AllikatsInstead we ventured into Allikats on Kent. On arriving I confirmed GF options were available and was happy that they were easily able to run through my choices. Both mum and I settled on bacon and poached eggs on toast and enjoyed our respective breakfasts.

I noticed that Allikats also had gluten-free cupcakes and cake in their window – had I been there for a snack rather than brekkie.

I have to say I was surprised what a struggle it was to find something open (before 9am) in Maryborough for breakfast. My mother dines out fairly regularly (mostly lunches and morning/afternoon teas) and always asks after gluten-free options on my behalf. She knows I’ll groan if the only choice is the seemingly popular orange and poppy-seed cake which graces many-a-cafe-shelf.

So, while I’ve found a few faves in Hervey Bay, I’m going to have to keep investigating Maryborough cafes, coffee shops and restaurants to find my go-to options. *Sigh*… such a chore! 😉

I’m happy to receive suggestions in the interim!

* Sad, but true. You can only send a limited number of tweets a day. Apparently.

Gatakers Artspace & precinct

I’m embarrassed to confess that it took me six months of being back on the Fraser Coast before I ventured to Maryborough’s trendy Gatakers Artspace and precinct.

Sadly time didn’t permit an excessive amount of sightseeing so I skipped the Bond Store and the Military & Colonial Museum (which I’ve also visited previously); but as the much beleaguered Muddy Waters Cafe was reopening after repeated floodings and a new art show, by local artist Gina Davey was being launched, I figured it was a good time to pop down there.

GatakersI’d been to Gatakers Artspace years ago and decided then that I could indeed live in the venue. Its renovation / refurbishment reminds me of some high spec house which should be featuring on Lifestyle TV or the like. I must confess (though) to being a bit underwhelmed last time I visited the gallery – with mostly local knitting on display. This visit however, was much more fruitful, with Davey’s Person of Interest exhibition featuring downstairs and an array of artwork and sculptures upstairs.

In fact I was so mesmerised with a series (by a local artist whose name I’ve forgotten – in bottom right corner of pic) that I even contemplated whether my current state of poverty would permit me to buy one of the pieces.

MuddyWatersI was keen to show Muddy Waters Cafe some support after the bad luck they’ve experienced. I know that building by a river is fraught with danger, but am pretty sure they didn’t expect five floods in three years. The Cafe is now in the Customs House building (home of the former Port Residence), which offers some pleasing views.

Owners Michael and Mia Cox say they are starting small; they are yet to get their liquor licence and only open from 9 – 4 (Tuesday – Sunday) at the moment.

I’ve decided I’ll cut them some slack, as they’re still getting started, but in my case – as a coeliac – gluten-free options were very limited. In fact they were practically non-existent. The helpful waitress said that they could just remove parts of a dish, but it seemed wasteful to pay for something and only receive half of it and nothing tempted me anyway. We were also offered the breakfast menu (all day breakfast I assume) but again there was no GF bread and they were unsure about the chorizo and bacon.

It’s not cheap and I have to admit I won’t be rushing back at this stage. I’ll keep an eye out though because if their menu expands, it is a nice spot and might be worth a second chance. I know people thought well of it previously.

janetsOn the suggestion of my mother and a few locals I also visited Janet’s Art while at that end of town. And… Oh. My. God. I was super-impressed. “Atmosphere and gluten-free options galore!” I tweeted afterwards. I saw several things I was keen to buy, but only left with some cards (Mother’s Day was approaching!).

I picked up a takeaway menu and was pleasantly surprised at the array of GF options on offer. There’s a lovely space out the back which should prove nice during winter and I love that the store supports local artists and jazz.

I’m keen to return to the precinct to make it to Gatakers by Night, which is staged from 5-9pm on the last Saturday (of each full weekend of the month) and features music and artists-in-action. And it’s nice to see that the beautiful space is being put to good use.

Definitely not the pits

I really need to start staying at home on weekends. Or… get into an exercise routine so I feel less shame, if I’m going to continue to visit sporting events around the Fraser Coast.

The Hervey Bay Triathlon was depressing enough: fit-as-a-fiddle lycra-clad athletes whizzing past on bikes or pounding the pavement, as I lolled about on my blanket wondering what I’d eat for brunch. But this past weekend my body-image issues returned as I attended the inaugural Fraser Coast Regional Beach VolleyBall Invitational in Hervey Bay.

the guysWhile the weather and crowds disappointed a little on the Saturday, a steady stream of people did take advantage of the fact that talented and professional athletes were again on our doorstep, frolicking about in an incredibly large sandpit!

Olympians and those among the best in the State and country were on hand to show us exactly how one looks good in swimwear while throwing themselves onto the sand.

I’ve previously confessed my hatred of getting sandy, so the notion of being sweaty and diving into the sand (no matter how pristine) is like all of my nightmares come at once!

the galsBut, in addition to the amazing bodies (from a strength and fitness point of view, rather than sleazy pervy way. Of course!), there was some fantastic sporting prowess on display.

The usual beach volleyball pairs offered us some great athleticism but it was the fours that impressed me. All eight invitees (of either gender) on court at once resulted in some amazing rallies and closely fought tussles.

VB2I’m stoked that it’s reported that the competition will return. From all accounts the players were impressed by the facilities and – as a spectator – I was impressed at the event’s organization: from the array of food on offer, to the activities for kids (jumping castles and face-painting) as well as the chance for spectators to rub shoulders with the pros on the practice court. As a social media fiend I was also impressed to see regular Facebook updates and some fabulous pics of the matches.

VB1The lack of protection from the elements was a bit of a problem.

It was either too hot and sunny in the stands or those present got saturated by the pesky rain which hung about most of Saturday.

I’m not sure how undercover areas would be catered for, but a bit more shade would have been handy. Perhaps if the court was ‘moved’ a little there would be some shady spots under trees.

As for the boring important bits… Mike Watson and Will Mercer took out the men’s title from Dan Carey and Joshua Slack; while super-impressive Townsville gals, Natasha Chapman and Rebecca Matheson defeated the sisters’ Mowen (Jordan and Justine) for the women’s title.

It’s great to see national and world-class athletes on our doorsteps (roads, ocean and beaches) and I’m stoked to have had the chance to be privy to their awesomeness. It’s also worth thanking the sponsors, including The Hervey Bay Boat Club and the Queensland Volleyball Association. I’m already looking forward to next year!

Hervey Bay Triathlon: a lesson in sportsmanship

Last weekend I watched my first triathlon … well, the second half cos seeing the swim leg (the first of the three) would have meant leaving the house before 6.45am and I couldn’t quite motivate myself for that. Nevertheless, I got to see the cycle and run legs and was struck by a number of things.

bikesgirl1. Even the fittest looking athletes seemed to be doing it hard (having said that – by the time they got to where I was they’d already done half of each leg). I was surprised by the grimaces and occasional hand to the stomach as if staving off a stitch.

2. You have to be pretty fit and lean to look good in a lycra onesie. I’m just sayin’… Some of those cycling and running past me were impressive. In fact, I *ahem* may have been guilty of this tweet.

However, lycra is not particularly forgiving if your physique is less-than-perfect.

3. A HELL of a lot of people wear black. My friend Liz, visiting from Brisbane, had told me she’d be in black. An inordinate number of cyclists (men and women alike) went whizzing past me in black so I didn’t see Liz until she was metres away (though thankfully I was near the turnaround point so got a second viewing!

4. A surprising number of people are willing to ‘give it a go’. There were some seriously chubby types (though possibly not as chubby as moi) out and about and I was mightily impressed at their fitness and determination. In fact, I saw familiar faces from around town (possibly in the corporate event and just doing one leg) who I was surprised to see running 10km. As I cannot run 100m anyone running further than that deserves my warmest regards. It was a timely reminder that just ‘trying’ is all-important.

bikes5. Encouragement is appreciated. As I was waiting to see Liz I contemplated how exactly I’d cheer. After all, I was in a pretty isolated place with few people around. Readers of my other blogs may think I have no shame, but I do suffer embarrassment very easily… however when the time came, I was easily able to shriek (in what was – I’m fairly sure – a calm but sexy voice), “Yay Liz!” And “Go, Liz!”

However as the day wore on I found myself feeling obliged to continue to watch ALL of the cyclists and runners – catching their eye and smiling encouragingly.

I got several comments – from the occasional, “Hello!” to, “Thanks for being here!” And even a “It’s great to see your lovely smile!” Which of course meant that I had to forgo playing on my iPod or reading the book I’d brought to beam at everyone and anyone passing by. (Those just out on a morning walk to buy the paper probably wondered why they deserved such a beatific gift!) By the time the stragglers came by at the end – stopping for breath or grimacing painfully I even felt obliged to tell them what a wonderful job they were doing. When someone said they wished they were in my spot (lolling about on the thick green grass), I replied that I envied their ability to get out there and try.

bikes runners6. The camaraderie was AMAZING. A few of the cyclists whizzing by knew each other and cheered their friends, counterparts or opponents as they circled the halfway point. Others offered encouraging words to the slower cyclists as they left them in their dust.

But it was during the run leg that I noticed it the most. “Great running,” I’d hear as one fit looking person overtook another. And when I heard “Great work,” and it was someone with a greyhound-like body talking to someone-who-shouldn’t-wear-lycra, I looked for signs of sarcasm or condescension, but saw nothing of the kind. Just lots of cheering each other on. I mean, I know it wasn’t an Olympic event, but still… it was nice to see that support and camaraderie.

And that, folks, is what I’ll take away from last weekend’s event. That no matter how stuffed someone might be or how superior someone might be, to offer a kind word of encouragement to others can mean more than you can imagine. After all, I wasn’t even IN the event, but have a newfound respect for the solidarity that comes from competing (as one). Many of those there weren’t in it to win it; they were wanting to better their previous time, or just finish the bloody thing. Many were just there to try. (And as for the locals… I think it was a case of ‘If you build it, they will come!’)

Oh… and if you’ve got lots of wobbly bits, you might want to avoid lycra (or at least stick to black). That’s another lesson for those playing along at home.

Have you expected fierce competitiveness and found, instead, goodwill? 
Do you ‘do’ lycra? More importantly, SHOULD you do lycra?*

*Am being facetious obviously. I’m a strong believer that anyone should wear whatever they like. (Well, within reason… 😉 )

Eye Candy alert

beach volleyball 2Sporting prowess, absolutely. But let’s be honest, there are going to be some seriously hot guys (and girls, I’m all for inclusion) at Hervey Bay’s Seafront Oval this weekend for the Fraser Coast Regional Beach Volleyball Invitational.

Three-time Olympian, Joshua Slack, will be amongst those competing, as detailed in this Fraser Coast Chronicle article.

Another free event…. Pickle will have a blast watching the balls bounce (minds out of gutter people!)

beach volleyball1I can’t think of a better way to spend a few hours over the weekend… A Mothers Day present to myself perhaps? 😉

Date:  Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th May, 2013
Time: from 9am round-robins Saturday and 8am finals on Sunday*
Venue: Seafront Oval, corner of Main Street and Charlton Esplanade, Pialba
Cost: FREE!

Hope to see you there!

Cheers, KangaRue 🙂

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* Pics from Event Facebook page