Making the most of what’s on offer

Last week I submitted my first ever article for publication and amazingly the Fraser Coast Chronicle printed it. Because I am *ahem* somewhat verbose, it was much longer than required and had to be culled. A friend suggested I put the entire thing on this blog, given that it’s got a local flavour, so here we go…

My biggest fear on returning to the Fraser Coast after a couple of decades was that that I’d find the region a cultural wasteland.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m hardly the opera-going type, I dislike most stage shows and don’t hang out at music festivals every second weekend. But Brisbane, like most large cities, always had something on offer. So even if I was happier at home watching DVDs and recovering from my working week I knew I could go to trendy markets, a local festival or catch a comedy show.

Which is why I’ve been pleasantly surprised by what I’ve found on offer since returning to the Fraser Coast.

I’m not normally a ‘joiner’ but have been busier here than I was in Brisbane. In fact, in my first year back I was kept so busy I even suffered from event-going-fatigue.

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Maryborough Regional Arts Council – foreign film night. May 2015

Many people I meet complain there’s nothing to do and yet when I ask them if they’re heading to Relish Festival, Paddle Out For Whales, Sunday Riverside or Flickerfest they screw up their collective noses.

“I can’t be bothered,” they might say.

Interestingly, it’s not the out-of-town shows or big names performing at the Brolga Theatre catching my attention; it’s the Council and community events I most appreciate.

While I’m more than happy to bag the Fraser Coast Regional Council when (I believe) it deserves it, I love that it’s making an effort to entertain its residents and foster a sense of community and culture. Purists and traditionalists may argue for a focus on roads, rates and rubbish but people won’t stay here if there’s nothing to do. We’re not all great at entertaining ourselves and for many—pubs, clubs and weekend sporting fixtures just don’t cut it.

The first time I attended Gatakers By Night I looked around wondering where this eclectic group of people usually hid. Even my mother who knows half of Maryborough saw a lot of different faces.

Gatakers by Night in March 2015. More popular than ever!

Gatakers by Night in March 2015. More popular than ever!

Although you’d have to drag me kicking and screaming to a museum, I also recently visited the dinosaur display in the Maryborough City Hall, hoping the Friday night pop-up bar attracted other likeminded Fraser Coasters keen for something different. (Spoiler alert: it didn’t!)

I’ve started attending the foreign film nights run by the Maryborough Arts Council and will be at upcoming events like the Mary Poppins and Whale Festivals with bells on. Or at least with a vague sense of enthusiasm.

Of course not all events are free, but many are and most offer something for everyone. I don’t always appreciate the music on offer at Gatakers by Night but Iove its festive feeling and take the opportunity to have a couple of wines and visit the art gallery each month.

And although (quite frankly) I hate crowds, it’s wonderful to experience the energetic atmosphere of Relish or the Seafood Festival and celebrate with other Fraser Coasters.

Most importantly however, I’m just turning up. I’m making the effort to support what’s on—conscious we may ‘lose it, if we don’t use it’.

Although I’m a well-seasoned whinger it’s not enough to sit back and complain if you can’t be bothered making the most of what’s there. And that’s something even I need to remind myself every so often.

Fraser Coast Frozen Wonderland

Although many parents and grandparents have probably had enough of Elsa, Anna and endless renditions of Let It Go; I suspect they’ll be keen to check out the Frozen Wonderland on the Fraser Coast during the 2015 Easter school holidays.

Having nothing at all to do with the movie, Frozen Wonderland is setting up at the Maryborough Showgrounds from 3 – 19 April 2015, offering ice skating and tobogganing.

I know little about this event but saw it on Facebook and thought I’d share the love. It’s great to have activities like this (and the visiting dinosaurs) on the Fraser Coast, so I hope locals and visitors take advantage of what’s on offer rather than complain that there’s little to do.

There will be five (5) session times a day (each 1.5hrs) including a 7pm evening session.

ice skating on the fraser coast

I can’t ice skate to save myself and grew up in the 70s and 80s so am more of a roller-skating kinda gal. Well… I was back in the 70s and 80s. I note that they offer 4-bladed skates for kids under 5—which is what I would need (though doubt they come in women’s size 10!) 😉

All of the info you could need is on the website, including some frequently asked questions AND some skating tips! It also lists session times and prices—including packages.

Given this current summer autumn heat it sounds like the perfect spot to be!

Frozen Wonderland – www.frozenwonderland.com.au/
OR check them out on Facebook.

Stand-up paddleboarding on the Fraser Coast

It came to our attention via early adopters Jennifer Aniston and Matthew McConaughey, however Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) has been around for a while now and the serene waters of Hervey Bay offer up the perfect spot to enjoy some SUP action.

Three local companies hire SUP equipment, some providing lessons as well.

Hervey Bay Stand Up Paddle moves its sessions about the bay, finding the spot to best suit SUPers. They recently shared this stunning image taken near Fisherman’s Park at Urangan.

Source - Hervey Bay SUP Facebook page

Source – Hervey Bay SUP Facebook page

Aquavue Cafe Watersports  rents SUP boards (along with other equipment such as catamarans, jet skis and kayaks) from its Torquay base.

And In The Loop at Urangan offers SUP, along with kite surfing and kite boarding.

Source: Aquavue SUP Facebook page

Source: Aquavue SUP Facebook page

Both Aquavue and In The Loop also offer SUP Yoga classes. As the name suggests, it’s basically Yoga on paddleboards. But fear not, the boards are weighed down with sandbags so yogis aren’t likely to drift off to sea.

As is usually the case with yoga, you only do what feels comfortable but with a bit of practice you’ll be doing shoulder stands (or whatever these are!) along with instructor Jess.

Source: In The Loop Facebook page

Source: In The Loop Facebook page

For more information about SUP in Hervey Bay check out the providers’ Facebook pages (links in article).

And…. enjoy!

 

Explore-a-saurus: Dinosaurs on the Fraser Coast

When I was very young there was a magical place in Maryborough, known as the Wintergarden Theatre. My friends and I were regular visitors until it closed in the mid 1980s and I vaguely recall either Flashdance or Footloose being the last movie I saw there.

However… I digress as this story starts a decade earlier, when I inadvertently saw a dinosaur movie which scared the bejesus out of me. I cannot recall the movie in question but it was back in the day of double-header movies, so I suspect it was just the support act for the film we actually went to see. I don’t remember what that was either—emerging scarred with visions of dinosaurs eating people out of cages. Or something.

Yet Friday night I returned to Maryborough for more dinosaur adventures.

Unless you live under a rock (oops sorry, poor stone-age joke!) you’re probably aware that the Explore@saurus dinosaur exhibition is currently on display at Maryborough’s City Hall.

dinosaurs maryborough

The four-month long exhibition kicked off in December 2014 and is in town until 19 April 2015.

If I had kids to accompany I’m sure I’d have been more motivated to visit before now, but alas… it took the promise of alcohol to get me there.

drinks at explore-a-saurus in maryborough

Fraser Coast Events has just hosted the second Night at the Museum—held on Friday 13th in February and March. Always keen to try something different, a friend and I headed to the borough to partake in the cretaceous bar, dinosaurs and whatever else was on offer.

I must admit I was expecting the worst but other than the presence of a few naff stuffed dinosaurs (purely for decorative purposes), the displays were quite impressive. In addition to a half dozen rather large animatronic dinosaurs there are a host of interactive activities. Not to mention exhibits of dinosaur poop which I know will appear to any boy under 10!

dinosaurs maryborough explore-a-saurus fraser coast

The evening events are targeted at adults but at other times a range of kids’ activities are on offer, including colouring, mask making and the opportunity to dig in a sandpit and discover fossils and treasures for yourself.

And there’s stacks to learn. My friend and I  were only slightly embarrassed to admit we knew nothing about our own country’s palaeolithic history so were surprised to come across the Muttaburrasaurus. Which is apparently a real thing and named after the Queensland town!

The four-month tenure of the exhibit seems a bit excessive to me but I note the Fraser Coast Chronicle reported that the exhibit’s now had 15,000 visitors so has broken even and hope that means similar events are considered in the future.

Like many locals I tend to jump on the Fraser Coast Regional Council for their WTF ideas (viewing platform in Maryborough CBD anyone?!), but credit where it’s due.

I’m actually really impressed with some of Council’s cultural/arts initiatives in Maryborough. I know it sometimes feels like Hervey Bay’s poor cousin, but in reality the Council’s hosting a raft of interesting activities now. I’ve missed the last few Gatakers by Night but continue to enjoy the evenings. I’m yet to attend the Sunday Riverside activities but very keen to get along on a Sunday afternoon. And the pop-up bar amid the dinosaurs at City Hall—another great idea!

The exhibition closes on 19 April 2015 and is open Tuesdays – Sundays from 10am – 4pm. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for concessions or kids aged 3-16. Family passes and other deals are also available. For more information and online ticket sales, check out the Fraser Coast Events site.

Family Fun Day

I am living in an absolutely beautiful part of the world right now. Kilometres of pristine beach for swimming, fishing, snorkelling, diving, windsurfing, stand-up paddle-boarding (I really need to try this one), kite-surfing*, windsurfing, kayaking** and sailing. There are two great bike paths, a more direct one that runs through the centre of town (that I use most often) and a meandering but more scenic one with stunning views out over the Pacific Ocean.

And while there are loads of activities and events, there seems to be little effective communication. There are three local papers, but they often seem to report what already happened this week – and I often think “Pickle and I would have liked to have done that”. With that in mind, I have plugged into various Facebook pages, websites and e-newsletters with the hope of keeping on top of events that both Pickle and I would enjoy, and will share them here in the endeavor to get the word out, and maybe even make some more friends in the community.

The next free event that I’ve come across is the Family Fun Day put on by the Hervey Bay Community Centre.

It sounds like a blast with loads of games and activities planned: jumping castle, face painting, music, dance, market stalls and a sausage sizzle.  Hope to see some of you there!

Location: Hervey Bay Community Centre, 22 Charles Street, Pialba

Date: Saturday, 11th May 2013
Time: 10am to 3pm

I’ll keep you posted with upcoming events. There will likely be a focus on kid-friendly and foodie events (where my obvious interests lie), and while not all of them will be free, they will be budget-conscious.

Are there any types of events in particular that you’d like to know more about in advance?

Cheers, KangaRue 🙂

*does it count that I held on to the back of my friend doing this, and only let go when we really started to fly?
**planned for the near future – if it’s not too embarrassing, I may blog about it. Actually, if it’s really embarrassing, I’ll probably blog about it sooner!

This is not a sponsored post.