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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

Gift shopping in Maryborough

I have been stunningly slack in this blog of late. Ummm… sorry ’bout that. It’s been busy but I know that’s no excuse.

It’s not just this blog I’ve let slide however, as my friends will tell you I’ve been spectacularly negligent on that front as well…. which is a problem because most of my close friends’ birthdays fall within these few months. And – in terms of them getting presents on time – well, I’ve failed miserably.

Instead there have been apologetic emails and phone calls. I generally have their gift, but buying, wrapping and then posting it so it arrives on time seems to be beyond my current capabilities.

However, it means I have been spending a lot of time gift-buying. In my current hometown of Hervey Bay I have a few go-to places: Pandanus and Open House are generally my best bets… but a couple of weekends ago (as I was looking for something specific) I spent much of Saturday checking out some of the great stores Maryborough has to offer.

Homewares from Everywhere is (seemingly) fast becoming a coffee / catch-up favourite. Located slightly off the beaten track (45 Gayndah Road) my mother has met friends there for coffee half a dozen times there in the last month or two. I’ve been once before but it’s expanded since then – the cafe in particular growing to meet its increasing trade.

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As the name suggests, the store has an eclectic array of ‘stuff’ (which is a technical term, in case you were wondering!). There are lots of lovely gifts and homewares as you’d expect; but there are a heap of scarves and clothes as well. I actually fancied a couple of the handbags but sadly couldn’t justify any new purchases for me.

It was my first visit to Maddison Cottage Gift Shop and Tearooms (located on the corner of Richmond and Ann Streets). It also houses a cafe along with its giftware range. I fell in love with a few pieces there and bought an early birthday present for my aunt while my mother bought a few gifts as well. Some of its products were bit too french / shabby chic for my taste but I know they appeal to many and the store certainly had a great array.

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Janet’s Art, Books and Coffee (264 Kent Street) was our last stop. I’d been there before but was looking for a particular book for a friend and I knew that Janet’s had a HUGE range of books (non-fiction coffee table books, albums and the like). It also stocks jewellery and knickknacks, while the cafe sells some gluten-free goodies. I often actually go there to buy my cards because there’s always something (a bit different) that takes my fancy. Janet’s Art also has jazz music in their courtyard on a regular basis.

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I probably need to add that the only downside to all of these venues being cafes / homewares and gifts is that you ‘occasionally’ have to wait a while for service. But… I’d recommend you go when you have time to spend as they all deserve a lengthy browse.

I’ve missed stores within Maryborough’s CBD I guess, but anywhere else?

Cafe Muddy Waters – a review

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to head to Maryborough’s Café Muddy Waters for dinner. It was only my second visit this year – the first ‘just’ after it reopened following the January floods.

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It’s a gorgeous spot – in the old Customs House building – still with lovely views of the river and fortunately (in its new location) at far less risk of flooding!

In my previous review I cut the café a lot of slack given that they’d just reopened, but had been disappointed that gluten-free options were very limited.

However, I’m pleased to say that is no longer the case.

Of course – given my usual apathy and lack of organisation – I only emailed the night before I was due to go to ask about GF options. I got a response straight away and was advised there were heaps of choices on the menu.

Indeed, on arrival the waiter was able to run through the gluten-free options and choices available to me in detail and spoke to the chef who was happy to adjust anything. (Handy cos I’m not only coeliac but a bit *ahem* fussy when it comes to veges!)

My fellow diners shared an array of breads and bruschetta as an entrée but scallops (etc) were also on offer.

I was tempted by heaps on the menu (eyeing off the pork belly and rib eye in particular) but finally chose the beef cheeks which came topped with bacon on a creamy potato puree and with green beans. (I’d asked them to hold the mushrooms cos they creep me out. Don’t ask – long story!) 

The beef was melt-in-my-mouth succulent and offset perfectly by the creamy potatoes and crisp beans.

A citrusy* chicken dish proved popular with others at my table and another friend had the fish and chips.

The special of the day (braised shoulder of lamb on what I think was a bed of couscous and topped with turnip crisps) also sounded and looked kinda yummy. I often suffer from food envy so feel obliged to check out everyone else’s meals within viewing range (ideally without scaring them).

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Pics from MW’s Facebook page.

Half of us had desserts and they all went down really well. With a few amendments I could have several dishes on offer and, although I love a crème brulee, I went for the (somewhat clichéd) flourless chocolate cake. (Sans berry compote cos.. well, ugh, fruit!)

And the cake was magnificent. Like friggin’ unbelievable. Moist and rich without being too sweet. I checked with someone else at my table who’d had it just in case I’d hoovered mine too quickly but she confirmed its yumminess. Another of my group had the Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta and another a pav-like meringue dish*.

We were sitting out on the verandah and had a lovely breeze throughout the night. All in all it was a lovely dining experience. The atmosphere is just gorgeous and there was a musician playing a keyboard in the background. It did get a teensy bit loud, but I expect that’s cos we diners all got very kinda loud as the night wore on.

A table complete with fairy lights and lanterns had been set up on the very green lush grass in front of the restaurant for a group of young girls. It looked so lovely it almost made me wish I had a yard rather than an apartment verandah! (Plus I remembered back to my childhood in Maryborough when a ‘special night-out’ involved our parents dropping us off at The Pizza Hut!)

Café Muddy Waters is located at 103 Wharf Street, Maryborough, and is open Tuesday – Sunday (9am – 4pm) and Friday and Saturday nights from 6pm. Ph. 4121 5011. Or like them on Facebook.

*The menu on the website is slightly out of date so I wasn’t able to confirm exactly what we ate. Plus… I really only focussed on the stuff I wanted to eat! 😉

Maryborough Open House

Last year I was very briefly homeless during my move from Brisbane to Hervey Bay. Unsurprisingly the settlement for the sale of my old place and purchase of my new place didn’t quite synchronise so I bunked at my mother’s in Maryborough for a nearly a week.

As coincidence would have it, the inaugural Maryborough Open House took place while I was there.

I’m actually not much of a tourist (ie – I hate sightseeing and similar); but as I was determined to make more of an effort in my new life to participate in community events, the Open House gave me the perfect opportunity to start on the right foot! #orsomething

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Fortunately my mother had been to a few of the places with another friend the day before so – being well-versed in my low level of tolerance – she whipped up a list of ‘what we should see’.

You’ll see from last year’s post that (surprisingly) I enjoyed the visits (fave places in the pic to the left!) and used it to get some ideas for my new abode. Indeed – my new place is far brighter and cheerier than my last apartment. I even have a patchwork quilt!

And – after that long introduction – I’m pleased to say that it’s THAT time again.

The 2013 Maryborough Open House Event will be held over the weekend of 26-27 October.

Last year I predominantly stuck to houses so I’m aiming to target some different places this year and am particularly keen on visiting some of Maryborough’s CBD and riverside beauties. I vaguely recollect borrowing Noddy books from the School of the Arts in the early-mid 1970s so am eager to see if it rekindles any old memories. (Pic below from Open House Facebook page!)

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full list of buildings and houses which will be open to the public is available from the website, which also includes details of how to get to Maryborough and accommodation information.

There’s a program of events attached to the Open House celebrations, including a guided bus tour and archeological dig and the festivities will also coincide with regular events –  cemetery tours, ghost tours, Gatakers by Night and Sunday in the Park.

You may recall I enjoyed the last Gatakers by Night event so I’ll be dragging someone along to that with me on Saturday 26 October. I understand the entertainment this time around includes a local choral group doing excerpts from Broadway musicals as well as a classical guitarist. Drinks are available for purchase on the night (beer, wine, tea, coffee and softdrinks) as well as wood-fired pizzas and I believe there’s usually cake!

To keep up-to-date you may wish to ‘like’ Maryborough Open House on Facebook.

Will I see you there?