Thursday, October 14, 2010

WHAT I’M GRATEFUL FOR IN HERVEY BAY, Day 1:



1. THE HERVEY BAY ROTARY GROUP: I arrived in Harvey Bay thanks to an invitation from rotary members Kevin and Sandy Alexander after they read an article about yours truly in Australian Women’s Health back in March. The deal was I do some speaking engagements in exchange for accommodation and touring around Fraser Island. I love my job! So day one I spent enjoying Australia’s whale watching, cafes along the Esplanade, great big sharks, and strolls along the Urangan Pier. Unfortunately, it was wet but still warm. I’m grateful to the HBRG for giving me my introduction to the region because I actually fell in love with the Fraser Coast on the drive out from the airport to town. [see pic above taken in the entrance of Vic Hislop’s Great White Shark and Whale Expo]
2. THE COMMISSIONER: I’m grateful to The Commissioner who flew in from Cairns to keep me company among the Hervey Bay whales and Fraser Island Dingoes and to who doesn’t insist on riding shot-gun all the time. Or as some wordsmiths like to call - gunshot.
3. COURTEOUS PEOPLE: I’m grateful to the locals in HB who were incredibly friendly and courteous. It’s the kind of community-mindedness and generosity that is often lost when towns are taken over by tourists and HB is a tourist-town. Most notable were the young teenagers I observed in the street and the supermarket who were polite to passers-by and shop assistants. I’m also grateful for the reminder that most young people are generally good kids.
4. PAOLO’S: There’s simply too many delicious looking restaurants to choose from in HB, and being a foody, the evening meal was incredibly important to me, less so for the Commissioner. After a quick bevy at Hoolihan’s pub we liked to the look of Paolo’s Pizza Bar as we drove past – we needed a venue that would cope with the volume of our laughter – and within minutes were seated. Dining on the Diavola pizza, I wondered if chilli was needed on top of the salami and jalapeno’s to increase its fiery intensity. The Commissioner thought yes. The food, service, background music and walls signed with testimonials from satisfied customers, set the mood for a fantastic dining experience. Special mention of the incredibly polite, youthful wait staff; you guys / girls rock.
5. WHALE WATCHING: HB is Australia’s whale watching capital and humpback whales visit here on their southern migration staying in the waters nearby between mid-July and early November, so it was the perfect time to see the 40 tonne mammals while here. So, the Commissioner and I donned our plastic ponchos – thankfully there’s no photographic evidence at hand – and boarded the Quick Cat II www.hervaybaywhalewatch.com.au in the hope of seeing a ‘belly flop’ [that was the Commissioner’s desire not mine]. Unlike many others, I was grateful for the merest glimpse of the majestic mammals as they performed some water ballet for us all. Special mention to staff member Courteous Curtis who was full of whale-watching trivia and performed some card tricks for the Commissioner and I. [Some pics above of the whales in waters on the Fraser Coast]
6. WALKING in HB: I like to walk. I do it most days in some form or other and I try to maintain it while on the road. It gives me time to clear my head, take in the local area and of course feel less guilty about the pizza I’ve eaten as part of my trip (and the chocolate etc etc etc). So, I headed along the Esplanade from my hotel in Torquay towards the Urangan Pier. It was drizzly and blowy but the locals were out in force at 7am and I was grateful they greeted me with smiley faces. I have no doubt everyone’s also friendly here because it’s hard not to feel like you’re on holidays with the palm trees and gorgeous sees. I’ll be coming back!

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