The Hungry Wanderers

Eating and exploring our way through the world

Gusty Intro to Hervey Bay

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on March 14, 2010

On Friday, the Husband and I checked out of the Grand Chancellor in Brisbane, walked down the hill to pick up our rental (hired) car, grabbed our bags, and headed north through Queensland to our destination: Hervey Bay.  In all, we will be driving nearly 2,000 kilometers between Brisbane and Cairns (I think!) over a little over a week and we’ll be exploring the beautiful coast along the way.

Hervey Bay is located about 300km north of Brisbane.  While we drove most of it on the main highway, we veered off once to explore a “Tourist Road” (it seems there are many of these so expect to see more as the week goes on!).  This tourist road took us through rolling hills with lots of beautiful green and pastures filled with cows, horses, and ducks.

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Once we reached Maryborough (one of its claims to fame is that the author of Mary Poppins was born there), we headed east toward the water.  We saw a billboard along the drive for our hotel, the Mantra Hervey Bay, advising to follow the signs for the Boat Harbour.  We were impressed to find it literally at the harbour.  We checked in and made our way to our room – a quaint space with a beautiful view.

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We dropped our bags off and headed down to the marina in search of a late lunch and quickly noted the very gusty wind that had begun.  Unfortunately we didn’t get any photos of how windy it was, but it was a bit of an effort to remain upright 🙂

We’ve found that a lot of restaurants serve lunch from 11 to 2:30 and then dinner from 5:30 or 6pm on, leaving the 2:30 or 3pm to 5 or 5:30pm period with few lunch options.  Unfortunately for us, that has when we’ve been finding an opportunity to eat lunch the last few days.  Luckily, one of the restaurants here at the marina continued to serve lunch late on this Friday.

IMG_2145 We walked over to Cafe Balaena and chose a table toward the front of the pier (on the right in this photo).  It was a cute little restaurant with a bit of character.

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We enjoyed views of most of the pier from our seats.

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We were luckily behind good plastic walls but at one point the winds were so strong the plastic hit our table and sent our silverware flying!

Since it was a late lunch, we were quite hungry and were impressed with the options available to choose from.  First, we were presented with water which we gladly accepted.

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I then ordered a beer to enjoy with my lunch (just water for the Husband).  I chose the Pure Blonde which I learned is a product of Foster’s.  It’s labeled as a low carb beer and was light and refreshing.

IMG_2122 The Husband and I started with an appetizer.  We love seafood and are excited to be on the coast for the next week or so and hope to have lots of fresh seafood while we are.  We ordered the Honey Prawns and Sesame Scallop Skewers.  They were placed on top of a bed of vegetables with a side of sticky rice.  Great start to our lunch!

IMG_2136 For his entree, the Husband ordered a Smoked Salmon and cream cheese sandwich.

IMG_2137 I enjoyed a Veggie Wrap which included mixed greens, sundried tomatoes, onions, roasted red peppers, and an avocado sauce.  So refreshing (especially as my only condition to where we ate lunch was “no pub or tavern food”)!

IMG_2138 We also shared a bowl of chips and joked that we were having a potato withdrawal (we’ve been impressed with how many potato products we’ve had!).  Of course, with a side of tomato sauce (ketchup).

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We realized that this was our first table service meal since we’ve been in Australia (most places have been “order at the counter” places where they then brought the food out).  The service was quite friendly.  We would recommend both the food and service to anyone in this area of Hervey Bay.

After lunch, we took a short stroll around the marina.  Unfortunately, it’s not whale watching season currently (that’s from July through November), but we can imagine that it would be lots of fun!

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With the winds really picking up, we grabbed some fliers at the front desk to try to determine what to do Saturday (depending on the weather) and we rented a board game to enjoy in the room.  We read through our fliers and began a game of Scrabble.  Now, some of you may think that sounds boring, but the Husband and I LOVE playing board games 🙂 Even on our honeymoon, you could find us on the Disney Cruise playing chess in the bar 🙂

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I won this match, but I’m sure the Husband will kick my butt in another game later…

After some blogging and tv watching, we decided to head back down into the wind (and now rain) to find some dinner.  The marina has a handful of restaurants but we chose the closest one – the Wheelhouse Restaurant & bar.

We haven’t quite got the hang of Australian restaurants yet.  Many you seat yourself but when we walked in, the ladies in front of us were seated by the manager/waiter so we waited to do the same.  We were brought water and the Husband ordered a beer – a Carlton Mid.

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For dinner, I was in the mood for pasta and ordered the Fettucini Carbonara.  One thing we’ve noted is the difference in bacon here in Australia.  It’s thicker and more ham like.  We’ve enjoyed it, but I was still surprised to see the larger pieces in this dish (although I really shouldn’t have been).  It was rich and creamy and hit the spot.

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The Husband ordered the Hot Pot Chili & Garlic Prawns and a side of roasted vegetables.  While there was a lot of butter, he especially enjoyed having more vegetables in his diet 🙂

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While fumbling with our cameras trying to get the right lighting to take photos of our food, a kind woman at the table next to us assumed we wanted a picture of the two of us.  We gladly took up her offer for a photo 🙂

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We enjoyed our dinner and the continued friendly service from the Australians.  We’re hoping that the weather clears up so that we can enjoy our second day in Hervey Bay tomorrow!

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