Tag: Hogs Breath cafe

637. Sunday 2nd September 2018. Clermont to Charters Towers, Townsville, Airlie Beach and Mackay. Visiting family…

This was a big week of photos.

Monday 27th August

At the beginning of this century, Donnis and I drove (in my beloved sadly missed, Subaru, Liberty, Rallye) from The Lynd Roadhouse along the developmental Gregory Highway south to Charters Towers. The distance was 260 Klms and took three hours, much of it at nighttime and through parts which were still unsealed and it was raining. Today we travelled north from Clermont to Charters Towers on the Gregory Highway, a distance of 397 Klms. The trip took 4 hours.

The flat landscape allowed us to see, in the distance, some of the rocky features of the Peak Range National Park. The now extinct volcano was active around 32 million years ago. These high “jump ups’ are all that remain of the ancient caldera.

We passed through a constantly changing landscape although everywhere we looked it was dry. Typically in this area and with the flat horizon to horizon landscape there was a cloudless blue sky. One day rain will come but in the meantime the parched landscape will prevail. Even the trees have leaves the colour of grey green, containing more eucalyptus oil than chlorophyl.

Somewhere between the middle of nowhere and the middle of nowhere on a long straight stretch of road we saw an animal crossing. As we got closer it moved quickly with a gait familiar to us. It was a feral cat who once having gained the safety of the verge stopped and looked at us over its shoulder before slinking into the crisp brown grass. In all our years of travelling all types of roads around Australia this is the first time we have seen a feral cat in the wild. Feral cats are a huge problem in the outback. They kill native wildlife at a faster rate than native predators. They also breed more rapidly and are vicious when approached.

There was fresh and aged road kill. The fresh road kill almost always had a cloud of carnivorous birds pulling at the carcass. As we approached some would fly away, some would hop off to the side of the road but always there was one brave bird who stood his ground, defying anybody to distract him from the business of feasting on fresh meat. It seems the most prevalent diner at road kill is the Torresian Crow. Quite often eating side by side with the others is one or more Wedge Tailed Eagles. At one kill we saw 6 eagles working together. As a car approached they would take off but within moments of passing they were landing back on the carcass.

Our first and only stop was both unexpected and disappointing. At the 169 Klm mark was a bridge over the dry sandy bed of the Belyando River. I understand that once upon a time when the road was little more than a gravel track, there was a low level river crossing here. It was known then and still is known as Belyando Crossing. There is a garage and some basic accommodation and a few campsites on the hill above the dry river. (yes the river is dry much of the year but come the wet season that all changes) All around the site are signs telling you what you can and cannot do, The toilets have a sign to say they are not public toilets and you must buy at least something over $2 to get the password to gain entry to the toilets. I agree the site has to have some rules in order to survive as a business but I just think the proliferation of signs is over the top.

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Belyando Crossing Roadhouse.

Although isolated, Belyando Crossing is quite a popular stop. Spring is approaching which explains the 30° temperature which was offset by a wonderful breeze wafting along and up from the dry river bed. A dry bed it may be but typically of arid landscapes it is well endowed with shady trees along its length.

The next 200 Klms was much like the first part of the trip with a change in the flora from time to time. Most of the countryside was flat to the horizon but as we neared Charters Towers rocky hills became the norm.

We stopped for lunch at McDonalds at Charters Towers. Nuff said about that.

The road to Townsville, 159 Klms away, was through similar territory although now we crossed the Great Dividing Range at Mingella Range and came down to sea level arriving at Karen’s house around 4pm.

A bushfire was burning somewhere on a knoll nearer the coast. The offshore breeze was blowing the smoke across the suburbs and leaving a smudge of grey over the ranges.

Sleeping was difficult with the smell of smoke seeming to fill the lungs.

Tuesday 28h August

Woke to a clear blue sky with only a few puffy white clouds and that smokey haze left over from yesterday.

We managed a short visit with daughter Shelley and although this was a school day both Matthew and Jack were at home. Georgia was also home from her job as a Jillaroo on an outback property some distance out of Alice Springs.

Both Shelley and our friend Karen ere at 1300 SMILES Stadium last Friday night to watch the last home game to be played by Rugby League legend, Jonathon Thurston with his team, the Cowboys. Both were part of the sellout crowd who stayed after the game to farewell JT.

Wednesday 29th August

While I had another visit with Shelley Donnis and Karen went curtain shopping at Spotlight. Matthew was at school today and his class had a Fathers Day sale and I was invited to attend as Grandad while he went shopping.

Our friends Tony and Dawn have arrived at Balgal Beach and will be able to meet with us tomorrow.

Thursday 30th August

Karen lives in a bushland setting suburb. There are many walking tracks and paths in and around the suburb. Those tracks are all set in native vegetation including footbridges over natural creeks.

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One of many footbridges scattered through the suburb.

The bridges have warning signs advising not to play in or near the water due to the danger of crocodiles!

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A long way from the water but soon the water will arrive and so will the crocs.

Cocodiles! But this dry creek bed is several Klms from the ocean! The creeks may be dry now but the wet season is approaching. 300818 creek1The wet season could be as long as October until May.

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An overgrown creek.

When torrential rain falls in the tropics is does so with a vengeance. The rain increases the humidity levels to around 90% day and night for months at a time. Crocodiles lay their eggs in the humid season. These dry creek beds will soon become, raging torrents of deep water then calm wide and equally deep creeks. It is easy for crocodiles to swim upstream looking for food and or a place to nest. Later the creeks will become smaller disjointed billabongs then small isolated pools with lots of dry sandy creek beds once again and the cycle begins all over.

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Who would paint a dead tree?

Karen wanted to have lunch at Brothers Rugby League Club. Our long terms friends, Tony and Dawn have just arrived in Townsville so we all agreed to meet for lunch. Brothers had a T-Bone Thursday special. Afterwards we went back to their caravan for our usual catch up. They have had a series of problems in the last two months and have decided to postpone their round Australia trip for this year.

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Landing Jetty on Ross River.
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Ross River with Mt Stuart in the distance.
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Cormorants drying in the sun.
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Look at the webbed feet of the Cormorant.

Friday 31st August

Another beautiful day in Paradise. Actually Paradise is all along the Queensland coast.

I met up with daughter Shelley, hubby Dwaynne and grandchildren Georgia and Jack. Lunch at Hogs Breath Cafe. Maybe it was the location but the noise of patrons was louder than the noise of the music being played. In the meantime Donnis and Karen visited with another friend before Donnis joined us. After lunch we bumped into, accidentally on purpose, Tony and Dawn. WE arrived back at Karens house in time for dinner but I fell asleep instead.

Saturday 1st September

I was walking along a track in the opposite direction to many walkers and runners taking part in a world wide health and fitness group, Park Run who stage 5 Klm Run/Walks every Saturday morning. ( www.parkrun.com.au ) One of the organisers waiting back at the finish line told me what a glorious morning it was for the first day of Spring. I could not disagree with her but commented that it has been glorious Spring like weather for some weeks.

Today we met daughter Shelley and grandson Matthew for an open day at the Army Lavarack Barracks in Townsville.

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Two Army groups fight it out in a Tug O War. The group on the right won.

There was an extr special reason for me to be here. A Squadron 2 Cavalry Regiment is based here.

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Armoured Personnel Carrier

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2nd_Cavalry_Regiment_(Australia) I was a member of this regiment when it was based in Holsworthy NSW. I must admit that today’s modern Army is far more technology equipped than my day.

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Armoured Troop Carriers

I suppose in my day we thought we had cutting edge machinery and equipment.

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The Army LARC… Lighter, Amphibious ReSupply, Cargo
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Heavy duty, fast, armoured patrol boat.

In my day both tanks and armoured personnel carriers were part of the one regiment. The personnel carriers and associated crews have now become part of 3 Royal Australian Regiment while tanks and associated crews are now all that make up 2 Cavalry Regiment.

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M1 Abrams tank. 62 tonnes of armour, speed and firepower.

Much of the equipment I was familiar with, including weapons, are now virtually museum pieces. Weapons such as Carl Gustav anti tank weapon and the 50 Calibre machine gun are still in use while everything else has been replaced. Only the tracked Armoured Personnel Carrier still remains in service but even it will be retired in a few years.

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Blackhawk helicopter

We got to look at helicopters and amphibious vessels and boats.

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The Boeing CH-47 Chinook is a twin-engined, tandem rotor, heavy-lift helicopter manufactured by Boeing. The CH-47 is among the heaviest lifting helicopters.

The big highlight of the day was when the big tank drove over cars and flattened them.010918 tank2

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M1 Abrams Tank speeds over and crushes a car.
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A car which has been run over by the Army tank.

A big joy for Donnis and myself to greet Trooper Courage a huge Wedge Tail Eagle who is the Regimental Mascot. ( http://www.contactairlandandsea.com/2017/11/15/2nd-cavalry-regt-recruits-new-mascot/ ) I was part of the original 1 Cav Regiment which started the very first Trooper Courage Mascot in 1967 and often assisted the very first handler Noel with his duties. It was also in 1967 the unit name was changed from 1 Cav to 2 Cav.

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Handler and Trooper Courage both needed a drink of water.
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It was a hot day. 30 degrees in fact. The handler has just given Trooper Courage a splash of water across his back.
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Trooper Courage with wings at three quarter spread.

We were also greatly impressed with the Dog Squad and how even the dogs are part of a fighting force.

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The Army attack dog has a special muzzle which has a thick panel of steel embedded in the front. The dog can deliver a pinpoint accurate blow to an aggressors chest. The power of the dog can stop an attacker, bowl them over and probably break a few ribs as well.
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The assistant who was suitably padded with protective armour vest and arm cverings was hit once and rolled over several times, got to her feet and the dog launched at her again and again bowling her over several times. Even with the protective padding she was still winded and took a minute slowly stand up.

The day was hot and the displays were spread over a large area with lots of walking and in some cases chasing after Matthew who thought this was the best day of his life.

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Matthew wearing an Australian Army Camouflage jacket
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Matthew loved playing with the machine guns but the powerful loading mechanism of the M50 had him struggling to even pull the cocking lever halfway.

I really enjoyed my day and pay tribute to the Army band which played mostly pop music and their lead singer was fabulous. The band seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as the audience was.

Thankfully there were lots of food and water outlets. Some food outlets were 3 CSR, which is also part of 3RAR. Other outlets were commercial operators.

All in all a very well organised day and the Army personnel were on hand to answer questions and interacted marvellously with the children.

Top marks to the Amy and their involvement with the local community.

To top off the day I picked up a head cold. It has probably been with me for a day or two but today I really noticed the symptoms. Grrr! I last had a head cold in May this year when we were travelling in Canada.

Sunday 2nd September

Happy Fathers Day.

We were on the road by 7am.

First stop was our once upon a time home – Airlie Beach.

We had a family gathering, brother Allan with wife Rae, and sisters Enid and Sandra with daughter Jo-Elle, son Luke with his girlfriend Ash.

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Ash Luke Jo-Elle Donnis Enid Al and Rae
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Enid Ash Sandi Jo-Elle and Luke who towers over everyone including me.
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Sandi Rae Allan Enid and a couple of faces in the shade.

We met at a new resort Northerlies, in Woodwark Bay to the north of Airlie.

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A busy Fathers Day at Northerlies.

This resort did not exist 4 years ago.

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Is this the Wreck of the Hesperus
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There was a sign on the beach warning of a recent crocodile sighting but no mention was made of this specimen under the resort entrance bridge.

The road was very steep and winding, slippery clay and mud, littered with potholes and the road was closed to the public. The entire area was thick bush. The road is still steep and winding but is now sealed and the bush has been cut away so the vista of Pioneer Bay can be seen. The resort is is a little difficult to find, off the beaten track and seemed to be patronised by locals. The food was good if a bit overpriced but the scenery was something special looking across the bay to Airlie Beach and giving views to South Molle Island, Whitsunday Island and Hayman Island.

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A scrawny Pandanus looking over Pioneer Bay to Point Almora.
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Looking back to Airlie Beach
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My guess is these poles were installed to give the impression there was once a jetty here.
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Looking through the poles to Airlie Beach.
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The original plans for the resort included using boat wrecks from several cyclones to be included in the accommodation.

All too soon our gathered participants started to drift away and it was time for us to get back on the road also.

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Australian White Egret

After 4 hours driving we still had another 2 hours ahead of us as we are staying at sister Sandra’s house in Mackay. We covered 450 Klms today.

It has been a remarkable week with lots of highlights.

633. Sunday 5th August 2018. Seafood, beach walks, Rugby League and electrics…

Monday 30th July

Today we drove to Sea World Beach for a walk in the sunshine, fresh salty air and bare toes in the sand.

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While sitting on the beach we saw this pair walking up and down doing the Metal Detector Shuffle to the tune of Have Not Found Anything of Value or sometimes they play Just Bottle Tops.

Donnis felt invigorated after the walk. Afterwards we stopped to have a look at Peters Seafood Market in a little unnamed street just beside Palazzo Versace.   http://petersfish.com.au/   This is a hidden gem selling mostly, Australian Wild Caught fish and seafood. They have fish and chips for $9. Unfortunately you are only offered Basa catfish from Vietnam or Hoki from New Zealand. Both are pre filleted and half cooked in a thin batter then frozen. Peters finishes the cooking process. You can choose any other fresh Australian fillets of fish which they will cook for you. Battered, crumbed or grilled. Of course the price is dearer. Outside there are bench tables and seats all looking across the Broadwater and the fishing fleet marina on one side and the multi- million dollar boats in the Versace marina on the other side. These spectacular views cost nothing as you sit back and enjoy your seafood. Although there are only a couple of small signs on Seaworld Drive, this place is busy especially as it is Monday and not the busiest day of the week.

Thursday 2nd August.

Donnis is still not well but not so bad that she is confined to bed. She wanted to spend some time on the beach in the sand, just sitting there and enjoying the sunshine and fresh sea air. The beach opposite Marina Mirage seemed like a good idea but the breeze from the south was just a little cool and annoying. So we decamped and went to a walk around the marina precinct including Mariners Cove, Marina Mirage Palazzo Versace Marina and saw the boats, all in the multi- million dollar plus class at the private marina at Palazzo Versace.

There are a few seafood places here, one serves a $9 fish and chips but on checking found it is the dreaded Vietnamese Basa. Mariners Cove Fish and Chips will not be on our “to do” list.

Hogs Breath Café also serve fish but they offer whiting fillets, they are pre battered, half cooked and frozen ready to complete the cooking. It is still much better than Basa and for a $9.90 lunch time menu, Monday to Friday it’s not a bad deal. It comes with piggy fries and a salad too.   https://www.hogsbreath.com.au/locations/  I still need to confirm if the fish is Australian or imported.

At the end of the marina is Fishermans Wharf Tavern.   https://fishermanswharftavern.com.au/   They have $8.99 bar meals including a fish and chips option but I did not speak with the staff to discover what type of fish they serve. They also a dining area overlooking The Broadwater and the fish of the day including chips and salad is $19.90. Before we eat there we will ask the same question we ask here in Australia, Canada and the USA. What fish do you serve? If the answer is Basa, we leave.

Across the Broadwater we saw the circus tent for the Infamous Circus, well, it’s a circus but it isn’t.

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Across the Broadwater, viewed from Mariners Cove Marina is the spiral tent of the Infamous Circus/Cabaret show.

They call it simply, Infamous The Show, which does have circus acts but is also a bit like Circe de Soleil and a bit like a cabaret. It is a 18+ venue and ID is required. It seems there is some nudity and some adult suggestive themes and is intended to titillate attendees. Prices start at $50 and wander up from there. If you enjoy being titillated then this could be for you when it comes to your city.

We wandered to an unnamed beach just past Seaworld where all the yachts are moored.

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Looking across the Spit sheltered boat mooring area is The Broadwater and Southport.

We found a spot out of the breeze and within a few minutes had fallen asleep.

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Sea World, Marina Mirage and Palazzo Versace Marina are located to the left of the photo.

Wow! That was relaxing. It’s a pity Donnis was not well enough to stay for the sunset but once the sun begins to set the temperature drops too. The amazing thing about the beach is there were no mozzies or even more importantly. No sandflies.

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The Gold Coast Outrigger Canoe Club store their canoes on this unnamed beach. No wonder the car park always seems to be full.

Friday 3rd August

One of the elements on our Ceramic Cooktop stopped working. It is the element we use most of the time so it is a choice of…

  1. Continue to use the remaining three elements and put up with it as long as possible.
  2. Accept the offer of a used cooktop which may or may not have a long life ahead.
  3. Look for a Scratch and Dent sale and pick up a new cooktop at a reasonable price.
  4. Buy a new one and look for a good price.

For the moment we will use option a. Today I went to a Harvey Norman Scratch and Dent outlet and found the cheapest price was over $300 so option b is not going to happen. For option d we were told that Aldi had a cooktop on sale for $229 and recently dropped the price to $199. We called at a local Aldi but found they had sold out two weeks ago but called another store at Oxenford who reportedly had a dozen in the storeroom. I drove all the way to Oxenford and asked a helpful looking man. No idea about spare cooktops. Yes they have two gas cooktops but sold out of the ceramic style about two weeks ago. Hmmm! Sounds familiar. The store manager got involved and found a ceramic cooktop at another store west of Brisbane. They offered to have it shipped to a store near us and will call when it arrives. In the meantime we will run with option a. I read an on-line review of the product. They range from mostly glowing reports to a few who had cooktops fail after a few months. The cooktop comes with a three year warranty and past experience with Aldi is they usually honour the warranty with an instant replacement, no questions asked.

I should mention our toaster which cost about $20 in 2010 and which has travelled on the road with us ever since blew the power safety switch late last week. We bought a new toaster on Tuesday for $50 and Aldi had a new fancy toaster on sale for $42 on  Wednesday.

Saturday 4th August. I woke at 5am not feeling the best. Last night I had an upset stomach, a headache, my legs shaking and aching, diahorrea paid a visit and I had an indigestion pain which would not go away. On waking I still had those symptoms. So in the dark I dressed and went for walk. Arriving home at 6am I felt incredibly tired and sat in the recliner chair and umm err, reclined. I woke at 7.45 am and if not feeling 100% felt much better and the indigestion pain was gone.

In the afternoon we both felt a walk in the sunshine and along the beach or waterside was in order. So, for something different we parked the car at what is known as The Moondarewa Spit and walked the pathway along to the Gold Coast Spit and Seaway.

The Emergency Access Stairs in use. (Photo courtesy of Gold Coast Waterways Authority.)
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The dive entry/exit platforms are used by divers and snorkellers. A scuba diver drowned in this area a few years ago trying to climb out of the water onto slippery rocks Council has spent a truckload of money imp[roving the parklands around The Spit. Improvements include two sets of what are called Emergency Access Stairs. They are much used and are a testimony to something good coming out of something bad.
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It seems the local Fire Brigade organise free trips on the fire truck and information sessions where kids and adults can wear fire clothing and have a ride around the block with sirens sounding and lights flashing. You can also hire the truck for special events. I guess they need to cover the costs of running the vehicle and gives the firefighters something to do between fighting fires.

It seems half the population of the Gold Coast was there with the same idea as us.

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The Gold Coast has these wonderful para sailing adventures being towed behind a boat. The safety line is so long the riders were well out over the parkland before the boat wound them in.
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Almost wound in.

After returning to the car it was shoes off and a walk along the beach watching all the watercraft coming and going. While at The Spit we stopped to look at the menu of Seaway Kiosk.   https://www.facebook.com/The-Seaway-Kiosk-The-Spit-229038633776464/   We were quite surprised to see Flathead fillets, crumbed or battered with chips for $12 or Cod for the same price. Hmmm! I need to find out where the Cod comes from. I would rather pay that price for real Australian fish than the imported Basa junk for $9.

Of course while walking the pathway we passed a number of people sitting at bench tables and seats and eating their fish and chips. The smell was driving us crazy.

Last week we somehow got onto the subject of meat pies. Somehow this week we have Fish and Chips for discussion.

Near our home we have Charis Seafoods on the Broadwater at Labrador which sells mainly Australian wild caught seafood and they do a mighty fine fish and chips but you have to specify which fish.  https://www.charisseafood.com.au/    $9 gets you Basa while $12 and up gets you Australian fish. This is a popular place which every day at 1 pm the staff feed the Pelicans (and seagulls) the remains of fish from the shop. Busloads of tourists show up for this event. Looking at the faces of the children as well as the adults shows they enjoy the spectacle. The downside of buying from Charis is if you do not choose your time wisely you end up waiting in a long queue before ordering then waiting with a huge press of bodies all anticipating their fish and chips.

Donnis and I have an aversion to the importation of cheap frozen bottom dwelling and feeding catfish which is farmed in the murky waters of the Mekong and other polluted waterways of Vietnam and other south East Asian countries.

We have a lesser aversion to local farmed fish and acknowledge that if we are going feed people fish, much of it will have to be farmed…under proper conditions. In the meantime we prefer wild caught fish.

Even closer to home is Harbour Seafood Market which is similar to Charis except they do not have nice views over the Broadwater.   https://www.harbourseafoodmarket.com.au/

They also serve Basa for $9 but will do Barramundi for $12 and Red Emperor for $15. I find it annoying that these local seafood outlets serve good quality fish but in order to win customers, even those who apparently have no taste buds, they offer up the cheap pre- packaged, pre- cooked, pre-frozen, risky import – Basa.

For our friends in the UK, Canada and the USA be aware that cheap Basa is available in many seafood places and the first clue is that it is CHEAP. It is also available through supermarkets especially Walmart and Costco and is sold as pre- frozen pre-cooked fillets under a variety of names but somewhere on the packaging the name Basa will appear. It frequently appears as fancy fare on cruise liners, cross country trains and towns a long way from the coast.

Hmmm! In Australia the fillets are available in 1 Kg packs of 7 fillets for $7.60 or about $1.10 per fillet. 1.4 Kg of Basa fillets for $9.97 CAN. OK lets see. An average of 10 fillets per pack that works out to be slightly less than $1 per fillet. No wonder seafood retailers, who can buy at wholesale prices can sell fish and chips for $9 and still make a profit.

Virtually outside our back door is Burger Bros a New Zealand franchise which offers a huge fish burger with chips and an extra fillet of fish…NZ Hoki – which is much better than Basa – for $13.It is not unusual to see other residents of our village at Burger Bros, some even go in groups once a month and sneak in a bottle of wine. The only fish served is Hoki and it is battered. No other choice. Kiwis are our neighbours so Hoki is acceptable.   It is Wild Caught.   https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g255337-d6616065-i176312282-Burger_Bro-Gold_Coast_Queensland.html    Of course I would prefer Australian wild caught such as Barramundi, Red Emperor or even more local fish such as Bream, Flathead or Mullet

One more stand out fish and chips is both the restaurant and the take away of Doyles Seafood at Watsons Bay in Sydney.   http://www.doyles.com.au/12201+0+doyles-on-the-wharf.htm   Travelling to Watsons Bay by ferry from Circular Quay is half the fun. They have a great selection of mainly Sydney seafood but waiting in line in the summer sun is no fun. They really need to install some shade at the take away counter. Apart from that they have good fish and chips. Well worth the effort of going there when next you are in Sydney. Besides, the views across Sydney Harbour comes free. For an extra special treat you can always dine at the restaurant option.

While I am on the subject I must mention the good fish and chips AND seafood chowder we experienced in Canada. We had good fresh local wild caught fish and chips in Vancouver BC. Special mention is made of Daves Fish and Chips at Steveston Harbour and Tony’s Fish and Oyster Bar on Granville Island. Also we tasted wonderful fare in various fishing villages on Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island. Mostly the fish on offer is Cod or Haddock but it is FRESH, it is LOCAL and it is WILD CAUGHT. Alecia had much to do with the choice of seafood places for us to eat at. I still salivate over the seafood chowder I ate at the Sou’ West Bar and Grill which is located at New London a small fishing village on Prince Edward Island.

Sunday 5th August

No fish and chips for us today although I had planned something along those lines before we left home. Somehow life seems to get in the way of plans.

We went to watch grandson Chris play Rugby League…again. Chris scored three tries today and his team won 32/16. Chris actually scored half the tries for his team.

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When he gets wound up very few can lay a hand on him.

Chris is a talented player although he is too young to understand or appreciate where his talent can take him.

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Scoring under the black dot.

It seems talent scouts for the major clubs are everywhere these days and offering training programs for young talent.

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Sorry this is out of focus. Once Chris gets the ball in his hand it is only a matter of moments before he is over the tryline and I have to get him in the viewfinder, zoom in or out and try to focus on a moving target.

We know that Chris has already been sighted and offered some training which he has attended…without enthusiasm…at this stage.

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Sometimes the opposing team do get a hand on him but he drags them along anyway.

Afterwards we went back to Regelyn’s home for coffee and cake. A friend of a friend works at a place where they make restaurant quality cakes. Any rejects often end up at her house. We had what was called a Jaffa Cheesecake with our coffee. By the time we left an afternoon had disappeared and we never did get a fish and chips lunch.

579. Sunday 26th November 2017. Family time and some time at the beach…

Tuesday 21st November

This morning I met with my two cousins, Lyn and Vicki, whom I have not seen in, ahem, umm err, perhaps, maybe, 58 years. Give or take a year or two. I had met up with Lyn earlier this year.

Vicki lives in W.A. and is only visiting the east coast for a week.

I was given the task of planning a meeting place for brunch. Hmmm! Where to brunch?

Lyn lives here on the Gold Coast so I wanted somewhere not far from her home while it had to be somewhere easy to find when Vicki drove from Brisbane. I also wanted somewhere where we could see the ocean or The Broadwater or a marina. I chose Hogs Breath Café at Fishermans Wharf on The Broadwater at Southport and arranged to meet at 10am. On arrival we found they do not open until 11.30am and do not cater for the breakfast/morning coffee/brunch people. Grrr! Instead we wandered 100 metres to Marina Mirage and had our coffee and cake or breakfast at the Diva Tea and Coffee House. This boutique collection of shops and restaurants overlooking the marina is set as an open air style shopping centre with an array of shade sails.

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Cousins Lynn & Vicki with Donnis

We just finished coffee and were chatting about the “old days” when we lived as children in Balmain. Suddenly the heavens opened and proceeded to dump rain while the shade sails were only partially capable of sheltering us.

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Cousins Lynn and Vicki withthe beared one.

Time to move!

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Vicki’s husband Red and Lynn’s husband Allan.

It was wonderful to catch up with my cousins after such a long time apart. Perhaps now we can have more frequent visits.

Sunday 26th November

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Surfers Paradise from the sand dune

It was such a lovely spring day although there was quite a strong breeze. We decided to go to what we call Sea World Beach – because the car park is located across the road from Sea World.

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Life Guard Station

The wind would occasionally whip the sand across the beach while the big dumping waves created a wild surf only good for paddling.

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Asian visitors enjoying the beach

The Life Savers were kept busy keeping people between the flags as a strong rip was running across the the channel between the waves and the beach. It was too rough to consider swimming but being a nice day it was good to just walk along the beach and people watch. The Asian visitors really seem to enjoy the surf beaches.

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Surfers Paradise from the beach.

On our way home we stopped at a sand swimming enclosure at Labrador. Donnis swim while I continued people watching.

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Visitors at Labrador.

547. Sunday 9th April 2017. Noosa, a waterfall, a dam and the rest of the Sunshine Coast…

Tuesday 4th April

Autumn arrived this morning.

It arrived late and unannounced.

I mean not even a text message to say “I’m on my way”.

The visit was short – thank goodness – but a promise was made to return soon, maybe as early as tomorrow and would bring a friend.

I’m not sure if I enjoy having Autumn come for a visit because while you are just getting used to Autumn along comes the stupid cousin – Winter.

Winter never stays for a short visit, it comes and stays for three months at least and has friends such as chill winds, cold and early onset night. Even after it has outworn its welcome Winter insists on staying longer. It cannot take a hint and even direct requests for Winter to leave are ignored.

Anyway back to Autumn. We put the equivalent of three sheets on the bed in expectation it would keep us warm. Mind you two of those cotton sheets only had a 250 thread count each so long pyjamas were also needed. Autumn decided to stay outside so we had a pleasant night indoors.

Wednesday 5th April

Happy Birthday to my daughter Melissa.

Well while we were rugged up in our three sheets Autumn left overnight to go visit somewhere else but left a message, which read, “I’ll Be Back”.

Hmmm!!! Who else said that?

Friday 7th April

Just after mid- morning coffee we packed i30 and sped north along the M1 to Noosa. We plan to stay with BIL Ken for a couple of nights. Instead of going to the beach as we usually do I suggested as the weather was iffy with strong winds, we go somewhere different.

Just to the west of the town of Yandina, famous for the ginger factory is a little known waterfall known as Wappa Falls.

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The twin Wappa Falls. When the water stops flowing there is a cave to the rioght of the left hand fall.

Wappa Falls is located on the South Maroochy River and are unspectacular in their drop. I suppose when in flood as they were last week it would be a different sight. Ken commented that his parents lived a little north of Yandina and as teenagers would swim in Ye Old Water Hole  at a bend in the river below the falls. Scrambling around the river bank below the falls we noted the flood level was about 1.5 metres above the current level. We found an old Honda motorcycle which must have lain under mud for a long time but the flood last week has uncovered it.

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The remains of a Honda trail or agricultural bike which appears to have been buried in river silt for a long time.

Across the creek was the body of a motor car. I can only wonder how both of them managed to get so far along the river.

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There must have been one helluva flood to get this car so far down the river.


Wappa Dam a few hundred metres to the west of the falls holds back a large supply of water and prevents or at least slows down any flooding during heavy rains.

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Wappa Dam. The spillway is being extended by approximately another two metres in height. Note the works on the right.
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The top of Wappa Dam.

The dam is one of several which supply water to the Sunshine Coast. The dam surface area covers 74 hectares.  For that reason all water activity is forbidden. No swimming, boating, kayaking, in fact no activity in or on the waters of the dam. Passive activity is allowed. It is a pleasant place to bring the family for a stroll or play games and barbecues are provided near picnic shelters. (only during daylight hours, the gates are closed at sundown) Access to the dam is also prohibited. Still it was a nice tranquil place to visit.

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A wall of children on a wall mural at Wappa Dam.
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A group of Cormorants drying themselves in the wind and scarce sunlight.
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Sunlight reflected off the water of Wappa Dam and filtered through the trees.

On the road leading to the dam is Wappa Falls Observatory. We stopped for a look but the place looks a bit rundown. The signs and website suggest it is still a working observatory and access is by appointment only.

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The signs are all fresh and say there is a viewing tonight but nobody was home.


Ken made some yummy chicken pieces on the barbecue and we had a few laughs dressing in silly hats and poses.

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Donnis and Ken enjoy a refrshing ale while the chicken is being barbecued. Chefs hats are just a bonus.
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I am not going to smile.

Saturday 8th April

The day looked unpromising then promising as clouds came and went and a few scudding showers with big fat raindrops and strong winds convinced me it was not going to be a beach day. We elected to drive along the coast through Peregian Springs, Coolum, Maroochydore, Mooloolaba and Kawana.

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Kawana Beach from Point Cartwright.

On previous visits to Mooloolaba I had wanted to visit the lighthouse but had mistakenly thought it was easy to find. Ken pointed out the lighthouse is on the southern entrance to the Mooloolah River and not the northern end as I thought.

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Point Cartwright Lighthouse.

The unmanned Point Cartwright Lighthouse was built in 1978 on a peninsular of land beside the Unitywater Reservoir. The reservoir was painted in a seascape mural by Joel Fergie a local professional street artist.

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Point Cartwright Water Reservoir.

The strong winds with here and gone clouds dropping fat raindrops on us cut our visit short.080417 mooloolaba


Next up was lunch and we decided on Sea Life at Mooloolaba, a wharf / marina/ dock area with eating houses and interesting views across the Moololah Bay and marina. Hogs Breath Café had $9.90 lunches so that was enough enticement to eat there.

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This is Hogs BReath Mooloolaba.

We have eaten at many Hogs Breath Cafes around Queensland and New South Wales so we know what is on the menu and what to expect as far as price, quality and service are concerned.

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Did I mention the view from Hogs Breath?

Our first experience was at Hogs Breath Airlie Beach where the original owner, Don Algie, decided to take a chance and begin a franchise of the unique decor, slow cooked steaks and service by pretty young girls, usually backpackers. The franchise system was successful and there are now 80 cafes across Australia and New Zealand. Generally the experience is quite satisfactory but in every store we have visited the music is played too loudly. Hmmm! Makes us sound like old people! Today the music was muted and we got the sound of the wind outside the windows.

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“Hey lady have you got any fish in that bag?”
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What the well ketted out diver is wearing these days. No. The one on the left!

Sea Life Sunshine Coast Aquarium is located here so there is an incentive to visit again.

Sunday 9th April.

Travel day. After helping Ken with a few chores involving computers and car sound systems we left Noosa at 1.30 and were home by 5pm. This included a stop for lunch and side trip to visit Donnis son Peter. (He was not home. Sigh!!!)