“I thought about booking a holiday at Hervey Bay too! But then my boss told me that’s where people go to retire and die-so I didn’t…”
My wonderful hairdresser shared this gem with me when I mentioned hubby and I were looking forward to 3 glorious child-free nights at Hervey Bay. I had to giggle. She had a point. But we don’t need excitement and hip happening night life. All we need is a beautiful water view, peace and quiet to enjoy each other’s company, and the freedom to eat, drink and watch whatever we want- not a single chicken nugget or “ABC Me” show (I know all the jingles) in sight. Just a little pause on parenting to reboot and reconnect. Bliss.
Hervey Bay absolutely delivered. While it definitely is a sleepy place, with an unusual number of people getting about on little motorised buggies, it is calm, peaceful, clean and the water is absolutely stunning. Our apartment was one of many at Breakfree Sandy Straits Resort. It was reasonably priced and boasted beautiful views, pools and beach access. Well, it was reasonably priced because it is actually only a 2 star property, a fact that had eluded me prior to our arrival. I’m not here to review the place but while the interior had good bones it was very dated and was only superficially clean. By that I mean it was run down and there was mould on the ceilings. I averted my eyes and pointedly decided to admire the spectacular ocean and marina views instead. They made it all manageable- but no, we won’t be going back there for a longer stay with the kids after all.
To be honest the almost 4 hours driving there is the main reason for that decision. For this trip we had the thrill of borrowing dad’s recently acquired (and very reasonably priced) 1999 Porsche Boxster- beautiful, burgundy, and auto- so I could actually drive it! We loved every second of the 4 hours driving up there in that beast. I felt like some kind of C grade celebrity, wind in my newly freshened blonded hair, $2 gold bangles glistening in the sun streaming down on us, shades on. It was fabulous!
Felt a bit less glamorous by the time we drove through Gympie and Maryborough though. My hair now resembled a haystack, the bangles were off (too much jangling) and my skin was ablaze where the sun had mercilessly attacked it- everywhere except under the huge shades of course, so now I had very fetching panda-eyes tan. Noice. To make matters worse, every few kilometres Pauline Hanson’s face glared at me rather smugly from a billboard proclaiming that she had the guts to say what I was thinking.
Doubtful. Unless she was saying Fuck Off Pauline.
Never mind, politics aside, our trip was awesome. Here’s the top 5 in ascending order.
5th best thing:
The accidental-on-purpose detour to Buderim on the way there. We went there en route because I had organised with Chapter Two Interiors to buy some of my highly coveted Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in pure white. I have recently inadvertently become something of a furniture painting fan. It started with the idea to paint our very dark but otherwise perfect furniture white, wax it and distress it slightly for character. I did a few pieces and was so happy with it now I’m hunting for cute little pieces on gumtree to upcycle and sell. For fun!
Anyway. I needed this paint. The whole country is waiting on it apparently due to Covid related production and shipping delays, and Bunnings is out of its range of chalk paint which I would otherwise use. So I had contacted the Annie Sloan stockist “Inner Room” on Bribie Island and the shop in Buderim and – yay- Buderim said they had one and would keep it aside for me. Except when we arrived at their gorgeous, charming little shop, no, no they didn’t have any pure white, wouldn’t have for weeks. But they had said they’d put it aside for me! Hadn’t they? No. I had confused the shops in my head, visiting the one who said no and bypassing the one that said yes, we’ll hold it for you. Whoops. I would have to send an apologetic text to the shop in Bribie about my no-show. And I’d have to buy something useful there. Sanding pads, teal paint pot and a gorgeous vintage knob? Sold.
4th best thing:
Lunch at Sunshine Beach Surf Club (Noosa without the crowds and Hastings Street hassle) on the way home. Delicious meal, incredible views, lovely ambience, a spot of ‘pec slapping’ from a playful whale in the distance and the spectacle of kite surfers flying just above us, wrestling urgently with overly curious birds.
3rd best thing:
The breathtaking, sparkling, endless water views. Waking up to a spectacular water view is worth the money. Even if the ceiling is mouldy. Kinda. Almost.
2nd best thing:
The. Car. If you don’t have a convertible you can borrow I highly recommend renting one then saving up to replace your practical sedan or hatch with one. This is our new plan- because life’s too short and convertibles are too much damn fun.
The very best thing:
Whale watching. DO IT! Do it in Hervey Bay if you can. I don’t know anything much about other locations and other companies but our experience with Tasman Venture was incredible. It was $250 for both of us for 4 hours and worth every single cent. In Hervey Bay the whales are relaxed, hanging out typically for 4-5 days before they head off again on their southerly migration. We saw many pods playing and socialising and generally putting on a show. We were mesmerised, absolutely humbled to be in their presence. I never knew it was on my bucket list until I did it! I tried to allay my guilt that we’d had such an awe inspiring experience without the girls by buying them a $10 soft toy whale each… then decided against it. Seemed more than a little tokenistic. Instead we will invest in another expedition as a family. And probably buy the soft toy then. Guilt dies hard!
The worst thing? Missing the girls. Followed by my hideous painful burn which is now blistering serving as a cautionary tale for my charges. Followed by the shock of returning to real life parenting and wondering how you missed them at all! So glad we’ve settled on 2 kids and not more. This is definitely my limit. I do so love my precious time alone with this guy.