Mary Poppins Festival on again in Maryborough

Tenaya and Zarah Nurgent won the Mary Poppins Festival Children's Costume Competition in 2011.

Tenaya and Zarah Nurgent won the Mary Poppins Festival Children’s Costume Competition in 2011. Photo: JOCELYN WATTS

COSTUMED characters, children’s rides and  face painting will help transform Maryborough into a magical Mary Poppins experience again today, June 30.

It will be a Mary old time at the Mary Poppins Festival in the Park with children’s rides and arty workshops in the Mary River Parklands from 10am – 4pm.

Children and adults can learn the secrets of pavement art, make their own incredible “steam punk” goggles and jewellery, and join in a Gold Stars workshop which is inspired by one of the classic tales in the Mary Poppins novels.

As a prelude to today’s event, special Mary High Teas  were served at Muddy Waters Café in the Customs Residence this week.

On the menu was a splendid selection of assorted sweet and savoury treats and those attending were guided in the art of taking tea with Mary Poppins herself.

Maryborough residents and visitors also this week enjoyed the relaxed, stylish ambience of Gatakers by Night in the courtyard of Gatakers Artspace.

Delicious wood fired pizzas and coffee were available and entertainment included Slainte and Mary Poppins light bombing.

Exhibits on show at Gatakers Artspace included the Relish Photo Competition, Henry Breikers artist in residence project Mount Walsh is Easy, and local Hervey Bay artist Carol Lumsden e-motion.

The Mary Poppins Market Day was also part of the Mary Poppins Festival this week.

The Market Day is an annual special event for all the family and the biggest market day of the year, featuring more than 100 stalls selling fresh local produce, handmade arts and crafts and gourmet delicacies.

Councillor for Sport, Recreation, Open Spaces and Events Darren Everard said the Mary Poppins Festival was one of the Fraser Coast’s signature events and the only one in the world.

It celebrates the heritage city’s unique link with the world’s most famous nanny; author Pamela Travers was born in Maryborough in 1899.

The Mary Poppins Festival features a number of fun-filled activities and entertainers including street artists, batik painting and juggling workshops. Add to that all the traditional characters from Poppins’ stories including Admiral Boom and the Chimney Sweep, and of course Mary Poppins herself.

“We cater to a lot of visitors who are after this specific style of heritage tourism and family friendly activities. That’s obviously the market we’re targeting and its one of our signature events.”

The traditional Proud Mary’s Morning Tea, Great Nanny Challenge and Grand Costume Parade were among the highlights again this year and the Perch Creek Family Jug Band headlined the musical acts, performing at Gatakers Artspace along with Dreamtime Reptiles.

For more information go to www.marypoppinsfestival.com.au

Fraser Coast’s natural paradise

IF YOUR idea of a great holiday is really getting away from it all and relaxing in a natural paradise, then salvation is close at hand at Queensland’s Hervey Bay and neighbouring Fraser Island.

A three-hour drive or 40-minute flight north of Brisbane transports you into an official stress-free holiday zone, complete with sweeping golden beaches, safe swimming waters, aquatic adventures and an unspoiled island wilderness.

Hervey Bay’s endless choice of safe, warm swimming waters offers families the ideal aquatic playground.

Set along 20km of pristine calm-water beaches, the bay is a haven for swimming, sailing, boating, fishing, diving, water and jet skiing, windsurfing and snorkelling.

A wonderful holiday destination in its own right, Hervey Bay is also the gateway to the world’s largest sand island and nature lover’s paradise – Fraser Island.

The World Heritage-listed Fraser Island is an ecological masterpiece of giant sand dunes, rainforests, open beaches, freshwater streams and lakes and an exceptional range of unique flora and fauna.

For those looking for the ultimate island getaway, it is impossible to look past Kingfisher Bay resort where the days are spent lazing around the pool, sunning on the resort’s private stretch of sand, fishing from the jetty or messing about in boats.

At Kingfisher Bay, you can do as little or as much as you want, with choices ranging from superb dining and indulgent massages and spas, to guided nature hikes and picnics.

Kingfisher Bay also caters for kids of all ages, with two swimming pools and adventures such as fishing, canoeing, orienteering and night spotlighting around the resort.

To explore the island you can hire a four-wheel drive and take to the sand tracks on your own voyage of discovery. For those who want to sit back and have it all done for them, Kingfisher Bay Resort has an excellent range of daily ranger-guided four-wheel drive tours to choose from.

Once you have four wheels, the island is yours to explore. A good starting point is the superb white sandy beach stretching for 75 miles on the eastern side of the island.

This sweeping beach provides an endless horizon of sand fringed by the ocean and is home to some of the best surf fishing in Australia. Along the beach you will find one of the island’s most visited attractions – the wreck of the Maheno (formerly a World War II hospital ship) and the landmark rocky outcrops of Indian Head, Waddy Point and Middle Rocks.

Fraser Island has more than 100 lakes. The most popular for swimming and picnicking are spectacular lakes nestled at the edge of Hammerstone Sand Blow and the picture-perfect Basin Lake.

The contrasts on the island are breathtaking – from the stark contours of the huge sand blows to the clear fresh water creeks winding through ancient rainforests growing in sand.

PHOTO: Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island, by JOCELYN WATTS

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BEAT IT group discovers USQ’s outdoor gym

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Fraser Coast councillor Robert Garland tries the headstand trainer in USQ’s outdoor gym, watched by fitness trainer Kim Polglase (centre front) and BEAT IT members. Photos: JOCELYN WATTS

LOCAL participants in the Australian Diabetes Council lifestyle program BEAT IT made an exciting discovery recently when they learnt USQ Fraser Coast’s outdoor gym equipment was available to them 24/7, free of charge.

BEAT IT trainer Kim Polglase and Fraser Coast Regional Councillor Robert Garland brought the health and fitness group to USQ’s gym as part of a 12-week program tailored for people living with or at risk of diabetes and other chronic lifestyle-related diseases.

“The group-based program is about creating a supportive environment of people with similar health issues while also introducing them to community fitness facilities that are easily accessible,” Ms Polglase said.

Officially launched in 2010, USQ Fraser Coast’s outdoor gym includes 19 pieces of equipment providing 27 stations, with a soft fall surface and shade sails. After dark, security lights automatically turn on when sensors detect movement in the area.

USQ Fraser Coast Executive Manager Brett Langabeer said the outdoor gym was designed to help students, staff and members of the community get into shape and keep fit.

“Community fitness groups are also welcome to use the outdoor equipment,” Mr Langabeer said.

The gym is located at the Hervey Bay campus, 161 Old Maryborough Road, Pialba, near the city library.

Ms Polglase said the next 12-week BEAT IT program would start in about two weeks.  Classes are run twice weekly, with each class including a combination of aerobic and resistance training exercises.

For more information on BEAT IT visit the Fraser Coast Regional Council’s website at: http://www.frasercoast.qld.gov.au/live-life-healthy-activities

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Fitness trainer Kim Polglase (centre front) and Fraser Coast councillor Robert Garland (black singlet) introduce BEAT IT members to USQ Fraser Coast’s outdoor gym.