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Trendy pub food at Bay Central Tavern

If you’re looking for an trendy pub meal in Hervey Bay, the Bay Central Tavern on Boat Harbour Drive is worth a visit.

Saucy Pierre* has been keen to check out the Fraser Coast’s eating places while visiting the region over the past year and a half. We’ve dinned out mainly in Maryborough because that was where I lived until November 2019.

Since then I’ve moved to Eli Waters at Hervey Bay, the other major city that makes up the Fraser Coast, so now we have many more eating places from which to choose. 

Joining my two new friends, Jane and Margaret, at the Bay Central Tavern for lunch on Thursday, I loved the Thai Fried Noodles I ordered and the ladies gave me glowing reports of their choices so I knew Pierre would be keen to try out the tavern.

Thai Fried Noodles

Thai Fried Noodles.

Saturday night would be somewhat busier than Thursday though.

The staffer who took my booking said that with country rock band Eight Second Ride performing as part of their Goes Country Tour, management was expecting a full house but she could squeeze us in anyway.

After catching the tavern’s courtesy bus there, we found our booking had mistakenly been made for Sunday night. To the staff’s credit, they soon found a table for us in the bistro rather than on the deck where we were meant to be seated.

The error was a blessing in disguise.  It was much quieter in the bistro than sitting near Rocky the mechanical bull as wannabe rodeo riders tested their inner cowboys!

Pierre is a food and drink connoisseur from way back.

I’ve always been into lean, clean healthy foods but since meeting Pierre, I’ve become a more adventurous with food and now occasionally let him sweet talk me into eating some of the things I consider to be, well, let’s just say not the best choice, nutritionally speaking. 

While he ordered a 200 gram Graziers Eye Fillet with pepper sauce, chips and salad, I ordered Macadamia Barramundi (fresh barramundi with macadamia crust) served with smashed chats, hollandaise sauce and a coriander, tomato, avocado and rocket salad. See featured picture. 

Grazier Eye Fillet with Pepper Sauce, Chips and Salad.

Graziers Eye Fillet

Pierre devoured his eye fillet saying it was deliciously tender and full of flavour but his pepper sauce could have been hotter and the salad was best not to discuss.

My Macadamia Barramundi, smashed chats and salad were all delicious and well presented.

We each enjoyed a glass of Wirra Wirra Mrs Wigley Rosé and finished our dinner by sharing a Brandy Snap Basket served with fruit salad and whipped cream. Pierre is yet to convince me to eat a whole dessert all on my own!

Will we make the tavern our Local?

Are we likely to eat again at Bay Central Tavern? Definitely!

The service was spot on – everyone from the courtesy bus driver to the waitress was pleasant, helpful and welcoming.  The only improvement we can suggest is to boost the salad that goes with the Graziers Eye Fillet.  

Perhaps we would choose a quieter night to visit but that’s our preference.

It was plain to see a lot of people loved the busy atmosphere, lapping up the live music and entertainment that kept the popular venue pumping throughout the evening.

We’ve also been told the massive outdoor screen is immensely popular on State of Origin nights and when other big sports and entertainment events are playing.

Bay Central Tavern is at Stockland Hervey Bay Shopping Centre,155 Boat Harbour Drive, Pialba QLD 4655, (07) 4124 4111, www.baycentraltavern.com.au

*Saucy Pierre is not his real name – he’s shy, really!

Brandy Snap Basket

Brandy Snap Basket

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Young couple re-open historic pub, backpacker style

PICKING tomatoes all day under a hot Queensland sun is more bearable for backpackers when they know there’ll be cold beer on tap close to their bedroom door by night.

Emma Hurley, 21, and Hayden Rimmington, 22, are providing just that for backpackers and locals alike in their new venture as publicans of the Globe Hotel in Bundaberg

Arguably the youngest couple ever to run a pub in Australia, they initially wanted to run only the adjacent backpacker hostel but to do that, they also needed to be licensed publicans.

So now they are! They quickly learnt how to pour beer and opened for business on September 1, 2019.

“I always wanted a pub but never knew we’d do it so young,” Hayden said.

“If anyone had asked us three years ago where we thought we’d be now, we couldn’t have imagined this, Emma having been in retail and me a farmhand.

“The most nerve-wracking thing was being of a younger age and thinking people wouldn’t take us seriously for the venture we’ve undertaken.

“It was quite overwhelming at first but having the locals and new people coming in encouraging us made things easier.”

Great spot for backpackers

The Bundaberg-born couple said the Globe was an excellent spot for backpackers, many of whom come here for their required 88 days of regional work.

“We have just 16 beds; we know everyone by name and can have a yarn and a laugh with them. They can even meet our beautiful pub dog Bessie.”

Emma said backpackers could find jobs all year round, picking small crops and packing fruit sheds.

“Early each morning, Hayden drives the backpackers to the farms and greets them again at the end of the day,” she said.

“At the Globe, backpackers have access to facilities such as kitchen, bath, showers and washing machine as well as a common room and big outdoor area.”

Old world charm in city centre

Hayden said the Globe was one of only a few country pubs left in the centre of Bundaberg.

“There aren’t many places still around that have kept their heritage atmosphere.

“We want to spruce it up with some fresh paint but keep its old colouring and features such as the old timber-lined cold room; that’s what people like to see.”

What’s next?

Emma and Hayden are yet to decide what new services they’ll introduce at the Globe. 

“We already have a wedding and wake booked in but otherwise it’s about testing the water and seeing what people want,” Hayden said.

“There are no poker machines; no gambling. Please come in for a cold beer and a yarn!”

Young couple re-open the Globe Hotel in Bundaberg

Emma Hurley, 21, and Hayden Rimmington, 22, re-open the historic Globe Hotel in Bundaberg.

Making headlines in the Bundaberg Newsmail

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12 things to do at Cooktown

“SEEN one rainforest, seen ém all” doesn’t apply at Cooktown where in 1770 Captain James Cook and his crew landed on the banks of the Endeavour River after their ship ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef.

Exploring Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula was just a blip on my travel radar until last December. I’d already seen plenty of rainforests so with many other exciting places beckoning, I figured if an opportunity arose to go to north Queensland I’d go but otherwise I wouldn’t make the effort.

An opportunity did arise, in fact, after relatives moved to Cooktown in late 2014. An airline company was offering cheap flights from Brisbane to Cairns so that blip on my travel radar suddenly started beaming “visit me”.

I planned to make the trip before the 2016 wet season (January to March) but I’ve since learnt the monsoon rains in summer renew wildlife in spectacular fashion. Waterfalls are also in full flow so awesome photographic opportunities would have been greater than the month I chose, September 2015.

While Cooktown is accessible in a standard vehicle all year round, time was limited for my north Queensland jaunt so I took a 45-minute flight from Cairns with Hinterland Aviation.

Located 328 kilometres north of Cairns, Cooktown is steeped in history dating from ancient Indigenous times, Captain James Cook’s landing on the bank of the Endeavour River in 1770, and the Palmer River Gold Rush of the late 1800s.

This list of 12 things to do at Cooktown is just a snapshot of the vast number of things to do and see in and around the coastal town that boasts a population of about 2500,

Cooktown

1. Stroll through the Cooktown Botanic Gardens featuring native and exotic palms, orchids, fruit trees and more than 90 species of birds. These gardens are among the oldest in Australia.

Cooktown

2. Go crocodile spotting. The best time is during the dry season (July to December) on a low tide when they come out of the water to sun themselves on the river banks. Beware of venturing near water on beaches and river banks where crocs view humans as prey.

Cooktown

3. Swim in the popular fresh-water pool below the Trevathan Falls, accessed from Mount Amos road.

Cooktown

4. Enjoy spectacular views of Cooktown, the Endeavour River and the Great Barrier Reef from the Grassy Hill Lookout and Lighthouse.

Cooktown

5. Hike from the Grassy Hill Road to Cheery Tree Bay, Cooktown’s most secluded beach and fringed by rainforest and large rock formations.

6. See spectacular views over the Hope Islands and Cape Tribulation from near the lighthouse at Archer Point, 15km south of Cooktown, off the Mulligan Highway.

6. See spectacular views over the Hope Islands and Cape Tribulation from near the lighthouse at Archer Point, 15km south of Cooktown, off the Mulligan Highway.

Cooktown

7. Visit the mysterious Black Mountains 25km south of Cooktown on the Mulligan Highway. The mountains of grey granite boulders are culturally significant for the Kuku Yalanji people and tales abound of people, horses and cattle disappearing, never to be seen again.

Cooktown

8. Have a beer in the Lion’s Den Hotel, built in 1875 on the banks of the Little Annan River. Surrounded by mango trees rainforests, the historic hotel built of timber and iron is famous for its quirky interior.

Cooktown

9. See Indigenous Australian art, pottery and jewellery at the Wujal Wujal professional gallery near the Bloomfield River.

Cooktown

10. Enjoy a riverboat cruise on the Endeavour River for scenic tours designed to share maritime stories while croc spotting and bird watching.

11. Visit the James Cook Museum, located in the restored Sisters of Mercy convent school building, where artefacts from Captain James Cook's ship Endeavour and diary extracts are housed. The museum also holds Indigenous Australian and Chinese displays

11. Visit the James Cook Museum, located in the restored Sisters of Mercy convent school building, where artefacts from Captain James Cook’s ship Endeavour and diary extracts are housed. The museum also holds Indigenous Australian and Chinese displays.

 

Cooktown

12. Take a walking tour of the town to see the water fountain, Elizabeth Guzsely Gallery, history centres, Milbi (story) Wall, statue of Mick the Miner and the interactive Musical Ship. James Cook tributes include a statue, cannon and monument marking the spot where Cook beached his Endeavour in 1770. Markets are on Saturday mornings near the bowls club.