If you’ve read a few posts on this site you might be forgiven for thinking my music tastes are fixed firmly in the seventies. That isn’t the case, honest. In fact I get into arguments with friends who haven’t moved on since the 70s and 80s. I love new music, I even like hiphop. Why then, you may legitimately ask does the post begin with another reference from nearly forty years ago. Well its all to do with Hot Rods – you’ll find out why later in the post. Deciding on my post titles is always a toss up between a bad joke and a music reference. Unfortunately when you start exploring the humour associated with Hot Rods you’re into dangerous territory. So to keep things above board, I went with the music ref. If you’d rather think of a joke for yourself – what can I say other than ‘Do anything you wanna do’.
We live in a pretty spectacular place, Bargara, on the Queensland coast about 15km from the centre of Bundaberg. Its really a coastal suburb of Bundy as there’s less than 5 km of cane and vegetable fields between the eastern end of the city and the beginning of Bargara. Its also about 350 km north of Brisbane, and 300km south of Rockhampton where the Tropic of Capricorn crosses. Its one of the biggest vegetable growing regions in Australia – check out ‘Bum Nuts Anyone?‘ For more info on that.
We have arguably one of the best climates in the world. We’re not far enough north to get horribly hot – with normal midday temps in the summer rarely above early 30s Centigrade, and gorgeous evenings not dropping below 20 C. The winters are mild with the minimum temps at night time rarely getting below ten degrees and in the middle of the day, it still reaches early twenties. We have a beautiful coastline and we’re in the lee of Fraser Island. We often walk down to the ocean front and pinch ourselves to check we’re not dreaming and we really do live here. You couldn’t get much further from the Midlands of England where we lived for twenty years before moving to Queensland.
We will probably write a few stories of wanderings in this region and this is one of the first. We’d just decided to pop down to the ocean for a spot of Sunday brekkie and a bit of a walk. Where do you go for breakfast in a coastal Queensland town – to a windmill of course.
The windmill was built as a café over twenty years ago by an expat from the Netherlands. Its changed hands a few times but pretty much always been a café. It was empty for a good couple of years and Andy wanted to buy it to set up a magician cum private investigation business (sorry if you don’t get the Jonathan Creek ref) but the asking price was too high. It was eventually bought by Nana’s Pantry, a Bundaberg business with a mean Italian deli. They also have a great range of gelato and this is one of the big draws of the windmill. You have to stop and try one if you’re in Bargara. Their coffee is just as good and we enjoyed a mug of this along with a breakfast stack; bacon, egg, haloumi, toast, mushrooms, spinach – top brekkie.
After breakfast we walked along the ocean front heading north towards Neilsons beach. There’s a small beach just in front of the centre of town then its about 1km to Neilson’s beach, a patrolled beach which is home to the surf club. It’s a similar distance to the south to Kelly’s beach. A long stretch of sand which also has a patrolled section.
It was spring and school holidays so there were a few people around walking along the front, sitting in cafes or making use of the free electric BBQs. Its not unusual to see whales and dolphins in the ocean here, but we didn’t on this occasion. With an air temperature of around 25C, people were starting to get in the ocean and it looked pretty inviting. We normally have a coffee at John’s kiosk, The Kool Spot at the surf club, the cheapest coffee in town and the best. However, the surf club is currently being renovated so he’s closed for another few weeks (Update June 2018: We’d now argue that the best coffee to be had in Bargara is at ‘The Journey‘, a hole in the wall down a laneway in central Bargara).
After a walk on the beach we carried on another 5 minutes to Neilson’s park. From here you can continue along a bush trail to the next bay – Mon Repos. This has a fairly famous turtle rookery and conservation centre. From late November you can go to watch the mums coming up to lay eggs at night. Then, eight weeks later and through to April you can see the baby hatchlings making their way down to the sea. It’s a beautiful experience and we definitely recommend it. Our favourite time of year for this is late January as if you’re lucky you can catch a late Mum coming up to lay as well as guide some hatchlings to the ocean with your torch.
Today, however, a bunch of Hot Rod enthusiasts had brought their treasured vehicles to Neilson’s Park for a car show. We’re not big petrol heads but even we were impressed by these and in awe of the amount of work it must take restore and maintain them.
We also found a Mark II Ford Escort in mint condition. This was Jane’s first car, in the early 90s and it was an old car then. Andy’s Dad also had one when he was a kid. Jane’s certainly wasn’t in this good condition. We can remember it breaking down the week before we were going to part exchange it against a slightly newer vehicle. The repair man scratched his head and said he might just about be able to keep it running for a few more days. It spluttered and jerked to the car sale yard and we jumped into the new car and drove away as we quick as we could before they realized what a shed we’d given them.
However, as you’d have guessed from the title, although we found many Hot Rods, we couldn’t find Eddie (or Wally come to that).