Category Archives: Markets

Day Trip to Eumundi Markets

Any trips off Bribie Island mean the initial 19km to the Bruce Highway; tedious process of several sets of traffic lights and more changes of speed limit than should occupy such a short stretch of roadways.untitled (309)

Once on ‘the Bruce’, we are still becoming accustomed to the scenery, pine plantations, swampy paper-bark tree stretches, and long open highway with adjacent strawberry farms (yet to harvest). We have decided that Queensland drivers are the worst encountered in our travels, most noticeable is their ignoring major road work speed restrictions. 4 Wheel drive enthusiast lumber though the unsealed side roads which appear to be worn and puddled as a result.

Caloundra features much more high-rise apartments and busy city streetscapes – with small businesses and hardware shops. untitled (310)

We head to Noosa beach which is perfect. I make the mistake of asking about my husband’s memories of the area when the parking area at the Noosa River mouth was a caravan park where a council worker with cigarette hanging from his bottom lip would give the boys in their panel van a ticket for camping overnight costing $1. My queries were treated with typical up-market Noosa sourness, ‘there has always been a council car-park here!’ I am told.

Featured image is Noosa street art.

Later I find a wonderful evocative poem Only in Places Like This by Cindy Keong–

…Only a scatter of stores to tempt the ladies who

are more at home on Noosa streets, with their

gold mesh and white linen. Here some things

never change: the caravan park that waits patiently

for its regular families to set up camp,…

Thought the “gold mesh and white linen” image was apt.

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Hastings Street with its retail reputation, up there with Lygon St, Carlton or Toorak Road, South Yarra, and apparently commercial rents are the most costly in Australia. I wonder why I don’t find it at all interesting and other things catch my attention. Like several decades of Miles Franklin Award winning books in a window. My every ice-cream laden window shopping move is watched by snobby managers. Finally I stumble on a food court where I thought there was nothing affordable.

Construction is underway for the Noosa Food and Wine Festival, something we searched prior to leaving Sydney finding that tickets were way too expensive. Seriously overpriced dinners and luncheons ranged from $108 to $250 each. Access to the fair was $40 with what looks like additional $9 to purchase samples from food stalls. Even that was beyond our budget.

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Another unexpected cost was parking at Eumundi Markets, all sorts of restrictions were in place for market days, or you could park in the Primary school for $5. Don’t blame this small town for attempting to make a bit of profit from tourism.

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Problems back home

We discovered, thanks to throw away comment from my, previously worked in insurance, sister, that the empty house back in Sydney may not be insured. Turns out that if left unoccupied for longer than often 40 days, many home insurance policies become null and void. We concede that insurance assessors would have their ways to confirm a house was occupied. So our attention may be needed back home.

Bribie Island library
More than just books at this library

But there is the distraction of Bribie Island library with shelves full of history, travel and even a section for westerns plus free tea and coffee for my ‘I don’t do books’ husband. Interesting in this realm of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease books have an insert pack to initial when you have read, meaning users can always avoid taking something home to discover they’ve read it before.

Last Christmas we were constantly frustrated with the blustery winds, wanting to swim but being forced off the beach by stinging sand and choppy swell. Here mid-year it is much less tempest. And we have a dog to give us an excuse to walk down the beach. Note: As 4 wheel drive cars are another reason to be on Bribie Island, watch out for vehicles on the beach, and deep gullies formed by wheel tracks.

Bribie Island storms
Typical damage, lucky Banksia Beach missed out.

In the week before we arrived Bribie was struck by very bad storms. It’s a wonder damage wasn’t more extensive with vegetation right up to the windows of many houses, ‘to keep the home cooler’, we are told. Now the streets are alive with landscapers spreading piles of mulch made from broken trees. Being that Bribie is a sand island the soil needs all the help it can get. Aside from the necessity to add organic material to the soil, this is all part of the beautification of the habituated end of the island.

We tour some of the canal developments, marveling at the spread of mansions and what can be purchased for the real estate dollar. ‘Make sure you don’t tell them you are from Sydney,’ was a shared secret. Apparently house prices are automatically jacked up if it’s suspected you have a larger purse because you come from ‘down south’.

Caboolture train
Get on that train!

To check on our insurance issue, we head to the city on the Caboolture train. First problem; purchase of a go-card train ticket. ‘It’s just a new system you aren’t used to’, I tell Rod. ‘Embrace the change.’ There were several attempts made to explain the deposit which does not add value. This is the same system being used in Victoria, West Australia and now in place in Sydney, so why does he have so many problems? ‘But what if you don’t tap on…’ he begins to make suggestions about routing the system.

Why on earth can they have the air-conditioning turned down to such a freezing temperature?

We get plenty of samples at the Queen Street Mall grower’s markets, note the buses moving in and out of an underground terminal. The whole city seems to be a forest of cranes, building everywhere. Preparation for the 2016 Commonwealth Games, or as a tart-up for the G20, or just a city with a purpose?

Our answer is yes, our home will be uninsured if vacant for more than 60 days, someone must occupy the premises. Could be a family member, or friend, but Rod is uncomfortable with that.

 

Onward to Burleigh

Now we get to experience the major changes to Pacific Highway, straight out of Waterside and onto the bypass. How will all those caravan parks and beach resorts along this coast cope? Places like Red Rock, Arrawarra and Mulloway. Much less access to the –just turn off the highway– discovery factor.

There is a point progressing north when the vegetation changes. Paper barks dominate, the ground seems like a flood plain. Vines fill the gaps. There are gum trees but they seem insipid. Signs warn of Kangaroo the next 20km, then Horses. There are no perceivable fences.

Woodburn NSW
Lovely riverside to take a break.

We stop at Woodburn, where the lampposts sport fire motifs art work. On the Evan’s River, this is the Lismore turn off. Our café choice does not do Chai, only Latte (not the same thing) but a huge range of milk shakes. You can get an enormous artery choking $15 breakfast, and plenty are. Steady stream of traffic loaded up school holiday returner style. We are subjected to random breath testing just outside Ballina.

Ballina NSW
Not meant to be a Bunning’s Ad

The Big Prawn’s new posh coat of paint has made it more visible as we transition onto the Logan Freeway. That anticipated view across the rolling hills of Macadamia Nut plantations still seen even with the huge gouges into the rich red dirt for the major upgrading of this section.

There will never be a by-pass around Coffs Harbor was our conclusion. It’s too political with a commercial – commerce lobby. Tourism must traverse to ensure a strong passing trade. The purchase of swaths of banana grower’s land to put in a highway that just seems too hard.

Thick traffic is encountered only when we close-in on the Tweed River. Now there seems a buffer zone on speed. According to urban myth you will not get booked X km over the limit, is it 5, or 10, we don’t know. But the locals do seem to, and they speed accordingly.

Virgin Travel Magazine writes Burleigh up as – just a stone’s throw from the glitz and glam of Surfers Paradise, but its village like atmosphere makes it feel like world away…. The new Byron Bay…former fishing village has evolved from a touristy coastal hub offering kitsch souvenirs and fish and chips to a hip little enclave… pristine beaches, a surf culture, fabulous dining, eclectic markets and laid back charm. While all that is a big sell, the article does go on to point out…so many individual shop and land owners…it can never be built out, so you are doing to get a village feel forever…We hope so. Village as featured image.

Village markets burleigh heads
Gotta love a market

We didn’t schedule our arrival, getting to Burleigh for a sunny Sunday, end of a long weekend. Weekend market is on the foreshore. ($2 for giant pack of bananas) Parking is a nightmare, some are even on the entrance ramps to apartment block car park. ‘Tomorrow all those people will be gone, and we’ll have it all to ourselves’, is Rod’s optimism. Offered up for a change from the ‘I love it here!’ mantra. He asks all sorts of questions about which apartments are up for sale.

Time for food shopping, parking under the areas covered by shade cloth (a tropical Queensland shopping centre innovation). It’s crowded here and finding a trolley is also a debacle. What are all these people doing here? But we do recognize the Australian triathlon Legend Jason Shortis at the check outs. His wife scours at me, but he’s ever the diplomat making small talk.

Jason Shortis
Might random women talk to Jason?

We finish off the day with a mini-drive tour around the canal-side housing of Burleigh cove. This probably used to be a swamp. The type of water soaked land those developer scams were selling off in the 1970s. Wall to wall Mc-mansions now, built so close they could share garage doors.

To where did the day vanish?

After dark late in the week at Burleigh means a gathering on the foreshore that resembles Cheryl Strayed’s Wild …loose tribe of so-called freethinkers, who share a common goal of peace and love on earth…drum jams and bonfires an parties… They can’t light bonfires on the grass esplanade so practice flame dancing, and fire eating instead. Parties are all about communities of music and low wire work. The latter I think is teaching newcomers so they can make money at county fairs at some stage in their travels.

Last days before the Boat

Off to Turner’s Beach – of course – Rod’s name beach. Wide, pebble strewn beach, plenty of driftwood. Nearly no one is there, perhaps due to the drizzle? There has been a bad fire in an empty garage/store business, now being offered for sale. I wonder if squatters were responsible. We take lots of photo opportunities at the quaint change shed/toilet.

From my reading, an apt description of that day on Turner’s Beach….The Dancer Upstairs, …All I could hear were the waves stampeding on a dirty grey beach…(see below)

Ok so, on that day everything was grey, even the water, we did stick our toes into the clear liquid so I have to concede it wasn’t dirty. But the way tiny waves roll over rocks did make them seem thicker.

Berry Haven Turner Beach
Rich earth, bright fat strawberries

Travel articles report this area as ‘a hamlet…kid friendly beach..La Mer Café…’ but we have our targets here too – At the Berry Haven we gorge ourselves on strawberries and late raspberries I seriously have to hunt for. Instead of having to bend and work as a team while Rod holds the container, and I offer my flexibility towards berry gathering the plants are growing in waist high planters, fantastic.

We check out Ulverston Markets which proves to be an excellent growers gathering with foodstuffs and fresh produce. Even though Penguin Markets was recommended as the ‘largest crafts and antiques markets’. Closing in on a state election every local representative is mingling with

Ulverston Markets Tasmania
Few stalls, but great products.

the shoppers, someone remarks, ‘you never see them at any other time…’ There seems to be a bit of name-calling and heated opinions about local politics. The candidates have that – we are only mixing with you lesser beings because we have to – look about them.

The turning tide in Forth River entertains, and we explore the shoreline with its tall trees and tall houses, and faced with limited lunch choices including expensive options found at Café @ Pier; Gourmet Waygu, $15 for 5 Oysters – when we are used to paying that much for a dozen. Even Pedros Fish Shop is more costly than expected. We remind ourselves that so close to the boat prices must be inflated to catch out innocent tourists.

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Beside the Forth River Tasmania

 

We make a decision to get lunch from market stalls. After all those berries, we don’t need much. So a sample of Beef Curry, sausage sizzle for Rod, and sharing a spinach and feta roll, we feel the local gourmets have been tried.

Almost at the end of our Tasmania Time we now recognize how fertile this is this area. Something I later have confirmed in Michael Jacobson’s Windmill Hill …The soil is rich in this part of the world, billionaire rich, richer than anywhere else in Tasmania. It’s thick and chocolaty and fertile…

Turner's Beach
Rod on Turner’s Beach, Tasmania: Is the water calling for swimmers? I don’t think so.