piggyback on beach
beach party
kids splashing water

Latest News

Here you can find out more about Lagoons 1770 Resort and Spa, Seventeen Seventy and upcoming events in the area so you can plan your next holiday.

Tasty twist on reef and beef

Posted (10-Dec-2015)

THE best words to describe the food culture of the Southern Great Barrier Reef region are raw, prolific and remarkable. If you look West they have the grains and the beef. If you step East it’s the ocean, and right smack bang in the middle of this, is this amazing area that feeds the rest of the nation.

Waterline Restaurant

According to award-winning chef Matt Smith if you put the best of the Southern Great Barrier Reef on a plate, you’ll nearly always end up with “reef and beef”.

He laughs out loud as he says it prompting his partner and wife Kylie to jump in and explain the philosophy behind their Waterline Restaurant at the Keppel Bay Marina in Rosslyn Bay.

“We want to stay away from the cliche of that,’’ she says.

“Our restaurant on the waterfront is right at the point where the reef meets the beef and while we don’t have ‘surf and turf’ on the menu, we do have a great representation of local seafood and produce from the sea as well as great local beef.’

This year, Matt picked up the Beef Australia 2015 Restaurants Award for the best beef signature dish for his Banana Station Beef Tataki with miso, black garlic salsa and ponzu.

It’s even more meaningful for the couple with Kylie’s family producing beef at Banana Station for more than six generations.

“This region is really good with grass-fed beef, it not only delivers on flavour, but it’s a healthier option to eat. And the way it is produced, processed and put on the plate is really the key to delivering the perfect experience in terms of eating beef.’’

Banana Station Beef is produced for the export market, but by special arrangement, it is processed locally and made available exclusively to The Waterline Restaurant.

Matt, who has lived in the region for the past 10 years, says that the local environmental conditions contribute to the high quality of the food produced here.

“We have quite rich volcanic soil so there’s really good local produce coming from the land, as well as cattle on the pastures, plus some really good quality seafood,’’ he said.

Matt’s also become a strong advocate for what else the region has to offer.

“It’s a lifestyle choice being here,’’ he said.

“There are heaps of islands that aren’t far off the shore. It’s a pristine environment. You can go and find your own slice of paradise on your day off. You can have an island almost to yourself within 10 minutes of leaving the marina.

And to get a taste of the best the region has to offer Kylie says don’t miss out on a trip to the local markets.

“Every Saturday morning the local farmers market, held at the showground, is a showcase of what is in season. Browsing through the stalls and market suppliers you are sure to discover some special local produce.’’

Arrive early, about 6.30am, to snap up the best of the locally grown seasonal vegetables, fruits and flowers at this lively, friendly market. Make sure you taste the mouth- watering local honeycomb and homemade jams and preserves.

Indulge Café

Raw, prolific and remarkable.

These are the words that Amanda Hinds uses to describe the produce of the Southern Great Barrier Reef region.

Amanda, who owns Indulge Cafe in Bundaberg with her husband Larry, is constantly changing her menu to take advantage of what’s coming in fresh from the local farms.

“We usually change the menu based around what’s happening in the fields – what’s finishing and what’s starting,’’ Amanda said.

“We try and move with the farmer. We are very interactive and do a lot of talking with farmers at the back door of the kitchen.’’

Both Amanda and Larry are locals. And proud of it. Amanda grew up in Bundaberg while Larry is from the cattle and peanut growing area of Ban Ban Springs, about an hour’s drive away. You can hear the pride in her voice when she talks about how the Southern Great Barrier Reef region is feeding Australia.

“If you were to pick up an eggplant in Melbourne, the chances are that it could be coming from Bundaberg. If you were to grab beetroots at say the Brisbane markets this week, the likelihood is that they’re coming out of Bundaberg. If you were to grab a sweet potato anywhere in Australia, it’s more than likely coming from Bundaberg,’’ she said.

“We grow gingers, chillies and all those Asian-style vegetables and herbs. Through the winter the best peas and beans come from here; citrus fruits come from Childers, Mundubbera, Eidsvold and Gayndah.”

Amanda Hinds of Indulge in Bundaberg. Photo Paul Beutel

Amanda struggles to define exactly what the quintessential Southern Great Barrier Reef meal is because there’s so much to choose from.

“It’s such a prolific area. If you look West we have the grains and the beef. If you step East it’s the ocean, and right smack bang in the middle of this, is this amazing area that feeds the rest of the nation.

“If we were to talk about seafood, people rate Bundaberg scallops as being some of the best in the world. If you go right out to the Southern Great Barrier Reef heartland, which is the North Burnett, then its beef, sheep, pecans, blueberries, pork, ginger and chilli. There’s not much that we don’t produce.’’

Amanda says that the region is working hard to promote itself as a food destination with companies like Bundaberg Rum, Bundaberg Brewed drinks and Bundaberg Sugar leading the way.

“But it’s also the local butchers who are smoking their own beautiful bacon with ‘none of this imported pork’. They are using Queensland Monto North Burnett pork so there is a lovely feel-good attachment to it as well,’’ she said.

Apart from dining at Indulge Cafe, Amanda says anyone wanting to taste “Bundaberg seafood at it’s absolute best” should dine at Grunske’s by the River. “Local seafood holds absolute pride of place. You will see a lot of fish there that you have never seen before – you know, a one-off catch. I’ve seen quite a few things on the menu that I’ve never seen before.

“Bagara Brewing is just about to open up too. They are new brewers in town and worth a visit.”

 

 

 

Welcome to the Southern Great Barrier Reef - From the GM

Posted (10-Dec-2015)

Welcome to the Southern Great Barrier Reef -Simon Della Santa 

Following in the footsteps of Captain James Cook who arrived onto these pristine shores in 1770, we trust that your experience in this wonderful destination will be as significant as Cook’s first landing in the state of Queensland.

There are some fantastic out of room experiences within the area from Lady Musgrave Reef Cruises to the majestic Southern Great Barrier Reef where you can choose to either dive or snorkel the magnificent reef ecosystems. Head down to Anges beach or further afield to catch that perfect, most northern breaking wave on the eastern seaboard. Take a LARC tour to the Lighthouse at Bustard Head and experience sand boarding, wetting a line or just soaking up the views in this untouched pristine wilderness. Head out onto the open water and try your luck at targeting some of the best table fish the Pacific Ocean has to offer such as Coral Trout & Red Emperor to Pelagic line burners such as Spanish Mackerel and Yellowfin Tuna.

The Southern Great Barrier Reef offers it all, no need to head north to experience the Great Barrier Reef or south to hit the waves, Seventeen Seventy and Agnes Water provides everything your adventurous heart could desire.

Lagoons 1770 Resort and Spa is a 4.5 star resort located in the southern Great Barrier Reef destination of Seventeen Seventy. Featuring 112 exquisitely furnished Executive Studio Rooms, One Bedroom Apartments and Two Bedroom dual key apartments. Lagoons 1770 Resort and Spa is a complete full service resort experience with a comfortable, quiet and relaxing atmosphere.

Plantation Bar and Restaurant at Lagoons 1770 Resort and Spa is most fortunate to be located on the Southern Great Barrier Reef, perfect for the production of the freshest fruit and vegetables. We use locally sourced seafood and grass fed meats wherever possible to bring you an innovative, modern Australian dining experience overlooking the lagoon pool. Multi award winning Chef Ross Howell develops menus which are product driven and handcrafted. Only the freshest seasonal produce of the highest quality is used within Plantation Bar & Restaurant.

Relax and unwind with Anjea Day Spa’s signature luxurious treatments. Guests can choose from our selection of massage, facial, Vichy and specialty treatments. Using the highest quality products, let our experienced staff pamper you to escape the stresses of daily life and restore your natural energy. Couples packages are also available.

Lagoons 1770 Resort and Spa's conferencing facilities and function areas are the perfect venue for wedding receptions, business meetings, destination conferences & parties. Enquire about our wedding and conferencing packages directly.

Regions unite to boost Southern Great Barrier Reef profile

Posted (04-Dec-2015)

THE Southern Great Barrier Reef brand is set for another boost as three Central Queensland tourism organisations formally join forces.

Bundaberg, Gladstone and Rockhampton have been working together to raise the profile of their areas but this week they signed a memorandum of understanding to see if they can get better results working as a team.

Collaborative activities could include shared exhibition space at trade and travel shows, co-operative marketing campaigns, joint media familiarisation programs as well as product and experience development for the Southern Great Barrier Reef destination.

Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey said there had been great results since the Southern Great Barrier Reef brand was launched in 2013.

"Awareness among Queenslanders of the Southern Great Barrier Reef as a tourist destination has risen to 81%, compared to 2012 when awareness ranged from 66 to 72% for the individual regions," she said.

Tourism and Events Queensland chief Leanne Coddington, who also signed the MoU, said she hoped the formalised partnership could deliver on the destinations' tourism priorities.

"Queensland's destinations are at the heart of everything we do and it is partnerships such as this which ensure a unified approach toward achieving positive tourism outcomes for the Southern Great Barrier Reef destination," she said.

Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism general manager Rick Matkowski said he hoped the agreement would "fully maximise tourism opportunities" for the region.

Capricorn Enterprise chief Mary Carroll said formalising the partnership would be a positive move forward.

"It is with great excitement we continue to build on this momentum to grow a strong and prosperous tourism industry for the Capricorn region," she said.

Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Ltd chief Glenn Churchill said he believed the partnership would build the strength of the Southern Great Barrier Reef brand.

"This exciting opportunity is welcomed by GAPDL and we look forward to enhancing the Southern Great Barrier Reef as a premier tourism destination, through the promotional activity of the Gladstone Region and Banana Shire," he said.

Ms Stuckey said this agreement aligned with the government's 20-year tourism plan, Destination Success, which encouraged strong partnerships to grow tourism across the state.

Southern Great Barrier Reef by Sheridan Rhodes

Posted (04-Dec-2015)

It's early morning as we meander along the bush trail to the pristine Workman's Beach at Agnes Water, Queensland's most northerly surfing beach. The wind is blowing a gale on the other side of the peninsula, and the sand is cool beneath our bare feet. Here, however, it's protected from the biting wind. We unroll our yoga mats and sit for a moment, eyes closed, feeling the fresh air and the warmth of the sun on our faces. As I open my eyes, a huge fish leaps exuberantly from the Coral Sea as waves crash on the shore.

I'm doing a beach yoga class with Mel Thomson from Vitality Fitness, who swapped city life for the laid-back lifestyle of Seventeen Seventy in Queensland after her father had a health scare. She loves the raw beauty of her hometown, six hours' drive north of Brisbane.

While Agnes Water is still relatively undiscovered by southerners, international backpackers have long known of its charm through word of mouth. They come here to learn to ride on the gentle surfing waves; access the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef; and see migrating humpback whales, pods of dolphins, the resident dugong colony and sea turtles. It takes a little getting to, being 60 kilometres off the Bruce Highway, yet it's well worth the detour.

For some time, Agnes Water has been touted as the new Noosa, or an early Byron Bay. Yet for all the hype, Agnes Water remains a sleepy beachside town and one of Queensland's best-kept secrets. Locals will tell you they've never seen a crowd, and if you stand at the southern end you can see a spectacular sunset due to the beach's curve, which is rare on the east coast. One of the best places to catch the famed sunset is from the Tree Bar at the 1770 Beach Hotel – the first store to open in the town, in 1973.

I arrive just as the sun is slipping into Bustard Bay, enjoying a sundowner with the locals. Just down the road is the marina where Cook's ship, the Endeavour, anchored in May of 1770. . It's there I head the following day for a tour aboard the LARC (Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo), which takes visitors to Bustard Light Station, crossing waterways and 27 kilometres of pristine coastline normally only accessible by boat. We see schools of fish jumping in the shallows, and stop to collect bright pink pipi and bonnet shells.

Back at the newly opened Lagoons 1770 Resort and Spa, I dine at its excellent onsite Plantation Restaurant, led by Ross Howell and wife Helen Johnson, who formerly ran eateries in Brisbane, including Pippin Took, Grand Orbit, and Dish Bar and Bistro. The menu is seasonally driven; dishes such as the corned lamb rump with fondant potatoes, pea puree and sugar snaps reveal Ross' classic French training.

It's Heron Island I head to next, its reputation for wildlife, snorkelling and diving preceding it. I arrive in the best possible way, via seaplane. As I step ashore the small coral cay, my feet sink into the clear, warm water. Heron may be best known for turtles, given it's a significant breeding ground for both the green and loggerhead turtles, but by the time I arrive the hatchlings have long since departed.

Right now, birds rule the island, thousands of them, and they're quite comical. There are herons, black noddy terns, buff-banded rails, silver gulls and wedge-tailed shearwaters (mutton birds), to name just a few. The mutton birds, which come out at night, are like drunks trying to find their way home after a night on the tiles. They stumble into walls, huddle in corners and even stagger into the bar sideways.

As fascinating as the birdlife is, I'm keen to see what lies beneath. Fiona Butler, a Brit who runs Heron Island's dive shop, says while the Southern Great Barrier Reef is not as colourful as the northern reef, it's far less crowded, the water is clearer, and there's always something to see. "Whether it's sharks, turtles, or manta rays, every time you enter the water you see something incredible." Remarkably, more than 70 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef's coral species and about 60 per cent of the 1500 varieties of fish can be found off Heron's shores.

Sure enough, the diving and snorkelling doesn't disappoint. I spot my first gigantic manta ray as we make our descent to Heron Bommie, which the late Jacques Cousteau listed as one of his top 10 dive sites. It's a dive with everything – a second majestic manta ray cruises by, we see a huge green turtle, a black tip reef shark and even an octopus.

That night, another blistering sunset sets the sky on fire. I walk the entire island, the dusty pink and silver sky making it appear as if the horizon and sea are one. At the jetty, Nevin, a contract chef from the Cook Islands, strums a ukulele as students from the Heron Island Research Station snorkel the wreck just offshore. "Whenever I sing, the shark appears," Nevin says, pointing to a large black tip reef shark circling below. I don't want to burst his bubble, but a shark appears every time I walk out on to the jetty as well, so I nod and tell him they must like his music. "It's a special place," he says, a huge smile on his face. He's right on that count. Every Australian should see the Southern Great Barrier Reef at least once in their lifetime.

TRIP NOTES

MORE INFORMATION

southerngreatbarrierreef.com.au

GETTING THERE

QantasLink and Virgin Australia operate flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Gladstone and Bundaberg via Brisbane. See qantas.com.au; virginaustralia.com. Bundaberg is just over four hours' drive north of Brisbane. Heron Island is connected by ferry ($60 an adult one way), or seaplane (from $338 an adult one way, subject to minimum numbers) from Gladstone.

STAYING THERE

Studio rooms at Lagoons 1770 Resort and Spa start at $230 a night, including breakfast, see lagoons1770.com.au. Rooms at Heron Island Resort start at $320 a night, twin share, including buffet breakfast. Phone 1300 863 248; see heronisland.com .

SEE + DO

Tours on the LARC start from $38 for an afternoon sunset cruise; $155 for a full day tour to Bustard Head Light Station including lunch, billy tea, sandboarding and more, see 1770larctours.com.au. A private beach yoga session with Mel from Vitality Fitness costs from $80 for one hour, see vitalityfitness1770.com.au.

The writer was a guest of Southern Great Barrier Reef Tourism.

FIVE OTHER THINGS TO DO IN THE SOUTHERN GREAT BARRIER REEF

LI'TYA SAPPHIRE SEA WRAP Be cocooned in a warm vitamin packed pearl and kelp body mud wrap, while you enjoy an Aboriginal inspired Li'tya Paudi scalp massage, followed by a soothing 30 minute Kodo massage, at Heron Island's Aqua Sol Spa. $185. See www.heronisland.com/Spa.aspx

REEF WALK ON HERON ISLAND Fascinating marine creatures are exposed at low tide, including sea cucumbers, sea stars, clams, crabs, shrimp, Christmas tree worms and more. Reef walks are tide dependent and run between 8.30am and 4.30pm from Heron Island's Information Centre. See www.heronisland.com .

RED ROCK WALK Located south of Agnes Water, this takes you along half a dozen beautiful beaches, and across a boardwalk and stepping stones. The six-kilometre walk will take at least an hour or more if you stop, take in the scenery and treat yourself to a swim. You may even spot turtles and dolphins. See www.discover1770.com.au/walking-tracks.

4WD ADVENTURE Hire a 4WD and explore the magical Deepwater National Park, an eight-kilometre drive south from Agnes Water, where turtles come to lay their eggs on the long, secluded beaches between November to February. Hatchlings make their way back into the ocean from January through till April.

Read more: http://www.traveller.com.au/southern-great-barrier-reef-ghsb3x#ixzz3tJVi9aSC
Follow us: @TravellerAU on Twitter | TravellerAU on Facebook