Jeez I have been lazy!!! but if you check out what i have been doing between the restaurant and stuff (stuff no being updating my website) i have had a bit of time to indulge one of my loves, Fishing. Its not the biggest but it gave me a had time none the less. I spent two days fishing Labelle Downs station in the NT and if your into unfitted, untamed billabong Barra fishing check out this place via www.fishabout.com.au
We had to drag the Kids away from café 29 as they were having a wonderful time with the owners two little kids! Ruby was getting on really well with Ben and Diane’s daughter Ruby.
Firing up the Kea we start the one-hour journey South to Evans Head. Neither Dee nor I had been to Evans Head before so we were both excited about this leg of our journey! The Kid were so excited about the prospect of Kayaking the inevitable cry’s of “are we there yet” and “How much Longer” were endlessly coming from the back seats!
We got into town at about 11am. First stop for me was o check the surf so we headed straight to the main beach. As I thought the surf was pumping. The local surf club were having a comp “perfectly timed to co-inside with the great swell” reluctantly I turned the Kea around and we went in search Simon and Lorraine whom run the Evans River Cruises and kayak adventure tour. We found them with no problems; they were making final preparations to the equipment and had prepared a picnic lunch. Simone suggested that we take a short trip up to the look out which was a great suggestion as it give you the most amazing view over the bay and Bar and down upon the main point break of Evans head.
We hooked up again with the Simon and Lorraine at the boat ramp and prepared for the tour.
The Day was a little over cast but it was not going to dampen our enthusiasm for the trip. The Evans river is such a beautiful river and very safe. The town its self is small “about 2-3 thousand residents but apparently swells to 10 thousand during summer and I can see why.
Simon and his skipper get us on board and away we go. Firstly we take a quick trip down the river to the bar and the river mouth.
Simon and the skipper are fantastic, explaining to the kids about the river and what things you can see and do around the river mouth. The skipper spots a Turtle, which gets us all excited.
A quick stop to pick up the kayaks and we head towards the “IRON GATES”
Simon is a fantastic guide and all round great Bloke. He’s a long time surfer with a passion for the water and the environment and particularly the Evans River.
We take the Tour boat up the river as Simon regales Aboriginal stories of the rivers creation to the kids, explaining how places like Snake island got their name which have them transfixed.
We reach the “IRON GATE” which is a narrowing of the river which at one point in time was a natural rock barrier the separated the fresh water part of the Evans from the saltwater part. At some point in History it was blown up opening the two systems into each other.
The river then opens up. Its amazing how beautiful the vegetation is and Simon explains the reason why this area has remained so. As with most of the other major river systems in Northern NSW the land around them is arable and the soil fertile and suitable for grazing and farming in general. The Evans System is quiet short and the soil less fertile so of little arable use.
The area now is national forest and you see pockets of rain forest etc as we move up the river.
Now it Kayak time!! Simon and Lorraine provide everyone with wet suits and the kid’s rubber up! Simon gives us all a quick lesson on how to paddle and everyone put on a life jacket. The river is really only about waist deep at low tide but Safety First!!
All the kid gets loaded on to the Kayaks and we head up a little tributary. It’s a magical experience as we glide up this little creek that opens up to a waterfall! It’s so peaceful! Simon leaves the kids and me for a few minutes to enjoy the serenity as a family “nice touch mate”
We work our way back to the boat. Then ruby and I set off on another paddle as the cruise boat follows us up the river!
By this time we have spent about 4-5 hours and we turn around and head down river back to the ramp taking in the beauty of the river and all the wild life.
The Cruise and Kayak experience was awesome and I would recommend it to anyone and we will most definitely be heading back to Evans Head.
Simon and Lorraine were awesome and so enthusiastic check out the website and make a booking if your ever near Evans head
we unload the boat and say our goodbyes!
Next stop “Check the Surf” then?
The Drive along the coast via Lennox is such a great drive and this particular afternoon I was pretty excited. The swell report was for 6m southerly swell, not perfect in direction but big. Needless to say even after Dee and Ruby’s success with Deano at Black dog surfing they did not share my enthusiasm. But once we hit Lennox and they saw the Ocean everyone was like wow!!! As you drive along the coast from Lennox and Passed Boulders beach and flat rock it just got better and better.
Due to all the excitement watching the surf we missed our digs for the night and ended up in Ballina, which was a good thing as we found where we were to have dinner and breakfast that night and the next day!
We headed back to Ballina headlands Leisure Park and set up the Kea (plugged it in) the kids got straight into the action at the park as there were about 20 other kids playing around the place. They had an awesome swimming pool and spa which Herb and Ruby would probably still be in if I had not dragged them out to head out for dinner.
An old mate and work college from the river café is now head chef at “The Point Bar and restaurant” so I was really looking forward to having a meal there. Perry came out and had a chat with us but he had a big wedding function on at the same time so he was flat out.
The food was perfect, Simple, great flavours and excellent technique. Perry focuses on local produce from Beef, Fish and local organic veg. The portions are very generous and the service very friendly. During the Day the location would be even better as the restaurant opens out onto the Richmond River.
Dee and I roll out of the point feeling guilty for not doing justice to the best steaks we have eaten in a long time (although I did squeeze in a bit of desert) It was off home to get some sleep for a big day and a big surf!!I woke at dawn and fell asleep again!! It was grey and over cast. I wish I had got up earlier as flat rock was out of control!!!! So missed several hours of surfing this is what we arrived to.
After a serious session surfing you need serious hospitality and good food so we headed to Café 29 Riverside which was basically one street up from the Point and that is what we got by the bucket load. Diane and Ben looked after us. The food was great; I think the breakfasts just kept getting better the further south we went! Again we were made to feel really welcome as it appeared so was everyone else and it got very busy fast. The location is superb, like the point looking right over the Richmond River, unfortunately we had to leave as Evans head was waiting and a river cruises and Kayak ride!
Saturday the 18th of September
We All woke up early the next morning! The kids, Dee and I just seemed to pass out after dinner from such an awesome day of surfing and activities. The Kids are just buzzing being in the Kea camper as well.
The Sound of the swell pounding Suffolk park beach a mere 100m from our van woke me! I checked it early but the 5m swell had hit and the beach was out of control.
The Kid had made friends with the kid camping next to us and had invited them in to the Van for a guided tour of the bed and toilet etc and then ran off into the park chasing bush Turkey’s and the likes.
Rounding the Grommets up we head off for first and most important stop of the day, Breakfast!!
We left Suffolk beachfront holiday park (suffolkbeachfront.com.au)
And head straight up Bangalow road to “hippsville” not hippiesville aka Bangalow.
We have quit a few friends in Bangalow and have been to a few of the cafes and restaurants. This morning we chose to eat at “ate” which is under the restaurant “Satiate” which is one of the best places in the region I think! I think the same team owns it and the food downs stairs stacks up well!
33 Byron Street Bangalow
It seemed to be great timing as it was the Bangalow market weekend so after eating the finest breakfast so far on this trip, the kids pancakes were divine (better than Bill’s) we had a stroll to check out the market.
Bangalow has just gone mental in the last few years, well since I filmed there for surfing the menu in 2003 it’s a different place. Despite the gentrification the town still has an old world charm and character that sets it apart as do many of the hinterland towns between Byron and Lismore.
After breakfast it was back to Byron as we had a Kayak session booked and I wanted to squeeze in a surf before hand. The Increase in swell meant that our session had to be cancelled. It was a shame as we had organised a “Holiday Angel” to look after the little ones (Call Jo Malcolm if you need a baby sitter in Byron they are awesome 0410312839)
Oh well at least the surf was pumping!!
Next stop Ballina! Leaving Byron quite late in the arvo we cruise to Ballina. I am excited about two things.
1 checking out the surf at Lennox head and flat rock
2 catching up with an old chef mate Perry at the Point Bar and restaurant.
Friday 17th of September
Fingal – Byron
Fingal was awesome! The Fingal head holiday park was brilliant; the Kids loved it with a great little playground and a 20-metre stroll down to the beach. We really could have stayed here for the next five days but adventure lay ahead. So we hit the road after a walk along the beach.
We loaded up the Kea and headed for our first stop, Breakfast at “The Choux box” on Marine Parade Kingscliff. Kingscliff is a great little town and the people friendly “except for the two drunks fighting over the phone box”. The Choux Box had a great vibe relaxed and friendly. We were met by Brett the owner, who promptly sorted out our caffeine needs. The Menu was great. A nice mix of safe classics and some funky modern oz twist. Dee loved her Asian omelette. Fully fuelled it was time to hit the road.
Byron bound, we took the coast road which is something we rarely do as most of the time we are in a hurry and the new highway slices the travel time in half but cuts out all the good spots, but seeing as we did not have to do anything but rock up for a surfing lesson in Byron at two I thought that we should check out the other beaches along the way. It amazing how you just forgets the coast between Tweed and Byron since the motorway has connected the two.
Cruised into the Bay at around midday and thought we would drop in and show Dee’s dad our wheels. He’s getting those grey nomad kind of urges and the Kea was right up his alley! Taking old poppy for a cruise we head into town for a bight to eat prior to our surf lesson with Deano at Black Dog Surfing
Pop being a live in local in Byron for about 12 years knows all the best parking spots (well needed for a 6.8m long camper)
Lunch in Byron is never an easy choice but most people end up around the beach end of Jonson Street, but café 111 which is opposite the cinema was a real discovery serving lovely rustic eastern Mediterranean influenced food.
OK Fuelled up! It was Surf time. Dean and his sister Tam run black dog surfing, named after deano’s surfing black dog. Who strangely surfs facing backwards? The guys were awesome, I just grabbed a board and went for it but Dean made the Kids and Dee feel really comfortable. The Kids loved having their own wet suits. There was a pretty big swell building so we surfed at the pass just tucked in near the boat ramp, which allowed Dee and ruby to catch some smaller waves without getting in the way of the other surfers out there. The boys kind of abandoned the surfing once they realised they were going to get wet and just got naked and played in the sand. Dee on the other hand took to surfing like a duck to water.
We were pretty stuffed after our big second day on the road so it was time to drop poppy Pete off and check into our digs. The Kea was perfect for just rocking up, plugging in and getting into bed! We were Staying at Suffolk park holiday park that is tucked in of the road to Lennox, about a two-minute (max) walk from the beach. It’s a great little spot with awesome, clean facilities and loads of kids. Plenty of trees and fauna.
That night we had been recommended to eat at Fishmongers (behind the beach hotel) but when we rocked up the attitude was a bit much to deal with so we hit the quieter but much more family friendly Vietnamese about 50 metres up the road in the arcade.
Fully Fed it was time for bed (8.30pm and buggered)
The Trip to Fingal after tropical fruit world was a little hectic! my stubborn directional sense got us lost and the kids were going mental from a combination of high sugar fruit and exhaustion. The Drive great as you approach fingal along the tweed river. The Holiday park was right on the beach and as soon as we parked up we hit the water. Fingal is awesome. the surf was ok but I had other things on my mind, Dinner at Fins!!!
After a swim we hit the showers and then made the short drive to Kingscliff. The Place was buzzing when we got there. Steve Snow AKA Snowy came out and said hello. It was great to see him and even better to see him on the stoves!! I had a great piece of Snapper caught of Brunswick heads that day!! old Snowy knows his fish!
We didn’t hang around for too long as the kids were absolutely smashed from such a great day!
How many time have you driven past the sign for tropical fruit world either heading to Byron or heading north and just driven on past? Well after our family visit yesterday I would recommed that you take the turn off for a fun family day!
We arrived around 2pm and were met by Mal whom was to give us our tour. Mal was Great, he got us straight into a tropical fruit tasting session. Dee and I’s favorite fruit was the yellow dragon fruit, we tasted so many awesome and weird fruit, ones of interest were the chocolate fruit which is a relative of the persimmon also some different custard fruits and lemon meringue fruit. The Chocolate fruit mixed with ice cream was awesome and actually tasted more like chocolate than it did by its self.
We followed the fruit tasting with a tour of the orchard. This was really cool! seeing all of the fruit trees and their variety of shapes and sizes. The kids loved traveling around in the golf buggy’s The high light was cracking macadamia nuts and Herb filled his pockets with the shell and refused to eat the nuts?
At the bottom of the fruit orchard is a boat and train ride. The kids went mental when they saw the mini train and cash promptly jumped on and wanted to be the driver. We set off on a circular ride around the river seeing a variety of bird life.
Finally before leaving the Kid and I had a go on the Flying fox!! It was so much fun!! Cash fell of on his second go but luckily i was running along beside him and managed to catch him by the scruff of his shirt. he ended up face first in the sand but came up laughing!!
The finish of the afternoon the kids had ice cream made out of some of the fruit grown on the farm. Me and dee had tea with the largest scone i have ever seen! Also you have to try the chocolate fruit lammingtons!!!!
Next stop Fingal Head and FIns restaurant!!
Hey Guys! NSW tourism have given me the keys to a Mobile home and we’re all off to Northern NSW for a week!
The Kids went mental when I arrive home with a five berth mobile home from Kea. I think they would have happily spent five days in it parked out side the house!! We all set off on Thurday the 16th for the Tweed Valley, be it a little later than we needed to. Three kids and a timely get away does not always go to plan.
First stop West Tweed Heads for a crab and oyster tour. We missed the boat for the crab tour so instead i got the kids rods out and we hooked into some Bream off the jetty whilst we waited for the restaurant to open. Herb and Cash Both caught some fish both of whom were nearly pulled in by their monster catches!
The Cafe was brilliant! they had live Mud crabs and Spanner crabs freshly caught in the river. These were promptly dispatched to the kitchen to be boiled up for our lunch. Yum! De and I had the seafood platters for lunch and the kids had fish and chips! After lunch and a little more fishing we headed South on our Adventure! Next stop The tropical Fruit Farm!!
Things are chugging along here at the Surf Club! We are Three weeks in to trading and we have found our feet in the kitchen and getting a great response from all the punters that are coming in! Service is improving daily as our team on the floor find their feet! We have been busy even with the Brisbane weather being unusually cold! The weekends have been Huge. Come along and check out the Bar for a Drink and food or have a meal in the restaurant!
Loads of other things happening at the same time as the restaurant! I will be doing Demos at the “Regional Flavours” event this weekend on Little Stanely street. Also doing some demos at Barbecues galore in logan on the 31st and 1st of August.
Also lauching a range of kitchen and BBQ utensils with Wiltshire for fathers Day so keep an eye otu for that!
All the best Guys
Hi All! big apologies for the lack of contact! Opening restaurants is relentless business!! Finally the Stoves are fired up! beer is running through the lines and people are being fed and watered at the South Bank Surf Club!! Our opening party went of with a bang! I managed to stab my thumb with a oyster knife about 1/2 an hour before we kicked off. The Fist time in 23 years that I have had stitches from a cut whilst working!! I am thinking its a good omen!
As well as opening the restaurant, i finally managed to get my next book off to the publishers. Sigh!!
I hope you all get the opportunity to come and enjoy the view/food and atmosphere down here at the Surf Club!!
See you soon!