Looking for a day trip? Then check out Hinze Dam. The highly accessible walks and facilities make this the day out the stuff of legends.
Hinze Dam, in the Gold Coast hinterland, seems wildly far away, but in fact, it is just 30 minutes’ drive from Pacific Fair. Built across the Nerang River, it was originally constructed in 1976, and significantly upgraded in 2011.
The body of water the dam created is stunning. Of course, it is what we all drink here on the Gold Coast, so its purpose is originally functional. However as an accidental recreation area, it’s a great win for everyone who likes nature and fresh air.
Visually speaking, it quite the sight to behold. The vastness of Queensland’s mountains alongside man’s engineering expertise unite in perfect symmetry. You want to say things like, ‘Ah! The serenity!’ The architecture and landscaping, plus the sheer size of the lake and its shores make this a dam good day out (sorry I couldn’t help it).
It’s the accessibility here that is a winner. There are lots of disabled parks. Also, the paths are wide and flat, and super-smooth… everywhere. There’s a 2.5 kilometre walk over the dam that maintains this flatness and smoothness. Use a walker?
This is a dream walk. Wheelchair? You’ll have the time of your life. Do you simply prefer no steps and a flat surface? You’ll love it. There are no steps, not even from the carpark, to the café, to the dam, to the toilet, across the grounds…no steps. None.
The visitor centre here has an interesting display, and they have informative talks on the dam. Well worth a drop-in. And the café next door has brilliant views and food.
We spent a couple of hours at the dam but you could spend all day if you have the time. By the time you have lunch, take a walk in the gardens, cross the dam and just enjoy the beauty of the place, you can easily smash through 3 hours.
The walk along the top of the dam wall is amazing, and it reminds us that we are small little beings who are unimportant entirely. There’s no shade though, so don’t forget your hat! There are well-placed explanatory plaques and information stands detailing the method of construction, the points of interest, the geology and specific types of flora and fauna. And look out for the sign explaining the “climbing eels.” It reminds us all that the natural world can be dam weird.
Hinze Dam Picnic Sites
If you want to bring a picnic, there’s many places to set up camp, with beautiful vistas. There are a few shaded tables, but they go fairly quickly, so bring a picnic blanket, just in case.
When there’s drought the drowned trees become visible and there are a number of places that present a very photogenic situation. When there is a lot of rain, the spillway looks incredible. And, when the dam needs to release water, you can be put on an alert service that informs you when this will happen, so you can go that day to see it! (seqwater.com.au/dam-release- notification-service).
In all, this is a great place for Silvers. It is a very peaceful area, with the silence broken by the odd kookaburra and smaller birds. You realise how quickly you can get to deep forest so close to the ocean. This place has a nice combination of science, environmental information (the hydroelectric power), scenery, tranquillity, and artistic landscaping. The whole area is a selfie paradise, and it would make a great wedding backdrop.
To organise a function room at the café, call 07 5563 0313. To check opening times at the visitor centre, click here.
Our Silver hero Leesa volunteers her spare time all across regional Australia to help both humans and animals. Here, she tells us about her volunteering adventures.
On Thursday Island, we did our first pilot program and that was with Vets Beyond Borders and AWLQ, and the Thursday Island Animal Support Group. I volunteered as a vert nurse, helping with health checks, doing an animal management program, desexing dogs, treating dogs for parasite treatment, and also talking to their owners regarding tick treatments, and unwanted pregnancies or unwanted litters.
I absolutely love volunteer trips, I have been volunteering as a vet nurse with AMRRIC (Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities) for 11 years now. Plus, I volunteer in remote communities, Aboriginal communities, everywhere from Western Australia through to the Northern Territory and regional Queensland.
A lot of this is helping in the indigenous communities to do a desexing program. We want to desex more dogs. I know in some of the indigenous communities, they can have 10-15 dogs in a household. So cutting that down is an aim. There are often quite a lot of stray dogs in communities, and they can cause problems as well as having lots of litters, and if there are a lot of male or un-desexed dogs, there can be issues between male dogs having fights over female dogs. There’s a lot of noise, a lot of wounded animals, and a lot of puppies to look after.
There’s also a problem with parasites – some are zoonotic. So that means that the parasites can transfer from humans to animals, or animals to humans. And so we help treat the dogs. We also do an educational program through schools, and with the community, and elders, just explaining what we do. We explain simple things from washing hands after the kids are playing with the animals, and how to hold your dog properly. What’s good food for cats and dogs, things like that.
SILVER HERO – VET NURSING
As a vet nurse, I help set up our surgery area, also help with vet students and vets, making sure that we have all the proper instruments and attire, so that they can do their surgical work. I help the flow-through of patients.
One of the places we visit is Yuendumu, in the NT. AMRRIC is based in Darwin. We meet in Darwin, and then it’s about an 11- or 12-hour trip in the car to go there. There’s a team of us, usually, two vets, a two nurses, if we are lucky! We meet with the rangers or community members, and they help us work out where we’re going to be situated and where we’re going to stay.
I am a general practice vet nurse. So, I have my normal job and I have to either take unpaid leave or holiday leave. But I love the volunteering and I will do is as long as I’m still mobile and I can still get around. I always laugh with the ladies or whoever I’m out on the trips, and I’ll say, I’ll be out with my walking stick. And I love the interaction between people and their animals. I love to be able to help with animal welfare and make life better for animals and for their owners as well. I get to see lots of parts of Australia that you would not necessarily be able to go to because you would need special passes or permits to get into some of these communities. The day I have to stop, I’ll be really, really upset.
The funding for these trips comes from different sources. There are charities like AWLQ who help with the funding for Thursday Island. In other places, the councils fund the trips. We also try to get donations from drug companies for tick and flea treatments, for example. And a lot of the nurses and vets as well will donate some of the stock from their own practices as well.
AWLQ do a great job, and it’s something that I’ve always wanted to be a part of. Due to being involved with the Thursday Island program, I’ve got to know Sylvana from AWLQ, and she’s just wonderful. And the work that she’s done as well in her time is amazing. I would love to do more work for AWLQ. I’m actually leaving tomorrow to go back for another week on Thursday Island, in conjunction with AWLQ! There is a lot of work to be done there. We’re always very, very busy once on the island. We have got an extra couple of team members this time! But we will still be working 13 to 14 hour days.
The AWLQ and the Thursday Island Support Animal Support are taking in unwanted or stray dogs. They are getting them back to health and adopting them out. Not just to the people on Thursday Island or the surrounding islands, but they do often go off to New South Wales and Queensland to loving homes.
SILVER HERO – VOLUNTEERS WANTED
We are always looking for volunteers. We need admin people, to help people fill out forms. There are also some statistic duties, where often we will do counts in certain communities just to get an idea of how many houses, how many people, and then how dogs or cats or pigs or horses that are owned as well.
With this type of volunteering, you’re forever learning. There’s always courses. There’s always something new to learn. It definitely brushes the cobwebs off!
Through organisations like AWLQ, Vets Without Borders and others, you’ll find amazing vets, vet nurses and then other volunteers that give up their time for the animals and people who need them. Everyone’s likeminded. They are wonderful people that come and volunteer. Even small things make a difference, like helping to clean some of the cages, to grooming animals, to watching them wake up from their surgeries.
There’s always going to be dogs and cats that need help and love. So as long as I’m around, I will be involved.
Be a silver hero and donate to AWLQ, or to leave a bequest, click here.
The Caravan Repair Company at Burleigh Heads is known across Queensland and New South Wales as the place to go to restore a caravan or get it fixed. They tell us what accessories makes the caravanning experience even better.
Caravanning is great fun and very much part of the Australian culture. It is a great way to get around and a budget-friendly way to holiday. Is there anything better than hitching up the caravan and heading off on a relaxing road trip? Well yes actually. And that’s knowing you have the right accessories for any situation that may crop up before you start your trek. That knowledge will ensure the journey is as stressfree and fun as possible.
If you own a caravan, you probably treat it like a little palace, filling it with everything to make it as comfortable and attractive as possible. We know this at The Caravan Repair Company as we deal with so many proud and happy owners. Here are what we think are the must-have caravan accessories on the Gold Coast.
One of the most clever and innovative products is tyre repair spray. It seals a hole temporarily, allowing reinflation without having to remove the tyre. This product could get you out of a very difficult situation since it enables you to cover a few hundred kilometres before the damaged tyre needs permanent repair. Come in and see us and we will get you sorted out with some of this amazing product.
Depending on where you are planning on travelling to, you may to need to invest in solar panels or a solar blanket, charger, battery and inverter, so you can create a chain of power. In simple terms, this chain of power ensures you can take your precious coffee machine, or other appliance, with you so you can still enjoy a great cappuccino, even if you’re off-grid.
AN AERIAL OR ANTENNA
Caravanning is a home away from home trip, and for many that means home comforts can come along, including a television. Many caravans now have a TV antenna installed as standard but if yours does not, it is an easy installation with us.
Antennas are a great way to stay in touch with the world. The great outdoors can lose its appeal sometimes for younger travellers who want to connect with their friends back at home. Being connected to the internet and watching TV helps keep all family members happy.
Aerials come in a huge range of shapes and sizes, but you’ll need to choose if you want a directional aerial or an omnidirectional aerial. An ariel will give you terrestrial television. Satellite TV in your caravan is a bit more complex, so come and have a conversation with us and we can help you make some choices there.
And of course, there are safety benefits that come with having an antenna. In the event of something going wrong, you get the peace of mind that you can contact the outside world. With a working antenna, you’re never really lost.
ELECTRONIC STABILITY CONTROL
This accessory is specifically for towing caravans. It is a must-have if you do a lot of towing and are concerned about safety.
Caravans that are being towed can be unstable, and particularly vulnerable to sideways movement. When a critical point of lateral movement is reached, it could overturn. The ESC monitors the movements and automatically applies the brakes when necessary to bring the caravan back into line and restabilising it.
One of the realities of travelling anywhere in Australia, especially through the warmer months, is that you will need to carry fresh, clean drinking water with you. A 40-litre water can on wheels will make the job of transporting the water supply from the source back to your van, just that little bit easier. Ask us about the water tank on wheels.
If you are bringing your interior up to spec, consider getting a modern aircon system. A long time in the heat at a holiday destination is no fun if the air conditioning is broken or non-existent!
Similarly, you’ll probably want the best facilities when it comes to mealtimes. A lot of caravan owners love their microwaves, as they’re quick to feed impatient mouths. Fridges, of course, are essential for keeping food edible while you’re on the road. These appliances can be upgraded or installed easily by our experienced technicians.
A lot of the caravan restorations we have done involve retro-fitting. A bargain RV or caravan might have a lot of potential, but very few mod cons. You might not think your classic van has room for the latest kit, but you would be wrong. It’s amazing how much of the latest equipment can fit into quite small, older caravans, when fitted by experts.
ENJOY YOUR TRIP!
There are so many beautiful places to explore in Australia and often it’s the little things you find along the way that mean the most. Once you’ve parked your van, especially when driving long distances, it’s a great idea to cycle around the area, this gives you the chance to check out your surroundings and take it all in, at a slower pace. Consider having folding bikes! They are a genius solution for compact convenience.
Come have a chat with us at The Caravan Repair Company, and we will get a plan in place to make your caravan or RV a moving palace. ■
Fresh, innovative, and stylish are terms not typically associated with retirement living. But a closer look shows a quiet revolution is underway on the Gold Coast, with local developer GemLife shaking up the landscape and transforming the way over-50s, downsizers, and retirees live in 2021 and beyond. GemLife launched just over four years ago and now has ten over-50s lifestyle resorts across Australia. The Director and CEO Adrian Puljich, himself a Gold Coaster, said he was excited to bring its innovative home and lifestyle concept to the Gold Coast and nearby Tweed. Both estates are in the early stages of development.
GemLife is at the forefront of a revolution in over-50s’ living – one which Adrian says has been long overdue. The real estate industry has been slow to adapt to the changing wants and needs of older Australians who are healthier and more active than ever before, and equally passionate about great design as younger generations.
“Retirement is a loaded word that comes with a host of outdated associations about ageing that don’t reflect the reality of today’s over-50s. This is, even more so, the case with ideas about ‘retirement living’,” said Adrian.
“There is a huge gap between the stereotypes and the truth. Most over-50s are adventurous, curious and freedom-loving – they see life opening up before them, not slowing down,” he said.
When GemLife launched, Adrian set out to redefine the sector with an emphasis on a dynamic lifestyle, high-quality homes, and a huge offering of resort-style facilities for fitness and fun.
Typically, facilities at a GemLife resort include a luxury country club with an indoor swimming pool, spa, sauna, ten-pin bowling, golf simulator, cinema, bar and café. This is in addition to an outdoor pool, barbecue areas, tennis courts, and community garden. All resorts are pet-friendly, and have an off-leash dog run.
The approach has hit the mark – across Australia GemLife homes are consistently selling faster than competitors. “Our first resort at Bribie Island was forecast to be an eight-year project, but we are already wrapping up the resort’s final stage and have almost sold out in half that time. Our resorts are all about a terrific lifestyle, underscored by quality design and construction, attention to detail and responsiveness. That has been a big part of our success,” he said.
Increasingly, the resorts attract younger buyers, many still working full or part-time, looking to free themselves from the responsibilities of large family homes. Frequent feedback from older residents, according to Adrian, is that they wish they’d done it sooner.
“We’ve also had the 50-year-old children of prospective residents so impressed by what they see, they end up moving in too.”
That is what happened to Michelle Thomas, who now lives at GemLife Bribie Island in Moreton Bay. “Mum and dad had gone unconditional on their waterfront villa and were waiting to start building when they invited us to an open day. I came along to see what they were so excited about. I went home with all the information and came back an hour later to tell them that Dave and I were putting our house on the market, and we moved in that April,” said Michelle.
Adrian said that word-of-mouth was a strong driver for the company, with family recommending the GemLife lifestyle to other family members and friends recommending to their friends. “We even have employees whose own parents have moved in. The strength of belief in our offering means a lot to me personally.”
For Adrian, taking over-50s living in a fresh, vibrant direction with GemLife has been a longheld passion. “I’m excited and inspired by what we’re doing at our resorts. It’s about staying innovative and creating an environment that opens up possibilities for over-50s to live life to the fullest.”
ABOUT GEMLIFE GOLD COAST
Set upon a unique, elevated 46.4-hectare site with sweeping views all the way to Surfers Paradise and bordered by beautiful natural bushland, GemLife Gold Coast is set to become a flagship, signature resort.
It has an incredible three-level country club complete with rooftop infinity pool, fitness centre, indoor pool and spa, bar and lounge, wine room and more. It also has a separate wellness centre with a lagoon-style pool, outdoor yoga and indoor Pilates’ studio. Plus, it has an origami-inspired pavilion set atop the resort’s highest point to capture 180-degree views across the Gold Coast’s coastline. Peacefully ensconced in a picturesque part of Pimpama in the housing growth corridor between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, the centrally located GemLife Gold Coast puts the coast’s world-famous beaches and coastline, the natural beauty of the sub-tropical hinterland and Brisbane’s city-life all within easy reach.
The resort’s architecturally designed homes are six-star energy rated and built with high-end, low-maintenance living in mind. With unrivalled levels of customisation available, including multiple colour-schemes and facade options, your home will truly be your sanctuary.
ABOUT GEMLIFE TWEED WATERS
Superb design, inspired by the natural coastal beauty of the Tweed and mid-century modernism, will define the exclusive, boutique over-50s lifestyle resort, GemLife Tweed Waters.
Set in a premium position with direct waterway access, the resort will feature just under 100 homes and a stunning modern waterfront country club. It will have an extensive array of premium fitness and leisure facilities, including a fabulous roof-top swimming pool.
The gated lifestyle resort would take advantage of the natural features of its idyllic coastal location, offering luxurious, low-maintenance living and premium facilities that let buyers downsize their responsibilities and upsize their lifestyle.
The architecture of the resort’s two-storey country club will feature a sleek, coastal look with references to southern Californian mid-century modernism, but with a Tweed twist. Incorporating a coastal material palette including stone and louvred feature walls, and interesting use of timber, the club wraps around the waterfront to maximise a north-east aspect.
Facilities in and around the country club include an outdoor yoga studio, bar and cafe, gym studio, outdoor lounge areas, fire pits, barbecue facilities, cinema, a creative arts space and much more.
GemLife’s secure, gated resorts are in country and coastal locations in Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales. To know more about GemLife, visit their website here.■
If you liked our article about retirement life, you might want to check out this article about cruising retirement!
People dance for many reasons. But did you know that dancing has great health benefits as well? Steven Bock from 5th Avenue Dance tells us everything he has discovered about just how good dancing is for your wellbeing.
We all know that exercise is the ultimate medicine. Staying active is paramount for wellbeing, especially in the years after 50. But what if you could combine a fun activity with exercise so that you didn’t even feel like you were exercising at all? That’s exactly why so many people do dancing – it’s so fun that you forget you are getting quite the workout. Dancing is amazing for wellbeing. Here’s why.
Improve the condition of your heart and lungs; due to the (sometimes) aerobic nature of some of the faster dances. At 5th Avenue Dance we structure your 45 minute lessons to warm up with a Foxtrot which moves around the room, then a slower Latin dance the Rumba, before we hit the faster tempos of Swing, a break with some wonderful Waltz, before moving onto a faster Cha Cha then cool down with a Tango.
Increase your muscular strength. When you are dancing, you are moving! Our 5th Avenue Dance instructors are very aware of your starting level of fitness, and take this into account as we teach you to dance, and within a very short period of time what you can do, increases.
Increase endurance. Dancing may not seem like exercise in the same way as going to the gym, riding a bike or training for a triathlon. But we are dancing and moving for 45 minutes, which is a good workout. The difference is the music and fun (not to mention the skill you are learning).
Weight management. Exercise is great. Even better is a variety of exercise to burn calories. Your body gets used to just swimming, or just running. Dancing a variety of dances uses different muscle groups at different speeds. This is hard for your body to “get used to” so therefore more calories are burned.
Stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis. According to Osteoporosis Australia, dancing is categorised as highly Osteogenic. Dancing is right up there in the number one category.
Better coordination, agility, and flexibility. This is very important in the later years to maintain balance and prevent falls. At 5th Avenue Dance we concentrate on feet placement and timing. This leads to better balance and coordination and gives you increased agility and flexibility as well as spatial awareness (very important on a social dance floor with many other couples dancing and having fun).
Increased physical confidence. As your stamina increases, together with balance and timing, your physical confidence in what you can do skyrockets. For those needing the occasional helping hand, your connection to your dance partner supplies this – allowing you to fly across the dance floor.
Improved general and psychological wellbeing. Being social and making new friends in the later years has been shown time and time again to lengthen lifespan and increase wellbeing.
Better social skills. At 5th Avenue Dance we are constantly recommending changing partners in group lessons. Our students make us so proud, even those who have their own partner go out of the way to ask and dance with all partners. You can never have too many friends, right?
To find out more about whether dancing can benefit your health, come in and take advantage of our complementary private dance lesson here at 5thavenuedance.com.au . Time to have fun! ■
If you want to read more about dancing, click here.
We all need a staycation to remind us just how lucky we are here on the Coast. One night at the Rhapsody is enough to make us remember why we all moved to the Gold Coast in the first place! Nicole Buckler reports.
I am putting it out there and you can write in all you want to argue with me, but here it is: Narrowneck is the best beach on the Gold Coast. This debate will go on for some time, as it always has at the Coast. So while you are compiling your argument defending your favourite spot, I will put my argument in front of you thusly.
First of all, the artificial reef built at Narrowneck in the late 90s not only has preserved the beach somewhat, but as all reefs do, it has created a better, more rideable wave. The reef has been topped up a few times over the years with sandbags and other materials to make sure it keeps doing what it is supposed to. The council seems all over it and it keeps this part of the beach as a paradise for surfers and swimmers.
Many locals will argue whether this wave is the best wave or not. I am here to say that it is one of life’s great pleasures to watch surfers ride these waves at sunset or at dawn. When it is windy, the kite surfers come out to play, and this is a spectacle that can be watched for hours. Narrowneck is the best beach on the Coast and I am prepared to go to hand-to-hand combat about it.
As for Staycations, there’s no better place, especially in Spring. Seas are clearer in Spring, and it is a paradise on our doorstep that other humans wait their whole lives to experience.
I chose the Rhapsody Resort as the place to base myself. It is directly across the road from the beach, a 5-minute walk from the flags at Narrowneck, and a gorgeous 15-minute walk along the beach to the bright lights/big city feels of Surfers Paradise. North Surfers Paradise G:Link Station is across the road.
I checked into a 35th-floor ocean-view room. That sunrise over the ocean? Wow. It’s the stuff of life. I could do it 10,000 times again from the 35th floor like I did last night and never grow tired of it.
From the balcony, I could see all the way to South Straddie and even further. And it was a perfect day – that kind of day where the sun touches your skin after an early Spring swim, and you feel like you are being kissed all over by a minor deity. As a massive fan of North Gold Coast, I loved my aspect from the 35th floor, I could survey all that I own. Okay I wish I owned it. Maybe one day I will!
As for the resort, it’s got some cool stuff. Downstairs is a café that is a favourite of locals getting their coffee and morning goodies. The food was amazing. The pool is gorgeous, as resort pools are, it catches the sun perfectly. The rooms have the kind of panoramas that made the Gold Coast famous. There are no beach panoramas anywhere like it in the world. Turquoise oceans and blue skies that inject you with wellbeing and big feels.
The Level 41 garden rooftop terrace is the jewel in the crown. We grabbed some champers and sat up there and were lucky enough to have a full moon splashing us with its beams of light. It was just so soul-satisfying that it was actually hard to leave the hotel!
We all know the usual haunts for staycations on the Coast. If you are looking for something new and a little different, then this is your place. And it is on the very best beach on the coast. Send your long, but also wrong, arguments about other beaches to Nicole@sunkissmedia.com.au. ■
Discount for Silver Readers
When booking, use the promo code “SILVERMAG.” This will get Silver readers 15% discount of all BAR rates and room types across all travel dates. The special discount will be valid until the end of February, so get booking! This code can be applied directly when using rhapsodyresort.com.au/booking or quoted to the reservations team over the phone.