GraGraeme's Driving Academy To Learn To Drive Safelyeme’s Driving Academy has just helped our son get his P’s. The journey to obtaining his Drivers License took some time and effort, but what made it a reality in the end was the fact that we discovered Graeme Hanby and his driving school!

Originally our son did a search online and found another popular Gold Coast driving school. But there was a problem with the very first lesson that he had with this other reputable driving academy. When our son arrived home from his lesson he was quiet and even withdrawn. He told me he did not want to talk about the lesson.

So I just left him alone for the night. The next day we chatted about what had happened in the lesson and he told me how the driving instructor was negative and even depressing in his attitude. When mistakes were made our son was told that he did something wrong, but no clear explanation was given so that he understood the reason and exactly what he had done wrong.Car Keys After Getting Drivers License

The instructor even had the nerve to say that perhaps our son should forget about trying for his manual license and should instead just go for an automatic license.

When I heard this I felt quite upset and annoyed at the trainer from this well known driving school for saying this to his student!

Instead of instilling hope and confidence in our son, he tore him down through his discouraging comments and attitude.

We Found Graeme’s Driving Academy

It was then that I saw a discount coupon in the local Gold Coast Value Voucher newspaper for Graeme’s driving school and so I gave Graeme a call. I could tell straight away on the phone that Graeme was upbeat and encouraging in his attitude and words. So we went ahead and made a booking for our son to have a driving lesson.

Wow! You should have seen the difference when he arrived home from this first lesson! A huge smile was plastered across his face and he began to tell me all about the lesson. I could hear the encouragement and confidence in his voice and could see it in his face. He once again believed in himself and knew that he could go for his manual license and get it!

This was the exact opposite from the other instructor!

It amazed me just seeing the two different extremes that flowed out of the way that each of the two driving instructors related to their student. One instructor drained all hope and confidence away, while Graeme restored the hope, confidence and belief that it was possible.

‘P’ Plates

The outcome, as I mentioned before, is that our son is now driving around successfully on his P Plates!

I want to say a huge “Thank you” to Graeme for his positive attitude and willingness to take a nervous beginner and to train him until he became a confident and safe driver on our Queensland roads. Thank you for believing in our son and for instilling this same belief in him.

We highly recommend Graeme’s driving academy to all those who want a caring and kind driving instructor who will be honest, but in a way that builds up rather than tearing down. Any parents of teens or young adults who want to have a few driving lessons before sitting their practical test should consider Graeme’s company. Why not give him a call today and book in your first lesson?

Many parents teach their kids to drive, but by booking a few lessons before the prac test you are ensuring that your teen has the best chance of passing and also that they pick up some things that you have perhaps forgotten!

I almost forgot to mention that he also offers a special deal to new clients. Book 3 hours and you only have to pay for 2 hours. A pretty good deal! His rates were also $5 less per hour than the other driving company that our son first used. So it really was a no brainer to use this positive, upbeat and caring man to teach our son a skill that he will carry with him for the rest of his life.

Thanks, Graeme’s Driving Academy!

Located right on the beach at Dayman Park, Hervey Bay, just a short distance from the Urangan Pier is the Neptunes Reef World Aquarium. Some of the highlights that the aquarium offers to visitors is the opportunity to get up close to the turtles and sharks. In the morning at 11am everyone who wants to can feed some lettuce to the friendly turtles in the outdoor tank. Be sure to give the turtles a nice backrub on the side of their shell as they really love this.

Feeding the Turtles

Reefworld Aquarium Prices (as at April 2012)

Adult $18
Child (3-14 Years Inclusive) $8
Child (Under 5 Years) Free
Pensioner $18
Student $18
Backpackers $18
Swim with Sharks $50
Double Deal – Lunch & Aquarium – Adult $30
Double Deal – Lunch & Aquarium – Kids $17

Lunch At Waterfront Restaurant

Once you purchase your entry ticket you can come and go as many times as you want to throughout that specific day. So if you want to head over to Urangan for some lunch then you can do that.

But a better option is to enjoy a delicious lunch at the Waterfront Restaurant onsite at the aquarium.

If you want to save some money then you can take advantage of the Double Deal offer, which is available from Wednesday to Sunday. This special deal gives you full-day entry to Reefworld as well as a freshly prepared meal, between 11.30am and 2.30pm, in the restaurant. For just $30 adults receive aquarium entry and a meal of your choice with a credit of $20 off the meal price.

A perfect time to relax and enjoy lunch is after the turtle feeding at 11am. So around 12 noon you can wander into the restaurant and over your meal and drinks. Then sit back, relax and take in the beautiful view of Round Island, Big Woody Island and National Park and, of course, Fraser Island in the background! Before you know it your meal will arrive and you can eat before heading back for the shark feeding at 2pm.

Remember that this special offer is only available Wednesday to Sunday and so you may want to take this into account when planning your visit to Reef World.

Times of Operation:

Daily: 9.30am – 4pm
Christmas Day: Closed
Anzac Day: 9.30am – 4pm


On the beach,
Charlton Esplanade,
Dayman Park,
Urangan, Hervey Bay, Qld 4655

Phone: (07) 4128 9828

Feeding Times:

11am – Turtles
2pm – Sharks & Large Reef Fish

Feeding the Sharks

Then after lunch you can head back into Reefworld Aquarium for the opportunity to feed the sharks and large fish at 2pm. It all begins at the main indoor tank where anyone who wants to can take a piece of fish, climb up the ladder and feed the large reef fish by hand. It is quite exciting seeing the speed with which the large fish come to grab the fish! Next everyone heads outside to where the sharks and turtles are housed. Guests are given pieces of fish that can be given to the sharks, turtles and large reef fish in the outside tank.

Map – Neptune’s Reefworld, Hervey Bay

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Colourful Fish at Reef World

Interesting Facts About Reefworld

  • Reef World Aquarium was established over thirty years ago in 1979.
  • Natural sunlight is used throughout for lighting.
  • Sea water is used to keep the tanks full of healthy water with all of the nutrients necessary for healthy marine life.
  • A sand filter is all that is used on the incoming sea water.
  • The 2011 floods caused most of the live coral to die off due to the huge influx of fresh water from the Mary River.
  • After flooding the salt level in the water inside the aquarium tanks drops drastically and this had a big impact on the health of the coral, fish and marine creatures.
  • After the floods in 2011 many of the star fish, sea urchins and other marine life died due to the increase in fresh water and reduction in salt levels.
  • Reefworld is amongst only a few aquariums around the world that rely on natural seawater and natural sunlight to keep the aquatic environment healthy.

Visiting Reefworld in the Rain

Even when it is raining you can still enjoy a fantastic day out at Neptune’s aquarium. The main tank containing a variety of reef fish is situated inside. The individual aquarium tanks and touch pool are also inside so you can wander around to your heart’s content without getting at all wet on a rainy day.

The restaurant also offers meals, snack and drinks throughout the day undercover for your dining pleasure.

During the turtle feeding at 11am and the shark feed at 2pm you may require an umbrella as the shark and turtle enclosure is located outdoors. So if it is raining then bring a couple of umbrellas with you and use these when you join in with the twice daily feedings.

Wheelchair Accessibility

All of the inside sections of the aquarium and restaurant are accessible by those in wheelchairs or with wheely walkers. There are also accessible toilets inside the main section of Reefworld.

There are 3 steps down to the section where you feed the turtles and sharks, but there is a viewing platform available for those in wheelchairs who are not able to get down to the lower level.

Reasons to Visit Reefworld, Urangan

  • Centrally located
  • 2 live feeds each day
  • Entry tickets allows for free access in and out throughout the day
  • Waterfront restaurant open for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea 8pm to 4pm from Wednesday to Sunday
  • Restaurant also caters for wedding receptions, birthday parties, functions and conferences
  • Option to swim with the sharks is available
  • Stunning live coral displays
  • Unique design using natural sunlight and seawater
  • Touch pool with a variety of marine creatures
  • Feed and pat the turtles
  • Feed the sharks and large, reef fish

It is interesting to note that a couple of weeks after I wrote about Vic Hislop and our visit to Vic’s shark expo in Hervey Bay that a young man has been attacked by a shark on the Gold Coast!

Shark Attack on Gold CoastThis attack occurred off Nobby Beach, just north of Miami Beach and south of Mermaid Beach, late in the afternoon yesterday, Tuesday 20th March 2012.

Below is an extract from the article written by Ali Best for Nine News on this shark attack.

A young surfer has proved he is made of tough stuff, showing off his gory wound after a shark chomped down on his leg on the Gold Coast yesterday afternoon.


Billy O’Leary, 20, was attempting a surfing manoeuvre in waters off Miami when he fell off his board and landed on the shark.


The engineering student was with his best friend, Tyson Kolkka, when he was bitten.


He told Nine News they were fighting for the wave and it could have easily been Mr Kolkka who was bitten.


Nine News cameraman Joel Scott said Mr O’Leary was in good spirits before his operation today.


“He was great this morning. He just said that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It could have been anyone,” Mr Scott said.


“He said it crossed his mind that he could have died.”

This young Aussie kept his cool and sense of humour throughout the whole event and even joked about the size of the shark that bit him being 20 foot long! We are glad that this young man is okay and that he did not lose his leg or worse!

It does send out a warning though that we all need to be diligent and keep our eyes open when swimming at our beautiful Australian beaches!

We wish Billy O’Leary a speedy recovery and safe surfing in the future!

Map of Nobby Beach

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Located on the beautiful Hervey Bay esplanade, close to the Urangan Pier, is where you will find the world famous Great White Shark and Whale expo, which is the only one of its kind in the entire world. Vic Hislop set up this exhibition to educate people on the unpredictable behaviour of sharks.

Prices (as at March 2012)

Adult $15.00
Child (5-15 Years Inclusive) $7.00
Child (Under 5 Years) Free
Pensioner $12.00
Student $12.00
Backpackers $12.00






Times of Operation:

Open Daily – 7 Days A Week, except Christmas Day

Summer months: 8.30am – 6.00pm
Winter months: 8.30am – 5.30pm


553 The Esplanade, Urangan, Hervey Bay,
Queensland, 4217 Australia

Vic Hislop Great White Shark Show is easy to find on the corner of The Esplanade and Elizabeth Street, just a short distance from the famous Urangan Pier

Phone: (07) 4128-9137


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Free off-street parking is available on site.

Shark Show Hervey Bay:

Inside you will find a vast array of information, in the form of newspaper clipping, artefacts, shark teeth, shark jawbones, a shark brain and eyeball! There is even a frozen shark that you can get up nice and close to without any danger of being hurt.

Two movies are continually showing throughout the day. One of these is about whales and Vic’s explanation as to why whales beach themselves when they are such intelligent marine mammals. The second movie shows Vic Hislop’s shark hunting expeditions, before they became illegal. Both videos were interesting and very informative.

We stayed at the Vic’s shark expo for about 1.5 hours, watched a good portion of both of the movie clips, and read many of the newspaper articles that are displayed on the walls. It would be easy to spend 2 hours, if you have the time on your next family holiday to Hervey Bay.

Hinze Dam has recently opened up again to the public, in December 2011, after being closed for almost four years while the upgrade was completed. These stage 3 developments at the Hinze Dam, also known as the Advancetown Lake, have seen the water holding capacity double in volume with the dam wall being raised an additional 15 metres. The dam wall is now approximately 1,850m long, which includes the dam spillway as well. The lake surface area is now 1500 hectares and can supply over 310,000 Mega Litres when full. As of the beginning of Februray 2012 Hinze dam is at about 88% capacity.

Times of Access:

Recreational Facilities
Daily: 6am to 6pm seven days a week

2 Boat Ramps
Daily: 6am to 6pm seven days a week

Interpretive Centre
Monday to Saturday: 8.30am to 5.00pm
Sunday: 10.00am to 4.00pm
Public Holidays: 10.00am to 4.00pm

Entry is Free


Advancetown Road / Gilston 4211, Qld, Australia


Approximately 15 km south-west of Nerang on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, on the downstream side of the Nerang River.

Google Map

Hinze Dam – Advancetown Lake

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Recreational Activities:

  • Boating – only manual or electric powered water vessels are allowed
  • Fishing with a permit
  • Picnics
  • BBQs
  • Bicycling
  • Scenic Views
  • Walking
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Canoeing
  • Paddlecraft


  • Fishing unless you have a permit
  • Campfires
  • Camping
  • Swimming
  • Pets

Gold Coast Map Showing Advancetown Lake Location:

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History of Hinze Dam

The dam was originally constructed in 1976 and had a water storage capacity of around 42,000 million litres. Then in 1989 the dam wall was raised to increase the water volume by almost four times what it was previously. When it was full Hinze dam could then hold over 160,000 million litres.

Stage-3 Upgrade

Before the stage 3 upgrade began it was possible to access the recreational facilities from both Advancetown Rd and Gilston Rd. There was also a road across the spillway, which was open to the public to use. Since the stage 3 developments have been completed there is no longer public access by vehicle across the dam spillway. Access can however be enjoyed by foot. Also it is only possible to gain access to the recreational facilities and the Interpretive Centre from Advancetown Rd on the north-western side of Lake Advancetown.

Many fish, including Mary river cod, Australian bass, Saratoga, silver perch and golden perch, have been added to the dam waters so that fishermen can enjoy the recreation of fishing in this tranquil setting. The permit that is required can be purchased from local fishing and tackle outlets. For an exact list of outlets that stock the fishing permits you can refer to the SEQWater website.

There are two boating ramps available to those who want to enjoy water activities on Hinze Dam. If you come in via Little Nerang Rd on the east side of the dam then you will find one of the ramps. The second boat ramp is found on the west side of the lake via Nerang Murwillumbah Road.

The innovative Hinze Dam Interpretive Centre was also a part of the stage 3 constructions and provides a lot of great information on the facility as well as platforms to view the water and surrounding area and a kiosk to grab some snacks to enjoy.

Since re-opening again in December 2011 the site has become extremely popular with both locals and tourists to the Gold Coast. As more people become aware that the dam is now open again, its popularity is likely to continue to rise.