Monthly Archives: September 2016

Micky doubles up with gyms

Time is running out for those looking to get fit quick ahead of summer, but thanks to an expansion project from Micky’s fitness in Research, Warrandytians won’t be short of venues to do a class or crunch some iron in.

Micky White and his wife Kate, owners of the popular Micky’s Fitness in Candlebark Court, Research, have recently opened up a gym just down the road at another bigger venue delivering even more opportunities to get yourself in tip-top shape.

Offering select classes in boxing, training fighters, a core and abs program, the new space at 5/1637 Main Rd, Research, will allow gym users to make the most of their Micky’s membership.

This will come as welcome news to Warrandyte locals, who already make up a decent percentage of the gym’s existing clientele.

“What inspired it was a lot to do with the space at the other gym, it was getting a little bit cramped. We wanted to create a better environment, more space but also to be able to include a lot more equipment and a bit more variety to the great classes that we already run,” Micky said.

New areas need new staff and Micky and Kate took no time in securing a professional boxing coach Rod Tanner to help run the new boxing program and give customers extra support in the ring.

The gym also contains a health bar, which provides gym goers with an easy opportunity to supplement their exercise with the right foods.

“The benefit of having a health bar in the gym is that it’s convenient for members and also the staff as well. It’s an added service, rather than have to head down to the shops to pick up their healthy food, people can grab it while they’re at training.”

The expansion is the first of many in the couple’s goal for the business, which involves establishing a double digit number of gyms over a period of time. “The ultimate goal is to have 10 gyms in 10 years and we want to keep the core of our business. So we are just going to keep building on what we are doing, obviously we will change and adapt what we are doing along the way, because any business knows there is room for improvement,” Micky said.

Even though the chain is growing, Micky and Kate are by no means moving away from their personalised style and will continue to ensure members receive the best possible experience.

“The great advantage of having a more personalised gym is just the community feel that we create, a lot of the big gyms and you’re just a nomad. A lot of gyms they’re not bothered, once they’ve got you in the door, you’re forgotten about. We really take care and pride in looking after the members to the best of our ability, remembering their names and actually getting to know them.”

For more information visit mickysfitness.com and find Micky’s Fitness on Facebook.

Gold adventures

What to do when the school holidays arrive and winter has the whole family shivering in its collective boots?

You head north, hit the east coast and soak up the sun in between theme parks, that’s what. But it’s not for the faint-hearted.

A Gold Coast adventure with theme parks on the agenda in a Griswald-style escape may be an oldie, but it’s certainly a goodie and the perfect way to elude the Victorian winter chill for a week or so. With five kids – aged 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 – stacked into a people mover, the good news is cabin fever only lasts in small doses, especially if you prepare, book and deliver properly, so the “are we there yets” are few and far between. This is how we did it…

First on the list is book flights and accommodation early. For a party of seven you’re crazy if you don’t, and one of the first things you should do is be registered for updates from low cost carriers Tiger, Jetstar and Virgin. Tiger was the winner for us as we got in early and managed to snag seven return airfares for under $1200. Next on the list was self-contained accommodation and the ultimate scenario was to have a venue right smack bang near all the action – in Helensvale – so a three bedroom cabin was locked and loaded at Gold Coast Holiday Park, but more about that later. For more visit Tiger Airways, Jetstar and Virgin websites to sign up to newsletters.

Book a people mover at DriveNow for the best deal. Yep, you can’t go past this website which is akin to Wotif in the world of car hire, and we bagged a big Hyundai Imax, an eight-seater, plenty of room for suitcases, aircon and auto for less than a grand for 10 days! The process is simple in that you search for people movers in desired location and eight or 10 options pop up with the best deals. We had wheels and there was a party going on in the cabin above them! A great website that’s easy to navigate, book quickly and be all sorted for transport while away. More drivenow.com.au

Gold Coast Holiday Park, a big kick-arse cabin with the works. You can either shell out and get a fancy hotel on the Goldie or you can lower your sights and get a home away from home in a more down to earth location like a modern caravan park – which are like mini resorts these days. GCHP is not just any holiday park, but a Big 4 holiday park and anyone who has stayed at one knows exactly what I mean: they’re the upper echelon for raising the bar in facilities and standards. Aside from a superb spacious cabin, with kitchenette, bunk beds, great lounge area and widescreen TV was the fact Gold Coast Holiday Park is an entertainment hub in its own right with an amazing pool and waterslide adjoining Nibbles Cafe, an upmarket camp kitchen, bike track, tennis court, outdoor cinema and loads more. But the piece de resistance? It’s literally five minutes by car to Movieworld or 10-15 minutes to Dreamworld! All the kids admitted a holiday spent entirely at this great park would be worth the trip to the Gold Coast alone. More goldcoast holidaypark.com.au

Brace yourself for the rides of your life. The instructions were clear from the kids: leave your fear of heights back in Victoria and strap yourself in. The best thing about staying at Gold Coast Holiday Park is they can offer the best multiple park ticket deals going – a must if you want to save some serious dollars. So with our stomachs flipped upside down, sideways and round and round multiple times over the next few days what were the highlights? The kids voted Dreamworld and Movieworld and their accompanying water parks as the best for all the action. Here are some rides that rattled our bones and insides: The Giant Drop, Wipeout, Shockwave, Superman ride, Scooby Doo Spooky rollercoaster, Arkham Asylum, the Batwing, and the Tower of Terror. Speaking of which, see inset for how we grown-ups were processing the Superman ride while our two blonde teenagers in front of us were already looking for something more dangerous! Of course, there’s plenty more features to explore and absorb, including a tiger cub being walked around the grounds at Dreamworld which is a cute surprise. More movieworld.com.au and dream world.com.au

The NightQuarter night markets in Helensvale are unmissable. When you’re not kicking back in the great facilities at Gold Coast Holiday Park or going nuts in the theme parks, this market experience is an absolute treat for both grown-ups and the kids. A hive of activity, there are more than 120 food trucks/stalls, micro-restaurants, bars, craftspeo- ple, musicians and other quirky points of interest in a real carnival atmosphere. Otherwise known as “shipping container city”, the concept is catching on all over Australia. The food is everything from tapas, oysters, BBQ ribs and Asian choices to cronuts, chocolate fountains, amazing icecreams and more. More nightquarter.com.au

Under 15’s bag flag

Warrandyte Junior Football Club experienced an emotional day at Victoria Park in Kew last month with one out of two teams tasting victory in their respective Grand Finals.

The U15s side put on a masterclass to defeat Macleod comfortably by 44 points, but the U14s were left heart- broken after falling to Banyule by a solitary point in the final minute.

A hefty crowd of red and white were present to watch the young Bloods go into battle, kicked off by the Under 14s side.

Warrandyte got off to the best possible start, kicking a goal within 10 seconds of the first bounce. Slightly scrappy play ensued from then on, but the Bloods were able to hold steady and take a seven-point lead into the first change.

Banyule was sharper throughout the second term, but the Bloods found some spark with a high mark and goal to star player Chase Wallace. Brady Poole kicked a much needed steadier right before half- time to keep Warrandyte close, trailing by just a point.

Whatever was said at halftime to the Warrandyte forwards obviously had effect, because the Bloods rattled off two quick re goals right after the long break to regain control of the game.

Wallace continued to put on a show and Warrandyte looked in the box seat with a 15-point lead going into the final term.

What followed was one of the most frantic quarters of football of the season.

Banyule hit back to draw the margin to within a goal with just six minutes to play, before eventually wrestling the lead back with just three minutes on the clock. Warrandyte was unable to muster a clearcut chance and despite playing a terrific game fell agonizingly close, losing 9.8.62 to 10.3.63.

Thankfully for Bloods fans, the Under 15s side was able to record a terrific victory in their Grand Final to bring home silverware for the club.

Jack Boyd was the star of the show kicking five goals to lead the attack. Boyd was ably supported by Leo Garrick in the middle, while Lachie O’Reilly and Sam Martini were defensively sound and hard at it when it counted.

Most impressive was the professionalism and brilliant mental performance from the outfit, keeping their cool throughout in the 12.11.83 to 6.3.39 victory.

“We trained well, we kept our emotions in check, we didn’t get ahead of ourselves. We had some assistance from the Colts during the week, we understood how they (Macleod) play and we executed perfectly,” coach Eugene Hansen told the Diary. The Bloods broke Macleod down by the 15-minute mark of the rst term and from then on continued to put in a full four-quarter performance. All players were contributors, some kicked flashy goals, while others performed crucial one percenters to ensure Warrandyte was out on top when the siren sounded.

“Everyone had an equal opportunity and everyone contributed, and some of the boys probably played 15-20 percent above their usual level. Typical of that was probably Thomas Mckenzie who kicked a goal up forward, he’s not renowned for kicking goals and the celebration after that was amazing,” Hansen said.

Equally as impressive was the turnout from the Warrandyte faithful to support both sides, with Hansen noting a historical significance to the crowd that others may have missed.

“It was fantastic to see life members from the footy club there, I think around 30 years ago I was involved with winning a flag at the same age group and maybe eight or nine of that premiership side came down to watch,” Hansen said.

For both sides, making the final alone was a tremendous achievement and it seems Warrandyte Football Club has some stars in the making over the coming years.

Grand’s spooky secrets

Through fire and flood, our local has survived it all … even a spooky visitor or two, as SAMMI TAYLOR discovers.

The Grand Hotel Warrandyte is the beating heart of Yarra Street. It’s been Warrandyte’s community hub for over a century and has welcomed everyone through its doors. People have lived within its walls, shared lasting memories with their family and friends in the function rooms and dining halls. In the past, in times of fire or flood, it was a safe place and refuge for those who needed it most. Now, it’s a culinary hotspot and lively public bar…with layer after layer of rich history to peel back and peek into.

Our local pub has 120 years of history to explore, from natural disasters to renovations and para- normal experiences. It’s been the centre point for tragedy and celebration, and might just be home to a ghost or two.

The Grand Hotel Warrandyte was built in 1895 on the former site of the Andersons Creek Hotel, which burned to the ground in one of the many res the town would see in the following century.

The building is now over 120 years old and has been lovingly cared for and tended to by general manager Peter Appleby and his staff since they took the reins four years ago.

“We put a bit of love back into the place, just where it was lacking a little bit. We tidied it up and got the beauty back, how the grand old girl should look,” Peter says.

And boy, does it look beautiful now. Red earth toned carpet and the polished wooden bar give the Bistro area a stylish feel, with plenty of big windows and natural light streaming in during the spring and summer months. The building stands tall on Yarra Street and is lit up at night, with dinner-goers and evening drinkers filling the dining room, public bar and upstairs balcony every weekend.

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The Grand Hotel has stood the test of time.

After the Andersons Creek Hotel burned down in the late 1800s, and the Warrandyte Hotel just down the road perished in a 1920s fire, The Grand Hotel is the last one standing and has seen tragedy come and go from Warrandyte all too frequently.

“There were floods back in 1931, the Black Friday fires in 1939, there were fires in the 50s and 60s…she survived all that and stood the test of time. She really is a grand old girl,” Pete says.

The pub has even survived a blaze within it’s own walls, after a small fire broke out in early 2015. Thanks to the quick attendance and action of local fire fighters, it caused minor damage and the pub again lives to tell the tale. “We’re strong believers that the pub should be the hub of the town, the hub of the community. In tragic times, everybody flocked to the pub. It’s a place of refuge, even during fire and flood. That’s what the pub has to do for the town, for the community, it has to be there standing for everyone,” Pete says.

The Grand Hotel has changed over its 120-year tenure, with renovations and numerous licks of paint. Up until the late 20th century, the upstairs rooms were lodging halls for tenants to stay over night. People visited Warrandyte from inner-city Melbourne and country Victoria, from interstate and even overseas. Some made the hotel their home for the night, others stayed for prolonged periods of time. It is the home of many fond memories for many Warrandyte residents.

And there are so many stories to tell—both from the horse’s mouth and stories that have been passed down through friends and family members that remember the pub from decades ago.

Past owners can recount the weird and wonderful characters that lodged in the rooms upstairs in the 1950s and share stories of playing cricket and football on Yarra Street, back when it was bare and without traffic. It was quieter back then, but the pub was still the centre of the community and a meeting point for all.

Pete has his own memories of the pub from when he was a teenager. His first ever pub job was at the Grand Hotel Warrandyte when he was 17. Now, as general manager for four years, he has an even deeper connection to the establishment.

“I had a great time growing up in Warrandyte, it was fantastic. I went to school here and made some life long friends. Great town back then and still a great town now. My first ever pub job was here when I was 17… how the wheel turns.”

Nowadays, the pub is expanding and changing in new and exciting ways. Food has become a focus for the Grand Hotel, which now boasts an extensive menu of great taste and fresh cuisine. They’ve even won an accolade for Best Parma in Victoria.

But Pete says it’s the people that make the pub, and interacting with his customers is his biggest delight.

“At the public bar, you’ve got everybody ranging from 18 year olds to 70 year olds. It’s a great mix and there’s no animosity between the young upstarts and the older guys, everybody gets along and has a chat.”

“I love chatting and meeting people and interacting, that’s what I get my satisfaction from. It’s a great part of my job cause every day is different, not one day is the same. Happy faces, happy customers.”

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A SPOOKY SPIRIT OR TWO

With rich layers of history comes some seriously interesting and unique stories, and the pub has a ripper.

In the 1930s, when a person had drowned in the river, their body would be brought into the upstairs rooms at the Grand Hotel where it would wait until the coroner could make the trip out from Melbourne. While we’re unsure of how often this occurred or just how many bodies were in limbo at the pub, there’s a chance it’s still having lasting – and haunting – effects now.

“We have a bit of paranormal activity going on here,” Pete told the Diary.

“We took over (the business) nearly four years ago and we got straight into renovating and tidying up, but we’re told that spirits don’t like change. We’ve seen a bit of movement going on, things moving around … one of my chef’s has had a physical encounter with a spirit. We’ve seen shadows and heard footsteps, there’s been knocks on the door and nobody’s there…”

Pete’s office is located upstairs and – as spooky coincidence would have it – within the quarters of the old room 13, where the bodies were kept.

“There’s every possibility someone that may have drowned might still be floating around here. It’s all good though, they’re not nasty or anything, the spirits. They seem friendly,” Pete says with a chuckle.

We might get to know more about Warrandyte’s resident Casper the friendly ghost soon, as the Grand Hotel staff have enlist- ed the support of some local paranormal investigators who plan on communicating with the spirits.

“It’s really fascinating stuff and I’d love to follow it through and see who’s here,” Pete says.

“The history is a great thing and we’re right in touch with all of that.”

We’ll be following this story in the coming months at the Diary. If you have memories of the pub you’d like to share, or stories of your own Warrandyte paranormal encounters, we’d love to hear them. Send an email to info@warrandytediary.com.au or let us know on Facebook.

Road to frustration

Road works, road jams and road rage seems to be running rife as traffic congestion issues continue in the heart of Warrandyte, north and south.

Among proposed bridge works, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are now having to deal with road works, sewerage works and power lines going underground in what has become a mighty mess for locals wanting to get anywhere in a hurry.

Meanwhile, as the Diary goes to press, James Lindsay, communications and stakeholder relations officer at VicRoads, advises VicRoads is organising an online survey to gather additional feedback on the bridge upgrade, in particular the T intersection north of the bridge.

When this survey is online, they will be advertising it on social media, the web page and will send emails to those who registered their interest previously.

Recently locals were given a chance to give feedback at the VicRoads website – while comments are now closed, you can read the feedback here vicroads.mysocialpinpoint. com/warrandyte#/marker/20819

Among many comments by local residents, here is a selection:

  • “We desperately need a zebra crossing from the river to the group of shops in Yarra St (just after the bridge near the toilets). People drive over the bridge and through the roundabout too quickly – Someone will be run over one day.”
  • “Bus interchange needs to be moved (right near the bridge). Sometimes 2-3 buses arrive and they block the roundabout in peak hour, meaning zero traffic flow in any direction.”
  • “It regularly takes me over 15 minutes to travel 1km, all due to the bottleneck at research road and the bridge. We need another crossing at the end of Bradley’s Lane.”
  • “The queue at morning rush hour trying to cross the bridge from north to south can take 30 minutes – etiquette system means those turning R from R-W Rd are turning illegally into KG Rd traffic.”
  • “Expanding bridge will not solve traffic congestion or help in a fire. Maybe a blue lane out of Warrandyte that is active in fire time. Upgrading the bridge will encourage idiots to stay to fight fires.”
  • “Will the foot bridge be completed before the bridge widening, I walk my dogs across the bridge frequently and would like this to remain possible during construction.”
  • The bridge is not the problem. Traffic coming from the township side of the road is terrible and banks back 1km to 2 km at peak hour which limits the traffic flow off the bridge at the roundabout.”
  • “Do not widen the bridge. This will only cause further congestion on the Ringwood-Warrandyte Road. Another separate bridge needs to be built across the Yarra river at Wonga Park or further out.”
  • “Traffic using Warrandyte Bridge in peak hour is not just local traffic – an additional bridge must be put in to deal with the volume which is only going to grow with further development.”
  • “I am not a truck driver but see truck traffic increasing on this road every year. Need to look at what is creating this and work to resolve it – not make it easier and quicker for more trucks!”