As my flight touched down in Brisbane airport, I had a sense of satisfaction. It had completed the circle so to speak. I’d started over a year before on the east coast and from there had explored the length and breadth of Australia. Obviously there were far corners I hadn’t reached but overall I didn’t have too many regrets. I’d travelled many thousands of kilometres across a multitude of different landscapes. I’d experienced all kinds of weather and met all kinds of people.
|The Big Pineapple|
I imagined that after spending a few weeks in southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales my journey would be complete and I’d return to New Zealand. What I didn’t imagine was that years later, I’d still be there and calling Brisbane my home. I simply couldn’t resist the attractive climate and lifestyle of this beautiful part of the country and indeed the world.
My arrival coincided with an invitation from a friend to help housesit for her sister in Coolum. So for two wonderful weeks we had a car to explore the lovely beaches and pretty hinterland areas of the Sunshine Coast. It was nice to warm up again also. After the cool autumnal temperatures of Adelaide, the average temperatures here are in the low 20's and we could swim at the local beach. The other thing I enjoyed here is Mount Coolum (208m) which offers bird’s-eye views of the town and other beaches along the coast.
|Hanging around in the hinterland|
Arguably the best of these beaches is at gorgeous Noosa. The rainforest of the adjacent national park here seems to blend almost seamlessly with the beautiful stretch of sand and the fashionable boulevard of the town. It’s sophisticated and elite but at the same time relaxed and unassuming. I enjoyed the Noosa National Park as much as the beach. It covers the eastern headland that protects the beach and the bushwalks take in great coastal scenery and bays that draw surfers from far and wide.
|Noosa Beach and National Park|
Other beaches are strung along the coast down to the town of Mooloolaba but we were also eager to get inland to enjoy the charming towns and native bush of the hinterland. Our visit to the quaint village of Eumundi was on a Saturday morning so we could experience the market that draws thousands each week. The 300-plus stalls selling a huge variety of arts, crafts, clothing, food and alternative healing products create a relaxed vibe and I would have been happy to stay longer if we didn’t have some bushwalking planned for the afternoon in the rainforest of the nearby Mapleton Falls National Park.