It was a despicable morning. The air was cold with drizzle and the sky an unwelcoming grey. It was the type of morning that you could hide beneath your bed covers without an ounce of guilt. But as cruel fate would have it we found ourselves cooking breakfast in an underground supermarket car park, surrounded by a makeshift washing line as we attempted to dry our sodden clothes.
Having spent the last 24 hours fleeing south from a miserable bout of weather, there was nothing to do but continue on our route towards the sunshine coast and hope, with earnest, that it at least lived up to its name.
The drive took us through parts of Australia’s agricultural and industrial heartland, passing the farming town of Bundaberg and the busy port of Gladstone. It wasn’t a particularly picturesque drive, which is rare for Australia’s Eastern coastline, but we did unearth one absolute gem along the way.
MollyDookers Cafe appeared from nowhere along a quiet and unremarkable stretch of the Bruce Highway, just outside the farming town of Childers. Having not had chance to restock our camping fridge we made the decision to stop for lunch. From the outside it didn’t look particularly enticing but with limited options we decided to check it out. What we found was an incredibly modern and forward thinking cafe which wouldn’t look out of place down an alleyway in Melbourne. It served a host of traditional Canadian Poutine’s, gourmet Pizza’s and fresh salads which set us up for the final leg of our trip to the coast.
It wasn’t until we passed Gympie and were in spitting distance of the coast, that we saw the first hint of parting clouds. The ever illusive blue sky slowly clawed through its thick fluffy blanket and bathed us in its warm sunlight. As we cruised in to Noosa, our first stop on the sunshine coast, we were both immediately rejuvenated, re-energised and ready to explore.
Unlike our experiences up in North Queensland we were now finding it difficult to locate any cheap, cheerful or free campsites in the area with it being a popular holiday destination. But we did find a beautiful site in Tewantin just North of Noosa where we set up camp for a couple of days.
In comparison to our previous camp-spots this was a real treat, the site had a pool, games room and incredibly clean bathroom facilities. We found our spot right at the back of the site just by the creek and a great little outdoor kitchen. In comparison to the other plots around us we must have looked like camping paupers. We were surrounded by huge caravans, some bigger then our houses back home, which had clearly been set up for the summer. It created a little village within the campsite where everyone new their neighbours and manufactured a really friendly atmosphere. Unfortunately no one would dare associate with the riff-raff in the little van by the creek.
I’m not sure if it was merely the lack of rain, or the welcome presence of a warm sun, but Noosa had us encapsulated straight away. Our drive in to the centre from the campsite took us along the quiet waterfront of Noosaville and then across the bridge in to Noosa Heads. Here, fantastic houses backing on to gleaming waterways wound through the town. I imagined a life in which I could nip to the shops on my paddle board and added this to the dream bank.
We spent our fist afternoon in Noosa wandering down Hastings street, Noosa’s main vein. It had an incredibly stylish European feel with nice restaurants and fashion boutiques. Even the cafe’s and bars had a distinctive European look, with the pavements lined with tables facing out on to the street. We picked a bar which had a soulful acoustic guitarist and sat by the pavement drinking beer as the soft twang of his strings ushered in the sunset. After a few days cooped up in the camper, a warm evening accompanied by a gentle sea breeze gave us everything we wanted.
We started the next day with a walk along the Noosa Heads Coastal Track. The scenic stroll passes over several scenic headlands and through Noosa’s beautiful National Park. Following our little map we rocked up at Noosa’s Main beach with coffee’s in hand and began the 6.8km walk to Sunshine Beach.
Leaving the soft sand we headed up the inclining path which gives great views back across the shoreline. From here it was only a short walk around the point to Little Cove where we watched the surfers crowding the quiet bay, all waiting for that perfect ride back to shore.
The path meanders through a series of quaint beaches with delicate names like ‘Tea Tree Bay’ and ‘Dolphin Bay’. At times the path skirts the ocean before climbing higher along shaded paths covered by thick, overhanging trees. Emerging out to the clifftops we were treated to more spectacular views back over the peninsular.
Strolling along the clifftops it’s hard not to be impressed by the power of nature. At the aptly named ‘Hell’s Gates’ we clambered across loose rocks to watch the waves charge ferociously in to an inlet far below us. It was a beautiful spot to watch and appreciate the power of the ocean.
From Hell’s Gates we got our first glimpse of Alexandra Bay, a wild and endless stretch of sand which arced off in to the distance. It was a steep descent down to the beach, but once there we could spend this section of the walk with our toes in the ocean as we swept across the sand towards the final piece of headland. The path then ascended quickly and crossed over rough ground as we passed the hidden ‘Devil’s Kitchen’ beach below. As the thick bush dissipates at the peak of the sweaty climb we were treated to the finest view of Sunshine Beach which appeared way below us.
The climb down to on to the sand is a little precarious, but that’s mainly because we were taking in the view rather than watching our step. The final leg of the walk is a lazy stroll which takes you along sunshine beach, ending at the lifeguard tower. From here you are a stones throw from the little town centre where we treated ourselves to a beer, crowning off an enjoyable morning.
We caught the 627 bus back to Noosa’s Main Beach and parked ourselves on the sand for the afternoon. As we waded in to the cool water we were treated to a Pod of four Whales about 200m off the beach. It was a fantastic sight to watch them breach the water so close to the shore. The whole beach stood up to watch and admire as they crossed the peninsular and disappeared out of sight.
As the sun set we headed down to Noosaville for an evening stroll along the waterways. This quaint suburb of Noosa is much older and has maintained its maritime traditions. Along a quiet shoreline the luscious green grass leads out to old wooden jetty’s where boats float calmly in the evening breeze. We sat for a while as the sun set behind the everglades in the distance. It was quiet but for the sound of birds and the excited laughter of a small boy fishing of the shore with his father.
Day 5-8 – 505km
Highlights – Noosa Coastal Walk, Noosaville Waterfront, Noosa’s Main Beach, Sunshine Beach.
Where to Eat – Maisie’s Seafood and Steakhouse
Where to stay – Noosa Caravan Park