Australia - Noosa

Trip Start Dec 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Day 1

With the bus to Noosa at 10am we were up at 7:30, packed and down in reception for 8:45 where we began our wait for the shuttle bus driver who was continuously 'only going to be 5 minutes'. At about 9:10 after yet another query on his whereabouts, we were promptly informed that he was 'in the shower' and would be 'down in a minute' - not impressed! Taking matters into our own hands we asked for the mini bus keys so we could at least open the van and load everyone's bags ready to go. Our driver finally deemed it fit to show his face at 9:20 without so much as an apology, whistled his way to the bus stop and dropped us off...b&@#*rd.

For the first time since we had been using Greyhound we actually had to queue up at the bus station and check in before we could get on the bus - that, and the hostel drivers tardiness, put pay to our plans for a leisurely breakfast before the journey. Instead, Verdi queued with the bags to check in while Andrew dashed to MaccieD's for a take-away breakfast, only for us to be unceremoniously booted off the coach and given '2 minutes' to scoff the food as they 'do not allow hot or greasy food on the coach - it encourages the cockroaches' apparently! What a start to the day.

We used the bus journey as an opportunity to book our accommodation in Noosa (nothing like forward planning!) and our greyhound journey from Noosa to Hervey Bay in time for our trip to Fraser Island. Neither of which proved to be a problem.

The place we booked - Australis Noosa lakes, was actually in Noosaville which is slightly outside the main part of Noosa so the bus driver kindly took us further down the road so we only had about 100 metres to walk with all our bags.

Now it might have become apparent that we are not entirely 'slumming it' like backpackers are expected to do...Australis was no different ( The Noosa Lakes Resort is set on 7 landscaped acres and offers 186 beach house style apartments featuring Noosa's largest pool of the pools was right outside our balcony (PICS).

This wasn't quite as extravagant as it sounds as it was only $72 (29 GBP) a night - bargain!

Not only was the apartment clean, modern and spacious with it's own balcony, en suite and kitchenette area it also had Andrew's one pre-requisite for where ever we were going to stay in Noosa - a TV with Sky sports, so he could attempt (again!) to stay up and watch the Liverpool game. Smiles all round on a choice well made.

With our now customary routine of scouring the leaflets and brochures for the local area completed, we headed out in the late afternoon sun to wander around the nearby harbour. Managing to tear ourselves away from what we were sure would be a 'riveting night' with and Elvis impersonator, we caught the bus to Sunshine beach road in Noosa heads. With most of the shops already closed for the evening (everything is closed on Sunday's) we stocked up with supplies from the supermarket and took shelter from the sudden downpour in one of the only places that WAS Irish bar - typical!

The Irish bar turned out to be an excellent decision as we enjoyed a really big and tasty Tandoori chicken salad (for Verdi) and chilli Nachos (for Andrew) there before jumping in a taxi back to the apartment. All the buses had long since stopped running - apparently they don't run after it goes dark - helpful!

Back at the apartment we decided to make the most of the pool right outside our door and enjoyed an hours night time swim in the empty and secluded lagoon before reading some of our books and settling into bed at 11:00. Andrew didn't manage to stay up for the football at 2:00am! but did set his alarm to wake him up just in time to see Liverpool lose to the scum (Man U) in the 91st minute.

Day 2

Having decided that the best way to see the local area was by car, we arose at 9:00 to ring around car hire companies, finally stumbling on a good deal of $55 a day for a Honda HRV - a sporty 4x4. After collecting the car we returned to the room to enjoy our free inclusive continental breakfast on the balcony.

Driving back towards Noosa heads we passed all the exclusive, upmarket properties on the lakes that sparked envious stares from everyone that passed by, including us. Noosa Heads itself is a much smaller and classier affair than a lot of the previous places we had visited, unfortunately the prices in the boutique shops, cafes and restaurants reflected this. We did however spot a strange creature in one of the more 'novelty' shops - a Verdi-roo (PIC).

A carpark at the end of Hastings street; the main boulevard in Noosa Heads, leads to the Noosa Heads beach via a short walk through overgrown bushland (PICS). The beach was quiet and quite nice but did not inspire us enough to get wet so we continued our drive around the coastline to the Noosa Heads National Park.

The National Park is fairly small but houses two of the more beautiful and secluded beaches in Noosa as you have to walk through the woodland to get to either of them. We only had time to visit one so chose Tea Tree beach - the closer of the two (PIC). We managed to while away a few hours on the beach swimming, reading, sunworshipping and playing frisbee. We were also entertained by the local brush turkey's that were set on excavating peoples belongings while they were in the water in a constant search for food (PIC).

As the sun descended we made our way back through the forest taking in the sunset at breaks in the foliage (PICS)

until we arrived back at the car park to be greeted by a small crowd of people gathered around the bottom of tree with their camera lenses pointed skywards...our first wild koala!! (PICS).

Resigned to the fact that our koala friend was not going to spontaneously climb down out of his tree for a cuddle, we made our way back to the apartment for another swim. Our plans for a BBQ for dinner were scuppered when we discovered that the BBQ had already been disconnected for the evening and would not be available again until 7am - not much use to us. Jacket potatoes and salad would have to suffice.

What was left of the evening was spent showering, doing the laundry and reading before making our way to bed at 11:00.

Day 3

Wanting to make the most of the car rental (and the BBQ) we awoke at 7:30 promptly cooked the sausages ready for a picnic (we were determined to have our BBQ'd snags!) and headed out for the day.

We first drove to Eumundi; renowned for its markets on a Saturday and was Tuesday, so we just kept on driving. Next we drove through Nambour, which again is a pretty but 'blink and you'll miss it' township before finally stopping at Mary Cairncross National Park to take in the stunning views of the Glasshouse Mountains (PIC).

Next stop on the agenda was Mooloolaba as Arran and Lisa, in Sydney, had recommended it to us. The patrolled section of the beach (PIC) and surrounding streets were busy but nothing special (the sea, for the first time in Oz, didn't look clean or enticing), so we decided to only stop for a brief break (and an ice-cream!) before making our way back up the coast to Noosa.

We had originally considered driving up to Rainbow beach (above Noosa) but concluded that, based on the time it had taken us to cover the places we had already visited, it was going to mean another hour-plus drive beyond Noosa, something neither of us fancied. Instead we called in at Sunshine beach in Noosa Heads, which was stunning (PICS), and much more in line with what we had expected and hoped for. In hindsight we would have probably spent the day there instead.

With the sun setting we made our way back to the apartment for another swim and the postponed BBQ.

With the Greyhound to Hervey Bay leaving at 9:35 in the morning, another early night beckoned at 11:00.
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