Lazing at the beach

Trip Start Feb 17, 2005
Trip End Feb 27, 2006

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Flag of Australia  ,
Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I'd heard good things about Noosa, 2 hours north of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast, and I was looking forward to a relaxing few days. Unfortunately, I had to endure Daddy Day Care on the bus journey, an Eddie Murphy 'classic' that the driver played at full blast. Still, it was only a brief ride by Australia's standards, and we soon arrived at the upmarket beach resort that was to be my base for 4 nights.

I checked into the YHA hostel that looked first class, with lots of common areas and a huge verandah. You usually know what a hostel is like as soon as you arrive, and my gut feeling said that this was a great place. The fact that there was a welcome meeting for new arrivals at 5.30pm confirmed this, with the option of a free glass of wine too!

We all had to introduce ourselves and say where we'd travelled, and there were looks of surprise when I said I'd flown over just for the Oasis gig! There were only half a dozen others, but I got talking to a couple of girls afterwards as I was interested in their take on Fraser Island. One of the girls, Jeli from Chester, was going to New Zealand before Christmas and wanted some ideas about things to do. I was happy to oblige, and we talked about it up on the verandah as a huge storm erupted over Noosa. We were treated to a spectacular light show, with nearly 3000 bolts of lightening recorded in a matter of hours apparently.

Thankfully, the rain had passed over by the time I woke up the next morning, so I could hit the beach and do a bit of sunbathing. It was nice to be out of the city, and my first impressions were that Noosa was very similar to Mount Maunganui - always a good thing. Certainly the beaches were just as golden, and I spent a couple of hours listening to my music, watching the (scantily clad) world go by.

Right next to Noosa is the small but lovely Noosa National Park that has walkways all along the coast and through the bush. I wanted to take advantage of the weather, so I spent the afternoon walking through scenery that is reminiscent of the Abel Tasman. In fact, I almost forgot that I was in Australia until I heard a rustling in the bush, looking to find a 3 foot lizard staring right back at me! It startled me initially, but I ambled off the track to get a closer look, at which point the reptile froze and hid behind a tree, thwarting my attempts to get a good picture!

Undeterred, I continued walking, passing the peaceful Tea Tree and Granite Bays. It did dawn on me that there were probably snakes in the vicinity, and I got a bit twitchy whenever I heard a noise in the bushes! However, I made it round to the sweeping beach of Alexandria Bay without more unexpected encounters...although that was about to change!

My biggest surprise came when I was walking along the track just behind the beach, for a couple of naked sunbathers were obstructing my intended route. I later discovered that this was an "informal nudist beach," although I had no intentions of joining in the fun. Instead I continued walking, trying my best to look in the opposite direction whilst maintaining a relaxed demeanour - I think I just about succeeded!

I walked back to Noosa via a different route, occasionally stopping at a beach for a breather. For some reason, there were lots of turkeys (that's right, turkeys) walking around, pestering people for food. I found it quite amusing when one guy went for a swim in the sea, leaving his clothes in a pile on the sand. Of course, the turkey wasted no time and was soon purposefully scratching away at the clothes in the quest for something to eat. Very bizarre.

I spent the evening talking to Jeli, who returned the favour and gave me some tips on things to do in Singapore. I also read her guide book that included 25 must do attractions - one of which was to visit a housing estate! I can't say that this is top of my agenda, but Jeli recommended the night safari and of course I want to see the pink dolphins.

YHAs have a reputation for being a bit strict on the old rules, and I was surprised when all the lights went off downstairs at 11pm - bed time! Luckily you could retreat to the verandah, and this 'curfew' meant that it was quiet at night, deterring the serial party goers that are commonplace on the east coast.

I'd actually noticed the difference between backpackers in this part of Australia, and backpackers in New Zealand. Obviously there are exceptions, but on the whole there are less independant travellers over in Oz, and more groups of lads with meticulously styled hair (and sunglasses placed 'stylishly' on top of their heads). In short, there are more poseurs, and New Zealand is definitely more my kind of thing...long term anyway.

Nothing dramatic happened in the next couple of days, and I enjoyed plenty of beach time. It was precisely what I'd hoped to do, and the weather was certainly kind with the temperature in the late 20s. I'd usually have a couple of hours in the morning, return to the hostel at lunch, then go back to the beach in the afternoon. It was just like being in Majorca or the Canary Islands!

Jeli and me made our own entertainment in the evenings, playing a word game that involved 8 dice with letters on them instead of numbers. There were no instructions, so we just played our own version, throwing the dice then having to make as long a word as possible. Despite having a Degree in English Language and Linguistics, I lost on successive nights, although I usually ended up with Y's and U's, while Jeli would invariably get T's and A's! It was very pleasant sitting on the verandah, playing games, and not having much to worry about...and I still had lots to look forward to when I returned to Brisbane.

I had a couple of red patches near my armpits where I'd forgotten to put suncream on, as well as a blister or two from walking in my new jandals, but it was hardly major. In fact, the whole trip had been a success, and I felt suitably refreshed as I returned to the city to meet Donna...

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