Waking early and not having too far to drive today meant we could spend a little more time exploring Noosa before we left. There are so many things to do and ways to explore (boat trips, horse riding etc) but we stuck to walking. The coastal boardwalk to Noosa Heads National Park begins at the southern end of the main beach just off Hastings Street. A few people were already on the beach.
You can also drive to the park if you wish but we were trying to keep up some exercise on this long drive. The path is being renovated so there are some diversions and as it was Sunday there were lots of runners. We reached the park and continued along the coastal path. It goes all the way round to Sunshine Beach which takes about four hours, so we just did a small section. The first part looks over Laguna Bay to Cooloola sandmass which has been building up for 500,000 years and is one of the biggest accumulations of wind-blown sand on the Queensland Coast
continuing past the Boiling Pot
until we reached Tea Tree Bay
It was then time to return to the town, leave Noosa and head back to the Pacific Highway which we joined near Cooroy. Before we did this, we visited Noosa Botanic Garden which is on the shores of Lake Macdonald. It is free to visit, owned by the council and much of the work is done by volunteers. 80% of the plants and trees are native. There were also quite a few birds around.
Back on the highway we had a brief rest and cold drink at the Golden Nugget Road House. There are many signs on the highway exhorting you to stop and rest every two hours, but things have got to a new level up here. A sign said that playing trivia could keep you awake. A little further on was the question: What is Rockhampton famous for? We knew the answer: beef cattle. This was on the next sign. The landscape was getting drier and large cattle farms could be seem as well as pineapples and sugar cane. More traffic was heading south than north. At Maryborough we turned off towards Hervey Bay and found a shady corner in their Botanic Garden for lunch. A white ibis came to see us
and there were several turtles sunning themselves on rocks alongside the water.
Finally, we reached the esplanade and our motel. The beach here is sheltered from the ocean by Fraser Island so the sea is very shallow. Today’s mileage was 131 bringing the total so far to 1214 miles and the temperature reached 28 degrees. Tomorrow the car will be going nowhere.
When he heard we were driving to Noosa, our host in the Glass House Mountains advised not to go straight to the southern end of the Sunshine Coast as soon as Steve Irwin Way ended at the Pacific Highway. He advised going north on the highway until Eumundi and exiting there. He said that Eumundi had a market worth seeing, the northern part of the coast was quieter. Also, the coastal road was much closer to the beach there, not obscured by buildings and less busy. As this was a Saturday we took his advice. Eumundi market is billed as Australia’s premier artisan market and held every Wednesday and Saturday with at least 600 stalls. There are artisans stalls, food and drink stalls and live music. Free parking is very well organised.
In the adjacent street are coffee shops and restaurants plus Berkelouw Book Barn which has been in operation since 1812. It is huge and sells both new and secondhand books and a few stationery/gift items. There is an adjacent café. I had to limit myself to one book as I do not wish to emulate having to sort out cases at check-in on the homeward journey. I had once bought so many books in the NW USA and Canada that I had to repack my case and give some to James at Vancouver airport.
Afterwards, the temperature had risen to 26 degrees, warm enough for ice-cream. We had to wait a little as the ice-cream in the van was too cold! Back in the car we drove over to the coast and stopped for a picnic lunch on Castaways Beach. There were only a few dog-walkers and families plus two guys swimming.
As we were about to leave, some guys arrived with a Weimaraner and two small terrier puppies. Our Weimaraner died almost three years ago at the age of 14 and we do miss her. I obliged and took some photos of the guys with all their dogs who were getting a bit fed up of posing. I also dipped my feet into the cold Pacific and could not imagine how anyone could swim in it.
This was definitely the quietest beach as a little further up the coast, Sunshine Beach was much busier and had lifeguards.
We settled into our motel in Noosaville before going over to Noosa Head and the main beach late afternoon.
Hastings Street is the main drag behind the beach with hotels, apartments, boutiques and restaurants. At the south end of the beach is a path to First Point and a boardwalk to the National Park. There is a coastal trail right around the head to Sunshine Beach. James was keen to eat fairly early, so we missed sunset but here is the beach afterwards.
If we wake up early we might walk into the National Park to see if we can spot some koalas before we move on. Today’s mileage was 97 making the total after one week 1086.