Saturday, 5 October 2013

Noosa

For the first part of our September school holidays we spent 4 days in Noosa, Queensland. Noosa is an easy hour and a half drive north of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast. We started our journey by waking up at 3:45 am in order to arrive for our 7 am flight from Melbourne with Virgin Australia. We arrived in Brisbane at 9:15 am, picked up our rental car (a Toyota Yaris, which Andy hates and has made us miss our little Fiesta!) and drove up the coast.

We arrived in Noosa around lunchtime and spent some time in Noosa Junction looking around at the shops as we couldn't check in to our airbnb accommodation until 2 pm. We've booked all our accommodation for this trip through airbnb, which in my opinion is the most fantastic travel website ever. People rent out spare rooms in their house (or even whole houses and apartments) to travelers for a fraction of the cost of a hotel, plus you get the added benefit of staying with locals who can give you tips on where to go, what to do, and it's just generally nice to meet new people. When we first arrived in Melbourne we stayed with a girl called April through airbnb, who is now a good friend of ours.

Anyway, our airbnb place in Noosa was pretty special. In fact, we decided to spend an extra day in Noosa than originally planned purely because I liked the look of this accommodation. We stayed with a couple called Amy and Andrew, who have 2 kids aged 15 and 7. Their 'spare room' is actually a separate tree-house style room that has 360 degree glass windows and a view overlooking the national park. We saw some amazing sunsets and woke up every morning at 6 am to bright, beautiful sunrises.
Tree-house accommodation
Our outdoor bathroom
Amy and Andrew run a well-being business, teaching yoga and offering alternative therapies like massage. So the first thing we did was get a Hawaiian style massage each from Andrew, which was one of the best massages of my life! My back has felt so much better over the last week, I am determined to start getting regular, monthly massages in Melbourne.

One of many gorgeous sunsets



Waking up at 6 am on holiday might seem like torture to some people, but I loved it! We slept so well in the Tree-house waking up at this time was not nearly as hard as it is when we have to get up for work, and it meant we could do cool things like whale watch! Yes, it is whale migration season and it is quite common to see humpback whales off the coast at this time of year. The first morning we went to get an early morning coffee and drank it at a lookout and almost immediately saw some whales in the distance. You could see them breathing, water sprouting out of their blowholes, and slapping their tails onto the water.

Looking out over Sunrise Beach, where we saw whales for the first time

We got in a surf lesson with Andrew on that first morning as well. Noosa is the perfect place to learn to surf. Nice, easy 1-2 foot waves that are fairly consistent and not far off the beach, so you don't have to expend too much energy getting out each time. I absolutely loved it and can't wait to try surfing again. I had a nice long 8 foot foam board that I managed to stand up on a few times (stand up quite awkwardly I noticed after in some pictures Andrew took!) Andy was less enthused - I think being so tall it is harder to balance - but has agreed to give it another go. We have some friends that surf quite regularly along the Great Ocean Road which we could join, although this time of the year the water is still pretty freezing in southern Australia!

Andy looking good!
Need a bit of work on my posture!

There were two teachers from my school who were also on holiday in Noosa so we managed to meet up with them for dinner for a few nights. We had some excellent meals, as has become standard for us here in Australia. It is hard to find a place that serves sub-standard food anywhere we have been (although you do pay for it!). Season was a great restaurant right on the beach in Noosa Heads where we had lunch, Thomas Corner Eatery in Noosaville was also excellent and served fresh, local produce and seafood. Little Cove Coffee roasts their own coffee which is the best coffee Andy reckons he has ever had, helped by the fact that they are all double shots. Andy has become quite the coffee snob since we moved to Melbourne. Quite different to the coffee-hater I met in London 5 years ago!



Highlight of the trip for us was on the last day. We woke up early so we could walk through the National Park to Alexandria Bay and along the coast. At Hell's Gate we stopped and looked for whales, at first not seeing much. However our patience was rewarded, as after about half an hour of waiting we saw two whales in the distance, what looked like a mum and her baby calf, breaching simultaneously over and over. One of the most amazing sights I have ever seen. A local was watching with us, who seemed just as excited as we were each time the whale came out of the water.

Alexandria Bay

Alexandria Bay from Hell's Gate

Walking through National Park

Looking down from Hell's Gate

After three nights we sadly left Noosa and drove back to Brisbane, where we stayed for the weekend. Stay tuned!



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