Wednesday 11 June 2014
BMQ : 99.51%. Gravelly Hills.
Noosa is just overran hour from Nambour by direct two-hourly bus. $11.10. And obviously since you can’t get day tickets, nor discounted returns, this means spending over $22, or about £12, just to get about 30km. That wouldn’t happen in the UK.
According to the Wikitravel website (a very useful site for general feelings, as long as you accept people just write how they feel rather than the facts; there’s very little moderation or peer reviewing), the Greater Brisbane area has the most expensive public transport in Australia and the third most expensive in the world, behind Oslo and London. London also works on the zonage principle, which might mean it’s relatively cheap to get from Heathrow to Upminster, but horrendous to get from Euston to Victoria. One of those two journeys is more common than the other…).
And yes, it does seem weird for my budgeting that I’m spending so long in the most expensive country I’ll be visiting, but that’s by the by. I’m working on the principle that the majority of my time in Indonesia will be very budgetary.
The bus to Noosa went through several hinterland towns, including Eumundi (famous for its bi-weekly markets, which were on and had I been able to get a day ticket and the buses not been every two hours, would have been worth a stop to peruse around) and Cooroy, where it seemed to be ‘scrap collection day’ as every house had a pile of unwanted furniture outside, including old fridges and cupboards.
“Noosa” is made up of several interlinked suburbs; ‘Noosaville’ is a seaside village town centre, ‘Noosa Junction’ is the central business area, whilst ‘Noosa Heads’ is a small coastal resort with cheesy shopping street and beach. It’s also the stopping off point for exploring the headland known as ‘Noosa Spit’, and the Noosa National Park.
(‘Noosa’ itself, by the way, is the name of the local government district –just as there’s no place where I live called ‘Ashfield’ – and the name is one of the many Aboriginal words that have been adopted as placenames, meaning ‘shady place’. Until the last hundred years, the area around Noosa was thickly forested and swampy, and very difficult to get to.)
Despite being the middle of Winter, it was quite bustling. Listening to accents, apart from Australians the most common nationality there seemed to be French – and indeed the lady who served me the Mango/Peanut-Butter smoothie I had from one of the street-side cafes. She was a little surprised by my request, and sampled it to see what such a weird combination would taste like; quite surprisingly agreeable, she felt.
I took a pleasant walk through Noosa Woods up to Noosa Spit, past the ‘doggy beach’ (beach for dogs, not whatever you were thinking) and a free telescope for bird-watching (because most seaside telescopes in the UK would require the inserting of coinage). It being the middle of Winter (a phrase I’m not trying to use in every paragraph, honestly), however, most of the migrational birds were elsewhere in the world. Not that I’d have been able to recognise them anyway. Apparently I can barely tell the difference between a horse and a pony, so what hope do I have with a myriad of small dinosaurs looked at from a long way away. ‘Oh look, that one has wings’.
After wandering along the beach (very soft sand, the occasional bronzed surfer dude) I wandered the other way through Noosa Heads to reach the ‘National Park’. This was set up over the course of the last 100 years to protect the Noosa headland areas from the same kind of development that has occurred in places further South (eg Caloundra). It’s a mixture of woodlands (including some rainforest-type environment) on the hillsides that run down to the coast, and cover quite a wide area (Wikitravel says 4,000 hectares but I can’t visualise in those terns).
There are several different paths you can take through the park, but I chose one that went right through the centre of the park’s woodland and out the other side to Sunshine Beach, probably around 6km maybe in total. Once I left the main car park area I saw virtually nobody along the whole trail – the only sounds to be heard were the weird calls of different birds. Allegedly there are koalas in the woods but I have to say I didn’t manage to spot any. Nor did I see any snakes or spiders, you may be pleased to know. It was very serene; although it was only walking through the woods and that’s something I do a lot of back at home anyway, this felt a little more .. special, maybe because it was much more remote, or maybe because it felt more unusual – the trees just felt bigger and thicker than those back home. I know even less about trees than I do about animals, so I’m not the best person to be commenting on what it was that I was looking at ….
It also at one point rained again, hard but light rain – and it didn’t last too long, plus I was mostly sheltered by the trees. It stayed warm though, so soon dried off = I got wetter walking along the beach at Noosa Spit from the oxean.
Out the other side and I briefly got a little lost trying to find the bus stop back, but fortunately I came upon a bus route running every half hour to Maroochydore; it again took around an hour but this time the bus hugged the coast, going through the legion of Sunshine Coast seaside resorts (Peregian Beach, Coolum Beach, Mudjimba), each one small and self-contained with low-rise housing and small resort complexes. Definitely a place for a relaxing beach holiday rather than an all-night party session.
Met Lisa in Maroochydore, had some ice-cream then went shopping for a long-sleeved jumper-type thing. Successfully, albeit in the women’s section as all the men’s stuff was too ‘fleecy’ and thick-material, and I needed something for warmer weather rather than colder. (Paid by card, didn’t get asked for a PIN, always worries me that sort of thing as it shows how easy and simple it is to buy stuff).
Also have now booked my flight out of here; Darwin airport is open 24/7 so I fly out of Brisbane next Tuesday evening and will get to spend about 8 hours waiting overnight in Darwin airport. I do hope they have Wi-Fi …