Straya! The land of kangaroos, unwavering sunshine, beaches made of gold, shrimps being thrown on barbies, and accents like ours but just slightly cooler. To escape the humdrum of a cold and wet England over the Christmas period I jetted off to Australia’s Sunshine Coast; a place that resembles what we think of when we conjure up pictures of Paradise. December saw temperatures soaring up to 30°C and saw me donning the sunnies, an itsy-bitsy yellow polka dot number and posting photos in their bucketloads to make all my shivering Engish pals “well jel.” It also saw me uncovering a land of beach resorts, surf spots and rural hinterland in southern Queensland, in a place that, I believe, truly represents our postcard view of Australia. Here are the best bits:
The Oh, SO Glorious Weather
You might be reading this with a yawn thinking OK come on it’s Australia, of course there’s going to be sun. But boy is this place glorious and totally lives up to its namesake! The Sunshine Coast boasts the kinda climate that slams you in the face when you walk off the plane. It envelops you in that holiday feel from the off, and holds a humidity so fabulous that anything with sleeves is a no-no, wether it be morning, noon or night. Despite mild fluctuations, like any place, the weather remains pretty perfect all year round allowing people to dine alfresco, boat, swim and grab that surf in true Aussie-style. The annual mean temperature sits at 25.2°C which is definitely something to write home about!
Whilst Australia Zoo is tinged with sadness as the known playground of croc hunter Steve Irwin, it’s also a joyous place to tick Australian animals off the bucket list. Recommendation? The croc show! It’s an edge-of-seat, nail biting affair that involves Steve Irwin’s family interacting with crocodiles. Grab a photo with a kangaroo chilling on the grass, hold a koala (they’re super heavy), peer at crocs in their enclosures, get up close and personal with meerkats, monkeys and mammals, and peer into the life of the Irwin’s with lines laden with memorabilia including tear-jerking pictures. A word of wisdom: set aside a day and wear a trusty pair of walking shoes.
I know I said it never rains on the Sunshine Coast, but on one day it did – a little – and when I say rain I mean it was still roasty toasty, but there were patterings. We had a free day; no plans, no beaches to visit and no animals to pet, so at a loss of what to do we decided to take our hire car for a zoom out to Buderim Waterfall. It was sensational. If you’ve never been in a rainforest when it’s raining then you’re missing out, it’s magical, truly magical. Tucked away at the end of a winding forest trail laden with spiders the size of your palms and bird noises akin to the ones you listen to on YouTube when trying to sleep, lies Buderim Waterfall. The 45 hectare secluded oasis, hidden on the northern side of Buderim, is a worthy place to visit for a slice of something unique, a little taste of paradise and for that perfect Insta photo. Make sure you wear walking shoes as you’ll clamber over rocks, down muddy trails and over vines to reach the haven, but boy is it worth the challenge.
Not Much Beats A Beach
Truth be told, I jetted off to Australia primarily to lay on a beach and do absolutely nothing – and there’s no better place to do it. The Sunshine Coast has a number of beaches in its impressive catalogue; from the Esplanade at Mooloolaba (which is a touch tourist central, but fun all the same), to Noosa Heads which is honestly the most beautiful beach I’ve ever set my eyes on, to a beach literally called Sunshine Beach, like something off Mario Kart! These were my three go-tos, but trust me when I say there are plenty more where that came from. For surfing? Get yourself to Noosa National Park not only are the waves mighty fine, but the surrounding area is too, with food that’ll fill any post-surf gap. There’s also Point Cartwright Reserve for a walk with the pooch or a trusty photoshoot – I ended up getting some great shots done with crashing waves in the background and all the other Instagram embellishments we crave. A ton of beaches in Aus have BBQ points where you can throw shrimps and all sorts of other things on for free. Maybe take something along to give them a good scrub down afterwards, but truth be told the council do a mighty fine job too. Wherever the coast takes you, it’s going to be a g’day!
Eumundi Markets are Sunshine Coast famous, and it’s definitely not a trip to this dazzling side of the world without visiting them. The artisan offerings showcase a huge range of stalls with paraphernalia galore. Need a souvenir? Eumundi. Want to try sugar cane juice? Eumundi. Need a shirt with koalas all over it? Eumundi. Want to listen to some didgeridoo or buy a boomerang? Eumundi also! Open every Wednesday and Saturday come rain or shine, I recommend grabbing your hire car and zooming down to the market for 9am. Alternatively, they provide a pick-up service for a little extra cost. As the biggest craft market in all of Australia, you’ll get the chance to chat to farmers and meet the talented hands behind handcrafted furniture, homewares, artworks, ceramics, cutting-edge fashion and jewellery. If you can’t get to Eumundi then Caloundra’s Friday night Twilight Markets are equally as worth a visit.
Food, Glorious Food
Australians are big on healthy eating; after all, I guess they have to keep up their appearances when they spend 90% of time reclining on the beach, summer bods being an all-year-round goal. I noticed a real emphasis on fresh seafood weaving through menus, alongside vegan offerings, poké bowls, and Thai food culture is massive! Restaurants that are a must-visit are as follows: Raw + Rice (for poké), Fish On Parkyn (for fish) and Green Zebra (for modern Australian food).
These Boots Were Made For Walking
The Sunshine Coast offers way more than just a stroll along the beach. You can find picturesque places in their bucketloads, from the 58 kilometre Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk and the 102 kilometre Cooloola Great Walk to the Great Noosa Trail Walk up through the Noosa hinterlands. Taking to the tropics, you can put one foot in front of the other by doing the The Bushwalkers’ Adventure which will see you discovering rainforest riches, or of course the previously mentioned adventure up to Buderim falls.
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