North of Brisbane is the Sunshine Coast, though when I was there it was getting a reputation as the Rain Coast. It had been raining a lot in October, and the wet earth contributed to the devastating flooding a few months later.
But on the day I visited the Sunshine Coast, it was a lovely sunshiny day. My bro and I rented a car and went for an explore up the coast.
There were no specific plans, and our first stop ended up being the seaside town of Coolum. It’s a bit resorty, but Mondays in October were obviously not the busy season.
In fact, it all felt a bit like a beach that under normal circumstance would have been a lush tropical destination, but due to all the other neighbouring lush tropical beaches, it was just another nice beach, having to be content with its ordinary reputation. Well, at least they don’t have to rake the sand for needles.
Thrillingly, a sign by a car park in Coolum warned of it being “swooping bird territory” during “breeding season”, but didn’t actually say when the season was. It was like an avian form of Russian roulette – was it breeding season? Would my head get some unwanted bird love? Visitors were advised to wear a hat or umbrella to help ward off those frisky birdies.
Actually, the different fauna was really interesting. The protected but annoying ibis is the scourge of outdoor cafe seating. Walking along the riverbank I’d see exotic creatures like the Australian water dragon hanging out on the footpath, and the Sunshine Coast introduced me to bush turkey down by the beach.
That bush turkey’s beach was Noosa Heads, which is a lovely tropical beach and/or a vile tourist resort. On one hand, you can enjoy an ice cream down by the beach or browse the local bookshop. On the other hand, you can go to the Hugo Boss shop and buy a suit, because obviously buying a suit is what one goes to a subtropical beach to do.
Ugh. Noosa Heads is a bit rubbish, but that’s its thing. What’s more fun is cruising down the Sunshine Motorway listening to King Kurt’s 1983 psychobilly classic “Destination Zululand“, singing along with half-remembered lyrics distorted by 25 years.
We stopped off at the Buderim Ginger Factory (after previously discovering that it’s not actually located in Buderim) and toured the ginger factory and stocked up on various ginger products (including some marmalade that ended up putting my suitcase 1kg over the weight limit, which I had to pay extra for. Boo.)
And so we returned to Brisbane, passing under Steve Irwin Way and paying respects to the Crocodile Hunter and/or stingrays.
Now, if turns out, I didn’t just have a wee Queensland holiday. I was able to experience some of the best bits of it before they were munted by the floods. The next time I return, it’s going to be to a different state.