Recently, I spent an afternoon getting up close and personal at Noosa Heads, Queensland, Australia
It is a comfortable 2 hour drive there from the capital city Brisbane, but as I was on holiday at Alexandra Headland, it was a mere 40 minutes from my holiday apartment via the somewhat boring Sunshine Motorway/David Low way.
Restaurants, Al-fresco Cafes, boutique shops selling designer clothing and trinkets, line Hastings Street, and sit comfortably between the first class tourist accomodation facilities, including the Sheraton hotel. This all just behind the beautiful white sand beach. I guess this is what draws people here. NO need to travel far for anything you want on a holiday, as everything is within walking distance. Shopping for that little something, essentials, buying food, swimming, surfing, relaxing on the beach and slapping on the sunscreen.
To me, it was all too much, Byron Bay. Too touristy, too many people, and way too many people sitting enjoying a glass of chardonnay while they vent their banal complaints with their family or friends.
Byron Bay used to be a sleepy coastal village, until Paul Hogan and other celebrities, changed its flavour and transformed it to an upmarket expensive beach holiday destination full of boutiques and over priced smoothies and vegetarian food.
Mind you, I did like the looks of this Italian restaurant in Hastings street at Noosa. I think it was the decor that attracted me and that it was also empty of tourists, but no doubt the food is also delicious.
It has been some time since I visited Noosa, due to the fact I prefer quieter beaches and villages, without the myriad of tourists, spending more money than they should on things they don’t really need.
One new addition on Hastings street, which captured my attention, was the Nitrogenie Ice cream parlour, which has six varieties of gourmet ice cream on offer, made while you wait, with liquid nitrogen and fresh ingredients. mmm sounds good….maybe I do have an ice cream ‘gene’ , after all?
The varieties on offer included caramel salty popcorn ( yuk!) and strawberry yoghurt yum (passable) so I chose the latter.
It took about three minutes and I was the last person in the queue, so no one else’s orders were visible. I don’t know how they would cope if they had 10 people waiting to order.
It arrived, it was nice, cold, and definitely strawberry ish, but tasted more like strawberry yoghurt than strawberries themselves.
The price: about the same as a scoop of gelato, or any gourmet ice cream. The gimmick is that you get to watch some dry ice going off, as they make it.
Once again: Too touristy for me.
So if this is your thing: go ahead. The parking here in Noosa, is a nightmare too, so you are warned.
After 1 hour, of walking up and down, I was completely spent, ( in terms of energy rather than money) and headed up to the Noosa national park, 1.5 km away at the end of Hastings street.
This is more my calibre of place.
The weather was still glorious, about 32 degrees celsuis, but as we were on a time limit and had a tweenie with us, (who has been dragged along on too many long walks), we chose to do the 1 km Palm Grove walk rather than the 4km+ circuit.
The path was dry, very dry, and this is no surprise, as the Sunshine coast has had the driest January, on record. Great for going to the beach, and the tan, not so great for the plants, and preventing skin cancer! Even the sphagnum moss and ferns were dry and dehydrated.
Tarzan vines ( Lianas) and Strangler figs predominated as we walked along.
The Strangler fig is interesting as it starts its life in the stomach of a bird, who has ingested the seeds, and is then deposited in the foliage crown of a host tree, via the bowel movements of the bird. The seed is impervious to the digestive processes of the bird. You see this species of fig tree is parasitic, living off the other tree until it has spawned enough roots to feed itself, which can be seen as a curtain of roots dangling down or inching its way off the crown of the tree, slowly extending to the ground. Eventually it surrounds and consumes the entire host tree and the host dies, and rots away, leaving a holjow cavity, which still provides a useful nutrient-rich humus for the strangler fig, which then proceeds to flower and fruit. The birds again eat the fruit, then fly off to begin the cycle all over again.
After about 10 minutes of pleasant almost level walking, we got to the Palm grove, dominated by the Picabeen Palm tree. It also seemed to be home to some scrub turkeys scratching and foraging for their dinner.
Occasionally an old giant tree that had resisted the Strangler invasion was visible from the path.
And at the end of the walk, the reward was a wonderful view of the wide blue yonder… looking out towards the Cooloola national park, further north from Tewantin. As a child, I scampered up those cliffs and brought back buckets of “coloured” sand for crafts. Nowadays, you cannot remove any sand, of course, you can only look with your eyes.
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