Long Weekend: Noosa

A bright blue sky smiles proudly overhead, caressing my shoulders with its friendly warmth. Cool and crisp saltwater rolls onto the soft white sand pillowing at my bare feet. Eyes closed, I attune my senses to my immediate surrounds, letting the bustle of the city and the week fall away, replacing the chaos with the scent of salt, sunscreen and fresh seafood grilling nearby. While just a short jaunt up the coast from Brisbane, the beachside town of Noosa resets and rejuvenates my mind, allowing me both the pleasure of enjoying sumptuous meals and sidling up close to nature.

Yearning for some winter sun, I’ve escaped the city crowds to get some much-needed warmth by the sea. As I venture up the coast, I realise that I must have been a teenager on my last trip to Noosa. A wave of nostalgia washes over me as I get closer to my destination and I am filled with memories of childhood holidays and daytrips to the beachside town. Having left on a Friday after work, I arrive in the heart of Noosa at Las Rias on Noosa River in the dark. Feeling a little weary from the working week, I long for a hot shower and a comfortable bed to rest, so I head straight in. I am immediately impressed by how spacious and open the apartment is as I open the door. Like little kids scrambling for the best room of a new house, my friend and I race through the apartment with wide eyes, wishing we had brought more friends to share the space with us.

I wake early in the morning to the sun filtering through the shutters, and gentle sound of ebb and flow. Suddenly, I am wide awake, and I jump out of bed eager to find out just how close we are to the water. Peeking through the window, I catch a glimpse of sunlight reflecting off the river – a glittery oasis just steps away. Our ground-floor apartment comes complete with its own private courtyard, which continues straight out onto the sandy shores of the picturesque Noosa River.

There is not a cloud in the sky and, despite my early morning start, the sun is shining bright and warm, making it hard for me to believe it’s actually the middle of winter. A young drake crosses my path, considers me for a moment, and then leads the way down to the water. My feet are tickled by the cool sensation of dew on the grass, which is then contrasted by the warm crunch of sand between my toes. I roll up my pyjama pants and make the decision – even if it is too cold to swim, my feet are going in. The sun beams down on my face and shoulders, a warm blanket against the crisp winter air and cool water lapping at my feet.

Ready for breakfast, we decide to ditch the car and make the most of our time in the sun by walking to the hive of activity on Hastings Street. Once again, my memories take over and lead the way to an old family favourite, Bistro C. Despite the years that have passed since my last visit to the Noosa institution, it feels like only yesterday that I was sitting on the back terrace, watching the waves roll in and begging my dad to let me order the pancakes, just this once. Although my palate has evolved to prefer a savoury start to the day, my morning meal is just as good as I remember.

Agreeing over breakfast that the rest of the day should be spent outdoors in the winter sun, we head over to pocket-sized grocer Belmondos To Go to stock up on a bounty of fresh fruit and snacks for sustenance on our day’s journey. The first stop is a mid-morning dip in the cerulean waters at Little Cove beach. We share the pandanus-palm-lined cove with only a handful of other swimmers, allowing us the freedom to swim and explore the secluded area as we please. A group of rock pools sits snug against the base of the rocky outcrop, and I curiously peer in, eager to discover the wonders that lie beneath the surface of the water. Tiny fish dart between the rocks and dance with the waves that roll calmly in and out.

Post-swim, we make our way up the hill towards Noosa National Park. As we walk along the timber boardwalk trail, Mother Nature gifts us with her beauty, from the ancient trees providing a thick canopy above our heads, to the sudden bursts of sunlight that stream through as we inch closer the shore. The walk is quiet and serene, with only the musical call of the whip birds and occasional shuffle of an unidentified animal in the heath cutting through the silence.

Emerging from the park, the sun is starting to set, painting the sky with shades of crimson and violet. I look up and take in those last rays of sunlight before the temperature starts to drop, thinking that this is exactly what I needed, and already planning my next trip.

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