Autumn break in Queensland - 10-15 May, 2009

After postponing a holiday to Perth at the end of 2009, we re-scheduled our flights with Tiger Airways to instead take a short break in Queensland in May. An early flight on Sunday 10th May saw us landing at the Sunshine Coast airport shortly after midday. A short taxi ride later and we were checking into our accommodation for the next five nights, The Alexandra Beach Resort at Alexandra Headlands. We were lucky to discover that one of our neighbours in Mentone had a holiday unit here and offered it to us at "mate's rates", so we took up her offer for five nights in the well-furnished studio apartment for just $400. After a quick fish-and-chip lunch, we freshened up and decided to make the most of the perfect Queensland weather with a walk along the beach to Mooloolaba. The town was busy for Mother's Day but it was still easy to find quieter spots to relax. We also took the chance to stock up on some supplies for the week from the Coles supermarket before heading back to the resort for a relaxing night in.

Our studio room with balcony leading straight into the lagoon pool View over the resort gardens from our balcony View over the resort gardens from our balcony

Monday dawned cloudy with a few showers in the offing. We opted to wander in the opposite direction, along the beach towards Maroochydore and the safety of the Sunshine Plaza shopping centre. Lee picked up a new pair of boardies for swimming and we indulged in chocolate heaven at San Churro by way of morning tea. As the rain started to clear, we decided to head back to the resort... and needed to shelter a couple of times along the few kilometre walk to avoid getting soaked. Thankfully, the rain cleared completely shortly after lunch and we strolled back to Mooloolaba. The main strip was much quieter and we managed to catch up with Lee's friend, Tony Lingard, for a few drinks at O'Malley's Irish pub in the evening, before wandering back to the resort (and a splendid feed of local barramundi from the seafood shop nearby).

We awoke on Tuesday to the sound of heavy rain falling into the lagoon pool outside our studio. After a lazy breakfast, the skies began to clear a little and we decided to head out anyway and see how the day turned out. Walking back towards Maroochydore, we wandered on through the beachside suburb of Cotton Tree and on further to Picnic Point. This pretty and tranquil spot was a good place for a rest after what had turned into a lengthy walk as the weather improved. Heading back towards Cotton Tree, we stopped for coffee at the excellent Sister Organic cafe and made it back to the resort around lunchtime. As had become our tradition, we walked into Mooloolaba for a relaxing afternoon and we ended up at the Wharf. This peaceful spot offers good views across the canals to the exclusive island real estate for which the area has become famous. After dreaming of waterfront living for a while, we walked back to our resort, endulged in a hot spa, and enjoyed some good Vietnamese food from Ty's.

A pelican surveys the Maroochy River at Picnic Point Looking back towards Cotton Tree and Mooloolaba from Picnic Point A friendly local at Picnic Point Down at the wharf in Mooloolaba Looking out over island waterfront real estate from the wharf Looking out over island waterfront real estate from the wharf

We decided to go out for the day on Wednesday. The day dawned clear and sunny and we got off to an early start, by jumping onto a local bus (almost at the door of the resort) at about 7.15am heading to Nambour. At Nambour, a quick change saw us on the bus to Eumundi, arriving there by around 8.30am. The small inland town of Eumundi is home to the famous Eumundi Markets which swell the town's small population every Wednesday and Saturday. We enjoyed a good look around the varied market areas until they became very busy with tourists, so about 11.30 we boarded another bus on to Noosa. On a beautiful sunny day like this, Noosa always looks stunning but the town was noticeably quiet for the time of year (though not surprising given its "premium" reputation, meaning very expensive accommodation, restaurants and shops). We had a nice spot of lunch at Aromas on the famous Hastings Street strip in readiness for an afternoon of vigorous walking! We headed for the Noosa National Park, only about 1.5km from Hastings Street, and had a great 10km-or-so walk through the great park as far as Hell's Gates. After another look around town on our return, it was time to catch a bus back from Noosa to Maroochydore, before another short bus ride "home" to Alexandra Headlands after a pretty long but enjoyable day.

The massive Eumundi markets Hell's Gate in the Noosa National Park Looking out over Hell's Gate in the Noosa National Park View from Noosa National Park View from Noosa National Park View from Noosa National Park looking back towards Noosa Heads

Our penultimate day on the coast, Thursday, would be a quiet one after the big day out we had on Wednesday. After a lazy breakfast, we wandered down to Mooloolaba in the glorious morning sunshine bathing the entire Sunshine Coast region. Hitting the beach near the "Loo with a View", we walked right around to the Point Cartwright lighthouse before heading inland slightly to the Mooloolaba Fish Markets where Lee picked up a pile of fresh local prawns to enjoy for lunch. We wandered along the water to the wharf area again, then back to our resort for lunch (so a prawn bonanzo for Lee). After all that walking, a nice hot spa was in order, before we headed back to Mooloolaba to soak up some sun on the beach and partake of more excellent coffee. As the sun started to set in the late afternoon, we happened across the Thai Street restaurant and had an enjoyable take-away meal from there before retiring for an early night.

Looking out over Mooloolaba from Alexandra Headlands Looking out over Mooloolaba from Alexandra Headlands Looking to the Mooloolaba esplanade from near Point Cartwright lighthouse Looking to the Mooloolaba esplanade from near Point Cartwright lighthouse Mooloolaba harbour Mooloolaba harbour

After a leisurely start on Friday, we checked out of the Alexandra Beach Resort and caught a taxi (a Toyota Prius, believe it or not!) back out to the Sunshine Coast airport. Leaving Queensland at just before 11am, we arrived back in Melbourne just after 1pm and cruised home, feeling revitalized after a relaxing short break in the Northern sun.