It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race of day-to-day life, particularly in a capital city.
Shower, breakfast, work, exercise, dinner, TV, sleep and do it all again. And again and again and again.
Everyone around you is programmed the same way, too. They pace the streets in the CBD on their lunch breaks, minds racing, eyes fixed on their phone or on the pavement, ignoring their fellow citizens as if they’re not there.
Somehow, despite my full awareness of the dangers of slipping into routine, it happened to me – and I had no excuses. I work from home most of the time and live in Brisbane, which is supposed to be relaxed and easy-going.
A quick trip north up the Bruce Highway, however, fixed everything.
Why it took me so long to visit Noosa, the jewel in the crown of the Sunshine Coast, is a question I have no good answer to.
Noosa calls itself the relaxation capital of Australia. It’s not just a marketing boast.
The beach, the greenery, the food, the general vibe – it’s all a big shock to the system, at least for one that is so attuned to the dull rhythm of big-city reality.
It is jarring, in the nicest possible way, to hear a “hello” or “good morning” from a passer-by. Or a breathless “thank you’” for moving out of the way for a group of runners.
It’s a genuinely happy place filled with happy people, which presumably is what happens when you spend an extended amount of time in Noosa, or are lucky enough to call it home.
There is surely no better location, for instance, to eat breakfast than at Bistro C, right next to the boardwalk at Laguna Bay as the waves nearly crash at the feet of your table.
To the left is a tent with a beachside masseuse. To the right is the surf club and a huge national park. Overhead, clear skies – or, if you come during storm season, foreboding clouds.
The drenchings they bring can sometimes be an attraction in themselves, assuming you can get back to your hotel balcony in time to watch them roll in.
If the swell isn’t strong enough to surf, you can always kayak down the Noosa River, which is just a stone’s throw away.
And if the main beach is somehow not chilled out enough for you, there’s always Sunshine Beach around the corner – a classic suburban-style beach bordered by a large, shady park. It’s the perfect spot for an afternoon siesta.
Then there’s the whole hinterland to explore.
Somehow, Noosa retains the feel of a secret hideaway while also being one of the country’s best-known holiday hotspots.
Unlike the tourist strip on the other side of Brisbane, this one hasn’t been tainted by high-rise development.
“It can’t be. There are so many tree-huggers here, which is a positive thing,” said Phil Bradford, managing director of the Noosa Boat House.
The council has imposed a law that restricts buildings from going higher than three storeys.
You understand why when you drive back out to the highway through Eumindi, passing hand-drawn signs nailed to gum trees that protest the presence of local abattoirs and advocate for the protection of local rivers.
It confirms the presence of a strong hippie contingent in the area – but it’s not overwhelming, like in Byron Bay.
You actually have to go looking for a souvenir shop on the upmarket, tree-lined Hastings Street, which feels more like a precinct you might find in Toorak or Double Bay.
There are also no hawkers or charity muggers. But there are plenty of surfwear stores and ice cream parlours to remind you where you actually are.
Like everything else in Noosa, it’s a fine balance. Being there and soaking it all in, life just feels better.
GETTING THERE: Noosa is a half-hour drive from the Sunshine Coast airport, which is a 1.25-hour flight from Sydney and 2.5 hours from Melbourne. For details around transfers, taxis and rental cars, visit sunshinecoastairport.com.au. An alternative is flying into Brisbane and then driving an hour and 40 minutes north to Noosa.
STAYING THERE: The Sebel Noosa is right in the heart of Hastings Street and only a short walk away from the region’s top restaurants – and the beach. It has a swimming pool jacuzzi, gymnasium and facilities to host conferences and business meetings. Prices start at $A135 per night.
PLAYING THERE: There’s an endless list of things to do in Noosa. The beaches speak for themselves. The national park at Laguna Bay offers numerous walking trails. Kayaks, boats and surfboards are available for hire. There’s also a golf club, plenty of bars and restaurants and a whole hinterland to explore.
The writer travelled as a guest of Tourism Noosa.
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