If you’re into street markets, this is a good one. Apparently it’s been voted best street market on the coast. I’m not sure about that, but it is certainly the largest. As an aside, I’m not counting Eumundi as a street market – it’s in a class all of its own…

Anyways, every Sunday – from 8am to 1pm – the main street of Caloundra is closed to traffic and 200 stalls move in selling everything from arts and crafts to produce to plants to clothes to fresh food to…you get the idea.

These were the biggest dream catchers I’ve ever seen!

I’ve seen some of the stalls at Eumundi, so if you’re staying around Caloundra and can’t make it up to Eumundi on Saturday, this is a good alternative.

If you’re after something to eat, there’s plenty of food on offer, and music while you eat it.

We chose instead to wander the couple of blocks down to Bulcock Beach and had fish and chips overlooking  Pumicestone Passage.

Bliss.

When?

Caloundra Street Markets are on every Sunday from 8am-1pm

Where?

Bulcock Street, Caloundra

Dog friendly?

Leashed only…

Parking?

There’s plenty around the side streets.

More information?

If you want more information, check out their website or stay up to date with their Facebook page.

 

Ok, right at the outset I’m going to apologise for the photos in this post. We’re still a little too used to eating a tad later than is fashionable on the coast and as a result, it was pitch dark when we arrived. Plus, it’s winter.

I promise I’ll go back when the days are longer and the light is better. Besides, there are too many other stalls I want to try food from!

Having said that, this is a fabulously laid back way to put a full-stop under your working week.

From 4pm each Friday night a vacant block in the middle of town is transformed with fairy lights into an international food court…but in a very good way.

And the cuisines? Too many to mention.

We shared a serve of tempura crab

and then went with the naked souvlaki

and Mexican.

As for dessert? The sweet tooth in my family chose the oreos cheesecake. Yes, really.

As for seating, there’s a long table up the centre of the block that you can crowd around. Other than that, pack a picnic blanket and take your food into the park or onto the beach.

If, like us, you’re feeling that this night could only be more perfect if there were craft beers or a glass of wine to have with your food, then head across the road to Little Boat Cafe. Their bar is open on Friday evenings – but it’s bring your own food.

There’s music, a great family feel, and plenty of good food. In all, it’s a perfect way to end the week.

When?

Fridays 4pm – 8pm

Where?

10 Lorraine Ave, Marcoola

Parking?

Yeah, can be a challenge. Head to the side streets.

More information?

Their website is here, or keep up to date with their Facebook page.

The sun is waking even earlier than last week – about a minute earlier a day. By the end of this week, sunrise will be 5.45am.

Enjoy it while I can, I say!

Oh, and there were whales out there this morning. Yes, really! Too far out, of course, for photos, but exciting nevertheless.

This truly is a fabulous place to be…

 

If the spectacular weather of the last few days hasn’t been enough of a hint that Spring is absolutely here, then the temperature at 6am this morning should have been a giveaway – spoiler alert, no jacket required.

The Sun is in on the action too – rising a full 7 minutes earlier than this time last week. Yep, folks, the days are getting longer.

Anyways, here are some photos from the last few mornings.

You’re welcome.

and one sunset…of sorts…just because.

 

Well, sunrise is just after 6am these days – so photos of it will be few and far between for the next few months.

Yesterday morning a tall ship was anchored off the beach. It was quickly followed by P&O’s Pacific Explorer. I know some locals aren’t ecstatic about the cruise ships, but they do bring a lot of business to the region. There are also always plenty of people down around the foreshore checking them out.

Another three are due this year, and eleven cruise ships are scheduled to stop in at Mooloolaba in 2018.

I watched it come in, and I watched it sail out into the sunset…ok, well not into the sunset, but you get the idea.

This morning I was up and about much earlier – and was rewarded with a sunrise…

and a paddle.

Mornings don’t get much better than this

 

 

It’s noisy up here, but through our helmets we can hear the chatter of firstly the Caloundra Air Controller and later the Sunshine Coast Control. The plane rises and falls gently as the wind catches her and moves her – and us – about. It’s as if we’re riding the swell of the wind.

Below us the ocean sparkles in the sunlight. We look for whales but can see none.

We’re flying in a Waco open cockpit biplane – and the experience is about as far from an economy seat on a Jetstar flight as it’s possible to get. It’s flying with the wind in your hair, flying when it was really special, flying with more than a touch of 1930s glamour. It’s flying with the birds.

This “bird” is beautiful – sleek and smooth. Rodney, our pilot, tells us that she’s affectionately named Marilyn – a blonde, curvy American. The seats are upholstered leather – like an armchair – and it’s much warmer and more comfortable than I thought it would be.

Before we took off Rodney pointed out the different indicators and the pedals on the floor – which we were told not to touch. He also showed us where the compartment was for the breakfast carrier, or sick bags, in case we needed them – which we didn’t. The original use for these would have been to carry a businessman’s lunch or flask, I suppose.

This joyflight was a combined birthday present for Miss 19 and I. We chose the Caloundra Classic to Mooloolaba flight – a route that took us along the beaches of Caloundra, up the coast and over the Mooloolaba Spit, and turning around at the Maroochy River mouth before heading back.

Although we didn’t choose the aerobatics package, along the way Rodney tossed in a couple of sharp turns and “wing overs” which were enough to get our hearts raising.

Take off and landing (an old fashioned grass landing) was smooth, and the flight itself fabulous – the coast really is even more beautiful from up high.

The verdict?

A nostalgic trip back to a time when flying was romantic – and a flight to remember. From up here we got great views of the Glasshouse Mountains, Bribie Island and the Pumicestone Passage, and, of course, the fabulous Sunshine Coast through to Maroochydore.

How much?

Flights are available from $298 – and best part is that 2 of you can go up for that price.

What about the knees?

I was worried about getting in and out of the seat – and of stepping on the wrong part of the wing and causing damage. I needn’t have been concerned. Even with my dodgy back and knees it was all ok – and they use a step ladder to climb up and in.

How squishy?

Yeah, it’s a tad squishy, but if you’ve flown Jetstar lately… Seriously though, I wouldn’t want to fly for hours like this, but it’s surprising how much legroom you have. I, however, needed a booster cushion to be able to see out.

Did we feel safe?

Completely so.

More information?

You can find more information here. Fighter Pilot Jet Flights run biplane scenic flights from Caloundra Airport and Brisbane.

The smashed duo – pumpkin & avo – at One Block Back

I’m a big fan of the weekend breakfast, but let’s be honest – not all avo smashes are created equally. So where’s the best breakfast on the coast? I have no idea…yet, but here are 10 of my favourites.. so far…in no particular order… Watch this space for part 2!

The Shak, Buderim

Since moving to the Sunshine Coast, we find that we’ve been naturally eating in a way that is more aligned to the seasons than we ever did in Sydney. A very welcome aside to this is that much of our produce is grown or sourced locally – or relatively locally. The Shak Organic Cafe and Wine Bar prides itself on being Buderim’s only organic cafe – and one that is pretty much as local as you can get.

Located in the centre of Buderim Village, we couldn’t go past their version of eggs benedict – served on herbed potato rosti rather than bread. I’d go as far as to say it is one of the best eggs bennies I’ve had – and so so pretty. Next time, though, I’m trying the Balinese black rice pudding…

The Velo Project, Mooloolaba

A quirky interior and great food and coffee makes this cafe – located a few blocks back from the Esplanade – worth seeking out.

The avo smash is great and there’s a huge range of fresh juices and herbal teas available, but my fave (so far) is the pumpkin and goats curd “gnocchi” with chorizo, avocado, rosemary roasted chickpeas and sage butter.

The Velo Project is open 7am – 3pm 7 days a week. You’ll find it at 19 Careela Street, Mooloolaba.

One Block Back, Moffat Beach

If I were really pushed for a favourite from this group of cafes – and I mean really pushed – it would probably be a toss-up between here and The Velo Project…although I do love #Phresh… Seriously though, it would come down to the quirk factor, and OBB has it in spades.

Located in a quiet street back from the main Moffat Beach Village, One Block Back would be equally at home in Abbotsford as it is here on the Sunshine Coast.

The eggs benedict with pulled pork, beetroot relish and paprika emulsion is a winner, as is the beans with eggs and ham hock. The award for prettiest breakfast though has to go to the nutella panacotta with banana rolled in granola and a whole host of other gorgeous bits.

You’ll find more instaworthy pictures of food on their Facebook page. One Block Back is open from 7am.

Hashtag Phresh, Mooloolaba

A relatively new offering on The Esplanade, #Phresh also has one of the cheaper avo smashes on the strip. At $10.50, with tomato, feta and dukkah, it’s a very satisfying brekky.

The #BennieBagel is also very good – and highly instagrammable. If, however, you’re into acai bowls – I’ve told you before about my suspicion that there are more acai bowls per head of population sold here than anywhere else – and smoothies, you’ll be well chuffed by what’s on offer.

#Phresh is open from 6.30am 7 days a week. You’ll find it on the Esplanade at the base of the Landmark Resort.

Update June 2018 – Hashtag Phresh is now closed

One on La Balsa Cafe, Buddina

We tried this place at the end of a walk around the Pt Cartwright headland and down the path to Kawana, but you don’t need to make any excuses. Located opposite La Balsa Park, there’s plenty of parking and always something happening in the park or on the water.

The avo smash with bacon was yummy, but my daughter – who fancies herself an expert on acai bowls – declared this one a winner.

One on La Balsa is open from 6.30am Tuesday – Sunday. You can find out more here.

Elliott’s Bistro, Alexandra Headland

From the minute we walked in I knew that Elliott’s would know how to do smashed avo the way it’s meant to be done. It wasn’t just the soundtrack – Bob Dylan and This Wheels On Fire – it was the service, the cute beach-side shopfront, the whole package.

We weren’t disappointed. Miss 19 was well impressed with her avo smash – which she declared up to Melbourne standards. It came with perfectly poached eggs and sharp, salty feta perched on top for the perfect avo. Hubby made his version even more perfect by adding bacon and tomato.

Elliott’s also know that anyone can do the basic bacon and eggs, but a great breakfast place should do that plus something a little more interesting. Something like, say, potato and gruyere croquettes. Served with fried eggs, bacon, a dollop of relish and a dab of blue cheese, this was bacon and eggs with hash browns taken to a much higher level.

You’ll find Elliott’s across the road from the beach at 102 Alexandra Parade. It’s open from 7am. Their Facebook page is here.

Kimnat Little Market and Cafe, Woombye

We found this place accidentally one morning when the ATM wasn’t working at Hinterland Harvest and we ran out of cash for breakfast. The closest ATM was in the IGA at Woombye, and just down the road was this little treasure trove.

The smashed avo was beyond good – so much eating, so many herbs and greens – and the tarot and guidance cards on the tables outside were just another fabulous little new agey touch.

You’ll find them here.

CK Wholefoods, Mooloolaba

Ok, the first thing you need to know about this place is that it’s huge. The next thing that you should take into account is just how popular it is. And why wouldn’t it be? Just off the Esplanade in Brisbane Rd, CK really is a healthy alternative.

Now, I’ve never been one to have my coffee other than as real coffee, but if you’re into turmeric lattes (which it seems half of the Coast is) or matcha or dandelion lattes, you’ll be in heaven. Of course there’s a great range of coffees and black as well as herbal teas also available. When it comes to food, CK has all your paleo and raw food options covered, plus more for the, shall we say, more dietary challenged.

I chose the Japanese pancakes – okonomiyake – with perfectly cooked salmon and a poached egg and was absolutely not disappointed.

Open from 6am for coffee and 7am for breakfast 7 days a week. Check out their full menu here.

Monica’s at Maleny

Maleny is a town with plenty to offer the hungry breakfast seeker, but it was Monica’s that we chose when arranging a real-life meet-up of social media friends. I had the baked eggs, and my friends had the eggs benedict. Gluten free requests were handled without fuss. My only regret? I was too busy chatting to take photos. Ooops.

Monica’s is open 7am – 3pm 7 days a week. Their website is here.

Decisions Cafe

The premise of this place is fabulous – decisions. Your first decision is choosing between the superfood or super junk menu – and this is not a decision to take lightly.

Another place where we went for the avo smash and acai bowl, but for the life of me I can’t find the pics! You’ll have to take my word for it.

Decisions is open from 6am at 10 Capital Pl, Birtinya.

 

It seems as though each day sunrise is getting just that little bit earlier. Where only a few weeks ago I could sleep in until 6am and still make it down to the beach in time to see that golden orb peek over the horizon, these days I’m having to set the alarm half an hour earlier to be guaranteed of seeing the actual sunrise after a walk over the headland.

This morning the moon was still up when I left home, and by the time I pulled up the sky was full of that distant glow, but it wasn’t until I reached Alex Surf Club that the sun came up in all it’s glory.

 

Taken at Geriatric Reef, Alexandra Headland
Mooloolaba rock pools

After a night where the rain pelted down, sunrise was almost non existent.

But by the time I was over the headland and back into Mooloolaba, it had all cleared to another perfect Sunshine Coast winter day.

These are not your average Botanical Gardens. Aside from the Sculpture Garden, there are no manicured lawns and exotic flowering plants. Instead, what you have is bushland – a place to breathe, and wander, and relax, and remember what it’s like to reconnect with nature after a hard week in the office where you’ve been thinking too much. That last bit came out loud, didn’t it?

Why come? Aside from the breathing, relaxing,  reconnecting, and grounding part? The bush walks, of course – gentle enough for all levels of fitness, short enough to fit into a busy day, and interesting enough to make you think you’ve been in the bush.

Lagoon Circuit

This track takes you on a round trip around the lagoon.

It’s about 1.2kms – or thereabouts – has a bit of up and down, but is an easy walk. The track is dirt, but well maintained – although I imagine there could be some slippery parts if it’s been raining. There are a few stairs, so I wouldn’t recommend this path for wheelchairs or prams.

There are viewing platforms at a couple of points around the lagoon, and on a clear day the reflections are worth a picture or three.

or more…

Fern Glade

The Fern Glade is another short walk – about 900m, on a fully accessible concrete path.

A few degrees cooler than the bush track, I’ll be keeping this little oasis in mind on a hot summer’s day.

Sculpture Garden

Another 900m on another fully accessible path, it’s worth a wander.

Facilities…

There are plenty of picnic tables, but no barbecues – you can bring your own, if you want. Oh, and there are no rubbish bins, so make sure you bring something to take your garbage home in. Inconvenient yes, but it’s all about not interfering with the natural feeding patterns of the animals and birds that live in the gardens.

Yes, there are toilets.

Accessibility…

Aside from the bush tracks, there are other accessible paths in the gardens.

Dogs…

No dogs are allowed in the gardens.

Admission…

The gardens are open every day and admission is free.

More information…

The gardens are located off Tanawha Tourist Drive. You’ll find more information here.