Strawberry Picking

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 68cfd0cb-a558-40f0-98b0-6cd257212d4f.jpg

So anyways, we’re smack in the middle of the strawberry season. But isn’t it just the start of spring? Ah yes, but here on the Sunshine Coast our season runs from May through to October. The first strawberries begin appearing around Mother’s Day and come Melbourne Cup Day they’re gone.

Fun fact 1: Queensland supplies the winter production of strawberries for the rest of the country and most of them (about 85%) are grown here on the Sunshine Coast – although Bundaberg is now also growing strawberries and there are some producers even further up north on the Atherton Tablelands. 

We’re lucky – the strawberries that we buy at our weekly farmer’s market haven’t been anywhere near cold storage. They’re low on food miles and taste the way that strawberries are meant to taste. The way they never seem to taste in the city.

Fun fact 2: Strawberries have to be picked when they’re ripe. They won’t ripen any more once they’ve been picked.

Picking your own…

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_8120.jpg

There’s something about picking your own fruit though – and luckily, we have places where you can do that. What’s not to love? Some Vitamin D, the smell of warm strawberries all around, the promise of the freshest tastiest fruit and a strawberry icecream at the end of it.

Fun Fact 3: Technically the strawberry is not a berry, but a member of the rose family. Don’t say you don’t learn anything here!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mumke8420.jpg

McMartin’s Farm

BLI BLI

After we finished picking we went for a bit of a stroll around to check out the views and see what else was growing.

Not only are the strawberries fabulous here, but the ice cream is next-level good. Made on premises it contains about 30% fruit – that’s a lot of fruit.

You can, of course, get a Devonshire tea here as well, but we stuck with the ice cream.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_7826.jpg

There’s even a playground for the kids.

Open 7 days between June and October. Check the website for dates.

At the time of our visit it was $13 per kilo. You can get them cheaper at the markets, but it’s not nearly as much fun.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_e7814.jpg

Strawberry Fields

Palmview

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_8121.jpg

With picnic areas, lawns for the kids to run around, a farm shop and a café there’s more to do than pick strawberries – although that’s obviously what you go for.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_8122.jpg

Open 7 days between June and November. Check the website for dates. At the time of our visit it was $14 per kilo. We picked 2kgs and I bought another 3 kgs of jam strawberries for $5.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_8117.jpg

For more places where you can pick your own, check out this list.

Maleny Show

‘Ladies and gentlemen, you’ll need to go a long way before you see jumping as good as this.’

‘And look at the condition of the ground – you don’t get it better than this.’

‘No, you don’t – you’re in Maleny now. It’s doesn’t get any better than this.’

The ground announcers weren’t wrong – it doesn’t get much better than this.

Besides, what’s not to like about a show?

There’s food, and animals, and rides, and showbags, and ring events. There are also substances masquerading as food (dagwood dogs, I’m looking at you…) but we can forgive that. There’s the CWA tent, woodchopping, singers performing both kinds of music – country and western – showjumping, and so much more. Being a country show, you can even look at agricultural supplies and tractors – if you’re that way inclined.

We wandered through the vegetable displays, the baking, the art, and the fabulous produce that the schools on the Sunshine Coast are growing. There’s really something so wonderful about seeing the numbers of entries and the efforts the entrants have put into their offerings. I was, however, concerned that there were prizes given for the best chokos…my memories of them from childhood were not good!

We watched the judging of the dairy cattle, were crowded in the poultry shed, and sat and watched the showjumping while enjoying a fabulous lunch from the Mexican Cantina – the TS Jalopeno (supporting the Navy Cadets). This burrito bowl was more than I could eat, and was great value at $8. Yes, you heard that right. They even had little tables decorated. Very pleasant indeed.

Sure, you can blow a fortune on showbags and rides and crap food, but you can also have hours of fun for not a lot of money – and some really really good food as well. I wish that we’d seen the Black Angus Burgers earlier – and the swim club was selling roast dinners piled on plates for only about $12 (or was it $15?). I was also really tempted by the bahn mi and green papaya salad on offer at the Vietnamese food truck.

Anyways, Maleny Show is in its 80th year and it’s on again tomorrow Saturday June 3, 2017. Go to the show website for more information – and details about park and ride. There were big crowds there today and with tomorrow also forecast to be a cracker (weather wise) I suspect there’ll be even more people there tomorrow.

 

Mooloolaba Sea life…Underwater World

We’ve been coming to Sea life (or Underwater World, as we’ve always called it) since Miss 19 was Miss still in a pram. It’s become a tradition – one of the first things we had to do each time we came to the coast.

But it’s been a few years since we’ve been here and, well, the otters have gone – and I can’t seem to find out why. (If you know, please tell me).

Other than the missing otters, Underwater World still delivers.

There’s still the ocean glass tunnels with the massive gropers, rays and reef sharks.

There’s still the billabongs and the river zones, the seahorses and pacific reef. And there’s still the seals – watching their antics is worth the price of admission alone. Make sure that you time your visit for the twice daily shows.

The touch pool out the front is still a source of wonder for little kids, but at the moment it’s also serving as a nursery for a clutch of baby turtles. They’ll be grown in the aquarium until they’re 15cm long and have a fighting chance in the ocean (did you know that just 1 in 1000 sea turtles survives to maturity?). The turtles are tagged, released, and their travels tracked. With luck, they’ll survive to come back to the beach of their hatching to lay their own eggs – many years from now.

The jellyfish are also pretty incredible. Coincidentally, I heard a podcast only the day before we visited Underwater World that was talking about how jellyfish are both an early warning system on an ecosystem that’s failing – and the cause of a failing eco system getting substantially worse. They’re fabulously interestingly weird creatures – and extremely photogenic.

Worth a visit?

Absolutely. Buy your tickets online to save queues – particularly on weekends and at school holiday time.

Underwater World is also the perfect rainy day school holiday activity – not that it ever rains here on the Sunshine Coast…well, hardly ever…