22 things I’ve learnt about living on the Sunshine Coast…

Ok, so we’ve been residents on the Sunshine Coast for just over a month now (less a couple of weeks in Vietnam). We’ve settled in well and are loving it beyond words. I have a list a mile long of places to explore, but here’s what I’ve learned already:

1.Active wear is appropriate for most social occasions.

2. So are thongs (flip flops or jandals…)

3. Everyone here can tell you exactly how long it takes them to get to Sunshine Plaza and Mooloolaba Beach.

4. The parking is actually free. Yes, really. That means you don’t pay for it. In most places.

5. Nearly everyone came here from somewhere else. Apparently we’re all imports – with most of us coming from Sydney, Melbourne or Auckland.

6. There really is a (closed) Facebook group called Haunted: Sunshine Coast, for, well, haunted stuff on the Sunshine Coast.

7. There really is a suburb called Bald Knob, and a beach called Dicky’s. (insert juvenile titters… I said titters)

8. Surely the coast has more yoga classes, new age options, and organic food places than anywhere else – on a per capita basis? (Is there a statistic on this?) And acai bowls – they’re everywhere!

9. There are more markets held each weekend than anywhere else in Australia – on a per capita basis. (I just made that statistic up, but it seems true).

10. The Sunshine Coast has the lowest rate of smoking than anywhere else in Queensland. (I didn’t make that one up, but read it somewhere – so it must be right.)

11. Indicators on cars seem to be optional extras. Oh and everyone seems to tailgate. I no longer take it personally.

12. You really don’t need to leave for the airport three hours before your flight.

13. The sign going into Noosa that points towards Noosa, or “all other destinations” annoys every non-Noosa local. The implication, of course, being that Noosa is the only place that matters.

14. There’s a lot more to the Sunshine Coast than Noosa. I saw this really funny meme that said it all but, in the interest of not upsetting Noosa locals – not that I’ve met any yet, but I’m sure that I’ll like them when I do – I won’t re-post here.

15. There’s a lot more to the Hinterland than Maleny – but Maleny is pretty fabulous.

16. We get annoyed when people mix up Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. It’s like the Australia and Austria thing.

17. There are at least twenty coffee shops in and around Mooloolaba that apparently serve the best coffee on the coast.

18. It’s tough to get a decent dumpling – anyone who knows where the best dumplings are on the coast, please tell me…

19. Beer yoga is a thing – and it’s happening at the pub in Eumundi.

20. Public holidays are really public holidays – even Woolworths is closed.

21. The Queen’s Birthday holiday is held in October – which is Labour Day for most of the rest of the country – and Labour Day is held on the first Monday in May – closer to the Queen’s actual birthday. Go figure.

22. There’s absolutely nothing better on earth than watching the sunrise from a Sunshine Coast beach. Nothing. Except maybe a sunset…

Mooloolaba to Cotton Tree Coast Walk

Cotton Tree

With paths available all up and down the coast, covering a little extra distance than usual was also not difficult. Like this one: the coastal path from Mooloolaba to Cotton Tree. I started at sunrise and was back at the surf club at Mooloolaba for morning coffee with hubby.

How far?

I started the walk down near The Spit, so it was just over 10kms return. from the Esplanade it’s 4.4kms each way.

 

How hard?

Aside from the headland between Alex and Mooloolaba, this is a flat, very easy walk.

Why do it?

For the scenery. On a nice day, the beaches are fabulous- and on a moody Monday morning in the middle of winter, it can feel like you have them to yourself.

Coffee?

Absolutely- each of the surf clubs has a coffee cart or kiosk. Plus there are plenty of little places like this one that you walk past.

Toilets?

Available at each surf club.

Accessibility?

The path is wide and paved the whole way- making it accessible for wheelchairs and prams.

Dogs?

Leashed only. Don’t forget to pick a plastic bag up from the dispensers along the way…

Want more?

Each Sunday the main street in Cotton Tree is closed to traffic and a well worth a look at market moves in.

Alternatively, why not break your walk at the halfway point and stop for breakfast? Cotton Tree has plenty of great coffee shops to choose from.

Cotton Tree

Alexandra Headland

Located between Mooloolaba and Maroochydore, Alex (as the locals call it) is a long sweeping stretch of sand with great surf and fabulous views up to Old Woman Island of Mudjimba and, further up, Mount Coolum.

Popular with surfers – especially around the Headland at at the northern end of the beach – there’s also good swimming for families in the patrolled section near the surf club.

Alex lies at the midway point on the Mooloolaba to Cotton Tree coastal path, and is a great spot to grab a coffee and get some Vitamin Sea.

Anyways, no more words, just check out the pics…

Welcome to navigator…

depositphotos_77351662_m-2015

Hey there and welcome – it’s great you could drop by.

What’s this site about?

Essentially it’s about a sea-change, but it’s also about adventure and exploration.

Let’s back-track a little…don’t worry, I won’t prattle on for too long.

In October 1998, when our daughter was just 6 months old, we holidayed in Mooloolaba. We loved it so much that we kept coming back. We’ll move here when the time is right, we promised ourselves.

Over the years we continued to travel, yet we also continued to be drawn back to Mooloolaba. One day, we kept telling ourselves. One day, when the time is right, we’ll move here.

It was hubby who first suggested early in 2015 that maybe that time was now. Things weren’t great at his job, and they definitely weren’t great in mine. No, I said, we’re too young. Two more years. I’ll be ready in two more years.

The months passed and things got tougher. In July last year, I changed jobs and in the week I had between roles we went back to Mooloolaba – ‘maybe the time was right now?’ he suggested. ‘No, I said, not yet.’

Two weeks later, on an overloaded peak hour bus on the M2, I decided there had to be more to life than spending 3 hours a day getting to and from work. I called hubby and said, ‘ok, maybe now.’ I might have also mentioned that I felt too old to be wasting my life away on a commute. ‘Let’s do it.’

In October I got scared. ‘There’s too much to walk away from,’ I said. ‘My family is here, my job is here.’

‘But we don’t have a life here,’ he argued. ‘You’re always tired – there’s more to life than this,’ he said.

‘Too late,’ said our daughter. ‘I’ve already applied to USC (University of the Sunshine Coast). We’re going.’

After that things moved quickly – and, for the size of what we were doing – relatively painlessly. Our daughter got into the Uni course she wanted, hubby retired from his employer of 37 years, we found the perfect house to live in, and ours here in Sydney sold within 3 weeks.

It really felt like it was meant to be – everyone said so.

The move itself begins this week, but I’ll be splitting my time between Sydney and the Sunshine Coast until Easter.

After that? Well, that’s all part of the adventure – and that’s what this blog is about: an exploration of everything the Sunshine Coast has to offer.

So that’s told you something about the sea-change and this blog, but what has any of that got to do with the sea turtle in the logo? I’m glad you asked.

A tarot reader told me many years ago that I had the sign of the traveller in me – the sea turtle, he said, symbolizes the navigator. He also told me I was descended from travellers – more specifically gypsies. And that part is true. Romany gypsies…not that I told him so.

Perhaps it was a load of whatever, who knows, but it’s stayed with me.

Since then I’ve also learnt that the sea turtle is an important symbol in Polynesian culture and is connected to long life, wellness, fertility, union, family and harmony.

The sea is regarded as both the source of food and also the final resting place – or world beyond. The sea turtle covers both sea and land and, because she returns to the beach of her birth to lay her eggs (through a series of magnetic signatures – whatever that means) there’s a belief that the sea turtle also represents a sort of coming home. I suppose it’s about destination, finding your true north or spiritual home – the sort of return you make after and during your travels to the place you’re meant to be.

Sure, it’s a tad new age-y, but it’s also a pretty cool concept, right?

Anyways, that’s why I’ve called this site navigator and it’s why I’ve used the sea turtle in the logo – because I have the feeling that up here on the Sunshine Coast is where I’m meant to keep returning to.