This trip has been interesting so far in many ways. Firstly I am experiencing a new love: one for Australia that has been continually growing within me. It’s a love that sometimes just bubbles over and makes me giddy with joy when I look out of the plane window for example as I am coming in to land, or when I meet a stranger who treats me like a friend, or when I am sitting on the beach watching the surf and I just feel very happy to be where I am. That’s what travelling is all about isn’t it? Finding happiness in the places you visit and learning more about the world and yourself as you go along.
So the first destination on my 10 day reprieve from the bush is Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast to visit my grandmother’s brother who I last saw about 10 years ago. My uncle (B) referred to his street as “God’s waiting room” and when I asked him what people did in Caloundra, his response was “retire!” That should give you a clue about the people and their lifestyle in this seaside destination. I found it rather a pleasant place to live, but it does have an alarming number of retirement villages, luxury apartments and mobility scooters buzzing around. Perhaps it was because I spent time with the elderly for two days that I noticed more elderlies than I otherwise would have, or maybe there are just no young’uns there.
It has a big fishing and boating lifestyle and only 5 minutes after meeting B’S neighbour I was invited on a fishing trip that evening! It seems anyone who isn’t out catching the surf is either fishing or just boating around. A little walk along the waterfront in front of B’s house and I learnt a remarkable amount about local flora and fauna that I otherwise wouldn’t have paid attention to.
The climate is temperate and the sun nearly always shines on the Sunshine Coast, so there’s little to complain about in a town as such. B told me there is a saying about the weather on the Sunshine Coast which says it’s fabulous one day and marvellous the next, or words to that effect. It’s near enough to Brisbane for those that need a city hit now and again and far enough away to enjoy life on the water’s edge. It made perfect sense to me why so many of my relations journeyed across the world to the Sunshine Coast to resettle for a sunnier kind of life.
This is about a month overdue, but too much of a fun weekend not to share!
Down in the very south of Victoria, some 4 hours from Melbourne, the clue is in the name as to what this place has on offer. It is indeed the entrance to a network of lakes and home to a medley of hotels, motels and souvenir shops. In the off season is it is almost dead, which meant myself and my cosmopolitan group of travellers, this time the Colombian numbers were higher than before – standing at 5:4 Thai: Colombian and one English of course.
This was an overnight excursion and at sunset the beach was dowsed in the most incredible array or colours: pinks, violets, reds, deep oranges. We played volleyball until the light failed us and it was time to check into our highly recommended YHA hostel cabin.
The following morning a stroll along another beach before a 3 hour boat cruise complete with afternoon tea and excellent commentary. The cruise took us deep into the lakes’ system and offered us kangaroos, giant pelicans, a huge number of different species of birds, a dolphin, and a seal who joined us to play in the surf at the lakes opening.
That’s all for my commentary, enjoy the photos!