It’s been five months since we packed up and left the beautiful Sunshine Coast for our new home of Brisbane.
Five months of absorbing all that is fun about city living. Five months of embracing the hills, the river, the lack of salty air.
And then the opportunity arrives to return to your former home of almost 24 years. You over-think things, over-think that it might make you really miss what you had, over-think that going somewhere new might be better.
But once the over-thinking stops and you arrive at your destination, eyes fresh from five months in the city, all that is left is immense gratitude.
Gratitude for that which you got to enjoy for so long. And gratitude that any time you wish to enjoy it again, the Sunshine Coast is only up the “Bruce”.
Yes, last week my gratitude cup did runneth over.
I got to spend five days with some of my closest blogging buddies as part of The Remarkables Group‘s annual general meeting and conference.
We learned a little, laughed a lot and thanks to Tourism Queensland, Sunshine Coast Tourism and Noosa Tourism, I got to add some re-lived and re-loved experiences to my previous Sunshine Coast top things to do post (make sure you click through for a vintage photo of moi long before selfies and photo bombing were a thing).
5 more Sunshine Coast top things to do
1. Visit a day spa. This is technically not a new thing to do but a must all the same. Nothing says escape to me than at least a couple of hours handing yourself over to the pamper merchants at a good spa. The Sunshine Coast is home to some of Australia’s best. In my previous post I referenced a few and this time round I was lucky to return to one of my faves, Ikatan Balinese Day Spa in the Noosa hinterland. Since my previous visit some changes had been made that really do enhance the whole spa experience. You now have the option to add on lunch, afternoon or morning tea with champagne to your booked treatment.
I love this idea with a group or as a couple as you get to relax before and after in the amazing gardens that have matured at Ikatan. On this visit I experienced a Balinese massage after a high tea and bubbles. I snored, drooled and floated away on a blissful boat called Unconscious I Am … I was so out to it I woke to the bells at the end, convinced my therapist had forgotten to attend to my arms. Until that is that I felt them and found them moist with massage oil.
2. Get up early for the sunrise … but don’t miss the sunsets either. I don’t know who this person is who willingly gets up for a beach yoga and strengthening exercise session before the sun is over the horizon. Or this person who willingly leads others on a pre-sunrise walk through Noosa National Park. Whoever she is, she’s getting the best of the day and is not about to miss any stunning sunsets any time soon either. I like her a lot.
My favourites from last week: watching a dolphin surf the waves at Dolphin Point in Noosa National Park while the sun rose over the water, basking under a tiny crescent moon on a sunset cruise on the Noosa River and taking a stroll on a cool morning in Maleny, only to find the perfect morning meditation spot hanging from a giant Moreton Bay fig tree at Spicers Tamarind Retreat.
3. Do a cooking class. It had been about 10 years since we’d experienced a cooking class at the Spirit House in Yandina. We’d dined there many times since and even bought vouchers as gifts. This restaurant and cooking school is proof that if you build it and keep up incredible standards, people will still come. The former bare paddock (I remember seeing it in that form when co-owner Peter Brierty showed me plans he had for an Asian restaurant that would be built within a tropical garden surrounding a lagoon) is 20 minutes from the Coast. It works because of the long-standing philosophy of using seasonal produce prepared with Asian flavours. It works because the original owners are still in place and many of the staff are long-standing, happy to work in an environment that values and respects good food and good hospitality. The cooking school books out weeks in advance (especially weekend classes – so plan ahead). You will prepare, learn tips and get to eat as you go. They are suitable to all levels of kitchen skills.
4. Eat good food … with a view. If you can swing it – and trust me you don’t have to look too far on the Sunshine Coat – opt for breakfast, lunch or dinner with a world-class view on the side. In Noosa you don’t have to look too far at any time of the day. I love Sails, Bistro C, Berardos on the Beach and Season for great food and a stunning view over Laguna Bay. Season turned it on for us with a special breakfast right on the beach. Fit for a wedding really.
5. Find more fabulous shops and treat yourself to a souvenir or two. Shopping is a holiday essential in my books. I love relaxing into a a good browse and the Sunshine Coast is very much a candidate for a VERY good browse. The Hastings Street “shuffle” is perhaps the most scenic of the browsing locations available. I’ve been doing this “lap” of the tree-lined, beachside strip since my early 20s. Shops have come and gone but the vibe is very much alive. Make sure you check out Styling You fave Zambezee Boutique in the Bay Village complex, Askew (opposite Aromas in the Sebel complex) and Signature on Hastings (unfortunately closed the week I was there for renovations).
In the Sunshine Coast hinterland, Giddy and Grace in Maleny is an absolute must. So many beautiful things at every turn.
Now, it’s your turn. Have you visited the Sunshine Coast, got a favourite thing to do, place to stay, eat, spa or shop?
* I was a guest of Tourism Queensland, Tourism Sunshine Coast and Tourism Noosa for this event. For more information or to book a Sunshine Coast holiday, visit Queensland Holidays.