We went to Maleny

We had intended to go to Maleny on an earlier day trip but when we reached Montville there was too much to do for us to visit Maleny as well.  So we saved it for another day, and we did make it.

Maleny is elevated being in the Hinterland and overlooks the Glasshouse Mountains, although again there were some fires and the view wasn’t very clear.

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The Glasshouse ‘mountains’ are the very solid cores of ancient, now extinct volcanoes.  They were formed millions of years ago and the rock and soil that originally encased the cores have eroded away and left the strange shapes that remain today.

They were originally named by James Cook in May 1770 when he was sailing through Moreton Bay.  He noted in his journal that – ‘these hills are remarkable on account of their singular form of elevation which very much resemble glass houses which occasioned me giving them that name’.   He was apparently referring to the dark brick kilns used in his native Yorkshire for firing glass, not the agricultural structures which didn’t exist in 1770.

We moved on to the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve which is a diverse tropical rainforest.  We walked around and through it and it was very impressive.

There are currently over 100 species of trees in the forest.

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The Reserve covers 55 hectares and contains Rose Gums and Strangler Figs that are around 400 years old.  The land was privately gifted to the local Council in 1941 on condition that it be preserved and remain open for public enjoyment.

The birds in the forest pass seeds into the canopy from the fruit of tropical fig trees that sprout into vines which grow down to the ground.

When they have taken root, they grow and effectively strangle the tree that is supporting it.  Over a period of 1 – 200 years, they will completely subsume the host tree and end up standing alone.

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Everywhere we went there were the vines growing all over the place.

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There was quite a lot of wildlife to be seen, this small bird nesting.

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Any suggestions as to what type of bird it is?

We nearly walked through this Orb Spider web.

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Even though it was daytime, we could hear bats chattering, but couldn’t see any of them.

Then we looked up and there they were – Fruit Bats or Flying Foxes.

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We finally made it into Maleny, a nice town which hasn’t changed a lot over time.

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All the shops are along a central main road, and we had a good look around.

Heather made a new friend

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We had a good day in Maleny but still found time to hit the beach when we returned to Peregian

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All to ourselves again.

 

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Working at the Spirit House

The Spirit House is a unique Asian Restaurant and Cooking School set in a private rainforest style garden at Yandina, not far from where we are staying.

Their specialties are Thai and Vietnamese, we have eaten there before and the food, service and presentation are very good.  We were given a voucher for a class in the School for our 70th birthdays, and the ‘Thai Favourites’ course which was being held today was our choice, so off we went.

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There are several buildings laid out amongst the forest, with walkways in between them.  It is a lovely property and very peaceful.

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This is the Cooking School building where we spent most of the day.

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The agenda for the day involved us preparing the ingredients for what was to be our lunch for the day, then making the sauces, cooking the ingredients, plating them up and finally eating them.

The kitchen was well equipped, and we had Chef Simon leading us through the steps, ably assisted by Yunie.

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There were 18 of us doing the course and the others were quite friendly and all seemed to enjoy the day, as we did.

The menu was –

  • Fish Cakes with Thai Cucumber Relish
  • Chicken, Stir Fried with Chili Jam, Asparagus and Cashews
  • Penang Style Curry of Grilled Beef and Caramelised Pumpkin
  • Seafood Salad with Lemongrass, Chili and Lime
  • Sweet Sticky Coconut Rice with Seasonal Fruit

We sliced, diced and shredded a wide range of ingredients, many more than are listed above including many types of chillies and onions, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, snake beans, lemon grass, coriander roots and their fronds and mint to name some.

We ate the fish cakes as an appetiser, then managed to take a walk around the property which was very nice.

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There were a lot of Water Dragon lizards when we were here before but today we did not see any.  It is very dry up here in this beautiful weather that we are enjoying so they must be staying around the water pools.

In addition to the School building there is the Restaurant, and a new building that contains a free standing and well equipped Bar.

Here we are in our special aprons that we were able to keep.

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Then came the serious work of cooking it all and bringing it all together.

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Finally we were able to enjoy the fruits of our labour.

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The Stir Fried Chicken, Seafood Salad and Rice –

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The Penang Style Beef Curry –

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We enjoyed most of the food and we had some very nice Clare Valley Riesling with it.  The Stir Fry and Curry  were  especially good.

By the end of the meal we were well and truly fed, and on our return to Peregian Beach, took a walk on the beach to walk it off.

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It was a very low tide.

A lovely day, thank you for our birthday present, we don’t need much dinner tonight!

Visiting Montville

We thought that we would visit Maleny in the Hinterland, the gateway to the Glasshouse Mountains.  Only problem was that we went via Montville and stopped there instead.

First stop was at the Big Pineapple in Nambour.

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This is a very large pineapple dominating the landscape on the site of a Pineapple Plantation.  Now there is a zoo, and a produce market on Saturdays, which was not when we visited.

The view from Montville was a little better than our earlier visit to the Hinterland but not much.

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There is still a lot of bush fire hazard reduction burning happening on the coastal plain and this does restrict visibility.  There have already been a few bush fires while we have been here with roads closed and a few homes lost unfortunately.  It is very dry up here and without rain, it could be a dangerous summer this coming summer.

Montville is a village built along the escarpment with a lot of shops, mainly for tourists like us.

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The stores have clothing, Jewellery, food of various types, art displays, clocks and lots of knick knacks from which to choose.

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Connemara House was built in 1984 by Joseph Delaney, and Irishman who thought that Montville was a bit like an Irish village.  So he built the house in an Irish style, complete with thatched roof which has thankfully been replaced by tiles now.

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The Bowerbird Shop is full of novelties for tourists to take home, and decorate their nests.  Mr Bower and Mr Bower’s Bird are sitting up the front.

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Amongst the wares for sale are tacky thoughts for life, on plaques, like –

‘Laugh and the world laughs with you,

    Snore and you sleep alone’

There are a lot of restaurants in Montville, most in lovely surroundings.

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The clock shop deserves special mention.  It has hundreds of clocks for sale of generally German style.

Here are some wall mounted cuckoo clocks, all set at different times so that there is a cuckoo going off about every 5 minutes.

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There are also grandfather clocks and other wall mounted clocks of traditional and modern design, quite a collection.  Some are very elaborate, costing well over $10,000.  We always enjoy seeing the clocks, however many they sell there are always plenty more to replace them.

Except that there was a special grandfather clock for sale the last time we were here that has been sold and not replaced.  It had a Bavarian scene carved into the  base of a real tree trunk and when we asked  about it, the lady there said that there had been a young lad who came to the shop often and every time he said that when he grew up he would buy it.  He did grow up and got a job then went straight in and put it on layby.  It is so unique that it can’t be replaced.

We enjoyed Montville and decided to leave Maleny for another day, our walk on the beach was waiting.

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Our own private beach again, as far as you can see.   Ahh, beautiful.

 

Noosa Open Studios

The Noosa Arts & Crafts Association had a wonderful weekend called “Noosa Open Studios” where 50 artists opened their houses and studios to the public.  Some gave demonstrations of their work and most were quite happy to talk and answer questions about the techniques they use.  The artists’ work included Ceramics, Glass, Mixed Media, Painting, Photography, Sculpture and Textiles.

It was broken up into a Costal Circuit which we did on Friday and the Hinterland Circuit which we did over Sat & Sun as they were further apart.

We visited 42 of the artists which was quite impressive and hard work.  We were so busy moving around that I didn’t take many photos.

Not only did we enjoy the art but some of the houses on the coast were unbelievably huge and would have cost millions. One was built on the turn of a canal and had fantastic views all around. These houses also had purpose built Studios within the house with carpet on the floor.  I prefer a home not a house you couldn’t relax in.  Others had fabulous views out to sea or across the inland countryside..

The Hinterland was something else.   Some were classy and others the complete opposite.   Many were just broken down shacks with hardly any room to move around their art work.   One studio was set up inside a shipping container another under her old Queensland house with not a lot of head room.  A couple were in factory units. They were all very interesting and a lot of fun to see.

Tricia Bradford

Noosa art (1)

She has an interesting way of making the waves on pictures look like white bubbles by lifting cling wrap on and moving it around on the wet paint. Her underwater turtle pictures are amazing.

Helen Peel

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Uses a very expensive linen board and is able to make her portraits look like photos . Her oil is so smooth that it looks like it’s painted on velvet.

Cheryl Mc Gannon

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We had a great time watching her demonstrate a new style that I have never seen before using both hot and cold wax. She uses a small blow torch on the hot wax and burns the wax then wipes most of it off. She creates unusual effects this way.  She also builds up the colours then scratches or cuts into the wax layers until she has the effect she wants.

Fiona Groom

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Amazing eyes, I have never seen eyes done so well . Her animals, the character and expressions  are so real that you feel like you could touch them.

Trevor Purvis

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He paints huge Australian countryside oil paintings. I love the way he uses big brushes and whacks on bold, happy colourful  paint which is very powerful. They are fabulous from a distance. You need a big house to show them of properly.

Julia Carter

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She uses a lot of gold paint and gold leaf which works well and makes her work more unique. She uses a lot of flowers in her dainty pictures. Most of her paintings seem to be dainty and whimsical.

Barry  Novis

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A British/Australian artist.  Is best known for painting larger than life “legends”.  Inspired by their accomplishments, he paints them larger than life using oil or acrylic.

They remind me of the way Rolf Harris did his huge paintings.

James Ainslie

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His work is inspired and influenced by nature & Light.  His preferred medium is acrylic.

Michele Knightly

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She works in traditional medium of painting, drawing & printmaking.  I would be afraid of working under the conditions that she has in her studio.

Rob Roy

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His work is quite unique and his perspectives belong with modern and conceptual art. They are cinematic, painterly, sculptural and layered, and much more three dimensional.

Bel Arnold

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She works with fleece and combines painting and ceramics beautifully. She says you can felt it, spin it, knit or crochet it, weave it: the possibilities are endless.

She has made some beautiful hats, clothing and round lamps as well as paintings using the colourful fleece.

Leigh Hooker

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This lady’s studio is a renovated shipping container made to look like a gypsy caravan in her back yard. She is a Kiwi married to an aboriginal. She likes to capture the souls of her subjects.

Caroline Elliott

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Glass has a magical quality and she has taught herself to fuse the glass together and create beautiful sculptures with lots of colour and movement. Her large outdoor dividers liven up and separate areas of the garden.

We had a fabulous and busy weekend, though Roger is ‘arted out’.

 

Checking Out Coolum

There are so many beaches to choose from near Peregian, that we are spoiled for choice.  One day we went down to Coolum for a walk for a change, and very nice it was as well.

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The surf was still pretty flat but the weather continued fine and sunny.

Near Stumers Creek, some skydivers who had jumped out of a perfectly good plane were coming in to land.  They were tandem jumpers, one inexperienced person to each parachute, with an experienced, professional skydiver doing all the work.

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They all landed safely.

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This group were visiting from the UK and one of their party did suffer a panic attack while in the air that persisted for a short time after she had landed.

We saw some more crab art, any ideas what this could represent?

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Another day  we went for a walk through the Coolum shopping strip  which is bigger than Peregian, with much more on offer.

The shops are opposite the beach which was almost busy.

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We walked up a boardwalk to the headland at the southern end of the beach.

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This is the view looking north up the beach –

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The view from the headland is pretty good too.

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So we had a good time in and around Coolum, but we still like Peregian.

So much that we have decided to stay here until the end of September.  We have found a nice two storey townhouse and negotiated good rates for the time.   It is across the road from the beach and is quite warm and comfortable.

Well, there go some kite surfers now.

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We moved in yesterday and may not want to move.

Crab Art

The weather continues to be just stunning, with more people now out enjoying it.

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The water is still like crystal.

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Surfers are starting to catch a few waves.

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The dogs are digging for Australia.

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The Blue Tongue lizards are just enjoying some sun, trying to warm up.

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The pippies are feeding on the beach.

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And the crabs are busy making some incredible images in the sand.

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Tiny crabs living in the sand well above the low water mark are being inundated by the very high tides and having to clean out their subterranean living quarters after each high tide.  They roll sand into tiny balls, smaller than a pea, push them to the surface and then roll them away from the opening of their tunnels.

They leave each ball where there like but after a while the balls start to make patterns that are fascinating to view and try to interpret.

Heather sees an eagle in the one above, Roger is sure that it’s Africa.

The crabs are difficult to spot in the open, but here is one seeking cover.

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Here we may have a tree, perhaps a head of broccoli?  On a sea theme, a bunch of kelp?

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This one might fly if its right wing grows a bit more.

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There are larger crabs on the beach, but they’re still quite small.

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Heather has a new hat to wear to the beach.  It has a floppy brim so into the wind makes it a bit hard to see where she is going.

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Thankfully there are small holes in the brim so she hasn’t had any accidents.

Catching Up

We are still having a great time at Peregian, in perfect weather and conditions.

We have taken the opportunity to catch up some friends who live in SE Queensland.

Helen and John live in Nambour and we drove out to their house and on up to the Hinterland behind them for lunch.  The Hinterland is part of the Great Eastern Ranges corridor of hills and mountains that stretches 3700 km from Victoria to northern Queensland above Cairns, and generally provides good views of the coastal plain between it and the sea.

This day the view was a bit hazy, with controlled bush burns under way to reduce the risk of bushfire in the coming summer.

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No matter, we had a good time catching up with Helen and John who moved up here from Melbourne nearly 10 years ago.

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They are both well and enjoying themselves up here, really haven’t changed much since the last time that we saw them in 2010.

We went to Le Relais Bressan for lunch, a French Restaurant which is a favourite of theirs for a very nice lunch indeed.

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It was good seeing John and Helen again, we’ll try not to make it another 7 years before we catch up again.

Another day, we drove down to Redcliffe, a northern suburb of Brisbane to see another of Heather’s friends, Eleanor, who we also hadn’t seen for many years.

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Eleanor’s husband has passed in that time, but she is very well and active in the area.

Redcliffe is situated on Moreton Bay and has a good beachy foreshore which is well used by locals and tourists.

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The Bee Gees grew up in the area, and the local council has established a ‘Walk of Fame’ that honours their lives and careers.  Some local residents have criticised the council for their ‘waste of money’ but we thought it was excellent and well worth the visit.

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Their music is playing in the background, and there are a lot of old photos and videos of the group as they grew up and developed their talents.

There is a bronze statue modelled on them as they first appeared on Bandstand in the early 1960s.

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There is another statue of them as they appeared at the height of their popularity.

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We had a good day seeing Eleanor again, then back to Peregian.

We are still walking on the beach every day.  The water is beautifully clear, but it’s a good thing that we’re not here for the surf.

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We saw a container ship passing in the shipping channel, the ship’s hull was below the horizon so there were just all these containers seemingly out there floating on the ocean.

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Very unusual.

There is a full moon this week so the tide is quite high and of course, the fishermen all come out at dusk.  They do pretty well too.

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So life is good at Peregian.

Sunshine on the Sunshine Coast

We have been staying at Peregian Beach on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast for nearly a week now and the weather has been great.  Mid-teens at night, mid-twenties each day, it has been sunny and beautiful.  We have had some overnight rain and not much wind.

We drove from the Gold Coast through Brisbane for about 3 hours, to the Sunshine Coast and started looking for a place to stay either side of Coolum.  We settled on an apartment in Peregian just north of Coolum.

This leaves a lot of Queensland above us but we have stayed in this area before and love it, so we may just stay here for a while.  We have found the sort of weather that we like and there is a lot to do here.  Cairns is as far north of us as Melbourne is south.

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Our apartment is about 50 metres from the surf beach, about 2 km south of Peregian Village.  It’s a short walk to the beach and the water’s edge, on a made path through the scrub and pandanus trees.

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Again, the beach is in excellent condition not having had any winter storms.

Looking south towards Coolum at low tide –

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Looking north past Peregian towards Sunshine Beach and Noosa Heads –

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Looking back at the coastal dunes, our apartment is behind the trees –

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We have been walking on the beach every day and love it.  There have been a few days of good surf with plenty of surfers, but also some paddle boarders on the quieter days.

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Why not take the dog for a swim?

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Luckily there didn’t seem to be any sharks around.

Our apartment is on the second floor of a 3 storey block.  It does have water glimpses and we can hear the surf which is very soothing at night when all is quiet.

We do have good views to the west.

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We will be staying in the apartment for 3 weeks and may just stay in Peregian for longer, we’ll see.

We have had a good look around the area between Maroochydore and Noosa this week, re-acquainting ourselves with where everything is and getting our bearings.

Sunshine Plaza in Maroochydore is the largest Shopping Centre in the area but it’s very casual and different from most Shopping Centres.

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All the major stores and lots of choice for eating.

Another day we went to the markets at Eumundi, then on to Noosa for lunch by the Noosa River.  This is looking downstream towards Noosa Heads.

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At the mouth of the river, there is a channel for boats to go out to the sea and on the other side, Noosa’s North Shore, with more beach, only accessible by 4WD vehicles, and about 50km as the crow flies to Rainbow Bay and Fraser Island.

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There is currently a property for sale just the other side of the river mouth – https://www.realestate.com.au/property-house-qld-noosa+north+shore-126069406

31 hectares of beachfront land, a large, modern two storey house so unique that it can’t be valued.  So it’s open to offers until September 11, better get your offers in.

Here’s the beach at Noosa looking south to the Noosa National Park on the headland.

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It is very nice but we prefer Peregian.

Speaking of Peregian, the beach was getting busier later in the week.

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Lots of surfers, walkers and their dogs, but you wouldn’t call it crowded.

Kristin, Tim and Alex came to visit for the weekend.

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We did the Eumundi Markets again, lunch at the Pier II restaurant on the Noosa River at Tewantin and plenty of time on the beach.  We just couldn’t keep Alex out of the water.  All too soon they had to head back home but we had a good time with them.

 

On Queensland’s Gold Coast

We have had nearly a week on the Gold Coast, in beautiful winter weather and have had a great time catching up with Roger’s daughter Kristin, her mother Sue, husband Tim and son Alex.  We stayed with them, looking after Alex on Thursday and Friday while Kristin and Sue went to Sydney for a funeral.

We went to the beach a few times and it was in the best condition that we have seen it for a long time.  Often there are winter storms that affect the shape of the beach and the sandbanks close to shore but now the sand is perfectly shaped and the water is like crystal.

Looking north towards Surfers Paradise from Broadbeach.

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There is a dredge working in close grooming some of the remaining sandbanks, moving the sand towards the beach.

Kristin’s family has a rag doll cat called Yunie who is quite affectionate at times.  Sometimes she’s just a splat-cat.  She makes herself comfortable on whoever is closest at the time.  She likes to have her legs splayed over something.

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We’ve been walking Alex to and from school while we’ve been here.  The route is alongside the Nerang river, which must have some fish in it if this guy’s on the ball.

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One day Alex rode his bike to school for a special treat, boy did we have to run fast to keep up!

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We love visiting the beach while we are here, especially when the weather is so good.

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We’ve had no rain to speak of since we left Melbourne which is good for us but  isn’t good for the country. Now is when we should be getting a lot of rain.  The temperatures are from low teens to mid twenties, so we have been making the most of it walking on the beach.  That’s about 10° warmer than Melbourne and makes a lot of difference.

We saw the dredge in action one day.

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We couldn’t work out why they were moving the sand closer in but it was impressive to watch.

On Saturday we all visited Alex’s Karate class as he was being graded for the first time.

Alex has been having Karate lessons for about 4 months, working at the first level with a white belt.  Here he is sparring with Jake who he has known all his life.

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The class worked hard with their kata and drills and then they were individually graded.

Sensei Mark said that Alex had progressed well in his Karate skills and awarded him a grading 2 levels above his original white belt.

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A hard, exhausting day for Alex.  He is enjoying his classes and putting in a lot of practice at home. The physical training involved is making him a lot stronger and fitter already.

The next day we went back to Dreamworld on yet another great day.  It was hard to take a picture of this ride, Heather and Alex were moving too fast.

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We walked and rode around the whole park, doing many of the activities and rides, then into White Water World where Alex and Heather did lots of water slides.

We went through Tiger Land, the tigers were taking it easy but that’s ok, we had seen their show before.

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Another splat-cat.

The freshwater crocodiles were also taking it easy.

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On Monday, with everybody going back to work and school, we set off again for our next stage – the Sunshine Coast.

Up to the GC

We left Port Stephens on Sunday and drove up to Old Bar to visit Heather’s cousin Nancy and her daughter Sue, and her daughter Sienna who live there.

Sienna is in her last year of high school and has several projects nearing completion for her final grades. She has made this globe entirely by hand, of timber.  The individual pieces have been cut and shaped, assembled, sanded and stained.

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The outlines of the continents have been routed and small holes drilled and fibre optic cables have been installed so that it can be used as a mood lamp at night.

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It looks terrific Sienna, we hope that you score well with it at school.

Nancy is well and happy and is well attended by her dog Diamond and Sue’s dog Georgia.

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On Monday Sue and Nancy flew up to the Gold Coast so we headed off after taking Diamond for a walk on the beach.

We drove up to Scotts Head to check out some holiday accommodation that we will be using at Christmas this year.  It looks like it will be quite comfortable and only about 100 metres from the beach, quiet today but it will be busy at Christmas.

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Here is the beach where Adrian and Amber were married in 2004.

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We had intended to spend the night in Scotts Head but have had a slight change of plans and needed to get to the Gold Coast by Tuesday so we pushed on to Nambucca Heads for lunch, and had a good look at the V Wall which stretches along a breakwater by the mouth of the Nambucca River, with the rocks being individually painted with artistic graffiti and messages by locals and tourists.

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Some are messages, some are memorials, but they are all colourful and bright.  Wally, of ‘Where’s Wally’ fame manages to appear several times within the hundreds of artworks.

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We drove on through Coffs Harbour and past Grafton to spend the night at Yamba.

Here is the morning view across the mouth of the Clarence River, lots of surfers out on Tuesday.

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We drove on through Ballina passing the Big Prawn on the way.

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We stopped for lunch at Lennox Head on yet another beautiful day.

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We passed on through Byron Bay.

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We made it to the Gold Coast in the afternoon, just in time to go to Alex’s Karate class (sorry pics not allowed).

We will be here through the weekend, staying with Kristin, Tim, Alex and Sue before pushing further north next week, so the blog is nearly up to date now.