Only Good Days + Better Days In Noosa

Time to say goodbye to the Gold Coast, friends new and old and drive to Brisbane, Mum was coming to town! I headed for the CBD, had a look around New Farm and later took up residence at a cafe in the Fortitude Valley with a coffee and the paper. Mum’s flight wasn’t arriving until after 7pm but I decided to head for the airport early anyway to avoid traffic. Oh, there’s the DFO! U-turn! Surely that would fill in some time. It did. I hadn’t parked the car to collect someone from Brisbane Airport before and after following all the signs and pulling up preoccupied I neglected to remember to remove a couple of items from my handbag and so took off confidently towards security. My bag was taken to one side and I was promptly collected to accompany it. “Do you have anything you shouldn’t in here?” I was asked. “Not that I know of.” I said as the friendly German security man removed a USB drive and muttered “could be this.” “Really?” I asked, “Surely every second person has one of those?” “What’s this?” He asked, holding up a small make-up bag. “Make-up” I replied obediently. He opened it and oh what do you know, a nail file, nail scissors and nail clippers. He looked at me with one eyebrow raised. “Oh” I said, “those.” “Were they a gift?” He asked. A gift? Who gifts nail scissors I thought, then thought a bit more. “Yes” I replied. “Oh” he said, looking pained “Well usually you can’t have them back but…” I raised my eyebrows and looked pleadingly like they were gold plated and irreplaceable (I just couldn’t be bothered with a trip to the chemist). “Well,” he said, you have to come back through this way so, see that man over there, ask him for them, I will tell him you will be back within the hour.” “Thank you!” I said smiling and feeling like a complete dick with fabricated attachment to a pair of nail scissors. Mum had told me she needed a new book, so while I waited at the gate I read the backs of about twenty books to find some I could suggest when she appeared, namely ones I’d also like to read. Hello Mum! Now we just had a big stretch of motorway to negotiate to get to our friend’s house - with two new books and my nail scissors. We all have friends who may as well be family - it was so good to see them! We sat up talking until our eyes glazed over (due to sleep deprivation not boredom) then it was time for bed. I was so tired I ignored the geckos in my room, they were a quarter the size of the one on the Gold Coast so I felt sorry for them really. Meanwhile, unbeknown to me Mum was chasing one around her bedroom. I’m pleased to report she gave up. Would’ve been a long night. Our friends have an incredibly large backyard which is patrolled by a rather imposing… wait for it - goose, called George. George is not to be reckoned with and if it weren’t so lovely outside I’d have been holed up inside. Fortunately for me we needed milk so Patrick and I went to the shop leaving Mum to tame the beast. “You’ll be right there Mum?” I asked smiling. “Yes, fine thank you.” She grimaced. But I knew she would be. I’ve seen her looks of distain, not aimed in my direction of course - I’ve had years to master how to melt those, anyway George didn’t stand a chance - novice! The next day we were Noosa bound, with a few stops to make on the way. First was for petrol, not exciting, next was Caloundra, more so. Mum took me there when I was in primary school one holidays and we thought we might try and find the resort we’d stayed at, or at least what was probably its new incarnation - apparently it was a while ago now that I was in primary school. We eventually decided coffee was more important and were soon sitting in a cafe overlooking the beach, the resort had probably been renovated multiple times over the years and Google was no help. Lunch in Mooloolaba, beach walk in Cotton Tree, desperate toilet stop at the caravan park. The older generation and the younger generation (younger as in “I need to go to the toooooooilet” younger) have more in common than one might be prepared to admit. “Mum! Why could you not have gone at lunchtime!” Never mind, she’s very loveable. And then we arrived in Noosa. We had a two bedroom apartment on Hastings Street with a full kitchen so we made a stop at the supermarket first. I also wanted to get a bottle of wine to have with dinner. However, being Tasmanian and spoilt for choice, when in Queensland where the only Tasmanian wine was one I wouldn’t buy at home I was a bit lost. “Can I help you.” said a voice over my shoulder. Mum had already got distracted and wandered off to another store. “Yes I hope so.” I said and explained what I was after. “Buttery, smooth finish” blah blah. “Ah then this one for sure!” He said holding up a bottle. I gave him a dubious look. “Definitely” He said with conviction “And” he said “ You can get two for $40 this week.” “I’ll just get one I think, just in case, thanks though” I said. I might have gone back two days later and taken him up on that offer, and one of the bottles made it home - in spite of the small issue of excess checked baggage. And excess carry-on luggage. We checked in, our apartment was huge, questionably decorated but with the most comfy couch I’ve ever sat on and an outdoor barbecue area, plus a laundry, two bathrooms and two bedrooms. Mum cooked. I sat on the couch with a glass of wine. The next couple of days went a little like this:

  • Coffee

  • People watch

  • Wander

  • Beach

  • Brunch

  • People watch

  • Wander

  • Beach

  • Get ready for dinner

  • Dinner

  • Write

  • Sleep

I’ll pad it out a bit with a couple of stories. Domi and Dan came to Noosa! We all met up at the Eumundi Markets on a rather rainy Saturday and proceeded as above, drank coffee, people watched and wandered. Mum took the wandering stage quite seriously and became momentarily misplaced so Dan, Domi and I set off in three different directions to round her up. Eumundi is always good but we weren’t keen to prolong our visit to the sodden market grounds rife with sad faced damp dogs and unwitting umbrella wars. Wet muddy conditions and flip flops don’t mix either - the backs of my legs began to resemble an Aboriginal painting, a boring one - the dots were all brown and less strategically placed. Things were more ordered back in Noosa, we all met for a late lunch but then had to say goodbye. It would be a year or more before we would see each other again and to put it bluntly we were all in agreement that this was more than just a bit shit. Peter Kurivita’s Noosa Beach House was a dining highlight for me, I had the Moreton Bay bug entrée, the details of which escape me now except for knowing that I loved it. This was followed by their signature Sri Lankan snapper curry with tamarind, aloo chop and steamed rice, then, the best souffle ever! Orange souffle with compote, mandarin sorbet and poppy seeds. Mum and I were sharing this dish and in spite of enjoying conversation with the people alongside I had an eagle eye on her fork to mouth movements to ensure this was evenly shared! A couple of years ago I’d been in Noosa writing for Jetstar magazine and in doing so had the pleasure of meeting many local business owners - it was wonderful to meet up with them again.

Tim was managing Noosa Longboards when we first met but I knew he also ran Noosa Woody Hire. This iconic 1946 Ford Woody was often on location at the store and I was keen to take it for a spin and get some photos! The sun was shining as we toured through town and up to Laguna Lookout for a panoramic view of Noosa, its National Park, the ocean and distant Hinterland.

It was here Tim told me of future plans for Noosa’s first brewery, at the time unnamed but now known as Noosa Beer Co, Land & Sea Brewery - follow their progress on Facebook!

On another day I went for a walk along the headland toward the National Park to watch some surfing, I set up on the stairs at one of the breaks leading to “flat rock” at Nationals. Sitting to one side on the stairs I watched the locals time their entry between waves and jump in. Not many came out the same way, most catching a wave or paddling down to Little Cove to get out on the sand. An older surfer made his way down the stairs with his leg rope already secured around his ankle, nothing like being prepared but it turned out this would be his downfall! The leg rope, attached to the deck of his surfboard got caught up on a corner of the stair rail and down he went, tumbling awkwardly with his board in tow onto the rocks below, and I couldn’t help! Not until he’d come to a stop anyway. I raced down the stairs as he was picking himself up – battered and bruised but amazingly, no breaks. His board came off second best with a smashed nose and broken fin. The man’s son had dropped him off for an afternoon surf and wasn’t due back for a couple of hours. I lent him my phone feeling bad that I’d not been able to anything to slow his spectacular crash landing. It was a fun afternoon, no more tumbles, just chatting to surfers, learning about the breaks and filming a bit. Then there was the guy with the dreadlocks who crossed the rocks with a full cup of tea on a saucer and his banjo – he must surely surf too I’d been thinking at the time – his balance was mental, the dreadlocks alone would’ve been a counter balance!

Suitably toasted I trekked back to the Surf Club to meet Mum who I found sitting in the shade reading the paper. A couple of hours after that we were sitting in Sails Restaurant overlooking Main Beach being served by a waiter who had once had his own restaurant in Tasmania, small world! After six nights in Noosa it was sadly time to leave. Cyclone Debbie was heading south towards us so it was timely that we should leave for Brisbane and be flying out the next morning. I’d planned to call into Montville and Maleny on the way back but after making at turn for the Hinterland the rain became torrential. The roads became waterfalls and the wiper speed wasn’t fast enough to see for more than a split second. I took an exit off the motorway, then off the road altogether to check maps for the most direct route to Brisbane Airport. The torrent of water continued to make the drive back frightening. Cars were relying on the tail-lights of vehicles in front but there was no guarantee this was a safe bet. Pulling over into a breakdown lane wasn’t possible either – there was no visibility to do anything but carry on at snails pace and basically blindly. We had planned to stay that evening with friends but given our super early flight the next morning and the weather report it made more sense to book an airport hotel - no risk of being flooded in this way. By the time we finally arrived to check in I felt like I’d run a marathon. I returned the hire car that afternoon – to the international airport, by this stage I just wanted to get rid of it so I really wasn’t fussed when I found out I was at the wrong terminal. It did cause some confusion for the bus driver from the hotel was though. He was waiting at the domestic terminal and giving me directions over the phone to the collection bay. I was following these to the letter, just in a completely different terminal. In the end I gave my mobile to the smirking security guard who’d seen me walk by three times and asked him to talk to the bus driver – they sorted me out, I was too tired to care but fortunately both of them had a good sense of humour. The next morning we were at the airport bright and early, the weather was bad but our flight hadn’t been delayed so we went through self-check-in before being sent promptly to the service desk to pay excess baggage. No surprise, I really should just pay this upfront when I book and not assume that one day I might pack light. Once at the gate there was an announcement stating that all guests travelling on our flight number would be subject to carry-on baggage weight checks. It was not my day. Mums was fine, I on the other hand had a backpack, laptop bag and my handbag. Long story short, I am reasonably effective at talking my way around my excess baggage restrictions – due to years of practice, and in the end I was given another bag to distribute the total weight across two bags effectively taking on board three pieces of carry-on. Winning! No one could see them anyway - it was pouring with rain and so humid outside when we boarded that the air conditioning on the plane was blowing out white air. We were basically boarding a plane filled with thick cloud, I couldn’t see the people across the aisle! I got my phone out to check the weather situation, which probably wasn't smart moments before take-off. I couldn’t make out any land at all on the radar image.

Soon after landing back in Hobart we heard they’d closed the Brisbane airport and our friends were flooded in. A wonderful two weeks away with a challenging last 24 hours but we’d made it! Debbie’s deluge would continue to wreak havoc in Queensland that week, but meanwhile, back in Tasmania the sun was out! Noosa, I will be back! I have a surf lesson to claim! *baby waves please. Tip: If you don’t want to venture too far from Hastings Street, these places will keep you happy! Aromas for coffee and brunch, Boardwalk Bistro for lunch with a view, El Capitano for pizza, Massimos for gelato, Rococco for some evening Spanish guitar and dessert, Noosa Beach House for a treat and Locale for a night cap! Track: Albert Hammond - It Never Rains In Southern California


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