Noosa is the holiday-homing capital of Australia for the rich and famous. Spread across four suburbs that litter the mouth of the Noosa River, the town is a hub for all things water based. We were staying in the Noosa Heads area, right next to the beach, where the posh toffs with their Dolce & Gabbana swimsuits and expensive jewellery manage to live harmoniously with sweaty, sunburnt backpackers and the local surfers, most of whom are in damn good need of a haircut and some shoes.
We had been invited to stay at Halse Lodge YHA for 3 nights (loving the work freebies!), in the only heritage listed building left in the Noosa Heads area… not bad! A mere stones throw from the beach and close enough to the main Hasting St shopping strip to hear a cockatoo fart, it was the ideal location for a bit of rest and recuperation after too many kilomètre à pied!
We were treated to some great weather in Noosa and as such we hit the beach on the first day to catch some rays and brush up on our Frisbee skills. We browsed the expensive shops, and generally nosed around the town, before being treated to complimentary meals and beer at Halse Lodge. Excellent.
Our second day enjoying Noosa involved a trip to the Noosa Everglades with the Discovery Group. Cruising up the Noosa River into one of the two Everglades systems in the world (the other being the well known Florida Everglades), the boat took us winding along the eerily black waters, where the tea-tree oils gifts the water with “healing properties” and a wonderfully reflective effect. We crossed 2 of the everglades lakes, Lake Cooroibah and Lake Cootharabah, which at a maximum of only waist deep and the deepest point, you could, if you were a little insane, walk straight through the middle from one side to the other.
With a hearty Aussie BBQ lunch of steak in our stomachs, the route back was slightly less casual. Our vessel for the return leg (not the whole way back to Noosa, thank god, just back to the edge of Lake Cooroibah), had morphed into a cluster of 2 person Canadian style canoes. Battling against the strong costal wind and the tidal current of the Noosa River, we wobbled our way back along the waterways encountering some beautiful sights and interesting creatures along the way (including some snakes that fancied a dip in the healing waters!). Canoeing was great; albeit more tiring than we had expected it to be – it turns out our guide had hand picked the “stronger looking people” for the return leg due to the wind and current conditions (that explains why most of the girls and the effeminate American guys had gone first).
On our return to Noosa, we cruised back down river towards the mouth, disembarking our vessel at the pontoon in Noosaville. As we made our way along the final stretches of our trip towards the pontoon, our guide told us a little more about the goings-on down on the Noosa River. As it turns out the council previously left an interesting loop-hole in their mooring contracts here, which allowed people to actually live permanently on board their boats for the bargain price of just $80 per year. Not a bad rental rate if you ask me! The longer people stay on their house-boats on the river the longer they have to develop them, with some coming so far as to literally look like houses floating on the river; balconies, rocking chairs, and all. The most famous of which is known as the Hillbilly Hilton – far from luxury this one, but well known nonetheless – who’s eccentric resident works half the year in the mines and then spends half the year bobbing around on the Noosa River for disgustingly low rental costs. The clause in the contract means he has this mooring for life! Safe to say the council have now revised their contracts.
You can’t really visit Noosa without visiting Noosa Heads National Park and completing the coastal walk out around the headland, where you can check out the surfers “shredding” the breaks at each rocky outcrop of the coastline. From this idyllic location, if you’re lucky you can spot koalas in the trees, dolphins in the bays, and whales further out to sea as they migrate from the frozen south to warmer northern climes. We were unfortunately not so lucky…
Another Noosa treat was a visit to the local farmers market held every Sunday on Weyba Road. A great stop off for a graze on all the free tasters from the local food stalls. Cheese, olives, breads, dips, sausages, all the gourmet goodness you could ask for on a Sunday morning!
As our time in Noosa came to an end, it was actually hard leave. But onwards we must go, continuing our journey south back towards Melbourne and cold south.