Like the famous Gold Coast south of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast north of it is famous for long sandy beaches and surfing. We want to try surfing (neither of us has done it yet), but our journey north served a different purpose: we wanted to visit the biggest sand island in the world: Fraser island. We chose Noosa as a base, because it seemed nicer than Rainbow Beach and had more accommodation options.
The part of Noosa along the beach is nice but the shops are not cheap. We spent some time window shopping before we spotted a gelato parlor and treated ourselves to our first ice cream in Australia. The main street which goes to Noosa Junction bus station is more of a backpacker realm with cheaper shops and a supermarket.
Surfers trying to catch a long wave
We had just over a day there before our island tour started and decided to take it easy. Being lucky with the weather we went for a walk along coast of Noosa Heads National Park. The park is covered in lush forests, which are a pleasure to explore. Along the coast high rocky cliffs around headlands give way to beautiful sandy beaches in the bays. We stopped on the beach for a snack and out of nowhere a load of naked people appeared so we knew we had found the local nudist beach. The park is home to a great number of animals, but we only saw birds and a few turtles. The koalas who live there were very good at hiding and we could not spot any. Viewpoints on the headlands granted great views over the pacific. It was the beginning of the whale season, but despite searching hard, no whales were there to be seen.
Heading back around towards Noosa Heads. The path was now tarmacked instead of soft sand and a lot busier. The two beaches along the north end of the the national park were very busy with sunbathers and surfers. They waves were easy and all surf schools used them for their beginner lessons. It seemed there weren’t too many waves to catch as most of the people were just floating about on a board.
After we came back from our island tour we spent one day chilling and sorting stuff out. Our only outing was to a café near the supermarket for a treat of scrumptious hot chocolate made with liquid chocolate and steaming milk.
On our last full day we went on a day trip to the famous Australia Zoo. Greyhound runs one bus service per day each way which gives you enough time to explore the entire zoo. We started with the Australia section with wombats, kangaroos koala bears and birds. One of the first things we noticed was how much space animals had. The aviaries had much fewer birds in them than we had experienced in other zoos for example. We were also surprised by how close we could get to some of the animals. There was a sleeping koala to stroke and lots of lazy kangaroos to pose with and pet. The kangaroo fur is so soft, even softer than the koala. We also did well not to shout at the children who insisted on touching the joeys in their mum’s pouches while their parents said nothing. Maybe up close and personal encounters should be with dangerous animals to scare the children a little.
We were aiming to get to the famous crocodile show at noon. A Christian youth choir did a warm-up act singing and dancing and were actually quite good. It was very good to turn up early as the arena gets very busy. The main show started with another crowd warm-up from two of the staff members (Crikey!), before various species of birds got introduced and flew around the big arena. Sadly the music was way too loud to hear the birds properly and the staff team didn’t say much about them. They even had trained pelicans and cormorants picking food out the pond. After a brief interlude about how to respond to a snake bite, the star of the show, a big saltwater crocodile entered the arena. The crew had to tease it quite a bit to entice it into the open. It was then hand fed while we got a lecture about how to stay safe from crocodiles. The show was very dramatic but not bad.
Afterwards we caught a shuttle to the Africa area to see some giraffes, zebras and rhinos before making our way to Asia and the tiger feeding show. En route we stopped on Bindy’s island to see lemurs and tortoises. During the tiger show the keepers explained some things about natural behaviours of these amazing big cats and told the big crowd about the conservation efforts of Australia Zoo to save the (sumatran) tiger.
On our way back towards the exit we enjoyed walking through the wetland area with birds and saw some more crocodiles as well as dingos. Soon enough it was time for the return bus.
Sadly this was our last day in Noosa, but we had a good time there and were looking forward to exploring more of Australia’s east coast.