Our second to last stop on our trip is the Sunshine Coast of Australia. There are two primary reasons for choosing this location on our trip. The first is a desire to visit the Australia Zoo, created by Steve Irwin “The Crocodile Hunter”. The second was to reconnect with Fiona, a friend of Deanna’s who worked with Deanna at Rivers Edge Camp.
Brisbane to Noosa
Our flight from Cairns to Brisbane (pronounced Brizbin) was uneventful other than my head congestion wanting to leak out of my ears. Flying with a head/chest cold is not a ton of fun. We landed and met our driver who was tasked from getting us from Brisbane to our hotel in Noosa which is about two hours away. Our travel agent thought it would be a good idea to weave a Brisbane city tour into the transfer so the first couple of hours were spent driving around Brisbane. It seems like a nice city, but as Deanna said, we’ve seen a number of nice cities on our trips and this was just another one. Had we been staying, it might have been a good overview of some areas to explore, but that wasn’t the case.
The drive to Noosa was good. It turns out our driver also plays guitar professionally. I introduced him to one of my favourite Flamenco guitarists Canadian, Jesse Cook. We got to our hotel about 7:00 P.M., made our way to our suite which involved obtaining card keys from a lockbox, navigating a path in the dark (lights not working). It’s a very nice suite with a separate bedroom, living room and bathroom with both a tub and shower. It has a patio with a couple of chairs and table. It also has a washer and dryer so bonus. (Spoiler alert, the dryer worked).
The hotel was 500 m between two areas of Noosa , each of which has restaurants, shops etc. We weren’t particularly hungry so we opted for some nachos at Montezuma’s Mexican Restaurant and Bar. They were fine, nothing to rave about.
Easter Monday is Zoo day and our guide showed up promptly at 9:30 to take us to the Australia Zoo, which is about an hour back towards Brisbane. It turns out this is a private tour with just the three of us. She took us through the Zoo, which is about 100 acres in total. It’s separated into various geographical areas with animals from those areas found in enclosures that attempt to recreate their native habitat as closely as possible.
One of the main attractions at the zoo is the Crocodile show. Staged in a large outdoor theatre style complex, it’s an educational show that informs the guests about crocodile behaviour. Given this was a long weekend with kids wrapping up their school break, it was fairly busy. We had the treat of the show being performed by Steve Irwin’s wife, two grown children and a number of other zoo keepers.
Steve Irwin was a one man crusade who is responsible for introducing large number of people to the challenges of managing complex ecosystems in the world. He used his TV show, The Crocodile Hunter to educate, entertain and raise money. He is still quite revered here in Australia and both our driver from Brisbane and our tour guide mentioned it’s typical for people to recall exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard of his death in 2006. His family is continuing his legacy with investments in various areas of research and eduction.
We spend the better part of the day wandering the zoo grounds. We got to feed some Kangaroo, hold a Koala and generally had a good day. We dodged rain drops a few times and had to wait out a small downpour,but all in all the weather cooperated.
The trip home took us along the Glass House Mountains which is a range of ‘mountains’ within the Sunshine Coast. They’re interesting and provide a beautiful backdrop for the drive back to Noosa.
We took a bit of a break before heading down the hill into the Noosa town centre for dinner. We tried a sushi restaurant, but it was full. Next door was Aromas a French bistro style restaurant that could have been plucked from a town in the south of France. It was very good.
We’ve ate many meals outdoors on our trip, it’s been a real treat to be able to do that.
As mentioned above, one of the reasons for staying in Noosa was the chance to reconnect with Fiona. We weren’t sure this was going to happen at all given that she ‘just’ had a baby (Theo) on April 2nd. It all worked out. Fiona and Theo arrived at our hotel to pick us up for an afternoon of touring the Sunshine Coast. We travelled along the coastal road taking in some spectacular ocean vistas along the way. We stopped for lunch in Mooloolaba before turning around and heading back towards Noosa. We had to make a stop at the worlds largest pineapple though, because why not. It was a nice visit, we got to meet Theo (who was super cute and didn’t make a peep the whole visit).
After spending a couple hours back at the hotel, our second social outing of the day arrived in the form of Catherine, the sister of Lana who lives not far from us back home. We met Michelle briefly last summer when she was back in Canada helping Ed celebrate a milestone birthday. When Lana heard we were going to be in Noosa, she suggested we reach out to Catherine. We had a great meal at Rock Salt. As Deanna mentioned, we have more of a social life here than we do back home :)
We’re off to the airport in the morning for our last flight before heading home. Fortunately we don’t have to drive back to Brisbane as there is a Sunshine Coast airport with flights to Sydney. It’s less than an hours drive from Noosa.