Posts Tagged ‘Sunshine Coast’

I used to think “If you’ve seen one market, you’ve seen them all.”  I had to adjust my way of thinking since we learned that markets are huge in Melbourne and Australia and since we were about to encounter the biggest arts and crafts market in Australia in our visit up to the Sunshine Coast.

Our friends in Melbourne told us that we must visit the famous Eumundi (pronounced eyu-muhn-dee) Markets.  From our hotel in Coolum we took a quick bus ride to the markets.  The market boasts over 600 stalls and receives over 1.6 million visitors each year!

We spent over three and half hours meandering through the stalls.   We so enjoyed taking in all the sights, sounds, smells and colors.

It was all a bit overwhelming for us.  Who wants –or better yet, who needs– jumbo licorice or a wall hanging made out of cutlery?  Needless to say, we didn’t end up buying anything.   That said, the morning trip was so worth it.  We loved experiencing the markets and the small-town charm of it all.

Our favorite stall was the man playing the didgeridoos or didjeridu (pronounced didge-eh-reh-doos).  More accurately, he was playing the didgeridoo, the bass drum, and the guitar…all at the same time.  The didgeridoo is an instrument from the Aboriginal culture and dates back at least 2,000 years.  Some believe it’s been around for 40,000 years!

The man playing the didgeridoo at Eumundi was super talented and that talent coupled with the unique sound and tone of the didgeridoo drew the largest crowd of all 600 stalls.

If you’ve never heard a didgeridoo before, the sound is amazing and unlike anything I’ve ever heard.  View this quick video to listen and watch a quick sample although it doesn’t really do it justice.

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To wrap up our Sunshine Coast experience, I wanted to share a random mish-mash of photos of the beautiful things we encountered on our getaway.  Sometimes words are not necessary.

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As many of you may know, one of my favorite hobbies while in college was rock climbing, which of course means that I do not fear heights.  The same can’t be said about our little Laura.  Her biggest fear is heights and that is what this blog post is about.  We won’t go into my biggest fear because I am a MAN and I don’t have any. Ha Ha.

Laura conquered her fear on Mount Coolum (aka Coolum Hill to us westerners) during our stay up at the Sunshine coast.  Granted, the Hill did pose many obstacles that can be seen below from washed out trails to fenced off areas stating that death lies beyond this point…

and a climb that was carved right out of a rock face…

…or the roots of a tree…

The end result – Laura, “The Great,” conquered her fears and I got some pictures of the sun setting over Noosa. 

Laura was extremely proud of herself given that the trail had a sign that  reads “Experienced Climbers Only”.

I can’t explain how impressive she was on that day because I gave her multiple opportunities to turn around and she chose to forge ahead and summit Mt. Coolum.

Side note – This climb was a lot more epic that I can possibly catch with words and that is why you don’t see to many posts from yours truly.

Laura’s note – I would like to point out that the climb was supposed to take at least two hours and we did it in an hour or so.  Additionally, as you can see from the pics, we had little to no sunlight on the way down.  And finally, to give it some perspective, here is the monster of a mountain we conquered:

Photo Courtesy of: Mount Coolum Golf Club

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I am not a nature girl.  I will almost always choose an activity where I can stay clean, warm, and dry over any activity outside.  I’m not overly proud of this fact but “it is what it is” as the saying goes.  So I admit that when we were deciding between sitting by the pool reading or spending the day trouncing around a National Park, I was tempted to opt for the pool.  Ryan almost too easily agreed with me since he had spent the past couple of days at a work conference.  In the end, our adventurous sides won out (and how often can I say that?) and we decided to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Noosa, a supposed “Must-See” when in Queensland.

We took advantage of the free shuttle from the hotel for the short twenty-minute ride.  Many people visit Noosa for the awesome shopping but we wanted to explore the long walk through the Noosa National Park .  One of the most amazing things about this park is the Coastal trail that follows the coast for miles and miles and we were lucky enough to walk next to views like this:

The experience was amazing.  We enjoyed the serenity of the ocean and even I enjoyed all the nature that surrounded us.  Stops along the way included lovely names like Tea Tree Bay, Granite Bay, and Little Cove (shown below).

We stopped in the mostly deserted Alexandria bay to write our names in the sand

Apparently this beach is attracts nudists but the day we visited was far too cold for anyone to be in swimsuits, let alone in their birthday suits.  The only exciting thing we saw while in the bay was a storm coming in from the ocean so we decided to press on.

While walking to the next check point, Hell’s Gate, the rain came in.  Once we arrived, we took in the breathtaking views from the cliff.

This was also where we shared probably my most treasured moment on the walk.  We were not well equipped since we weren’t anticipating rain and all we had was Ryan’s light coat.  There was little in the way of shelter so we lifted the coat above our heads and huddled together closely until the rain subsided…(insert swooning here).

We took the inland trail back to the town for a change of scenery.  All in all we walked about 10 km (a little over 6 miles) of the 2,290 hectare (5700 acre) park.  We had a relaxing lunch at a lovely little restaurant in Noosa and afterwards with our stomachs full, we felt revived enough to take on the climb up Mount Coolum.  There was no stopping us that day.

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When we told our friends and family that we were moving to Australia, we heard it all.  We were told to watch out for the great white sharks.  Someone told us that Australia is home to 8 out of the 10 deadliest snakes in the world.  We were warned about the huge poisonous spiders.  And on the other side of things, others asked for photos of kangaroos and dingoes.  Someone (you know who you are) asked if we’d get a pet koala.  “No” was the answer to that question.

We have seen our share of animals since we arrived.  This last weekend at the Sunshine Coast we captured some photos of nature’s creatures to share with you all. *Note: no animals were harmed in the making of this blog post.

I captured a couple of shots of this kangaroo as he was hopping across the pedestrian path at our stay in Coolum.

I mentioned in a previous post that kangaroos were not afraid of us in the least.  While out for a walk I ran across a kangaroo family.  The female (flyer) or male (boomer) was with the little baby (joey) on the bridge but the other adult was hanging a bit behind.  And all three of them were staring at me.  Now, tell me it was not my imagination.

The other adult, feeling clearly protective hopped quickly over to the pair…

Then all three of them proceeded to give me what I recognized as the death glare….I’ve given it before.

So I hurried on my way back to the room to get ready for the night’s events.  Walking up to our room after that night’s festivities, we spotted this little gecko (?) on the wall of an outdoor stairway.  Ryan managed to get a few shots of him before the little guy scurried away.

The next day at the Eumundi markets (post to follow) we were enjoying some live music when we saw a crowd gather near the stage.  Apparently a snake had also come to enjoy the sounds of the band.  Can you find it?

Finally, on our last day as we enjoyed some coffee on the deck of the pro shop at the Hyatt, we had the company of two ducks.

Yes, we’ve seen plenty of ducks but never Australian ducks!  Those are entirely different.  Still on the must-see list: koala, great white, and emu.

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I’m feeling all relaxed these days.  I know, I never thought I’d hear myself utter those words again.  This last weekend was Part II of our honeymoon and we headed up to the Sunshine Coast.  Ryan had a work conference in Coolum at the end of the week so we made a long weekend out of it.

Coolum is on the Sunshine Coast in the Australian state of Queensland, northeast from Victoria.  We both had been looking forward to the trip for awhile and despite a day delay in our trip due to the Chilean ash cloud, we were not disappointed.

We got a small taste of what was to come when we were flying in to the Sunshine Coast.  Ryan took some great shots of the Coral Sea as we were approaching, including this one below.

The conference was at the Hyatt Regency Coolum, a fabulous, 150 hectares (about 370 acres) golf resort, where the Australian PGA Championship is held.

The resort was something spectacular.  It is situated near Mount Coolum, which we ended up climbing on Saturday.  Ryan will recount my amazing feat of bravery and courage in an upcoming blog post.

There was so much to take in at the resort; a private beach, a relaxing spa, a golf course, an amazing spa, nine pools, a tennis centre, a fabulous spa, an activity centre, and can I mention the spa?

While Ryan and his co-workers were busy at the conference, I was busy relaxing.  Hard work, I tell you.  I had a therapeutic massage at the spa, walked around the resort, sat by the pool to read, which I rarely have time to do back home, and made friends with some inhabitants.

I was amazed at how close the kangaroos were – not afraid of lil ol’ me, in fact, the opposite was true.

It was clear that I was the visitor in their homeland.  I was the intruder.  Later I found out from one of Ryan’s co-workers that these seemingly adorable creatures can be downright vicious and that their legs and feet that they use to hop are also incredibly powerful weapons.  Not so adorable anymore…

My dreams of a pet kangaroo squashed, I ventured down to the beach club.  From the club there is a short winding walk through the trees to the beach. I love these kind of walks and I bet you know what I mean.  I could hear and smell the ocean before I could see it.

The promise of what was to come was almost too exciting.  And I wasn’t disappointed…

Private beach is right.  There were just a few other people out there enjoying the pristine beach with me.  I felt very VIP.

Walking back to the room to meet up with Ryan, I heard a very loud commotion, which was strange given how quiet the resort was.  I turned around and noticed my ride had finally arrived.

Ok, so not my ride, but someone who was clearly important (or wealthy) had been privately helicoptered to the resort, complete with small security detail.  Imagine my disappointment when it wasn’t Tiger Woods who exited from the helicopter.  I never figured out who the mystery guest was.  As a shameless photog, I could only get so close and didn’t have time to change to the MEGA long-range lens.  I had visions of someone running over to me and tackling me to get my camera but luckily, I left the scene with my dignity (somewhat) intact.

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