Monday, 13 September 2010

To Hell and Back

One place we have wanted to visit for some time is Noosa. It is located north of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast. After Jo's run on Sunday we decided the weekend after was for us to get away and unwind. We caught the train at 5.30am from Morningside in order to make the most of the day. I felt sorry for Jo as this is the train she catches during the week and Saturdays are normally a lie in! The journey was going to be over three hours so we decided to break it up by stopping at Eumundi. This small town is host to a popular market which takes place every Wednesday and Saturday. We had both heard it was big but weren't sure how big. Once we hopped off the bus at Eumundi we realised there were between 550 and 600 stalls dotted around the town! On the left hand side were shops and cafés and over the road was the main attraction.

There is lots to see and do at the markets. Each stall has something different to offer from homemade muffins, soap, jam, ginger beer, t-shirts, local art and even ironing board covers. You name it and it's (probably) there...!
Among all the stalls were different entertainers, including clairvoyants. One guy who stood out for me was a busker on a piano. He knocked out a few tunes and seemed popular with the locals.
We have seen lots of different markets in Australia. Eumundi is now another great addition to the list. We spent about four hours in total which was finished off with a look in the local Christmas shop. I think Jo wanted to get a quick festive fix after feeling like we missed one last year :(
The bus took about an hour to get to Noosa Heads. Once we got off we could see our hostel for the night over the road. Inside we realised it was a YHA. The website didn't say anything about this but we have had good stays with them before... As we climbed the stairs, Jo sighed with relief as written on the steps was 'Please remove shoes after 11pm'. This was due to the noisy wooden floorboards. Our room was also occupied by two Germans who seemed friendly. This was good news as in the past we have shared rooms with some right fruit loops (I'm not kiddin'!)
We dropped off our luggage and headed out. Our map showed us different walks to do at Noosa National Park. The boardwalk was easy to find and off we went.
With names like Tea Tree Bay and Fairy Pools you can imagine what the scenery was like. However, Jo and I were heading for Hells Gates...!
During our time over here we have encountered lots of different species, from the likes of spiders to kangaroos, possums, kookaburras and dingos. Another addition to the list is now a goanna lizard. About halfway through our walk one crawled out from the bushes and crossed our path. It glared at us before continuing its journey into the trees. Both of us were a little bit on edge after that as we weren't sure what else was nearby. It was pretty big...!
Two hours of breathtaking views later and we arrived at Hells Gates. We were so lucky with the weather as it made the view even more amazing. We both sat and admired the view whilst trying to spot whales. The map showed the walk continuing around the coast but time was getting on. Instead we turned around and headed back.
The walk back was lovely as the sun had started to set and the beach looked even more inviting. As we exited the National Park a group of tourists were pointing up a tree. We had a good idea what it was and we were right. Perched up a tree was a sleeping koala. It's fascinating how they can balance there and manage to sleep. This one wasn't as tame as the ones we saw on the Great Ocean Road in '08 however, it was still just as cute.
We ended the day by grabbing some grub from Hog's Head followed by some ice-cream. A lovely end to the day.
Unfortunately the weather the next day wasn't as nice. It had rained all night and fortunately stopped by the time we checked out from the hostel. We treated ourselves to a sit down breakfast consisting of French toast and pancakes. We spent the rest of the morning pottering around the shops before another big walk.
We knew we had quite a bit of time before the bus left so we headed off towards Noosaville where we stumbled across a giant bird. Noosaville is the place to come for fish and chips and if you're lucky you might spot a pelican!
This particular pelican has been there for over 30 years. In the last few years it has undergone a makeover. Along with its flapping wings and blinking eyes it can also move its bill. It is one of many 'big icons' found within Australia. Back in '08 we saw the big prawn which is located in Ballina just below Byron Bay.
Noosaville is very popular for boat hires and a great place to sit and watch them come in!
We thought it would be best to go via the lookout on our way back to Noosa Heads. The walk took us up a long hill which helped burn off our big breakfast! It was really quiet with only a couple of cars passing. Once there we were rewarded with a great view over Noosa.
The loop continued down another hill involving lots of steps and more wildlife. Once at the bottom we grabbed our luggage from the hostel and then sat down whilst eating Marmite scrolls until the bus came. Another lovely weekend away.