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Exit via Noosa

Noosa Heads might just have won on account of not being Uluru. But I reckon it’d have won anyway, in small town terms. It’s a lovely little place – turns out it’s one of the most upmarket, posh seaside towns on east coast Oz (which, bear in mind, covers 2500 km – close to the whole length of the Mediterranean). But I’d never have guessed it was the equivalent of St Tropez from the looks of it – ‘posh’ here is a bit more chill than Europe. It has a bunch of nice shops and restaurants – nothing over the top – but folks on the streets are mostly just be-flip-flopped and friendly; more nice than Nice.

Plus, it has a coastal National Park walk which is probably one of the loveliest walks of my life. We started by accident – were just wandering along the beach front, watching the surfers (cyclone had brought in hella surf – but no rain!), found a lovely wooden boardwalk that wound around the trees, overhanging the cliffs with surf views – and just kept going for what turned out to be a 10 km walk.

It was fabulous. Easy walking – some proper path, some rough tracks, some beach walk; mix of fabulous rainforest with koalas living in the gumtrees (*sigh* didn’t see), rocky headland with massive waves and windtunnel strength winds (seriously – felt like indoor skydiving: a few seconds in the full force and I backed away to safety: it would only have taken a little increase to knock me off my feet); massive sandy bays full of raging whitewater and froth in the cyclone aftermath.

View from Hell’s Gates across Alexandra Bay. It’s not normally all white.

We made the classic mistake somewhere around here ^^^ after a long beach walk, before hitting a more coastal path, of going to dip our toes in the sea to rinse the sand off our feet, and wondering where all the sea had disappeared to, and walking out to get it. Then realising that All The Sea was approaching very quickly. And running like hell back as the first wave broke at knee height, and the second wave came in at waist height, and by the third wave – soaking us up to the shoulders – we’d just about reached some wooden posts that could hold onto.

Anyway – never mind our mini waves. The surfers were out in force for a better reason. That is the only sport in the planet which I can watch forever – as Vanessa discovered for the first time. I’ll count it as revenge for World Cup football. It was wonderful! The waves were – according to surf reports the next day – truly epic, up to 10m record heights, with world class surfers having flocked in. Even the aptly named headland of Hell’s Gate, where the wind was craziest and waves were highest, had a bunch of willing lunatics ready to give it a go. Hard to do justice with camera phone – these photos don’t really convey the sheer mass of the water versus the surfers (who seemed more focused on staying afloat than surfing, sensibly enough).

Three surfers. No idea what size that wave is, but gotta be getting close to the 10m point
One small surfer, possibly saying ‘shiiiiite’

Anyway, it was just a rather blissful few days of doing nothing much; a holiday within the holiday. Our apartment turned out to be surprisingly massive, much bigger than home in London, with a balcony where we could watch the rainbow lorrikeets at breakfast, and a great communal facilities that were unused by anyone else in the small block – a large pool, barbecue and massive jacuzzi.

Rainbow lorrikeet

And Aldi had surprisingly excellent fillet beef at $25 / £13 per kilo, a third of London price, ready for that barbecue. Happy days!

Fleeeesssssshhhh. And sweetcorn.
The waves died down to a much more mellow level the next day. Still fun for me!

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