I'm afraid I got a bit behind with my blogs because this has been such a busy week. It started with a trip to the Southside to an antique warehouse where I spent a very pleasant hour and managed to pick up a token, but very appropriate, birthday gift for my opera loving neighbour John. I also found a copy of 'The Ultimate Book of Doing Up Old Junk' which I shall study in depth. It might enable me to start a joint enterprise with my friend Denise when I get back to the UK although she is already so brilliant at stuff like this that she probably had a hand in writing it. I had my retired lady neighbour on the other side in for pasta and wine that night and went to bed very content with my day.
On Wednesday I headed North to visit the Sunshine Coast. This involved a train to Nambour and a bus to Noosa, the popular holiday destination at the top of the Sunshine Coast. The bus goes through Eumundi, which is famous for it's markets held on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday mornings, and there is a bus stop right across the road from them so it is very easy to get off and have a wander round and then get on the following bus one hour later. The markets are sold as a tourist attraction and are consequently packed with people as are all the cafes and restaurants in the town which seem to exist pretty much to service the market goers. When I came back through there later in the day the area that had been a hive of activity in the morning had that 'after party' air when everyone has gone home.
As it nears it's destination at Noosa Heads the road runs alongside the Noosa River through Noosaville, mostly restaurants with a few boutiques, into the little town of Noosa itself and then out to Noosa Heads. Noosa Heads has a beautiful beach which backs onto the national park and is a perfect place for camping although there is plenty of alternative accommodation for those who don't like to be under nylon. The whole area is absolutely stunning.
I had a walk around Noosa town and then caught a local bus back to Noosaville for a walk by the side of the river and then another on to the small historic town of Tewantin which was the original settlement in the region and was established in 1871. The Noosa Ferry Cruise Company operates between Tewantin and Noosa Heads and stops at seven points along the route. They sell tickets onboard and you can buy a day pass that allows you to join and leave whenever you like. Unfortunately I didn't have time to make the most of this and I caught the bus back from Tewantin to Nambour for my return train.
Seeing Noosa is not seeing the entire Sunshine Coast and I realised that with a bit of planning I could get a train to the southern end, bus my way up the coast and then get the train back from Nambour again at the northern end. So for those readers who might be interested in a day trip up the Sunshine Coat from Brisbane for around $50 USING A GO CARD (travelling off peak would be about $10 less) here is what to do: Train from Brisbane CBD to Landsborough, 605 bus from Landsborough to Caloundra Station, 600 bus from Caloundra to Maroochydore Station, 620 bus from Maroochydore to Noosa Heads, 631 bus from Noosa Heads to Nambour, train back to Brisbane. This might appear to be a real chore but it is actually very simple. The bus at either end is timetabled to meet the train (631 and Nambour/Brisbane train run once an hour) and all the local buses run within minutes of each other from the same stop. They do not run immediately next to the beach for the entire journey but the road is mostly only one block back and, because they are local buses, and run frequently, you can get off and back on wherever you like. The cheapest tour bus that I could find from Brisbane to Noosa cost twice as much and you are at the mercy of the scheduled stops and timetable. Of course you could do it the other way around starting from Nambour and heading south. For any travel arrangements within SE Queensland go to the online Translink Journey Planner. It is totally comprehensive giving train/bus times and numbers, where to change which platform/bus stop to go to and how much it will cost you. I wish we had something as good as this in the UK.
So that was my Friday. I got off the bus for a wander round at Maloolaba which reminded me very much of the Florida gulf coast complete with wharf shopping/eating experience similar to Johns Pass at Madeira Beach. I also got off at Maroochydore which has a lovely beach and the Maroochy River with a range of watersport activities to enjoy. The whole journey was painless and relaxing and, for me at least, eminently preferable to being on a coach that stops at pre-chosen eateries and retail opportunities.
On Thursday afternoon I visited the 75 acre Historical Village at Caboulture about 30mins north by train. The village has a free shuttle bus and if you 'phone them and let them know what time your train is arriving they will meet it and then drop you back at the station when you are ready to leave. The village has more than 70 original buildings including a settlers house, incredibly basic but surprisingly homely inside, church, masonic lodge, schoolhouse and hospital. Many of the buildings have been furnished as they woud have been when in use and there are thousands of other, fascinating exhibits from old radios, televisions, sewing machines, cameras etc to farm machinery cars and engines. It really is worth going to and on certain days they have volunteers in costume although I suspect these would be really busy. Apparently there were a group of 130 schoolchildren there at the same time as me but I didn't really see them and for the most part I had the place to myself. All the staff are volunteers and all are very friendly and willing to help with any questions.
I wont bore you with the very many photo's I took but just to give you a flavour and then this is the hospital, built as a house in 1900 and converted in 1920. This picture is for my sister this one is for my dentist friends and this one is for my friend Jacqui
I ended my week at a party given for John by his daughter and talked with some interesting people including a lady originally from Jamaica who had lived in Wolverhampton for years and ended in Brisbane via five years in Papua New Guinea.
Tomorrow I am preparing a Birthday lunch for John and his wife Sony and already have plans for the rest of the week including a train/bus trip south to the Gold Coast.