Caro and I had our 14th anniversary yesterday and decided to celebrate by doing what we do best: Nothing.
But not just regular old Nothing. We chose Nothing in a Beautiful Place. And not just regular old Nothing in a Beautiful Place, but Nothing in a Beautiful Place on a Glorious Day.
Yep, we slothed out in Noosa.
We’ve lived in the Noosa area for almost six years and, I have to admit, I have become a bit blasé about how special the region is. While we initially lived down by the beach at Peregian and could enjoy the daily beach stroll, we now live up in the mountains and beach trips are less frequent.
Noosa is a resort town. There are times when it’s just best to stay away (read: school holidays) and times when you can have the beach almost to yourself. Yesterday was one of the latter.
I have a soft spot in my heart for the Main Beach at Noosa. When you leave the ostentatious hubbub of Hastings Street, take off your thongs and scrunch your way down to the water, a social equalisation takes place. Most people on the beach seem to be from elsewhere (or just have never been in the Queensland sun before). They’re there in their newly-bought bathers, tempting the sun-gods with their pale skin and often introducing their city offspring to the joy of crashing waves and soft white sand.
Perhaps this surge of oneness with my beach bumbling brothers and sisters is due to the sound. All those waves creating a white noise that short circuits the chattering brain. Maybe it’s the sun replenishing long lost Vitamin D; a sensation that awakens skin receptors shut down through lack of use and makes me remember that I’m not a mind attached to a computer. I have a physical body that can also experience the world.
Whatever it is, I love it.
Noosa is a unique beach to visit. While many know it for its upmarket beachside shopping precinct of Hastings Street, the Main Beach is top and tailed by natural beauty. To the south, the headland is a National Park, and to the north, the haven of Noosa Woods creates a green oasis out of what is ostensibly the main car park.
We spent much of yesterday hidden on the beach’s edge in the Woods. The council have recently made these areas more people friendly with grassy groves and paths while keeping the dune integrity.
The bush turkeys seem to have multiplied and got a lot cheekier, gladly scavenging through your belongings while you’re nearby.
More shocking, when I ventured down to dip my toe into the water, was the recently-cyclone-exposed two metre rock wall along the main beach; a reminder that nature can be quite forthright in reclaiming what is hers.
The only thing that keeps Noosa from being the perfect beach destination is its lack of a decent fish and chip takeaway by the main beach. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes to sup chardy and scoff some beer-battered barra and chips. But when I’m at the beach I want to eat my fish and chips out of butcher’s paper, on the ground, with a fanbase of turkeys and seagulls hoping that this is their lucky day.
Yesterday was not the first time I’ve got a bit starry-eyed while strolling the Noosa shores. On a previous visit, I recall being overwhelmed by what could only be described as a feeling of bliss and well-being. That day, we had walked up into the National Park and took in the awesome spectacle of nature that is Noosa – the blue ocean, the explosive blow-hole and undeveloped coastline for as far as my eye could see.
Perhaps my love of Noosa is also compensation for how I used to feel about it.
When we visited on holiday 10 or so years ago, I hated the place. I thought it was pretentious and dull with way too many hills and backpackers. We were staying on top of the hill and didn’t have transport, so every time we went anywhere we’d have to go up and down the stairs of Noosa Hill. I’m not even sure how many steps there are – I just know that it felt like a thousand. As I wasn’t a particularly fit person then it was my own version of a Himalayan trek, but rather than trancendence, it just made me cranky. For the whole week.
And while I’m still not be a fan of Hastings Street, I see it as the trade-off for the keeping what makes Noosa special: the beauty of its flora and fauna. If it means the developers keep out of the National Park then they can knock themselves out in Hastings Street.
(Although with the recent Hastings Street makeover of paving, plants and benches coming in at a very Hastings Street price of $10 million, you’d have to wonder if anyone could afford to construct a building there now.)
But Noosa isn’t just about Hastings Street or even the Main Beach. It’s about removing ourselves temporarily from our material world and experiencing a reverence for our natural environment. It’s about approaching the earth that sustains us with respect, and nurturing her so that we can all benefit from her rejuvenating gifts. This is why I love Noosa – and now that I think of it, why I love the girl who brought me here.