sunshine coast, queensland, australia
Quite typically for a Victorian I have spent my whole life travelling up and down the east coast for holidays in Queensland, visiting family members who started migrating north when I was eight years old. My father moved to the Sunshine Coast about twelve years ago and can hardly go 10km without running into someone from his hometown.
There is something entrancing about endless days of sunshine; the reliability and the copper glow on everything you see. A Victorian can grow weary of the mercurial whims of southern weather but the savage winds and unpredictable sky have their own energy that ruthlessly drive a resident to walk a little faster and make the most of each moment.
For a Melburnian tourist the attraction of a locale closer to the equator is for a short time the ability to breathe, to slow the pace, to lengthen the day, to soak up the uninterrupted sunshine. The Sunshine Coast provides these benefits and, to appease the southern hordes, is home to some of the best coffee spots and eateries for miles around.
One look at the location (halfway up the hill) and the logo font, I knew Little May was the cafe for me. The milk jug rinser confirmed my instincts. Little May used their unique blend from Bear Bones to make a comforting caffe latte that shook off the cobwebs from the night before.
I was in Montville for a wedding and now having seen a reception at Clovelly I'm not sure I can imagine one anywhere else! They put on an incredible spread for dinner on the verandah and served us hot cups of peppermint tea on the lawn the following morning to combat a blustery winter's day in the hills.
The road to Montville winds through lowlands to highlands, not unlike the drive to Olinda or Sassafras or up to the Swiss Alps. Sparse, low marshy brush gradually gives way to dense copses of tall timber as you make the ascent into the Blackall Mountain Range. On the way you will pass Australia Zoo but being terrified of reptiles I have no desire to stop there. The town is home to any number of B'n'Bs and boutique hotels, including Tree Houses of Montville where I have the ambition to stay one of these days - so long as there's no spiders...
No trip to the Sunshine Coast is complete without a stop in Noosa. The beach really is incredible; sheltered enough for young ones and paddleboards but also enough surf for beginners and boogie boards. There is so much on the go in Hastings st, shopping, snacking, ice cream eating... it is a very stimulating place to stay; the beat of the town very much speaks to the heart of a Melburnian.
The beach in winter is a treat for a Melburnian but sooner or later a shopping day will be necessary. I wasn't able to find a vintage warehouse like Ballarat's The Mill or the Waverley Antique Bazaar (let me know in the comments if there is one for my next trip) but I did come across Yandina's Collective Haus. Set in an old chapel, I was there to praise the gods of style and marvel I did at the gorgeous collection of vintage designer clothes, antique notions, curios and jewellery. While I didn't purchase, my weakness is for retro kitchenware, I did indulge in a latte from the cafe set up in the vestibule.
Cheers to happy hour at Pizzami! Excellent bar service and a well chosen selection of beers on tap, including my fave Mountain Goat Beer Steam Ale, and a new-to-me stunner Cricketers Arms' Spearhead Pale Ale. This was the perfect spot to start your evening in Peregian or to settle in and enjoy the warm night, good pizza and gentle flow of conversation around you.
I declare Peregian Beach to be my new home away from home, this is a village that you can fall in love with. Situated on a small stretch of coastline between Maroochydore and Noosa, Peregian is close enough to all the major tourist spots but entirely self-sufficient, you need not go anywhere else during your stay. The town centre is built up around a garden square filled with huge trees, perfect for children to climb in and amuse themselves throughout dinner. There are no high street shops, instead boutique after boutique of local designers and artisans that offer a mix of their own wares and goods from around Australia. Shameless plug, my parents have a house five minutes from the square and are offering it on Airbnb, it's all yours if I haven't booked it already...