At this time of year we start thinking about lying on a beach – warm sand underfoot and the sun overhead. This year we decided to do something about it rather than just dreaming and took ourselves off for a week at Fairshore Noosa.
I sometimes get frustrated at the travel time spent getting to a destination but flying to Brisbane isn’t too bad. However the looming prospect of direct flights to the Sunshine Coast will make it even easier and will become a tempting weekend destination.
Once we had cleared the terminus and had our Thrifty rental car sorted we were on our way north to Noosa along the Bruce Highway. Sun shining, good roads, data roaming turned off on the phones so that we didn’t come home to an horrendous mobile phone bill (a lesson quickly learnt after our last trip to Australia) and a holiday to look forward to, all was well and got even better on reaching our destination of Fairshore on the seaward side of Hastings street at Main Beach, Noosa.
Check in was simple, with an underground carpark, all key access is by electronic FOB, all the units overlook the beach and the pool/barbeque area. These units are of the highest quality and have a minimum of one master bedroom and a secondary bedroom, and most units have multiple bathrooms.
The accommodation is truly five star, at self contained and partially serviced standards. The kitchens are completely modern and spacious and flat screen TVs, audio systems and Austar is standard. When we say “partially maintained” we mean that the apartment is visited daily, beds made, towels replaced where necessary and rubbish cleared. It is NOT a full hotel clean service with linen changed daily etc.
The pool is heated to 28C degrees and the adjoining spa is 36C degrees. At the end of the pool is a barbeque area with tables and chairs – great for the evenings when you don’t want to eat out but want to eat outdoors. The outdoor areas are maintained in a spotless condition and were well used by apartment guests. Another very clever design touch is that there are secondary barbeque facilities on the first floor landing deck overlooking Hastings Street. The chairs and sofas here are comfortable which makes this a great area to meet with friends, and it caters for all weather conditions.
Days start early here and by 5.30am the beach is already showing signs of life with walkers, joggers and swimmers arriving for their morning exercise. We aren’t quite that enthusiastic about early morning starts but we did start the day with a walk along the length of the beach with its golden sand, followed by a swim in the warm sea which ranges from 22 to 25C degrees at this time of the year. On the first day I was rather surprised to see a reasonable sized fish swimming nearby while I was only in mid-calf deep water.
The surfers and stand-up board riders arrive in force at the southern end of the beach which is their regular haunt, but the winds can be fickle as we saw, and on some days they had to paddle some distance to find suitable waves. Kayakers are also about; this is definitely a place for anyone who likes being in or near the sea. By 7am we are on our way back to our room for breakfast as the numbers of people on the beach increased significantly. The very efficient surf patrols in their distinctive and easily seen yellow and red uniforms are also out early on foot, in the water and on beach buggies to help ensure the safety of everyone using the beach.
I always think of the Sunshine Coast as always having beautiful weather. I don’t know why because over the years I have experienced the same variety of conditions as you get anywhere; only it is always a bit warmer. This trip my thoughts, as usual, were only about sun, sand, sea, food and wine so it was with some, albeit short lived, disappointment that after one idyllic day a wet dull daybreak dawned after a violent night of wind and rain lashing the region. Outside the waves were enormous, the rain fast and furious but of course there were a few hardy surfers getting their fix.
Our planned trip to the hinterland was re-scheduled which was just as well because the main newspapers reported trees down, road closures and 250mm rain in 4 hours where we had intended to visit. The golf courses around the region are able to cope with these large amounts of water so were back in business the next day, so even storms can’t prevent you from enjoying your golf for too long.
The dark side of the weather had arrived, but although a day on the beach was out, all the other activities around Noosa opened up for exploration. First decision, stay in the magnificent, comfortable and plush apartment or go for our daily walk on the beach. Simple decision, walk the beach. The wind and rain were about but it was still warm and not unpleasant. Crabs hid under the sand, with seagulls looking for breakfast, waves crashed against the rocks and streams appeared amongst the rocks. The scenery was wild and magnificent with the high seas and waves changing the look of the beach.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Noosa, there are various parts; Noosa Junction, NoosaVille and Hastings Street. Hastings Street is relatively short at about a kilometre long and is flanked by a variety of shops including boutique clothes, art galleries, plus apartments and just about every restaurant type you can find. It is also the home of the Noosa Hilton and Sebel (which is being re furbished). Walk out of the entrance to Fairshore Noosa and you are in the heart of it but still less than 50 metres from the famous beach. Just about all of Hastings Street is undercover which protects you both from the sun, and the amazing rain that we experienced over 24 hours.
Even though it isn’t long it does not mean that you can traverse and walk the length of the street quickly as I found out to my cost. The time spent waiting on the other half doing her shopping!!!
The food options in Noosa are wide and varied from Asian, Italian, Seafood to standard Aussie fare. We did not experience a single disappointing meal.
However for those of you who wish to self-cater there are multiple supermarkets within 10 minutes of Fairshore Noosa, and a dairy right next door. Beware though as unlike New Zealand some supermarkets close at 5.30pm (promptly), so don’t be like us and leave your shopping until after you have completed your day’s activities. Another catch is that you cannot buy wine and beer in the supermarkets. But there are usually retail wine and beer outlets nearby.
The kitchens in the apartments are modern and well stocked with utensils. There are wall mounted oven and ceramic hobs with crockery and cutlery in great quantities, a large refrigerator and freezer plus the (required) dishwasher. Cleaning the kitchen is NOT generally part of the limited service but everything you need to keep up your housekeeping is provided. (A tip for a novice traveller(s), do take a container of laundry powder with you, and soap. What the operators issue with may not last the distance if you are staying for several days, and it is expensive to replace.)
While Sunshine Coast is popular among kiwis, it is about to become much more accessible. Air New Zealand will begin scheduled passenger flights to and from the Sunshine Coast Airport this winter, marking the first-ever international scheduled passenger flights in and out of the airport.