Noosa and Brisbane

Noosa, or specifically Noosa Heads, is a pleasant little resort town on the Sunshine Coast a few hours north of Brisbane. I came here primarily to catch up with a couple of friends who were heading northwards, but spent a nice couple of days here. The main beach was wide, with mild surf one day (ideal for frolicking in the waves) and almost flat calm the next (for an hour of swimming). Right next to the town was a small rainforested national park, with a three hour walk along the rocky coastline, where I spotted a pod of dolphins cruising along, with the return track through the forest itself. At the return point was a huge, virtually deserted beach (pictured below) which apparently is also an informal nudist spot – I didn’t come across any naked people though đŸ˜‰

Pod of dolphins Alexandria Beach
Halse Lodge, Noosa

Halse Lodge, Noosa

The hostel that I stayed at, Halse Lodge YHA, was pretty impressive – an 1880s wooden building, with a really good atmosphere, helped particularly by the public bar. In the evenings, many local Aussies would come in for a drink and chat, which made you feel far more immersed in the local culture than many hostels. My second night ended up in a local nightclub, as the bar atmosphere had properly buoyed up my social spirits – and other spirits flowed as well!
On from Noosa, via the first public bus I had taken on my travels, I continued on to Brisbane, capital of Queensland. The hostel here was significantly less enjoyable than that at Noosa, being more akin to a hotel, although its rooftop views of the city were very good. I hadn’t made any real plans for Brisbane, apart from a rough walking guide provided by a Brisbane resident I’d met in Noosa, so most of my time here was spent wandering around looking at the city. The CBD (Central Business District) of the city is sited on a loop of the (inspiringly named) Brisbane River, with the main business and retail areas within the loop on the north side, and the arts and university areas on the south side. This has resulted in the river being crisscrossed with bridges, with around eight on a four kilometre stretch. My particular favourite (yes, I know I’m a geek having a favourite bridge) was the steel-truss Story Bridge – I think that its raw industrial design appealed to me.

IMG_5143 Former Treasury
Brisbane by night Cheeky Lizard

The complete walk, including an abortive visit to Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art halfway through a major exhibition change, took around five hours – made longer than it should by encounters with an ice-cream-eating lizard and a severe blister explosion. Once back at the hostel, my foot treatment was interrupted by a fire alarm – this is to become a feature of my hostel stays around the world, I’m sure. It was with not much regret that I headed for Byron Bay the next day…

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