Having spent four months of this year in Europe, I realised how much I’ve fallen in love with Australia.
While I will always be a European at heart and miss it terribly, this big ol’ island I now call home has managed to sink its claws in. And I don’t mind at all.
Before I went back home, I was going through a bit of turmoil, torn between where I felt I belonged and where I should be. But as seems to happen in life, things worked themselves out and now I’m happy to be right where I am.
Part of embracing life in Australia is making the decision to explore more of the country. And now I know I’m going to be here longer than originally planned (a year – which has quickly turned into four) I can take time getting to know the country and her secret spots.
Last week, I returned to Queensland for the first time in 17 years and remembered why I loved it so much. Number one – there are no flies or mossies! Hallelujah! Number two – there are no flies or mossies. It makes sunning yourself so much sweeter, and means you can leave the windows open without being attacked by Aussie-sized flying things.
Of course, there are a hundred other reasons to love Queensland. It’s a big state – 5 times bigger than Japan, 7 times bigger than the British Isles and 2.5 times bigger than Texas, so as you can imagine, there’s more to explore than a one week visit would suffice.
We spent our week in Mooloolaba, on the Sunshine Coast, and discovered it’s the perfect place for a family holiday: patrolled stretches of beach, clear, clean water, a little or lot of surf – depending on what you fancy, children’s playgrounds dotted along the coast and great restaurants lining the foreshore.
If you’re looking to do something more arduous than sunbathe, the Sunshine Coast Coastal Pathway runs from Tewantin near Noosa in the north, passing through Maroochydore, Mooloobaba and Caloundra before ending south of Caloundra at Bells Creek. The photo above was taken along the stretch of the walk between Moolooaba and Alexandra Headland, which is an easy, and beautiful, stroll.
Glass House Mountains National Park is nearby, UNESCO Noosa Biosphere Reserve is just 30 minutes drive north, and Fraser Island only 2.5 hours drive north. In the winter months, whales are spotted frequently just off the coast during their annual migration and dolphins play on boat boughs throughout the year.
If you haven’t already visited this part of Queensland, you should definitely put it on your wish list. I know I’ll be back up that way soon.
*Qld facts source: Queensland Government