While not really off the beaten path, as you will see them on-route from Brisbane to Noosa along the Bruce Highway, not everyone stops to take in the beauty of them.
The Glasshouse Mountains are a series of steep-sided plugs formed from hardened lava dominating the Sunshine Coast hinterland. According to Aboriginal legend, the mountains form a family with Tibrogargan being the father at 364 metres and Beerwah being the mother at 555 metres.
Anytime of the year is a perfect for bushwalking or picnicing in the Glasshouse Mountain National Park.
Located inland from Caboolture and 61 km from north of Brisbane.
In the land of all things big, here is your serving of pelican.
This species (well, not this one exactly but the smaller real version) is very common in Australia. Though you frequently see them not far from the sea they are generally an inland bird and abound in estuaries and lakes hundreds of kilometres from the seashore.
This one is on the waterside walk at Noosaville, just inland from Noosa Heads. The paved walk winds around trees, mangroves, picnic tables and car parks along the foreshore of the inlet behind Noosa.
There's all kinds of boating here from noisy jet skis to gentle sailing boats and fishing boats in all sizes; alongside kayaks, canoes, paddle boats and other assorted craft.
On the other side of the road are assorted accommodation houses, generally slightly cheaper than staying beachside in Noosa but great for families.
I penned the following when I got to the car after I did the walk.
"Missing were the dancing, leaping droplets dappled by the strobe-like shafts of the filtered sunlight penetrating the leafy gaps; the roar of the water smashing against rock faces pulled inexorably by gravity to the falls' edge; the erratic gentle glide of a falling leaf rudely interrupted in its flight when the torrent grasps it from the air and bears it downstream.
Today there's a carpet of dead leaves strewn across the rocky watercourse; a drought-brown undergrowth surrounded by the mocking green of the trees; drips instead of flows cascading down the mountain.
The drought, soon to be the worst in 100 years, has taken hold in Kondalilla, though the over-100 bird species so far identified in the reserve are very audible with their presence."
That gives you a sample of what it was like while I was there. The tree in this not-my-best photograph is a strangler fig. It has strangled its host tree which has long ago died. I met an expat English couple en route and they said their 12-year old niece had climbed up the inside. Oh to be young (and thin) again!
No, this is not Mount Tinbeerwah. This is a picture taken from Mount Tinbeerwah. Though it's only 265 metres high, its location and relative ease of accessibility lead some tourists to go and have a look.
Another attraction is abseiling, an activity for which U-bolts have been permanently inserted for those who are so inclined (vertically, that is).
At the summit, which is reached after a 500 metre walk over mostly solid rock, there are expansive views, particularly over Noosa Heads. There are three panoramic views listing the relevant visible points. There is one side where there is no explanation. That happens to be the side you're looking at here.
It is yet another volcanic remnant, a central core remaining after all else has been eroded.
The views are aided by the solid rock which means that there is little vegetation to spoil the vista.
The mount is somewhere near Tewantin. My vagueness here is because I was dozing off in the car while Rosemarie was driving and have no idea where the turnoff is! I can tell you that it is signposted though.
Peregian Beach is archtypal of what everyone expects of an Australian beach. Sun, sea, surf and sand. The four "S"'s are all here and in abundance.
The grand skies of Australia, criss-crossed by the artistic brush strokes of nature's cirrus clouds, set atop an emerald sea washing onto pristine sands. Yep, it's not hard to find on the Sunshine Coast, or many other places on the Australian coast for that matter.
Peregian is much less developed than Noosa but has still managed to move with the tourist boom, prices having trebled in the last five years.
There's a place towards the south eastern side of the main street in Maleny called Poet's Corner. Obviously someone was thinking of similar establishments, in more famous overseas places where writers would gather, when they built this restaurant.
It also happens to be set above an art gallery and has wrought iron surrounds on the verandah.
Views through a small patch of bunyah pines to the coast add to the allure while inside, there are paintings just below some stained glass which is, in turn, just below the ceiling.
There is one interesting characteristic about these portraits though, three are missing. When I inquired as to the reason I was informed there had been a contre temps between the owner and the artist (nothing new there) and so they were never completed and thus have become a talking point in themselves.
Point Perry sits at the southern extremity of Coolum Beach. Coolum Beach is a remnant of what beach suburbs in Australia used to be like in the '60s. Small shops, all on the main road, beach on the other side of the road with a grassy verge behind it. There were a lot of places like that. Now, on the Sunshine Coast, Coolum is the only place that approximates it.
Yep. here's another one. Classic Aussie beach that is. This shot is taken from Point Perry looking north to Noosa. Just past the rocks is the patrolled section of the beach and this is one where you don't have to worry about fashion too much. It's probably the most laid back beach on the Sunshine Coast.
There are several ferry operators who conduct cruises on the river to suit all occassions. There are lunch and evening tours, morning and afternoon tours which include tea, coffee and biscuits. We took a very enjoyable 2 hour tour mid afternoon which took us down the river to see the Noosa National Park and mangroves, then out to the river mouth. Our tour was just 2 days after Steve Irwin,'The Crocodile Man" was killed by a stingray and along the mangroves we saw at least 6 small stingrays. The tour also took us along the canals where the rich and famous holiday in the fabulous homes. An excellent commentary was provided.
The best way to see the luxury canal homes is from the water and the easiest way is to take the ferry cruise. The ferry operator will take you close up to the homes, explain the history of many of the mansions, you will learn that the beautiful beaches in front of the homes are man made and usually have to be replaced each year. Canal development in Australia is now being restricted due to enviromental issues.
In tropical coastal areas the mangroves are essential to the eco system, they are the breeding grounds for many types of wildlife, birds, fish, crabs etc etc. Sharks are common to mangroves and much further north you will find crocodiles. These photos were taken whilst on ferry tour from Noosa Wharf.
We visited the small town of Cooroy located inland approximately a 20 minute drive from Noosa Heads. It was a nice clean town but the purpose of our visit was to view the Cooroy Orchid Society's annual Spring Show. We were surprised when we went into the hall, orchids in bloom were everywhere and the quality was a good as any of the big city shows. Well worth the drive and we then continued on to the Eumundi Markets , a further 15 minute drive down the road.
Where do they get these names for Australia's National Parks? You just wrap your tongue around the Warrumbungles and Mutawinji and then there's another one.
This park has two main tracks, the Picnic Creek trail (2.4kms) and the Kondalilla Falls Circuit (4.6kms).
The former doesn't involve much variation in height but the latter takes you to the base of the 80 metre drop of the falls after which the park is named.
The park is situated on a well-signposted side road in Flaxton, conveniently just down the road from where we were staying.
I loved it. There we were at Maleny in the German restaurant with the fine sweeping views over the Glasshouse Mountains late on a pleasant spring day sipping our cups of tea and, just slightly, feeling the chill.
At that moment the waitress brought out two tartan blankets for Rosemarie and Shirley to keep them warm. I just had to take a picture. I'm sure you'll all understand.
I have to say it's the first time in all my years of dining out that this has ever happened!
Most backpackers start their Fraser Island adventures in Hervey Bay. Since I had limited time, I couldn't arrange to get to Hervey Bay and join any 3-day camping on the Island. Instead, I joined a day-tour from Noosa Heads. It's a bit rush I must admit but I could see already quite a lot under the horrible weather conditions.
For more info, please see my Fraser Island page.