After my second visit to Noosa, one of the main towns on Australia’s Sunshine Coast, I have come to one conclusion.
It’s basically impossible to take a photo where it doesn’t look beautiful.
I fell in love with Noosa over Christmas, when we celebrated the holidays on the beach with a couple of great backpacker friends, had a giant monitor lizard try to join our barbecue, and best of all, I saw a wild koala for the first time!
This time, we explored more of the area – not that it’s a huge place, but most of our trip last time was spent in the main town, on the main beach, and a very small portion of the national park walk (where we saw the koala!).
I’d like to have done the full circuit walk of the national park, but we settled for reaching the view over Sunshine Beach – except I was more distracted by dolphins.
The coastal walk is stunning and by far my favourite thing to do in Noosa. If you’re lucky, you can also spot turtles (and in winter sometimes even whales!), and we stood around this spot for ages seeking them out to no avail.
I was more than happy with an earlier spotting on land though – another koala!! Koalas are my FAVOURITE Australian animal besides the elusive platypus, and I will forever get excited every time I see one. They’re like real life teddy bears with chlamydia! (…yes, really. You probably want to avoid being scratched by a wild one! But they’re still super cute from a distance!)
This one was a young one out of habitat, in the wrong type of tree and quite a distance from where they are normally spotted in the area, and had been reported in case it had got lost.
He certainly seemed happy enough, posing for pictures, but I do hope he found his way home okay!
After our traipse along the coastal path, we headed back into town to the other end of main beach and found ourselves on the inland strip behind the park. We actually came here over Christmas around sunset, but it looks SO different during the day.
From the aptly named Doggy Beach, you can walk up to the opposite end of Main Beach, but not before seeing some sand banks in the middle of the peninsula. You can take some fantastic pictures if people are around – how photoshopped does this look?!
Eventually we headed back into the centre of the main town. It’s resorty and expensive and full of posh hotels and boutique stores, but the atmosphere is of calm and relaxation, and that’s pretty infectious. There’s a certain charm, particularly because it’s essentially one street, and even though the beach is touristy I just love it. I think it’s also because it’s popular with Australians so it still feels “local” (unlike the Gold Coast). After all, I’d never even heard of Noosa before coming to Australia, and although a lot of backpackers pass through, it’s not really geared up towards that scene at all. While this isn’t necessarily a good thing (because it’s harder to find good deals), I think it’s nice to have a place like this (i.e. not the same as every other backpacker town) that appeals to everyone.
We had planned to spend a second day in Noosa, but as it would be Wednesday, I realised we should visit the Eumundi Markets instead.
Eumundi is not very well known on the backpacker trail, but occasionally the name pops up and always with the same comments and reviews, particularly from locals.
“It’s the best market ever! Don’t miss it if you have the chance to go! Seriously, it’s huge!”
The markets are open on Wednesdays and Saturdays every week, so it seemed silly not to go when we were camping nearby in our van. I love markets all over the world, but to be honest I was a little apprehensive about all the rave reviews of this one. What would make it so special – I mean, really? Would it be food stalls, overpriced arts & crafts, or quirky clothing? Would it be more like a farmers market? I didn’t have a clue what to expect.
I needn’t have doubted the reviews. It was ALL OF THE ABOVE. We parked up next to a few fruit & veg stalls, and meandered past them to some chocolate and fudge stalls. Then we turned the corner and started to realise how big these markets are.
They sprawled out over lanes and lanes of marquees, indoor sections, stairs. There was EVERYTHING – food from all around the world, handmade wooden signs, paintings, handmade clothing, tarot reading, caricature drawings, face painting, pop culture art, homewares made out of old records, natural therapy, supplements, handmade bird houses (these were THE BEST but strictly no photography and I didn’t try to sneak one), clay, pottery, glass, leather. You name it, this market has it.
Normally, I love markets for the atmosphere, discovering local culture and occasionally I might buy something. Here? I WANTED TO BUY EVERYTHING. JUST TAKE ALL MY MONEY.
And give me a spare suitcase to take home.
It was devastating not being able to pick out a few bits, because it’s always hard to justify keeping things safe from harm and adding weight to your luggage.
How cool are these?! My favourite though, was a stall by the amazing “deShan” who draws pop culture pics in super cute styles!! I wanted SO MANY of her things. I got chatting to the lady behind it too and she was so friendly – she has also been doing the 100 drawings in 100 days challenge (which you can see on her website) and all of them are flawless!
deShan also has an etsy shop that delivers worldwide – I think I know what I’ll be buying when I get home!! (ALL of the Marvel, Disney and Harry Potter!)
I think what struck me the most about these markets is how organised it is for a small town event. After the chaotic layouts in Asia, it was nice to have a little bit of order. Even the website is brilliant and you can browse all the stallholders.
So the reviews are right. It’s the best market ever! Don’t miss it if you have the chance to go! Seriously, it’s huge!
Eventually, I dragged myself away (or probably Ash dragged me) and it was off to Rainbow beach for the afternoon before heading north to Fraser Island. It had been a great start to our 25 day road trip and I knew it was only going to get better!