By Noosa-based blogger My Ocean Bliss
It's autumn already and not that that's a bad thing. We are surrounded by absolutely bliss pretty much all year round here at beautiful Noosa. I do however find myself not quite ready to leave another summer behind me yet. So before I embrace all that autumn has to offer, I'd like to share some of the splendour and bliss of my Noosa Summer.
Little Cove, Noosa Heads.
I always plan to do much more over summer than I actually do! The truth is I just can't drag myself away from the stunning turquoise ocean here at Noosa and the bliss it brings to our life. It is my 'happy place', the location that rejuvenates my body and soul for the year ahead. Being connected to the ocean throughout summer is what you call a spiritual existence for my family. It is more than just days at the beach. It is by the ocean that we come together as a family, catch up with dear friends, and meet new friends from within our town, all over our great country and indeed the world. We watch and photograph many a perfect wave, sunrise and sunset, immerse ourselves in the divine salty sea, surf, surf, surf and forget about our cares and worries of the world.
First Point, Noosa Heads.
Surfer chit-chat inbetween waves...
Sitting under the cooling shade of a Pandanus tree, watching and photographing family and friends catching perfect little summer sliders and being surrounded by the beautiful summer turquoise waters of Noosa is my ultimate stay-cation. Our lazy summer days often roll on into blissful balmy evenings and impromptu gatherings. A discussion to decide 'who brings what' results in a spur of the moment picnic dinner at one of the tables along First Point. This way the family gets to catch every available wave until the very last ray of light bounces off the water (which sometimes even transitions into moon light) and we all get to bask in the delight of another gorgeous setting sun.
With sand in our toes, salt in our hair and feeling of complete contentment, we make our way home in the dark and plan the day and time that we do it all again. As busy as our little town gets and as packed as First Point becomes over summer, I just wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world.
First Point, Noosa Heads looking towards Noosa Main Beach.
The turquoise coloured waters of Noosa...
So now we are welcoming awesome autumn to Noosa with the world famous Noosa Festival of Surfing, but that my dear friends is a whole other fabulous story!
Noosa Main Beach, Noosa Heads.
Sending much bliss, Heather
Surfing legends, old guys, gals, tandem surfers and even dogs have made Noosa beach their home this week for the Noosa Festival of Surfing. It’s referred to as “8 days of pure stoke”, “a party on the beach” and “a celebration of the spirit of surfing”, and these sum up pretty well why the Noosa Festival of Surfing holds such a special spot in the hearts of surfers.
The event, now the world’s biggest surf festival, brings more than 600 competitors and their families to Noosa from around Australia, USA, France, Brazil, NZ, Portugal, Japan, China, Vanuatu and other countries to surf Noosa’s perfect small point breaks – very small so far which has meant some competition has been moved further along the beach, although we’ve been promised the swell will pick up in the next day or two.
The small swell on opening day suited some events, with tandem surfing and the popular dog surfing providing plenty of fun for spectators – and with competitors including #TeamPatches and #TeamHugsley, there’s no shortage of cute Noosa dog surfing photos around (you might also like this blog from The Wandering Lens). Also on opening day, the Magoo Memorial Paddle Out, in honour of the late “father of the festival” Barry ‘Magoo’ McGuigan, and the traditional blessing of waters beautifully represented the spirit of the surfing culture.
The focus for action out of the waves is festival village, right on Noosa’s Main Beach which has a fun vibe, with toes in the sand as you watch the competition, look through the surf expo, and in the afternoons grab a cool drink from the Beach Bar, then listen to free live music and watch surf movies as the sun goes down.
You’re likely to bump into 7-times world surfing champion Layne Beachley, 4-times world champion Mark Richards, current world longboard champ Harley Ingleby, legendary surfboard designer Bob McTavish or Ironman Matt Poole among the crowds who are in Noosa to take part and soak up the surf vibe. The Legends Exhibition on Saturday afternoon, 14 March is sure to be a stunning display of skill.
A longboarding event at its heart, the festival started in 1998, growing from the Noosa Malibu Classic and retains its spirit of camaraderie among competitors, many of whom return year after year with their families. The Family Challenge which started with mums or dads and their kids competing now has several teams which include grandchildren.
The program includes amateur and professional events for juniors through to over 70s, and has been expanded over the years to include events such as the Womp Comp, teams and tandem, stand-up paddling, a wave dog master class, and new this year is the Waterman Weekend which pits former rivals, “clubbies” and “surfies” against each other in a celebration of all forms of wave riding.
Still to come in the water this week are the logger pro final, nose rider, Joel Tudor’s Invitational, old mal rounds, teams challenge, junior longboarders, and always a colourful spectacle, the Little Humid Costume Party on 13 March (pictured left).
Out of the water, there’s live music and movie screenings on the beach including Behind the Tide; the premiere of 8 Days of Pure Stoke, a documentary about the Noosa Festival of Surfing and the history of surfing in Noosa, filmed by Panga Productions and presented by Layne Beachley; and a movie night with Thomas Campbell and Joel Tudor.
I’m looking forward to the screening on Wednesday evening, 11 March of a trailer for a new movie, Beyond Sight, about blind Brazilian surfer Derek Rabelo’s journey to fulfil his dream to surf Pipeline in Hawaii. Derek will give a display of his amazing skills in Noosa at 5.30pm and will talk about the movie.
The festival is also raising money for the Make a Wish Foundation which helps grant wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions.
The Noosa Festival of Surfing is celebrating the dedication of the Noosa National Surfing Reserve, giving all beach users a voice in protecting this natural wonder for the future. Noosa is the 19th reserve to be dedicated and was described by National Surfing Reserve co-founder Brad Farmer as the “jewel in the crown”. The reserve takes in all surf breaks from the Noosa River mouth to the northern end of Sunshine Beach, including the famous point breaks in and around Noosa National Park – a beautiful part of Australia’s coastline well worth appreciating and preserving.
The Noosa Festival of Surfing has surfing action and live music every day until Saturday 14 March and there’s live music at Cafe Le Monde, including the Surf Stomp closing party.
See Surf Shots Noosa for more great photos from the festival.
I recently had the privilege of travelling up the beautiful Noosa River on-board The Discovery Group's boat to the Noosa Everglades - it's probably one of the best "hidden secrets" of the Noosa region.
The voyage north started at The Discovery Jetty on Gympie Terrace, in the heart of Noosaville and only 5 minutes from Hastings Street and Noosa Heads. From the moment I arrived, I was met with outstanding service from the staff and boat skipper Ben. We made our way past Noosa Marina and Sir Richard Branson's Makepeace Island, and crossed Lake Cooroibah and Lake Cootharaba, all at impressive speed.
The skipper filled us with interesting facts, information and even an old folk story which was one of the many highlights of the trip. Once we reached the mystical tannin waters of the Noosa Everglades, we were greeted with amazing views in this part of the Great Sandy National Park that teems with wildlife.
The voyage then reached the single most picturesque part of the Noosa River, the Narrows. Here are just a few of the images I captured along the way.
Looking south on Lake Cootharaba.
Between Lake Cooroibah and Cootharaba
This cheeky little dude tried to steal our afternoon tea!
The stunning Narrows, on the way to Harry’s Hut.
Moored at Harry’s Hut jetty.
Eastward view of Lake Cootharaba.
Harry’s Hut, marked by this sign on the wharf.
The way to Lake Como.
The tannin waters of the Everglades... in the Narrows.
Ahhh, what a perfect view...
The mystical Noosa Everglades in all its glory - easy to see how they earned the name ‘river of mirrors’.
The Noosa Everglades is an absolutely breath-taking place and one of only two everglades systems in the world - these are the only everglades you can swim in. If you go, make sure you take a camera and don’t forget to #visitnoosa.
There's a range of ways to discover the Noosa Everglades - from the comfort of a half-day boat cruise from Noosaville to a self-guided canoeing and camping safari.
Noosa Everglades Discovery offers a BBQ lunch cruise, afternoon cruise with pick-up from Hastings Street and Noosaville, Bar-B-Canoe day tour; and a 3-day/2-night self-guided canoeing and camping safari.
Kanu Kapers offers half, full-day and 2 and 3-day guided kayaking tours or take yourself on a 1, 2 or 3-day self-guided kayaking adventure and camp in this unspoilt winderness.
For more information please call the Noosa Visitor Information Centre on 1 3000 NOOSA (within Australia) or 07 5430 5000 (outside Australia), email firstname.lastname@example.org or see visitnoosa.com.au
It’s spring and this writer’s fancy is turning to thoughts of love … and history, nature, crime and intrigue. Yes, it’s that time of year when ‘Reality Bites’ – and I’m off to the best little literary festival around. I have been every year since its humble beginnings seven years ago in the Noosa hinterland.
For four days I’m going to indulge myself totally in concepts, lessons, passions and information. If you haven’t seen the program yet, check out the Reality Bites website or find a copy at the Noosa Visitor Information Centre in Hastings Street, Noosa Heads, and take your pick of the choice morsels of literary delicacies on offer. If you can’t decide, just grab a festival pass and make your mind up on the day.
The festival starts on Thursday 23 October with a series of workshops. This year I’m taking one by poet and master of words, Mark Tredinnick. Reality Bites workshops are a favourite of mine: for a fraction of the price of a big city event I can learn from the greats of the craft and travel no further than Cooroy Library, so close to Noosa Heads.
This is the first year that the bulk of the festival is being held in beautiful historic Eumundi, with sessions split between the gorgeous Green Room (upstairs in the Lionheart Hotel) and the School of Arts, five minutes’ walk away past Eumundi's high street.
Spend Friday getting into sessions about Real Love and adding to your library at the festival bookshop, then linger for fabulous food from the Green Room kitchen and sip a glass or two of red and experience the Poet’s Speakeasy.
On Saturday you’ll need to hit the Eumundi Markets early because festival sessions begin at 9am. If you miss Maxine McKew’s literary lunch this Friday at Noosa Springs, Saturday is your chance to join her (pictured left) for a champagne breakfast and hear what she has to say about our education system. I’ll be having coffee in the Green Room, hearing what John Birmingham has to say about self-publishing. I’m also eager to hear his discussion later that day with Domenico Cacciola, the decorated ‘straight cop’ from Queensland’s pre-Fitzgerald era.
Locals welcome visiting authors on Saturday night when festival organisers also award their annual True Story Award, listen to invited guest Keelen Mailman (pictured right) give the festival address, then we get stuck into the great food and conversation, swap ideas, and party on.
The event finishes on Sunday 26 October with another day in which we are spoilt for choice. I’m looking forward to Remembering Madness, when ABC Local Radio's Mary-Lou Stephens talks with Mandy Sayer, Kristy Chambers and Will Elliot about their experience of pervasive mental illness. After that I'll indulge in some sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll with veteran music journalist Toby Cresswell who will be Talking Smack with rock journalist Andrew McMillen.
If pertinent issues and beautiful words excite you, there’s nowhere better to be in the last weekend of October. I can’t wait.
Package tickets and online savings are available till 22 October, but you can buy tickets at the door from $20/$15. For more information visit the website realitybitesfestival.org or call the box office on 07 5447 7063.
Tanya Overson is a Sunshine Coast-based writer. In 2009, Nen, the first book of her fictional trilogy, was short-listed for the Arts Queensland-funded Regional Writes manuscript development program.
One of Noosa’s major annual events, the Noosa Jazz Festival kicks off next Thursday 4 September in the riverside Noosa Heads Lions Park for 4 days of great music with Vince Jones, Steve Clisby, Emma Pask, Grace Knight, Gallapagos Duck and dozens more. It’ll be one big picnic with croquet on the lawns, river cruises, Legends Series, Tastings on Hastings and a great atmosphere.
Legend James Morrison is in Noosa during the festival, appearing at lunch and dinner shows at berardo’s restaurant & bar in Hastings St, and there are side shows in venues including Rococos, Noosa Springs Resort, RACV Noosa Resort, Cafe le Monde, Miss Moneypenny’s, Noosa Blue Resort and The J.
Running at the same time is the Noosa Jazz Party for lovers of classic jazz at Bicentennial Hall, Sunshine Beach each night from 4-7 September. Some of Australia’s best jazz musicians come to Noosa for this event for nightly jam sessions and dancing – New Orleans in Noosa, Bob Barnard, Dan Barnett, Jo Bloomfield, John Braben, Geoff Bull, Nigel Date and Paris-based jazz singer Tricia Evy.
This Sunday 31 August is Opera in the Amphitheatre in a Greek-style amphitheatre on the shores of Lake Macdonald, Corooy, about 20 minutes from Noosa. It’s set in the Noosa Botanic Gardens and is a stunning outdoor setting to hear songs from popular opera, musicals and Italian songs, presented by Operatif.
Also this weekend is the sold-out performance by Katie Noonan at the historic Majestic Theatre in Pomona in the Noosa hinterland. The Majestic, Australia’s longest continuously operating movie theatre, brings excellent acts to the region and regularly screens silent movies.
If you prefer great Aussie indie music, the countdown’s on to the first all-ages Originals Music Festival on Saturday 13 September at Noosa AFL Grounds, Noosaville with Ash Grunwald and Scotty Owen and Andy Strachan from The Living End, Sticky Fingers, Kingswood, Bonjah, OKA and more. It’s brought to you by East Coast Originals who also present the monthly Peregian Originals (second Sunday of each month) and Cooroy Originals (fourth Sunday of each month) outdoor concerts, with a great line-up of original live music each time.
Rock and Roll Outlaw Angry Anderson headlines the live music line-up at the Noosa Country Show (12 and 13 September) with an Allstar band featuring some Party Boys and Mondo Rock bassist Paul Christie. The Noosa Country Show, with side show alley, Grand Parades, animals, craft, fireworks, rodeo and more, has a 2-day entertainment line-up.
For country music lovers, the Gympie Music Muster, just 40 minutes from Noosa, has great music, food and camping this weekend in Amamoor Creek State Forest Park. There’s a bus from Noosa and you can see artists including Kasey Chambers, Josh Pyke, Adam Harvey, Russell Morris, Sara Storer, Brian Cadd, Glen Shorrick, Lee Kernaghan and dozens more.
There are plenty more venues and cafes with a great variety of live music each week, including Cafe Le Monde; Bohemian Bungalow and Imperial Hotel (which recently hosted Australian indie legends Ed Kuepper and Steve Kilby) in Eumundi; Noosa Heads, Sunshine Beach and Coolum Beach surf clubs; Noosa Yacht & Rowing Club; Harbour Wine Bar at Noosa Marina; KB’s; Noosa Beach House; Dragon Bull Restaurant and berardo’s restaurant.
So if you like great music with a beautiful view or cool atmosphere, make sure you check out live music in Noosa each week.
Warming up our wintry nights this week is the Noosa Long Weekend Festival, a favourite for lovers of music, cabaret, theatre, dance, food, comedy, literature, history and visual art. They say there’s something for everyone and with more than 200 international, national and Sunshine Coast performers in Noosa for some mid-year fun in the sun (and performing), and more than 80 events over 10 days, you would be hard-pressed not to find something that appeals.
From Cats to cocktails, prawns to politics, teddy bears to tea, burlesque to ballet, Fleetwood Mac to free heritage walks and Phantom to photography, the program really has it covered.
Opening night last Friday was, as usual, a hoot, with the Queensland premiere of Forbidden Broadway Greatest Hits – Volume One. I’m not usually a big fan of musicals, so a show that toasts and roasts the best of them could have gone either way for me. It was great fun as the four fantastic performers parodied everything from Liza Minnelli to Mamma Mia, Les Miserables and Gerschwin ... I loved hearing what the Cats performer’s next role is ... (insert howl here!)
We’re half-way through the 10-day festival which finishes this Sunday 27 July with the Festival Wrap Party at Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort and Spa – four hours of festival highlights and live music for $25. Catch the free shuttle bus leaving The J car park every 15 minutes from 11.30am-4.30pm.
There’s still plenty more to see and do including Supper Club with Rhonda Burchmore at Berardo’s Restaurant; Ali McGregor's show Alchemy on Saturday night; the risque burlesque Diabolique at Noosa Arts Theatre on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights; Prawnissimo Promenade progressive lunch at Sunshine Beach; forums with political and media commentators; and Queensland Youth Orchestra 2 at Bicentennail Hall on Saturday.
Sing along to your favourite Fleetwood Mac songs as popular festival performer and ambassador Catherine Alcorn (pictured) brings her show Go Your Own Way to The J Theatre on Thursday 24 July - it's a comical celebration of the life and success of “the other woman” in Fleetwood Mac, Christine McVie. CLICK HERE for a sneak peek at the show.
The free Heritage Walks in various villages in the Noosa region are popular each year - still to come are walks through the historical town of Eumundi (Thursday 24 July), Cooran (Friday 25 July), Cooroy (Saturday 26 July) and Kin Kin (Sunday 27 July) – all in the Noosa hinterland.
A bonus for anyone who’s attended any festival events is the Up The Lazy River promotion – just present your performance ticket and receive great discounts or bonuses at participating restaurants along Gympie Tce, Noosaville, and soak up the gorgeous river views. Also make sure you try at least one of the six Cocktail Capers created especially for the festival by some of our favourite Hastings Street venues - my favourite so far is 10 Hastings Street Cafe’s Hang 10 cocktail!
The festival has also added a splash of colour with the gorgeous Hastings Street tree lit with special red festival lighting, and a fabulous street parade that kicked everything off last Friday, featuring the 22-piece Unusual Suspects who also entertained the opening night crowd with their Balkan Gypsy music.
And for some great candid shots of festival performers from the past 13 years, make sure you see the retrospective photographic exhibition from long-time festival photographer Barry Alsop from Eyes Wide Open Images – free in the foyer of The J Noosa, 10am-4pm every day.
For the full program or to purchase tickets to Noosa Long Weekend Festival events, please see noosalongweekend.com.au
Some were regular visitors to Noosa, some hadn’t been here for some time, and for others, it was their first time to Noosa.
From food, cocktails and accommodation to Noosa National Park walks, shopping, spa treatments, cooking classes, beach yoga, sunsets and breakfast right on Noosa Main Beach (pictured), one thing they seem to have in common – they all loved their trip to Noosa!
Here are links to just a few of their stories and photos that having been lighting up the blogosphere...
Styling You: Sunshine Coast Top Things to do.
Baby Mac: Great Day in Noosa.
Mr and Mrs Romance: The Ultimate Winter Getaway and Romance Recharge.
The Noosa Festival of Surfing earlier this year brought back great memories for New Zealander Leigh Vercoe who is quite possibly Noosa’s biggest fan. Leigh (pictured) and her family, including her three children aged 10, 2½ and eight months are regular visitors to Noosa, and we caught up with her on a recent holiday to find out just why she loves Noosa so much.
What first enticed you to visit the Noosa region?
I first came to Noosa three years ago to visit friends who were here for the Noosa Festival of Surfing. I had always holidayed on the Gold Coast before that but I’ve never been back there since! I was hooked on Noosa from the get-go.
This is my second trip back to Noosa since then – I holiday here as much as possible. We even lived in Noosa for 6 months before we had to go back to New Zealand to sell our home but we hope to move back to Noosa soon.
What made you fall in love with Noosa?
The great service that you receive everywhere is incredibly refreshing – people seem so happy in their jobs.
The Noosa Festival of Surfing is also a big drawcard for me – I love catching the Noosa Ferry to Hastings Street when the festival is on. The atmosphere is unreal!
Do you ever explore the Noosa Hinterland?
We have gone on several day trips around the hinterland and it’s a beautiful region – so close to everything but you still feel like you are a million miles away.
Where is your favourite place to stay in Noosa?
We’re staying in a holiday home this time but I also love staying at Coral Beach Resort in Noosaville – it’s fantastic and so central to the river, restaurants and shops which is great for the whole family.
What are you favourite Noosa spots?
There are so many! I love the Noosa Marina Markets on a Sunday morning. In terms of dining, my favourites for brunch and great smoothies are Café Vin Cino at Noosa Marina as well as Raw Energy along Gympie Terrace, Noosaville. For larger meals you will most likely find me at Noosa Heads Surf Life Saving Club, Bistro C or the Rump House Restaurant at Noosa Marina.
What else do you enjoy in Noosa?
We’re going to visit Australia Zoo and are heading to Aussie World – the kids can’t wait!
I log into the Noosa surf cams when I’m back home to see everyone out on the beach and in the glistening water – and it’s only 8.30am! It always makes me wish I was back in Noosa.
Watching the XXXX Summer Beach Bar taking shape on Noosa’s Main Beach this week for the Noosa Festival of Surfing which gets under way tomorrow brings back great memories of last year’s festival fun. Come this weekend, we’ll be there again for the best view in town of world surfing champions, old-school longboarding, watermen, surfing dogs, groms, stand-up paddling and plenty more. And with two major Coral Sea low pressure systems looking set to dominate swell conditions over the first two weeks of March, contestants are in for a great ride.
The Noosa Festival of Surfing, with more than 500 entries from around Australia and overseas including USA, Mexico, Portugal, France, Canada, Indonesia, Japan and New Zealand, is the world’s biggest surfing festival, and sitting on the rocks at First Point or at the beach bar is the best seat in the world for those eight days (that’s a big call but there’s always something so magical about this event).
Surfing legends in town include world champions Layne Beachley, Tom Carroll, , Rabbit Bartholomew and Wendy Botha, shaping gurus Bob McTavish and Simon Anderson, and Hawaii’s 1970s superstar Nancy Emerson.
The Backpacker Challenge this weekend has brought novice surfing backpackers to Noosa to learn to surf in the perfect, safe conditions.
From backpackers to bow-wows, the surfing dogs workshop is at Dog Beach, Noosa Woods from 8am this Saturday 8 March. The “best in show” will take to the waves at First Point from 2.30pm on Saturday in what is always a favourite spectator event.
So grab your spot on the rocks of First Point or at the Beach Bar and enjoy the action – see noosafestivalofsurfing.com for daily schedules. If you’re not in Noosa this week for the festival, there’s four hours a day of live action webcast through Swellnet.com
It’s the last day of summer and while some of us are wishing we’d spent more time on our tans or perfecting our surf stance, there’s still plenty of sunshine left in Noosa.
I always wish there’d been more time for swimming and sunset drinks at the beach after work (after all, it’s been 8 days since my last swim...) but it’s almost like an endless summer here in Noosa, so no complaints at all.
The swimming all year round in Noosa is beautiful, winter days are gorgeous with crisp blue skies and clear waters, and all the activities you love in Noosa in summer are just as great at other times of the year: stand-up paddling, kayaking, boating, sky-diving, beach horse riding, surfing, bike riding, bush walking, kite surfing and climbing a hinterland mountain!
Speaking of surfing and Endless Summer, can you believe the movie of the same name that many people think is the best surf movie made is 50 years old? One of the original stars, U.S. surfer Robert August will be a special guest at this year’s Noosa Festival of Surfing on Friday 14 March for a 50th anniversary screening of the movie that follows two young surfers around the world in search of the perfect wave. He’ll do a live narration for the free screening on the beach at First Point, Noosa Heads from 6.30pm.
There’ll be more about the Festival of Surfing next week but the world’s biggest longboard surfing festival is going to be a week of amazing surfing and fantastic spectator action – from dogs to beginner backpackers and world champions to groms.
So make sure you head out see the last sunset of summer and have a toast to bring on autumn!