By guest blogger Liz Bond - This Magnificent Life
Today, it’s hard not to visit a beach and see some Stand Up Paddle boarders (SUP’ers) enjoying their sport on the fringe of the surf riders. Or better still, seeing an early morning SUP’er on a quiet river or canal going through their daily core exercise.
The urban myth is that SUP’ing is as old and traditional as surfing, originating in Hawaii generations ago.
That’s only half true.
The reality is that Stand Up Paddle boarding is a modern phenomenon, emerging from the surf of Waikiki in the 1950 and 60’s. When the famous surf classic, Buffalo’s Big Board Classic at Makaha, first included SUP as a category, the sport took off, capturing the public’s imagination. The rest, as they say, is history.
SUP’ers are generally the fittest people you will meet.
Just like swimming, paddle boarding is an all-body workout. It strengthens your core and stabilization system, requiring your connective tissue to generate power through your hands and out your feet. It’s great for stamina and improving balance. As a result your legs, arms and torso are forced to work in unison. It truly is a magnificent sport for overall fitness.
SUP Noosa is Noosa’s original Stand Up Paddle board outlet. Hayden Stintman is a SUP evangelist. His love of the sport is contagious, his knowledge is second to none, and he’s a nice guy as well! Haydyn took TML for a quick lesson a few weeks ago. We were amazed at how much fun this sport can be and how much of a workout your body gets. (You really will discover muscles you never knew you had!)
SUP Noosa is in the perfect location whether you’re new to the sport or a seasoned professional. Right on the (relatively) quiet banks of the Noosa River, you can stay close to shore or take off for an adventure in either direction, either upriver or towards the ocean.
What first comes to mind when you think of Noosa Heads on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast? If you said a strip of ultra-cool boutiques, award-winning restaurants and luxury holiday accommodation you would be right. If you said it was the jumping-off point for one of the most magnificent wilderness areas in Australia you would also be right.
Just a few minutes away from all the low-key glamour of Hastings Street at Noosaville you can jump aboard a Noosa Everglades Discovery boat to start delighting in a relaxing cruise through a pristine eco-system with the biggest variety of native bird species in Australia.
For the fact obsessed: Over 44% of all Australia’s birds species reside within the Noosa Everglades and 700 native animals and 1,365 plant species call it home. The Noosa River system combines with the Cooloola section of the Great Sandy National Park to make a haven for both endangered and more common species. The Noosa River is Australia’s only river system with its entire upper catchment protected in National Park.
A winner of a Qantas Tourism Award in 2008 the Discovery Group aim to please. The cruise is ideal for those who don’t like organised tours or of you’re a backpacker, couple or family. This cruise provides endless opportunities to capture some truly remarkable photos for the iPhone photographer or professional.
Favoured with Noosa’s usual February weather of cloudless cornflower skies and little or no breeze, our cruise left Noosaville and within minutes we had seen cormorants, pelicans and herons as well as the more rare Kite soaring overhead. The Everglades are not just picturesque they are spectacular with the constantly changing landscape turning from mangroves to large expanses, mud islands, wetlands and narrow waterways.
The still waters of the narrow reaches make for astounding reflections. Then open water and endless water lilies. You can say goodbye to the boat for a while after a cuppa to take a paddle in a canoe upstream to our barbecue lunch spot at historic Harry’s Hut. This is one of the sites of the early timber cutting industry. After lunch is the perfect time to cool off in the river.
As the afternoon light changes so do the photo opps with different birds and stretches of silver water. This is an experience not to be missed – away from the surf beaches and the cafes. Who knew this paradise was so close?
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I have mentioned previously how well fun and fitness go together in Noosa and I am not alone in thinking this, although some take more advantage of it than others. This weekend, April 27 and 28, will be a perfect showcase when thousands of elite athletes, weekend fitness junkies, families who love to stay fit together and those who just love to run, swim or cycle come to town for the Noosa Ultimate Sports Fest.
With nine events across running, swimming and cycling, the festival (formerly the Noosa Winter Festival) boasts an event for all ages and fitness levels (the 5km family fun run being more my cup of tea). With ocean swims in Laguna Bay, which is looking stunning this week, hinterland cycle events and runs that take competitors through beautiful beach scenery, it will also be a fantastic spectator weekend.
Apart from the competitors events, there is plenty of action off the track at Festival Village in Noosa Heads Lions Park which has become “event central” for the wonderful festivals that make the most of Noosa’s year-round mild weather.
After discovering the expo at last year’s Noosa Triathlon event, I am looking forward to the HOT 91.1 Sport & Lifestyle Expo (open Saturday, 10.30am-5pm and Sunday, 7am-2pm) with exhibitors showing the latest in nutrition, sportswear, bikes and more – great to have a wander around whether you love catching up with the latest bicycle technology or are looking for new swimmers or sunglasses.
Make sure you drop into the Visit Noosa marquee and pick up a gorgeous Ultimate Noosa postcard, pictured, to send to family and friends – just a little bragging about your stay in Noosa is allowed!
There’s also plenty of fun at festival village all Saturday afternoon with a jumping castle for the kids from noon to 5pm, and live music with acoustic duo Finchington from 1-3pm. On Sunday, kids will love The Little Street Circus from 9-11am and they can knock their socks off on the jumping castle all day. Live music is by Jesse Taylor from 9.30-11am and again from noon to 1pm, just before the cycling presentations.
There is also great entertainment along the event courses, with the Northside Youth Jazz Ensemble performing along the run course at Cloudsley Street, Noosaville on Sunday, 7-10am (hopefully getting everyone in the mood for the Noosa Jazz Festival later this year). DJ Jimi entertains runners and spectators at Webya Rd roundabout, Noosaville from 7-10.30am.
If you want to avoid parking hassles, park in the Cooyar Street car park in Noosa Junction and catch the shuttle bus to Noosa Heads Lions Park on Saturday, 11am-5pm and Sunday, 5am-2pm.
See all the swimming events around Noosa Main Beach, Tea Tree Bay and Little Cove on Saturday, with cycling and running events on Sunday. Click here to see the event timetable.
The start of summer is always something worth celebrating – great weather, the water’s warmed up (not that it’s ever really THAT cold), the town’s already buzzing with holiday makers, Christmas is coming, and a cold drink at sunset seems to taste just that little bit better....
The gorgeous Christmas tree lights on the Hastings Street roundabout are officially turned on this Friday at sunset, just in time for the first day of summer on Saturday.
And what better way to celebrate summer this Saturday, December 1 than with a mix of sand, sport and music on Noosa’s Main Beach at the SLAM Festival, an amateur beach volleyball competition that tours some of Australia’s best beaches?
Noosa kicks off SLAM for this summer – it’s the second year SLAM, the largest volleyball event in the southern hemisphere has come to Noosa. We hear it’s already shaping up to be a great day with dozens of teams registered for a day of fun, fashion and music in the outdoors. Anyone can join in the round-robin knock-out competition – there’s also plenty of action for spectators!
SLAM ambassadors, the beautiful Mowen Sisters (an elite beach volleyball team of sisters Justine and Jordan who are number one in Queensland and hope to qualify for the 2016 Olympics) will be helping teams with their warm-ups and giving handy hints on how to win. Online registrations are open until midday on Friday so head to www.slamfestival.com.au to register.
The tournament gets under way at 11am on Saturday. DJ Romeo will pump out the music on the beach throughout the day, while Michael Morgan will play live on the Noosa Heads Surf Life Saving Club deck, overlooking Main Beach from 3pm. Fish out of Water, supported by Soula will be on the main stage from 4pm and the party continues at Noosa Heads Surf Club right through ‘til about 11pm. Bring on summer!
There is something nostalgic about traditional wooden boats and steam boats with memories of a bygone era – so I am really looking forward to heading down to the Noosa River on Saturday 27th October for a picnic with family and friends to watch the Noosa Classic Boat Regatta.
The Regatta features traditional wood motor or steam powered boats, putt putts and classic pre-70s motor boats with pre-70s power and traditional wood sail boats and really is a beautiful sight to see.
If you want to get up close, why not head to the Noosa Marina in the morning to admire the gorgeous boats before they head out for the Regatta and if you are one of the lucky owners of a classic pre-70s boat, why not register and enjoy the fun!
In fact they will be spending a week in Noosa for their official Training & Recovery Week in June/July. This involves training for 3 days at the Noosa Dolphins Rugby Club in Sunshine Beach and 2 days of Rest and Relaxation.
We are pretty sure they will be out and about enjoying all things Noosa, enjoying our gorgeous beaches and I reckon a surfing lesson is definitely in order for the team!
If you know anything about rugby, you probably know that the British Lions have a massively huge following and apparently their tour attracts about 25 000 fans that travel around the world following them – this is great news for Noosa and the Sunshine Coast!
I am pretty sure my mates will be excited with this news – no doubt Noosa locals will become popular with friends and family wanting to visit at this time to see the Lions in action.
Between now and then, I had better catch up on my rugby, starting this weekend with the 7’s!
Adventure and multisport has a new home base in Queensland! Our beautiful town was chosen as the new location to host the first round of the 2012 Anaconda Adventure Race National Series, set to kick off this weekend!
How lucky are we? Race organisers say they moved the Queensland chapter to Noosa, from the Gold Coast, to make the most of our stunning coastline and hinterland. I suppose this scenery would make it all the more easier to get to the finish line.
People of all ages will flock to Noosa this weekend, whether it is to be part of the main race or the all-new Anaconda Mini, a shortened version of the main event, which will give those new to adventure racing a taste of the sport, without the intimidating distances. Even though, this event is ideal for younger competitors and first timers, aiming to encourage a higher rate of female participation, I think I’ll still be on the sidelines cheering those brave participants on!
Perhaps my son would be interested in competing in the Anaconda Junior Survivor - a super fun adventure challenge event designed and run especially for children aged between 5 and 13 years of age. The event takes place on August 11 so kids get the chance to be the centre of attention and get their share of off-road fun.
The premier race is on August 12 and will entail an exciting 63km course, kicked off in style with Hasting St crowds (i.e. me) cheering competitors into the crystal waters off Noosa’s Main Beach, before they take to the kayak to round Noosa Spit and up Noosa River towards Goat Island. Then it’s off water, and on to the bike as racers take to riding through Tewantin State Forest, after which they take to the trails for a stretch of running back through the Tewantin timber. Another paddle back downriver into the back of Hastings St before adventurers put in a final dash over the finish line.
The full Noosa course is:
1. 1.9km Swim Leg
2. 6km Ocean and River Paddle Leg
3. 34km Mountain Bike
4. 14km Trail Run
5. 5km River Paddle Leg
6. 1km Team Run
The mini course is:
1. 5.2km Trail Run
2. 15km Mountain Bike
3. 5.1km River Paddle
4. 600m Swim
5. 1km Beach Run
The Anaconda Series will then travel to Augusta, WA, on November 3 and 4, where it transforms into the largest adventure race in the world, before heading to Lorne, Victoria, for the finale on December 8 and 9.
I’ve always loved the Melbourne Cup – I don’t know what it is but there is something really exciting about it. Perhaps it’s the fact that we always stopped work for a few minutes to watch the race at school (and work as we got older), or maybe it’s that every year Noosa restaurants put on such a brilliant spread for the event for those lucky enough to get the afternoon off. Whatever it is, it’s definitely one of my favourite events of the year.
So you would understand why I’m so excited to learn that the actual Melbourne Cup is coming to Noosa next Friday August 10, something we are indeed very privileged to welcome as only 25 towns are chosen each year to host the Cup tour.
Many visitors and locals are probably just as excited as we have so many Melbournites who holiday here, plus those who decided holidaying just wasn’t good enough and now call Noosa home. I suspect they all will be trying to get a glimpse of the Cup on its very busy schedule around town.
And it’s not just those from Melbourne – we’re a sporting nation and while many of us can’t make it to see our Aussie heroes in action at the Olympics, at least we’ll have a chance to see an Australian sporting icon up close.
This will be a rare chance to have your photo taken with the Melbourne Cup as it goes on display at Noosa’s Main Beach (watch for the very exciting entrance!) and Noosa Yacht & Rowing Club in the afternoon. Joining the Cup in Noosa are a dynamic duo of Cup-winning females – Sheila Laxon, the first official trainer of a Melbourne Cup winner (Ethereal in 2001), and Wendy Green, the owner of 1999 Cup winner Rogan Josh. They’ll be guest speakers at a charity lunch at Ricky’s River Bar + Restaurant , tickets are still available and all proceeds go to Angel Flight – book on 5447 2455. Check out our events section for a full itinerary.
Get your engines racing this weekend when world-class motorsport action revs up Pomona at the Brakes Direct International Rally of Queensland on May 26 and 27.
Up to 90 cars, including crews from as far away as Britain, Sweden, India, Malaysia and Japan and from around Australia, will tackle a competition stage on closed public roads near the town.
On Saturday, also market day, the cars will stop in an area beside Station St for 15 minutes each in a rolling visit from around 11am, before heading to the start of the BP Ultimate Special Stage.
You are free to walk among the cars and meet the drivers and co-drivers. The rally parking area will be around 100m from the markets, which are in Memorial Ave.
Tickets bought at the gate, or before the bus is boarded in Pomona will cost $25 and children’s tickets will be $5.
Information about the full range of spectating options, including a $45 all-venues Event Super Pass, is available at www.rallyqueensland.com.au.
The BP Ultimate Special Stage and town stopover will be part of an exciting weekend for dedicated enthusiasts and casual spectators alike.
The rally kicks off on Friday night, May 25 with a free outdoor Start Your Engine party at Kings Beach, Caloundra.
A 15-minute service stopover for all cars follows at Kenilworth early on Saturday morning, before the field tackles the Special Stages at Imbil and Pomona.
I thought I'd just post a couple of pics from the Noosa Festival of Surfing, which has been running this week and finishes on Saturday. Don't worry if you missed it - it's an annual event and I'll keep you posted on the dates for next year.
Images by Geoff Fanning, Noosa Festival of Surfing
Congratulations to Equathon, which picked up a bronze award in the Adventure Tourism category at the Australian Tourism Awards on the weekend. The awards are really tough to win, so even being in the running is a massive achievement.
Equathon is a horse riding tour business run by former Olympian Alex Watson, taking people riding on the beach on the Noosa North Shore and on the Noosa Trail Network. They cater for all levels of ability and have options ranging from part-day tours to seven-day bush and beach rides.
I don’t do horses, so I can’t offer you any personal insight into this one, but I can’t imagine it gets much better than riding on the beach and through the beautiful Noosa hinterland.