SUNSHINE BEACH: WHERE ELSE WOULD YOU RATHER BE?
SUNSHINE … it was nearly too far away in those early days of Noosa.
Beach sand would half cover the thin strip of bitumen that was Hastings Street. Yet in the late 1960s our main focus was the road around to Little Cove and Noosa National Park.
We would sleep in the car after days of exploring the surf anywhere from First Point around to Tea-Tree Bay. Malibu boards and the new V-shapes were all the go.
On the other hand, the road around to Sunshine Beach was like a day trip. The gravel streets, a shop and the heavy ocean swells breaking on the miles and miles of golden sands.
That was what the area was first known as … the Golden Beach at Noosa.
How it has changed. How Duke St has changed. Back then it was the general store and a couple of houses.
We have also seen the rise of neighbouring Sunrise Beach, plus the development of the sporting and schools precinct.
What doesn’t change is the look and feel of the place.
We are about to start out on the second leg of our coastal walk from Noosa Heads to Caloundra Head. About 100km, along some amazing Sunshine Coast beaches and pathways.
The first leg was through Noosa National Park, starting at the eastern end of Hastings Street and finishing at the northern part of Sunshine Beach. The plan is to do anywhere between 8km and 20km a day so as to explore the coastline and see it from a different perspective.
Today, we are heading out from the central park next to Sunshine Beach Surf Club.
The shopping centre in Duke Street is bigger than our first visit in late 1968. Yet it still has an intimate feel.
It’s where locals meet, where visitors gather.
In the early 1980s Sunshine had taken on quite a free-wheeling character.
When the surf club was rebuilt, it created new demand and the open beaches had lifesaving patrols.
Gastons was upstairs and later became Cafe des Amis. There was a surf shop, and a bakery that was a patisserie during the day and served pizzas at night.
Sunshine has come into its own as a village everyone can walk to. The surf club and central parkland underpins much of the community feel.
It’s probably the ideal community with ocean beaches to the east and national park to the north and west.
Sunshine has a wonderful look and feel. At any time you are probably no more than 500m from the natural environment, not just man-made parks and recreation areas.
Much credit must go to the Noosa Shire Council in the mid 1980s for ensuring the national park remained intact and not opened up to further development from the southern end. The trees have grown and softened the landscape.
Sunshine Beach shows that people will always be lured by its wonderful natural features but also that village feel that offers privacy to people from all around Australia and the world.
Sunshine, especially the northern end, reminds you how good some of the architecture is.
It also reminds you how good this walk is.
It’s world class. Like the famed Cinque Terre walk in Italy.
Interesting, accessible, surprising, spectacular … and all within reasonable distances. You can walk 10-12km a day and find a place to rest for the night.
Double it to 20-30km if you like.
Whereas Cinque Terre is rugged cliffs dropping down to the sea, terraced farms and centuries-old villages, the Sunshine Coastal Pathway takes you along an even more ancient landscape but with some great selection of good streets and good houses.
Cutting edge designs by Kerry Hill Architects and Noel Robinson Architects that have been recognised not only for the style and the build but the way they relate with the environment.
Sunshine always been that ‘other’ spot – less protected than Noosa Heads.
People can escape to it, do business in shorts and T-shirt, walk down to the restaurants or the surf club.
Today we intend to reach Peregian Beach, the last of Noosa’s eastern beaches.
It’s about 12km and most of the walk will be on the beach but will also look to see what is happening at Sunrise before continuing to Castaways Beach, Marcus Beach and then Peregian.
We have a thermos of coffee while sitting in the central park. A peaceful way to start the walk.
The beach is a picture on this day. A good surf break, gentle breeze from the south-east and the sun is shining.
There is a picnic lunch in the backpack, and the thought of a gelati for when we reach day’s end.
Visit Adventure Sunshine Coast for detailed information on various sections of the Sunshine Coastal Pathway.