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Separated by a creek and a roundabout, Sunrise and Sunshine Beach are so close in many ways yet miles apart when it comes to lifestyle.

While Sunshine is snuggled up to the rocky outcrop of Noosa Head, Sunrise Beach enjoys the high, rolling sand dunes and a feeling of openness. It’s where you expect to feel a fresh breeze on your face.

It’s Day Two of our planned walk along the Sunshine Coastal Pathway, stretching about 140km along the beaches from Tewantin to Bell’s Creek.

It was undertaken in May 2020, just as the Covid-19 lockdown was easing in Queensland.

The starting point would be Noosa Heads and finish at Caloundra Head. A walk to further appreciate the coastline and reflect on life.

Each day we would drive to the place along the pathway from the day before and walk 8, 10, 12 or perhaps 20 kilometres.

Day One was from Noosa Heads through Noosa National Park to Sunshine Beach. Today we will be walking to Peregian Beach but the point about the walk is there is so much to discover about these places we live in and treat them as everyday experiences.

This time we have decided to take another look and see them from a different perspective – from the beach for the most part instead of from the coastal roadway looking to the ocean.

The day was warm and there was a clean swell breaking on the shore.

My daughter had said she loved walking: ” I love how everything is interesting and catches my imagination when walking. It gives me space to reflect and grow.”

Yes, a time for reflection on where we fit into the universe. Seeing the world from a wider perspective.

Covid has given us that opportunity. The opportunity to recalibrate our lives. To get back to a more balanced way of doing things.

Australia has gone through a devastating drought, one that has seen once mighty rivers reduced to wretched waterholes.

It hasn’t just been the extended dry period. It’s also been the management of the flows, the way some land-holders have taken more than their fair share to leave others exposed to the ravages of the dry.

As the indigenous people of this land say, the rivers are the bloodlines of the country. From it all life flows.

Then came the bushfires. Not just in the areas exposed in summer but since August 2018, and stretching right from the tropical rainforests in Far North Queensland to the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales and Victoria.

Have we encroached too far into the wild places, into the animal kingdom?

A Thermos of coffee in Sunshine’s central Ed Webb Park signalled the start of the walk.

From the Sunshine Beach Surf Club the walk south along the beach takes you past some beautiful houses and apartment complexes, generally tucked away among native bushland and palm trees on the primary dunes.

Webb Road has some expansive beachfront properties, as does the gated Beach Houses estate off Ross Crescent that offers seclusion behind the frontal dunes.

The dividing line between Sunshine and Sunrise is a steep and wooded gully with the natural watercourse or creek.

The beach is such an important part of Australia’s egaliatraian society … anyone can go there and enjoy it for different reasons.

The beauty of walking barefoot on the sand, the fresh air and clear sky. It opens your mind.

Being able to do this, especially as we move out of Covid lockdown, is testament to the way Australia operates as a society.

Built on the first people and the way the tribe is only as strong as the weakest member, Australians over the past 200 years since European settlement have tended to look after each other.

Freedom comes with trust … just as you would tell a child. The more trust, the more freedom.

It is earned. The same as respect.

Watching the boardriders on such a glorious morning you think back to younger days – the great waves you have ridden and those that you have missed out on. Just like opportunities I suppose.

And you say again to yourself, not to look back on that. Don’t beat yourself up.

Mistakes – what is it they say? Learn from them and move ahead, create new opportunities and more memories.

The sand dunes to the south of the creek rise up steeply, giving glorious views for the properties in Sobraon Street.

With uncrowded open beaches and a variety of housing to suit all tastes, Sunrise Beach offers a refreshing lifestyle.

Like its big cousin and neighbour Sunshine Beach, it offers rolling surf beaches to the east and the green of Noosa National Park and Lake Weyba to the west.

Far enough from care yet close enough to everything, it is one of a string of beachside communities developed by TM Burke Pty Ltd in the 1920s.

The company built the Weyba Bridge at Noosaville that provided motor-vehicle access to Sunshine Beach, then known as Golden Beach.

Then in 1959 the company entered into a development agreement with the Queensland Government, exchanging a coastal road construction program for the grant of coastal land for a distance of 8km from Pacific Avenue, Sunshine Beach, to Noosa Shire’s southern boundary at South Peregian/Coolum Beach.

TM Burke’s road was completed in 1960 and the Sunrise Estate at Tingira Crescent was released in 1961.

A beachfront caravan park was also opened near the estate but has since been transformed into some of the most valuable real estate in Noosa, with a handful of striking designer homes in the gated Beaches enclave enjoying absolute ocean frontage and spectacular views.

There is a beachfront carpark and viewing pavilion along Tingira Crescent, as well as a cafe in the Beach Chalet apartment complex.

The original Beach Chalet bar/restaurant was developed in the 1980s and attracted a strong following with top-line live music acts, especially up-and-coming alternative bands.

Monday nights proved popular with people in the hospitality industry in Noosa, as it was generally the night off for most restaurants.

Today it’s lattes and cappuccinos under the umbrellas as it is the site of beachfront apartments with a cafe that is proving a popular spot for locals and beachgoers alike. 

Past the Beaches estate, there are more higher dune areas such as Orealla Cres and Ventura St, where substantial houses take advantage of the elevated positions to get coastal and hinterland vistas. Orient Drive also enjoys dress-circle ocean views.

From here, we take the old bend in the David Low Way down to Burgess Creek and its tannin-coloured waters from the leaf litter in Noosa National Park.

There’s always something magical about these sandy pathways through the dunes to the ocean … a sense of expectation, of adventure and memories of long-gone holidays at the beach when we were children.

The water ponds at the foot of the dunes – a quiet area protected from the south-east breezes and the road noise from the coastal highway. Time to look back towards Sunshine and Noosa Head.

From here we head towards Castaways Beach, Marcus Beach and then Peregian Beach. But more of that later.

Visit Adventure Sunshine Coast for detailed information on various sections of the Coastal Pathway. 

5 comments on “Sunrise, Sunset

  1. Bettina Mertel says:

    Hi Erle!
    Thanks again for your wonderful insight in the history of our beloved area.

    It has been such a pleasure to talk with you at the auction last Saturday.
    Hopefully see you again soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Peppi Bueti says:

    This is a fantastic read Erle. Your knowledge of the Sunshine Coast is amazing. I am sure there is a book to be written one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. leavearly says:

      Thanks so much for your support Peppi … the idea of the walk was to learn more about the places where we live and to share with others, hoping to inspire them to enjoy the walk or even stages of it. By slowing down this hectic life I am sure we appreciate those things that are important to us and in the process we become better at doing what we do


  3. I agree with your daughter…there’s so much I’ve gleaned from my walks exploring different places that I would have missed had I just been in a vehicle. Happy that you and your daughter are able to continue exploring areas together during this time. Wishing you a safe and healthy new year.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. leavearly says:

    Thank you for those comments, I feel as if this past year has been like no other – a chance to look at the landscape and see not just how it has changed but how humanity has as well. This is a time to reset our values as to what is important … for the natural world as well as for us as a species. A time for the traveller to walk again along paths less travelled so as to understand different cultures, forests, deserts, oceans, mountain ranges and seashores, rather than the casual tourist driving by. It’s a time for healing rather than division, a time for empathy rather than entitlement. A time to understand the difference between necessity of life and materialism. We need to preserve wild places. The world does not have limitless resources. That is the challenge, for us to find our way again. One step at a time. Your words give me faith.


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