Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Sunshine Coast Walk - Day 1 and 2

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               The Coastal Pathway

Just when you thought the Sunshine Coast couldn't get any better they add the most amazing walk to their repertoire.

The Coastal Pathway is a brilliant plan that allows you a chance to steep yourself in the beauty, see the coastline in its entirety, and travel at your leisure.

 Even though it has been in the works since 2002, the much anticipated pathway has had the final section complete and you can now travel from Pelican Waters (Bell Creek) in Caloundra up to Tewantin. That is a staggering 90 kilometres of pathway.

If the white sandy beaches, rock outcroppings and multicoloured ocean waves aren't enough, add in the amazing creatures that live and pass by, from the hump back whales from July to November, to the dolphins that love to surf the coastal waters. The manta rays and turtles that all make us stop in our tracks when we catch a glimpse of any of them, as they travel these waters.

This article, about 2 months ago, in my weekly 'Weekender ' e-mail, caught my attention. I have never backpacked and wondered if my back and feet would let me do 4 - 25km days. My walking buddy Margot was keen, as she is attempting to walk the 800 kms of the Camino in September.

After an early departure on Sunday 27th May, we arrived at Pelican Waters, Golden beach at 8am. Frank had very kindly offered to drive us up and we caught the train home. It was a warm morning and the sun glistened on the waters of Bribie Passage, as we sipped our coffee before getting underway. At 8.30 after a final sort of the back packs and setting of the GPS's, we were directing our footsteps north to Mooloolaba, our destination for day one. We hadn't travelled far when we found the 1st 'Coastal Walk' marker. Much excitement, but short lived, midway through the day they had disappeared. We were fortunate that we had brought maps with us, as we might well have added numerous kms to the trip, through lack of directions.



     


   
An hour later, at Kings Beach, we happened upon this resourceful French couple, selling mouth watering, delicious crepes served with lemon and sugar. They arrived in Perth in January, bought a combie van and have been working their way around Australia. The following day they were off strawberry picking.

It was the Anzac Day long weekend and with such perfect weather, families were seen making the most of the sunshine and calm ocean. Fun and laughter surrounded us, adding energy to our stride. We were extremely grateful for the supreme sacrifice made by so many. 


Overlooking Shelley beach, Margot spotted Point Cartwright in the distance and was horrified that our destination was a tad further on.












At Moffat Beach the sand and water beckoned.












We just couldn't resist and paddled around the point to Dickies Beach, where we rejoined the wide, leafy path that ran parallel to the sand dunes. 




Birds chirped and fluttered, wooden bridges crossed a variety of creeks, swamps and dry sandy beds and the echo of the gently surging, unseen surf, was with us constantly.


 Currimundi Lakes view - many childhood summer days spent here picnicking with family and friends. 
At this point, we had to follow the shoreline of Currimundi Creek to the  main traffic bridge across to Kawana. This was where better signage was important. We are still not sure if we needed to spend as much time beside the busy Nicklin Way or not. 

At about 12 o'clock we were again behind the dunes. We took the 1st walkway through to the beach, to find a shady lunch spot. It wasn't half that bad, especially with our shoes off.


With the tide fully out and the sand firm, we decided to stay on the beach for as long as we could. I put my shoes back on. Margot continued to enjoy the barefoot freedom, but was to rue her decision the following day, when blisters appeared on her toes.

Near the Kawana Life saving Club we had to cut back to the busy Nicklin Way for the final leg of 2 or 3 kms into Mooloolaba and our night's accommodation at the Central Motel. Very tricky signage to this venue, which seemed to add another km to the 30kms we had just completed!
After a rejuvenating hot shower, we walked 500 metres to the Mooloolaba waterfront to watch the dying sun fade on what had proved to be an exhilarating day for us. 

All the excitement didn't leave with the sunset though, as we spent the next 2 hours with Margot's 2 young grandsons and their parents, enjoying fish and chips and a delicious creamy ice-cream with them.



7am saw us on the go again. As we crested the rise to Mooloolaba Beach the weather didn't look at all promising.



Looking left the sky wasn't as heavy, but Mt  Coolum was looking very distant.













We quickly settled into a good pace and enjoyed the river views of Cotton Tree.


Breakfast was just after 8 sitting at a table at Picnic Point on the Maroochy River with views across to its mouth.
Life felt unbelieveably good as we walked along Bradman Avenue on the bank of the Maroochy R -  pelicans, sailing boats and fishermen.

Not too far along, Margot sat under a shelter to put on her 1st bandaid. Good timing, as a heavy downpour came out of nowhere. 

We stayed sheltered until it had passed, then made our way up onto the Ken Neil bridge across the Maroochy R. Its height gave us expansive views to Mt Coolum, Bli Bli, the river mouth and the ominous clouds now gathering all around us.

We managed to cover a further km before the onset of heavy drizzle, which then stayed with us for a good hour. How lucky were we? It could have been so much heavier and throughout all of the day. We WERE on the "Sunshine Coast', but how often have visitors been disappointed because of heavy rain.


It was on this wet leg that we again had to follow a busy road, so our feet were dragging when we finally reached Mujimba Beach, just on noon. The Loaded Lizard cafe, on the corner where we had to turn left, beckoned us with its friendly atmosphere and delicious smells. We were not disappointed.  We halved our meals to share the menu delights and by dinner we were still not hungry.

Not the best photo but it was the best food. Spicey chicken hamburger, cibiatta and yummy dips.

A quick view of the beach here soon had us back on the designated trail, rain free for the final kms to Coolum.


4pm saw us relaxing with coffee and this view from our motel, the Villa Coolum. 


It was only half a km to the town centre to find blister packs, a light meal and a glass of well earnt bubbly for completing the days 28 kms.

Walking 'down under' in autumn sunshine, we were tempted more than once, to dive into the ocean. Foolishly I hadn't taken my bathers! The journey so far had been brilliant. More to come.

Thank you for dropping by. Do say hello and leave a comment.

2 comments:

  1. What a great journey! Looking forward to reading part two.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow. I am sure you had a lovely holiday. We're going there next month and I'm so excited about this trip.
    http://www.alluxia.com/destinations/sunshine-coast

    ReplyDelete