We have now been to Australia seven times and we tend to stay close to the Sydney area. We usually stay with our daughter and family for a bit and our stays have been for a few weeks at a time. In 2015 when we retired we did take some small trips up to the Central and Gold Coast areas; either staying Airbnb or hotels. This year we decided we were coming for 6 months with the intent on seeing more and do it mostly by house sitting. Linda was able to secure four assignments, Beecroft (Sydney), Maroochydore, Wollongong, and Canberra. We also have booked a few days in Port Douglas which is near the Great Barrier Reef, I’ll blog on that another time. We were hoping to go west and visit Adelaide or south to the island of Tasmania but we couldn’t get a good schedule mix with friends we’ve met from those areas on last years cruise.
The Beecroft housesit was nice because we had a pool and we were very close to Sydney. We made a few day trips to Whale Beach and to the Hawkesbury River, both have plenty of shops and restaurants to enjoy besides the great views. We also got a chance to reconnect with two great friends from our cruise last year. They treated us to a wonderful BBQ at their home where we also met more of their family and friends. We also went with them for picnic within the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park area near Palm Beach that can only be accessed by ferry.
Maroochydore is about a two and a half hour flight north of Sydney, about an hour and a half drive from Brisbane. It has its own airport, the Sunshine Coast airport which is said to be one of the fastest growing destinations in Australia. Our house is located a block away from the Paynter River which flows into the Pacific which is only about a kilometer away. The people of the area use this river immensely for all types of pleasure activities; boating, sailing, paddle boarding, and fishing can be seen every day. Another great thing is there are tables and BBQ’s that can be used as well restrooms and easy free parking. It’s a great spot to go for walks too along a sidewalk that is part of the trail system here.
Alexandra beach is on the Pacific and is monitored like most Australian beaches by professional rescuers. The beach is huge by most standards were used to and even when busy isn’t crowded at all. We saw surfing and kite surfing as well as just plain old wading, the water right now is really warm but still refreshing. The various surf clubs that monitor the beaches also have restaurants or walk up cafés where food is available.
About 30 minutes inland is the Eumundi market. This is open Wednesday and Saturday and is a very popular destination. You’ll find original artworks, sculptures, furniture, handmade toys, homewares, as well as fashion and jewellery by local designers. Mostly real good stuff that’s not found at a typical junk market. It’s in a tree filled area in the town of Eumundi and most of the area is covered by the tents or awnings. Read more about it at http://www.eumundimarkets.com.au/
If you like trail hiking the Buderim Forest has a great trail that takes you to a small waterfall and pool. Again like most of Australia it’s all free including the parking. The hike is a combination of groomed trails, boardwalks and bridges, and some tough to navigate rocks. Overall I’d say it would be rated easy to moderate. The forest itself has many scenic spots to observe the rainforest and various trees and streams that flow through it.
The great thing about most of Australia is that within an hour you can be swimming in the ocean or hiking through a forest! There’s even RV camping at many beach spots, likely a little better weather than we had last year in BC. We’re still here for a few weeks and I’ll be blogging about our other stops next.
Happy trails… Mark and Linda