Friday, March 15, 2013


The next stop in Amanda and LSF's 2013 Aussie Adventure was Noosa, a small surfer town on Australia's Sunshine Coast.  This was also the last stop that LSF and I were together.  After Noosa, she flew back to Sydney and then the States, while I continued further north to Cairns for some scuba diving and rainforest tramping.  But more on that later (since my travel days are winding down, I'm trying to stretch my writing material to delay the inevitable "I really have nothing to talk about other than my training" phase, which I know will make for some truly riveting reading).
Life Saving competition training

Neither LSF nor I knew what to expect from Noosa.  The town didn't even show up in our guide books.  But it had a Starwood Resort (a quite nice one, too) and that was really all we needed to grant it the starring role in our itinerary.

Turns out, Noosa is a total hidden gem.  Some fancy resorts, sure, but mostly just a totally laid-back surf town surrounded by rainforest-y National Parks.  When we arrived in town, we parked our (sensible rental) car amongst a row of rusted-out hippy camper vans, and were immediately asked by two shirtless surfers if we were in town for "the competition."  It took a couple confused looks for him to realize we had no clue what competition was going on.  Lucky us, we arrived just in time for the annual Noosa Festival of Surf, one of the biggest surf competitions in Australia.   The dudes who asked us that question must have been smoking something all day, because there was absolutely no way that LSF (dressed in essentially business casual) nor I (Lululemon head-to-toe with running shoes) could ever be confused for casual surfers, much less the kinds that enter big hippy surfing festivals.  We did quite enjoy watching, though. 

Surfing Competition
As we had done in the Gold Coast, LSF and I quickly hightailed it to the local Surf Life Saving Club, congratulating ourselves all along the way on just how resourceful and authentic we were for figuring out the amazingness of Surf Clubs.  In our minds, we were the only tourists, ever, who were so smart.  I think we're still sticking with that opinion.

We had one full day in Noosa, which we spent mostly hiking 7 kilometers from the Noosa Heads Surf Life Saving Club, through the Noosa National Park, to (you guessed it) the Sunshine Beach Surf Life Saving Club, where we got lunch.  Sensing a theme?
The hike was beautiful and varied.  During our little hike, we got poured on, and then sunburnt.  For a while, we were walking on wheel-chair accessible sidewalks.  But for an even longer while, we were completely lost, as the path totally disappeared, and we just forged ahead along the coast, celebrating whenever we saw other footprints, even if it looked like they'd been there for days, and crossing our fingers that we weren't going WAY off course.  And then, like magic, the path reappeared. 

During our little trek, both because we are lawyers (or law school graduates, as the case may be) and because we are sorta dorks (yes, these are possibly synonymous descriptors), we had a lengthy debate on the actual definition of hiking vs. just walking.  LSF initially said "hiking" requires use of a walking stick, which I soundly rejected because I ain't never used no walking stick and I am sure I have done some hiking in my life.  At first, I said hiking was just being on a soft surface, as opposed to a sidewalk that's been built by the forest rangers.  But that might not work either.  There's a soft path along Lake Michigan, and I certainly wouldn't call walking on that path hiking.  My final view:  it's hiking if at some point, you end up just a little (or a lot) lost and worried that you've somehow gotten off path.  For me, someone who once got lost walking from the El station to my own (not new) home, that casts a pretty large net, but I think it works.  And what we did on the way from Noosa to Sunshine Beach--- definitely hiking.

Anyway, much credit to LSF, a city-girl through and through, who told me at various points throughout our Aussie trip that she was not a fan of: 1) nature (subsequently clarified that it was only animals she had a problem with, and implicitly, I think, limiting that dislike to creepy crawly, not cute, sorts of animals, as she did see pretty keen to spot kangaroos and koalas (fail, on both grounds, by the way)); 2) sun; 3) sand; or 4) breakfast.  Yet she happily joined along in that 7K hike, through nature, over sand, and in the sun, without eating a single thing before starting, and I think even enjoyed it a little.  That's a good travel companion, right there!
Proof that LSF exists and that we lost the trail and just hiked along the coast for a while

Sunshine Beach
By that evening, we were both back in our comfort zone, that being the "live it up for the last night we're together on this trip" zone.  There was a bottle of champagne, and a bottle of wine, and maybe another bottle of wine consumed.  It was a performance I was quite proud of, really.  This Aussie Bender's going to have to come to a close soon, but I've enjoyed it.
Every last drop.  I'd have broken open that bottle and licked the inside if I thought that'd work

It was a sad moment when LSF and I parted ways.  It was a good trip, a great chance to catch up with an old friend who I hadn't seen nearly enough of, and for me, a much-needed opportunity to unwind after a disappointing race. 

Oh yeah, and I didn't go blind.  My eye's fine.  Sorry, assorted relatives, for causing concern.  Yes, I know eyes are not replaceable.  I'll be less flip about it next time. 

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