Good to my promise (at least the one I made to myself), I rose bright and early on Friday morning, my second in Noosa, and headed off to tackle the coastal walking track around the headland through Noosa National Park.
It all starts very gently from main beach, with a shaded and newly refurbished boardwalk heading gently uphill through leafy coolness from the sand, cafes and boutiques of Hastings Street. How hard could this be?
There are good views back along Main Beach, and more surfers and swimmers, plus a hoard of sweaty, lycra-clad joggers, heading back and forth. After a short walk another sandy cove hoves into view, the lovely Little Cove, which marks the start of the National Park and the Coastal Track proper.
A small Parks visitor centre is coupled with (naturally) a small cafe for those needing a final caffeine hit before heading out into the wilds. Interpretation panels tell the story of Noosa and how this headland was saved from complete over development, as well as the stories of the indigenous inhabitants.
The track turns from freshly hewn boardwalk to concrete and bitumen, but still very civilised, and continues through shaded Paperbark forests, complete with resident koalas.
The aptly-named Tea Tree Bay is a delightful beach, shaded at its fringes but still offering good surf. Many beach goers have trekked this far carrying boards and other beachy paraphernalia as it’s much less crowded than Main Beach.
From here, the shade diminishes along with the standard of the track, although it’s still pretty civilised, albeit more of the shale and gravel more familiar to bushwalkers. The vegetation shrinks to a sort of coastal heath as the track heads further out onto the headland, and even though it is not yet 9.30am, the heat is building.
At the rather dramatically-named Hells Gates (not a patch on the channel of the same name on Tasmania’s West Coast), a corner is rounded and the wide sandy sweep of Alexandria Bay comes into view.
I was quite amazed that this lovely beach has been saved from the rampages of coastal development for which Queensland is infamous. Property developers must be drooling and plotting quietly about ways to get their greedy hands on it – I’m sure ongoing vigilance will be required to keep it safe from their grasp.
The many walkers, in both directions, were joined by a small and mostly discrete group of ‘clothing optional’ naturists at the southern end of the beach. Most stayed in dunes, their presence only announced by their colourful beach umbrellas; but one male naturist did feel it necessary to stand atop his dune and displaying his, ahem, lifestyle for all to see (I resisted the urge to point my camera at him).
A final, and by now quite parched, push around a last headland and down to Sunshine Beach, backed by the sort of million-dollar mansions that I hope never reach the next bay along. Time for a reviving dip in the ocean surf before finding the bus back to my canal-side haven for a rest in the heat of the day.