We're back! And it was a completely unreal holiday. Here I was feeling all sorts of emotions before we left because of the memories that beautiful part of the world held for me. I wanted to show Evie and Noah where they were born and the houses we lived, and I wanted to retrace a few well trodden paths and visit some favourite spots. I was nervous in those days prior to getting on the plane, almost to the point of anxiety over how I would respond to returning to those places so very steeped in mine and Tuck's life. But you know what? Once I got there I didn't feel that way at all. I felt joy and excitement and definitely relieved. It was like rediscovering an old trusty pair of jeans you once loved and thought you had lost or tossed by accident. It was comfortable and familiar and we'll be returning again and again and again, just like when I was a kid! Which brings me to the two people in the buggy, pictured up top.
They are my late grandparents and it seems fitting to begin with them because today is the first of a series of posts all about this place we visited for our holiday. You didn't really think I'd be able to squeeze all those good stories into one post, did you? The photos alone would likely crash the system! So, today, we are traveling back in time to the very beginning of my love affair with this part of Australia and this story is why I cannot be held responsible for that love. You see, it's hereditary.
Noosa Heads, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia, 1965...
I wasn't yet born (not for another eleven years!), but my grandparents, Tom and Elmie, set out from Adelaide, South Australia for a road trip up the East coast. That photo wasn't taken until the very late 60's, maybe early 70's and the buggy was not the car they used for the road trip.
As they journeyed, they stumbled upon a little coastal fishing village in Queensland, called Noosa Heads. They fell head over heels for the quaint, peaceful and darn right beautiful area, with it's rainforests, wildlife, mid tropical climate and National Park. There was a small run down Fisherman's cottage situated high up on the hill overlooking the spectacular beach. The cottage was up for sale and as bewitched as they were, they made an offer. It was knocked back and my Grandfather realised how far they had fallen when my Grandmother sobbed from disappointment. This little slice of paradise has a way of settling within your heart and never ever budging, even fifty years later. They had just recently sold their beach shack back home and so found themselves in a position to go back to the realtor and present a slightly higher offer. This time it was accepted!
Turns out that was a pretty smart decision because since then Noosa Heads and the surrounding area has become a bustling tourist Mecca. Despite it's popularity, fame and consequential development, much of the beauty and quaint village atmosphere still remains. From that time (after an extension was built onto the cottage) twelve families over three generations have holidayed there.
Mum and Dad would pile us all (me and my three sisters) into the "Brady Bunch" wagon - I am the youngest and so always got the central gear-stick seat between Mum and Dad in the front (short straw on that one!) - and after two long days of driving with an overnight stop in a highway hotel, we would finally make it to our tropical destination and pull into the driveway of Bimbadeen. After my Dad passed away, Mum decided it was too long a distance for just one driver and so throughout my teenage years, flying became the better option.
For us it was an affordable annual family pilgrimage with no accommodation costs and a grocery bill the same as if we had remained at home. Sunny days were spent at the beach and the early nights were passed with board games and decks of cards. It was good wholesome family fun and our rituals around that place became as much a part of my childhood as the rituals we surrounded ourselves with at Christmas and Easter.
In the wake of my Grandfather's passing and as all of us grandchildren (nine in total spread across three families) grew into adulthood, my Grandmother and our parents (that being my Mum and her two siblings) decided that the future of Bimbadeen needed consideration. That was when three modern town houses were built on the land to replace the original cottage and it's extension. The houses, built as one large structure, are still called Bimbadeen, an Aboriginal word meaning "Good View". It seems a little modest really, since the view is more what I would describe as "Spectacular" with a capital "S"! You'll see what I mean from the photos coming over the next few days.
After my Grandmother passed away one townhouse each was given to my Mum and her siblings. These days they are mostly let as holiday rentals with various family members squeezing in getaways wherever possible between the breaks in bookings.
In hindsight it comes as no surprise to me that Tuck and I found our way to this neck of the woods when we were searching for a place to call home. We had packed up our world and left Adelaide for many months of adventurous globetrotting and as our backpacking spirits returned to Australia we found ourselves being pulled to this area. A beach shack rental quickly led to the purchase of our own rainforest house in the hinterland, but not before getting hitched and reveling in the news that Evie would be coming into the world the following year (and, no, it wasn't a shotgun wedding :D). The hinterland was where we settled, about a half an hour drive from Noosa's beaches. That was where we met the special people who have become our lifelong dear friends. It was where both Evie and Noah were born and where those early days of family life unfolded.
It is still one of my most favourite places on Earth and I just burst with happiness when I think that the three of us will get to soak it in every year, just like I have always done.
So, for now, we are home and although winter continues to swirl around us, our hearts are warmed, our bodies rested and our complexions radiate a sun kissed glow. Our holiday was good, my friends, so very very good! Stay tuned - there's more coming in the next few days...
By the way, that's me standing by Main Beach, Noosa Heads in the early 80's looking every bit as awkward as I felt. A classic 80's twin-set!