MEANWHILE: FAR NORTH OF THE RIVER | IS THIS HEAVEN? NO, IT’S SUNSHINE BEACH

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By Roger Plastow

 

I have spent years trying to identify special places in the world I want to visit before my toes curl up and I head to that great tourist destination in the sky.

I haven’t yet been able to draw up a definitive list but I know where I want to spend infinity and beyond – at Sunshine Beach on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

So determined am I to spend the after-life in this special place I have issued instructions to my family – bury my ashes on the rugged outcrops at the northern end of Sunshine Beach. It’s probably the closest I will ever get to heaven.

I don’t know who will be there but I know my three adult offspring and partners will be drinking heavily, trying to dull the pain inflicted by the debts they inherited.”

Interring human ashes in a national park is probably illegal but that won’t be my problem. I doubt a posthumous charge of loitering with intent would score a conviction, even in Queensland. I don’t have tattoos or a motorbike and there will only be one of me. Talk about a rebel without a cause.

I can see it now. The anything-but-sombre ashes internment ceremony will take place on an appropriate day, probably April Fool’s Day, under the guise of a large family picnic. Why anyone would picnic on the side of a rugged rocky outcrop I don’t know, but ‘strange’ is a family trait. I don’t know who will be there but I know my three adult offspring and partners will be drinking heavily, trying to dull the pain inflicted by the debts they inherited.

But I digress. There’s something special about Sunshine Beach, nestled in Noosa National Park. I don’t know what it is, but I do know it has, at least in part, something to do with food and wine because I start salivating every time I begin driving up the highway from Brisbane.

Could it be the coffee shop, Costa Noosa Espresso, that serves the best coffee this side of Italy and maybe even the other side too? Their multi-award winning coffee is roasted on site and punches way above its weight. But lots of places have good coffee shops so what else could make Sunshine Beach special?

There are a dozen eating and drinking establishments in a 200-metre strip offering variety rarely found in a little village and all of them are top quality giving excellent value for money.”

There’s a little restaurant, Mooshka, that’s chic and informal. The tables and chairs are a real mixture of old stuff. Remember the kitchen tables with laminated tops? They’ve got ‘em. There are chunky old wooden stools too heavy for me to move, but finding an empty one is the major problem. You name it – if it’s old but ‘classical’, it’s there. (I’m talking about the furniture, not some of the diners.) And by the way, the food’s great and the staff even better.

Come to think of it, there are a dozen eating and drinking establishments in a 200-metre strip offering variety rarely found in a little village and all of them are top quality giving excellent value for money. Plus there’s the award-winning surf club that has views worth photographing, bottling, preserving and sending to people you don’t like just to make them jealous.

Sunshine Beach is a foodie’s delight but it’s not just the food. While the physical beauty of the place is intoxicating, there’s still more to it.

It is, of course, the people who make the difference. The locals are simply down-to-earth, friendly, genuine souls. Their attitude to life and the people around them is infectious, making it damn near impossible for visitors to be anything different.

In our block of units there aDSC_0009re two couples from England and we make them feel welcome. Yes, we eat and drink with Poms and love their company. There’s also a couple from Melbourne and we even like them too. Where else in Australia could you get that sort of all-embracing, outpouring of love and affection?

It’s only minutes from upmarket Hastings Street at Noosa but it has retained its village atmosphere and the associated charm. When you go for a walk people say “g’day”. When you walk along the beach you can strike up a conversation almost any time you want to. Even the dogs at the dog-permitted northern end of the beach are friendly.

When the time comes for me to depart this mortal life (I’ve set the date – February 4, 2049), that’s the environment I want to ‘live’ in. That’s the view I want to see for eternity.

If my family and friends ever feel a bit down, or need their sense of humour batteries recharged, I hope they wander up to my resting place with a reasonably good bottle of red and share utopia with me.

 

FOOTNOTE: Oh, by the way, did I mention the additional specific instructions? Well my ashes are to be placed in an empty magnum that now contains a limited edition 2009 Penfolds Claret (bottle number 1443).

Yes, the label does say ‘claret’ – a Coonawarra Shiraz cabernet blend. It’s a long story about how and why Penfolds did it so I won’t bore you with the details. You can Google it if you’re interested and/or jealous. The magnum is already packaged in a delightful red case with all the trimmings so burial expenses will be kept to a minimum. (I’m half Scottish).

Why would I want this? Well, I have a penchant for red wine (taken for medicinal purposes only. I’m actually a professional health fanatic on permanent leave) and I think Sunshine Beach is right up there with the best places in the world – yes, the world.

One day the thought hit me. Why not, I mused, combine three of this world’s greatest treasures – red wine, Sunshine Beach and me? Why not take the other two treasures with me when I cross over to wherever I’m going?

One thing I have to do before the big event is drink the ‘claret’ from bottle number 1443. The wine now rapidly appreciating in value and aging gracefully and delightfully ……… just like me.

 

 

Roger Plastow is a freelance journalist – a poor but passionate, bald but beautiful ‘young’ man who sometimes handles the truth somewhat carelessly and has plans to become a centenarian so he can get a letter from the Queen. He is a true-blue Queenslander with strong Melbourne connections. (He knows a few people who live there).

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