JOHN BORTHWICK takes in the sights and sounds from Richard Branson’s island to Noosa’s Surf City nostalgia
I didn’t have quite the $22,000 spare change it takes for a night’s stay at Makepeace Island, Richard Branson’s private bolthole near Noosa. The nice people who run the heart-shaped, 10ha island nevertheless invited me ashore for a good look around, plus morning tea.
In-between Branson sojourns, Makepeace (formerly Pig) Island is available for exclusive occupancy.
Rainbow Beach, about 70km north of Noosa, has a population of 900, but more than 70,000 annual blow-ins. Which means backpackers and grey nomads galore, almost all of whom come to watch the flamboyant Coral Sea sunsets from the 120m Carlo Blow sand dune.
Come morning I make my way to Rainbow Beach Horse Rides where instructors Kayla Pienaar and Dean Weller appoint a suitable horse to manage me, a lovely seven-year-old named Rosie. The sun is out, the swell is running and Rosie canters beautifully.
On the road again — the best address on earth — I drive west to Tin Can Bay where the ebullient Margot Keeley, owner and admiral of Tin Can Bay Houseboats, plus three of her friends, piles me into a cabin cruiser. We spend the whole afternoon exploring the Great Sandy Strait, a much overlooked waterway of braided channels and mangrove shores. The band Icehouse might have been here in spirit when they sang of such magical shores, “hidden in the summer for a million years”.
Next day I drive to Surf City, Noosa for a good, whomping bodysurf, topped off by a comparable coffee.
It’s a long-winded title but Eumarella Shores Noosa Lake Retreat’s name sets the scene for what I find there. More like a low-rise, mini-mansion, it fronts on to Lake Weyba and has a jacuzzi, coffee machine, wi-fi, fireplace, generously stocked fridge, a lakefront pier and even two resident, sun-basking kangaroos.
I drive up to the hinterland where more Ms, including Maleny and Montville, are scattered across the Blackall Range. Billed as the “creative heart” of the Sunshine Coast, the Range Drive is a cool counterpoint to the surf-soaked coast, with its little towns being hugely popular among day-trippers seeking craft markets and Devonshire Tea refills.
To read John Borthwick's story in full, and more, go to thewest.com
A message from Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield...
Thanks for reading us – we value your continuing interest and our connection with you.
But as our readers increasingly move to digital, we have to keep up with them.
As I’m sure you’ll appreciate, there are costs involved in doing what we do for you.
To support Travel, reading the full story now requires a digital subscription (it’s $1 a day for full access to thewest.com.au, for all your devices).
If you have the newspaper home delivered, you may already have complimentary premium access to thewest.com.au and our digital editions.
And we have other packages, including $9 a week for the weekend papers and everyday digital.
Makepeace Island. makepeaceisland.com
Rainbow Ocean Palms Resort. rainbowoceanpalms.com.au
Rainbow Beach Horse Rides. rbhr.com.au
Tin Can Bay Houseboats. tincanbayhouseboats.com.au
Eumarella Shores Noosa Lake Retreat. eumarellashores.com.au
Ricks Garage. ricksgarage.com.au
For more. visitsunshinecoast.com
You may also like
Our World: Pristine place to paddle about in
BONITA GRIMA discovers Australia’s very own everglades — in Noosa, Queensland
Podcast: The Pod Well Travelled Episode 11
Regional museums & galleries are short-cuts to a town's heart. In this week's episode, Will Yeoman talks to Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield and cruising writer Michael Ferrante about wheels & (cruising) deals.
Arrivals & Departures: Boost your immunity
STEPHEN SCOURFIELD looks at how to keep viral infections at bay