Got nothing against a big town
Still hayseed enough to say
Look who’s in the big town
But my bed is in a small town
Oh, and that’s good enough for me
Small Town by John Mellencamp
The Sunshine Coast and particularly the part of it we lived in has changed. When we first arrived in Alexandra Headland in March 2012 a quiet morning wander on the beach was just that. The traffic along Alexandra Parade meandered and without difficulty found a parking spot near the surf club or up the hill overlooking the beach. We could sit on our balcony in the early evening and enjoy the ocean views without much traffic noise. The odd couple wandered along hand in hand enjoying the twilight and the romance of a dusky beach and the waxing moon. This morning, nine years later, I went for an early walk. Six thirty am and there was not a parking spot to be seen. People by the dozens crowded on the beach. Puposefully striding to get the walk and a coffee in before work. The walkway alongside the Alex Surf Club was a crash course of scooters, runners, skateboarders, dogwalkers and fitness fanatics. We loved this suburb when we moved here for its peace, its proximity to a quiet surf beach away from the Mooloolaba crowds. Now we are glad we have moved. Whether it is Covid or the natural movement of people looking for a seachange and benefiting from city property prices the Sunshine Coast has become crowded. Great for the region, its businesses and growth. And yes, for the value of our Alex apartment. I am not complaining. This is the world now as we know it. We think we have moved sideways to a slower suburb in Twin Waters. No doubt it will all catch up with us there sometime as well.
We are home from our trip. Back to mask wearing but looking forward to being able to organise our lives again with a bit of space. Our four months around north Queensland has been a perfect time. We have been incredibly lucky with avoiding the lockdowns and restrictions that others have endured. That is just the way it was. We have enjoyed a balmy winter, still swimming and living mostly outside. Mr Gato DU has performed admirably. Only spitting out a tyre once although he started spluttering a bit as he saw the home straight. No problem. He will be back at Charlies for a service and a spruce up this week. And we will all be waiting on new adventures. Travel to the US to see our family there next year? Sydney and the grandchildren? We have given up on a NZ Christmas but early next year? Who knows? Meantime we can savour being home near Nick and T and Josh and Sasha. We can only look forward to what is in front of us, enjoy what we have and hope for better things to come. Its a crappy old world at the moment but lets make the best of it.
Scout has slipped easily back into her biking and walking about and getting back up to speed with the local gossip. She has thought about what she does when arriving in a new place for the first time. How do you get to know a place? Its quirkiness? Its vibe? Here are her ten tips:
- Google for info before arrival
- Spend time in the local Visitors Centre – they are often staffed by volunteers who like to talk about “their” town
- Do a quick recce on your bike around. Check distances to places of interest, supermarkets and cafes (most important)
- Talk to everybody. Ask questions and directions even if you don’t need them. People love to talk.
- Seek out local activities e.g. yoga in the park, guided walks etc.
- Have a haircut – hairdressers are a great source of gossip!
- Go for lots of walks and get lost (see no. 4)
- Visit the botanical gardens. You can learn about local plants and birds
- Vist galleries and museums. Obvious really
- Just watch and listen. You can get very interesting local flavour, likes and dislikes when eavesdropping!
4 thoughts on “From Quiet Seaside Town to Overcrowded Holiday Destination”
Know what you mean about the crowds Mike. Most coastal destinations are becoming overcrowded at an exponential rate and the search for hideaways is an ever-present challenge.
Been reading and enjoying your posts, keep up the good work.
Darryl and Debbi (met you guys at Mudjimba Holiday park some time ago).
Though we did come across a couple of quiet seaside retreats on our way down the Queensland coast. If you are there look up Hideaway Bay Dingo Beach Seaforth and Halliday Bay. All between Townsville and McKay. All lovely spots.
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Hello Mike, enjoyed following your travels and blog. What a wonderful four months you have had. Interesting to read about the population explosion at Alexandra Headland over the last decade. Look forward to a catch up and glass or two whenever you and Margaret get back to NZ – desperately in need of a new Govt. over here as it is all going down the plug hole fast unfortunately. Stay well, stay safe. Cheers Randal
Hi Randal and Gayle
Thanks for the comment. We had hoped to be back before Christmas as Jamie having an early family Christmas. Sans nous unfortunately we think. So hopefully after that in 2022. See thats what happens when you vote for a Labour Govt. Great talkers and presenters but bloody hopeless at actually getting anything done.
Mike and Margaret