Pic­turesque par­adise for pen­sion­ers

The Sun­shine Coast: Im­pres­sions of a su­per­an­nu­ated tourist

Kapi-Mana News - - TRAVEL - By DON HUNTER

‘‘Never been a bet­ter time to visit Queens­land,’’ the tele­vi­sion ads say.

Ah! The Sun­shine Coast, those ex­otic place names: Mooloolaba, Noosa, Caloun­dra; blue skies, flow­ing beards, out­back hats, the Queens­land ac­cent.

And why not? You can get a ‘‘carry on’’ fare which, leav­ing out taxes, is not much more than an air­fare to Nel­son.

At Bris­bane you tick the same dec­la­ra­tion box for blood pres­sure pills as you would for car­ry­ing porn, il­licit drugs and firearms.

I thought it might make for an in­ter­est­ing en­counter with Cus­toms but they just waved me through.

The sky is an un­in­ter­rupted ex­panse of blue on a hori­zon of wat­tle and gum tree tops.

Huge, de­signed sub­urbs, such as North Lakes, with round­abouts and me­dian strips planted in well­main­tained trees, hedges, shrubs and grasses.

Houses with brick walls, built to keep out the sun – tem­per­a­tures reach more than 40 de­grees Cel­sius in sum­mer.

Queens­lan­ders live out­doors; the sunny weather de­mands this.

The sub­urbs, the beaches, the river banks are stud­ded with parks, each with a chil­dren’s play­ground equipped with swings, see­saws, fly­ing foxes, climb­ing tow­ers, and al­ways with bar­be­cue plates, sun shel­ter, and ta­bles.

The bar­be­cue plates are elec­tri­cally heated and oper­ate at no cost to the user.

Three and four-lane high­ways tra­verse the state.

The Bruce High­way, start­ing in Bris­bane and end­ing at Cairns, is longer than from Cape Reinga to Welling­ton.

Queens­lan­ders think noth­ing of driv­ing a few hun­dred kilo­me­tres.

Traf­fic hur­tles along but you don’t see any non­sense – po­lice are hu­mour­less and un­for­giv­ing.

You speed through the bush, then a spank­ing new sub­urb ap­pears, her­alded by Mc­Don­ald’s, of­ten one on both sides of the high­way. The num­ber of fast-food places is un­nerv­ing and may ex­plain the pro­lif­er­a­tion of med­i­cal cen­tres, patho­log­i­cal lab­o­ra­to­ries and X-ray cen­tres.

The shop­ping malls are huge. When lo­cals aren’t at work or in the parks, you’ll find them there, en­joy­ing the air con­di­tion­ing.

Rivers are broad, not fast flow­ing, but wide. In some towns and in parts of Bris­bane you see signs of the most re­cent floods. About the vol­ume of the Syd­ney Har­bour was de­posited in the catch­ments in lit­tle more than 24 hours.

Queens­lan­ders have an old­time cour­tesy that is ap­peal­ing to the pen­sioner. Ever felt threat­ened by an im­pa­tient driver when hob­bling over a pedes­trian cross­ing in Porirua? You’ll be charmed by Queens­land cour­tesy, traf­fic stops and they wave you over even when there is no cross­ing.

When walk­ing in the sub­urbs you are wished good day by el­derly res­i­dents. Sit down in the malls and you’re likely to be the re­cip­i­ent of some el­derly gent’s ro­bustly ex­pressed po­lit­i­cal views. Queens­lan­ders can be a bit parochial. They call Vic­to­ri­ans and Syd­ney-siders ‘‘ Mex­i­cans’’ – they’re from south of the bor­der.

For blue skies, sun and sea, out­door life­style, and old-time cour­tesy, Sun­shine Coast’s the place for the su­per­an­nu­ated tourist.

Laid-back life: A hec­tic day at Mooloolaba Ma­rina.

Land­mark: Aus­tralia Zoo, near Beer­wah, re­mains a pop­u­lar tourist

at­trac­tion five years on from the death of its famed croc­o­dile hunter

Steve Ir­win.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.