The Nature of Paradise
by Chris Gilbert 15/10/2017
Some 400 stairs assist the climb from Sunshine Beach to the top of Noosa’s southern headland. From a height of 100 metres looking south we view 35 kilometres of the Sunshine Coast beaches, which is terrific reward for the toll on our legs and lungs. Visitors coaxed to this point envy that we call this place home. And, I’ve lost count of the Noosa residents who tell me this place is paradise. Ask, “Why so?” and you’ll hear about climate and environment.
There’s no winter here, compared to the top half of the northern hemisphere. Snow is unknown. We swim all year round, and it’s a rare winter day that doesn’t top 18 degrees Celsius (65F). And summer heat is moderated by the South East Trade winds. Our region is known as The Sunshine Coast for good reason, and rain when it falls in season – October to March – is often from cloud bursts or passing thunder storms, which keep the parks and gardens green on sandy soils. Residents enjoy rain and try to console holiday makers with jokes about liquid sunshine.
The beauty of the landscape surpasses the weather. The Noosa River is the cleanest Australian river flowing through an urban area. Its first 25 kilometres is not subject to farming runoff as it wends through Cooloola National Park before flowing into Lake Cootharaba. It is one of only two “wild” rivers on the Australian mainland.
I have never experienced a town like Noosa where national park threads into its residential and commercial areas. We really live in a bird and animal sanctuary. Apparently, 46% of all bird species in Australia are found here, and in the eucalypts and palms of just our back yard swarm four species of parrots, with occasional visits by rare black cockatoos.
The dusk and dawn warbling of magpies and butcher birds makes us early risers, and family groups of kookaburras cackle away in their turn with a dozen other species during the day. Snakes and fruit bats also enjoy sanctuary even if not our affection, and my wife’s pet peeve is the geckos that occasionally appear on our living room walls. My dog and I sometimes surprise wallabies and kangaroos on morning walks.
There’s no doubt Noosa is bequeathed something like an environmental paradise. What I’ll explore more fully in these letters is what life is like for people in this Noosa region.