Last morning at Mooloolaba
After picking up Gaille at the Sunshine Coast airport, it was off to Noosa Heads to stay with her friends Trish and Nick. Noosa Heads is one of the main centers on the Sunshine Coast. It is 136km north of Brisbane and has a population of 4,000. It is a popular tourist destination because of its beaches and especially for surfing. However, to overcome severe beach erosion at Noosa's main beach a sand pumping system has been built. It operates when necessary during off peak hours, supplying sand via a pipeline built underneath the boardwalk. Noosa Heads is the home to a large koala population (unfortunately in decline) - apparently two male koalas (recently the female died) live in the park across the street from Trish and Nick's house. While I am hoping for a koala sighting, I am also hoping not to have a python sighting as they apparently also inhabit this area.
The first day Gaille and I thought we would drive to the Buderim Ginger Factory, Glass House Mountains and visit the Mapleton Tavern for lunch (a family friend owns the tavern).
Ginger was first grown in Buderim, Australia shortly before World War One, where the comparatively high rainfall and humidity combined produce conditions which are ideal for growing this unusual crop. Ginger production was interrupted in china due to world war II giving the Buderim farmers an opportunity to expand production of this crop in Australia. By 1980 there was a need for a larger location so the factory was moved to Yandina, Queensland. Today The Buderim Ginger Factory is a tourist attraction and working ginger factory which produces some of the finest quality of ginger and associated products in the world.
The boat ride on the factory grounds is similar to 'It's a small world' ride in Disneyland, except here you are looking for the gingerbread man as he makes his way around the world. Gaille and I had to go around twice to spot the gingerbread man in all the different locations.
Can you spot the gingerbread man?
The park also has a bee tour which was extremely interesting. Apparently females are the worker bees and males are the drones that do not do much except impregnate the queen bee! Why am I not surprised!
These bees come from Italy! Apparently they produce better honey or are they just better lovers!
Gaille on the train that goes around the park.
We were starving after our ginger tour (samples were not filling), so it was off to the Mapleton tavern which was about a half hour drive from the ginger factory but on route (so we thought) to the Glass House Mountains.
Mapleton is a small town located near Obi Obi Road in the Blackall Ranges (pop. 2000), so it was not difficult to locate the tavern as it was the largest building. We were very excited to try some country cooking - unfortunately the lunch did not live up to our expectations. It may have been the worse meal I have ever eaten. Let's just say the salt and pepper calamari were like rubber bands dipped in donut dough and over deep fried minus the salt and pepper. The tassie salmon must of swam from tassie through an oil slick and the French fries definitely were shipped by a slow boat from France. The good news is although we left the restaurant unsatisfied we found a lovely spot, Flaxton Gardens, a few kilometers up the road. Once a vineyard it now serves afternoon tea, so we indulged in delicious cappuccinos and wonderful scones with jam and cream - not to mention the fabulous surrounding views.
Too many scones for me, I needed a rest!
Off to find the Glass House Mountains. The Glass House Mountains were named by Captain James Cook as he sailed north up the coast of what is now Queensland in 1770 as part of his epic voyage aboard his ship HM Bark Endeavour. They were so called as the shape of the mountains reminded him of the huge glass furnaces (glasshouses) back in his native Yorkshire. The mountains are actually the cores of extinct volcanoes. The mountains are located in a national park but we were led to believe there was a good viewing point in this area without driving into the national park. Well after following several conflicting directions we were given and driving past the Mapleton Tavern five times from different directions we realized it was getting late in the day and we should perhaps put this off for another day.
We did find a lookout with a covered area that a Rotary Club built to commemorate Rotary's 100th anniversary. However, the club should replace the sign on top of the covered area as it has been bleached by the sun- maybe the new sign could mention what the view is from this lookout as we have absolutely no idea. But it was pretty!
This Rotary sign one could read!
Girls just want to have fun!