Lions basking in their own little Utopia of Noosa
Sunshine Coast location is easing the aches and pains of the touring squad before the decider in Sydney
Noosa Heads is the main village of several located within this region on the Sunshine Coast and there’s always something happening. In March, there is a Festival of Surfing, which is a long-board competition but also entails stand paddling, dog-surfing and surf-dancing. In May there’s Noosa’s International Food and Wine Festival, which brings many of the leading chefs from around Australia, and in that month there’s also Noosa’s Ultimate Sports Fest, which incorporates a half-marathon, swim and cycle event.
They’ve just completed Noosa’s arts and cultural event, the Noosa Longweekend Festival (which, true to its name, actually runs for 10 days), and in August there’s Noosa’s Jazz Festival. In November the town’s multi-sport and triathlon event brings in over 12,000 competitors. All of which sums up much of what Noosa specialises in, be it surfing, food and wine, arts and sports (see visitnoosa.com.au). And of course, the Christmas holidays constitute Noosa’s busy period.
In stark contrast to much of the rest of Australia, this postcard-like hideaway, is fairly laid back, though the restaurants do close early – circa last orders at 9pm. In Zacharys last night, the midnight curfew was rigidly applied at 11.55pm! Roundabouts direct traffic as opposed to traffic lights and there are few parking meters. “All the things that are associated with urban over-development are avoided here, so there is a relaxed flow,” explained Terry.
Due to the heavy accent on protecting its natural environment in 2007 Noosa was named as Queensland’s first Unesco biosphere reserve in recognition of its natural environment and bio-diversity. An estimated 44 per cent of Australia’s bird life reside in the Noosa region.
“When I think back to my time playing,” reflected Irvine yesterday, “between the second and third Test in South Africa you went on safari, in New Zealand you went up to the Bay of Islands or somewhere warm, where there was a tourist resort. All we are doing is something very similar.”
“We came out here for ‘a recce’ a year ago, we checked the training grounds and to be absolutely honest, they weren’t really up to standard. But the local rugby have worked really hard with the local tourist board and put a lot of money into it.
“The facilities are absolutely super and to be honest I couldn’t think of a better place for the players to be than up here.”