The Best of Both Worlds

Close to home #3 Cotton Tree

It’s always lovely to go on a long holiday to a far flung destination. There are times, however, when it’s not convenient or cost effective and a staycation, closer to home, is the way to go. The destinations in this series of posts are all within a couple of hours’ drive of our home. They’re easy to get to, there’s plenty to see and do and at the end of the holiday we’re home again in no time.

The Sunshine Coast, north of Brisbane, is one of Queensland’s most loved playgrounds. From the laid back style of Caloundra in the south to the exclusive resorts at Noosa 60 km to the north, there’s a holiday destination to suit everyone.

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Tucked away between the high-rises of Alexandra Headland and the wide mouth of the Maroochy River is the small beachfront suburb of Cotton Tree and the Cotton Tree Holiday Park takes prime position.

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The holiday park, with its broad, grassed camping sites, has two water frontages; it’s only a couple of minutes’ walk either way to the Pacific Ocean or the river. On the ocean side at Maroochy Beach, windsurfers take advantage of the tumbling waves and further along lifesavers watch over the bathers swimming between the flags.

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Around the other side, where the Maroochy River enters the ocean, the water is much calmer; it’s perfect for small children, kayakers and lifesavers-in-training, who perfect their water skills in the glassy conditions.

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Campers at the park have all they need within easy walking distance. Along Cotton Tree Parade and King Street there are trendy boutiques selling the latest swimwear and cafés where freshly caught seafood headlines the menu, while not far away is Sunshine Plaza, the largest shopping centre on the Sunshine Coast. The walkway through the Esplanade Parkland follows the bank of the Maroochy River. There’s time for walkers to pause for reflection at the Maroochydore War Memorial and Naval Memorial.

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Pelicans, who also have plenty of time, gather in the shallows waiting for offcuts from the fishermen.

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With a choice of surf or still water and walking, dining and shopping all in easy reach, every day is a holiday at Cotton Tree.

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22 thoughts on “The Best of Both Worlds

  1. Lovely place Carol. Love the photos of those pelicans! Whenever Australian beaches are in the news over here, it’s always because of one reason: shark attacks. Are these confined to particular coasts, or everywhere? Is the Cotton Tree safe, for example?

    • Denzil, I guess the simple answer is that when you swim in the ocean you are in the sharks’ habitat. However, I looked up some statistics for you.

      Australia has 7000 beaches and there are more than 100 million visits to the beach every year. Since records began in 1791 there have been 979 shark attacks with 231 of those being fatal. That averages out to one fatal attack per year. The biggest problem is that from a shark’s point of view, looking up, a swimmer, diver or surfer looks exactly like a dolphin or seal. The shark can’t tell the difference!

      There are some places which are more prone to shark attack and they are often areas popular with divers. Swimming beaches are protected by shark nets, which are placed off the coast and keep the sharks out. On patrolled beaches where the surf lifesavers are, there are shark nets. Maroochy Beach is netted. So when you come to visit, you will be safe to swim there!

  2. It looks like a lovely spot, Carol. Sometimes a staycation is the best holiday ever. Your pictures get me in the mood for summer, not like the summer I have here in Nanning, which, though incredibly hot and humid, has none of the things I think about when I think about summer. 🙂

  3. This looks like a beautiful holiday park. It’s amazing how these parks can get the prime ocean-view spots. Have you seen the one at Merimbula – it’s spectacular as well 🙂

    • I haven’t been to Merimbula but I’ll add it to the list. I think the park was probably there long before the area became popular. It’s like those old weatherboard beach shacks along the beach front in some parts of the Gold Coast, which have been there for decades and are now worth a mint.

  4. Idyllic! On my first trip to Australia my son took me up the coast as fas as Noosa and Fraser Island stopping at various places along the way. I loved the Sunshine Coast and the names up there. Mooloolaba for instance made me smile.

  5. Seriously, what’s not to love? If I lived on the Sunshine Coast I don’t think I’d ever leave. It’s such a lovely part of the world, and I am lucky enough to have experienced it even though it was about 14 years ago! I love the pelicans!

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