Noosa is a little surfing town (yeah, another one) on what's called Queensland's Sunshine Coast. It is picturesque (yawn), with a few nice shops, a pretty beach (another yawn) and not much else. There are two bars, frequented by all the backpackers. They are worse than the old Manchester Met University Student Union, which was spectacularly grim.
That said, I ended up having a grand old time in Noosa. I had been feeling a bit like I needed to start exercising again so went running along the shoreline and, cringefully, had one of those moments where you look at the gorgeous ocean, the soft sand, the blue sky... and think yes I definitely made the right decision to go travelling. Running is the one thing that clears my head and it felt great to get out again. It definitely beat running on the treadmill at the gym my sister and I go to... she can tell you all about the characters in there if you have a spare five hours and want to be put off your dinner.
Here's the beautiful coastline I was lucky enough to visit... but don't be fooled; it wasn't nearly warm enough there to sunbathe.
ANYWAY. In Noosa there was the usual selection of hostels, but a friend and I plumped for Noosa Flashpackers, which lives up to its name by offering a little bit of backpacker luxury for only a few more dollars (it was the maximum I paid for accommodation in Oz, at $30 per night. I'm writing this from Asia, where the idea of paying $30 per night makes me feel a bit sick). It also meant I got to meet some awesome people, minus a few bad apples/foxes in the henhouse/whichever metaphor you prefer. We spent many an hour playing Mario Kart on the Wii in the TV lounge. It got pretty ugly. I'm not naming any names but you know who you are and dirty tricks won't get you very far in life. Also, 150cc is way too difficult and if you hadn't stolen King Boo every single race maybe I would have won a few more times. Losing isn't my speciality and neither is Dry Bones.
Flashpackers is the kind of place you go for a night and end up staying five or six. It was all too easy to just laze around and relax. For me, this was a new thing. I'm not used to doing nothing. Between my iPhone, netbook, compulsive need to write lists, go to the gym, work, chatter and stay busy, it's simple at home for me never to have a spare moment. Here, on the other side of the world, I had to get used to doing the total opposite. Not only does your body have to slow down, but your mind does. It literally empties because you have so much time - oodles and oodles of time - to untie mental knots, compartmentalise, regroup and reboot. It doesn't mean you work perfectly when you switch yourself back on again, but it sure does feel good to stop and look at your surroundings for a minute. That reminds me of a line from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Didn't he say something similar?