It’s September school holidays in Brisbane and we have just returned from a few days at the beach.
Well, a few rainy days ‘near’ the beach, as we did not exactly get to lie in the sun on the beach as we had planned, or even swim in the usually brilliant blue ocean as it was cold, windy and wet for most of the time.
However, we did get to smell that wonderful, welcoming salty smell of the sea, and listen to the soothing sound of the waves crashing onto the shore as we lay in bed at night, and we did sink our toes into the fine, white sand on the beaches and lick the best hand-made gelato off dripping cones along the boardwalk …
And I did get to go on a couple of oceanside walks, in between rain showers, with my camera over my shoulder.
The flora along the coastline is so lush and so colourful and the gloomy weather seemed to exaggerate the vivid colours when viewed through my macro lens.
Or perhaps it is just that usually when the weather is bright and sunny at the beach, I am too busy photographing the magnificent colours of the ocean to even notice the abundance of coastal flora at my feet!
This time, every tiny bit of floral colour stood out against the muted palette of greys provided by the unseasonal grim weather and I realised just how much beauty and diversity there is amongst the vegetation alongside our beaches.
Standing on a rocky point and looking out over the Pacific ocean I thought how fortunate I am to live in Brisbane - so close to the ocean and all these wonderful beaches!
Brisbane is situated along the floodplain of the Brisbane River Valley, between beautiful Moreton Bay and the Great Dividing Range, with barely an hour’s drive south to the incredible surfing beaches of the Gold Coast and just over an hour’s drive north to the as yet unspoilt beaches of the Sunshine Coast.
Caloundra, where we spent the last few days, is a beachside town at the southern end of the sunshine coast, right at the foot of the distinctive Glasshouse Mountains, discovered and named by Captain Cook on his voyage to Australia.
The town of Caloundra has changed dramatically from the days when it was known as the Queensland Retirement Town, filled with old low-rise beachside units, cheap eateries and fishing tackle shops, to its current reputation as a scenic seaside resort town, catering to discerning holidaymakers from all over the world.
With the development of high-rise hotels and apartment buildings and all the facilities that go along with that level of sophistication, Caloundra has still managed to retain its charm with beautiful, unspoilt beaches, crystal-clear waters and the friendly laid-back lifestyle for which it has always been known.
Even the old red-roofed lighthouse still has pride of place, having been recently returned to its original position high above the town – now an historical place of interest!
Towards the end of our short seaside break, the weather cleared just enough to allow the sun to escape the clouds and magically turn the ocean from the bleak, grey blanket it had been masquerading as into the brilliant blues and greens that we know and love.
We did not get our swim in the ocean, but instead I discovered the beauty of the coastal flora ~ and we did leave Caloundra rested and soothed by the sea for another few months.