Oakey, Caloundra, Maleny, Conondale

After saying a fond farewell to Greg and Faye, I pulled out of Oakey sometime mid-morning.  My head was buzzing with directions on how to get back to the coast using the back roads.  There would be signs, eventually, but I would have to rely on ‘local knowledge’ to get to them first! 

The back roads were empty, and the weather glorious, a perfect day for a cruise.  Miraculously I actually found the right roads, and even managed to make a right guess at the correct direction.  The little towns I passed through were neat and tidy, and many of the people I saw were happy to wave, which gave me no amount of pleasure! 

I hit Kilcoy, and on impulse pulled up at a little park to eat an orange, and stuff down a pack of sultanas.  There was a fair bit of traffic on the main street and numerous ‘grey nomads’ vans and caravans lining the road.  Packs of motorcycles roared by from time to time, I assumed that most of them would be heading for the Dayboro ranges and beyond… lucky buggers. 

I chose an route to the Sunshine Coast that I’d not been on before.  The road started to climb at a fairly steep angle, and was full of twists and turns.  Fortunately I was unable to speed owing to the fact that I was stuck behind a truck towing a huge boat, and a semi-trailer full of turf.  On the bright side, I had plenty of time for sight seeing, and this part of the world is absolutely magnificent.  Gaps opened up between the thick canopy of trees to reveal gob smacking scenes of the Glasshouse Mountains, and the Pacific Ocean beyond.  If there had been anywhere to park I would have pulled up and taken some photos. 

View of the Kilcoy Range

View of the Kilcoy Range

Somewhere on the downhill run to the coast I pulled into a small roadside fruit and veg stand to top up my dwindling supply of bananas and oranges.  I walked out fifteen minutes later with a large cardboard box full of fruit and veges’.  Total cost: $7!!  In Gladstone for the same amount of supplies I would have been taking out a 2nd mortgage… well, nearly 🙂 

Caloundra:  It had been years since I’d been to this part of the Sunshine Coast, and to say it has changed would be like saying Michael Jackson has dabbled with some cosmetic surgery.  Overpasses, bypasses, highways, freeways, suburbs, and new developments sprawled across the landscape as far as the eye could see.  I was stunned at how big the place was now.  And chock full of traffic.  I found my sister, her partner, and my little niece, and enjoyed a nice lunch with them before heading off again.  The ocean front of Caloundra has been redeveloped as well, and looks absolutely fantastic now.  Immediately I decided that this was where we would be spending our Annual Family Holiday… see Sharpen the Saw. 

Maleny:  The road up the range hadn’t changed too much.  Many of the roadworks that had plagued my visits in the past were completed now, and the trip was uneventful.  Maleny is another one of my favourite parts of the world, and I took some time out to enjoy a coffee and some conversation with a couple of locals before pushing down the western side of the range to my mates’ place at Conondale. 

My mate, ‘The Hermit’, lives in a permaculture village called Crystal Waters ( http://www.ecologicalsolutions.com.au/crystalwaters/  )near the head of the Mary River.  I pulled in just before sunset and was given an effusive welcome by my good friend, who seems to enjoy my infrequent visits.  The first order of business was to clean his kitchen, then make tea.  Being a hermit means that personal hygiene is something he doesn’t have to worry about too much… along with regular meal times… early morning alarm clock calls… etc. etc. 

Crystal Waters Community Centre

Crystal Waters Community Centre

I like staying with him, and generally rock up once a year bearing gifts of alcohol and food.  We usually spend the first night catching up on eachothers’ news, and talking crap (as you do), then for the rest of the time just sit around reading, walking round the community, or picking fluff from out of our navels and generally unwinding (I unwind, he’s already unwound).  It’s such a vast lifestyle change from my usual routine, and one I could really get used to.  Of course, my wife has opinions.  She thinks I would soon go mad from boredom living deep in the bush, and sooner or later would crack.  I dunno, I reckon I’d miss the beach, it’s a shame the place isn’t a little closer to the coast, but apart from that I reckon I’d find something to amuse myself with. 

Because he has no tv reception (and doesn’t want it either), nights are spent either reading, stargazing, or yakking.  That night as we sat on the verandah looking at the stars and listening to the deafening silence I thought, “I want to move here.”

Tomorrow, I would have all day to think about it.

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