Salt’s editor was super-excited to see that Bellingham Maze has reopened, and she’s not the only one. Long-time locals and regular visitors to the region who played at the attraction as children and take their own children there have a soft spot for the maze. After first opening almost 30 years ago, the attraction is now called AMAZE WORLD. Part of a five-year rejuvenation plan, an initial $1 million has been invested and stage one has opened with a nature playground, water play area, rope climbs and another maze that sits alongside the existing hedge, rope and timber mazes. There is also an augmented reality experience, where visitors can use their phones to ‘find’ characters hidden in the mazes. Other upgrades include an observation deck and pavilions. Plus the existing gardens, mazes, mini golf and picnic areas are still there to enjoy. Amaze World is at 274 Tanawha Tourist Drive, Tanawha. 5445 2979 or amazeworld.com.au
Sunshine Coast Libraries has reintroduced free STORYTIME AND RHYMETIME SESSIONS to help parents nurture their children’s love of language. You’ll find these free, weekly sessions at libraries from Caloundra to Coolum and out to Kenilworth. The Storytime and Rhymetime sessions are ideal for enthusiastic young learners and help develop their growing brains. The sessions encourage skills in language and listening and help to foster curiosity in under five-year-olds. If you want to join a Storytime and Rhymetime session, jump on the Libraries website to book. library.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au
Well-maintained paths, shaded green lawns, plenty of seating, play areas and a safe beach with beautiful views – these are a few of the reasons MOOLOOLABA was named one of the top 10 beaches in the South Pacific according to the 2022 Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards. Based on traveller reviews, Mooloolaba came in seventh place in the coveted awards, but really, are we surprised? While Mooloolaba is buzzing during summer, it’s the cooler months when we think this area really shines. The spit is a great spot for a dip on a sunny winter’s day – our recommendation is to park the car near the surf club and take a stroll along the boardwalk. You can wander along the rock wall and see if anyone has caught a fish, take a dip in the calm waters of the spit then meander back and pick up a coffee or lunch before heading home. Bliss.
If you’re of a certain age you’ll remember playgrounds used to be a set of swings, a burning metal slippery dip and an uncomfortable see-saw. And that was about it. Today’s children have it a lot better, and we’ve found yet another fantastic Sunshine Coast playground they will definitely want to visit. Cooroy’s HINTERLAND ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND is a nature-based play area that encourages interaction with the environment. It’s made up of several zones that include an oval for kicking a ball, a replicated creek for water play, sensory garden, a rocket ship (of course!), inclusive swings and a flying fox, plus picnic and barbecue areas, an amenities block and loads more. The kids will love it and we dare say some adults will have a lot of fun there too. The Hinterland Adventure Playground is at Marara Street, Cooroy.
If Noosa had an unassuming younger sibling it would have to be SUNSHINE BEACH. This relaxed village is on the southern end of Noosa National Park – if you’re up for it you can walk around the headland from Noosa Heads to Sunshine Beach and enjoy the stunning views along the way. Sunshine Beach is a short drive from Hastings Street, and here you’ll find a long stretch of open beach that is perfect for long walks. We’re heading into whale watching season, so our advice is to walk up the stairs at the Noosa end of the beach and see if you can spot a humpback passing by. If you don’t spot a whale you can check out the surfers then head back past the surf club and towards town where you’ll find restaurants, cafes, bars and shopping on Duke Street.
Featuring dozens of historic aircraft and staffed by a passionate and knowledgeable team of volunteers, including free tour guides, QUEENSLAND AIR MUSEUM is always a great place to visit, but we recommend heading to Caloundra on the open cockpit weekend, which is happening on July 9 and 10. You’ll not only get a chance to get up close to the aircraft, but you can also head inside and explore some of the aircraft cockpits. If you can’t get to the museum you can still get your QAM fix – volunteer Garry Hills hosts the Mach One podcast, where he talks to aviation experts and pilots, shares interesting stories and provides updates on what is happening at the museum. You can find that on the QAM website or your podcast app. The museum has recently introduced the F-111 experience where two retired F-111 air crew explain the history of the aircraft and then sit with you one-on-one in the cockpit. A fascinating couple of hours. The cost and bookings can be found on the website. Queensland Air Museum is at 7 Pathfinder Drive, Caloundra. 5492 5930 or qam.com.au
Supporting our local restaurants and cafes is great, but if you love your food, you can go a step further and visit the FARMS AND PRODUCERS who help supply our hospitality industry and fill our bellies. There are loads of growers and farmers who open their gates to visitors. Start off by picking your own strawberries at McMartin’s in Bli Bli, Strawberry Fields in Palmview or Cooloola Berries. Animal lovers can head out to QCamel in Glass House Mountains, meet the animals and learn about camel milk, before popping up to Maleny Dairies to feed the calves and watch the milking. The family-run Baranbali Farm in Conondale produces a range of meat and smallgoods and has a farm shop. It is seasonal, so give them a call before heading out to the farm.
It might sound counter-intuitive but winter is a great time to LEARN TO SURF. Sure the water is chilly, but a wetsuit sorts that out. In winter, most beaches are quieter than in the warm months (so it’s much easier to get a carpark and a decent spot on the sand), the water is clearer and the winds are generally more favourable to new surfers, creating smoother waves that are easier to learn on. Whatever your age and ability, there are loads of surf schools and instructors who will be happy to get you out there, from Noosa down past Peregian and Coolum, in Maroochydore and Mooloolaba and down the coast to Caloundra.
If you’re over 65 and live in the Noosa region, check out AGEING WELL NOOSA, which has free and low-cost activities. Fancy a spot of low-impact dancing, or is joining an art therapy session more your speed? How about some yoga? Classes are held at Peregian Beach, in Cooroy, Cooran, the botanic gardens and Tewantin. Or perhaps you’d like to try something a little more adventurous, such as canoeing on the Noosa River, taking part in a guided bushwalk or joining a walking group for a stroll by the beach and up through the national park? Check out the Noosa Council website at noosa.qld.gov.au/seniors-1 to find out more.
Put this one in your diary. COLLECTORAMA FAIR is usually held four times a year in Nambour and the next one is on in early September. The fair is huge, with loads of vintage and retro items, unusual antiques and plenty of bargains. This fair has been going for years and has a strong reputation among collectable lovers as something you don’t want to miss. Get lost in the treasures at Nambour Showgrounds, Coronation Avenue, Nambour. facebook.com/CollectoramaFair