In the third of Melissa Findley’s on the road series she escapes the winter blues to the warmth of the Sunshine Coast. Here she shares what she loves about an Australian winter by the ocean.
Photography and words by Melissa Findley.
As much as I consider myself a summer baby, winter along Australia’s east coast holds a special place in my heart. It is a beautiful and peaceful time of year to spend by the sea. The days are shorter and we find ourselves making the most of each moment and the winter sun before retiring to the warmth of indoors. The skies are bluer and the ocean is clearer. The wattle is flowering bright yellow and the gumnuts are blooming - our nations colours of green and gold are everywhere. Beautiful beaches, golden sand and warmer days are what the Sunshine Coast is famous for, and even in the depths of winter it can still provide the most magical days for sitting on the shore and water warm enough to swim. With daily temperatures sitting steady around 22 degrees (celsius), winter may actually be the perfect time to take advantage of Queensland’s sub-tropical climate and make the most of that seemingly “endless summer".
A beautiful afternoon setting in Noosa National Park surrounded by the long sweeping beach, local surfers and the sun setting behind the untouched hinterland view before us. Feeling relaxed and carefree, Danielle and I enjoyed a blissful afternoon soaking in the natural surrounds in Tea Tree Bay. Having first met 25 years ago and with most of our adult life spent in different countries (now spent living on different coasts) it is always truly cherished time when we catch up. You know the kind of friendship where it doesn’t matter how much time has passed in-between, nor the distance, the familiarity and the conversation fills your soul and you feel at home.
In our cosy knits and bare legs we fought off the goosebumps long into the evening, savouring that last light and dancing barefoot in the lapping waves while the twilight resembled fairy floss with hues of pink, blue and purple. As the night fell we filled our bellies with nourishing, warm food and moved to a secluded local spot and enjoyed a fire-lit night under the milky way.
The morning began at 4am, up and ready to explore a natural cave. Here we made friends with a local photographer and traveller from Canada. We shared the pre-dawn sky and gasped in awe as the sun set fire to the sea and the light burst through, illuminating the cave around us.
With hungry bellies we made our way to Belmondos Organic Market and enjoyed a well deserved coffee (matcha latte for me), swapping travel stories and of course photography stories with our new friends.
Life - things come and go like the seasons, and I'm slowly learning to sit back and let go. Grateful for moments at home, to have grown up on this beautiful land and to have been taught from a young age to appreciate the magic of the world around us. For the warm inside these bones, that comes from finding my people, the ones with the warm hearts and warm conversation.
For recognising that winter blues can be escaped and replaced with gratitude for that lingering kiss of the sun, goosebumps on my skin and the serenity of life by the ocean.
Let the light in.