Monday, March 7, 2016

Noosa: Surfing the '60s

A second edition of the book, Noosa: Surfing the '60s, has been released. Surfing the 60s is a book with a message: You should have been there yesterday. For those who were, it will rekindle fond memories.

That's the advertising blurb. 

Every time I stay at Noosa with one of my brothers I get all nostalgic and remember how Noosa was in the 60s.  It's so different now.  These days what first comes to mind when you think of Noosa Heads on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast?  Probably the strip of ultra-cool boutiques, award-winning restaurants and luxury holiday accommodation.  Back in the mid 60s it was still a sleepy village - laid back, simple, dotted with single-storey timber dwellings and stores and you could risk being eaten alive by sand-flies and sleep on the ground beside your vehicle at the end of Hastings Street.  That is what we did quite often.  After a day surfing we would be tired enough to not need a comfy bed and besides, I don't remember any accommodation places being available.
Surfing was what it was about and surfing played a key part in putting the town on the map, and establishing its current image.  It was hardly heard of in the early 60s except for semi-locals like us from Brisbane but by the end of the decade it was a real mecca for surfers, and featured in movies and magazines, with a worldwide reputation.

When I was in Australia recently I enjoyed a week at Noosa with two of my brothers and their wives. One day when we walked around to the shops, the main beach was very busy with a surf lifesaving carnival.  Shame there was no surf to speak of. 

The next generation of surfers waiting for a wave.

Two of my favourites features at Noosa are the boarded walkway from Hastings Street to the National Park - and the national park itself.

Walkers have the choice of following the beach for a distance before climbing up steps to join the walkway 


Or they can take the longer gradual climb up the hill before going downhill to Little Cove.

Both ways the path has been built around existing trees, like these lovely ghost gums

There are always a number of people on the walkway but it is easy to forget them and just enjoy the natural sights.

I'm sure this is kawakawa which in NZ is known for its medicinal properties.

From Little Cove those who don't mind steps can take lots and lots of them up to the road that leads to my brother's apartment.  I don't like steps, they disagree with my hips, so prefer to take the longer, easier route around to National Park, then the short walk up leafy Mitti street to the apartment.


  1. I love that walk! Beautiful Noosa!

  2. Noosa of the Sixties...I knew it well. My childhood and teenage years were spent in Gympie...and Noosa was part of our stomping ground; and even more particularly when I was a teenager in the early to mid 60s. Every weekend my girlfriends and I spent at Noosa. We stayed either at the old Laguna Guest House on Hastings St. or in a flat half way down along Hastings Street, heading towards Noosa Woods (that no longer exists). And sometimes we stayed at "The Beach House" which also was a guest house on the beachfront. It later became "Annabell's Restaurant"...and it now has been torn down and a new, modern complex built on the beachfront site.

    My older brother Graham was a lifesaver in the Noosa Lifesaving Club, as was my first husband.

    Then from 1979 to the beginning of 1986, my second husband (now also ex...but still a very good friend) and I lived at Sunshine Beach and I had a small business in Hastings Street...a greengrocery/healthfood store. And it stood on the site where the old Laguna Guest House used to be. It was called the "Laguna Arcade". The Ken Rosewall tennis courts were at the rear of the arcade...on Noosa Parade, Noosa Sound - a canal development that one was called "Hay's Island". It was all mangrove area back in the Sixties.

    It no longer exists, either. A high-rise was built on the site by Ariadne back in the late 1990s...or thereabouts.

    Peter and Fay Lobbin had the store in the middle of Hastings Street in those days...they sold groceries, milkshakes etc.

    Great memories of a wonderful time..of a wonderful era.

    Noosa will always have a special place in my heart. Thanks for the memories. :)

  3. While i've never had the pleasure of being there, i can imagine from your descriptions that it was a fun place to be back in the day, and still is but for different reasons.

  4. While one can't always 'go back there' the memories keep the spirit of a beloved place alive. I guess that for a new generation, this will be the Noosa of memory!

  5. It is still a beautiful place but it would be nicer without the tourists.


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