A Visit to the Sunshine Coast

The beautiful Sunshine Coast

It’s been almost a full week since I got back from a blissful ten day vacation in Australia but now that I’m sorting through the photos, it feels like it was forever ago. Normally after vacation, I return home feeling energized and ready to get back to my normal routine. However this time, going back to work seemed like a harsher reality. Maybe 10 days just wasn’t enough!

Two Wednesdays ago, Jackie and I hopped a 19 hour flight (I watched four, yes FOUR, movies) to visit her family in Coolum, a quiet resort town right on the Sunshine Coast. It wasn’t your typical family visit as their house is part of the Palmer Coolum Resort and since this time of year isn’t exactly peak tourism season, we had a lot of the resort facilities to ourselves. I’m talking full access to a pool, gym, and spa…yeah….(!)….and to top it all off, we got to navigate the grounds on our own golf cart, which is fun in and of itself!

A post about the trip wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Shadow and Kitty. I thought that we spoiled Neko and Moby, but these two had trained their humans better than any other cat that I have ever seen! They live in feline heaven with full reign of the house and backyard – food at every corner and plenty of cozy nooks perfect for afternoon sunbaths.

King Shadow

Queen Kitty

Dodger, Alex and Shannon’s dog/pony, has another starring role in this household – he doesn’t have it bad either as the official garbage disposal and bed warmer (hearts melt for those perky ears!):

Oh, Dodger!

I know what you’re thinking – “You went all the way to Australia to just hang out with someone else’s animals?!” – and my answer to that would be…well, kinda. Vacations don’t need to be jam packed with sightseeing and this time around, we just told ourselves to relax and recharge. Their backyard was peaceful and quiet with the exception of exotic birds engaging in colorful conversations. Even though we had a mostly overcast days, mornings on the patio were always nice and bright so I especially enjoyed digging into big bowls of musseli, passionfruit yoghurt, bacon and espresso for breakfast and then losing myself in books for the rest of the day.

Family dinners were a treat each night. Alex showed off his seafood culinary skills all week and made salmon, mussels, scallops, oysters, you name it. Jackie’s dad grilled lamb, steak and sausages on the BBQ. Shannon made cioppinno. Jackie and I whipped up Smitten Kitchen’s key lime cheesecake (note: subbing digestives for graham crackers is delicious) for mother’s day. We even broke in their new pasta machine and made seafood linguini! It would be a major understatement to say that I was well fed.

Pasta Machine 1

Pasta Machine #2

Jackie's No Carb Version

Seafood Pasta from Scratch

In-between all the rich meals and trips to the spa, we made it to Noosa, another quiet town 20 minutes away. Shannon and Alex took us to the National Park to work off all the carbs and take in the views. Forced family photos and a near-death experience (story for another time!) ensued.

Noosa

Not bad

Forced Family Photo

…and then we ate some more at a new outdoor bar/restaurant as the sun set.

Flux in Noosa

mmm scallops

From what I could tell, life on the Sunshine Coast wouldn’t be too different from what I’m used to in Santa Monica. Once you get past seeing different stars at night, driving on the other side of the road, watching out for kangaroos, and maneuvering through all the round abouts (I could count the number of times I saw a traffic light on one hand), there really isn’t much of a culture shock. S & A took us to a Sunday Farmer’s Market in Noosa and I almost felt like I was transported back home. The one difference? Since Australia is much closer to SE Asia, the Asian food influences are much stronger and better…come on LA, catch up!!

Happy Sprout

Asian Street Food

Potstickers!

Whew, that was a doozy. A post dedicated to our (food) adventures in Melbourne coming up next!

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