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A Day in the Life of a Shanghai Beach Bum on Holidays….

I’ve just spent the most fabulous four days at Noosa Beach, about two hours north of my hometown, Brisbane. It’s a tough life, what with the brilliant blue water, the brilliant blue sky, and the white sandy beach. Here’s my typical Noosa day – it’s what I daydream about when it’s cold, grey and smoggy back in Shanghai. 
10am: It’s low tide and time to warm up on the beach in the sunshine, then dive in for a bracing swim in the slighlty chilly winter waters. Yes, this is mid-winter in Australia. 

11am: Raspberry snowcones all round from the cart parked on the beach, because by now it’s pretty hot – about 28 degrees. Then some more lying in the sun to warm up after the icy treat.
12.30pm: Lunch at Bistro C – a Noosa institution, right on the beach. You can wander right in from the sand, footwear optional. Big appetite essential, for today’s specials – barramundi fillet on pesto polenta with a ragu of tomatoes and pinenuts, or a tangled salad of chicken, coriander, cashews and tofu with sour, spicy nam jin dressing. Big, robust Australian flavours.
3pm: We skip Bistro C’s dessert menu in favour of a walk down the boardwalk to Massimo’s Icecream. The flavours are all seasonal, so being winter we can choose from passionfruit, strawberry, or lemon fruit sorbets, or one of a dozen creamy flavours – milk and cream, amaretto, creme caramel, bitter chocolate, amongst other irresistable creations. Every one delicious. Nearby, the gum trees are all in blossom and the heavy honey scent is attracting dozens of rainbow lorikeets and other native birds.
5.30pm: The tide has come in and the after-work surfers and paddleboarders have arrived to catch a few waves at the end of their working day. The early sunset casts a golden light over the sand and turns the water a deep sapphire blue.

6pm: The sunset deepens. Fire red and molten gold fill the sky.

6.40pm: The sun sets, the sky begins to darken and the temperature finally drops to a chillier 16 degrees. I’ve just ordered fish and chips from the takeaway, and we’ll sit on the balcony of our apartment listening to the last of the birdsong while we eat. 

Massimo’s Ice Cream, Noosa

Massimo’s is something of a Noosa institution. It occupies an unhealthy proportion of my food daydreams (everyone else has these, don’t they??) whilst in Shanghai. Real ice-cream is kinda hard to come by in China. One of these days I’m going to write about all the wacky flavours that pass for ice-cream there – green tea, pea, corn…..something black, something icky and purple. 

Massimo’s makes real ice-cream. From fresh seasonal fruit and real milk, guaranteed free of melamine. You never know on any given day whether there will be any ruby grapefruit and campari gelato, depending on the seasonal supply of ruby grapefruit, but that just adds to the excitement and anticipation. Mango, of course, is summer months only, as is lychee. Perennial flavours like white chocolate, coconut, caramel and hazelnut are luckily available all year round.

Get yourself a waffle cone, any two flavours for $5.50, and head down to the beach. Let’s make ice-cream the official street food of Australia.

Aromas, Hastings Street

Noosa‘s most popular cafe is without a doubt Aromas, right across from the beach on Hastings Street. It doesn’t have a view of the ocean, but the view from one of their French style wicker chairs is even better – an endless parade of Australia’s wealthiest and most well-dressed beach-goers. Grab a flat white (that’s Australian for coffee) and a piece of this incredibly unattractive but extremely tasty chocolate/hazelnut/fig torte, and settle in for an hour or so of unparalleled people watching.

Noosa Surfers, Sunset

From the bush to the beach….I’m spending a couple of days in one of my favourite, favourite places – Noosa beach. Noosa is a tiny turquoise jewel of a beach, surrounded on both sides by natural wilderness, between which lies a pocket of real-estate filled with some of Australia’s best restaurants and cafes. If you look out to the sea you will see nothing but water and sky, but turn around to face the other direction and there’s a choice of seven fresh dining options without even leaving the sand.
The evening I arrived saw the tail end of a storm being blown out to sea. The beach was bathed in the pink light of the setting sun and the surfers had all arrived to take advantage of the waves created by the storm. It was a magical scene.