Summer salad recipes at end of this post.

In early November 2019 we returned from 2 weeks in Sth/East Queensland (North of Australia) in the sub-tropics. The first week of our trip was along the Sunshine Coast starting at Mooloolaba (focus of this post) – we then moved onto Noosa; Maleny (Sunshine Coast hinterland) and finally Brisbane for 5 nights before flying back to Canberra (a future post).

Postscript re Australian bushfires over summer…

* I did have this piece almost ready to post in November but with the bushfire warnings gathering momentum in and after Christmas on NSW South Coast, we focussed on getting our house prepared for that, also preparing for Christmas/school holidays and helping with childcare as well whenever we could. So…I’m hoping the stress of bushfires on our doorsteps has now come to an end (we were lucky…fire came close near Milton but all ok) and I have more time/energy for writing, ie back to good times!…

I’ll start with the beautiful Spring days we had in Canberra before we left for the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

Canberra courtyard garden…lots of herbs including chives which we’ve been using a lot lately

For overseas readers the following map might help with bearings…plus I find the climate info helpful when considering when/what to plant in our gardens – particularly our south coast garden in Mollymook which is bigger than our small courtyard in Canberra.

Photos below…Canberra ACT (Australian Capital Territory) – for overseas readers (and young children), you’ll see from map above that Canberra is approximately 2 hours drive from the NSW South East Coast; however, there are many lakes. The main/large lake is Lake Burley Griffin but there are many smaller lakes – some near our main town centres eg. the LHS photo below features Lake Ginninderra near Belconnen Town Centre.

In and around Canberra in Spring…near Lake Ginninderra- Canberra has many lakes and pleasant cycle trails

Photo below: Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra… taken from the Arboretum lookout many years ago. The Arboretum is a must see for anyone visiting Canberra, particularly if you love outdoor pursuits (there are many bike trails and a great kids’ playground) as well as trees and gardens. The Japanese Bonsai “garden”/display is fascinating – inspired us to look into another trip to Japan…probably next year – 2020.

The Arboretum is one of our favourite places…a cafe and bookshop etc. overlooks this view as well

Now onto the Sunshine Coast…

we flew from Canberra via Sydney to the Sunshine Coast airport in Maroochydore (short taxi trip to Mooloolaba…a lovely place to stay if you enjoy beach + many good restaurants etc) but on our next visit we plan on flying Canberra – Brisbane…hiring a car and travelling to Sunshine Coast from there.

I have a 90 year old Aunt I want to visit in Noosa, another popular (but pricey) beach holiday spot. If you can’t afford the upmarket hotels near Hastings Street, on main beach (the prices sky rocket in school holidays), Noosaville on the river might be a more affordable option, particularly for families. We stayed in Noosaville when our sons were young…I’ll look for a few photos of then and now.

Local sports on the weekend on Mooloolaba beach

More from MOOLOOLABA…there’s a range of multicultural restaurants and all the food we had was fresh and tasty. We didn’t try the Bavarian restaurant (photo below) but will do another visit. It’s popular with a range of ages on weekends we noticed and had a beer hall feel that reminded us of our travels through Bavaria (a post for another day).

Mooloolaba- cafe/restaurant precinct across from the main beach

We stayed at Coco Mooloolaba Apartments…just a few minutes walk from the beach/main restaurant and cafe precinct.

Lots of things to do and see in this popular sub tropical region

The school next door to apartments reminded me of where I worked as a teacher in Townsville

It was a pleasant apartment with the basics for self catering but I found the small pool area disappointing…super slippery tiles and mostly overcrowded while we were there – even though Spring school holidays had finished the week before. I went down to have a swim but didn’t bother – unusual for me. However, if you’re not a swimmer, or prefer a beach swim these apartments might suit. I only enjoy a swim at the beach if the water is a pleasant temperature and not too rough – the water was still quite cold…I forgot to pack my Spring wetsuit!

The lower photo….Steve Irwin sculpture with his children…Australia Zoo is near Mooloolaba
Walks around Mooloolaba

NEXT POST ON QUEENSLAND (hopefully sooner rather than later!)….PART 2 SUNSHINE COAST…NOOSA (on coast) AND MALENY (in hinterland)

Related posts…

I’ve previously written about Tropical “Far North” Queensland…mostly near Townsville (South of Cairns) where we lived from 1996 – 2000.


This book is organised by seasons…Spring/Summer recipes noted below

Our grandchildren (who love avocado 🥑) enjoy helping with simple meals so “On Toast” (pic above) gives many simple ideas kids can easily choose/help with.

Something comforting about simple toast particularly when things go wrong…perhaps starts with our own experiences as children? With the summer bushfires our power, lights, internet etc. went down on New Years Eve at the South Coast (near Ulladulla) for about 48 hours. Once there was no power to our refrigerator, we moved milk, cheese etc. to the freezer so things stayed cold for at least 24 hours.

We also relied on our basic pantry supplies (our small/local supermarket closed early) and we cooked toast on a small gas BBQ; we had this book “On Toast” (pic above) on shelf (recipe below) and while we didn’t have many ingredients, we did have an avocado and fresh chilli so we were lucky enough to at least have basic meals over that period – unlike some people on the coast who had a very tough time over that period. Many are still traumatised by what happened over summer…our thoughts are with them and we plan on returning as soon as possible to help support local business also very badly affected by the bushfires.

Avocado and Chilli Flakes (we like fresh chilli with seeds removed/v finely sliced)

1 slice of bread of choice; 4 (or more) slices of avocado; olive oil for drizzling; pinch of salt (or lemon salt); chilli flakes for garnish?

Toast the bread. Arrange avocado slices over toast. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and chilli flakes to taste.

1 serving

Other avocado recipes in this book include:

Av and Edamame; Av Feta Cheese Spread; Av with bacon and tomato; Av with boiled eggs. Another recipe I love from this book is Scrambled eggs with turmeric and turmeric egg salad P91.

Charred asparagus, corn and sugar snap pea salad…from

…goes well with any barbecue – we had it with “Crunchy Rosemary Chicken” as they suggested on website

Ingredients: 1 corn on the cob; 8 spears of asparagus (approx 160 g); 65 g sugar snap peas; 1/2 fresh red chilli; 1/2 bunch of fresh continental parsley (approx 15 g); EVOO; 1 lemon

I also add some chopped chives…not in this recipe but seeing we still have them thriving in our garden why not I say!


Place a large non-stick frying pan on a medium high heat. Add the corn and cook for 10 min, turning until charred all over.

Line up asparagus and trim off the woody ends. Add to pan with sugar snaps for final 3 to 4 min, to lightly char.

Remove corn and asparagus to chopping board, place sugar snap peas in a large bowl. Holding corn steady, carefully run a knife down the side to cut off the kernels aiming for a mixture of bigger chunks and smaller pieces, then add to the bowl. Cut the asparagus at an angle into 3 pieces, then add to the bowl.

De seed and finely chop the chilli, then add to the bowl. Pick over the parsley leaves. Toss with 1 tbs of EVOO and a good squeeze of lemon, then season to taste.

Slice chicken (or other protein of choice) at an angle and serve with the salad.


Another popular recipe with/for children is:

Polenta crusted fries…using either sweet or ordinary potatoes. I have the recipe in a kids’ cookbook (left at our coast house so will type up once we get back) or here’s a similar recipe… Tony thinks he can recall soaking the potatoes (already cut into shape) in water so he’s trying this tonight in Canberra when our younger son and daughter-in-law come for dinner! Will note how it went tomorrow 🤞 😉