When I was making plans to head North, my original plan was to work on the Gold Coast. However, since that didn’t quite plan out, I settled on Caloundra. There was some talk of guys going up to Mooloolaba since they had more entertainment, but they couldn’t promise they would actually make it back New Years Day. Since I’d volunteered to work NYD (considering the others had worked Christmas and as the only non-drinker was likely to be the only one coherent at 10), I needed to be here.
However, an idle google this morning allowed me to discover that the Sunshine Coast puts on free buses on NYE, allowing me to get to Mooloolaba and back with no cost to myself! Shared this information at the hostel, and then headed off around 7:30 to make my way there in time for the 8:30 fireworks.
Will say this, when transport is free and alcohol is flowing, expect some crazy passengers. Some of the guys on my bus were completely smashed already, and generally drove the bus mad by sitting in the far back seats, then holding everyone up while they had a loud debate about whether or not this was the stop they needed. Thankfully, I’d gotten on at the start of the route and got a decent seat away from them, with the next seat over taken by a rather bemused young girl.
Despite their antics, the bus made it to Mooloolaba in good time. The streets are naturally packed with cars and buses, but the line to get into the celebration area is pretty smooth. No alcohol is allowed in the area, so they have bag checks – but very little drama.
As such, I get there with 3 minutes to grab a good spot. Luck out with a section near the fence overlooking the beach with not too many ahead to enjoy the children’s firework performance.
I’ll admit it, I think for all of Sydney’s flaws, it’s spectacle at Midnight had kind of ruined me for firework shows. I visibly remember even the fireworks back home being bigger and more vibrant. Maybe it was the location, but my mind was just going ‘small’. I just figured perhaps they were saving the more impressive ones for later.
Did like the smiley face fireworks though. Never seen them before.
After that, I started walking down the boulevard through the market stalls, mostly selling food, before reaching the stage. I’ve never been a big fan of live music, but I liked the sounds I was hearing – country music has become much more appealing while over here. The band is called Busby Marou, who I admit I’d never heard of, but really found them appealing. Apparently they’re a pretty big deal in Queensland, and they started out playing in a pub not too far from Mooloolaba. Think its the first time I’ve ever stayed and listen to a band’s full set.
When they finished, I headed into the market to get something to eat, and then settled down to give the next act a try. Not quite as good as the first one, Carl Wockner had a good enough voice, though I mostly used him as background noise while watching people pass and calling on my phone.
Eventually though, I headed back towards the beach in the hopes of snagging a good spot for the main display at midnight. I wasn’t entirely sure where it was meant to be, so ended up compromising and settling for the largest space I could find where tree’s and buildings didn’t interfere. Also managed to grab it high up on the grass so people underneath couldn’t bother me and didn’t have to worry about sand getting everywhere.
Course, the second the fireworks START, a couple decided to stand right in front of me and some other’s sitting nearby, but our ire and rage quickly got them on the ground ^_^
Unfortunately, the spot was pretty far away from the fireworks too – so although it was a great view…it was rather ‘meh’. Little more impressive than the earlier performance, but still underwhelming. Probably should have been on the other side of the beach closer to them in order to get the full effect. Still it was a better evening than the 6 hours of hell sitting in the harbour from last year.
When the last firework fell, I managed to bolt down the street and bag a seat on the first bus leaving. Really lucked out – technically they’ll be running until 2am but I really want to get back and grab as much sleep as I can. Even run into my former seatmate on the bus, though thankfully not the drunken idiots.
This year will see the end of Australia, and the start of New Zealand – it’s a bold new frontier…