TRAVEL: Check out the action on the Sunshine Coast
A FEAR of heights had put me off even thinking about my sunset abseil at Mt Tinbeerwah. It all became very real when I was wearing the harness and helmet while looking out at the Sunshine Coast hinterland dotted with gullies and farms below me.
Heart racing and palms sweating, but totally focused on the moment, I walked backwards over the edge and a sense of calm rushed over me.
An expert instructor, Jesse, encouraged from the top of the cliff as I dangled about 40m above the ground and looked out at a slowly lowering sun casting a mix of gold, pink and orange textures across the lush hinterland.
If you're looking for a weekend away where you can come back feeling invigorated, look no further than the Sunshine Coast and Noosa Heads.
After the heart-pumping moment on the mountain, I returned to the small surfing town of Noosa, which was my wife's and my base for the weekend.
The seaside destination at the northern end of the Sunshine Coast has long been a haven for escape - the beaches are pristine, the vibe is incredibly laidback and the untouched coast and hinterland can be rivalled by few other destinations.
Plus it's easy to find good coffee. Staying in a modern self-contained holiday apartment big enough for a family at Hotel Laguna on world-famous Hastings St, I was only a short walk away from the Noosa National Park, boutique shopping, and vibrant bars with live music and restaurants serving up fresh seasonal foods.
If you enjoy a good drop, love fresh and delicious oysters and ocean trout or maybe have a sweet tooth for the best trifle you will ever taste then don't skip on the restaurant Season on Hastings St.
There's plenty of food options to suit all budgets in the area. Want steak cooked to perfection complemented by a seasonal and delicious menu? Try Padstows in nearby Noosa Junction. Or, if you're on the hunt for a classic parmie, head to the Noosa Heads Surf Club with its 180-degree ocean view.
And if abseiling is not on the to-do list, there are plenty of other activities on offer.
If the water is more to your liking, canoeing through the mirrored waterways and wilderness is an experience you won't easily forget.
Being surrounded by nothing but bush and trees hanging over the river was a moment of real peace during a six-hour canoe tour in the Noosa Everglades. The observational dead-pan Aussie humour mixed with trivia about the region served up by the canoe tour guide was an added bonus.
"And in the unlikely event the boat sinks, don't worry - the river isn't deep enough so we can sit on the top of it and drink beer until help arrives."
And a visit to Noosa would not be complete without getting wet. Another top way to enjoy the Noosa River is on a stand-up paddle board.
The staff at family run business Noosa Stand Up Paddle makes even beginners like myself feel confident enough to glide along the river in almost no time.
A weekend away at Noosa Heads has it all, whether you're an adventure seeker, looking to switch off for a few days or a couple who wants a romantic getaway.
It's one of the reasons this town nestled into the northern part of the Sunshine Coast has been one of my favourite places to travel to. Vibrant, colourful, relaxed and inspired is exactly how I would describe Noosa and how it made me feel.
Abseil: Grab Rock, details here
Stay: Hotel Laguna, details here
Canoe: Discovery Group's Bar-B-Canoe tour, details here
SUP: Noosa Stand Up Paddle, details here
For more information head to visitnoosa.com.au
The writer was a guest of Noosa Tourism.