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When you finally understand what makes a place tick, what makes it special and what makes you want more of it, it’s hard to comprehend what took you so long. This is how I’ve been feeling about Peregian Beach lately.
So many visitors miss out on discovering its beach village charms because they head straight into Noosa, never having heard of this place that they find hard to say and even harder to spell. And equally, too many locals miss out because it seems ‘too far’ from the hub of things. I was one of those deluded locals until I started working with Rod here at Horizons, driving the short distance south from my home at Sunshine Beach a few times a week.
Now its energy, its Peregianality I like to call it, is under my skin.
Truth is, Peregian Beach is only about 20 minutes drive from Hastings Street, hugging a stunning coastal road that eases your mind as you wind through the small adjoining communities of Sunshine, Sunrise and Marcus Beaches. Slowing to 40kms per hour as you hit the village itself also reminds you that you’re now entering a calmer pace of life.
For a small community, Peregian (which is said to be an indigenous word meaning ‘emu’ or ‘mangrove seeds’) has a lot on offer to keep its followers entertained, energised and well-fed. Within the village square itself, surely no larger than 50m by 50m and with a grass-edged play-platform for kids at its heart, are a mix of shops, cafes, restaurants and services that seem designed to offer everything so you never need to go anywhere else. In the square you’ll find fresh baked authentic German breads, coffee virtually on each of the four sides, easy take-aways for a quick feed or elegant sit-down dinner options, peaceful beneath trees. Boutique browsing is never better with mouth-watering fabrics and homewares, exotic furnishings, nifty nik-naks and clothes shops that rack everything from edgy designer to bright hippy clothes and maternity couture to groovy glad-rags for juniors.
A two second stroll across from the square to the new part of Peregian, a retail and hospitality development unveiled in 2011, and there’s more. More authentic European fare for starters with the best croissants I’ve inhaled outside France, outrageously healthy options, pizzas and pasta and red wine… it goes on.
You can tell, as you complete a lap of the small settlement and scour its stores, that it’s a fit, aware, creative bunch that Peregian magnetises – surfboards for sale, organic goods, rows of books on shelves, tea houses, massage heaven tucked into quiet side-lanes. My favourite store name, even though I’m not a mum myself, is a place for ‘mum.baby.home’ and it’s called Evolve – very Peregian.
The soundtrack to all this goodness is the sound of crashing waves, caught on the ocean breeze and wafted to you through the minty needles of the shore-lined pine trees. You can see and hear and feel all this from your croissant and café au lait, so it’s not far to travel when you’re ready to have your toes in the sand and the salt-air in your hair.
En route to the dunes is a fantastic skate park for speedy teens, a gloriously gritty surf club with great pub grub and a park expanse that everyday draws little tackers to a sturdy playscape to climb and slide and swing and squeal and smile.
And on the first and third Sunday of each month is the day that draws locals in droves and takes visitors by surprise. From the crack of dawn until one o’clock the beach park is packed with the colourful and crafty stallholders of the local markets (thirsty work so be sure to try one of the fresh homemade lemonades – no fancy bubbles, just pure, real, sweet citrus juice). Then, from one until five-ish, it’s on – what has really made Peregian’s name. The Peregian Originals – an afternoon of live music, strictly no covers allowed. Just self-penned tunes, happy faces, dancing feet, the smell of a sausage sizzle and the exaltation of a community creating beautiful music, in all senses of the expression.
And I think this is what I’ve found is the strong booming heart-tick of Peregian – a community creating beautiful music together; lyrical, melodic, harmonious. Peregianality – it’s a tune that stays in your mind, that you find yourself unconsciously singing along to and that becomes so addictive you could listen to it over and over and over again.
To tune in to the music yourself, come and visit us at Horizons soon!