THE winter solstice had Victoria shivering with large snowfalls, hail and thunder, and 10,000 South Australian homes lost power due to gales and some suffered minor flooding, but every minute of the year’s shortest day was glorious on the Sunshine Coast.
With a sunny 21 degrees and the hint of a southerly breeze first thing Tuesday, why would you want to be anywhere else?
Sunshine Coast resident Phil Weight, who has travelled extensively around the world, said not even the tropical beaches of Tahiti could come close to the perfection of the Coast.
Despite the chill of the pre-dawn wind, Phil and his Stunned Mullet comrades hit the surf at Kings Beach as they have every day since Phil co-founded the group 11 years ago.
With an active membership of 40, Phil said only the “hard core Mullets” endured the colder winter conditions and they averaged around 15 swimmers each day.
While the outside temperature was 11 degrees, the surf was a balmy 18 and still right for a brisk swim.
Phil has witnessed countless sunrises while enjoying early morning exercise with the group and said the ocean was a magical place.
“We have swum with dolphins and watched the birds feeding on the water,” he said.
“There is one black dolphin that lives in the (Pumicestone) Passage who has been keeping us company every winter for the past 10 years.
“We also see the mullet fishermen every day, waiting for us to get out of the way to get their work done.”
Phil moved to the Sunshine Coast 30 years ago from Sydney and said he could not think of a better corner of the world to settle.
“The lifestyle is great, the weather is amazing ... and the people aren’t bad too,” he said.
“I have travelled to all parts of the world and nothing compares to what we have here.”