Laid-back holiday oasis in heart of Sunshine Coast
TOUGH as teak rugby league legend Norm Proven would be proud as punch to see a father lift up his toddler son to the basketball hoop for a slam dunk as they trampoline here in Oaks Oasis water park.
All around them is the playful splashing on and around the aquatic slides sluicing into the not-so-lazy afternoon at this welcoming Golden Beach resort big Norm, who is immortalised in the NRL's premiership trophy, first built.
Parents and grandparents plonk themselves down on comfy outdoor chairs that usually face the Oasis's centrepiece - it's lagoon skirting Reflections restaurant - to watch their young ones rip tear until they just about bust with ridiculous energy about the grassy knoll leading up to the water park.
The trampolines with the bonus basketball hoop get a work out all afternoon as we sit at our apartment balcony overlooking the water-lilly laden lagoon.
We could retreat to the cool the air-con in our self-contained two- bedroom apartment, but the afternoon breeze has kicked in.
So we watch the streams of feel-good families - barely a one face down lost in a phone screen - come and go past the lagoon from the Oaks' many attractions.
What strikes me most at the Oakes Oasis, apart from the spacious grounds, is the level of laid-back activity going on here, although the pool and spa nestled into the side of the lagoon is more for lolling to keep your cool in than doing laps.
Across the way, three generations of holidaying families putt putt for bragging rights at the Oak's mini golf course with some shots scoring bursts of either triumph or laughter.
This is the all the fun of the Oaks Adventure Zone, complete with its family friendly beach volleyball, the Triple Galaxy climbing frame and boundless fun of the giant Kangaroo Jumper Pillow.
Those who may have been inspired by the Australian Open heroics of Venus and Serena, Roger and Rafael can engage in their own tennis court battles, but we're more than happy to spectate.
As are the mums and grandmas sitting back, not moving at all, at the water park, enjoying the treats like big kids from the kiosk. The resort sits strategically beside Caloundra's CBD across from the culturally inclined Caloundra Arts Centre gallery, a Woolies supermarket, two bottle-os, a string of takeaways and just around the corner from the start of Golden Beach.
We stroll over the road in the late January heat to be greeted by the always appealing Pumicestone Passage looking across to the tip of Bribie Island and its collection of anchored boaties cooling off.
My son and I go past Bill's Boat Hire doing business with some first time SUP users, who have just got the hang of standing and paddling as we eventually dive into the sweeping outgoing tide.
We go with the steady flow until we run out of the sandy beach shore and walk south again then dive back in. A simple pleasure offering cool reward.
In the early morning it's an easy walk for me across to Bulcock Beach and Happy Valley before heading back to Reflections for a hearty $20 buffet breakkie.
When we leave after our very restorative two-night stay, we have the added luxury of heading straight to the Oaks Seaforth resort up the road at Alexandra Headland.
I'm there now in this ocean-side getaway built around sub-tropical gardens and a winding lagoon.
I'm up at the sixth floor balcony staring down at the gorgeous beach as my two teenagers head up to the rooftop area each top-floor apartment has.
Down at Alex Surf Club and across to rival Maroochydore SLSC, flotillas of board paddlers swarm out and in like some sort of Normandy invasion rehearsal.
After our own swims and trip to the beach, we settle into fantastic seafood and chips from Salt N Battered serving up a treat in the shopping strip directly below us, while enjoying the cool of the night breeze on the lower balcony.
While here I've kept one ear on world politics and it's ugly as can be, plus I watched on Fox Sports as some unknown Aussie single-handedly smashes the Kiwis in the ODI for 146 but we still lose the cricket.
I should be mad as hell, but I'm on a short break from all that up here at the Northpoint wing of Seaforth.
I'm staring across to a placid Point Cartwright, up past at an at-peace Old Woman and beyond as far a salt-hazed Sunshine Beach.
I'm feeling as relaxed and comfortable as it gets ... not at all envious of the majestic luxury cruise liner Seabourn Encore weighing anchor in the bay seemingly right outside our front window.