By Geva Mentor
International netball player Geva Mentor won gold with England at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast this year, having won two bronze medals at previous games. The defender captained Sunshine Coast Lightning, who won Australia’s Suncorp Super Netball league two years in a row. She will play for Collingwood Magpies in Melbourne in the 2019 season.
Being blessed with so many pristine beaches and hinterland landscapes on the Sunshine Coast, it’s challenging to pinpoint my absolute favourite view. You could say it’s a good problem to have.
Top honours, however, have to go to Point Cartwright at Kawana. The headland offers incredible views up and down the coast and you get an appreciation for just how far the white sand stretches. The view of the river mouth also allows you to watch the hub of activity as boats enter the marina. If you keep your eyes peeled, you can often spot whales migrating off the coast.
Where to live — Birtinya
One of the great things about living in Birtinya is its proximity to everything from stunning landscapes to shops and cafés. The array of paths and parks presents a great opportunity to walk or cycle around the local canals and lake. I’m guilty of taking a wander past some of the waterfront homes and daydreaming about calling one my own one day. The beach is only a hop, skip and a jump away, too.
When I’ve got spare time at home you’ll find me kicking back in my hammock and basking in the sun. With the sound of the waves lapping in the canals, it’s nice to reflect on how lucky I am to live in paradise.
Where to eat breakfast
My go-to café is Harvest in Cotton Tree. You can’t not stop for the sweet potato waffles. With the beach across the road, it’s nice to chill out on the sand after brekky and watch the paddle boarders and people playing in the water.
Where to drink coffee
While I’m not a massive coffee lover, I appreciate the social scene that comes with it. My drink of choice is a mocha. Myself and the other Lightning players like to visit Good Bean in Mooloolaba. We also stop off in Buderim quite regularly as it’s close to USC (the university where the team is based), which allows us to get our caffeine hit between hitting the gym and sweating it out in a court session.
Where to relax
I love heading 15 minutes south from my house in Birtinya to Caloundra to kick back and relax. Dicky Beach is beautiful and tranquil on a calm day and, when the waves kick up, I like nothing more than jumping in for a body surf. The café scene at Moffat Beach is also really nice.
Where to discover film
As a self-confessed chick-flick lover, I’ll often arrange team social outings to the local cinema, Event Cinemas, in Maroochydore, or at the pop-up, open air cinema at Sunshine Coast Stadium. It’s always fun kicking back on the grass under a starry sky and watching a good movie.
Where to hike
I really love Kondalilla Falls. I always feel quite adventurous exploring the forest trail on the way in and, when I manage to get the national park to myself, it presents a great opportunity to get lost in my thoughts. The falls themselves are beautiful and it’s always nice to dip your toes in the water to cool off.
Where to be outdoors
It’s no secret that I love my watersports, and you can’t go wrong taking out the paddle board at Cotton Tree. I also love to get up to areas like Maleny in the hinterland. It’s always nice to walk round the little towns and check out the boutique shops. The other Lightning players and I have been known to take a sneaky road trip out that way, stopping off for some Maleny cheese and enjoying it overlooking the Glass House Mountains. The view is spectacular.
Photographs: Nigel Wesley; Getty Images/iStockphoto; Dreamstime