Yes, I do realise that there is a Pomona in California in the USA, but the Pomona we visited, is a picture-perfect little town on the North Coast railway line, 125km north of central Brisbane and 25km inland from Noosa Heads. According to the locals, Pomona used to be the actual 'capital' of the Noosa Shire region.
Pomona, USA is 11,877kms in THAT direction, past the swimming pool!
In 1891 the North Coast railway was opened with a railway siding named Pinbarren created at the future Pomona township site. The Pinbarren school was opened in 1897, but locals really wanted a different name for the township allotments, which were going to be auctioned. Because the local soil and climate were ideally suited for fruit growing, Pomona, the name of the Roman goddess of fruit trees, was proposed and agreed to by the government authorities in 1900. Pinbarren is now the name of a rural residential locality north of Pomona.
Pomona started off as a timber and dairy town in the 1890's and at the time was the largest town in the Noosa Shire, so quite rightly it became Noosa Shire's administrative centre until 1980, when the shire offices were moved to Tewantin. The transfer of the council offices to Noosa appears to have allowed Pomona to regain its rural perspective, attracting new residents who prefer a slower, more relaxed pace of life. Pomona has a primary school; Cooroora secondary college; showgrounds; a hotel; a caravan park; a bowls club; a cinema and even houses the Noosa Shire museum.
Personally, I think the majestic Mt Cooroora that sits smack bang in the middle of the town of Pomona, has to be on top of most visitors' lists when exploring this rural region. Mt Cooroora soars to an impressive 439 metres and offers a very challenging hike to the summit. Climbers who manage this upward scaling of Mt Cooroora will be rewarded with 360-degree views of coastal lakes and the dunes of the Cooloola Recreation Area. There are several other walking trails suited to various fitness levels, including shared trails at the base of the mountain for walkers, horse riders and mountain bike riders.
There are several other walking trails around Mt Cooroora
Pomona also has another claim to fame with regards to Mt Cooroora - the Pomona King of the Mountain Festival, held every year on the fourth Sunday in July. This year's date is the 22 July. This Festival, in its 40th year, is an all-day fun-filled event for the whole family, culminating with the Mountain Challenge, with competitors running up the face of Mount Cooroora.
The Festival programme includes a 3km Family Fun Run, Heritage Markets, the Primary School Relay, Tug o' War, live music, buskers, amusement rides, sideshow alley and a relaxing food court area.
The main race of the Pomona King of the Mountain Festival is held at 2.30pm - a steep, almost vertical climb up the mountain - in total 4.2km to the top of the mountain and back again. Entrants come from all over Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Rim and the United Kingdom to compete in this hair-raising race.
Runners start from the centre of the Noosa hinterland township of Pomona and head bush towards Mount Cooroora. Runners are initially faced with a set of low hills, before they take on the mountain track which is little more than a goat track. The return down the mountain requires strength, agility, a good sense of balance and an immunity to fear. Are you up for the challenge? I definitely don't think I have the dexterity of a mountain goat or the endurance for a steep vertical climb, but if you're interested in information re-entry fees etc to, what sounds like an awesome race, please click here.
Pomona Railway Station Gallery
Free admission and unique handcrafted gifts are to be found at the Old Pomona Rail Station Art Gallery
The Pomona Railway Station Gallery is set in very pretty cottage gardens in Station Street in Pomona. This Art Gallery is staffed entirely by volunteers and is fortunate to offer a diverse variety of works from local artists and artisans. On the day we visited, we didn't go into the Gallery, but I was happy to potter around outdoors and take some photos of the well-kept gardens.
Pomona Heritage Walk
I was delighted to discover that this picturesque little town has its very own Heritage Walk, which we stumbled upon purely by accident. There are so many delightful buildings to enjoy including the former council building, which is today the Noosa Museum. Another historic place of interest is the Majestic Theatre, which was built in 1921, primarily as the social hub for concerts, plays, dances and movies.
The Majestic Theatre combines the old world charm of a 1920's theatre and presents the authentic silent film experience with live piano or organ accompaniment. This old/new Theatre with its modern-day sound and lighting hosts world cinema, film documentaries and live performances and has the capacity to host events to suit all ages and tastes.
The historic Pomona Hotel, with its 14-foot ceilings and fretwork over the doors, claimed a spot in the 2017 Historic Pubs of Queensland Calendar. According to local legend, there have even been reports of a ghost named Darby who calls the pub home. This classic Queensland pub is fondly regarded as an integral part of the community, bringing together locals and visitors to the town of Pomona.
I wrote about the Pomona Fire and Rescue Station in my article on Sunshine Coast Open Houses in 2017, where the public were invited to explore and gain insight into the life of a firefighter and the workings of an operational fire station. Pomona has a timeline in front of the Pomona Fire Station, giving important dates with regards its history of being 'a town shaped by fire'.
Pomona is such a dinky little town and all of these interesting spots that we came upon, were easily accessible and within walking distance of each other.
The Rotunda honours the service of local men who served in WWI
The Rotunda in Reserve Street, was designed by a Brisbane architect, who won a competition with his design and honours the service of local men in WWI. The light feature on top of the structure is believed to symbolise the broken hearts mourning those who died in the war. The Rotunda was opened in 1939.
Right next to the Rotunda is Joe Bazzo Park, a beautiful colourful undercover playground, that boasts a two-way swing, climbing walls, balance bar, carousel, chain bridge, eleven deck combination unit, a crawl tunnel and even naughts and crosses. Perfect for the littlies to relieve their boredom when you're out and about enjoying Pomona's sights.
It appears that Pomona is extremely attractive to, and frequented by, antique collectors. We came across two of these delightful little outlets, both of which appeared to be doing quite the trade. The first one was 3rd Hand Treasures, From Antique to Retro, boasting a very unusual collection of antiques, retro items and memorabilia. They are located in a small street just off Reserve Street and are open every Saturday and Sunday.
The second antique outlet we came across was the Rockin Relics Antiques in Factory Street, who are open every day of the week. Rockin Relics have an extra large store plus a yard with a heap load of vintage, antique, retro items plus garden ornaments. A fun place to hang out and browse!
Trail 518 is open for brekkie, lunch, coffee and dessert!
With all of our roaming about, I was now ready for lunch. There were quite a few places open but Trail 518 caught my eye! Trail 518 is on Memorial Avenue in Pomona and serves breakfast, lunch, coffee and dessert.
With our day having been extremely warm and humid, a salad was exactly what the doctor would have ordered. Hubby (much to my surprise) and I both ordered the cauliflower, currants, brown rice, hazelnuts and parsley salad, which in all honesty, wasn't the most delectable-looking dish, but was so tasty and wholesome would definitely warrant a return visit...it was that good! It just goes to show, one should never judge a book by its cover or….in this case, a salad by its lack of lettuce leaf!
Never judge a salad by its lack of salad leaf; and our company for lunch!
I just love Pomona - the tranquillity, the lushness of the surrounds and the friendliness of the locals - it would definitely be a spot to bookmark if you were looking for a tree-change (without the ocean) or just to spend a day or two exploring. We will absolutely be returning to the picture perfect Pomona, so I can continue with the Heritage Trail and perhaps, one day when I've acquired the agility of a mountain goat, attempt Mount Cooroora!