The turquoise gem that is Noosa is one of the most dreamy coastal locations you can find in Australia. A real natural paradise with a laid back surfer’s culture, sun-drenched beaches and fine dining and boutique shopping, you can’t go past Noosa for a perfect holiday with friends and family.
Noosa is located about a 2 hour drive north of the Queensland capital, Brisbane, on a beautiful stretch of Australian coastline. With Sunshine Coast Airport a 20 minute drive away, it makes an ideal long weekend destination to escape the hustle and bustle of the busy eastern cities to the south.
Here’s a roundup of what not to miss when you’re next in Noosa.
Noosa National Park
Noosa National Park is easy to get to with a car or on foot from town. The coastal boardwalk offers spectacular scenery as it wraps around the cliffs overlooking the cerulean waves that crash on the rocks below. Chances are, you’ll see koalas in the trees. But if you’re like me, you might be more hypnotised by the water, where you can spot pods of dolphins and sea turtles — and from July to October, maybe even catch a glimpse of the humpback whales on migration.
The boardwalk stretches all the way around to Sunshine Beach, but a stop at Tea Tree Bay for a swim is a must. A non-patrolled beach, without a building in sight, it feels remote with exquisite views. As the waves roll along the shoreline and you lay on the secluded beach, you’ll find yourself relaxing into a meditative state.
For those who don’t want to trek far, Little Cove is a nice spot for a dip that’s popular with locals, or you can grab a coffee from the kiosk at the information centre and watch from a grassy knoll as surfers drop into the waves.
Back at the main beach, the waves are milder but the crowds are thicker. This gorgeous, north-facing beach offers amazing swimming opportunities with an incredible view on a beach that is patrolled by surf lifesavers all year round.
There’s a collection of upmarket beachfront restaurants and bars offering fresh seafood and chilled wine to enjoy while the sun goes down over sumptuous Noosa. We chose to dine at Bistro C overlooking Laguna Bay and enjoyed Coffin Bay oysters, truffled potato gnocchi and sweet potato chips with chipotle mayo, washed down with a bottle of vino. Dining alfresco, we made the best of the views and incredible weather, and the food was mouth-wateringly delicious.
Tucked behind Laguna Bay is Australia’s best main street — Hastings Street. By day, you’ll find boutique shops for fashion, homewares and jewellery, along with art galleries, relaxing day spas for your indulgence, surf gear and fabulous coffee and lunch spots, like Aromas and Betty’s Burgers. The perfect place for an ice cream is at Massimo’s Gelateria.
By night, the tree-lined street sparkles with twinkling fairy lights and the lively bars and restaurants fill up quickly. Miss Moneypenny’s is renowned for a fabulous cocktail menu, Cafe Le Monde is a Noosa institution, and we enjoyed an evening at Rococo Bistro listening to local musicians and enjoying an espresso martini.
Just a five minute drive from bustling Noosa Heads is a wonderful waterfront spot for brunch with a more local vibe. We enjoyed the food and riverside view at Thomas Corner Eatery where much of the produce is local, before a walk along the river where we observed people enjoying activities such as swimming, standup paddle boarding, jet skiing, kayaking and fishing.
Take in the superb river views over a coffee or meal at the Noosa Boatshed, which is situated on the water and takes up three levels. The Noosa Farmers Markets are held in Noosaville each Sunday.
Heading through Noosa Woods, we found ourselves at Noosa Spit at the mouth of the river. An excellent area for exercise or exploring at a leisurely pace, we found ourselves instead relaxing in the shallows at the beach as the wind whipped our hair, watching as kite surfers flew across the water. You’ll notice an abundance of wildlife in this area and it’s the perfect sunset location.
Coastal Drive And Other Tips
If you have a car, do not miss the coastal drive from Coolum Beach to Noosa along David Low Way. The scenery is truly breathtaking, and it’s worth stopping in Peregian Beach for lunch or a spot of shopping — without the Noosa price tag! The Peregian Beach Market is held on the first and third Sunday, each month.
Eumundi Markets is also worth checking out as is the quaint township of Eumundi just 20 minutes into the hinterland. The markets showcase an array of local, artisan products such as the Medicine Room for organic herbal medicines and delicious skin products, tropical art by Kitty Alice Designs, and a smorgasbord of heavenly and healthy bites to devour at every turn. It’s the biggest and best art and craft market in the country.
Other must-do experiences when in Noosa are learning to surf, a day trip to Australia Zoo and swimming with Humpback Whales (Jul-Oct).
Staying in Noosa is a luxury affair. You’ll find the big resorts like Peppers and Sofitel, but for a complete beachfront location try Seahaven Noosa. For something different, you can charter your very own houseboat just a stone’s throw from popular Hastings Street on the Noosa River.
For more information on Noosa, click here.