Noosa is a beautiful resort town located on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia. Don’t let the label “resort town” put you off though. Noosa is a destination for everyone. Stunning natural landscapes and pristine beaches provide an abundance of activities to cater for the adventurous, budget conscious visitor as well as those seeking a luxurious getaway.
Due to its unwavering popularity, Noosa caters for the sun-seeking resort life traveller with high-end accommodation, shopping and restaurant options. A lot of this is centralised along Hasting Street which is set just metres back from the beach.
I recently visited Noosa to attend a family wedding. This gave me a chance to experience Noosa and all it has to offer over the course of a week. It’s hard not to fall in love with the place, it didn’t take long at all to slip into the relaxed tropical vibe that I found around every corner.
Continue reading and allow yourself to be captivated, just as I was with this stunning, must-see Australian destination.
Noosa is surrounded by national parks, hinterland, beaches and the Noosa River. This provides ample choices for those who love to explore the great outdoors and get involved with nature based adventure activities.
Noosa National Park
I highly stress – visiting the National Park is not to be missed. The park offers easy access trail to explore the rugged headland and coastline to the north of town. Following the boardwalk from the eastern end of Main Beach, you can walk as far as your heart desires. It’s easy to lose track of time as you walk along the trail as each corner offers another breathtaking view and access to secluded beaches or hidden rock pools.
Over the course of the week, I walked the trail 3 or 4 times. Each walk was completely different to the last. I witnessed Humpback Whales breaching off the coast and dolphins swimming close to shore. One particular da,y I walked to the far reaches of the park to a spot called Hells Gate to watch the sunrise over the ocean. That particular day wasn’t the most spectacular as far as sunrises go, you only have to scroll through Instagram to be blown away on how magical it can really be. In saying that the hike across the park for sunrise was definitely worth the effort. Apart from a couple of other sunrise seekers, I had the entire view and experience to myself.
As I walked back along the trail I wandered through pockets of rainforest and continued to bask in the beauty of the views before me. It was quite a peaceful meditative experience. At one point I clambered down some rocks towards the ocean to investigate a small worn pathway leading deep within the crevices of the rocks. I’m so glad I did as I found some well-hidden rock pools, known locally as the fairy rock pools. Essentially water is trapped in the rocks during storms and the rise and fall of the tide. The pools are big enough to swim in and must be filled year round as I discovered there were many fish and corals that had made the rock pool home. So stunning and so very special to find.
Tip: The national park pathway is VERY popular for the fitness junkies and early morning runners. So plan your visit to allow for high traffic along the pathway during morning hours.
Tip: You can access the National Park trails from other areas in town. Via Sunshine Beach and a lookout viewing platform accessed via Viewland Drive. A detailed map of the park and the Walk Trails can be downloaded here.
When and if, the beach conditions or weather conditions aren’t favourable the fun and adventure doesn’t have to stop. In fact, any type of weather is great too! The Noosa River provides an opportunity to explore further inland and discover a different side to Noosa. There are a number of ways to explore the river such as by boat, kayak, tour, jet ski and stand up paddle board. Whatever method of transport you choose I guarantee you will enjoy your river experience.
During our stay, the weather presented us with an overcast drizzly day. Not wanting to waste a day of our Noosa Holiday we decided to hire a boat and explore up and down a section of the river. We phoned O Boat Hire who had a great range for us to choose from and no boat driving licence was required. Hiring was a simple process and we received information and clear instruction on how to drive the boat and the river marine signage rules. With a few friends on board, we headed off to explore the river for a few hours. It was great fun and I highly recommend it.
The Noosa river also extends deep into the Great Sandy National Park and becomes known as the Noosa Everglades. The everglades are some of the most ancient and untouched waterways in the world. It’s best to explore via kayak or canoe although there are a number of discovery tour options. I didn’t get a chance to experience the everglade during our visit however, it remains on the list of things to do should I ever get the chance to return.
Tip: Head to Noosa marina for a sunset tour boat ride on the river. There are a few operators to choose from and some of the ferry rides take you all the way to Hastings Street from as little as $22.
When most people think of Noosa they think of the beach. It’s hard not to with so many spectacular photos of Main Beach getting used for tourist guides. However, there are a number of beaches in the Noosa area that are worth visiting and in my opinion are just as stunning.
Sunshine Beach is a short 5-minute drive from Noosa and is situated at the southern end of Noosa National Park. This beach is known for its golden stretch of sand and great surf. I also loved the beautiful ocean views and relaxed atmosphere while having a coffee and browsing the local boutique shops. No wonder it is home to some of the rich and famous! I couldn’t help but look up the real estate options for this place and daydream about living in a beach house mansion overlooking the ocean.
Main Beach has been voted as one of the top 10 beaches in Australia and it is easy to see why. The calm waters provide safe swimming for visitors and particular families. The sand is well patrolled by the members of the Noosa Heads Surf Life Saving club. The beach is located just metres away from the hotels, restaurants and shopping along Hastings Street and is just walking distance from the stunning National Park.
During the early morning hours, I would walk around the national park and then return to Main Beach for a coffee. Twice we also hired Stand Up Paddle Boards which was so much fun. The calm waters off Main Beach provide perfect conditions for beginners like myself. On the second day of hiring, we gained more confidence and paddled out further than the previous day. I’m so glad we did as we came across a pod of dolphins! It truly was a magical experience silently paddling on the water with these majestic marine creatures just swimming metres away.
Tip: I recommend exploring the coastal drive from Sunshine Beach to Marcus Beach to Peregian Beach. Each little beach and village has something different to offer in the way of food, shopping and beach views.
With spectacular shopping and accommodation teamed with a stunning location, it is only natural to provide visitors with high-quality food and drink options. Noosa does not disappoint!
Hastings Street is a great place to start with every budget and taste bud being catered for.
I would personally recommend:
Blended Health Bar was frequently visited throughout our stay. Their coffee tastes amazing and they do a mean Dirty Soy Chai Latte – which seems to be my latest coffee indulgence. We chose Blended after reading a recommendation in a magazine and during a drive-by, the line was huge… so we knew the coffee must be good.
While we tried a number of places for breakfast there were a couple of venues that stood out for me. Boardwalk Bistro on Hastings offers magnificent views of Main Beach and Laguna Bay. Just a step off the sand and you are welcomed in by friendly staff, coffee is great and the menu offers a variety other than the standard bacon and eggs.
Bistro C was another standout. They were so busy the morning we decided to try them and we had to wait for a table to become available. We didn’t see this as a negative, we saw this as a sure-fire sign that their food was amazing. It wasn’t long before we were guided to our available table by the friendly staff. The Bistro C is also overlooking Main Beach just off Hastings Street. The food was amazing and oh so fresh! My mouth waters at the lasting memories this meal gave me. Honestly, it was that good! What can I say dining with great company and a beautiful view is a recipe for great times and lasting memories.
Lunch or Dinner:
As you can imagine the possibilities on where to dine in the Noosa region seem endless as there are so many great options. We enjoyed many meals during our stay. Lunch was often light or we self-catered from our accommodation to help with our budget. However, we did enjoy the following venues:
Miss Moneypenny’s – Located on Hastings Street. Offers a casual approach to cocktail hour with laid-back lounges and a Mediterranean-inspired menu. We visited during a happy hour special where the wood fired pizza’s were offered at half price. Amazing value and great taste!
Noosa Surf Life Saving Club – For a laid back pub style atmosphere we headed to the Surf club on several occasions. The non-member sign in process was easy and simply scanned a copy of your ID. The AFL was on the big screen to keep the sport lovers happy and there was plenty of space to sit back and enjoy the ocean views. There was a great variety of food to choose from and no one left hungry!
Sails Restaurant – Is right on the beach. I have to include this venue as it was the reception venue for the family wedding we attended. Sails is a perfect wedding venue offering spectacular beach views and a seafood selection to die for. Not to forget the wine was perfectly matched too! The seafood selection included local Morton Bay Bugs, soft shell crab, scallops to name a few.
Ice Cream – definitely something that goes hand in hand with a visit to the beach. We recommend seeking out Nitro Genie Ice cream. It is an amazing process of using liquid nitrogen to freeze and mix the chosen flavour while you wait. Not only does it taste amazing, the texture is like nothing else you have had before when it comes to ice cream. Well worth it.
Betty’s Burgers – While we didn’t get to try the burgers here. I would have loved to have given them a try. This was another establishment where the line was almost always out the door. At dinner time one evening we passed by to see the line extending around the corner street!
There are many boutique cafes and restaurant options other than the sometimes crowded Hastings Street. Consider heading to Noosa Marina for a seafood dining experience or head out to Sunshine beach or Peregian Beach. When we visited Peregian Beach we wandered around the boutique shops before a spot of lunch at Pitmaster Urban BBQ. It was amazing! If you’re into ribs and smoked pulled pork, this place comes highly recommended from yours truly.
Markets – Who doesn’t love a day exploring street markets. It’s one of my favourite things to do. There are several regular markets in the Noosa region. The most popular would have to be the Eumundi Markets at Eumundi. Tip: Plan to leave early. Due to huge popularity parking can be hard to find.
Hastings Street – There a number of shops along Hastings street to keep a shop-a-holic busy for hours. Shops including clothing boutiques, homewares, local art, surf brands and jewellery as well as high-end clothing brand stores.
There are additional nearby shops along Sunshine Beach road. There is some lovely homeware type stores and one beach-themed store complete with its own sandy beach floor. Along here is where you’ll also find the larger supermarket chains like IGA and Coles for everyday supplies and self-contained accommodation options.
Tip: Head to Instagram to help search for places to visit and eat or stay. It’s a great source of customer reviews and hotspots. For example, we found an unreal barber shop for my husband out in Noosaville where we got a cut for the wedding. He said it’s the best hair cut he’s had… and if you know my husband, he’s had his fair share! Check out Captain Sip Sop’s if you’re interested.
Noosa is well catered for when it comes to accommodation options. There are camping sites, villas, self-contained units, hotels and fancy penthouse suites. Additionally, there is the new breed of accommodation options through services like Airbnb. It’s best to plan ahead and research before booking. Be mindful of school holidays and the distance you are from the main attractions. Noosa is quite hilly and it could be a struggle walking into and out-of-town for some people.
Getting to Noosa is relatively easy.
By plane you can either fly into:
- Sunshine Coast Airport at Maroochydore, just a 30-minute drive from Noosa.
- Brisbane Airport, a 1 ½ hour drive.
Taxis, bus transfer, or hire car options are available from both airports.
From Brisbane Noosa is an easy 1 ½ hour drive travelling via the Bruce Highway and then following the signs via the Eumundi Road exit. From the North, Noosa is 45 minutes’ drive south from Gympie travelling on the Bruce highway and taking the Cooroy exit and following the road signs.
To explore beautiful Noosa and the surrounding region for a week, was so much fun! I loved how I had the option to be as lazy or relaxed as I liked. Then to be able to pick it up a notch with fun beach activities or a brisk hike through the National Park. It’s a place where you can escape to look after yourself, to enjoy a family holiday or to bring friends and family together to celebrate love with a wedding. It has this kind of magic that captivates you and leaves you begging to return to its shores…
Have you explored Noosa before? Is there anything I’ve missed that you think should be included? Tell me in the comments about your dream Australian destination.
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