NOOSA – THE AUSTRALIAN TRAVELLER GUIDE
The swankiest surfie town of the Sunshine Coast, 150 kilometres north of Brisbane, Noosa makes for the ideal getaway when it’s decidedly time to swap suits for sarongs, and morning coffee with afternoon cabernet. It’s best to think of Noosa in two sections: trendy and upscale Noosa Heads in the north, and the grittier Noosa Junction in the south. This divide is even reflected in their beaches, with waves ranging from Noosa Spit to the more hardcore surfing of Sunshine Beach.
WHERE TO STAY
Backpackers beware; book online in peak season if hoping to catch a bargain in the reputed luxury resort of the Sunshine Coast. Noosa Flashpackers lives up to its name, offering privates as well as female-only dorms. This place is clean, family-operated and comes with complimentary continental breakfast daily along with the standard offering of free surf and boogie board hire. More relaxed than party, the accommodation in Sunshine Beach is a little further out than other Noosa stays and may be a little quiet for the solo traveller.
Prices skyrocket around Hastings St in Noosa Heads. It is possible to find affordable accommodation here, such as The Noosa Parade Holiday Inn with rooms starting at $120, but be prepared to splash out. Try The Emerald’s sleek apartments, which are modern, sun-filled, come with heated pool, spa and a nice view of their Balinese gardens.
WHAT TO DO
This is the perfect town to put those beach bum mantras into motion, and it’s possible to spend a day (or more) beach-hopping around Noosa, starting with a dip at Noosa Main Beach in Noosa Heads. If you’re an Aussie that can’t surf, and thereby in risk of offending the lore of Australian culture as expounded by Puberty Blues, learn to ride a wave at any of the schools based at the Spit. For more experienced surfers, the bays on the northern side of Noosa National Park are popular local hotspots. However, walking the park’s 2km length may be better for catching some scenic coastal views, and maybe even a glimpse of the native wildlife. To the east of the park, the clothes optional Alexandra Bay is less crowded than Main Beach in peak season, and to the park’s south lies the perpetual surfie challenge that is Sunshine Beach.
Aside from the beaches, the other way to get into the water is to take part of the various activities along the Noosa River. Although it is possible to canoe through these waterways, for real exploration consider cruises and daytrips up the River. Popular tours head to Laguna Bay for snorkelling and the promise of spotting dolphins and turtles, or venture further north to the Everglades and see the tranquil scenery reflected in the River’s liquid mirrors.
If you’re keen to get back on dry land, take some time to explore Hastings Street’s boutiques, take a self-guided coffee tour of its cafes or find a bargain near Sunshine Beach. If you have a couple of hours in the morning on a Wednesday or Saturday, then make the half hour drive to Eumundi Market and hear some local bands while admiring some craftsmanship on display at some of the 600 stalls. Head back into town to chow down at Noosaville’s Gibson St, where you’re spoilt for choice, or go upmarket at the sophisticated eateries in Noosa Heads.
If a little bored with the local scene, Noosa is a perfect base to explore the Sunshine Coast. Some favourite daytrips include 4WD tours of Fraser Island to its north, or the more decadent tours of the wine, chocolate and cheese tastings toward Montville and Maleny in the south. Better yet, make the latter an overnighter and work it off the following day by hiking one of the trails of the awe-inspiring and picturesque Glass House Mountains.
WHEN TO TRAVEL
Noosa becomes a tourist magnet in the summer months, and budget accommodation is hard to find as hostels reach maximum capacity, and hotel rates can double. With so many of Noosa’s activities being water-based, it would seem plausible to avoid it during the cooler months. However, the food gala that is Noosa May Fiesta might be just the compensation, seeing restaurants temporarily hijacked by guest chefs and Australian wine and produce promoted to the hilt. In winter, Noosa Heads also becomes host to Noosa Long Weekend, a ten-day cultural extravaganza that makes this one of Australia’s top destinations in June. If you want both beach weather and festivities, head to Noosa in March for the internationally-renowned Noosa Festival of Surfing and seven days of surfing, memorabilia and beach parties.
The best way to get to Noosa is to go via Maroochydore Airport, which is serviced daily by Jetstar, Virgin Blue and Tiger Airways. Around 30 kilometres north, take a shuttle transfer to the Noosa region ($25, 07 5474 0199) or go by cab ($58 – $70, 07 5441 8899), or a luxury limousine ($75/$150 one-way 07 5442 4065). If planning to capitalise on Noosa’s central location on the Sunshine Coast, then consider hiring a car, preferably a 4WD, which can be done at the airport or in town.
Score: 8.18 Noosa has a “hard-to-beat combo of subtropical beach perfection and foodie heaven in a natural paradise”, according to Kerry Heaney, who wonders if life gets any better than watching the sun set on one of Noosa’s many beaches, cocktail in hand, the promise of dinner ahead. “Not on my watch,” she concludes. More info: Visit Noosa One more reason to go: A spot of Noosa news: yet another brilliant Hastings Street renovation has seen a tired old stay transformed into a modern, bright, beachfront item on our to-stay list. From $175 a night, Seahaven is not crazy expensive,...
Australian Traveller readers rated Noosa as the Best Summer Holiday experience this year in our Readers’ Choice Awards. Here are a handful of ideas that will help you ease into the distinctive Noosa vibe. Recline, re-wine on the river Laid-back venues for grown-up drinks with water views - now that is Noosa chic. Rickys offers great seasonal food, and is a superb place for a sunset glass of vino. The Boathouse also has a grand aspect over the Noosa River while in the evenings Wasabi is a stylish place to watch the fishies swim. Noosaville revival While Hastings Streetis the slick heart of Noosa, there is plenty...
Florida’s not the only place with everglades. The Cooloola Recreation Area of the Great Sandy National Park in Queensland is home to its own version of these vast waterways and wetlands, which are perfect for kayaking and canoeing, either at your own pace or on a guided tour. Part of the 150,000-hectare Noosa Biosphere Reserve, the everglades are heaving with interesting ecosystems to explore as you paddle your way along the waters. They provide safe haven for many species, from inland dolphins to dugongs and sea turtles, mangrove-dwelling butterflies and migratory shorebirds. Try these Noosa Everglades Discovery 07 5449 0393;...
The title may have remained on Queensland’s coastline, but it has travelled 220 kilometres north of 2012 winner, the Gold Coast. Situated at the northern reaches of the Sunshine Coast, surrounded by azure waters and sub-tropical hinterland, Noosa delivers the best of summer in one. Many of you gushed about its “pristine beaches” and “beautiful national park with great walking tracks”, as well as its “first-class dining” and “sophisticated vibe”. Of course, Noosa’s appeal doesn’t end at Hastings Street –there’s also a smattering of charming enclaves nearby such as Sunshine Beach, which according to one reader, “reminds me of those classic beach holidays I grew up with”. From snorkelling and paddle boarding, to spas, shopping...
The population of Noosa are discerning about their food, demanding only the best, according to chef Peter Kuruvita, who runs the Beach House Restaurant in the Sunshine Coast hamlet. Within minutes of the town centre, there are some seriously decadent foodie institutions, which embrace the farm-to-fork philosophy. Here are five that are worth dragging your tastebuds away from the beach for. 1. See where it all begins, visit a grower: Tony Meijer, grower at Noosa Reds, proudly shows you around his macadamia-nut powered greenhouses. All the tomatoes are ripened on the vine and then supplied to many restaurants around the Sunshine...
Well, Noosa never left, but her most iconic hotel, Sheraton Noosa, had begun to look like she needed a holiday. Now, after a year-long $10 million renovation, the peach-coloured walls that earned the ‘Pink Palace’ moniker have been replaced with white… and wait, there’s more. New-look, ‘Noosa inspired’ interiors now come with bright airy spaces, light wooden furnishings and a cream and grey décor punctuated by splashes of orange. And of course, the pièce de résistance required of every luxury hotel – a celebrity-chef-led restaurant – marks the centrepiece of the whole operation. Noosa Beach House is a seafood-centric restaurant by...
Adding to the bevy of restaurants on Noosa’s iconic Hastings Street is the Noosa Beach House – the latest venture by eminent chef-restaurateur-TV presenter-and-author, Peter Kuruvita. Designed as a seaside haven, the restaurant promises a chilled atmosphere and fresh fare on the all-day lunch menu, as well as bar snacks and cocktails as the sun goes down. The menu focuses on fresh seafood, served up by a team lead by head chef Katie McKay. peterkuruvita.com
n. A stylish pocket of sunshine, pandanus palms and sophisticated boutiques. adj. Defined by a unique mixture of sand, big-city service and small-town ease. v. To escape to coastal bliss... when to go Noosa is an all-star performer. Summer wins gold for sunshine and heat, but any time of year is worthy of podium position for warm days, balmy breezes and a calendar full of local festivities. who you’ll find here Melbourne’s elite have long escaped here, but you can expect a modern pick-and-mix these days: wealthy retirees, cashed-up surfers, cocooning couples and chic young families. …and who you...
AT's guide to the best cheap accommodation for summer and Christmas holidays Maleny Why do we rate it? The Sunshine Coast hinterland here is the most established and sophisticated Queensland destination. Where is it? About 100km or a 1hr drive north of Brisbane. Or about 40min from Caloundra Beach. Where to stay The hinterland around Montville and Maleny is a feast of fantastic cottages and cabins from sleekly modern to cute and bucolic. Finished just 12 months ago, the Spicy Oasis is 10min further west from Maleny in Curramore. Its three Mediterranean cottages, two one-bedroom and one two-bedrooms, are nestled...
With around 500 stalls, huge swathes of which are devoted to feeding hungry browsers, one of the more delightful aspects of the Eumundi Markets is its emphasis on “try before you buy” . . . so, really, you can be chock full of freshly roasted chestnuts, Japanese pancakes, peanut brittle and delicious homemade lemonade before you’ve even decided what’s for lunch. Each year around June the entire town goes bananas for the Eumundi Food Fest, an absolute must-do for lovers of farmers’ markets, cook-offs, tastings and more. The culinary selection is vast: Spanish tapas; French soups; homemade ginger beer; organic...
Australian Traveller Magazine’s 100 Great Australian Holiday Homes We couldn’t in good conscience go for 100 entire Holiday Homes without including at least ONE property from Noosa. And this one’s a beauty. Crouched right on the water’s edge in Noosa’s bedazzling coastal lagoon system of rivers and estuaries, and just a short walk from all the glitz and glamour of Hastings St, it’s a modern, two-storey collection of floor-to-ceiling windows, timber floors, light and space. It has a very clever and funky swimming pool, which insinuates itself from the rear yard right into the home itself, turning up right under...
Australian Traveller Magazine’s 100 Great Australian Holiday Homes Tucked into one of those unique Sunshine Coast black holes that doesn’t allow for too much development, Rainbow Beach’s Strandhaus is one of those places that shows us what all those Queenslanders mean by “beautiful one day, perfect the next”. And although it’s German for “beach house”, there’s something unmistakably Australian about the setting for Strandhaus, around two hours north of Noosa. Enclosed by thick bush on every side, the two-storey, three-bedroom, open-plan home has wonderful high ceilings designed to make the most of slightest sea breezes, a generous kitchen, indoor and...
Australian Traveller Magazine’s 100 Great Australian Holiday Homes The Angkasa – a Malay word meaning “The Heavens” – truly is a place to die for. The Asian-influenced four-bedroom mansion on Coolum Beach was designed by architect Andrea Cheah to be a modern urban expression of restrained tropical elegance, with a heavy emphasis on soaring glass, deep brown timbers and smooth shining marble. Its four oversized residential suites (Tropical, Canopy, Rainforest and the superb Ocean Penthouse) each have balconies with stunning views, while the wider house is superbly and tastefully furnished. A gourmet kitchen, entertaining area, indoor/outdoor dining areas and spa...
AT Reader Ashleigh Caba from Brisbane has found the perfect hideaway for a spot of on-sand camping. No frills, no slick facilities, just the simple pleasures of idyllic Cooloola Beach. My ultimate camping destination in Australia is Cooloola Beach, part of the Great Sandy National Park just north of Noosa Heads. Everyone loves to camp near a beach, but camping on one is even better. You can stop in the lagoon bay on the other side of the lighthouse point. Warm shallow water and golden sands are there for the taking, in this hidden place the tourists don’t generally know...
The first thing you notice about Noosa is its distinct lack of dirty great high rises elbowing each other aside for the best view of the beach. The locals have made sure of that by protesting against overdevelopment. But even so, today Noosa is a cosmopolitan town with a main street (famous Hastings) full of restaurants, designer stores, pubs and clubs. It also has pretty beaches, rivers and hinterland to explore that can be seen from anywhere in town. Whales and dolphins are no strangers to the cove, and abundant wildlife can be spotted from a boardwalk and coastal path...
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