Noosa could be the perfect holiday destination. Christine Aldred tests it out quite often, just to make sure how Noosa made it to third of your list of Top 50 Aussie towns.
Find the complete list of the Top 50 Aussie Towns here.
What makes Noosa spectacular?
The word is definitely out: Noosa is a very special place. It’s become our perennial family favourite: the swimmers, the wanderers, the adventurers, the foodies, the weary mums, tribes of kids – all enticed by different temptations.
Breathtaking beachside views at the Little Cove. (Image: Tourism and Events Queensland)
It seems we’re far from alone in loving Noosa. On Kabi Kabi land in the heart of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, it’s a place where beaches, forests, waters and mountains collide in a panoply of picture-perfect postcard scenes, with almost eternal sunshine the backdrop.
One minute, we’re in the midst of world-class shopping and dining, nonchalant bush turkeys at our feet, yet mere steps to sandy beaches. The next we’re shrouded in dense rainforest, necks craned for a glimpse of a koala or black cockatoo in the canopy above.
It spans long stretches of white sand
Of course there are stunning beaches – long, white stretches and protected palm-fringed coves – but it’s their proximity to the profusion of parkland that draws me in. At about 3000 hectares, Noosa National Park takes in coastline and a mix of eucalypt and rainforest, woodlands, wetlands and heathlands.
Strike a pose behind the picturesque sunset backdrop at the Noosa Main Beach. (Image: Tourism and Events Queensland)
It’s home to an astonishing array of wildlife: more than 240 bird species live here; more than 44 per cent of the nation’s total. It’s this bounty of nature’s gifts that adventure-seeker and earth-lover Joel McPherson loves sharing through his bespoke private tours, Joel’s Journeys.
Joel helps visitors uncover some of Noosa’s treasures, introducing the local community and farmers and producers doing great things. “The landscape is amazing with so much variety – the river and lakes, great beaches no matter the wind direction, one of only two everglade systems in the world and incredible views of lofty peaks wherever you go,” says Joel.
It features natural parks and reserves
Those natural assets aren’t taken for granted and more than 40 per cent of Noosa is protected through parks or reserves. In 2007, Noosa was awarded the coveted status of UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, where natural places and people live in harmony, only one of five in Australia.
Mt Cooroora overlooks an impressive natural scenery. (Image: Jack Mccappin)
Two others butt up right next door, the only adjoining biospheres in the world. We’re up for testing it out. Travelling in a three-generational pack of 12, we’ve learned the joy of mass events, but also the art of ‘divide and conquer’.
While babies nap, the millennials sneak out to feast at Sum Yung Guys, which dishes out fragrant Asian-inspired flavours with punch, or sip on Japanese lagers with sun on their backs while listening to live music at Land & Sea Brewery, just one of a plethora of character-filled breweries in this craft-beer capital of Queensland.
Separating by energy levels, the boys head for the hills on mountain bikes to tackle the Noosa Trails, a vast network of eight scenic hinterland bush trails, or race up Mt Coorora’s steep incline, for the breathtaking views or perhaps to train for the annual King of the Mountain race.
It has a lively and eclectic atmosphere
The girls opt for an indulgent massage at the tropical paradise that is Ikatan Spa followed by cheeky cocktails at sultry Locale, and vibrant speakeasy Nudge Nudge Wink Wink at the end of a lane.
Stop for a coffee in a colourful corner of town.
Hubbie and I tackle the 230-odd steps to the Sunshine Beach lookout (his daily to-do), binoculars in hand in the hope of spotting the splash of dolphins or breaching whales.
We take the spectacular two-hour coastal track into Noosa proper, verdant greens and birdsong to the left, 50 shades of aqua on the right. We can walk back, or catch a bus, free on weekends.
Our options seem boundless: boardwalks to stroll; paddleboards to stand up on; golf courses to master; lakes to cruise, perhaps at sunset; ice-creams to devour.
Glide into the everglades. (Image: visitnoosa.com.au)
Miss One is delirious with joy when she twigs the entire thing is just for her. We eat fish and chips by the riverfront as small feet splash and pelicans glide, or picnic en masse on the spit and watch kite surfers soar against a golden sky.
The kids are happy wherever there is water. Each morning we greet an old bearded angler who lets a child pull in a fish, and fly kites on the sand as the sky turns pastel pink at the day’s close.
It boasts an array of sumptuous food options
And then, there’s the food. In the thick of town, waterfront stalwarts remain strong. Another world of flavours exists in the ’burbs: modern Indian at Pucca, delicious food and wine at Muse, French tradition at Flo’s Crêperie, Mexican fare at Bandita and Middle Eastern flair at Humble on Duke, just for starters.
A good treat for your tastebuds.
It’s more than just tantalising dining options. Noosa Farmers’ Market is a standout: ‘The best lamb in Australia’ spruiked by an ebullient farmer, gourmet mushrooms, Portuguese tarts, yum cha, mozzarella.
Organic Belmondos is where fine local produce goes to market weekdays. We join chef and entrepreneur Peter Kuruvita at Alba, his newly launched restaurant, cooking school and food hub at Noosa Springs, in a fun-fuelled class to master the art of soups. Kuruvita is in awe of the region’s sustainable seafood and the richness of produce from the organic farmers in the hinterland.
Dine by the water in spots like the Gusto Riverfront Restaurant. (Image: Tourism and Events Queensland)
“From the hills to the ocean, this is a paradise for foodies,” he says. We’re valiantly working through recommendations for new and exciting adventures, food and otherwise, but the must-do list remains long and I’m still yet to kayak those everglades.
A week after we’re home, Miss Four sends me a note. “Thank you for getting the tickets to Noosa. Can we please go back next year?” Yes indeed, I think we shall. We’ve hardly scratched the surface.