It’s the chic, food lover’s pearl of the Sunshine Coast, and there’s a reason Noosa keeps us coming back for more…
It had been 12 years since I had last visited Noosa, not that I was going to tell our driver Rod that. Rod, who bore a striking resemblance to Rod Stewart, seemed to know all there was to know about the Sunshine Coast – and had no problem sharing. I certainly didn’t want to give away my secret, come off as a ‘tourist’ and miss hearing about the local’s must-dos en route to our accommodation.
Though my memories are hazy, Hastings Street sure wasn’t anything like I remembered. For starters, it has a proper high street – with boutique stores and upscale eateries – while somehow retaining that laid-back charm so on-brand for Queensland. Rod said only great eateries survived on Hastings Street. I was keen to put that theory to the test.
Over four days, my husband, nine-month-old daughter and I took in Noosa and all it had to offer. Needless to say, it won’t be another 12 years until I get back. Here are the juicy secrets you need to know before you go.
Where to stay
The apartments at Seahaven Noosa Resort are described as ‘absolute beachfront’ – and they are. Our one-bedder was spacious and fingerprint-test-clean and boasted a huge front patio that overlooked a pool and spa. Walking just five metres more landed you on the sand of Noosa Main Beach. You can’t get much closer than that.
Seahaven’s serviced apartments make it a lot easier to accommodate a nine-month-old with a strict bedtime. We put her down and turned the monitor on while my husband got to work on the BBQ and I made a salad. We dined on the patio overlooking the beach, and almost had the neighbours pop over – they said it smelled so good! The New York-style laundry also made it incredibly easy to deal with the incessant washing that comes along with an infant.
The resort is located more to the western end of the strip near a couple of galleries and wine bars. It’s perfectly located for those wanting to be within walking distance of the action, but not in the middle of it.
For those on a tighter budget, Noosa River Holiday Park (owned by Noosa Council) is a great option. Situated on the stunning Noosa River, it’s ideal for campervans, RVs and tents with some of the most breathtaking views imaginable – especially at sunset. Gas BBQs, laundry access and bike hire tick all the boxes for families and it’s just 2.5 kilometres away from Hastings Street.
This traditional hotel is located just opposite Seahaven Resort. But instead of backing onto the beach, it backs onto Noosa River. It even has a ferry pick-up point in case you fancy a sail downstream. The Sofitel has all the bells and whistles that you’d expect from a five-star hotel, including a fitness centre, pool and an on-site restaurant.
Where to eat:
Often in the midst of a holiday you’ll find you’ve had enough of the fancy fare on offer and develop a hankering for a meat-lovers pizza and a gutsy red. That is certainly what happened to us, so imagine my delight when I turned right out of the Seahaven Resort for the first time since arriving into Noosa and practically tripped over the front steps of Zachary’s.
The place was bustling: take-away boxes piled head high were being carried out past us, families were enjoying a lovely meal out, and couples and friends were sharing a slice or two. We shared a prosciutto pizza and a carbonara pasta, washing it down with a peppery shiraz. I tell you, it’s a good thing calories don’t count on holidays, because it meant I enjoyed every single morsel. If we had a few more nights, we would have been back to Zachary’s – no hesitation!
This place is like something straight out of Byron Bay – or L.A. – I can’t quite be sure. It has that kind of eclectic cool vibe that lures you in, but is friendly and comfortable enough to make you want to stay. Plus, the menu is unbelievable.
This was hubby’s favourite spot to eat, as he spotted a special on the board; scrambled egg croissant with chilli crab. I had the smashed avocado, and it came with grilled onions and those deliciously sweet mixed tomatoes – you know the different shaped ‘gnarly’ ones Jamie Oliver is always going on about? Plus, the coffee was top notch, something of great importance when you’re trying to yank yourself out of your relaxing holiday slumber each morning.
Now this is the spot if you’re looking to celebrate an occasion, or just take in the blue glass-like water of the Noosa River through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the Boathouse. A glass of sparkling wine goes perfectly with their famous three-tiered seafood tower or feast menu. We opted for the latter and enjoyed a four-course shared feast that included: scallops; buffalo mozzarella salad with mango; wagyu bresaola; king prawns with smoked kingfish, avocado and blood orange.
For mains, we enjoyed slow-cooked beef cheek and grilled fish with Penang curry and we shared deconstructed mango cheesecake for dessert. Needless to say we rolled out of there very satisfied and spent some time with the local pelicans before hitching a ride back to Hastings Street on the Noosa Ferry.
If you’ve got a hankering for a breakfast taco at 6am, this pastel-coloured kiosk has you covered. Think bacon, egg, pico de gallo, melted cheese and tomato salsa on a fresh tortilla. Fresh coffee and delicious dairy-free smoothies make this a must-visit for any Noosa guest.
Where to play:
For those who like to get moving during a holiday – yes, I know there are some of you out there – the Noosa Boardwalk is a fantastic way to kill two birds with one stone. Not only do you get your heart rate up, but you also get to take in the unbelievable sights as you trek the 400m boardwalk up the coast. Renovated in 2018, the walk is level, wider than ever before and easily accessible to all. Simply start at Little Cove Beach before reaching the end of the road at Noosa National Park.
For those on the hunt for a little indulgence during your getaway, the Sensaura Day Spa is without a doubt the most serene space on Hastings Street. Tucked away just off the main drag, a flight of stairs will elevate you to what can only be likened to an oversized Balinese-style treehouse hideaway. It was honestly mind-blowing how a place so close to the action could feel so calm and tranquil – and this was only in reception. My massage was incredible, leaving me in a state of bliss I hadn’t experienced for quite some time – perhaps since my last visit to Bali. A word of advice: if you’re going to book a treatment, add a facial, too. Or, check out if they have any yoga sessions planned for the treehouse terrace. It’s worth it.
I guarantee you a ride on this ferry is unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Captain Jono will make your trip a memorable one as he leads you along the Noosa River providing hilarious commentary on the properties and the scenery.
He lets the kids ‘toot’ the horn and on the 4pm ferry home he lets the Burt Bacharach tunes do the talking, as the hits from the ‘70s and ‘80s carry you down the river. For $25 per person you can grab a day pass, which allows you to hop on and off at any of the seven stops all day long, including the Noosa Boathouse. The Noosa Ferry also offers visitors the option of an eco-cruise and a sunset cruise.