Noosa is a given holiday favourite among Australians and sun-thirsting tourists. The town lies halfway between Brisbane and Hervey Bay in southeast Queensland. Noosa is found along the coast in an area fittingly named the Sunshine Coast. The hundred-kilometre-long coastline consists of golden beaches with perfect surfs. The area has a humid subtropical climate with long sunny days, typical of southern Queensland. Because the town lies near the water, it is rarely excruciatingly hot and when it is cold, a thin cardigan is often more than enough. During the summer months there may be storms and thunder that moves past as quickly as it came. Surfers love Noosa, the place has just the right conditions for the sport. Even beginners can learn to stand on a board thanks to the local surf schools. Every year the surf culture is praised with a week-long festival that is appreciated by both practitioners and a cheerful audience, where even dogs are seen testing the waves.
The town is vast and has a population of around 40,000. On the main street, Hastings Street, you will find small clothes shops wall to wall with cosy cafes and ice cream parlours. One jump closer to the beach are restaurants serving mouth-watering dishes made from local ingredients. The best thing about Noosa is that the sea is literally a stone’s throw away. The main beach is wide and well-attended, but there are more options to choose from if you are willing to walk for a bit or take the public transport. Also, the outdoorsy types can get their quota filled by visiting the smaller Noosa National Park which lies only a short walk away. Besides getting your heart pumping along the park’s promenade trials, with some luck, you can see both koala and dolphin and you are guaranteed some magical vantage points.
In the past, forestry was the main source of income but now tourism plays an important role in Noosa’s economy. Today, the town is a modern holiday resort that still lacks flashy hotel complexes that many typical sun-resort destinations often comes with. Noosa may be well attended but despite that, you can find peace and quiet in the area. If you feel adventurous, go to Noosa Everglades, whose swamps resembles Florida’s variant but with the distinctive difference that the alligators are missing. Here you can rent a kayak and slowly paddle through the mirror-polished water covered by thousands of water lilies or spot a great variety of bird species.
Sights and experiences
Discover and explore
A few steps from the beach is Hastings Street, the main street of Noosa. There are many cafes, bars and shops to visit along this street. The street is lined with healthy trees shading many of its buildings. It is also nice to walk along Noosa Canal, which is a 5-minute walk from the beach. There are many houses to envy here. More shopping is waiting south from Hastings Street at Noosa Junction. Getting there on foot takes about 20 minutes. This is where the long-distance buses arrive. Here you will find surf shops, smaller clothes stores and interior design businesses, but also a cinema and supermarkets.
If you want to explore nature, take a trip to the small but beautiful Noosa National Park (nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/noosa). The entrance is free. It lies within a 15-minutes walking distance east from The Main Beach and on the way there you will have a nice view of the sea. If you are lucky, the dolphins might be visible when occasionally breaking the surface with a jump or two. Once you are in the park you might spot koalas and other native animals. Noosa National Park is ideal for walking and jogging. When the sun burns, you can buy an ice cream and rest your legs in the shade. Don’t miss the Laguna Lookout for a perfect view over the area. The vantage point is best when the sun is at its lowest point.
For the golf enthusiasts, Tewantin Noosa Golf Club (noosagolf.com.au) might be of interest, whose reception opens at 10 a.m. every day. The golf course is well maintained and well-liked. As a visitor you can play nine holes for 30 dollars or 18 holes for 50 dollars. The club serves lunch every day of the week and dinner on Tuesdays and Fridays. The address is 46 Cooroy Noosa Road.
Don’t forget to visit Noosa Everglades. You may be more familiar with the subtropical wetlands of Florida, but its counterpart is also found in Noosa. Rent a double kayak and get access to all the equipment or join in on a guided tour spanning over several days where camping is included (wotif.com/things-to-do/2-day-self-guided-noosa-everglades-kayaking-tour.a437032.activity-details). The wetlands are covered by a green layer of plants. From a bird’s eye view, each passage forms long lines in the shallow water. The watercourse is 60 km long. Everglades feels untouched and ancient. There are plenty of birds and animals giving the area a rather special sound.
Beaches and surfing
It’s hard to miss Noosa Main Beach. It is a wide and clean beach a few steps from Hastings Street. Take a surfing lessons and test the waves (wotif.com/things-to-do/noosa-surfing-lesson.a280429.activity-details). On the way to the national park you will pass Little Cove, a slightly calmer smaller beach surrounded by stone boulders. Compared to Noosa Main Beach, fewer people find their way here and the waves are smaller. Little Cove is a popular beach among the locals. It is very family friendly and there are showers available. Sunshine Beach is another favourite in the area. Here, too, you can learn about surfing and there are restaurants where you can recharge your batteries after a day full of activities. The beach starts at the south-eastern part of the national park and then runs south. You can walk here from Hastings Street in about 50 minutes or take a bus with TransLink (translink.com.au), which shortens the journey considerably.
Entertainment and events
Two annual events are Noosa Food and Wine (noosafoodandwine.com.au) and Noosa Festival of Surfing (noosafestivalofsurfing.com). Noosa Food and Wine is organized in Noosa Woods, in the lush area west of Hastings Street and it revolves around good food, drink and live music. In March, the Noosa Festival of Surfing is organized, and for a week it all revolves around the popular water sport. This festival is for everyone and it showcases varying surf styles. Even if you’re not a pro yourself, you can participate in any of the races or just cheer on from the shoreline.
Every Wednesday and Saturday, Eumundi Markets is open (eumundimarkets.com.au). Browse among all kinds crafts and works of art. Furniture, sculptures, jewellery and clothing. Try a new dish and listen to live music. The market has been running since 1979. On Saturdays, it is open between 07:00 and 14:00 and Wednesdays between 08:00 and 13:30. With over 600 different stalls, it is one of the country’s largest handcraft markets. You will find the market in central Eumundi, 20 km southwest of Noosa.
Noosa has plenty of restaurants and cafés. Along the water, there are some more fancy options with exclusive wines and expensive but very tasty dishes. If you don’t want to spend all your dollars on food, get a good deal at Noosa Heads Surf Club (noosasurfclub.com.au) located at 69 Hastings Street. A breakfast place to recommend is Cafe Le Monde (cafelemonde.com.au) located on Hastings Street. They have tasty juices, egg and bacon sandwiches and good coffee. There is also a good children’s menu. Le Monde even serves lunch and dinner, and prices are reasonable. Midday you can go to the central parts of Hastings Street and Noosa’s Food court. They have a wide selection of fast food such as kebabs and sushi. There are also plenty of ice cream kiosks and juice bars along Hastings Street such as Gelatiamo and Boost Juice. The Nitrogenie (nitrogenie.com) is perhaps the most exciting. They do their ice cream with the help of liquid nitrogen.
Good to know
The local tourist office is located at 61 Hastings Street. They are open between 09:00 and 17:00 each day. You can also visit their website Visit Noosa (visitnoosa.com.au) and, among other things, download maps of the area. To book activities, you can also visit wotif’s website (wotif.com/discover/australia/queensland/noosa.d6053076).
Most long-distance buses, such as Greyhounds, stop at Noosa Junction. In advance, you can ask the place you are staying at if they can assist you with pick-up service at the bus station. The nearest airport is Sunshine Coast Airport, located 30 kilometres south of Noosa (wotif.com/Flights). Brisbane’s airport is considerably larger but lies further away.
If you are planning to use the public transport a lot while staying in South Queensland, you should get a Go Card (translink.com.au/tickets-and-fares/go-card). They can be bought at selected retailers where you see the selected “buy” symbol and at some bus and train stations. You charge the card with money to use for travel in the region run by TransLink (translink.com.au). If you plan to only travel occasionally, you can buy single tickets in vending machines at the train or bus stations.
If you are travelling on a tight budget and want to spend as little money as possible on accommodation but still have quality requirements, some popular options in Noosa are the hostels Nomads (hotelscombined.com/Hotel/Nomads_Noosa.htm) and YHA. YHA (hotelscombined.com/Hotel/Halse_Lodge_Guesthouse_YHA.htm) is just a few minutes from Hastings Street and a few hundred meters from the beach. Evenings are equal to party and activity. YHA offers pick up at the bus station in Noosa Junction. Prices vary. A room in a dormitory cost just under 30 dollars per night. If you rather have a double room the price lies around 80 dollars per night. Nomads (hotelscombined.com/Hotel/Nomads_Noosa.htm) is located close to the beach and local shopping. They have free Wi-Fi and access to a swimming pool and an arcade. Choose between dormitories with eight or 16 beds in each room. There are also separate dorms for girls and boys. At Nomads the cheapest bed are 20 dollars.
For those who are camping with their own car, tent or caravan, Noosa Caravan Park (hotelscombined.com/Hotel/Noosa_Tewantin_Caravan_Park.htm) might suit. The resort is located at 143 Moorindil Street in Tewantin, around 10 km west of Noosa. The campsites cost from 41 dollars per night but there are also cabins to rent from 119 dollars. The office is open between 07:30 and 18:00.
If you are several people travelling together, you might want to rent an apartment or book a hotel. Mantra French Quarter Noosa (hotelscombined.com/Hotel/Mantra_French_Quarter.htm) is a clean and fresh apartment hotel located five minutes from Noosa Main Beach. The standard is high, and the service is excellent. The hotel has two swimming pools. The apartments have fully equipped kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms. Air conditioning is available, and most apartments have a balcony and a bathtub. Prices vary with season but cost from 250 dollars per night for two people.
Sunset Cove Resort (hotelscombined.com/Hotel/Sunset_Cove_Noosa.htm) is another hotel that rents out apartments but also cottages. The hotel is 50 meters from the river and a ten-minutes’ walk from Hastings Street. The apartments have up to three bedrooms. You must book at least two nights’ accommodation. Prices start from around 160 dollars per night for studios.
A Saturday in Noosa
08:00 – Lay the day’s foundation at Season
Wake up for a worry-free Saturday and head to Season Restaurant (seasonrestaurant.com.au/breakfast) at 25 Hastings Street for a tasty breakfast meal. Hopefully you have had time to work up an appetite. The ingredients vary with the seasons. Sit for a long time and enjoy the view over the water.
11:00 – Sun and bathing on the smaller beach
Bring all your holiday-stuff and go to Little Cove which is located five minutes east of Main Beach. It will be less crowded, and the waves are less fearsome. In the vicinity, there is a small café where you can buy your eleven o’clock coffee if the need arises. Relax on the beach and read a book or take a dip in the water. If you had enough of peace and quiet, book in a surf lesson on the larger neighbouring beach.
13:00 – Burger at Betty’s
When your tummy starts making funny noise, head to 50 Hastings Street where Betty’s Burgers & Concrete Co is located. They have affordable burgers that cost from ten dollars and up, but on the menu, there are also salads, fries, thick shakes, ice cream, wine and beer. After a filling meal, top-up your water bottle and get ready for new adventures.
16:00 – Shopping and koalas
While you’re out strolling at a slow pace along Hastings Street digesting your food, check out the local shops that line the street. Then head east towards the national park. Follow the trail that runs along the coast. Near Tee Trea Bay, koalas can often be seen sitting in the trees, so do not forget to look up during your hike. At Alexandria Bay, with some luck you can spot dolphins.
18:00 – Sushi Yah-Man
Dinner time! There are many cosy and fine restaurants to choose from. But to make it easy for you, a tip is to visit the unpretentious sushi restaurant Sushi Yah-Man, at 7 Sunshine Beach Road at Noosa Junction. They have options that are also suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Don’t worry, you can easily take a bus back to Hastings Street when you’re done. If you prefer to dine near the water, there are many options.
20:00 – Cosy evening with cocktails
After your meal and maybe some drinks, head back towards Hastings Street. Take a walk along the water while the stars come to life. Visit Miss Moneypenny’s for tasty cocktails or Noosa Surf Club (noosasurfclub.com.au) for a relaxed hang-out with great views.