More than just bronzed bodies, perfect waves and balmy Queensland weather, Noosa and surrounds promises a natural larder and dining scene fit for even the most refined foodie. Whether you've a day or a week here, Noosa's culinary smorgasbord sizzles with a line-up of top-notch cuisine, relaxed alfresco cafes and must-visit markets.
Spirit House Restaurant And Cooking School
Spirit House is the destination of choice for those looking to ignite their palates with the distinct, perfectly balanced sweet, salty, sour and spicy flavours of Thai/modern Asian cuisine. Dishes like crispy Bangalow pork with citrus caramel sauce receive star billing, as does the restaurant's tranquil surrounds – think lush tropical gardens with blossoming natives and a lotus pond.
There's also a dedicated cooking school where you can learn the secrets of Spirit House from head chef, Annette Fear. Choose from a long list of hands-on, small group classes such as Essential Thai, Bangkok Dreaming and Seafood Indulgence. It doesn't matter if you've got the skills of a master chef or have never stepped into a kitchen; you're guaranteed to learn a few things under Annette's guidance. Plus – and perhaps the best part – you get to sit down to banquet spread of all your hard work with a few glasses of wine.
20 Ninderry Road, Yandina
Bookings are essential
Farm-to-table at its absolute finest is the name of the game at Wasabi, a fine-dining establishment recognised by Gourmet Traveller as Australia's best Japanese restaurant.
With produce from their farm at Honeysuckle Hill and seafood from the resident fishing fleet, Wasabi maintains a complete Japanese aesthetic while using as many locally grown ingredients as possible.
Linger over long lunches by the water on Weyba Creek or spoil yourself with the nine-course omakase menu, a series of dishes based on what's in season. Take my word for it – mouthfuls of silky soft sashimi dusted with freshly grated wasabi and full blood wagyu with roasted marrow bone complete the kind of epicurean experience you won't forget in a hurry.
2 Quamby Place, Noosa Sound
Noosa International Food and Wine Festival
This year's Noosa Food and Wine Festival may have just come and gone, but it's never too early to start planning next year's visit. Likened to a 'Schoolies for chefs', hungry event goers can expect a rock star line-up of celebrity chef appearances, degustations, beach parties, wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and so much more across four delicious days.
Various locations in Noosa
19-22 May 2016
Burn off those calories on these Sunshine Coast walking tracks
This is Queensland on a plate
Noosa Farmers Market
Do as the locals do and pay a visit to the Noosa Australian Football Club on a Sunday morning to pick up farm-fresh goodies. Stroll the market with a freshly squeezed juice as you get lost amongst buckling trestle tables piled sky-high with glossy heirloom tomatoes, crunchy baked goods, creamy cheeses and indulgent raw treats. The markets are a hive of activity and the family-friendly atmosphere is a great place to chill out and chat to the growers and producers. And eat, of course.
155 Weyba Road, Noosaville
Noosa's laid-back, yet glamorous enclave bursts with a slew of award-winning eateries and shaded spots to enjoy a coffee or cocktail and people watch. With a beachside location designed to take full advantage of water views and glowing sunsets, as well as a quintessentially modern Queensland menu, Sails Restaurant is a must for first-time visitors.
Leave room for lunch at the Noosa Beach House, standing front and centre at the Sheraton Noosa Resort & Spa. Chef and television personality Peter Kurivita combines his Sri Lankan heritage with local flavours to create creative dishes like Sri Lankan snapper curry and confit petuna ocean trout with fennel pollen, tamarind, dandelion sambal and black rice.
When it comes to evening libations, the super hip Miss Moneypennys shakes things up with heady, inventive cocktails alongside a casual menu of bar bites, share boards and Napoli style pizzas. Book a cocktail masterclass for an afternoon of eating, drinking, learning and mixing. Afternoons at the coast don't get much better than that.
The Eumundi Markets bills itself as Australia's premier artisan market and its self-proclaimed title does not go undeserved. Since it first popped up in 1979, the market firmly established itself as a major player on the Sunshine Coast foodie scene. "From little things, big things grow..."
Today, the some 600 stallholders must follow the 'make it, bake it, grow it, sew it' ethos. Cheesemongers sit side by side by smallgoods connoisseurs and farm fresh produce neighbours ready-to-eat gourmet international fare to nosh on between browsing. There's not only food, but also furniture, home wares, crafts and jewellery. Why not have your palm read while you're there too? We see plenty of good food in your future.
Memorial Drive, Eumundi
Wednesday 8am – 1.30pm
Saturday 7am – 2pm