Noosa has long been regarded as the jewel in the crown of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, as much by international visitors as by locals, even when their loyalties lie with other Sunny Coast destinations such as Caloundra, Maroochydore, Mooloolaba and Coolum. You can fly directly to the Sunshine Coast at Maroochydore from a number of Australian cities, or take the two-hour scenic road trip from Brisbane.
With a spectacular sheltered beach – one of very few north-facing beaches on the coast – an world-class surf break, a stunning national park backdrop, great shopping, superb dining and accommodation ranging from budget to 5-star, Noosa Heads and Noosaville on the Noosa River are among Australia’s most popular holiday destinations.
Noosa National Park is a must-see and do, rising behind Main Beach and all the way around to the increasingly popular Sunshine Beach to the south. It encompasses its own set of beaches: some peaceful and some wild, all reached by an ocean-view walking trail around the park fringe.
Main Beach is an attraction in its own right. It's one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia with a backdrop of luxury apartments and some of Noosa’s best restaurants. A designated park at the Spit, at the end of Hastings Street, gives access to the ocean beach on one side and the Noosa River on the other, and is popular with families for picnics, fishing and swimming.
Eat & Drink
Alfresco is the order of the day thanks to the Sunshine Coast’s wonderful climate, whether it’s in one of the classy eateries fronting Main Beach, the restaurants and cafes along buzzing Hastings Street, the dozens of options facing the Noosa River on Noosaville’s Gympie Terrace, or the bars and restaurants of Quamby Place, halfway between Noosa Heads and Noosaville.
You will be spoilt for choice with everything from humble fish and chips to take away and eat at a riverside picnic table, to the finest in five-star dining. Noosa Junction, the main shopping hub, also has its share of cafes, restaurants and bakeries. Serious foodies should consider embarking on the self-drive Sunshine Coast Food Trail.
Noosa is holiday central. A slew of property owners around Australia and from overseas have bought into the Noosa market to deliver a plethora of self-catering apartments and holiday homes in Noosa Heads, Little Cove, Noosa Sound and its canals, Noosaville and Noosa Waters.
Price is dictated by size and proximity to the water, whether that’s ocean or river. There are also fully serviced resorts in Noosa Heads and on Noosa Hill. Of course, if you don't mind roughing it, you could always embark on the Great Beach Drive from the Sunshine to Fraser Coast region and camp along the way.
Both sides of Hastings Street in Noosa Heads are where it’s at for everything from high-end clothing and shoe boutiques to chain fashion, antique and designer jewellery, books, beauty products, even artisan chocolates and gelato – all mixed in with the street’s restaurants, bars and cafes.
In Noosaville, there are shops on Gympie Terrace and Thomas Street alongside some of Noosa’s most popular eateries, all with the backdrop of the Noosa River. If you are self-catering, and many do, Noosa Junction plays host to supermarkets, takeaways, bottle shops and bakeries alongside shops selling homewares and more bohemian arty products.
Noosa Like a Local
The markets are the place to go for the best in local produce – whether that’s food or crafts. There is a huge farmers’ market every Sunday between 7am and 12 at the Noosa Australian Football Club grounds on Weyba Road, Noosaville, selling just about the best of everything local and from the nearby fertile Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
Another popular Sunday market is at the Noosa Marina on the outskirts of historic Tewantin. A great way to arrive is by Noosa River ferry from various stopping points in Noosa and Noosaville. And for the best of the ocean harvest, look out for the Noosa Junction Seafood Market to pick your own fish, prawns, bugs and crab.