The Noosa region is famous for its bio-diversity from glistening, white sand beaches to pristine rainforest and untouched waterways. The Noosa National Park
take pride of place atop Noosa Heads, and overlooks the South Pacific Ocean and Noosa’s chic Hastings Street. There is a network of well-signed tracks dissecting Noosa National Park
that lead to Tea Tree Bay (popular spot amongst surfers), Granite Bay and Alexandria Bay.
The Noosa National Park
is one of two jewels in Noosa’s eco-crown, the other jewel being Noosa River
and the everglades
. The Noosa River
is the only river system in Australia that has its entire upper catchment protected in National Park and more than 44 per cent of all Australia’s bird species reside within the region. Visitors can choose to explore this diverse wilderness area via an organised boat cruise, hire a houseboat, kayak or canoe. The Noosa everglades
include Lake Cooroibah and Lake Cootharaba.
is hidden behind the sand dunes of Noosa National Park
and is popular for its fishing, canoeing, walks and bike tracks.
Noosa is a mecca for world-class restaurants and is a foodie’s dream, where the selection of superb restaurants is so great it proves tough to choose where to eat next. Not only does the popular Hastings Street offer exceptional dining options but Gympie Terrace
and Quamby Place
also feature a handful of top-shelf restaurants and eateries. Some of Australia’s best chefs are at the helm of the restaurants that overlook the calming waters of Noosa River.
In terms of shopping precincts in Noosa, head to Hastings Street, Noosa Heads, Noosa Junction
and Noosaville. Around every corner there is a savvy boutique or art gallery that will beckon you inside. Noosa Junction
is a local haunt with cutting-edge fashion boutiques, cinema and groovy eateries that sprawl onto the pavements.
The arty market town of Eumundi, situated in Noosa’s hinterland, is famous for its 600-stall strong markets that were established in 1979 and occur every Wednesday and Saturday of the week, attracting over 1.6 million visitors a year. Even though the markets dominate the hinterland town twice a week, it’s well worth a visit on non-market days to wander along the fig tree-lined main street, popping in and out of art galleries and boutiques and sampling the region’s produce at one of the eateries.
The historic, rural town of Cooroy
, founded in the 1800s, is bisected by a railway and is bathed in early-settler history from its timber logging days. From Cooroy
visitors can explore the Noosa Botanic Gardens that sprawls across eight fertile hectares and is home to a range of native plants and wildlife including 94 native species of birds. Local Cooroy residents recommend Lake Macdonald
, which can be traversed by canoe, horseback, mountain bike or foot. The lake was constructed in 1965 to supply the area with water and is a popular destination for fishermen ready to catch saratoga, yellowbelly, bass and Mary River cod.
is another too-cute railway town in Noosa’s hinterland shadowed by Mount Cooroora
and home to the gruelling King of the Mountain race. Runners from all over the world race up and down the 438-metre mountain to vie for the crown.
PATROLLED BEACHES ALL YEAR ROUND
Noosa West, Noosa Heads, Sunshine Beach
Check out the local surf conditions here
SECRETS ONLY A LOCAL WOULD KNOW
- The twitchers amongst you will love the Noosa Bird Trail. There are more than 32 sites throughout the Noosa region stretching from Woodland Drive at Peregian Beach to the Great Sandy National Park. The Fearnley Bird Hide, located at Jabiru Park, has reported 150 bird species have been seen around Lake Macdonald. Some of the birds spotted there were the white-throated gerygone and the comb-crested jacana. The bird hide is situated at Grange Road, Cooroy.
- Learn to sail with help from those who love it with the Noosa Yacht and Rowing Club on the Noosa River. After school and holiday classes are offered for kids and courses for adults are available too. www.nyrc.com.au
- Cooroora Creek Park, located near the picturesque town of Pomona, is a superb spot for a picnic. With its main entry off Hill St, the park is a traditional meeting place for the Gubbi Gubbi people. A concrete circuit allows you to explore the extensive grounds by bike or foot with plenty of shaded picnic spots to choose from. There is also an abundance of open space to kick the footy or set up stumps and bowl your dad out.
- Go native at the clothes-optional beach at Alexandria Bay in Noosa’s National Park accessed via the Alexandria Bay track or the coastal track via Parkedge Road or the beach.
- Along Weyba Rd, Noosaville, located between Weyba creek and the AFL grounds, there is a platformed walk amongst the mangroves. It is a short, flat walk, making it accessible for strollers and wheelchairs whilst being adjacent to the Sunday farmers’ markets. The mangrove boardwalk is home to five different mangrove species and has handy information signs along the way. There are car parks and cafes nearby and offers an outdoor break if the kids are restless.
- One of the most beautiful parts of the coast is without a doubt the Noosa everglades – the scenic waterways of the Upper Noosa River and its tributaries. Often called the River of Mirrors, this is tranquil, unspoilt and unique scenery, which is best experienced by canoe, kayak or boat. Visit historic sites such as Harry’s Hut, and the Kinaba Information Centre, built on the boardwalk above the water. Part of the Cooloola section of the Great Sandy National Park, the everglades are just 30 minutes from Noosa.
- Walk, mountain bike or horse ride along one of the four Noosa trails that link to Cooroy. It’s a great way to be fit and healthy while taking in the natural beauty and history of Cooroy and its surrounding country.
- If you own a kayak (or rent one from Gympie Terrace, Noosaville), you can launch into Weyba Creek from Creek Road, Noosaville. From here you can paddle north through the mangroves, observing the local flora and fauna all whilst getting some outdoor exercise. Your trip can finish back at Gympie Terrace and one of the cafes or do a loop back to Creek Rd and have a picnic on the shore.
- There is a little clearing on the edge of the lake at the end of Lake Weyba Drive, Noosaville. A few picnic tables overlook the whole of Lake Weyba and are the perfect place to sit at dawn or dusk.
- Settle in at the Majestic Theatre in Pomona and watch old silent films accompanied by live grand theatre organ music.
There's something in the water at the Noosaville Marina. The kids will love the fish feeding box perched in front of the Boathouse Floating Restaurant, where you can buy $1 bags of fish food from the honesty tin. Hundreds of bream live just around the base of the jetty and these real Noosaville locals are always up for a feed (no fishing allowed). The packets of food are available seven days a week from the marina, whose foreshore includes a host of family friendly pursuits including parklands, walkways and leisure activities.194 Gympie Terrace, Noosaville.
Quiet, waterfront picnic spots are hard to come by, and that’s why salt loves the sandy shores of Lake Weyba. Pack a basket with fresh food, jump in the car and head for Eumarella Road, off Emu Mountain Road near Noosa. Here, you will find a handful of tiny beaches where you can unwind and spend a lazy day by the water. Splash in the shallows or explore the bushy shoreline. You might even come across the resident kangaroos.
Get a photo with the Big Pelican on Gympie Terrace. At more than three metres tall, this loveable mascot is hard to miss. A storyboard tells the story of 'Percy the Pelican', a remnant of the 1977 Festival of the Waters Parade that was restored by the owners of Pelican Boat Hire in the 1990s.
Don your walking shoes and follow the stunning river walk from Noosa Sound west along Gympie Terrace to Tewantin.
Have your children always wanted to learn to sail? Sign them up for an after-school or holiday program at the Noosa Yacht and Rowing Club. The YouthSail program teaches more than 150 kids of all ages weekly.
What goes together better than a good book and coffee? Nothing! That’s why River Read at Noosa River is a must-visit next time you’re at the top-end of the coast. With shelves overflowing with new and second-hand books and a little side café that opens off the bookstore, there’s every reason to wile away mornings here. Ask staff about the book recycling service where you can bring in old pageturners and use them as store credit towards another purchase. It’s the perfect exchange for bookworms.
Tinbeerwah has something to share with you – deliciously hot and cheesy pizza from a local pizzeria that buzzes through word of mouth. Sheltered by towering eucalypts on a quiet corner is Orange On Sunrise, and it’s here that the best pizza on the coast can be found. Casual indoor and outdoor seating and a pruned lawn mean kids can run amok whilst adults unwind over a glass of BYO wine. From a traditional margherita pizza to an indulgent spicy chorizo pizza, the menu won’t disappoint. Open from Wednesday to Sunday, this little restaurant gets busy so it’s best to book ahead. 1 Kingsgate Drive, Tinbeerwah. 5449 1100.
- Bagel worshippers be warned, the secret we’re about to share will potentially change your life. Beans + Bagels along the Noosa River foreshore is the one-stop shop for anyone craving a comforting snack rivalling the pickings in the US and Canada. Choose a plain, rye, onion, jalapeno or sesame bagel base made by local Bagel Boys and then load it with a topping from a menu that swims with combinations. They even have a gluten-free bagel, so now nobody misses out. 3/185 Gympie Terrace, Noosaville.
There’s nothing on the
coast like the Cooran Acoustic Night, Noosa hinterland’s longest-running community showcase evening. Celebrating a staggering 25 years of performances this year, the event is held every six weeks in the quaint township of Cooran. It boasts a line-up of quality and emerging musicians, some of whom have launched successful careers at the venue. Performers write their name on a blackboard and are called up to the stage in turn to face an audience which never knows what they’re going to get next. The formula is simple but it’s precisely the unassuming nature of the event that makes it so appealing. Cooran Community Hall, Cooran.
Can’t get enough of Noosa? Nestled in lush parkland, the Noosa Parks Association Environment Centre is a purpose-built headquarters for Queensland’s oldest community conservation group. The centre provides a vivid snapshot into Noosa’s history over the last five decades and boasts colourful displays on all aspects of the biosphere protected so passionately by its residents. Volunteer staff are always happy to chat and on Fridays guest speakers join a community forum to discuss current local conservation and environmental issues. Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10am to 2pm. The Noosa Environment Centre, Wallace Drive, Noosaville (next to the Noosa Library).
- You've never seen Noosa like this: her sparkling beaches, pristine waterways and rainforest canopies are only a Noosa Water Taxi ride away. Easily accessed from the Sheraton Noosa Resort ferry terminal, the Friday to Sunday on-the-hour service will drop you at any point along the Sound including waterfront restaurants and accommodation, turning around at the Settlers Cove jetty which links with Noosa Junction. The taxi will also take your four-legged best friend along for the ride – make sure you stop off at Noosa's only off-lead dog beach in sheltered shallow waters. With plush white lounge seating and all-weather protection the 11-seater taxi is also available for special charter and private transfers. Just relax and enjoy the ride. Noosa Water Taxi 0412 929 369.
If you feel like
a jaunt to Ibiza on a Sunday afternoon, you can now slink from the sand straight to the bar at Miss Moneypenny's in Noosa. The brainchild of mixology master Ben Walsh (of Sydney’s Goldfish Bar fame), this cool new bar opened its doors just in time for summer. Very Queensland cocktails that incorporate fresh local produce, Mediterranean home-style inspired cuisine and an in-house charcuterie are menu highlights. Nab yourself a local’s membership to enjoy 15 per cent off all menu items on weekdays. Open 8am - late seven days a week, 6 Hastings St, Noosa.
Can’t get enough of Noosa? Nestled in lush parkland, the Noosa Parks Association Environment Centre is the headquarters for Queensland’s oldest community conservation group. The centre provides a vivid snapshot of Noosa’s history over the past five decades and boasts colourful displays on all aspects of the biosphere protected so passionately by its residents. Volunteer staff are always happy to chat and on Fridays guest speakers join a community forum. Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10am-2pm. The Noosa Environment Centre, Wallace Drive, Noosaville (next to the Noosa Library).
Any energetic, nature-loving kids out there? The Weyba Creek Mangrove boardwalk is a perfectly manageable 300m circular track for little people, filled with out-of-the-ordinary plant life, birds, blue butterflies and magical mirror-like water reflections. For older Dora or Diego explorers, the boardwalk is dotted with informative signs about the eco-system (“can you spot the five different mangrove species which live here?”) and is also handy to bike tracks and bridge fishing for filling in a few hours. Off Weyba Road, Noosaville on the eastern side of the AFL grounds.
TO MARKET TO MARKET
Noosa Farmers' Markets
– held every Sunday – AFL Grounds, Weyba Road, Noosaville
- Noosa Marina Markets – held every Sunday – Parkyn Court, Tewantin
- Cooroy Country Market – held on the third Sunday of each month
- Pomona Markets – held every second and fourth Sunday
- Eumundi Markets – held every Wednesday and Saturday morning – Memorial Drive, Eumundi
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