We lived on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland for 18 months back in 2006-07, in Mooloolaba, which is only a 40-minute drive from Noosa.
But we only visited Noosa once or twice and could never quite get why it was one of Australia’s, and the world’s, most sought-after holiday destinations.
Maybe because we only walked up and down Hastings Street, which was always crowded on the weekends and parking a headache, and we never explored the rest of the town and surrounding natural environment.
We could tell Noosa was stylish and Hastings street trendy with its alfresco restaurants and chic cafe scene, and we’d heard about the surrounding beaches and national park. But, you know, we were happy with our lot in Moolooaba.
However, we finally gave Noosa another chance and stayed for three nights on our trip around Australia.
Whilst our stay was brief, we now get it. We now understand why celebrities and others rave about it so much and if you visit you’ll probably be singing its praises too!
Things to do in Noosa, Sunshine Coast
- Noosa National Park
- Noosa Main Beach
- Sunset in Noosa
- Noosa Farmers Markets
- Where to eat and drink in Noosa
- Tips from the community on things to do in Noosa
- Where to stay in Noosa
- Plan your trip to Noosa
1. Noosa National Park
It’s the National Park that elevated Noosa to a place that’s worth visiting for me. Before I discovered that, I thought Noosa was overhyped and overpriced.
We spent a morning walking the coastal track within the National Park from the surf club to Tea Tree Bay where I plonked on the sand and said, “Ah now I get it.”
It’s a really beautiful walk and if you crane your neck on your hike, you might just spot a koala or two – Noosa National Park is a favoured home of theirs.
On another day, we walked into Noosa National Park from the opposite entrance at Sunshine Beach, a short dfrom form Noosa, with sweeping views down the coast. And we saw our first whale for the season breaching just off shore.
2. Noosa Main Beach
Noosa is a world famous surfing destination, and Main Beach right in town is a favourite spot for locals to surf the clean waves, and for beginners to get a surfing lesson. Or, take out a paddle-board or boogie board.
Noosa Main Beach is one of the only north-facing beaches on the east coast of Australia, and becasue it’s sheltered with gentle waves it makes for a family friendly beach. The water is clear at a nice temperature, and the sand clean and soft.
The boardwalk running along the beach is swept clean everyday and as far as town beaches go, this is up there with the best – the type of beach Australia is famous for!
3. Sunset in Noosa
We didn’t get a brilliant sunset whilst there, too clouded over, much but we walked up the beach a little away from the surf club end and out on the rock wall and watched the surfers catch their final wave of the day.
There are much less people up this end and a quiet spot for the kids to play in the sand.
4. Sunday Noosa Farmers Markets
The absolute best smoothie, we’ve ever had was at the Sunday Farmer’s Market in Noosa from the store The Sunflower Hotel.
I can still taste it and Caz yearns to have just one more sip of her heavenly Mother Nature – mint, cacao, banana, maca, medjool dates topped with cacao nibs. It’s a meal in itself.
And when I say smoothies, I’m talking bursting with colour, trumped up with vibrant energy and full of nourishing superfoods. The Sunflower Hotel is THE destination. I’ve been disappointed with every smoothie I’ve had since this one.
The markets are a great place to get your fresh fruit and veg, just bear in mind you are in Noosa so prices might not be your typical farmer’s market prices.
5. Where to eat & drink in Noosa
There is a huge variety of cafes and restaurants to eat at in Noosa. It is a tad on the expensive side so beware.
We only tried a couple, but you can check out our Facebook fan suggestions at the bottom of this post for more eating suggestions.
6. Cafe Le Monde
Stylish, yet casual, Cafe Le Monde is a local favourite and came highly recommended. Caz enjoyed a nice quinoa salad although would have loved more quinoa. Big tick for the coffee too!
7. 10 Hastings Street Cafe
Recommended by our followers on Facebook, 10 Hastings Street Cafe is a casual, funky cafe at the quieter end of Hastings Street good for breakfast or lunch with a friendly vibe and well priced meals for Noosa.
Give the smoothies a try, and the soy latte was memorable too!
8. Noosa Surf club
Hard to beat the views over Main Beach, Noosa Surf Club is like most surf clubs relaxed and family friendly, and good for lunch and dinner, or breakfast on the weekends!
Not fine dining but possibly the cheapest water view place you’ll eat at in Noosa, it has your typical surf club decor and our kids always love getting the kiddies activity bags with their meals.
9. Wonderland Espresso Bar
For great coffee, go and see Henry from Wonderland Espresso Bar, the mobile coffee entrepreneur positioned on the street at the driveway entrance to the Mantra French Quarter Hotel (15 Noosa Drive).
He’s a young guy with a passion for making coffee. Grab one to go or pull up a milk crate.
If you plan your Noosa visit for May, you could even take in the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival which is now in its twelfth year, and one of Australia’s premier food, wine and lifestyle event.
Whilst in Noosa, we took a quick drive around to Noosaville which was bigger than I expected, and other nearby towns at this end of the sunny coast worth a drive are Coolum and Peregian Beach.
Tips from our Facebook community
We love to ask our Facebook followers for suggestions on things to do when we visit a town. This is what they said about Noosa:
- Marlies Harting – ferry at sunset, Eumundi Markets on Wednesday and Saturday, kayaking, Noosa Everglades, rent a bike or scooter. Oh and eat at the Noosa Beach Hous!
- Sally Wilson – my fave holiday place! For a nice meal out with kids, I love Rickys or Wood Fire Grill on Noosa Sound. They’re right on the river and next to a little playground so the kids can play while you wait for your meal. On Hastings St, Bistro C for amazing breakfasts, Miss Moneypenny’s for a cocktail, and Cafe La Monde is always a family fave. The surf club is great for casual family meals and it’s right on the beach. At Noosaville I love Thomas Corner Eatery. If you want a fancy adult’s only dinner I’d recommend Berardo’s or Sails (both on Hastings St) or Wasabi at Noosa Sound. And my kids love to catch the ferry on the Noosa River!
- Dionne Tanner – If you’re walking around Noosa definitely hit up Massimo’s Gelateria in Noosa Heads, love the rocher flavour! Also, if you want to drive for food, check out a cooking class or just go eat at Spirit House in Yandina.
- Erica Wildey – Walk along the wooden path that runs on the beach. They also have lots of amazing sand castle makers that put tea lights in these sandcastles. And they really look like ‘castles’
- Shandelle Kenane – Head to nitro genie in Hastings street, go on a sunset river cruise, dinner at Bombay Bliss in Tewantin or if you have a 4wd spend a day on Noosa north shore.
- Budget Travel Talk – Peregian Beach is our fave. Has a Sunday Market on the Beach front near the Surf Club too. Yandina has a nice local market and good healthy cafes.
- Celeste Mitchell – Go to burger bar in Noosaville. Order the Dutch Oven!
Where to Stay in Noosa
Thanks to our partnership with Mantra Hotels, we stayed at the Mantra French Quarter which has prime positioning on Hastings Street with easy access to the cafe scene, the National Park and a stumble across the road from the beach.
We especially loved the tropical pool area and when we weren’t playing at the beach the girls loved this pool and the heated kid-friendly wading area.
It was more than comfortable, we weren’t huge on the green decor but very chic none the less. Rooms come in 1 and 2 bedroom apartments, there’s 24 hour reception, complimentary in-house movies, and under-cover parking (a godsend in Noosa).
Plan Your Trip in Noosa
We’ve been traveling consistently for 17 years and have come to rely on a few trusted websites that save us money and time when booking accommodation, flights and car rental. Below are our preferred partners:
- Booking.com has 700,000+ hotels, apartments and hostels worldwide. You get free cancellation on most rooms and a best price guarantee.
- Skyscanner is a comparison website that searches millions of flights. Once you find your best deal, book directly through the airline (no extra fees).
- RentalCars.com is the world’s biggest car rental booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, and Europcar.
Have you visited Noosa?
Share any of your tips for things to do in Noosa in the comments below!