A local’s guide to Noosa
Think of Noosa and you’ll most likely conjure up images of sunshine and relaxing holidays. But there’s so much more to this slice of pandanus-fringed paradise if you dig a little deeper and move beyond the Hastings Street strip.
With a thriving foodie scene, scenery that’ll blow your sandals off and a refreshing undercurrent of young creatives doing their thing, Noosa is making waves for all the right reasons and as a local, I love being a part of it.
Stretching from the coast to The Hinterland, this region was made to be explored, so I’m handing you this golden ticket featuring all the things you really should do next time you’re in Noosa.
Jump in the car and set your GPS to Peregian Beach, because it’s breakfast time and I know just the place! Skal Coffee hums with locals for good reason, so grab a spot under one of their umbrellas and get ready for the best kind of wake-up call – coffee and brunch.
Need a gentle nudge? Don’t go past the corned beef, potato and Swiss cheese fritters or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, the breaky bao.
Lunch along Gympie Terrace in Noosaville is a must. And with gorgeous river views, a whole lot of character and super-tasty eats, Bordertown can’t be beaten. Feast on tacos and burgers, then wash it all down with their incredible tiki old fashioned. It’s smoked with coconut and is totally bucket list-worthy.
After something a bit more fancy-pants? You can’t go wrong with a late lunch at Noosa Waterfront Restaurant. Overlooking one of Noosa’s canals, this hidden gem is one of my ‘special occasion’ faves. Just make sure you pack your sunnies.
Nights on Hastings Street are pretty special, and even locals will battle the holiday crowds on a weekend to find a table at Locale. Stunning interior, impeccable service and dishing up some of the best Italian in town, this restaurant isn’t cheap but you won’t be complaining.
Tip: Arrive early and order a cocktail at the bar. The mixologists are dapper, the lighting is dim and it’s all kinds of romantic.
Noosa is all about coffee. There are so many places pouring a cup of joe that would rival any city haunt, but if I had to choose… Clandestino Roasters is great for a group or folks wanting something to eat on the side, Costa Noosa at Sunshine Beach is the spot for morning hangs on a sprawling deck and Padre Coffee is straight out of a magazine – sleek, minimal and photo-worthy.
If you don’t want to completely fall off the health wagon, Blended Health Bar on Hastings Street do delicious takeaway smoothies – the perfect accompaniment to a beach sesh.
When the sun sets, wander over to Noosa Junction. Start at Moto, a motorcycle showroom-slash-bar for a beer or two, before heading to Noosa’s newest Mexican joint, Paradise Arcade, for margaritas on tap and plates of popcorn chicken.
When you’re ready for a change of scenery, dally around the corner to Village Bicycle. The O.G. of the junction, Village is where the locals go for a night of fun times.
For all the trimmings, Sofitel Noosa in heart of Hastings Street has got you covered. With a pool bar, an incredible restaurant and a prime position, a room here will cost a pretty penny but it’ll be worth it!
If you want prime beachfront positioning, rent an apartment at Seahaven Noosa Resort or, for direct Noosa National Park access, Peppers Noosa Resort & Villas is your perfect crash pad.
For something a little more budget friendly, the Noosa Heads YHA is tucked away just off Hastings Street and fuses Aussie beach shack vibes with a bed for the night starting at $26.
That place you see splattered all over Instagram when your friends visit the Sunshine Coast, AKA Noosa National Park, really does exist. So, start your morning exploring it with a loop walk from Hastings Street to Hell’s Gates and back. Tracing along the coastline, you won’t be able to resist the pull of the ocean at Little Cove or Tea Tree Bay, so come prepared and wear your swimmers under your activewear.
Visitors to Noosa often have no idea that a lush hinterland exists nearby. So, fill up the car and head out to the quaint country town of Pomona. I should probably tell you now, that the reason you’re here is to climb Mount Cooroora, a 439-metre mound with 360-degree views of the Noosa region at the summit. It’s a tough hike, so thongs (flip flops) won’t cut it this time.
Need to get back by the water? Hire a SUP and take a paddle up the beautiful Noosa River. Or, if you’re ready to take it next-level, lock in a SUP yoga class with Kat Harding.
Cocktails, sunsets and tunes sums up what it’s like spend the afternoon cruising on board the beautifully-refurbished M.V. Catalina. Their Saltwater Sundays are a sell-out every week, so book ahead to ensure you don’t miss out!
If you want to DIY, grab some fresh seafood or fish and chips and lay down a rug along the river to enjoy this gorgeous spot.
Fresh is best, and the freshest produce you can get is at Noosa Farmers Market each Sunday. Take your canvas tote and your empty stomach, and stock up on the best fruit and veggies, cheese, honey, meat and flowers that Noosa has to offer.
There’s a heap of street food stalls too, and I never leave without devouring a Malaysian curry, a pain au chocolat and a smoothie from the Sunflower Hotel. What? A girl’s gotta eat!
For all things interiors, fashion and gifts, Peregian Beach village really does have it all. Spruce up your wardrobe with a bit of hippy luxe from Bohemian Sundays, quality staples like Bassike at The Romantic and all things mums and bubs at Evolve.
Revamping your home? Furniture and need-in-your-life homewares can be found at midmodoz and Bedouin Traders.
The Noosa Everglades are a hidden oasis at the top end of Noosa River. Motor boats aren’t permitted to some parts of the river, so hire a canoe or kayak for a few days from Elanda Point to really explore this magical place.
Pack the tent, Esky and whatever else will fit in your vessel, and paddle to your pre-booked, riverside campsite (this needs to be done in advance on the national parks website). If you want a DIY adventure where you’re completely immersed in the great outdoors, this is it!
WHEN TO GO
Noosa is best visited in autumn, winter and spring when the humidity isn’t too high and the skies are clear.