If you like crystal clear ocean water, pristine beaches, incredible food and loads of outdoor activities and picturesque views Noosa is the place for you. Located within the Noosa Biosphere Reserve, a Unesco-recognised area famous for its highly diverse ecosystem, the natural beauty of this area is unlike anywhere else.
Noosa is a popular stop off point for many that travel Australia’s East Coast. Many of the tours departing for Fraser Island start or finish in Noosa and it’s one of the last main stops before shooting North towards the Whitsundays. But Noosa definitely deserves your attention for a longer stay. It’s idyllic Australia: bike rides to the beach, unspoiled natural beauty, clean beautiful beaches and an abundance of delicious places to eat.
Where to eat in Noosa:
Man oh man am I going to have some serious Betty’s withdrawals when I leave Noosa. When we were on tour and first got to Noosa we tried Betty’s on the first night and our group went back for the next four nights in a row! It’s that good! Get the Crispy Chicken Burger and onion rings. For dessert try one of their concretes… it’s ice cream with all sorts of toppings (anything from bits of Krispy Kreme donuts to caramelized bananas) smashed through. They’re insane.
Ah we had such an unforgettable meal at Seasons when my parent were here. It’s pretty expensive so definitely more of a special occasion sort of place. Seasons is right on the water at Main Beach so it has spectacular views and a great vibe. When we went with my family everyone got something different and we all raved about our food for the rest of the week.
Nosh! This is Hastings Street answer to affordable, quality healthy food! With a daily selection of different power salads (think chunks of avocado, ripe cherry tomatoes and fresh pesto), gigantic grilled chicken burgers and excellent French fries this is the spot if you’re looking for something you know is going to be delicious and won’t break the bank.
Blended is my favorite spot for a refreshing Acai bowl break after the beach or after doing the Coastal Walk. Sometimes they go overboard on the muesli topping so I just make sure to ask for only a little, but wow are they delicious (and totally Instagramable).
Boost is a popular smoothie chain throughout the East Coast of Australia but I had to give the Hastings Street location a shout out for providing seriously refreshing drinks after the beach or a long bike ride. ALSO major key: if you’re in Noosa go to the information center on Hastings Street and grab a map because there are coupons to get an original (the larger size) smoothie on their for $5 instead of like $7.50 or whatever they usually are. You’re welcome.
Zachary’s does some seriously delicious pizzas. They have 3 different locations: Hastings Street, Noosaville (on the river) and a burger bar option also on Hastings Street. I would not recommend the Noosaville location but damn is the Hastings Street one good. Lewis and I like the BBQ Meat Lovers but don’t be afraid of the out of the box combinations, they know what they’re doing there!
Nitrogenie is a very unique and different ice cream experience. The ice cream is made to order using liquid nitrogen. We definitely put on a show and kids and adults love watching the ice cream being created. My favorite flavors are the Nutella Cornucopia (pictured) and the Salted Caramel Popcorn, YUM!
Never actually eaten any food at the Surf Club BUT I did go for drinks there once and the view of Main Beach is so amazing that it’s definitely worth going just for that.
- J1 Sushi
Located in the Noosa Junction in the same plaza as the Coles, J1 does cheap and tasty sushi. Local tip: Go after 4pm for a major discount on all sushi rolls!
- Village Bicycle
Village Bicycle is such a chill little spot in Noosa Junction. Stop by in the evening for a delicious taco or burger or stay later and enjoy a cold beer in their beer garden. No matter what you’re guaranteed a great vibe and a good time.
Things to do:
- Cruise Into the Sunset
The MV Queen departs from the Noosa Marina in Tewantin most evenings (but be sure to call or check online first because the schedule is a little sporadic). Pack some cheese and crackers or chips and salsa and arrive early to claim the perfect outdoor table. You’re not allowed to bring your own alcohol, they’ve got their own little bar onboard, but I’m sure you could creatively get away with it. It’s a super chilled out little cruise down the beautiful Noosa River and past Richard Branson’s own little island for just $10! Oh, and the sunset is usually a stunner as well.
There is also the MV Catalina which departs from the river in Noosaville. This looks like more of a party experience and whenever I see it floating down the river I think it looks like so much fun! Haven’t gotten a chance to do it yet but try it out and let me know!
- See the sights on the Noosa National Park Coastal Walk
Set aside a few hours to do this stunning coastal walk through Noosa National Park. Keep on the lookout for koalas especially at the start of the trail but you may also be lucky enough to spot dolphins, sea turtles and stingrays from your view above the water. Amazing private beaches run alongside the path and don’t miss the fairy pools!
- Relax in the Peaceful Haven that is Little Cove, Noosa Heads
Only 5 minutes from Noosa Main Beach, Little Cove is a local’s haven. A far “littler” beach with smaller surf it is calm and peaceful and jaw-droppingly insanely beautiful. From the moment I saw it it took #1 in my top favorite beaches ever which is a HUGE compliment.
- Chill Out at Main Beach in Noosa Heads
Main Beach is where the action is! There’s always going to be loads of people there, especially in the summer months you may actually struggle to find a spot to spread your towel. You can rent boogie boards, surf boards, chairs, umbrellas and whatever else you’d need right on the beach. The waves are particularly well suited for boogie boarding!
- Rent Jetskis, Fishing Boats, Kayaks and more on the Noosa River in Noosaville
Far more laid back than Hastings Street, especially during the summer months, Noosa River is the spot to grab your friends, pack a picnic and set up camp for the day. You can also rent small boats, jet skis, kayaks and stand up paddle boards from many of the stands along the river. They all have pretty much the same prices so just pick one and get on the water!
- Watch the Sunset @ the Spit, Noosa Heads
We didn’t figure out that this spot is so amazing for sunsets until Lewis’s last night in Noosa. Wow though!!! We usually head to the spit on windy days to sit back in awe of the many kite surfers that love it there, but one night we found ourselves there just before sunset and the sky was blazing! I think I actually prefer this spot for sunset watching to the Laguna Lookout although both are pretty spectacular.
- …Or from the Laguna Lookout, Noosa Heads
If you’re staying at Nomads Noosa you’ll know that the Laguna Lookout can’t be missed (it’s just across the street). If you don’t make it up to Noosa Junction you may be totally oblivious to the awesome Lookout. Best if you have a car since it’s a bit of a steep walk but still totally doable and worth it without a car. This picture totally doesn’t do it justice s you’re just gonna have to trust me: it’s stunning. Lewis and I have even spotted a few koalas on that walk so keep your head up!
- Shop the Eumundi Markets
The Eumundi Markets are GIGANTIC. You’ll need a few hours to wander through the many booths of food and gifts and clothes. You’ll find original artworks, sculptures, furniture, handmade toys, homewares, and skincare, clothing and jewelry by local designers. The markets run Saturdays from 7am to 2pm and Wednesdays from 8am to 1:30pm. Make sure to where comfy shoes and bring a drink, it gets hot out there!
- Browse the Sunday Noosa Farmer’s Market
Every Sunday from 7am to noon at The Noosa Australian Football Club on Weyba Road the Farmer’s Market is the place to get some amazing food for the week. Top Tip: Go around 11:30 and the stalls start giving out some amazing deals.
Tips for Getting Around Noosa
The bus system in Noosa is actually pretty great. If you’re just visiting, the 626 and 627 buses will probably be the routes you’ll stick to. These buses run pretty much everywhere you’d want or need to go: starting in Tewantin and the Noosa Marina (where the sunset cruise is) to along Gympie Terrace (where you can jet ski and stand up paddle board…as well as visit a bunch of shops and restaurants) to straight into Hastings St and Noosa Heads (Main beach and even more shopping and dining) and even past that into Noosa Junction (Nomads Hostel and the supermarkets) finally ending at Sunshine Beach (a big open ocean sort of beach which is better for surfing). During the day the bus runs nearly every 15 minutes or so but the route definitely slows down after dark. It’s about $4.50 a ride unless you’ve got a Go Card.
Tip: Download the free Translink app on your phone so you can plot out your journey and know when the next bus will be arriving.
Bicycling is also a great way to get around town. There are bike paths connecting nearly all roads and plenty of places to rent bikes from.
Places to Stay
There are countless villas, hotels, AirBnbs and resorts throughout the Noosa Area. Here are some that have caught my eye during my time here:
- Noosa Nomads: Great hostel atmosphere, very popular bar, small kitchen/cooking space, good location close to town
- YHA Halse Lodge: A bit pricier than Noosa Nomads but nicer accomodation, small kitchen/cooking area, nice onsite bar and restaurant, ideal location in the center of town, books up quickly
- Noosa Flashpackers
Day Trips to Consider
Although there are enough activities within the heart of Noosa to keep even the most agenda-minded traveller occupied for days, Noosa is in close proximity to many cool Sunshine Coast attractions.