Visitors Guide To Noosa

Noosa was one of my favorite stops on my trip through Queensland. This beach town is famous for being the Hamptons of Australia. It exudes a monied atmosphere, especially around Hastings Street which is lined with high end boutiques, smart restaurants and coffee shops. Even though this town attracts more than its fair share of well heeled visitors, it actually offers a little something for everyone.

It has gorgeous beaches with excellent surfing conditions. Bronzed sunbathers stretched out on Noosa’s soft sand beaches soaking in the sun.  The Coastal Walk, one of several hiking trails, offers panoramic cliff side views of the sea and is an excellent spot to watch surfers catching incoming waves. Last but not least, Noosa has many ritzy shops and spas where you can happily pass your days (and money) away.

 

How To Get There

By Plane: The nearest airport to Noosa is the Sunshine Coast Airport, which is serviced by several airlines including discount airliner Jetstar. It’s a 30 minute drive from the airport to Noosa. There’s a number of ground transport options including rental cars, taxis, bus transfers, public buses and hotel shuttles. For further details checkout www.SunshineCoastAirport.com.au.

By Road: Noosa is 1 ½ hour drive north of Brisbane and 1 hour south of Gympie on the popular East Coast tour of Queensland most backpackers follow. You can choose to drive this route with a car or camper. There’s also a hop-on / hop-off greyhound option that operates between major cities like Sydney and Brisbane to Cairns with stops at many popular destinations like Noosa, Byron Bay and others. Those tickets are valid for three months from purchase.

To view the map of the greyhound route click here. For more details on purchasing a greyhound ticket click here.

DistancesRoad kmsDrive hrsFly hrs
Brisbane1601.5.45
Gold Coast2502.51
Sydney1100131.5
Melbourne1870202.5
Cairns1600182.5

 

Best Time To Visit

Low Season: Late April to mid September (exclude school holidays)

Shoulder Season: Early October to 22nd December and late January to late March

High Season or Holiday Season: 23rd Dec to mid January and late March to early April

 

Where To Stay

Given Noosa’s reputation as the favored playground for Australia’s rich and famous, you’d think finding affordable accommodations would an issue. Thankfully that’s not the case. Depending on your budget you can go from resort pampering to mid budget hotels to staying at a hostel. Just keep in mind that all the action is centered around Hastings Street in Noosa Head.

Family Hotel (Mantra French Quarter): This is a great hotel that’s only one road across from the beach. It has 1 and 2 bedroom apartment style rooms with kitchenettes.

Hostel (Flashpackers): One of the best hostels I’ve stayed at while in Oz. While it’s about a 20 minute walk from the main Noosa attractions they have shuttle that runs frequently during the day to get people to where they want to go. Great staff, very clean and organized hostel.

 

Top Attractions

Hasting Street: The main street in Noosa, it’s also the heart of this small town. On one end of the street are hiking trails that fringe around Noosa’s National Park, on the other side is Noosa Woods which overlook the Noosa River mouth. Along this street are countless high-end stores and alfresco dining options. Of course, if you want the beach and surf then you have the main beach and the smaller coves that are near the coastal walk path. Almost everything that you’ll want to see or do revolves around or near Hastings street.

National Park Walking Trails: Noosa has several trails that go around and through its national park. The most famous is the beautiful Coastal track (no. 4 in the map). Walking the Coastal trail you’ll see beautiful beaches, surfers riding waves near “Dolphin Point” and experience the wild winds blasting across the sea on “Hell’s Gates”. This is a visually stunning walk that you must do.

NoosaTrails
Map of Noosa Walking Trails


 

Beaches & Surfing: For me, the best beaches in Australia start from Noosa and continue northward towards to WhitSunday. Forget the Gold Coast, those beaches have been ruined by the large skyscrapers built around them. The beaches in Noosa include:

  • Main Beach: Just off Hastings Street, this is great family beach. The waves here are small and it’s patrolled year round.
  • The Little Cove & Tea Tree Bay (National Park Beaches): Just off the side of the National Park are two beaches that are popular with surfers and swimmers. The first is “Little Cove”. As the name suggests this is a cute cove with a small beach area. Tea Tree Bay is a bigger slightly rocky beach which has a large number of surfers who ride the waves off Dolphin point.
  • Sunshine Beach: This beach is 15 km long and popular with surfers (especially near headland, offering bigger surf). This is a patrolled beach area.
  • Sunrise Beach: This beach is patrolled on summer weekends and during peak school holiday seasons. It’s also great for fishing and surfing.
Surfers at dolphin point
Surfers at Dolphin Point


Popular Day Trips

Fraser Island: This is the most popular daytrip from Noosa and with good reason. Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island, stretching 123 km long and 23 km wide. It’s the only place on earth where rainforests grow on sand dunes and it’s recognized as a World Heritage Site.

The best tours in Australia happen on this island. While you could do a daytrip to Fraser, given the island’s size an overnight tour is best. This will give you a chance to explore the full length of the island by 4WD, visit some of the amazing freshwater lakes (the most famous being lake Mackenzie) and of course do some dingo spotting.

One of my big regrets is not having toured this island.

I kept hearing positive things about dropbear tours. Everyone who went on their tours (especially the 3 day/2 night camping outing) loved the experience.

Dingo on Fraser Island. Image from Pixabay
Dingo on Fraser Island. Image from Pixabay


 

Eumundi Market: When I arrived into Noosa, Eumundi Market was hyped as a great daytrip option. It’s supposed to have many interesting artisinal stalls selling locally sourced produce and one of a kind trinkets and artwork. What added to it’s allure is that it’s only held two days a week, on Wednesday (8 am – 1:30 pm) and Saturday (7 am – 2 pm). The motto of Eumundi is “make it, bake it, grow it, sew it”.

I went on Wednesday and I was sorely disappointed. Instead of finding unique handmade goods, most stalls were selling mass produced goods that were probably imported from China. The reality doesn’t match the reputation and to be honest I felt scammed into coming. It’s not a bad open market, it’s just not exceptional. If you decide to go then I recommend you visit on Saturday. I went on Wednesday and it was pretty dead, which I hear is normal for Wednesday.

To get to the markets you can:

  1. Driving: It’s a 20 minute drive from Noosa on Eumundi Road.
  2. Shuttle Bus: It costs 25 AUD per person.
  3. Local Bus: Route 630 direct to Eumundi / Route 631 via Cooroy.  Costs 6.70 AUD for Adult or 3.30 AUD for child or concession. Tickets are cheaper with Go Cards. For full information check www.translink.com.au.
Eumundi Market
Eumundi Market

 

Noosa Everglades: Just a few minutes from Noosaville, you can join one of the Noosa Everglade tours. This an amazing natural habitat that holds over 44% of all Australia’s birds species , 700 native animals and 1,365 plant species. The Noosa River is Australia’s only river system with its entire upper catchment protected in a National Park. This is an ideal cruise to take to enjoy nature watching from the relaxed confines of the boat and test your bird and animal watching skills. The Everglades are not just picturesque they are spectacular with the constantly changing landscape turning from mangroves to large expanses, mud islands, wetlands and narrow waterways.

Calm waters in Noosa Everglades
Calm waters in Noosa Everglades


Related Video

This is video of the Coastal Walk in Noosa. Very pretty.

 

Seeing all those surfers with their boards, motivated me to try surfing. Took a class but it went badly. In two hours I didn’t stand up once. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be.