Noosa, located just north of Sunshine Coast is one of the biggest resort areas of Queensland. It has beautiful large beaches with warm water (27C in summer, 22C in winter), a large mangrove wetland, a national park with native wildlife including the iconic koalas (if you can find them). Noosa also has plenty of fine dining restaurants, bars and resorts making it an ideal place for a relaxing long weekend getaway.
A flight to the Sunshine Coast is only a 1.5-hour flight from Sydney, or let’s say 2 hours from Melbourne. Once arrived, it’s recommended to hire a car if you want to explore the surroundings of Noosa Shire. From the airport it’s only 30 minutes to get to the beautiful Noosa Heads.
Where to stay
There are many hotels and resorts around Noosa Heads, some of them right on the beach where you’ll have a great view of the bay, some are closer to the national park. For 4 nights we stayed at Peppers Noosa Resort & Villas, a resort nestled in the serenity of palms and native vegetation very close to the town centre and with good access to the beach and the national park. This resort was amazing as there were 3 heated swimming pools, a gym, a steam room and our accommodation included full buffet breakfast making it a perfect stay especially on rainy cold days.
Things to do around Noosa
Noosa National Park
More info about walks and things to do: https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/noosa/pdf/noosa-vis-guide.pdf
The National Park is accessible from the main street (Hastings St). There is a beautiful boardwalk that takes you along the coast. There are several beaches accessible through this boardwalk, many of them busy with surfers as Noosa is one of the best surfing destinations of Australia.
From the carpark, where the information centre is located there are a number of trails that go into the forest away from the water. There is always a chance of spotting some koalas as they live in this area, though we weren’t lucky enough.
These spectacular rock pools can be found between Dolphin Point and Hell’s Gates at the northern part of Granite Bay. You’ll need to go a little bit off track and do some scrambling to get closer to the water:
There are a number of lookouts along the Coastal Track where you will find great views of the cliffs and the distant beaches surrounding Noosa: Boiling Pot Lookout, Dolphin Point Lookout and Hell’s Gates, which is a very windy elevated place overlooking Alexandria Bay.
If you continue south you will find Sunshine Beach, a very long strip of sand that goes all the way to Yaroomba and Sunshine Coast.
A great place to watch sunrise or sunset as it offers views towards the west overlooking the lagoon, the town and the distant mountains. This is also an amazing spot for having a picnic while enjoying the views.
Main Beach and The Boardwalk to The River-mouth
A perfect place to enjoy some swimming or stand up paddling without going too far from cafes and restaurants. This is a safe, patrolled beach. There is a boardwalk that goes from the main street all the way to where the sea meets the river which is a popular place for watching the sunset.
Weyba Mangrove boardwalk that starts from Noosaville takes you around the Noosa’s mangroves, an area were trees and shrubs grow in salty or brackish waters and serve as an important breeding ground for many fish species.
Here is a guide to Noosa Mangrove vegetation.
Road Trips From Noosa
If you have a car there are a few interesting places where you can drive from Noosa Heads either as a full-day or half-day trip.
Rainbow Beach and a glance at Fraser Island
One of the long drives goes all the way to Rainbow Beach. Located to the north of Great Sandy National Park is an iconic spot for adventurers who are going or coming from Fraser Island a paradise for off-road sand driving.
If you have a 4 wheel drive you can drive straight from Noosa to Rainbow Beach along the long beach at Great Sandy National Park . We did not have a 4WD, so we took the 1.5-hour sealed road route to Rainbow Beach passing several country towns and lookouts along the way.
Mt Tinbeerwah Lookout
It’s only a 25 minute drive from Noosa Heads. This is an easy 10 minute walk from the carpark and offers extensive 360 degree views. Great place for sunrise or sunset.
The countryside, cafes and chocolates
There are several towns with some nice cafes that are worth stopping for a quick coffee break:
Cooroy – The Mulberry Cafe
Eumundi – Chai cafe ‘Humdrum Espresso’
- Lunch at ‘Cafe Invigor8’
- Goodness Gracious Cafe – interesting for breakfast.
- The Ginger Factory and The Nutworks for chocolates, macadamia nuts and ginger sweets.
From the carpark is a 30 second walk to the viewing platform that looks over the Obi Obi Valley and lush rainforest canopy. There is a short walk through the forest to have a better look at the falls: https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/mapleton-falls
Sunshine Coast Plaza
Located about 10 minutes away from the airport, Sunshine Coast Plaza is a great place to pass time before the flight back home.