Early morning golden light at Noosa Beach
The Noosa region is located around 90 minutes drive north of Brisbane on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and has long been one of Australia’s most popular holiday destinations. It’s a place where beach lifestyle, luxury and nature converge and live in harmony together along a pristine stretch of coastline. Even if you’ve never been to Noosa or its surrounding region you’ve probably heard about it from friends or family who have visited, and if you have been then it’s probably a place you look back on with fond memories and are already planning your next visit.
Looking out over the Noosa River from Laguna Lookout
Noosa is renowned for its relaxed vibe, beautiful natural settings and kilometres of unspoilt beaches and rivers. Hastings Street is the heart of Noosa and is packed with gourmet restaurants and cafes, nightclubs, boutique and high end fashion as well as a variety of other local crafts and wares and accommodation styles for every budget. Noosa is a food lovers paradise and home to world-class dining options as well as local farmers markets, fresh daily produce and even cooking classes for those that want to bring the taste of Noosa's best home with them. Relax at one of the many alfresco dining options near the beach or at one of the fancier restaurants in Noosaville.
The world famous boardwalk at Noosa Beach
Noosa Main Beach is a beautiful stretch of sand that runs all the way from Noosa Woods in the north to the corner of the headland near the surf club. Being just a street away from the centre of town makes this beach hugely popular and crowded at times, especially during school holiday periods when you can find yourself driving around for half an hour and not even find a parking spot. But once you're on the sand you can certainly unwind and take in the amazing views to the north as well as enjoy protection from the winds courtesy of the headland in the south. Its convenient location allows you to switch between the beach and Hastings Street during the day as the restaurants and cafes are just a minutes walk away.
Where the ocean meets the river
The area known as Noosa Northshore is located on the northern side of Noosa River and can also be seen from Laguna Lookout. This beach runs for around 70km north to Double Island Point and then on to Rainbow Beach and is made up of perfect white sands, large dunes and some of the best coastline in Australia. Before you take a drive along the beach why not stop off for a kayak or swim in the lovely waters of Lake Cooroibah. You can take your 4 wheel drive across the river via the Noosa Northshore car ferry service that operates 7 days a week from the end of Moorindil Street in Tewantin. Vehicle permits and 4WD's are required to drive on the beach although some parts of Noosa North Shore are accessible by all vehicles.
These signs are a treasure trove of information
Driving north along the beach from Noosa is one of the most memorable coastal journeys in Australia. Some interesting sites to stop at on the way include Red Canyon, Freshwater, Teewah Beach and its Coloured Sands, the Cherry Venture Wreck, Rainbow Beach and all the way to Double Island Point and onto the Fraser Island vehicular ferry. There are plenty of places to stop along the way for swimming, surfing, fishing, horse riding or simply just to grab a bite to eat and take in the amazing views.
You can walk or drive up to Laguna Lookout, well worth it for the view over Noosa
Noosa has a long history of providing excellent dining options from your budget to high end experiences. The Noosa Heads Surf Life Saving Club serves up excellent bistro type meals with an unbeatable view of main beach, while Hastings Street is the main hub for your everyday breakfast, lunch and dinner options. Noosaville is a charming seaside village centred around the sparkling waters of the Noosa River, just five minutes drive from Noosa Heads, Noosaville has a reputation for its fine dining options and its location on the river ensures a steady stream of visitors and locals at sunset. Notable restaurants located in Quamby Place include Ricky's, Woodfire Grill and Salt, and other renowned options in the area include the Noosa Boathouse and the Noosa Beach House Restaurant and Bar.
Aerial shot of Noosa from Laguna Lookout
As you'd expect from one of Australia's most visited holiday locations, there's a huge range of accommodation options available in Noosa and its surrounding suburbs. Whether you're looking for budget lodgings such as hostels/backpackers, mid-range family options, high-end resorts such as Peppers or even Airbnb or Stayz private residences, Noosa has you covered. The surrounding suburbs of Noosaville, Sunshine Beach, and Doonan are popular with those wanting a slightly more relaxing place to stay, while those looking for convenience usually stay at one of the beachfront hotels that are dotted along Noosa Main Beach.
Noosa River in all its' glory
Noosa is home to one of the most visited national parks in all of Australia and is hugely popular with holidaymakers, locals, nature lovers and everybody in between. Situated 160km north of Brisbane, this 40km2 park is a true oasis set amongst the hustle and bustle of Noosa itself and is a great place to escape to when the crowds get too much. The park is renowned for its beautiful (and fragile) littoral rainforest, its vibrant heath and woodlands, pockets of tall, vine covered eucalypt trees and the amazing views that can be had along the entire stretch of the coastal walk.
Make sure you do this walk if you ever visit Noosa
If you've got a few hours up your sleeve the Noosa National Park Coastal Trail is arguably one of the most scenic walks you can do on the Sunshine Coast (if not all of Australia). There's a variety of places to stop off for a picnic, a swim in one of the many secluded coves and beaches, or simply just to stop and admire the breathtaking views along the way.
Follow this sign to Hell - Hell's Gates
Hell's Gates is a high bluff situated at the northern end of Alexandria Bay in Noosa National Park and provides spectacular views of the coastline north to Double Island Point. Hells Gate is a great place for whale watching during the June-October season and the staircase at the northern end will guide you down to the lovely golden sands on the beach. This pristine stretch of coastline is popular with those seeking a quiet place to themselves with few people around and you can literally hear yourself thinking it's so quiet at times.
Hell's Gates on a calm day
The southern corner Alexandria Bay is where most of the nudists tend to congregate, and if that's not your thing you can simply pick up the track and head inland through the winding forest trail. Despite being a well-known clothing optional beach, the local police have been issuing fines in recent times as all nude bathing is still illegal throughout QLD.
The southern corner of Alexandria Bay is an unofficial nudist beach
The trail from Noosa Main Beach to Dolphin Point is an easy 1km walk that can be done at a leisurely pace or if you are up for the full experience you can do the entire 5km stretch from Noosa to Sunshine Beach (highly recommended, and buses run back to town so you don't need to leave a car at either end). Many native animals such as koalas live in the park and you can often see sea turtles and dolphins swimming along the coastline. The best months for walking are March to May when the weather is still warm enough to swim, and September to November when the days are sunny and clear.
The coastal walk gets busy but is filled with peaceful sections
The waves at Picnic Cove go off when conditions are right
While Noosa Main Beach and Northshore may be the most popular beaches in town, there's a huge variety of beaches within half an hours drive south along a beautiful 23km stretch of coastline. In order from north to south from Noosa lies Alexandria Bay, Sunshine Beach, Sunrise Beach, Castaways Beach, Marcus Beach, and the better known Perigian and Coolum beaches.
Worth the walk to Picnic Cove if the crowds are too busy at Noosa main beach
Alexandria Bay is probably best known as an unofficial 'clothes optional' stretch of beach, although the beauty of the area brings more than just your typical nudists. 'A-Bay' as it is affectionately known by locals, can be reached by walking north from the Sunshine Beach side or if you're coming from the Noosa side it is around 3km south along the coastal trail - simply start at Main Beach (Laguna Bay) and walk south past Little Cove, Boiling Pot, Tea Tree Bay, Dolphin Point, Winch Cove, Picnic Cove, around the headland towards Hells Gate, and finally you will reach the golden sands of Alexandria Bay.
Picnic Cove from a different angle
Sunshine Beach is the first beach south from Noosa National Park and is a favourite of locals as well as home to artists, celebrities and other wealthy holiday markers from Brisbane and interstate. The beach is ideal for surfing and there are endless sand banks running the entire stretch of the beach that can produce great waves on any given day. The wide and scenic beach is popular with families who have plenty of space to set up their umbrellas and tents for the day while never being too far away from the car or shops if needed. The area out the front of the surf club is patrolled all year round, and the area has a laid back vibe to it.
Looking south over Alexandria Bay (this print is available in our online print gallery)
The Sunshine Beach Surf Club acts as a central hub and meeting place and is a great place to sit on the deck overlooking the beach to watch the world unfold below. The award winning restaurant serves up traditional and innovative foods and the undeniably scenic setting of the beach as a backdrop is a great place to visit on sunset.
Walking along the beach at Alexandria Bay
Beach access track at Peregian Beach
Located around 15mins (7km) south from Noosa, Perigian Beach is one of the better known beaches on the Sunshine Coast. It has a typically relaxed, holiday vibe to it and the foreshore is dotted with funky cafes, accommodation options, boutique shops, fashion outlets and a decent number of eateries around the village square. The beach is patrolled all year round by the local SLSC and there's a popular skate park right near the beach which is popular with younger kids.
The beachside skate park at Peregian Beach
Peregian Beach boardwalk - a scenic place to take it all in
The Peregian area is home to a variety of local arts and crafts as well as farmers markets each month. On the first and third Sundays of every month you can pick up local produce at the Peregian Community Market, while on the second Sunday of each month you can visit the Pergian Originals concert held near the beach where local musicians come to perform original material.
Dune regeneration at Peregian Beach
If you’re up for a bit of exercise you could cycle or walk the 7kms to Noosa along a sealed track, or if you're feeling more lethargic simply head down one of the many access trails and park yourself on the beach for a few hours. Or for the more adventurous you could take a walk up to Emu Mountain (accessible from the path at the end of Havana Road) and take in the sweeping views of Peregian Beach.
Pergian is one of the better surfing beaches on the Sunshine Coast
Early morning pedestrian traffic along Coolum Beach
The southern end of Coolum Beach
Beautiful sunrise starts the day at Coolum Beach
Early mornings are the best - Coolum Beach
Milking it to the very end - surfer at Coolum Beach
Lone surfer enjoying the lineup to himself, for now...
Looking through the trees - Coolum Beach
Coolum Beach Surf Life Saving Club
Within an hours drive from Noosa lies a huge variety of things to see and do as well as quaint villages to stop off at (that you might have just driven straight past if you hadn't heard about them). The Original Eumundi Markets is popular place to visit on Wednesday and Saturday mornings and is home to over 500 arts, crafts and fashion stalls created by local designers. For antiques, boutiques, coffee and cakes, take a drive to Pomona or Cooroy and check out the local wares. If hiking's your thing you could always head south to Mt Coolum National Park and climb to the top Mt Coolum, a special place that provides excellent views of the coastline as far as the eyes can see.
This could almost be anywhere on the eastern coast of Australia - Alexandria Bay
Australia Zoo is the home of the famous Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, who sadly passed away in 2006. Along with a range of animals such as elephants and tigers, you can cuddle a koala, hand-feed kangaroos, meet talking cockatoos and waddling wombats, and learn all about crocodiles. Located at Beerwah, it's the perfect place to visit if you have some spare time on the Sunshine Coast.
Hell's Gates and Alexandria Bay in the distance
About halfway along the Noosa National Park coastal walk
If driving, simply follow the M1 (Pacific Highway) north from Brisbane for around 1.5 hours. If flying, the closest airport is the Sunshine Coast Airport located in Maroochydore (around half an hours drive south from Noosa).
I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. The Noosa region is one of the most popular holiday destinations in all of Australia. Many that visit end up staying their entire lives and it's easy to see why. Perfect year-round weather, a typically laid back coastal vibe, pristine beaches that stretch forever, protected national parks and a huge range of things to see and do. Definitely a region to put high on your priority list of places to visit.
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