If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve recently been on a little Noosa getaway with one of my good friends. I was doing research for a travel article for Australia and New Zealand magazine, so the weekend break in Noosa involved lots of eating out and lots of fun activities a part of a press trip that was hosted by Visit Noosa. Look out for the magazine feature in the magazine towards the end of the year.
If you like this you might also be interested in my posts about Fraser Island, Rainbow Beach and Twin Waters.
Noosa is about one and a half hours north of Brisbane. It’s one of Australia’s most fashionable resorts, and one of my favourite spots on the East Coast of Australia. Hastings Street is the main hub of the town, with its draped fairy lights, its pavement cafes and its designer boutiques. It is SO different to the Gold Coast resorts – it is low rise, leafy and oh-so-classy. While Noosa with kids is fun (the beaches in and around Noosa are incredible), this trip was a girlie weekend with my pal, so we got to experience the grown-up side of Noosa this time around.
Go to the Visit Noosa site for more inspiration.
This post contains compensated links which means I earn a commission for any bookings made through them at no extra cost to you (see my full disclosure policy in the footer). All activities, meals and accommodation were hosted as part of a press trip. All opinions are my own.
Activities: Things to do in Noosa
If you love the outdoors, you won’t be short on things to do around Noosa. There are plenty of different tours and trips in Noosa to choose from (check some out here) not to mention all of the beaches and scenic spots if you’re looking to get back to nature. There are plenty of fun things to do in Noosa, and when you have explored it all there are a lot of Noosa day trips you can take to the surrounding areas. Trust me, you won’t get bored!
Things to do in Noosa Heads and Noosa: These are the Noosa activities we tried out during our stay
Paddleboarding in Noosa
We enjoyed an afternoon’s paddleboarding lesson at Boardwalk Boats, just off Hastings St. They have a range of kayaks, stand up paddleboards and boats to hire and they run SUP yoga lessons too. You can choose to hire the stand up paddleboards or take a lesson. As neither my friend nor I were paddleboard experts, we opted for the lesson, so a young guy called Nick (who turned out to be a pro who competes internationally) took us around the canals. I’ve been meaning to try paddleboarding since arriving in Australia (as I mentioned in this blog post earlier this year), so I can finally tick it off my list! It wasn’t as hard as I’d expected – we did an hour and both my friend and I only fell in once which I think was pretty good going!
Visit the Everglades
Before doing research for this trip, I had no idea that Noosa had an Everglades system. It is one of only two places in the world where you can see this very special eco-system. We took an Afternoon Everglades Tour with The Discovery Group. Our cruise involved spending a lazy afternoon on the boat sailing through the peaceful channels that make up the Noosa Everglades. We enjoyed a lovely platter of nibbles and a glass of sparkling wine in a bushland setting half-way through the tour too. It was a very different side to Noosa and it was well worth a visit (I would love to do a kayak tour next time as the water was so calm and flat). It was also fun sailing past Makepeace Island – the Australian home of Richard Branson. You can hire the entire island out for you and your friends – I think I’ve found another bucket-list item!
>> Book your Noosa Everglades tour here
Beach bike ride
I hadn’t ridden a bike in years, so I was a bit nervous at doing the Beach Bash electric bike ride with Ecotekk. But I really needn’t have worried – it was SO EASY and a lot of fun. It was the kind of tour I would have never thought about doing myself, but I’m so pleased it was included in my itinerary as riding along the sand with the bike’s fat tyres was incredible. And it was great to get out and do some exercise after all of the amazing food and drink we’d been enjoying. It’s definitely something I would like to do again.
If beach bike riding isn’t your thing, then have you tried driving on sand in your 4WD? You can drive on the beach from Noosa to Rainbow Beach and the journey is absolutely stunning! Find out how to get started with beach driving here.
Shopping on Hastings St. Noosa
You can’t visit Noosa without hitting the shops. We tried to give ourselves a couple of hours every day for some shopping on Hastings St. Our bank accounts ached a bit by the time we went home, but it was a great shopping experience. It was also a great place to get started on our Christmas shopping too!
Noosa attractions: Visiting Noosa National Park and how to find the Fairy Pools Noosa
I’ve had short breaks in Noosa a couple of times now, but had never visited Noosa National Park Fairy Pools before this trip. It’s accessible on foot from town – Noosa National Park begins just at the end of Main Beach. The Fairy Pools Noosa were once a hidden spot reserved for the locals, but thanks to Instagram, they aren’t a secret anymore.
How to find the Fairy Pools Noosa: Access to Noosa’s Fairy Pools isn’t that difficult. Google told us it was a 39-minute walk each way from our resort. Realistically, allow more time than that because you’ll want to stop to look up at koalas in the trees and explore the little coves and take photographs on the way. The walk there and back from our hotel with a swim in the Fairy Pools took us about three hours. The walk itself is easy enough – it is a flat pathway that is well maintained and it would even accommodate an off-road buggy if you wanted to take a walk with little ones. (The actual walk down the slope to the Noosa rock pools isn’t child-friendly though; that part isn’t something I’d tackle with little ones in tow as I’d be too worried about them slipping and getting hurt.)
Just after Picnic Cove, you’ll see a bench and the path bends. Around here you’ll find the ‘pathway’ down to the Fairy Pools. It is a scramble down a slope and towards the bottom there are larger rocks to climb over too. The picture below is a shot from the bottom of the slope to give you an idea of the terrain. It’s not particularly difficult, just take it slowly.
From the bottom of the slope, there are larger rocks to walk over to lead you to the actual rock pools. There are two pools in total. You arrive at the first one (pictured below) and need to swim across it and climb again to reach the second larger, deeper pool.
Tips for hiking to Noosa Fairy Pools: Wear closed shoes for the hike and take reef shoes with you for inside the Noosa rock pools as you don’t want to step on anything nasty and it will also help you as you climb over the rocks to the second pool. Take plenty of water and sunscreen. It’s also worth packing a small first aid kit too, just in case. Make sure you wear a hat and don’t go with bare shoulders – cover up in a shirt which will help keep the sun and mossies off. Don’t forget your camera (although if it’s not waterproof be prepared to leave your things or split your group up if you want to enter the second rock pool). Take a lightweight towel to dry off after your swim, and wear your swimmers under your clothes so you can just jump straight in when you get there.
Dining: Where to eat in Noosa
If you love good food, you won’t be disappointed in Noosa! There are SO MANY incredible places to eat out in Noosa, from fine dining to burgers and ice cream. Be prepared to let go of your diet and enjoy the local produce that is on offer (although even if you don’t want to give up on your diet you won’t be short on healthy places to enjoy salads and juices if you can resist the temptation!)
Noosa Heads Surf Club
Right on the beach at Main Beach, the Noosa Heads Surf Club serves an a la carte menu in an informal and friendly setting. We ate a really delicious and hearty dinner here on our first night. I highly recommend the lasagne!
Dinner at @bettys_burgers. Classic burger followed by their amazing chocolate concrete with honeycomb and salted caramel. Divine! Not sure I’ll be able to move after this trip! Thanks for looking after us, Jamie. #visitnoosa #bettysburgers #foodie #famil #travelwriter #australiaandnewzealandmagazine #thisisqueensland #movetoaustralia #lifestyledownunder #everydaylifeinaustralia
You can’t visit Noosa which stopping for a burger at Betty’s Burgers. This iconic restaurant serves incredible burgers and divine ‘concrete’ (frozen custard) that you can personalise to your own taste. I LOVE a good burger so this is one of my favourite spots. Somehow this time I made it to dessert; I had salted caramel and Maltesers in chocolate ‘concrete’. Mmmm.
Providore on Hastings
Providore on Hastings is a little pavement cafe and deli tucked away at the far end of Hastings St. (the National Park end). We enjoyed delicious pain au chocolates, and then spent a long time browsing the glorious food in the deli shop. On my next visit I will definitely make a bee-line here to stock my holiday fridge with things like olives and pesto and cold meats.
After being told to eat at The Boathouse by pretty much everyone we met, we were definitely not disappointed. The service was absolutely impeccable and the food was mouth-watering. We spent a few hours sipping cocktails and enjoying the fine local produce. I honestly had the best local wagu steak here that I’ve ever eaten in my entire life.
Boardwalk Bistro is in a great location on the beach at Main Beach, and it was another great spot for dinner. The food (steak again!) was amazing, the service was so attentive. We had a great evening looking out across the sand while enjoying a glass of bubbles for our final night in Noosa.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Noosa
If you’re visiting Noosa, it’s a good idea to try to find accommodation on Hastings Street that has parking. Every time I’ve visited before we’ve stayed just out of town but then parking in the town is so difficult and you end up spending less time around Hastings St. (which really is the main hub and the best place to spend your days). Central accommodation can be a bit more expensive, but I think it is worth it for the convenience.
Hastings St. Noosa accommodation
For this trip, our Noosa accommodation was at Ocean Breeze Resort. The location couldn’t have been more perfect: we were right across from the Noosa Heads Surf Club and Main Beach, next to Betty’s Burgers and it had parking so we could come and go as we pleased without having to worry about whether we would get a parking spot after our trips. We stayed in a two-bed self-catering apartment (pictured above), but they also have one and three-bed apartments too so it’s great for families. The resort has a pool on site and jacuzzi, so was great for unwinding after our paddleboarding session and our national park hike.
>> Check out prices at Ocean Breeze Resort at Booking.com
If you are thinking of staying outside Noosa to avoid the hustle and bustle, you could consider the Novotel Twin Waters Resort. It is a fabulous location for families with lots to do. Read my review here.
Things to do in Noosa with kids
My previous visits to Noosa have mostly been with kids. And while Noosa offers incredible grown-up experiences (cocktails, fine dining, shopping) it is just as great for the little ones too (check out this awesome post about things to do in Noosa with kids here). When we take our kids, we grab a big beach tent, pack our sunscreen and our body boards and spend at least half of the day on Main Beach. Now that the kids are a little older, we will probably book them in for a surf lesson on our next trip.
>> You can book surf lessons in Noosa here.
I can’t wait for our next trip to Noosa!
Thanks so much to Visit Noosa for hosting my stay. My magazine feature will be in Australia and New Zealand magazine towards the end of 2017, so look out for it in the shops.
This post contains compensated links which means I earn a commission for any bookings made through them. This helps fund the running of this website. Thank you for your support. All activities, meals and accommodation were hosted as part of a press trip. All opinions are my own.