What to do
Surrounded by the clear waters of the Coral Sea, a lush countryside dotted with farms, and the beautiful Noosa River and lakes, Noosa is a mixing bowl of fresh, delicious ingredients that come together in mouth-watering menus and at local markets and farm gates.
The journey from the farm to your fork is usually a short one, whether it ends in one of Noosa's beachfront restaurants, organic cafes and craft breweries; on a picnic plate laden with delicacies gathered from a local market; or in a shopping bag that you've filled up from farm gates and roadside stalls.
Pictured, from left: Bistro C on the beachfront at Noosa Main Beach; Land & Sea Brewery uses local produce; and a basketful of goodness at the Noosa Farmers Market.
The Noosa region's beautiful nature not only gives us gorgeous vistas from every turn but also provides fresh ingredients that nourish your hunger as much as your soul, and Noosa's chefs champion the paddock-to-plate philosophy and food sustainability. Taking seafood from local waters and fresh produce from nearby farms, they create sustainable, global tastes inspired by the freshest produce that is fished, farmed and made right here in Noosa.
The Noosa hinterland which starts just 10 minutes from Noosa Heads, is a fertile ground for much of the region's produce, from honey and feijoas to strawberries and Japanese vegetables - the country town of Pomona was even named after the Roman goddess of fruit and orchards.
Organic vegetables, macadamia trees, herbs and honey from Maravista Farm in the Noosa hinterland are on the menu at local favourites Rickys, Locale Noosa, Wood Fire Grill and Aromas Noosa. The farm started as an experimental project several years ago and is now a showpiece of innovation in sustainability, with the organic produce used extensively by the chefs who also visit the farm to connect and plan with the farmers.
All produce is grown using compost made from waste sourced from the restaurants, coffee grinds, farm green waste and local brewery grain. Healthy soil is essential for organic produce to flourish so no chemical inputs such as herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or fertilisers are used on the culinary garden or citrus grove. For many years, diners have also been feasting on Rickys’ famous Spanner Crab Spaghettini featuring sustainably caught Fraser Isle spanner crabs.
Noosa Boathouse’s Executive Chef Shane Bailey is a huge supporter of sustainable local farmers with nearly 40 local suppliers feeding into the restaurant’s menu. Ambassador for Beef Australia, Shane sources some of his beef from the nearby Gympie region, while his seafood menu changes daily, depending on the fresh daily catch from fellow chef and fisherman ‘Snapper’.
With a 20+ year history as Executive Chef of Sails, Paul Leete has established close relationships with local growers who share his appreciation for produce grown and prepared with integrity. Acknowledgment to these farms is often given in his menus, providing diners a connection with local growers.
Eating locally and sustainably is part of Noosa Chef and regional food Ambassador Matt Golinski’s ethos. Since taking on the role of Consultant Executive Chef at View by Matt Golinski in the Peppers Noosa Resort, Matt has taken the restaurant on a sustainable journey which involves dozens of local producers and paints a picture of the Noosa region’s rich and diverse food scene.
Pictured, from left: Noosa Boathouse on the Noosa River at Noosaville; Sails Restaurant Noosa on the beachfront in Hastings Street; and View by Matt Golinski in Noosa Heads.
Fifth-generation Noosa chef and farmer, Jodie Williams has put hinterland village Kin Kin on the dining map with The Kin Kin General Store, home to Black Ant Gourmet. This thriving restaurant and farm shop has a menu showcasing free-range and no-spray produce. The locally grown menu features red-claw crays from nearby Wolvi, local organic garden produce from Cooloola eco farms and locally grown coffee from Noosa Black. You’ll even find Jodie’s own pasture-raised beef and her daughter Tahlia’s pasture-raised pork or wood-smoked speck on the menu.
Honeysuckle Hill (pictured right) in Pomona in the Noosa hinterland was started almost 10 years ago to grow specific Japanese ingredients for Wasabi Restaurant & Bar - although the restaurant has now closed, it's hosting a pop-up restaurant, Esmay, from Chef of the Year Alanna Sapwell which continues to source rest products from the farm.
Many of Noosa's cafes also champion sustainability, featuring produce grown organically and locally when possible, and you can try bush tucker-inspired dishes at Deadly Espresso Café in Eumundi.
You can meet the growers and farmers and taste their produce on the land at farm gates and roadside stalls throughout the Noosa countryside, and at weekly markets such as the Noosa Farmers Market (every Sunday morning at the AFL grounds in Noosaville), at the Eumundi Markets every Wednesday and Saturday, and other regular country markets.
Market stores such as Belmondo's and Organika in Noosaville, Tewantin Fresh and Pardons Fruit Market in Noosa Junction also sell plenty of fresh, local produce so you can fill up a basket and create your own Noosa fresh experience.
Or if you're travelling through the Noosa countryside and surrounds on a Noosa Country Drive, including the Gympie, Mary Valley and Sunshine Coast hinterland, make sure you're carrying some extra coins for the farm gates and roadside stalls showcasing the fresh bounty that’s served in many Noosa restaurants – meet the growers and producers, pick your own farm-fresh fruit and vegetables and taste their market creations. Take the Gympie to Noosa food trail with Eat, drink and be Kerry in our blog here.
Noosa also hosts the largest membership of the Slow Food movement in Australia, and they launched Australia’s first Snail of Approval program that inspires producers, chefs, restaurant owners and food outlets to use and promote good, clean, local and fair ingredients.