What to do
Written by Chelsea Tromans from Tourism and Events Queensland
Noosa is a chic beachside village that gets under your skin and gives you the kind of beach holiday memories you’ll talk about for decades. It’s a place that balances designer shopping and celebrity-chef restaurants with a chilled-out vibe and a beach that could break Instagram. While a day is all it takes to fall in love with Noosa, stretching your stay out to a long weekend will make you realise there’s even more to this Sunshine Coast shire than the iconic Hastings Street and Main Beach.
Those extra days – and this itinerary – will ensure you scratch more than just the surface of Noosa. Because this coastal town also has national parks, boasts numerous beaches (each one as pristine as the next), is home to one of only two everglades systems on Earth, and more.
5pm: Walk through Noosa National Park
Kick off your long weekend with an early mark from work and get to Noosa before the sun sets. After checking into your accommodation (see our recommendations below), waste no time unwinding and exploring.Walk to the southern end of Noosa’s main beach and continue past the Surf Club to join the pathway into Noosa National Park. A stroll around to Little Cove takes only 10 minutes or so but you’ll instantly feel like you’ve uncovered a secluded paradise. Continue on as far as your legs (and the sunlight) will take you.
9am: Stock up on organic produce
Start your morning out right with a trip to Belmondos Organic Market in Noosaville to stock up on supplies for the weekend.Make your way through the industrial market space which houses all manner of local and organic pantry goods, fresh fruit and veg, a deli counter filled with sandwiches, salads and quiches, sourdough bread and other treats from Tanglewood Bakery and fresh cold-pressed juices from Noosa Cleanse.One of the biggest stars here is the coffee from Clandestino Roasters – the beans are roasted on site, there are eight different blends to choose from, and your coffee comes out with a label to explain where your caffeine hit has been sourced from.That is, after you’ve had an organic breakfast at wholefood cafe VanillaFood (it’s always best to do your grocery shopping on a full stomach, after all). With a menu made up of organic and locally sourced produce with a strong focus on sustainability, you won’t find any preservatives, refined sugars or artificial flavours here. Instead, expect practically guilt-free waffles, and poached eggs and avocado with cashew cream served on top of charcoal sourdough.
It’s easy to see why Main Beach at Noosa Heads draws the most crowds, but it’s not the only beautiful beach close by. Noosa boasts a handful of sandy stretches, including the patrolled Sunshine Beach, the peaceful Tea Tree Bay in the heart of Noosa National Park, and the idyllic Peregian Beach.
The views don't get much better than those at Bistro C, Noosa’s iconic beachfront restaurant. The food is equally impressive, which is no wonder given most of the produce is sourced locally. Try one of Bistro C’s own in-house wines, which are harvested from sustainably irrigated vineyards near the Murray River in southern New South Wales.*Please note Bistro C is currently operating at reduced hours. Visit Bistro C's website for more information and to make a reservation. If you’re in the mood for something more low-key, wander straight off Main Beach into the original Betty’s Burgers for exceptional fuss-free burgers and their signature concretes (frozen custard ice-cream).
Not your typical sailing-into-the-sunset experience, Noosa Dreamboats’ classic wooden speed boats and top-notch service has old-world charm you thought only existed in movies. Departing in the late afternoon (times vary depending on the time of year), jet off through Noosa Sound and out into the ocean for a new perspective of Noosa’s glorious beaches.
Taking you past Sir Richard Branson’s heart-shaped Makepeace Island for a sticky-beak, your next stop is Lake Cooroibah for BYO bubbles as the sun goes down.
There are few better places for sundowners in Noosa than Miss Moneypenny’s. Try the Istanbul Old Iced Tea – gin and quince liqueur shaken with elderflower cordial juice and cucumber topped with Turkish apple tea is a refreshing hit on a balmy Queensland evening. Bar bites like suckling pig spring rolls and truffle honey chicken wings will help line your stomach, or stay for dinner and feast on modern Meditteranean dishes.
If you can hold off for a mere 30 minutes while you drive up to the Noosa Hinterland town of Cooroy, you’ll be rewarded with a stellar cup of coffee from the boys at Fox and Hound. This little hole in the wall is a hidden gem where coffee isn’t just a passion, it’s a way of life.
Next stop, the Noosa Botanic Gardens. The eight-acre garden sits on the shores of Lake Macdonald and can easily occupy a few hours of your time. For the best view overlooking the water, go to the Greek-style amphitheatre.
Jump in the car for a quick 15-minute drive into the Tewantin National Park and up Mount Tinbeerwah for a bird’s eye view of the Sunshine Coast, without a strenuous hike. The first lookout is an easy 150m walk along a paved path from the car park. The next section of track is more rugged yet not difficult, and takes you a further 300m to the fire tower for 360 degree views.
Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring other areas of the Tewantin National Park, or make your way back into town for more surf, sand or spa time (Noosa Springs Spa and Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort’s Aqua Day Spa are the perfect way to pamper the afternoon away).
For more hiking trails around Noosa, read this guide.
If you only have one dinner out while you’re in Noosa, be sure to make it at Noosa Beach House. SBS cooking show chef Peter Kuruvita is behind the A-class menu and this is one of those dining experiences you’ll salivate over long after dessert ends.
The Sri Lankan snapper curry is a signature at this hatted restaurant, although the beetroot curry with pickled red onion and goats cheese is a winner if you’re looking to surprise your tastebuds.
Stroll over to 10 Hastings for a fresh acai bowl and a coffee, while you flick through the Sunday paper and contemplate the day ahead. They’ve got great cold-pressed juices and freshly baked cakes and muffins, too.
Noosa has the best of both water worlds. If the Peregian Markets are not on, we suggest still rising early to jump in a kayak and paddle your way through the Noosa Everglades – one of the Sunshine Coast’s best kept secrets. One of only two everglades in the world (the other being in Florida), the tranquility and natural beauty will win you over at first stroke.
Run by world champion kayaker Vivienne Golding, Kanu Kapers offers eco-kayaking tours along the 60km stretch of tree-lined pristine waters (this is an all-day tour so clear your schedule). Or, if you prefer to sit back and just take it all in, Everglades Eco Safaris’ serenity cruise takes you on a three-hour tour of the everglades and ends at eco camp Habitat Noosa for a complimentary glass of sparkling.
*Please note: Everglades Eco Safari & Habitat Noosa will re-open on 19th June 2020. Please visit Everglades Eco Safari & Habitat Noosa's website for more information.
The warm energy inside the dimly lit Sum Yung Guys is the perfect way to wrap up your long weekend in paradise. 2016 MasterChef runner-up Matt Sinclair teamed up with mates Dylan Campbell, Jeremiah Jones and Michael Rickard to open the pan-Asian, casual eatery that’s all about sharing. The king prawn toast with gochu mayo and sesame has been a firm favourite since day one, and the handmade roti is so good you’ll want to order all three kinds of curry so you don’t run out of things to dip it in.
On the drinks front, Sum Yung Guys teamed up with fellow locals Fortune Distillery to create their own selection of gins – try SYG’s unique Pho gin mixed with dry vermouth, pineapple, lime, Thai basil and chilli in the Phö Shö cocktail.
*Please note: Sum Yung Guys is currently operating at reduced hours. Visit their Facebook page or website for more information or to make a reservation.
Make your last day a leisurely one. Wake up with a morning swim in the ocean followed by a cup of coffee. If you haven’t already fallen for a local haunt, then do yourself a favour and check out Costa Noosa in Sunshine Beach to try their award-winning signature Espresso Noosa blend. If you’re willing to travel for a great coffee (who isn’t?!) then Noosaville has two standouts: Little Cove Coffee Co and Padre.
Hastings Street undoubtedly impresses on the shopping front, but Peregian Beach has a few local gems that are worth checking out. Cloth & Hide’s slow fashion motto equals forever pieces made mostly from sustainable plant-based textiles.
The Romantic has a bit of everything – gorgeous homewares, beauty with a conscience, keepsake accessories and a curated collection of leading eco-friendly Australian designers like Silk Laundry, Bassike, Nobody Denim and Auguste The Label.
Before you begin your journey home and back to reality, make room for one last meal. Those wanting to leave on a healthy high should swing by Larder & Baked for one of their fresh salads or poke bowls.
Grab a coffee for the road: Doing its part for #plasticfreenoosa, Larder & Baked use recyclable paper cups with sugar cane mulch lids.
For more places to try during your Noosa long weekend, check out this guide to Noosa’s best restaurants and bars.
With everything in Noosa within easy walking or driving distance, you only need to unpack your bags once during your Noosa long weekend. Staying in and around Hastings Street will place you in the hub, while Noosaville trades the beach for the river (and is kinder on the budget).
If it’s absolute beachfront you want, Noosa has it. Netanya Noosa is so close to the beach that its pool is practically on it.
Tingirana Noosa combines Hamptons luxury (think blue and white striped sunbeds beside a beachfront infinity pool) with the laid-back vibes synonymous with the Sunshine Coast to make you feel at home in the heart of Hastings Street.
Seahaven is directly off Laguna Bay but is surrounded by lush gardens for ultimate privacy. You have your pick of three pools and a spa here, or the luxury of beach access just a few short steps from your outdoor sun lounge.
Located in Peregian Beach with large, spacious townhouses, Glen Eden Beach Resort ticks the box for a resort-style getaway with tropical gardens and a heated outdoor pool.
Bali Hai Noosa has fully self-contained one, two and three bedroom apartments to easily fit (and feed) the whole family.
For a more budget-friendly option, Coral Beach Noosa Resort in Noosaville is great for kids, with three lagoon pools and a tennis court, as well as townhouse apartments for a comfortable family vacation. It’s also within walking distance to shops, cafes, and the Noosa River.
If you want to explore more of the Sunshine Coast during your Noosa long weekend, check out this Sunshine Coast travel guide for ideas and tips.
Need even more Noosa? Head here.