Noosa National Park remains one of the most idyllic destinations, boasting waters that cast shades of turquoise amongst a backdrop of pandanus trees. With roughly 1 million visits per year, it’s no wonder this national park tops every travel goer’s list as a ticket to paradise, providing both thrill-seekers and sunbathers alike something to cherish.
Located just 160km north of Brisbane, Noosa National Park sits on the Sunshine Coast and is divided into four sections including the Headland Section, Peregian Section, Emu Mountain Section, and the East Weyba Section. Start your journey into the national park at the Headland Section at the end of Park Road.
Be sure to visit the information center where you’ll find trail maps, water, and where you can spot a koala (or two!). The most popular trail is the 5.4km Coastal Track that winds along the beach, with stopping points to view dolphins and breaching whales during their migration season from August to November. Up until Dolphin Point, the trail is paved for wheelchair and stroller access before turning into a dirt track.
Weave your way to Boiling Pot first on the trail, famous for its views of Tea Tree Bay. Then onward to Dolphin Point and Granite Bay for picturesque views and swims in delicate tidal pools more famously known as ‘fairy pools’. If you do decide to take a dip, be cautious as the beaches are not patrolled and currents can be unpredictable.
A lengthier hike of 5.2k round trip will take you to Hell’s Gate, an immense sandstone cave where you can watch for turtles that often swim in this area. Even further still, sits a more secluded Alexandria Bay, also known for its unmarked nudist beaches at the most southerly end.
Noosa National Park provides an escape for everyone seeking to experience the best of Australia’s wildlife and ocean views. With rainforests sitting at the edge of pristine beaches in one of the most accessible national parks, you’ll find yourself fully immersed in its beauty the moment you set foot on the trail.
The hub of Noosa, Hastings Street, is the scene to be seen. A mecca for all things draped in relaxed luxury, the street was made for pedestrians to wander in and out of boutiques and surf shops, sit for hours in cozy cafes, and soak in the views of the ocean and headland just meters away.
Known for its gastronomic fare, start your mornings on Hastings Street at the iconic Aromas cafe for a coffee and crowd watching experience before heading to Noosa’s staple, Cafe Le Monde, for breakfast. If your body is craving healthier fare, look to Vanilla Food or Coconut Head, restaurants known for whipping up plant-based eats.
Enjoy an active lifestyle by spending some time walking right to Noosa National Park, having a swim at Noosa Main Beach, or stretching your muscles at Noosa Flow for a blend of yoga and pilates. Afterwards, it won’t take long to stumble into boutiques like Alterior Motif, Signature on Hastings, and for the surfers, Noosa Longboards, for apparel and gifts that ooze a laid-back appeal. Or, you can join the locals at Noosa Farmers’ Market every Sunday from 7am to noon for fresh local produce and goods.
Find respite and partake in self-care practice by booking yourself in at the Aqua Day Spa for a facial, massage, or both (we won’t judge), before heading back to any of the incredible resorts and hotels to choose from located right on Hastings Street. Favourites include the Sheraton for villas and suites, the Mantra French Quarter for apartment-esque stays, or the Seahaven Noosa for those that want an ocean view.
A day on Hastings Street wouldn’t be complete without ending the night with a cocktail at Miss MoneyPenny’s to sit back, sip, and soak in the sounds of Noosa’s cruisy nightlife. Or head for fresh seafood or gourmet dining at restaurants like Ricky’s, Wasabi, and Sails where you can dine upon the shores of lapping waves. We dare say Hastings Street is meant to enjoy the finer things without the fuss, dripping in the Sunshine Coast’s incredible fare, accommodation, and natural beauty.
Noosa Main Beach is the glue that binds the ocean to the town’s roots. It’s calm, clean waters are great for families and tourists to feast their eyes upon sparkling waters that practically spill out in front of Hastings Street. With such serenity at your fingertips, Noosa Main Beach is what lends a laid-back culture to the town.
Sitting right at the edge of Hastings Street, you can access Noosa Main Beach a few ways by foot, but be prepared to find parking to be a bit challenging. Although you may have to walk some distance to get through town, you'll find stops and shops along Hastings Street to pass the time while you make your way to Noosa Main Beach. For those that want to keep the momentum going, you can continue onward and upward to the Noosa Coastal Track that will take you through Noosa National Park.
Noosa Main Beach faces north and because of this, it is protected from harsh weather and large waves thanks to its location in the bay. Many families and tourists will find it is the perfect location to set up for the day, as the beaches are patrolled and the waves and currents are generally mild. Noosa Main Beach is a popular destination to learn surfing, with gentle waves that glide you along with ease, as well as board rentals and lessons available.
The beach can get crowded in the summer months, but its charm are what make all the resorts, storefronts, and restaurants part of the experience you'll have in Noosa. You can easily make a day of shopping, site-seeing, and relaxing at the beach thanks to its close proximity to everything in Noosa. If you prefer, accommodation and dining can be found at the shores of Noosa Main Beach to give you the best of everything.
Actively take part in swimming, surfing, fishing, or tune into relaxation with more leisurely activities like sunbathing, sipping cocktails at the beachfront restaurants, or sauntering along the walkways that line the beach during sunrise, sunset, or any time of day for a spectacular setting.
Little Cove brings a leafy retreat tucked away from Noosa Head's vibrant atmosphere. This small cove sits just five minutes on foot away from Noosa Main Beach yet brings an entirely different atmosphere.
Little Cove's stretch of sand meets the pristine water of Laguna Bay creating a small inlet. Visit during low tide when the sun-bleached sand is out on show. As when the high tide comes, the water extends right up to the track leaving little room to walk.
During low tide, stretch out a towel onto the pristine sand and enjoy a dip in the crystal clear shallow water. Being an un-patrolled beach, always take necessary precautions. After you have had a dip in the water and enjoyed the serenity of Little Cove; continue walking along the path through Noosa National Park. Experience the stunning views across the water and lush natural forest surrounding with several lookouts on the walk including Boiling Pot Lookout and Dolphin Point Lookout to relish in. Further on, you will pass by the Fairy Pools and Hell's Gate too. Loop back around and head back to Little Cove to retreat at this quiet paradise.
As you watch the waves roll into Little Cove, make the most of the tropical feel with lush trees surrounding, birds call in the distance, and nature encompassing you.
Step into a coastal paradise, filled with dark, rugged rocks framing the turquoise water as it glitters under the sunlight; the Noosa Fairy Pools.
If you haven't already noticed the images of these natural pools flooded across Instagram, then visit them for yourself to see what the fuss is about. Set within Noosa National Park, the fairy pools are the park's most unique and not-so-secret natural wonder.
The pools have formed from the natural erosion of the waves, and to reach them, you will find them tucked away along the Coastal Track. Enter the park from the Noosa Main Beach carpark and along the trail just after Picnic Cove, you will see a park bench overlooking the incredible view. To the right of it, is a sign in place with a rugged trail tucked in behind it leading down to the water. The pools are easy to miss because the path down the rock face is subtle. The Noosa Fairy Pools are not advertised by the national park, so keep an eye out for the park bench and look down for the glistening water. Allocate about half a day to explore the fairy pools, and try to visit early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
The Noosa Fairy Pools provide ample photo opportunities, and it is no wonder why this little oasis has become an Instagram sensation.
Granite Bay sits within the stunning Noosa National Park. The walk to Granite Bay takes off from Hastings Street and will bring you along an incredible coastal track; with views across the glistening water and thick forest backing off the coastline. Along the walk, pass by Laguna Bay and Tea Tree Bay, eventually reaching Granite Bay. The walk is considered easy to moderate and will take you through the scenic rainforest.
Granite Bay sits on a point and is accessible by a walking track, often getting medium swell, making surfers flock to the area. On any given day, watch surfers swimming out to make the most of the swell, and if you pay attention to the water, you may even spot turtles and dolphins playing. In the winter months from July to October, look out for humpback whales migrating too.
What’s unique about the bay is that the sand is also covered in large granite pebbles with boulders on the bay. Much like many of Noosa’s little beaches and coves, at high tide, the shore begins to disappear. The walking track sits above the beach, showcasing incredible views across the water. There are also many other walking tracks nearby, great for a picnic or a relaxing pit stop. This isolated beach can be dangerous for swimming, and just like the other surrounding stretches, it is un-patrolled.
Listen for the echoes of the beautiful birdlife and look out for native trees. To reach Granite Bay, enjoy the gorgeous walk to experience some of Noosa’s best natural wonders.
They say things look better up above, and a trip to Noosa wouldn’t be complete without heading to the hilltop for breathtaking views at Laguna Lookout. Imagine this: sweeping panoramic views of the Noosa hinterland, the sparkling ocean, and the Glasshouse Mountains off to the distance. While most tourists flock to Laguna Lookout for sunset, we think it looks stunning at any time of day. Whether it’s five minutes or a few hours, this place is bound to leave an imprint on your time spent in Noosa.
You can access Laguna Lookout one of two ways. The easiest and most accessible route is taking a short, 5 minute drive from Noosa directly to the lookout via Viewland Drive. There is a carpark located right at the end of the street, ideal for those with large families, or anyone wanting to snap a quick picture before continuing on their journey. The second route can be taken walking from the centre of town up a 1.3km round trip path. The path is well-maintained, but not sealed in all spots.
When you reach the top of the hill, you’ll find the lookout point constructed of two, large concrete circles that are fenced in. The pavement makes it so that they are both wheelchair and pram accessible. At the centre, use the dial to navigate the various mountains and geographical features that stand before you. Come prepared, as there aren’t any chairs, tables or toilets within the vicinity.
The spot is, however, ideal for a picnic thanks to a grassy hillside that sits alongside the lookout. Grab takeaway, a blanket, and a bottle of wine for a spectacular setting during the afternoon or sunset. At sunset crowds can overwhelm the area during high season, but with views as gorgeous as they are, it won’t disappoint.
All the way up top you’ll soak in sights of waterways below, the hinterland, and mountains that tower above. While looking up, some have been known to sight a koala or two. Perhaps the pinnacle of a trip to Noosa, you’ll want to stop and see Laguna Lookout.
While Noosa may generate marvel in the eyes of tourists, the same feeling is held in the hearts of surfers that flock here every year due to its surf culture. Surfing used to be bound to Noosa Main Beach, but once surfers of the culture's founding generation began exploring the area, they found endless waves and formed a community which has subsequently led to Noosa being named as part of the World’s Surfing Reserve in March of 2017.
The surfing community within Noosa has done its due diligence to protect the waves and environment through efforts to minimise coastal development and increase the expansion of Noosa National Park. Noosa was selected as the 10th World Surfing Reserve by Save the Waves, an organisation dedicated to preserving some the best surf breaks in the world.
Noosa consists of several point breaks, including First Point and Likewise Johnsons, also known as "Little Cove". Breaks like these are ideal for those learning to surf but proceed with caution, as they sit on very shallow sand breaks that can create a heavy, hollow wave during low tide.
The preservation of the environment surrounding these surf breaks is the main reason behind the selection of Noosa as a world-class surf reserve, as three of Noosa's most prestigious waves are within the national park itself. These breaks include Boiling Pot, Granite Bay, and Tea Tree Bay that can provide something for all surfers. Generations of surfers have played a large part in protecting these areas and including them as part of Noosa National Park.
The surfing season is best from December to May, which coincides with the cyclone season, but you will generally find something to surf there year round. However, the region can experience “dry” swells during late winter or early spring. In March, the Noosa Festival of Surfing takes place every year, bringing together surfers from all around the world to this special destination. Whether you're an avid surfer or an admirer of its culture, travelling to Noosa means travelling to the heart of a vibrant surf culture for generations to come.