eading to Noosa in the Sunshine Coast? Wondering what to do there? Read on to find out the top 20 fun and exciting things you can do in Noosa. Plus, there’s more information on the best attractions in Noosa so you can easily plan your trip to this resort town.
20 Fun and Exciting Things to Do in Noosa
- Stay at one of the premier holiday resorts at Noosa Heads
- Swim, surf or sunbathe at Main Beach or Sunshine Beach in Noosa Heads
- Take in the coastal scenery on one of the fine walks in Noosa National Park
- Hire a boat or take a tour up the Noosa River into the ‘Everglades’ area
- Grab a surfboard and head out to surf at Sunshine Corner, Boiling Point or Tea Tree
- Take a surfing lesson at one of the many surf schools on Hastings Street
- Spot dolphins from the rocky headlands around Alexandria Bay in Noosa National Park
- Enjoy the culinary delights on offer at the restaurants and cafes on Hastings Street
- Take a canoe or kayak trip down Noosa River and around Noosa National Park
- Rent a windsurfer, surf ski, catamaran, jet ski, or fishing boat that you can play with on the Noosa River or take upriver into Great Sandy National Park
- Head to the Sunday markets and farmers markets for unique memorabilia and local produce
- Take a horse riding tour along bush trails and along the beach
- Opt for a camel safari on the beach and in the bush
- Go deep sea fishing on one of the fishing cruises from Noosa
- Spot migratory humpback whales along the coast on a whale watching tour
- Go kite surfing on Lake Weyba or Noosa River on a windy day
- Choose to take your clothes off at Alexandria Bay, an informal nudist beach
- Take a trip to Fraser Island on a tour from Noosa
- Look out for koalas, goannas, rosellas and bush turkeys in Noosa National Park
- Head to Tewantin and take a four-wheel-drive along Forty-Mile Beach for a close-up view of the Teewah coloured sand cliffs
No holiday to Noosa is complete without a visit to Noosa Heads. If you can, stay here, as it’s one of Australia’s premier holiday resorts. If you choose not to, you’ll probably end up visiting anyway as most of the outdoor attractions in Noosa are located here. If you choose to stay here, you have the main surf beach, Noosa River and Noosa National Park at your doorstep, as well as a bustling village atmosphere to top it off with. Although popular Hastings Street with its glitzy cafes, restaurants and shops is up the hill, Noosa Heads still manages to combine the hedonism of good coffee, good food and good conversation, with a lie or swim on the surf beach, and an active outdoor lifestyle. Developers have not yet spoilt this beach paradise so make the best of this neck of the woods before its natural beauty is taken away for good.
For more information, see our Noosa Heads article.
Noosa National Park
Don’t let the fact that Noosa National Park is small put you off. This is one of the most beautiful parts of Noosa and it should be on top of your list of places to visit in Noosa. Noosa National Park is outdoors at its best. Consisting of 432 hectares (1,067 acres) of unspoiled headland, Noosa National Park has fine walks, great coastal scenery, secluded coves and a string of bays with waves that draw surfers from all over the country. The park is inhabited with koalas, goannas, rosellas and bush turkeys so keep a look out for them as you walk around.
The most scenic way to access the national park is to follow the boardwalk along the coast from town. Pick up a walking track map from QPWS centre, at the entrance to the park. Sleepy koalas are often spotted in the trees near Tea Tree Bay and dolphins are commonly seen from the rocky headlands around Alexandria Bay.
For a panoramic view of the park, walk or drive up to Laguna Lookout from Viewland Drive in Noosa Junction.
Noosa Ocean Kayak Tours hires out kayaks and offers sea-kayaking tours around Noosa National Park.
For more information, visit our Noosa National Park post.
Exploring Noosa National Park
A 10-minute stroll northeast from Hastings Street brings you to the 432-hectare (1,067-acre) Noosa National Park. Anywhere you see a crowd looking upward, you’re sure to spot a koala. They’re often seen in the unlikely setting of the parking lot at the entrance to the park. A network of well-signposted walking trails leads through the bush. The most scenic is the 2.7km (11⁄2-mile) coastal trail leading from the car park to the plunging Hells Gate coastal gorge. It’s a popular 2.7km stroll past pretty and private Tea Tree Bay; walk back via the broad sweep of Alexandria Bay (a nudist beach with good surf), and the quiet bush beauty of the Tanglewood Track (4.8km).
The shortest trail is the 1km (half-mile) Palm Grove circuit; the longest is the 4.8km (3-mile) Tanglewood trail inland to Hell’s Gates – definitely worth the effort.
Since it is only a small national park of 432 hectares, there are no roads and camping is not allowed.
The best place to see dolphins in Noosa is in Noosa National Park. Head to the rocky headlands around Alexandria Bay in the northern section of the park to spot dolphins frolicking off the coast. They are best seen in the early mornings when they return from feeding all night long. Carry a pair of binoculars with you for a better view.
If you’re in Noosa, you can’t get away from the crystalline beaches that dot this coastal town and why should you. Not only are the free, they are some of the best surf beaches on the Queensland coast. The Main Beach is located at Noosa Heads; however, there are other beaches in Noosa that might suit your purpose.
If you’re looking to take it all off, head to Alexandria Bay on the eastern side of Noosa National Park. An informal nudist beach, you can choose whether you keep your clothes on or take them off.
For surfers, the waves are best in December and January but if you’re out of season, consider Sunshine Corner, at the northern end of Sunshine Beach. It has an excellent year-round break, although it has a brutal beach dump. Sunshine Beach is located just behind Noosa Junction off the David Low Way, about 2km (11⁄4 miles) from Noosa Heads.
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Main Beach, Sunshine Beach and Peregian, south of Noosa Heads, are your two best options. Both are just as beautiful but quieter and less crowded. All three beaches are patrolled during the day.
If you want to enjoy the beach from a different perspective, a horse riding tour or a camel safari might be just what you’re after. Noosa North Shore Retreat offers horse riding along bush trails and along the beach, while Camel Company Australia operates camel safaris on the beach and in the bush. Both are great options and it will be hard deciding between the two.
Noosa Main Beach
Located at Noosa Heads, the Main Beach is where the action’s at. It’s the place to swim, surf and sunbathe. It’s also the place to see plenty of bikini-clad supermodel lookalikes and glammed-up fashionistas side-by-side with thongs and boardshorts. If you like people watching, this is the place to be.
Of course, the main attraction here is the waves which attract surfers from all over the country. If you’re not into surfing, there are plenty of other activities to keep you distracted. Rent a windsurfer, catamaran or jet ski, or simply listen to music or read a book while lying on the beach. Given that the beach is north facing, you can also catch a beautiful sunset along the beach.
While Noosa beach is the place to be for surfers, everyone else is more interested in Noosa River as an outdoor attraction and for good reason. A plethora of exciting outdoor activities are based on the river including canoeing & kayaking, kite-boarding, river cruises and more.
Noosa River is a playground for serious kite-surfers especially on windy days. The river is also excellent for canoeing; it’s possible to follow it up through Lakes Cooroibah and Cootharaba, and through the Cooloola Section of Great Sandy National Park. Another popular activity is to take a boat from the Noosa Harbour at Tewantin up the Noosa River into the stunning ‘Everglades’ area (essentially the passage of the Noosa River that cuts into the Great Sandy National Park). If that’s not enough, you can also rent a Windsurfer, surf ski, catamaran, jet ski, or fishing boat that you can play with on the Noosa River or take upriver into Great Sandy National Park.
Noosa River Cruises
One of the best things to do on Noosa River is to take a river cruise with one of the top tour companies in town. Several companies run boats from the Noosa Harbour at Tewantin up the Noosa River into the beautiful ‘Everglades’ area (essentially the passage of the Noosa River that cuts into the Great Sandy National Park).
Beyond Noosa has an ecotour of the Everglades including day (lunch provided) and afternoon tours. All tours include Noosa transfers. MV Noosa Queen has a 3-hr cruise up the river, including lunch.
Back in the day, Noosa began life as a surf town; today, it has turned into a stylish resort town but it still retains its strong surfing culture. The lovely Noosa National Park, covering the headland, has a string of bays with waves that draw surfers from all over the country.
Generally the waves are best in December and January but Sunshine Corner, at the northern end of Sunshine Beach, has an excellent year-round break, although it has a brutal beach dump. The point breaks around the headland only perform during the summer, but when they do, expect wild conditions and good walls at Boiling Point and Tea Tree, on the northern coast of the headland. There are also gentler breaks on Noosa Spit at the far end of Hastings Street, where most of the surf schools do their training.
If you want to take surf lessons, there are plenty of good surf schools on Hastings Street that you can consider including Merrick’s Learn to Surf, Noosa Longboards and Noosa Surf Lessons. www.noosasurflessons.com.au
One of the popular outdoor activities on the water is kite-surfing. The two best spots for kite-surfing are on Lake Wyeba and Noosa River. The best time for kite-surfing is between October and January when the wind conditions are best. On windy days, Noosa River is a playground for serious daredevils.
Noosa Adventures & Kite-Surfing has 2hr and 8hr kite-surfing lessons or you can rent equipment per hr/day. www.noosakitesurfing.com.au
Noosa Horse Riding
Southeast Queensland has some of the best horse riding trails in the country so it is no wonder that horse riding tours in Noosa is so popular. If you want to get on a horse and take to the tracks, see Noosa North Shore Retreat who offers 2-hr horse riding along bush trails and along the beach. Located on Beach Road in Lake Coorobah, Noosa North Shore Retreat also offers bushwalking, canoeing and fishing trips in addition to horse riding tours.
Fraser Island Tours from Noosa
A number of tour operators offer trips from Noosa to Fraser Island via the Cooloola Coast. All tours include informative commentary and major Fraser Island highlights such as Lake MacKenzie and Seventy Five Mile Beach.
Fraser Island Excursions offers small group day tours in comfortable 4WDs, including a gourmet lunch and complimentary glass of wine.
Fraser Island Adventure Tours has won several industry awards for its day tours in 4WD minibuses that include a barbecue lunch.
Fraser Explorer Tours offers less intimate tours but takes in the same sights and stops for lunch at Eurong Beach Resort.
Trailblazer Tours operates small group tours and can pick up and drop off at either Noosa or Rainbow Beach.
If you’re cashed up and want to get from Noosa to Fraser Island in a spectacular way, several companies offer fly-drive packages including flights to Fraser Island and 4WD hire for self-guided day trips. See Air Fraser Island, Fraser Island Heli-Drive and Sunshine Coast Scenic Flights
Most of Noosa’s sunbathing, dining, shopping, and socializing takes place on trendy Hastings Street. Take in the culinary delights of Hastings Street by dining at one of the top restaurants here. Albeit pricey, the restaurants in Noosa are some of the best in the Sunshine Coast so every penny you spend here is worth it.
Best Restaurants Noosa
For the best restaurants in Noosa, try the following.
Sails Restaurant Noosa
Sails Restaurant in Noosa is a culinary gem at the eastern end of Hastings Street; there’s only a mere swathe of lawn between Laguna Bay and the timber floors of this classy restaurant. The Mod Oz menu favours seafood, with such delights as grilled Moreton Bay bugs wrapped in pancetta. The wine list is extensive. Sails is located on the corner of Park Road and Hastings Street; it is open for lunch and dinner from 12 noon daily.
Berardo’s has two restaurants with different styles – the Bistro on the Beach is waterfront dining overlooking the spectacular Laguna Bay and Noosa Main Beach, while the Restaurant and Bar is fine dining on the internationally renowned Hastings Street.
While Berardo’s Restaurant and Bar is top class, Berardo’s Bistro on the Beach is our pick. Reminiscent of the French Riviera, this stylish bistro style restaurant is only metres away from the waves. Classy without being pretentious, this is Noosa in a seashell. The Mod Oz menu has Asian and Italian influences. Located on the beach, Berardo’s Bistro on the Beach is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily from 7am to 9pm.
Beautiful Berardo’s Restaurant and Bar is culinary Utopia, from the sun-dappled setting swimming in elegance to the heavenly food. Soft music from the grand piano and delicate dishes such as quail crepinettes with truffle polenta will lull you into a coma. Located on Hastings Street, Berardo’s Restaurant and Bar is open daily for dinner only.
Behind the Gothic candelabra guarding the entrance, Lindoni’s is a romantic Italian restaurant featuring a Mediterranean courtyard set up for intimate candlelight dining. The cuisine favours the lighter southern Italian style – think Positano and the Amalfi coast – with lashings of amore. Lindoni’s is open daily for dinner only.
Pilu is an award-winning Italian restaurant in Noosaville. The specialty here is gamberetti; an entrée of fresh prawns grilled with garlic and chilli, served with spicy balsamic aioli. On balmy summer evenings sit at the patio tables and take in the river breezes. In the cooler months there’s a cosy log fire inside. Pilu is located at 2/257 Gympie Terrace in Noosaville; it is open for lunch daily and dinner Wednesday to Sunday.
Ricky’s River Bar & Restaurant Noosa
In a perfect location on the Noosa River, Ricky’s River Bar & Restaurant is an elegant restaurant with a simple, well-executed menu favouring local produce like Noosa spanner-crab spaghettini or crispy coral trout. Located at 2 Quamby Place in Noosa Wharf, Ricky’s is open for lunch and dinner daily from noon to 9pm.
Festivals of Noosa
There’s no better way to experience Noosa than during one of its festivals which lights up this coastal town and brings out its best. Of course there’ll be more crowds than you know what to do with but that’s expected anywhere. Below are the top festivals in Noosa.
Noosa Jazz Festival
The Noosa Jazz Festival is a four-day annual affair held in late August and early September. If you like jazz, it’s worth planning your trip during this time of the year to experience Noosa at its best and hear some of the finest Jazz, Blues and Folk artists belt out their tunes. Held at Noosa Lions Park, the festival attracts artists from across Australia and around the world. Even if you’re not a jazz enthusiast, the festival is a great place for entertainment in Noosa. Indulge in a music picnic in the park or treat yourself to delicious food and wine from the food stalls and bars; shop for treasures at the jazz market stalls and enjoy the ambience of the festival.
See Noosa Jazz Festival for more details.
Noosa Surf Festival
The Noosa Surf Festival is an eight-day annual get-together for surf aficionados from all over Australia. Heralded as the leading surf cultural event in the world and the biggest surfing event in the world by competitor numbers, this is one festival you can’t miss if you’re a surfer. Held during the first half of March, the festival allows competitors to surf Noosa’s right-hand point breaks while enjoying live entertainment and delicious food and drinks.
See Noosa Surf Festival for more information.
Noosa Long Weekend
The Noosa Long Weekend is a ten-day festival of arts, culture, food and fashion in June/July.
The Noosa Triathlon is a week-long sports festival in early November culminating in the very popular triathlon.
Noosa Ferry Cruise Company operates daily ferry cruise services between the historic riverside town of Tewantin and along the beautiful waterways past Noosaville (with great views across to Noosa’s north shore) and Noosa Sound into the heart of Noosa Heads. The Noosa River cruises depart all day from seven different points along the route so you can join the cruise at a place and time to suit your itinerary. Tickets include onboard commentary, so the ferry provides a tour as well as being a people-mover.
How to get from Brisbane to Noosa?
If you’re not driving, the best way to get from Brisbane to Noosa is by bus.
Bus from Brisbane to Noosa
There are two bus companies that operate buses from Brisbane to Noosa; the bus trip takes around 3 hours. Greyhound Australia has several daily connections from Brisbane to Noosa while Premier Motor Services has only one but is cheaper than Greyhound.
The bus stop in Noosa is near the corner of Noosa Drive and Noosa Parade.
Gold Coast to Noosa
To get from Gold Coast to Noosa by public transport, consider Sunbus that has frequent bus services from Maroochydore and the Nambour train station; both take about an hour.
Tell us what you think. What do you want to do in Noosa? If you’ve been to Noosa before, what did you like best about it? What activities did you do?
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