No matter how many times I visit, I still a get a shiver of excitement at the crest of the hill before Noosa Heads. This very special part of the world has achieved international recognition for its unique environment and I am privileged to be able to visit here on a regular basis. These are my faourite things to do in Noosa.
21 things to do in Noosa
It doesn’t matter what time of the year you are visiting, it’s always swimming weather around here due to a cosy little microclimate that takes the sting out of most weather extremes. It’s so tempting to just flop and drop on the beach but there are plenty of things to do here that really are worth exploring.
Do a Cooking Class with a Celebrity Chef
He’s one of the nicest guys around, and Peter Kuruvita is definitely the celebrity chef you want to do a cooking class with in Noosa. Peter’s new ALBA has a cooking school with a wonderful selection of classes. Have you checked out ALBA yet? there’s a cafe, a provider, and a pizzeria. At night it becomes a cocktail bar and linen-set restaurant. Expect Peter’s famous global favours and a focus on fresh local produce. Find it tucked away in the back streets of Noosa Heads.
See Noosa from the Air
Discover Noosa’s beauty from the air, from the Hinterland or country to coast in the only locally based helicopter company. There are many tours to choose from and so much to see here in Noosa! Create forever lasting memories with Saltair Aviation.
Cruise Noosa River in a Classic Wooden Boat
You’ll feel like a movie star when you cruise the Noosa River in a stunning Noosa Dreamboat classic wooden boat! Treat yourself to a riverside picnic or arrive at your long lunch via the water.
Explore the Everglades
Explore 65 km of pristine waterways with incredible flora and fauna in the Noosa Everglades. Follow the river downstream to discover what is known as the ‘River of Mirrors’ for its amazing water reflections.
Dolphin Safari Tour
Experience an up-close wildlife encounter on a dolphin safari tour with Noosa Ocean Rider. This cruise takes you out into the ocean to see the spectacular scenery around the Noosa National Park. Be on the lookout to see some of Noosa’s playful dolphins!
Take a Country Drive
You don’t have to go far to discover the beautiful hinterland surrounding the region. There are tranquil lakes, beautiful wildlife and mountain views along with delicious food made with fresh [paddock to plate produce. There is so much to explore between Noosa and Gympie and this food lover’s trail takes you off the beaten track to the back road favourites.
Explore Noosa Junction
Wander the laneways of The Junction. Here you’ll discover a range of bars, restaurants, coffee shops and incredible boutiques and laneways. Keep your ear out for local live music and look out for amazing street art and local galleries.
Visit a Craft Distillery
Get to know some tipples at one of the local craft gin distilleries. If you’re a gin fanatic like me, you need to explore the gin distilleries throughout the region! Expect to find gin gardens and expansive copper-filled bars to industrial estates and tasting rooms. You will enjoy local beer and gin plus some great eats at Noosa Heads Distillery.
Take a trail ride
Explore the vast expanse of the Noosa Trail Network on a hike or bike ride. It can be a relaxing stroll or a high-intensity walk because there are so many walking trails to discover.
Explore Sunshine Beach
Wander the laidback surfy village of Sunshine Beach: Just a 5-minute drive south of Noosa Heads you will find the chilled beachfront town of Sunshine Beach. Here you will find no shortage of delicious restaurants, cafes, bars and boutique shops. Sunshine Beach is one of my favourite haunts. These are the places where I like to dine at Sunshine Beach.
Walk Noosa National Park
Although it’s always tempting to sleep in, I don’t like to waste a moment of the day when I wake. The best way to start is in the coffee cart queue at Sails on Hastings Street and then a stroll along the winding boardwalk to Noosa National National Park, koala spotting along the way. If you can resist one of the Sail’s muffins you are doing well. The coffee cart tends to be out there on weekends and during busy periods.
The National Park walking track can get busy in the mornings as it is also a popular running track so please be mindful of others and keep to the left. It was recently upgraded and is a smooth path suitable for prams, although narrow in parts. Dogs are allowed on the track until it reaches the National Park entrance. Depending on my mood and energy level, I continue the walk through the park to enjoy the beachside views. Some like to run it. You can pick up another coffee at the information hut in the national park as well.
There are five walking tracks through the park with distances ranging between 1.1k returns and 10.8km return. The Coastal Walk is the most popular and it is mostly a barrier-free path, although it is a very well used track by runners, walkers and locals so be prepared to share the views.
After a bit of exercise, there’s nothing like a big breakie at Aromas and a spot of people watching. With the chairs and tables mainly facing the street it’s hard to miss the passing parade unless, of course, you are distracted by the great breakfast. Check the counter for fresh coconut milk straight from the coconut. My other favourite spot for coffee and breakfast is Providore on Hastings which is tucked into the entry of Netanya. This is a great place to stock up on local produce including delicious bread. The breakfast options are inexpensive too! During high season, Sails often has a coffee cart on the restaurant’s beachside where you can buy great coffee and amazing muffins.
Shop Hastings Street
Discover hidden gems in Noosa’s maze of chic boutiques and a range of local, Australian, and international designers. Hastings Street is always worth a wander to check out what’s new and funky and look for seriously good sale racks. My wardrobe is peppered with bargains from here that have become favourites. The shops down toward the Noosa River end have some wonderful products from local artisans. Look out for Lamington where the owner has written her own book with the most popular Noosa recipes. I also like to browse the shops in Noosa Junction.
Visit Peregian Beach
It looks like a quaint seaside village, but Peregian Beach has a seriously good range of boutiques, cafes and restaurants. There’s even a pet shop where I may have indulged with a few purchases for my fur babies. The patrolled beach has wide sandy stretches that will invite a swim too. Just follow the coast south until you reach Peregian Beach.
Where to eat in Hastings Street?
When it comes to lunch I’m still happy to be in Hastings Street with a leisurely lunch at Bistro C or Season in mind. There’s something special about dining with a view of the beach and surf. Put them both on your where to eat in Noosa list.
Other top places to eat in Hastings Street Noosa include Sails (ask for a table on the beach end for fabulous views) and Locale Noosa for Italian food. For drinks, Miss Moneypenny’s has loads of atmosphere or there is the street level bar at Sofitel Noosa Pacific which appeals to locals and visitors. If you want to head off the coastal strip for a Noosa drink, Noosa Heads Distillery is where you will find local beer and gin plus some great eats.
Dining around Noosa
The Noosa region is a food lover’s paradise. Start exploring the local food scene with a meal at one of these 16 Noosa restaurants recommended by locals. You’ll find some of Noosa’s best food by looking for the red Slow Food Noosa Snail of Approval which highlights the top places to eat in Noosa. The best chefs will tell you that great food comes from great produce and while it’s not hard to find high-quality ingredients within the Noosa region, those with a Slow Food Noosa red Snail of Approval tick go the extra mile. More about the Slow Food Noosa Snail of Approval restaurants and where to find them.
Learn to surf
This is one of Australia’s original surf towns. You can catch some waves in a globally recognised World Surfing Reserve and learn from some of the best in the business. Discover more in this guide to the best surfing. It’s also a great way to tire out your children!
Browse the farmers market
Browsing the Noosa Farmers Market is a quick way to stock up on fabulous local produce and make some new finds. From fabulous French pastries to fresh sugar cane juice, you’ll find more than enough to excite your palate here. It’s on every Sunday morning from 7 am to 12 noon. This really is a premium food experience and a must for food lovers. You can buy a lot of prepared food as well and it could be an easy way to feed the family during your stay. The breakfast options are legendary too, so add it to the where to eat in Noosa list. Just remember this is not a dog-friendly venue. (About time they changed that, I think!)
Cooroy is the Noosa area’s best-kept secret. Just a scenic short 22 km drive from Noosa it has the best French patisserie and Thai restaurant. Take your appetite with you to visit Dhom’s Kitchen but be sure to book ahead as their traditional Thai fare is widely popular.
Paddleboard along the Noosa River
There are many ways to cruise the river, and I suggest you try all of them including kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. Talk to the folk at Noosa Stand Up Paddle and you’ll find out you can head out on the Noosa River without even getting wet! Hire a boat and wind your way along Noosa River with a relaxing cruise. You’ll discover the beauty of the Noosa River from the water and you don’t even need a boat licence! Get a barbecue boat pack a delicious lunch and cruise the river all day long. Make sure you throw a line in too for a spot of fishing. There are several places to hire boats along the river at Noosaville.
Visit an Art Gallery
Just one more thing – join an Art Tours Noosa afternoon tour and see the Peter Phillips Retrospective Exhibition in the Hinterland. This is a wonderful gallery filled with works from an internationally renowned artist.
Strolling the national park really does sound like a great way to start the morning! And I definitely wouldn’t mind rewarding myself with a big breakie after that bit of exercise. I’m drooling just thinking about the Italian food at Locale Noosa, but I’m a sucker for dining with a view so Sails sounds pretty fantastic too. A sunset ferry cruise is totally up my alley as well and it seems like I’ll have to plan a trip to Noosa soon!
How great it is that it’s always a swimming weather around Noosa Heads! The walking path sounds like something that I wan to do when I get a change to visit. Dhom’s Kitchens sounds wonderful, too, as I like Thai food.
I love places like Noosa Heads where you can visit at any time of the year. Good to know there are some good eateries after a busy day walking in Noosa National Park. I think I would take a sunset ferry cruise and watch the surfers and paddle boarders from there!
That’s right. It is hard to tire of Noosa. Such a beautiful natural environment and plenty of things to do too!
Oh man! I love Noosa and being trapped in the UK it’s only making it worse reading this!! I just can’t wait to get back to Aus and back to places like Noosa. Such good surf there and the coastal walks are awesome too.
Sorry, Nic! I feel for you being trapped in the UK and heading into a cold winter while we are enjoying the sunshine. Hopefully, things will change soon and you will be able to visit again.
I went to Noosa on a day trip from Sydney (yes, return flights) for a business meeting… It felt very strange to be in a different state for a few hours with my laptop… The taxi driver indicated that Noosa only has one set of traffic lights, I love small towns in Australia for these little details…
It sounds like you didn’t make it to the beach so you must return and enjoy some good Noosa vibes with a swim at Main Beach and a walk through the National Park.
Maison de Provence in Cooroy has been closed for sometime now. There is a gluten free cafe there now.
Thanks for the update Christine.
So fantastic to get a fresh perspective on Noosa, heading off to book now!
Noosa is just my favourite place. I can never get enough of the place and there is so much to discover. Enjoy!