The original Noosa backpackers were the surfers of the 1960s and 1970s who made their way up the East Coast and stayed to enjoy the amazing breaks off Noosa National Park – they must have felt like they had found Heaven.
Back to the awards ... travellers voted in the national awards, showing their appreciation of Noosa’s adventurous and fun spirit. They also voted the National Trust-listed Halse Lodge YHA Guest House in Noosa Heads as the Best Hostel in Queensland and Best Hostel in Australia. Dropbear Adventures which runs Fraser Island tours from Noosa was a finalist in the Best Tour Operator in Australia category.
Halse Lodge (pictured) is one of five backpacker hostels in Noosa – the others, which are also great are Noosa Flashpackers and Dolphins Beach House in Sunshine Beach, Nomads Noosa in Noosa Heads and Noosa Backpacker Resort in Noosaville.
The adventurous spirit I mentioned earlier comes in so many forms in Noosa – from swimming, surfing, snorkelling, walking and running in Noosa National Park which is only a few minutes’ walk from Halse Lodge, to abseiling Mt Tinbeerwah in Tewantin National Park, kite-boarding, kayaking, beach horse riding, jet-skiing, skydiving, hiking, sailing, mountain biking and so much more.
Australia Zoo, World Heritage-listed Fraser Island and the Noosa Everglades (one of only 2 everglades systems in the world) are right on our doorstep, and there are plenty of great places to eat, drink, party and shop, including some of Australia’s best markets.
For a taste of some of the great experiences on offer in Noosa, CLICK HERE to see the latest Backpack Noosa video, like Backpack Noosa on Facebook or see backpacknoosa.com.au
And to get an idea of why so many people voted Halse Lodge Guest House as the best in Australia, we’ll share the experience of travel blogger and Best Job in the World Travel Guru Winner Sam, from Sam’s Wanderful Life blog, who earlier this year added Halse Lodge to her bucket list. Sam, from Canada, calls the gorgeous hostel her “home away from home”:
“The hostel creates an environment for their guests that is extremely welcoming and friendly. Halse Lodge ensured that dining and entertainment throughout a backpacker’s stay was a top priority.
“I can’t even express enough how appreciative and welcome I felt here. It was incredible and I wish I could have stayed there a lot longer. The atmosphere when sitting in the common area during breakfast was perfect. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping and I was just happy.
“I couldn’t help but smile as I looked out and saw how beautiful of a view Halse Lodge had from the top of the hill. It really doesn’t surprise me that Halse Lodge has the ability to stop travellers in their tracks and convince them to stay a few extra days, weeks or months before they feel ready to leave this magical place.
“It’s a place like no other, and you definitely should add this to Your Bucket List when travelling the East Coast of Australia.”
CLICK HERE to read Sam’s full blog about Halse Lodge and her stay in Noosa.
I simply never get sick of the view from the Noosa boardwalk. On the walk to Noosa National Park from Main Beach I always stop and stare in amazement as though it's the very first time I have seen it – there are so many spectacular views.
With so much natural beauty to photograph I often find it hard to stick to the task of walking. It's hard not to feel connected to the beauty of nature when on a walk through Noosa – it truly is a photographer's paradise and this walk provides many stunning photo opportunities.
This is one of the first walks we love to bring guests from out of town on, as it wonderfully showcases the exquisiteness of the unique Noosa coastline.
Start from the boardwalk along Noosa Main Beach and check out the surfing or paddle board action at First Point. Viewing platforms along the way offer magical photo opportunities of the beach, coastline and across to Noosa North Shore.
This is also a great spot for snapping fantastic surfing pictures if the swell is running.
The walk is all the more refreshing with plenty of shade from bushes that hug the coastline.
It is perfect to do at a fast pace for fitness or as a slow meander to simply take in the gorgeous surroundings, and is a fabulous activity for the family to do with plenty of flora and fauna to spot including dolphins, whales (in season), turtles, wallabies and goanna.
While it may wear your little ones out, it isn't too difficult for them to tackle.
With stunning ocean views pretty much all the way, the boardwalk is a must for anyone who visits Noosa.
- For more Noosa favourites from our Guest Noosa Blogger Heather Woods, see My Ocean Bliss.
Even with the best coaching, dog surfing is never going to be more than a spectator sport in my household!
Tucker, my much loved arthritic corgi, is so height challenged he makes a 2ft swell look like a 50ft monster. That just about rules out the doggie surfing basics workshop at Noosa River mouth on Sunday March 10 for us but don’t let it stop you.
With a few doggie surfing basics under his collar, your pooch might be a winner in Noosa Festival of Surfing’s Dog Surf Spectacular that afternoon (click on image below for some great dog-surfing action).
Noosa Festival of Surfing is running from March 10-16 at Noosa’s First Point - that’s the spot where the surfers congregate that you can see to the right of Main Beach.
My partner, K2, is a Noosa surfer of long standing. He remembers the days when Noosa’s main street was lined with ordinary houses. True.
I think he would really enjoy the festival event, Like a Cup of Tea with God – the rich surfing history of Noosa and the Sunshine Coast, presented in words, music, movies, photographs and art.
And a surf movie on the beach? How good is that! Expect heart-stopping big wave riding on the beach screen from 6-9pm on Monday March 11 with Nightrider featuring Mark Visser, Storm Surfers featuring Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke Jones, with Mark, Tom and Ross in conversation live on stage.
They have more than a few big names signed up this year, names that even I recognise like seven-times world champion Layne Beachley, four-times world champion Mark Richards, two-times world champion Tom Carroll, world champion Rabbit Bartholomew, two-times world longboard champion Joel Tudor, world longboard champion Josh Constable, big wave heroes Ross Clarke Jones and Mark Visser and surfboard design gurus Simon Anderson and Bob McTavish.
Well maybe I don’t know about the surfboard designers…but I bet K2 does.
The world’s biggest surfboard riding event, the Noosa Festival of Surfing, celebrates its 22nd anniversary this year with more than 20 pro, amateur, specialty and team surfing events plus free entertainment on a beach stage and the surf expo on the sand.
The festival, which raised more than $8000 for Frangipani Dreams and the Noosa Malibu Club’s youth development scheme in 2012, will again donate bar profits to charity and community benefit organisations.
On-line competitor entries in amateur divisions, with age groups from under 15 to over 65 are open, along with specialty, team and professional events.
The festival expects to attract more than 500 competitors, along with up to 5000 supporters and spectators from all over the world.
Our Guest Noosa Blogger is Kerry Heaney, from the Eat, Drink + be Kerry blog.
Fun, fitness and beach are three wonderful things that go together beautifully, and here in Noosa we have them in abundance. They come together at Main Beach in Noosa this Sunday for a ripping finale to the Kelloggs Nutri-Grain IronMan series for 2013 when the iron giants face off to see who will be crowned IronMan and IronWoman champions.
It’s been a summer of amazing feats and it all comes down to the wire this Sunday. Recognised as one of the greatest IronMen of all time, six-times winner Shannon Eckstein is one victory away from breaking the event record and the odds are in his favour – he only needs to place in the top eight to take out his seventh championship.Ready to rain on his parade are Sunshine Coasters Kendrick Louis, in second place, and Ali Day not far behind. I saw Ali at a media conference in Noosa this week and he’s pumped to take out his maiden win of the series.
Also at the conference were Noosa’s Jordan ‘Magic’ Mercer and Alyssa Bull from Alexandra Headland, on the Sunshine Coast. All three athletes were eyeing off the swell that has come to Noosa’s shores this week. Naomi Flood leads the women’s series, with Courtney Hancock a paddle length behind.
Jordan (pictured right - photo courtesy of Paul Smith Images) will be in contention for another podium place this Sunday – and the Noosa spectators will be cheering her on. Jordan told us why she loves Noosa:
“Noosa Heads is a little place of paradise which I am so blessed to be able to enjoy every day of my life. Its natural beauty inspires me to live an exciting fit and healthy lifestyle. I love how Noosa has a perfect balance between relaxation and an amazing hype when it hosts world-renowned festivals all year round.
"For a professional athlete like myself, Noosa is an ideal destination for just about any training. It has amazing facilities as well as natural wonders like the National Park where I can run for hours and enjoy breathtaking views while exploring its many wonderful trails.
"It really isn't so painful training 20 hours a week and cooling off in the crystal clear ocean! I love paddling my board and ski around the famous points of Noosa. It is my favourite place in the whole world.”
And what’s great about Noosa?
"Absolutely everything! I am so lucky to live and train here. I can not imagine living anywhere else. You may think I sound a little biased but I invite you all to visit Noosa and experience it for yourself!”
The Telstra IronWoman race starts at 11.30am. The Junior series is from 12.30pm and the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IronMan race is from 1.30pm.
If you’re not in Noosa this weekend, see all the action on Network Ten from 1pm (AEST), with replays on One HD (check your local guide)
Tucking into fish and chips by the Noosa River with friends last week, talk turned to the best times of day. Here are some of our favourites that together would make up an ideal day in Noosa ...
An early morning run along the Noosa National Park coastal track, arriving at Alexandria Bay with the sun sparkling on the water is a stunning start to the day. I’ll take my friend’s word on this as I’m more of a sunset person than sunrise, but apparently the thing to do after an early swim, walk or run is to grab a coffee from the Sails Restaurant takeaway cart facing Noosa’s Main Beach, or head to breakfast at Bistro C or berardo’s on the beach.
We couldn't pass up the thought of shopping – step off the beach and on to Hastings Street or stroll along Gympie Tce and Thomas St at Noosaville, dotted with lovely homeware stores and boutiques.
A bucket of prawns and cold beer at lunchtime, perched on a bar stool on the deck at Noosa Heads Surf Club, looking right over Noosa beach is a favourite way to escape the midday sun.
If it’s Sunday, a drive to the Noosa hinterland is on the cards with a stop for a macaron on the way at Maison de Provence in Cooroy (Adriano Zumbo dropped in there before Christmas). If we’ve booked ahead, it’s off to a spit roast lunch at the Apollonian Hotel in Boreen Point.
Another locals’ favourite on a Sunday is the Peregian Markets in the morning (1st and 3rd Sundays), then stay on for the Peregian Originals free outdoor concerts in the park (1st Sunday of the month). On the way home, stop in at Sunshine Beach Surf Club for live music on the deck to wind down the weekend.
A list of favourites has to include ice cream – at any time of day. My long-time favourite is Massimo’s in Hastings St (pink grapefruit sorbet really wakes you up) or I head to Amo Gelato on Gympie Tce for their decadent Belgian chocolate or amazing liquorice ice cream.
As I mentioned earlier, my favourite time of day is sunset – it’s harder to decide what my favourite activity is. If we’re feeling energetic, the family heads out for a paddle on Weyba Creek – two in a canoe, one on a kayak and one on a stand-up paddle board. We count the stingrays as they flick past and glide over to watch the flying fox colony stir for their dusk departure. Weyba Creek is one of our true hidden gems – overhanging tree trunks reflecting in the waters, birds nestled in hidden passage-ways through mangroves and the old bridge from where you can catch fish from a great height.
If we’re not feeling so energetic, it’s a quiet moment with a bottle of bubbles at Noosa Spit to catch the sun set behind the mountains, or a cocktail at Season Restaurant overlooking Laguna Bay.
And for the final word: Any time in Noosa is paradise.
There is something nostalgic about traditional wooden boats and steam boats with memories of a bygone era – so I am really looking forward to heading down to the Noosa River on Saturday 27th October for a picnic with family and friends to watch the Noosa Classic Boat Regatta.
The Regatta features traditional wood motor or steam powered boats, putt putts and classic pre-70s motor boats with pre-70s power and traditional wood sail boats and really is a beautiful sight to see.
If you want to get up close, why not head to the Noosa Marina in the morning to admire the gorgeous boats before they head out for the Regatta and if you are one of the lucky owners of a classic pre-70s boat, why not register and enjoy the fun!
Music, skateboards, surfing, stand-up paddling, BMX, a world movie premiere and Coolum Beach – it's an amazing combination that all adds up to the Golden Days Festival on November 16, 17 and 18.
This is the third annual Golden Days Festival – stretching over three days for the first time. A movie night on the Friday has just been added to the program with the premiere of Transparentsea: The Desert Whale Recordings by Justin Krumb, and music by The Band of Frequencies. It’ll be a must-see if you love whales and dolphins.
NZ’s Fat Freddy’s Drop headlines the awesome music bill on the Saturday at Coolum Sports Complex, with Josh Pyke, Something For Kate, Blue King Brown, Deep Sea Arcade, Dubmarine, Stryder, Alys Longmate and more. Tickets for Saturday’s event are on sale.
The beachside Tickle Park will be the place to soak up the Coolum atmosphere on the Sunday with the Surfrider Foundation Eco Challenge, a free day of family fun with a wooden surfboard contest, stand-up paddle board races, skate and BMX competitions, eco markets and great local live bands all day.
Coolum Beach, just a 25-minute drive south from Noosa Heads along David Low Way has the ideal vibe to celebrate roots, groove and rock music and the surfing culture. It’s one of the prettiest coastal drives around that never fails to lift the spirits – past mile after mile of Pacific Ocean and long beach stretches. And the Golden Days Festival at Coolum Beach is sure to keep your spirits high for a long time after.
School holidays … swimming, fishing, ice-cream, fish and chips by the river, catching yabbies, a new hat… simple things but lifelong memories of growing up and being lucky enough to escape the city for a beach holiday.
Thousands of families are doing the same thing in Noosa now – it’s school holidays, the town’s pumping and the sun’s shining (fingers crossed it stays that way).
The Noosa region has it all for kids on holiday - whether they're into something active such as a hike around Noosa National Park headland, abseiling down Mt Tinbeerwah, mountain biking or horse riding through hinterland trails or learning to sail on the Noosa River; or if they prefer to take it easy on a leisurely ferry cruise, laze on the beach or stroll down Hastings Street spending your money.
A recent photo on visitnoosa’s facebook page of a young girl buying a choc-topped ice-cream from an ice-cream van near Noosa Woods attracted great feedback about childhood memories of holiday ice-creams. And by the look on the young girl’s face in the photo, some things never change.
The amazing beach, river, National Parks and hinterland around the Noosa region are timeless too, but there’s always a new experience to be had.
For some great holiday ideas, see our Noosa School Holidays Guide and This Week in Noosa or pop into one of our visitor information centres and ask a friendly local for some ideas.
Happy holidays to all our visitors in Noosa this week. We hope there are wonderful memories in the making – we’d love to hear about them – and we hope to see you back again soon.
New South Wales school children marked the start of their holidays last Friday, and Queensland still has a week to go, so the Noosa region has put on a plethora of activities to keep them entertained.
What beautiful weather to enjoy some quality time with the kids!
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services rangers will take walkers on tracks in the Imbil State Forest, Kondalila National Park and Conondale National Park. An adult must accompany the children. Phone 5494 3983 for more information.
Noosa 5 Cinemas is showing two great children’s movies - I took my son to see Ice Age 4 over the weekend, and I’ve heard good reports on Brave.
Sunshine Coast Council is half way through their massive program of school holiday activities, which includes drumming workshops, Olympic themed craft, unicycle riding and more. Hop on to Council’s website for a list of activities.
Ceramic artist Wendy Britton is hosting pottery workshops, phone her on 5474 0104 to find out more.
The Ginger Factory at 50 Pioneer Rd, Yandina has Super Saver Deals running daily, including buy one, get one free offers and the Queensland Garden Expo, which is on this weekend, has ample fun for the whole family, including workshops and a children’s playground.
We knew it would be hard to find a park when we went into town for the Ironman event the other day, so we parked at the Noosa Marina and caught the Noosa Ferry up to Hastings Street. It was a great way to travel, sitting up there on the top deck and watching all the boats go by.
The ferry is not exactly cheap if you think of it in terms of public transport, but it's really more of a cruise, and definitely worth doing if you're a visitor. You can do a single trip or get an all-day pass and get on and off as much as you like.
I think the Noosa River is one of the most underrated parts of Noosa. So many people go straight to Hastings Street and never make it down to the river for a boat ride or a walk along the foreshore. There's a really good walking and cycling path, a grassy esplanade and loads of cafes, restaurants and shops along Gympie Terrace.
You can catch the ferry, hire a boat (no boat licence required) to go cruising around the Noosa waterways, go on a fishing trip or take an organised cruise all the way up to the Noosa Everglades. You can also do a sunset cruise on the ferry where you can bring your own drinks and they provide glasses and ice.