I recently had the privilege of travelling up the beautiful Noosa River on-board The Discovery Group's boat to the Noosa Everglades - it's probably one of the best "hidden secrets" of the Noosa region.
The voyage north started at The Discovery Jetty on Gympie Terrace, in the heart of Noosaville and only 5 minutes from Hastings Street and Noosa Heads. From the moment I arrived, I was met with outstanding service from the staff and boat skipper Ben. We made our way past Noosa Marina and Sir Richard Branson's Makepeace Island, and crossed Lake Cooroibah and Lake Cootharaba, all at impressive speed.
The skipper filled us with interesting facts, information and even an old folk story which was one of the many highlights of the trip. Once we reached the mystical tannin waters of the Noosa Everglades, we were greeted with amazing views in this part of the Great Sandy National Park that teems with wildlife.
The voyage then reached the single most picturesque part of the Noosa River, the Narrows. Here are just a few of the images I captured along the way.
Looking south on Lake Cootharaba.
Between Lake Cooroibah and Cootharaba
This cheeky little dude tried to steal our afternoon tea!
The stunning Narrows, on the way to Harry’s Hut.
Moored at Harry’s Hut jetty.
Eastward view of Lake Cootharaba.
Harry’s Hut, marked by this sign on the wharf.
The way to Lake Como.
The tannin waters of the Everglades... in the Narrows.
Ahhh, what a perfect view...
The mystical Noosa Everglades in all its glory - easy to see how they earned the name ‘river of mirrors’.
The Noosa Everglades is an absolutely breath-taking place and one of only two everglades systems in the world - these are the only everglades you can swim in. If you go, make sure you take a camera and don’t forget to #visitnoosa.
There's a range of ways to discover the Noosa Everglades - from the comfort of a half-day boat cruise from Noosaville to a self-guided canoeing and camping safari.
Noosa Everglades Discovery offers a BBQ lunch cruise, afternoon cruise with pick-up from Hastings Street and Noosaville, Bar-B-Canoe day tour; and a 3-day/2-night self-guided canoeing and camping safari.
Kanu Kapers offers half, full-day and 2 and 3-day guided kayaking tours or take yourself on a 1, 2 or 3-day self-guided kayaking adventure and camp in this unspoilt winderness.
For more information please call the Noosa Visitor Information Centre on 1 3000 NOOSA (within Australia) or 07 5430 5000 (outside Australia), email firstname.lastname@example.org or see visitnoosa.com.au
Some were regular visitors to Noosa, some hadn’t been here for some time, and for others, it was their first time to Noosa.
From food, cocktails and accommodation to Noosa National Park walks, shopping, spa treatments, cooking classes, beach yoga, sunsets and breakfast right on Noosa Main Beach (pictured), one thing they seem to have in common – they all loved their trip to Noosa!
Here are links to just a few of their stories and photos that having been lighting up the blogosphere...
Styling You: Sunshine Coast Top Things to do.
Baby Mac: Great Day in Noosa.
Mr and Mrs Romance: The Ultimate Winter Getaway and Romance Recharge.
It’s hard to pass by a gorgeous beach, great coffee and cocktails, restaurants with killer views and a cool surfie scene – that’s why Sunshine Beach, just on the southern side of Noosa National Park headland and a few minutes from Noosa’s Main Beach and Hastings Street is a locals’ favourite. Our guest blogger from “After L Comes ...” recently visited Noosa from Canberra and also fell in love with Sunshine Beach, among other Noosa favourites...
After a massive year my soul, body, mind and spirit were in mega need of a big fat break. Two weeks in Noosa ended up being just what the doctor ordered.
The in-laws booked a pet-friendly house a walk from Sunshine Beach, which is right next to Noosa. We were blessed with perfect, sunny weather and spent most of the time at the beach, eating or sleeping. Here are some of the highlights for this Canberran:
More chilled than its neighbour, Sunshine Beach is a gem surrounded by mansions and apartments tucked between the trees. The best part for animal lovers is the dog-friendly section up the north end - paradise of friendly pooches, families, warm water and happy vibes. Further down the beach is the patrolled area with access from the strip of yummy cafés and restaurants. The Surf Club has a killer view from the ocean on the deck and serves affordable feeds. For a special treat check out Embassy XO for yummy dumplings and Chinese inspired food. Embassy XO's service and interiors are both lovely.
I was lucky enough to catch up with a life-long friend during my stay at Sunshine Beach. As our holiday house was packed to the rafters, we escaped for a night down the road to Dolphins Beach House. For $90 a night we got our own private room with ensuite, flat screen TV, air con and balcony. This establishment has a tropical and colourful charm with a killer location. Highly recommend this place if you are after an affordable stay.
Noosa Main Beach
This is what all the fuss is about. You can spend a whole day here, sun baking, swimming, making sandcastles, perving, surfing, eating, drinking milkshakes, shopping in Hastings Street and exploring the National Park. It is so darn pretty and full of life. You may come across a celebrity or two and will leave dreaming of lottery wins so you can relocate. I also recommend doing a cruise along the Noosa River to check out the man-made beauties competing against nature for the biggest jaw drops. You might even see Richard Branson on his island.
Famous for the huge markets and hippie charm, Eumundi is a short drive from Noosa and the perfect way to spend a morning and lunch. The markets are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Try to get in early because traffic and parking can be hectic. For brunch I recommend Bohemian Bungalow for its quirky atmosphere and delicious vegetarian and organic dishes.
4WD at Noosa North Shore
For adventurous types, go 4WDing and camping along Noosa North Shore. I had a great time driving along the beach – such a great experience with the stunning ocean on one side and the coloured sands on the other. So there you have it, some tips if you ever find yourself experiencing Nirvana in Noosa!
Read more from After L Comes ...
Australia’s Best Job in the World – Queensland Park Ranger winner Elisa Detrez has just finished her six-month stint travelling around, exploring our natural wonders and sharing her experiences with the rest of the world (and getting paid to do it!). Elisa loved her job so much that she will now remain a life-long tourism ambassador for Queensland. She chose to spend her first Aussie Christmas in Noosa with her family where they discovered the wonderful mix of nature, wildlife, style and good food.
Thanks to Elisa, here's a taste of her experiences during her Noosa holiday.
Enjoy the Aussie lifestyle – beach, barbecue: Noosa is right on the beach but lies also on the Noosa River. Here you have the opportunity to kayak or stand up paddle gently on the river, enjoy a barbecue or a picnic and then go for a play in the surf breaks in the afternoon in one of the beaches around the town.
Experience a laid back lifestyle centred around pristine beaches, freshwater rivers and lakes. Meet friendly people, go fishing or simply relax on the beach.
Finish the day in style by boarding the sunset ferry cruise and enjoy a perfect pre-dinner experience.
Learn to surf Noosa: One of the Australian clichés is surfing and Noosa is actually the perfect place to give it a try and stand up! Learn from a former world surf champion, Merrick Davis and you will be sure to have fun!
After your class, enjoy a beer and a nice lunch with the best beach view in town at Australian Surf Life Saving Club of the year, Noosa Heads Surf Club.
Beautiful National Park: Noosa National Park is the most popular and visited in Queensland. Follow a choice of easy and moderate tracks that take you around the headland following the coastline through rainforest and open woodlands.
Expect spectacular views from the several lookouts along the way such as Boiling Pot and Hell’s Gate. Adorable wild koalas frequent the gum trees along the walk so observe carefully and you may be lucky!
Out to sea, you could also spot rays, sea turtles, dolphins at sunset and humpback whales during their migration. A walk you will remember!
Best youth hostel in Australia: If you are a backpacker travelling the country, don’t look any further for a place to stay in Noosa, book at Halse Lodge! Only 100m from the main beach, Halse Lodge is a typical Queensland house. The staff are cheerful and here you will be warmly welcomed. Enjoy a nice dinner on the terrace or simply a fresh beer!
Shop and dine in style: To all the shopping lovers, you will adore Hastings Street! From surfers to high class clothes, it’s a pleasure to stroll around. Allow some breaks and taste the ice creams … Nitrogenie for the most curious, Gelatissimo or Copenhagen.
The street is also full of nice cafes ... on the beach, cosy or more laid back, you will find your favourite place.
Finish the day by dining out in one of the chic restaurants. Italian, seafood, Japanese, fine dining … the most difficult is to choose one!
CLICK HERE to read Elisa’s full blog about her holiday in Noosa.
My dream is that one day I will be so organised for Christmas that I can spend the last couple of days beforehand just soaking up the wonderful atmosphere in Noosa – the gorgeous weather, sparkling ocean, beautiful Christmas lights, the buzz of shopping and the sipping of cocktails to celebrate the festive season ... one day.
With summer holidays in full swing here in Noosa, there are plenty of people doing just that already and I’ll be joining them very soon. With so much outdoor fun – beaches, fishing, kayaking, surfing, stand-up paddling, kite surfing, national park walks, boating – you might wonder how you’ll fit it all in. Even with the relaxed pace, somehow you manage to find time, in between waterfront breakfasts, relaxed lunches and fine dining or fish and chips at the end of the day.
Make sure there’s still time for holiday fun with Christmas Eve carols at Peregian Beach, festive feasts on Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve fireworks at Noosa Marina – see our Noosa Festive Season Guide for a great round-up of what’s on.
There’s no need to get caught up in the big, mad Boxing Day sales – after Christmas (or even before) Noosa is the ideal place to stroll around and find fantastic last-minute gifts, stock up for next year or just to spoil yourself. Our markets from Coolum to Peregian, Noosa Marina, Eumundi and Kin Kin have an amazing range of locally-made, unique and gorgeous products.
Hastings Street is renowned for its unique stores with gifts, jewellery and designs, including Hearts and Mind Art; Jive Art and Design; gorgeous jewellery from Armano Collections, Secrets Shhh and Pearls for Girls; or browse the books at Mary Ryan Bookstore Noosa.
Venture to Noosaville where you can spend the day looking through riverfront gift shops, boutiques and more along Gympie Tce and Thomas Street, including Coco & Bliss, or the Gateway Drive precinct with designer outlets including Spoilt where there are amazing bargains on jewellery, accessories and fashion.
Noosa Junction, just over the hill from Hastings Street is another favourite for locals with great boutiques and something different such as beautiful beachy gifts and shell art workshops at Tres Noosa, and gorgeous collectibles at George Magasic Antiques. If you love shells, make sure you track down The Big Shell, a treasure trove of shells and gifts in Gympie Street, Tewantin.
There’s also plenty of great surf gear from surf shops around Noosa including Classic Malibu, Golden Breed, Noosa Longboards and Noosa Surf Works.
While you’re at the markets in Eumundi, make sure you explore the wonderful, eclectic shops including Berkelouw Books in the main street before a refreshing drink or meal at the Imperial Hotel or Bohemian Bungalow.
And the best thing about shopping anywhere around Noosa, apart from the beautiful buys to take home, is that no matter where you are there’s always a great coffee or cocktail nearby to help restore your energy.
We wish all our visitors and Noosa lovers a happy and safe Christmas and holiday season.
We love our food in Noosa (just ask the thousands who enjoy the Noosa Food and Wine Festival each year) and town is abuzz with the opening of new restaurants, delicious new spring menus, the return of a favourite, and fun food events and promotions.
With the days getting longer and the nights warming up I have been looking for any excuse to book a table by the river or peruse the cocktail menu at a beachfront bar – and there’s no shortage of inspiration.
I’ve heard rave reviews about the new Locale Restaurant in Hastings Street which opened last weekend – those of us who cried into our pinot when Lindoni’s closed a few months ago are celebrating the return of owner Rio Capurso with his new Italian restaurant and bar ... can’t wait.
The new 10 Hastings Street Boutique Motel & Café at the Woods end of the street is a great place to sit and watch the world go by while re-energising with a smoothie made with South American superfood acai berries, or my favourite, a mango daiquiri (also super!). I’m also looking forward to next month’s opening of Miss Moneypenny’s in Hastings Street, thanks to Sydney restaurateur Ben Walsh, with cool, Ibiza beach-style music on Sunday afternoons, and cocktails, breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.
Doing its own quirky kind of “cool” is Bohemian Bungalow in Eumundi with great food, drinks and shared plates served on mismatched glasses and vintage treasures – and there’s funky music on Sunday afternoons.
Also in Eumundi, the historic Imperial Hotel has just opened The Green Room, a creative and colourful space upstairs with great balcony dining overlooking Eumundi’s beautiful greenery – and a kids’ room.
Back on Hastings St, Peter Kuruvita (one of my favourite chefs on TV) has settled right in to his latest venture, Noosa Beach House Peter Kuruvita (where Cato’s was). We’re also looking forward to seeing other media favourites in the lead-up to Christmas, with Noosa book launches for Jamie Durie on October 25 (he was SO popular last time in Noosa), Guy Grossi (October 30), Ricky Ponting (November 21) and Frances Whiting (November 29).
Gympie Terrace along Noosa River and nearby Thomas Street in Noosaville is one of my favourite food places and there’s been plenty of activity recently. Humid Restaurant (I had a wonderful 10th anniversary dinner there) has moved to Gympie Tce, with the new name Little Humid. Noosa Boathouse, right on the river with gorgeous views has a new chef (Shane Bailey), new menu and now has weekend breakfasts with local, free range and organic produce. Nearby, Thomas Corner Eatery chef and owner David Rayner is tempting us with Plenty for your 20 – a choice of 3 delicious snacks plus 2 drinks, all for $20, Monday to Saturday, 3-5.30pm. I’ll try the 2 bottles of beer and bowl of BBQ chicken wings – what will you have?
A great way to try all the tastes on offer at Noosa Junction, a locals’ favourite, is the Junction Flava Food & Wine Street Fest on Saturday October 26, noon-5pm for food and wine tastings from 16 eateries including Italian, Indian, Spanish, Japanese, Asian and pizza. There’ll also be music and kids’ activities.
And while I’m not a golfer, I can recognise a great deal when I see one: 2-for-1 cocktails at Relish Restaurant, Noosa Springs Golf Resort and Spa, Noosa Heads where you can drink in superb golf course views on Sundays, 3-6pm while sipping on a Fairway to Heaven or a 7 Iron. Bon appétit!
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.
Do you still do the Christmas countdown? I can’t avoid it at home with the kids reminding me twice a day for at least 2 months, and while I love Christmas (just a big kid at heart), the countdown is a scary reminder of what still has to be done... Christmas tree, decorations, presents, keeping the chocolate advent calendar out of the dog’s reach – so much to think about and do – but it’s all great fun, isn’t it?
I especially love Christmas lunch – well, I love the idea of Christmas lunch and an even better idea than doing all the preparation and cleaning up yourself is getting someone else to do all the hard work. Christmas lunches and dinners are so popular in Noosa with amazing temptations on offer – from Christmas buffet breakfasts to scrumptious 4-course lunches, seafood buffets and French champagne and truffles.
Check out the Noosa Festive Season Guide 2012-13 with more than 60 restaurants listing their festive fare from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day. There are also dozens of Christmas, New Year and holiday events and activities – where to see New Year’s Eve fireworks, opening times for major attractions, and ideas to keep the kids entertained when they’re not at the beach.
If you love singing along to Christmas carols, head to the Tewantin Christmas Carnival this Sunday; Noosa Chorale’s Christmas Cheer concerts this weekend; Coolum Christmas in the park on December 15; Christmas carols in Noosa Junction on December 21; the Peregian Beach Surf Club Nippers Christmas Eve carols; Carols on the River at Noosaville Lions Park on December 23; or an evening of carols at Palmer Coolum Resort on Christmas Eve.
Then on New Year’s Eve there are events all over town from the gypsy-fuelled ska surf rock of Caravana Sun at Noosa Heads Surf Club; to scrumptious dinners at Trios or The River Deck at Noosa Marina, Tewantin (where you get the bonus of amazing views of fireworks over the river at 9pm and midnight); Sheraton Noosa’s New Year’s Eve gala celebrations; and one of the coolest shows in town, the Cool Town Ball with Tijuana Cartel and Cheap Fakes at Coolum Civic Centre. And for something completely different, a New Year's Eve Everglades tour with champagne lunch from Kanu Kapers.
Other New Year’s Eve fireworks will be in front of Sunshine Beach Surf Club (9pm); Palmer Coolum Resort (9pm); Coolum fireworks in Tickle Park (8pm and midnight); and New Year’s Eve flares at Lake Cootharaba (8.45pm and midnight).
Then there’s all the fun for the kids – ride the train with Santa at The Ginger Factory; free moonlight movies at the Eumundi Markets Summer Nights every Friday from 5-9pm, along with a flea circus and magic show, music, Christmas carols and of course the unique market stalls; an Elfish Christmas children’s show at the Majestic Theatre, Pomona; children’s fun at the Coolum Twilight Markets every Friday from 4-8pm; have your photo taken with Santa and a ’gator at Australia Zoo; children’s pantomime at Noosa Arts Theatre in January; and for the ultimate Christmas story, Miracle on 34th Street at The J on December 22.