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 email@example.com 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.
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.
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.
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!
The shores of Boreen Point and Lake Cootharaba in the upper reaches of the Noosa River system are such a beautiful place to visit for fishing, sailing, canoeing, camping, bush walking and just to get away from it all, and this week you can add art into the mix. The green arts festival Floating Land which plays out for 10 days at nearby locations has brought 300 national and international artists to the lake's sandy shores.
More than 150 free events at this year's festival are bringing together environmental themes and art under the banner of Nature’s Dialogue. It’s a wonderful celebration of nature and art in the one location as it really shows off some of the region’s beautiful spots including the lakeside village of Boreen Point, Lake Cootharaba (the gateway to the Noosa Everglades), Eumarella Shores Noosa Lake Retreat, the historic Apollonian Hotel – even the metal door of the Lake Cootharaba Sailing Club for Poetry on the Sliding Door.
Artists have melded their works with the environment with sculptures along the foreshore such as the amazing Reading Clouds – Floating Middens by James Muller and Michel Tuffery featuring massive shell shapes on the water, and the festival continues all this week through to Sunday June 9 – timely for World Environment Day on Wednesday June 5.
It’s a unique and special way to view this gorgeous landscape, surrounded by the Great Sandy National Park, in a whole new light. Speaking of light, it’s worth a trip back there after dusk with LED lighting, sound and video projections transforming the artworks at night.
You can learn something new in traditional workshops about indigenous basketry, traditional costume weaving, canoe building and tai chi, or weaving, music and percussion with the Leweton Cultural Group from Vanuatu. There are guided tours, artist talks, traditional and contemporary dance, film, visual art, studio trails and the Eco Lounge at the historic Apollonian Hotel every night.
Dusk Installation Walks start at the Floating Land Info Hub on Wednesday and Saturday this week (June 5 and 8), with a guide talking about each of the displays along the lake’s edge, and Guided Canoe Installation Tours are a unique way to see the artworks by day or night. One of the satellite events is Fire and Tea at Rowley Drysdale’s amazing Quixotica art space in Cooroy – tea vessels will be fired in an Asian-style anagama kiln and Korean tea ceremonies will be served at 11am and 3pm on Saturday and Sunday this weekend (June 8 and 9).
I’m looking forward to hearing the moving sounds of extinct and endangered animals played out across the waters of Lake Cootharaba by the amazing Linsey Pollak, using live looping in his Cries Across the Water concert at sunset (5-5.45pm) this Wednesday and Friday (June 5 and 7) – bring a chair and rug.
The Floating Land Farewell performance, The Calling, is on Saturday June 8 from 4-6pm on the foreshore opposite Lake Cootharaba Sailing Club, with the Leweton Cultural Group. Download the full festival program here or have a look at more images thanks to ABC Open and head out there this week – it’s only about 25 minutes from Noosa.
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.
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.
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.