Noosa has a star quality all its own and just like a Hollywood A-lister, this stunning beachside town shows off those natural good looks to full advantage. Chic couples stroll hand-in-hand along Noosa’s pristine beaches, stylish restaurants beckon and local markets and boutiques hold the promise of the perfect holiday memento. There are plenty of things to do in Noosa and fabulous places to stay, whether you want to splurge on a romantic Noosa honeymoon hotel overlooking the beach or stay somewhere more affordable in Noosaville. Whatever time of year you’re planning to visit, Noosa offers the perfect excuse to slip off your shoes and spend time with your family or enjoy a sophisticated and romantic stay with someone special. Here is our ultimate guide to where to stay, dine, and drink, and the best Noosa things to do with links to detailed reviews.
It doesn’t matter when you decide to visit Noosa as this destination offers plenty to see and do throughout the year. For many visitors, particularly for those who want to stay at one of the high end resorts along Hastings Street, the decision often comes down to cost. Spring runs from September to November and offers sunny, dry days with a low chance of rain. The weather starts to heat up around this time, although September can still be too chilly for swimming, particularly in the early part of the month or if it is windy. With clear skies and temperatures around 24 degrees, spring is the perfect time for enjoying the National Parks and walks on the beach. It is also ideal for sampling Noosa’s many outdoor cafes, bars and restaurants.
Summer is hotter with temperatures peaking in the early part of the year. This is the best time for swimming and soaking up the sun, provided there are no cyclones further north as this means it will likely be windy and rainy. Summer is peak season in Noosa which means high prices and crowds, although Noosa tends to feel buzzy rather than crowded, even when it’s busy. Expect a lot of families around this time and eye watering prices if you want to stay on Hastings Street. Now is not the time to enjoy a Noosa honeymoon. Autumn is similar to spring and usually warm throughout and suitable for swimming, although things are often getting chilly by May and there can be some rain. If you aren’t keen on swimming and want to avoid the rain, winter is generally dry with cloud-free days and crisp evenings.
Winter offers bargain prices, no crowds and plenty of specials when it comes to accommodation. If you stay mid week, it’s possible to find excellent accommodation deals in winter and enjoy a relaxing break with a focus on pampering, wining and dining for a bargain price.
Where to stay at Noosa
One important thing to know before you start looking at accommodation is Noosa Heads and Noosa Junction are completely different spots. Noosa Heads is the area in and around Hastings Street. Noosa Junction is a shopping area around 25 minutes’ walk away and nowhere near the beach. There are four main areas to stay at in Noosa: Along Main Beach, near near Hastings Street, Noosa Junction and Noosaville and its surrounds. The most highly coveted (and the most expensive) option is along Hastings Street at one of the resorts overlooking the Noosa boardwalk and Main Beach.
These hotels have some of Noosa’s best beach views and offer a classic barefoot beachside Noosa experience for those who can afford it. However, if you want that picture postcard worthy beach view, you’re going to have to pay for it. Hastings Street hotels and resorts are located right on or near the beach and within walking distance of everything, including Noosa National Park. If you stay on Hastings Street, you’ll also have some of Noosa’s most popular shops, bars and restaurants right on your doorstep.
They’re also some of the most expensive accommodation options in Noosa, with ocean view rooms starting at around $600 per night mid-week in low season. Both Seahaven Noosa and On the Beach offer beautiful ocean views and good value as you can self cater. Accommodation options close enough to Hastings Street that you can walk there in under 15 minutes are ideal for those who want to be in the heart of the action but can’t afford the resorts along the boardwalk at Noosa’s Main Beach. Our favourite option in this category is Peppers Noosa Resort & Villas which adjoins Noosa National Park. This resort offers self-catering apartments in leafy surrounds with a soundtrack provided by native birds at a fraction of the cost of a Hastings Street resort. The Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort has a prime location on Hastings Street and all the ingredients for a stylish beach holiday. With its Mediterranean-meets-France styling, it’s a landmark destination for travellers after an extra dash of style with some of the best service in town – and beyond.
Noosaville is around 10 minutes’ drive from Noosa and overlooks the river. It has plenty of great dining options and a grassy foreshore that is ideal for picnics. However, you’ll need to drive to a beach if you are staying here. Our favourite alternate accommodation option is Eumarella Shores Noosa Lake Retreat on beautiful Lake Weyba. Surrounded by native bushland with regular visits by wallabies and native birds, this is a peaceful escape just 15 minutes drive from Hastings Street.
RACV Noosa Resort is set amongst native Australian bushland with superb mountain views and is a 10 minute walk from the great bars and restaurants at Noosa Junction. If you would like to explore the up and coming dining precinct known as The Junction at Noosa Junction, it’s in the perfect spot and has some of the largest apartments in Noosa. There’s a courtesy bus if you want to head to Hastings Street or you can walk as it only takes 25 minutes walk. This picturesque resort is my top choice at Noosa for those travelling with children.
Things to do at Noosa
Noosa’s natural beauty inspires visitors to relax and revel in its sense of place. In fact, it’s one of the best spots in Queensland to enjoy a healthy holiday. Soak up the sun on a secluded beach or walk the famous Noosa National Park Coastal Track or get back to nature on a tour.
The combination of incredible scenery and lively and interesting commentary make a Noosa helicopter tour a must-do on a trip to the Sunshine Coast. You’ll be talking about the amazing views and posting on social media for days.
Noosa Oceanrider offers dolphin watching off Noosa’s pristine coast. If it is whale season, you will probably see these magnificent creates as well. Thrill rides are also available if you fancy something a little more racy along with your wildlife spotting.
There are plenty of things to do at Noosa for active travellers. Plunge into the crystal clear waters of Little Cove or Laguna Bay or join the locals swimming laps up and down Main Beach. Waves are gentle at Noosa which makes this beach a hit with families.
Stand up paddleboarding and surfing off the point is also popular. If you would like to try surfing for yourself, sign up for a lesson with Noosa Learn to Surf or hire a board from the stand in front of the surf club.
If you want to work off some of Noosa’s excellent dining, grab a paddle and explore the Noosa Biosphere Reserve, a spectacular series of freshwater tidal parklands covering 150,000 hectares, on a Kanu Kapers Everglades Tour.
If you don’t want to do the paddling yourself, Noosa Dreamboats takes visitors through the pristine Noosa Everglades in a vintage wooden speedboat. This cruise provides a whole new perspective on Noosa’s natural beauty.
If you have access to a car, take a culinary day trip to the nearby Sunshine Coast hinterland and sample light-as-a-feather scones at Montville or visit a boutique cheese factory or family-run vineyard at Maleny. Or you could head to the Pomona Distilling Company in Pomona, a laid back village about 30 minute’s drive from Noosa.
Best Noosa food and wine
There is never a dull moment when you dine at Noosa. You’ll probably see more locals at the restaurants at Noosaville but there are some great dining options with fabulous views along Hastings Street. Bistro C, Season Restaurant and Sails Restaurant all have a stunning outlook over sparkling blue sea and are the perfect spot to linger over a meal. In summer, you can enjoy a drink and watch the sunset before dinner at these restaurants.
Miss Moneypenny’s is a funky restaurant and bar where chill-out tunes and a hip clientele create an exciting vibe. Bistro C serves fabulous cocktails and is the ideal spot to watch suntanned beach goers drifting to and from their accommodation. Aromas offers superb people watching on Hastings Street. This café’s row of wicker chairs face outwards in classic European fashion and everyone goes there to be seen, even if they’d rather die than admit it. The coffee is as good as the people watching. Betty’s Burgers also has great people watching and some of Noosa’s best burgers. For something quick to takeaway and eat on the beach, the food court at Bay Village on Hastings has outlets selling freshly squeezed juices, sandwiches, sushi, pies, wraps, and kebabs.
Foodies should consider joining the locals and venturing further afield to the likes of Noosa Waterfront Restaurant & Bar, a long-standing local favourite that is less than 10 minutes’ drive from Hastings Street. ALBA by Kuruvita is also 10 minutes’ drive from Hastings Street and dishes up stellar Sri Lankan fare made with the Sunshine Coast’s famous produce. The bar here is staffed by friendly bartenders who know their stuff, don’t miss it! Vanilla Food Café at Noosa Junction offers healthy fare that’s good for you and tastes great too. You’ll also find a Super IGA supermarket here for stocking up on self-catering supplies.
Nudge Nudge Wink Wink brings the vibe of New York to Noosa (minus the drink prices in US dollars) and the kind of cool crowd who understand there’s no cut off age for enjoying a good night out. Styled after a New York speakeasy, the vibe is cool, the couches are comfortable, the snacks come from a kitchen not out of a jar, and cocktails go far beyond the usual.
Telephone Call From Istanbul is a hole-in-the-wall bar that might be small but it’s got a great local vibe and a menu created by a rotating group of guest chefs. One night you could get a Telephone Call From Greece, the next time it could be a Telephone Call From Thailand or India. Most of the seating is outdoors so it’s best to drop in when the weather is good.
Moonstruck on Hastings Street serves two of my favourite things: coffee and gin. Drop in for a light lunch or coffee or during the day then enjoy the sultry gin joint ambiance when the sun goes down. The gin cocktails here were some of the best we’ve had anywhere. If you don’t like gin, there are plenty of other choices as well.
Disclosure: The writer loves visiting Noosa and enjoying everything this beautiful destination has to offer. Her favourite time to visit is late spring and early autumn.
Heading to the Sunshine Coast? We’ve got lots of helpful information to help make this your best trip yet including accommodation reviews for Eumarella Shores Noosa Lake Retreat Review, Oceans Mooloolaba, Rumba Beach Resort, Seahaven Noosa, King Parrot Retreat, On the Beach Noosa, Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort and Peppers Resort & Villas Review. We’ve also reviewed Australia Zoo Review, Kanu Kapers Everglades Tours, SEA LIFE Mooloolaba, Sails Restaurant Noosa, Noosa helicopter tours, Noosa Oceanrider, Noosa Dreamboats, and Betty’s Burgers Noosa. Don’t miss our tips for Things to do on the Sunshine Coast, Noosa Things to Do for Active Travellers, The Best Restaurants at Mooloolaba, The Ultimate Guide to Noosa, Things to do at Mooloolaba, Healthy Noosa Holidays, Where to Find the Best Views on Hastings Street, and How to Plan Your Noosa Honeymoon.