Twenty reasons to visit Noosa, Queensland: Where you'll find some of the best beaches in the world

*Traveller Top Choices

1. STROLL: HASTINGS STREET

Rodeo Drive sur mer. It's easy to dismiss this flashy main street of Noosa, brimful of upscale restaurants, cafes and boutiques, as being one of our more pretentious golden miles. But Australia would surely be a better place if every high street was this well-designed, landscaped and maintained. The street runs parallel with Main Beach, one of east coast Australia's only north-facing beaches, meaning you can combine retail therapy with a bit of hydrotherapy. See visitnoosa.com.au

2. VISIT: NOOSA NATIONAL PARK

If you thought Noosa was the Australian beachside resort with absolutely everything you'd be right, especially when you add the fact that it is also the beneficiary of a 4000-hectare national park virtually at the end of its main street. The park, with its native bushland wrapped around a scenic headland, can be extremely popular at weekends and school holidays. See npsr.qld.gov.au

*3. TOUR: NOOSA WOODY

Take a tour of Noosa and surrounds in a restored 1946 Ford Woody, complete with a vintage surfboard attached to the roof. Built mainly from hardwood which was used in a Depression-hit and war-torn 1930s and '40s United States, the Noosa Woody can be hired for a tour starting at one hour for $190 (be prepared for a lot of stares and smiles as you go). See noosawoodyhire.com 

4. SEE: LAGUNA LOOKOUT

One of the most popular features of Noosa National Park is the large circular platform that forms Laguna Lookout. From an elevated point within the park, the lookout delivers striking views of both the Noosa environs, including Hastings Street and Main Beach, the surrounding ocean and the region's distant and inviting hinterland. See npsr.qld.gov.au

*5. DINE: WASABI RESTAURANT AND BAR

Noosa's premier restaurant is also one of Australia's leading Japanese eateries with a ranking in the top echelons of The Australian Financial Review's Top 100 restaurants list. Ingredients for the innovative menu at the glamorous boathouse-style Noosa River-side Wasabi are sourced from its own much-mentioned farm at Honeysuckle Hill, which sadly can't be visited, while seafood is caught locally. Opt for the seven or nine-course omakase (chef's choice) menu, and sit back and enjoy the view, both on the plate and outside the window. See wasabisb.com

6. TOUR: GONDOLAS OF NOOSA

Granted, you don't see any transplanted Noosa fishing tinnies on the Grand Canal but the idea of Brisbane-built Venetian gondolas plowing the man-made residential canals of the Noosa River isn't quite as gauche as it sounds. You can book a private dinner cruise, a pre-dinner sunset cruise and even a moonlight dessert or breakfast cruise. The motorised gondola features plush upholstery and no serenading with a one-hour cruise, with ice and glasses included for BYO drinks. Costs $180. It's also a fine way to arrive for dinner at a waterside restaurant like the aforementioned Wasabi. See gondolasofnoosa.com

7. EXPERIENCE: THE BEACHES

From shopping to sightseeing and dining to imbibing, there's so much to see do in and around Noosa that it can be easy to overlook what attracts people here in the first instance. The serene and protected Main Beach, which runs parallel to Hastings Street, is aptly named but locals also recommend Little Cove and Tea Tree Bay in Noosa National Park. For surf, head to pretty much anywhere along the glittering coastline from Sunshine to Peregian. On top of the wealth of beach options there are also the natural delights, including birdlife, of Noosa River to be enjoyed, as well as being the perfect venue for pursuits such as stand-up paddle-boarding and canoeing. See visitnoosa.com.au

8. EAT: AROMAS

One of Noosa's most popular and well-practised pastimes is the drinking of coffee with Hastings Street, in particular, a veritable river of espresso from one end to another. And there are few better exponents of the art than the French-style Aromas, a largely al fresco cafe right on the street. Perch yourself on one of the Parisian-style cafe chairs at Aromas pretty much at any time of the day, including late afternoon and evening for an aperitif, and watch the beautiful people of Noosa drift on by. See aromasnoosa.com.au

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9. SHOP: ASKEW

Hastings Street is not short of retail therapy but there aren't many shops as interesting as Askew. Founded by New Zealanders Paul and Annette Askew, the eponymous "lifestyle store" with branches in Auckland, the store stocks an eclectic range of expertly curated gifts, jewellery, fashion and homewares.See askewnoosa.com

10. DINE: LOCALE

Shaded by rainforest-like vegetation glimpsed though strategically placed skylights and windows with an interior of dark timbers, Locale feels like a designer Italian treehouse. Certainly, if you fancy contemporary Italian in Noosa, this is the location, er, locale. Aside from the range of top-notch pizza, pasta and mains, the fixed-price cichetti (Venetian-style tapas, more or less) is the ideal option for a leisurely lunch.  See localenoosa.com.au

11. STROLL: NOOSA WOODS

This small recreation area, consisting of native bushland and beaches, is a beautiful bookended companion of Noosa National Park at the opposite end of Hastings Street. Noosa Wood, a popular spot for wedding ceremonies, is a good place to commune with the extremely well-heeled locals and their well-manicured canines. See visitnoosa.com.au

12. DRIVE: SUNSHINE COAST HINTERLAND

Beyond the wall-to-wall glamour of Noosa is the hilly Sunshine Coast hinterland dotted with a host of charming, distinctively Queensland-style country towns and villages in gorgeous rural settings. Plan a half or full-day drive to either the northern loop (115 kilometres), the central loop (96 kilometres) or the southern loop (60 kilometres). See visitnoosa.com.au

13. SPOT: KOALAS

Once a popular Noosa attraction, nowadays visitors have to be extremely fortunate to see koalas within Noosa National Park. Unfortunately, the colony's numbers have dwindled to as little as a handful due to a combination of disease and habitat loss. However, steps have been taken to assess what can be done to save and increase the population. See npsr.qld.gov.au

14. VISIT: EUMUNDI

Although best known for its much-loved (and much-touted) twice-weekly markets, this character town perched high in the lofty Sunshine Coast hinterland is worthy of a visit at any time. Bibliophile visitors from NSW may recognise a familiar name on the historic streetfront signage with Berkelouw Books operating a new and second-hand bookshop here. See visitnoosa.com.au

15. DINE: SEASON RESTAURANT

This is one of Noosa's best spots, in any season, for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and in summer dinner, with its location overlooking Main Beach and Laguna Bay. Over a laneway running off Hastings Street, Season, with its contemporary Australian-focused menu, is open all day from 7am. Try and snare one of the tables closest to the beach. See seasonrestaurant.com.au

*16. VISIT: MONTVILLE

Dating to the late 19th century, the charming though ever-so-slightly touristy village is nestled in the Blackall Range. It makes for a delightful day or half-day excursion form Noosa, especially when combined with the equally quaint Eumundi. A bonus of a visit to Montville, which is 400 metres or so above sea level, are the stunning views afforded up and down the Sunshine Coast. See visitsunshinecoast.com

17. LUNCH: SAILS BEACH RESTAURANT AND BAR

On a sparkling, fine warm day in Noosa (read: pretty much every day) there are few better lunch spots than this convivial seafood-focused restaurant at the national park end of Hastings Street. Tables overlook Main Beach and Laguna Bay with the menu consisting of some superb seafood dishes, including terrific spanner crab lasagne and a sashimi plate which includes wonderfully fresh Mooloolaba tuna. See sailsnoosa.com.au

18. DINE: NOOSA BEACH HOUSE PETER KURUVITA

Peter Kuruvita, Australia's favourite Sri Lankan-Australian, is now firmly established at this impressive restaurant and bar complex in Hastings Street. Out front, visible through sound-proof glass from the restaurant, is the large, busy and round-the-clock bar where classic Sri Lankan hoppers are served at breakfast, while tucked away at the rear is the attractive restaurant dining room with its seafood-focused menu. Don't miss Kuruvita's signature Sri Lankan snapper curry which has happily migrated north from his early Flying Fish Sydney. See noosabeachhousepk.com.au

19. STAY: NOOSA

Although Noosa, somewhat strangely, arguably lacks a single standout hotel or resort befitting its status, the extensive Visit Noosa website (see below) lists an extensive choice of accommodation ideas including everything from hotels to houseboats and bed and breakfasts to self-contained cottages. See visitnoosa.com.au

* 20. DINE: SPICERS CLOVELLY ESTATE

Ideally, you'd factor a stay for a night or two at this beautiful property, owned by the founders of Flight Centre, just up the road from marvellous Montville. But failing that, head for the hills to this 13-room French provincial-style luxury guest house. There's lunch to be savoured at the esteemed Long Apron Restaurant or perhaps just morning or afternoon tea on the lawn overlooking the idyllic gardens. Bliss and so un-Noosa. See spicersretreats.com

Anthony Dennis visited as a guest of Visit Noosa. See visitnoosa.com.au

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