Blessed with a plethora of beaches, excellent restaurants and a year-round holiday vibe, Noosa is arguably the easiest destination in the country for a laid-back holiday, equally suitable for a couples getaway as a family beach break. There's terrific shopping, it's easy to get around (even without a car), pram friendly and the sea never gets especially cold. It's also easily accessible from Sunshine Coast Airport, or just a 90-minute drive from Brisbane.
A highlight of any Noosa sojourn is its glorious National Park, which is peopled by scenic strollers, board-carrying surfers bound for the breaks at Granite Bay and lycra-clad power walkers heading to the Hells Gates lookout before legging it back to Hastings Street and their morning caffeine fix. Follow one of the bush tracks inland from the spectacular coastal path and you might be rewarded with sightings of black cockatoos, koalas and ground parrots among other species. The beaches within the park are pristine and secluded.
Stock up on provisions including superb seafood and locally grown fruit and veg at the Noosa Farmers' Market (noosafarmersmarket.com.au), held every Sunday among the stands of fragrant eucalypts at The Noosa Australian Football Club in Noosaville. Alternatively, visit the famous Eumundi Markets (held on Saturday and Wednesday mornings) where you'll find locally made artisan crafts from ceramics to scarves to screen-printed tea towels. (eumundimarkets.com.au)
For a spot of scenic cruising take the Noosa Ferry from the jetty behind the Sofitel Noosa Heads to Tewantin, a 90-minute round trip. (noosaferry.com)
Hastings Street is lined with eateries, juice bars and gelaterie. In peak holiday periods you might need to book but in most cases you can simply throw a beach dress over your bathers and drop in. Dinner at 5.30pm is not unusual in this family-friendly resort. Be prepared to queue at the insanely popular Betty's Burgers (bettysburgers.com.au) which matches its signature Betty's classic and Crispy chicken burgers with craft beers, glorious thick shakes and indulgent "concretes" or sundaes.
At the other end of Hastings Street, easygoing Miss Moneypenny's does bistro classics and excellent wood-fired pizza. The classy Wasabi (wasabisb.com), on Noosa Sound, is one of the finest Japanese fine diners in the country and grows much of its produce on its own farm. If all else fails, head to the surf club (noosasurfclub.com.au), overlooking the beach, for a bucket of Mooloolaba prawns and a beer.
Book in for a surfing lesson at Noosa Main Beach, just beyond the groyne, with Noosa Learn to Surf (learntosurf.com.au) under the tutelage of former Australian and world Pro Am Champion Merrick Davis and his team. Group lessons run twice daily. You'll be guaranteed to get up in a single session. Or hire a stand-up paddleboard and cruise behind the breakers.
Most accommodation in Noosa is of the self-contained variety. Agents Richardson & Wrench have the market pretty well covered and their site (rwnoosaholidays.com.au) is the best place to start whether you're looking for a well-appointed two-bedroom apartment or a luxury six-bedroom mansion overlooking the river.
The fresh air is free and morning exercise, be it a swim on Main Beach or a brisk walk in the National Park, is almost mandatory in Noosa, before you nab your piece of sand.
Sally Webb visited Noosa at her own expense.
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