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Noosa is a resort town in Queensland that offers sun, sea, and a laid-back atmosphere. The stunning Noosa National Park is one of the major reasons to visit, which is home to several hiking trails, stunning beaches, incredible views and plenty of wildlife.
Look for koalas around Tea Tree Bay or sail around the Noosa Everglades – you’ll find there are plenty of things to do in Noosa for any type of traveler.
If you’re planning a trip to the sunshine Coast and thinking about heading over to Noosa for a day or two, then you’re doing the right thing!
We used to live in Mooloolaba, just south of Noosa, so have spent considerable time exploring Noosa.
We can easily see why it is one of Australia’s, and the world’s, most popular destinations. Here are some of the top attractions in Noosa…
Things to Do in Noosa, Sunshine Coast
We were so glad we gave Noosa a visit on our trip around Australia. With sun, sand and a relaxed vibe, it makes for the perfect destination to visit in Queensland.
Below you will find all the top attractions in Noosa as well as a few hidden gems on the Sunshine Coast!
1. Walk the Coastal Walk of Noosa National Park
It’s the National Park that elevated Noosa to a place that’s worth visiting for me. Before I discovered that, I thought Noosa was overhyped and overpriced.
We spent a morning walking the coastal track within the National Park from the surf club to Tea Tree Bay where I plonked on the sand and said, “Ah now I get it.”
It’s a really beautiful walk and if you crane your neck on your hike, you might just spot a koala or two – Noosa National Park is a favoured home of theirs.
On another day, we walked into Noosa National Park from the opposite entrance at Sunshine Beach. This short walk offered sweeping views down the coast. And we saw our first whale for the season breaching just off shore.
2. Visit Noosa Main Beach
Noosa is a world-famous surfing destination, and Main Beach right in town is a favourite spot for locals to surf the clean waves, and for beginners to get a surfing lesson. Or, take out a paddle board or boogie board.
Noosa Main Beach is one of the only north-facing beaches on the east coast of Australia, and because it’s sheltered with gentle waves it makes for a family-friendly beach. The water is clear at a nice temperature, and the sand is clean and soft.
The boardwalk running along the beach is swept clean every day and as far as town beaches go, this is up there with the best – the type of beach Australia is famous for!
3. Catch The Sunset in Noosa
We didn’t get a brilliant sunset whilst there, too clouded over, but we walked up the beach a little away from the surf club end and out on the rock wall and watched the surfers catch their final wave of the day.
There are much fewer people up this end and a quiet spot for the kids to play in the sand.
4. Check Out The Sunday Noosa Farmers Markets
The absolute best smoothie, we’ve ever had was at the Sunday Noosa Farmers Market in Noosa from the store The Sunflower Hotel.
I can still taste it and Caz yearns to have just one more sip of her heavenly Mother Nature – mint, cacao, banana, maca, medjool dates topped with cacao nibs. It’s a meal in itself.
And when I say smoothies, I’m talking bursting with colour, trumped up with vibrant energy, and full of nourishing superfoods.
The Sunflower Hotel is THE destination at the Sunday morning market. I’ve been disappointed with every smoothie I’ve had since this one.
The markets are a great place to get your fresh local produce, as well as some handicraft items and boutiques, just bear in mind you are in Noosa so prices might not be your typical farmer’s market prices.
If you miss the morning market, the Noosa Marina Markets are another place to find fresh fruit and veg but they go on until early afternoon.
5. Walk up to Laguna Lookout
If you’re looking for incredible views, then you should make sure to hike up to one of the lookouts. I recommend the Laguna lookout in Noosa National Park, a popular spot to see incredible jungle and coastal views over Noosa headland.
There are two ways to the lookout, by car or by hiking. If you chose to hike, it’s only a 1.2 km hike, but the trail is quite steep.
The hike is worth the effort though, as you head up steps through the stunning forest, full of native trees such as eucalyptus, giant grey gum, ironbark, pink bloodwood, and tallowwood trees.
If you’re lucky, you may see some native animals such as kookaburras, lace monitors and koalas in the trees.
From the look out, it’s also possible to see humpback whales swimming in the ocean. They are best seen between June and November when they are migrating to and from their breeding grounds in the north.
6. Have a Picnic at Noosa Botanic Gardens
The Noosa Botanic Gardens opened in 1990 and is made up of eight hectares of native and exotic plants. They are located just a short drive from Cooroy, next to Lake Macdonald.
The botanic gardens was built on a site that was once used to dump rubbish until a local resident, Ida Duncan, asked for it to be cleaned up and turned into a garden by the coucil. With the help locals, Ida Duncan cleared the dumping ground and work began on turning it into a park in 1987.
The gardens are still looked after by the locals, as volunteers come to maintain them every Thursday.
7. Visit Australia Zoo
Australia Zoo is the home to the late Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, and is a must visit for anyone visiting Noosa.
The zoo began, and still is, a family-run wildlife park dedicated to protecting and preserving the native species of animals in Australia.
The zoo is not just a zoo, but an animal hospital and rehabilitation center, and a great place to learn about the animals who call Australia home, through crocodile shows and animal talks.
Craig used to work at Australia Zoo – it’s definitely our favorite zoo in Australia and a highlight of your trip to the Sunshine Coast.
8. Take a Day Trip to Fraser Island
Ahh Fraser Island, it’s an adventurer paradise! It’s the largest sand island in the world, which is why it’s named The Great Sandy National Park.
A day tour starts from Rainbow Beach, and then you explore the island by driving a 4×4 vehicle down its highway, which is also a massive beach. Sounds fun, right?
Fraser Island has a whole host of things to do, from swimming in the glistening Lake McKenzie, to shipwreck hunting, to whale watching from the shores.
Keep an eye out for dingos, the islands native residents, as this is the best place to see them. Read our guide to Fraser Island here.
9. Paddle The Rockpools of Granite Bay
Located within the stunning Noosa National Park is one of the most stunning beaches in the area. Granite Bay is famous for its rock pools, which appear when the tide is out.
If you’re lucky, you can even see sea turtles and dolphins swimming happily in the waters here.
The beach is named after the big granite boulders that sit at the waters edge. You’ll find the surf here is quite strong, so surfing enthusiasts usually rock up here every day.
If you’re looking for an easy hike in Noosa, then a walk out to Granite Bay is a good option. The walk takes you past Laguna Bay and Tea Tree Bay and passing through lush rainforest.
10. Be Amazed at The Ginger Factory
If you’re looking for things to do in Noosa with kids, then a trip to The Ginger Factory is a must. It’s a part museum, part educational center.
As well as touring the factory and attending workshops, there are also rides and kids play areas, so the children can enjoy the experience too!
Don’t forget to ride The Ginger Train, which takes you through the factory’s 9 hectare land, full of sub-tropical gardens.
The train is over 100 years old, and was once a sugar cane train working at the Moreton Sugar Mill in Nambour.
11. Take the Noosa Ferry to Spot Some Wildlife
If you’re looking for relaxing things to do in Noosa, then all aboard the Noosa Ferry! The historic timber ferry goes up and down the canal and is the only timber ferry still in operation in Queensland.
discover the beautiful Noosa River and its surrounds.
The cruise goes between Hastings Street (Noosa Heads) & Tewantin (Noosa Marina) with seven stops along the Noosa River, including cruising past the Noosa River Mouth, and into Weyba Creek admiring the waterfront homes of Noosa Sound. It’s approximately 40 minutes cruising one way & 90 minutes return and includes commentary. The sunset cruise is popular.
Another canal cruise we love is about 25 minutes south at Noosa at old home, Mooloolaba. The ferry sails past Mooloolah Island, which is a man-made island famous for its million dollar homes, as well as Minyama Island where many celebrities live. Get your ferry cruise tickets in advance here!
12. Look for Dolphins at Dolphin Point
Another popular lookout is Dolphin Point, which is one of the best places to see dolphins and turtles. It’s located inside the Noosa National Park on the Noosa Coastal Walk.
Many people often hike the whole walk which is around 10km, but you can reach it within 20 minutes walking from the Steve McGinley Timber Surfboard at Noosa Heads.
The views from here are incredible! Plan for half a day here, as you won’t want to rush off when you get there.
13. Kayak the Noosa Everglades
Noosa is famous for its beaches, but if you go inland you’ll find its rich with rainforest and everglades. For those wanting to see some wildlife, you’ll want to take a trip to the everglades.
Rent a kayak and paddle your way through the glistening waters, meanwhile keep your eyes on the lookout for wild kangaroos, koalas, and many species of bird.
It is said that 40% of Australia’s bird species are found in the Noosa Everglades and it’s the only everglade system where you can safely swim because it’s croc-free! (though many visitors don’t, the water is a bit murky).
The everglades are nestled amongst two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, the Noosa and Great Sandy.
The Great Sandy Biosphere Reserve includes the magnificent Great Beach Drive to popular Rainbow Beach
Where to Eat & Drink in Noosa
There is a huge variety of cafes and restaurants to eat at in Noosa. It is a tad on the expensive side so beware of this before you visit. The following places we recommend you visit for food and drink.
1. Cafe Le Monde
Stylish, yet casual, Cafe Le Monde is a local favourite and came highly recommended. Caz enjoyed a nice quinoa salad although would have loved more quinoa. Big tick for the coffee too!
2. 10 Hastings Street Cafe
Recommended by our followers on Facebook, 10 Hastings Street Cafe is a casual, funky cafe at the quieter end of Hastings Street good for breakfast or lunch with a friendly vibe and well priced meals for Noosa.
Give the smoothies a try, and the soy latte was memorable too!
3. Noosa Surf Club
Hard to beat the views over Main Beach, Noosa Surf Club is like most surf clubs relaxed and family-friendly, and good for lunch and dinner, or breakfast on the weekends!
Not fine dining but possibly the cheapest water view place you’ll eat at in Noosa, it has your typical surf club decor and our kids always love getting the kiddies activity bags with their meals.
Whilst in Noosa, we took a quick drive around to Noosaville which was bigger than I expected, and other nearby towns at this end of the sunny coast worth a drive are Coolum and Peregian Beach.
Tips From Our Followers
We love to ask our Facebook followers for suggestions on things to do when we visit a town. This is what they said about Noosa:
- Marlies Harting – ferry at sunset, Eumundi Markets on Wednesday and Saturday, kayaking, Noosa Everglades, rent a bike or scooter. Oh and eat at the Noosa Beach Hous!
- Sally Wilson – my fave holiday place! For a nice meal out with kids, I love Rickys or Wood Fire Grill on Noosa Sound. They’re right on the river and next to a little playground so the kids can play while you wait for your meal. On Hastings St, Bistro C for amazing breakfasts, Miss Moneypenny’s for a cocktail, and Cafe La Monde is always a family fave. The surf club is great for casual family meals and it’s right on the beach. At Noosaville, I love Thomas Corner Eatery. If you want a fancy adults-only dinner I’d recommend Berardo’s or Sails (both on Hastings St) or Wasabi at Noosa Sound. And my kids love to catch the ferry on the Noosa River!
- Dionne Tanner – If you’re walking around Noosa definitely hit up Massimo’s Gelateria in Noosa Heads, love the rocher flavour! Also, if you want to drive for food, check out a cooking class or just go eat at Spirit House in Yandina.
- Erica Wildey – Walk along the wooden path that runs on the beach. They also have lots of amazing sand castle makers that put tea lights in these sandcastles. And they really look like ‘castles’
- Shandelle Kenane – Head to nitro genie in Hastings street, go on a sunset river cruise, have dinner at Bombay Bliss in Tewantin, or if you have a 4wd spend a day on Noosa’s north shore.
- Budget Travel Talk – Peregian Beach is our fave. Has a Sunday Market on the Beach front near the Surf Club too. Yandina has a nice local market and good healthy cafes.
- Celeste Mitchell – Go to a burger bar in Noosaville. Order the Dutch Oven!
Where to Stay in Noosa
Thanks to our partnership with Mantra Hotels, we stayed at the Mantra French Quarter which has prime positioning on Hastings Street with easy access to the cafe scene, the National Park, and a stumble across the road from the beach.
We especially loved the tropical pool area and when we weren’t playing at the beach the girls loved this pool and the heated kid-friendly wading area.
It was more than comfortable, we weren’t huge on the green decor but very chic none the less. Rooms come in 1 and 2 bedroom apartments, there’s 24 hour reception, complimentary in-house movies, and under-cover parking (a godsend in Noosa).
You can find other accommodation deals below
Before You Go
So there you have it, those are the best things to do in Noosa and as you can see, there are a lot of cool attractions to see.
Whether you’re looking for some excellent surf, hiking trails to beat, or places to relax, you’ll find all of that in Noosa.
Before you go, remember that Noosa is a resort town and that means it’s pricey. You can save yourself a small fortune by booking in advance.
Prices for accommodation rack up when you book last minute, so get the best deals (and the best places) by booking as far in advance as you can.
Have you visited Noosa? Share any of your tips for things to do in Noosa in the comments below!