Ocean with surfers at Noosa Head

ISSUE #16: Noosa Head, Queensland

WITH A NAME LIKE THE SUNSHINE COAST, it’s no surprise that this stretch of Queensland is dotted with golden beaches and calm turquoise waters lapping against them. Doubly it’s no wonder that Noosa Heads is among our favorite places to visit in the winter.

Protected by a beautiful reef, this small community offers calm waters year-round and friendly, laid-back locals who rise early with the morning call of the rosellas – a beautiful bird with garish feathers and a loud voice – to hit the surf at the end of the coastal path in Noosa National Park. Keep an eye out for the other friendly locals, the koalas, who can be seen sitting in the gum trees lining the paths to Winch Cove, Fairy Pools or Hell’s Gates which provide stunning views out to the Coral Sea. We always plan for a short walk along this stretch, but take our advice: bring along a daypack with swimsuits, fresh fruit and nuts and a body board or surfboard as the water and beaches are too tantalizing to pass up.

Venture out further on the water by scheduling a whale watching tour if you’re planning your visit to Noosa between June and November. In other months consider a sunset river cruise on the ferry that takes you from the Noosa Sound to points upriver.

Noosa’s beauty is unmatched and so is its selection of accommodation options. With a stunning array of choices from budget friendly backpackers’ hideaways to resort escapes, there is something for everyone. If you’re looking for a respite, try Tingirana Noosa, or aptly named On the Beach. Both are perfectly situated between the city’s boardwalk, Hastings Street, and the beach at Laguna Bay.

Hastings Street is the beating heart of the small township with posh shops, like Laila and Witchery for curated women’s collections. For local and original art, there’s the Noosa Regional Gallery with rotating local exhibits, and, if surfing becomes more of a passion than a hobby, be sure to stop in at Noosa Longboards. Strolling along Hastings, there’s plenty to eat and drink. Noosa Beach House by Chef Peter Kuruvita which boasts a blend of modern Sri Lankan cuisine with the freshest catch from the sea,or visit the Mediterranean-inspired Locale where you’ll find hand cut pastas and locally sourced produce, seafood and meats. Pubs range from the unpretentious Village Bicycle to craft cocktail haunts like Padstows and Whisky Boy. Most of the bars and pubs wind down during the weekday around 10:30 p.m. but you can find music at the surf club on weekends or head to the one late-night club near the Sheraton Hotel: Rolling Rock.

Prefer a brilliant beach house or apartment? Noosa’s tightknit community has access to anything you need to make your getaway vacation still seem like home. Stocking up at the Noosa Junction, about a mile from Hastings Street, you can buy fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables and fresh caught filleted fish and shellfish – we’re particularly fond of the oysters with some bubbly to watch the sunset.