Sea, Sun and Gelati: 5 Things You Must Do In Noosa

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A small coastal town on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Noosa is a sleepy yet vibrant foodie and shopping mecca, with expansive beaches, vivid light and surfers everywhere. Only a two-hour road trip up from Brisbane (Queensland’s capital city) I descended on this sun-soaked corner of paradise by way of an Easter road trip with my bestie. We ate, photographed and wandered our way around town to curate five top things you must do in Noosa.

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1. Wander Hastings Street

The main street of downtown Noosa Heads, Hastings Street runs parallel to and one street back from the beach. Think: organic eateries, ridiculously good coffee, hole-in-the-wall juice bars, art galleries and high-end boutiques (most of which are still relaxed enough to peruse through in your bikini).

I recommend propping yourself at 10 Hastings Street (eatery and boutique motel) for a chilled frappe and coffee. You’ll find pineapples on tables, juices in mason jars and food that’s definitely too pretty to eat (but you will anyway). It’s the perfect place to people watch and leisurely plan your day’s adventure.

10 Hastings Street10 Hastings Street, Noosa Heads

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2. Noosa National Park + Hell’s Gate

Hike is not the right word to describe this oceanside forest track – it’s definitely more ‘walking trail’ – and a beautiful one at that. We took to this trail in flip flops and toting a picnic basket, and discovered granite beaches, vivid blue ocean vistas, dense scrubland with gum trees reaching high, and Pandanus aerial roots sprawled low. There was also plenty of local wildlife to meet – we cam across a goanna and koala. Keep going and you’ll soon hit Hell’s Gates, for a striking 360 degree view of the headland. It’s around a two hour round trip, not including photo stops (of which there will be many). You’ll return feeling awestruck and invigorated.

Noosa National Park, Park Road, Noosa Heads

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3. Play in rock pools at Granite Bay

Sitting half way along the path to Hell’s Gate is a secluded expanse of beach with sizeable black granite boulders and crystal clear rockpools. It’s the perfect place to take an afternoon dip and cool off on your way back to Noosa. Sink into the rock pools, and watch surfers riding impressive waves out in the deep blue.

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4. Gelati at Massimo’s

You can’t visit Noosa without stopping for some of this gelati – it’s just the rules. Sitting at the end of Hastings Street, backed up against the beach, Massimo’s is somewhat of a Noosa institution. There’s never not a lineup out the door, even barely after breakfast o’clock. With a changing menu of flavours such as hazelnut, blueberry yoghurt, and four varieties of chocolate, you’ll have a hard time picking your flavour. Be warned – you can’t try samples – so you’ve just got to commit. I picked coconut and pink grapefruit, my friend picked macadamia and pistachio (saw the salted caramel and thought of you, Brooke!) Creamy, fresh and very Instagramable – but be quick – it melts fast!

75 Hastings Street, Noosa Heads

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5. Noosa Main Beach (and Bistro C)

Last but not least, you can’t miss the Noosa Main Beach – an expanse of white sand with gentle waves, boardwalk stretching for much of the strip, and popular for swimming all year round. You can rent kayaks for adventures, or deckchairs to relax on – or take surfing lessons if you’re game. The beach is patrolled by surf lifesavers every day of the year, making it a hot spot for families and tourists of all ages.

If you can, book ahead to dine at Bistro C while you’re there – it’s right on the beachfront and worth visiting for the view alone. Whether you decide to dine for breakfast with morning light, or dinner and some people watching, it never disappoints. We opted for brunch, and I fell for the corn cakes! The food is incredible, the staff are beautiful and the vibe is stellar but not pretentious.

Bistro C: 1/49 Hastings Street, Noosa Heads QLD 4567

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Have you been to Noosa? What would you recommend for other WOW readers?

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    May 15, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    This was our first stop on our little road trip last year.
    Lovely place. And the National Park is gorgeous

    Bec Bogaards
    May 6, 2015 at 6:22 am

    I love Noosa! An beautifully accurate description of my hometown. It’s lovely to know that I get to share such a beautiful town with other people who appreciate it’s beauty in the same way I do 🙂 Thanks for sharing a great post Emma!

    Claire @ TallGirlBigWorld
    May 1, 2015 at 5:17 am

    I love the way the photos are arranged in this article! Noosa sounds like an amazing place to visit. Small towns are sometimes the best when traveling because you get to slow down for a bit and really get to know the culture of a place.

    Tegan Rowe
    May 1, 2015 at 1:02 am

    I grew up and went to school on the Sunshine Coast, I moved to Victoria at the end of last year. I miss the beautiful weather and the beach a lot. Sunshine Coast does the best icecream. There’s an ice cream shop in Cotton Tree called Red Cherry and they do cinnamon icecream which tastes like Christmas! Noosa also has a shop called Nitrogenie which makes thickshakes and icecream with dry ice in front of you – looks like magic! I miss it!

    April 30, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    I visited Noosa on my whirlwind roadtrip around Aus before I left for London but wish I could have spent more time there! We only stayed overnight as we were on a tight schedule, but did walk around the National Park – gorgeous! I remember going past so many beautiful stores and restaurants while we were there, and I really must go back and try them all! xx

    Karen Farber
    April 30, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    Well now I want to go here! Sounds amazing!

    April 30, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    I’ve been to Noosa a loooong time ago on a round-the-world trip and it’s such a great place. Thanks for bringing back the memories… I think it was Noosa where I stayed at a fantastic backpacker place in an old colonial building.

    April 30, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    I absolutely love Noosa, seeing this has made me want to go again.

    Michelle | Lights Camera Travel
    April 30, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Stunning photos Emma! I haven’t been to Noosa for a few years, but I have this memory of having THE most incredible porn belly while I was there. I can’t remember the restaurant though… also a fantastic espresso martini! Thanks for the great coverage of our beautiful country X

    April 30, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Hey Emma-Kate! I am so glad I live in Brisbane have 2 beautiful coasts only hours away from me. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Noosa! Perfect for those days you want to get out of the city and just relax. The Rock pools and the Walking Trail sound good. I must do them when I head back up there. Thank you for the tips 🙂

    April 30, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Great timing for this article. I’m spending 4 nights in Noosa Heads in mid June, and have yet to decide what to actually do there. This is a great start for my planning!

    The Dame Intl
    April 30, 2015 at 10:49 am

    This post is heartbreaking. PLEASE Universe make it so that I can live in Australia!!

    April 30, 2015 at 9:56 am

    I’ve never heard of that place but it looks amazing!

    Lily Plume
    April 30, 2015 at 8:41 am

    I absolutely LOVE your photos in this post! Especially the one of the rock pool, it looks so magical. I’ve always wanted to visit Noosa, and Australia in general, but living in the UK it feels like a distant dream. I hope I can get there some day, and if I do I will definitely read this guide again for inspo! Thank you for sharing!

    April 30, 2015 at 8:00 am

    I loved Noosa when I was there. Just outside is Noosa Everglades. We booked onto a 3 day canoe safari which took us along the river in the park, then we had a hike up to the Cooloola sand patch which was awesome. Definitely a must do for anyone in the area even if it is quite hard work 🙂

    April 30, 2015 at 6:57 am

    I haven’t even heard of Noosa before, but it looks so lovely! Should definitely visit it one day.

    Ellie D'Alton
    April 30, 2015 at 6:47 am

    Hi Brooke! This is a brilliant post on Noosa! I’ve just come back from 5 months travelling by myself – very inspired by you! I spent just over a week in Noosa, which I absolutely loved! I also learnt to surf there (I wasn’t great!) and had my first paddle-board lesson along the gorgeous river! I loved Hasting Street and all of it’s lovely little boutiques, and I became especially accustomed to Witchery which I had never heard of before! You’re such an inspiration doing what you’re doing, and I would be honored if you could check out my blog which I started last summer!