The always-popular seaside village on Australia’s Sunshine Coast boasts an abundance of incredible experiences and natural sights to enjoy in-between irresistible lazy days by the sea. Here are some of my favourite spots to hang and places to explore for the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.
The obvious downside of visiting Noosa in the middle of its peak season are the hordes of tourists with exactly the same plan as you; to see the Sunshine Coast at its best. Over the past few years the secret of this popular Aussie holiday spot has definitely got out, with seemingly more people on the beach each time I visit. Luckily though, the Main Beach is long enough to cater for everyone and it seems that there are still a few local gems that haven’t yet been divulged to the masses where you can escape for a spot of solitude.
Noosa National Park sits hidden in plain sight at the Southern end of Noosa Main Beach. Home to a multitude of stunning bays, secluded swimming spots, spectacular lookouts and bush-land thriving with Australian native wildlife; the National Park offers so much to see and explore. There is a well maintained system of walking tracks through the park that make it incredibly easy to tackle the stunning 4000 hectare stretch of coastline on offer between Noosa and Rainbow Beach; perfect for a day out with friends and family.
One of the absolute must-visit spots in the National Park are the Fairy Pools. Hidden to the side of the track and not signposted at all, the natural saltwater pools are a perfect place to spend a lazy day by the sea. They require a scramble down the rocks to get to and can only be accessed at low tide, but if you are able to find them and can time it right, there is no more spectacular place to hang out. Although the pools were once a well-kept local secret, it is now getting harder to enjoy them without another soul in sight, and on busy days it can be hard to even find a vacant place in the pools. Visit early to give yourself the best chance of a secluded escape before the masses hit.
Alexandria Bay is an idyllic stretch of sand about an hour’s walk along the coastal track from Noosa. As you turn the corner at Hell’s Gates lookout, a favourite local spot for whale watching, cliff jumping and a picnic with a view, you get your first glimpse of the pristine Alexandria Bay below. We didn’t venture any further than the lookout, opting to avoid any close-up encounters on the clothing-optional beach and view it from afar before heading back along the track to Noosa. For those wishing to continue walking, it is about another hour’s walk all the way to the stunning Sunshine Beach.
The Sunshine Coast is a haven for marine life, boasting regular appearances of dolphins, whales, turtles and even manta rays all along the coastline. Last year I was lucky enough to be in Noosa in September, prime-time for encounters with the marine wildlife. I regularly witnessed whales breaching as they passed by the beach on their annual migration South and pods of dolphins putting on morning shows of aerial acrobatics. Although I wasn’t ever able to time my morning swim to meet them in the water, pods of anywhere between five and thirty dolphins regularly cruised the coastline and provided plenty of opportunities to watch them play just beyond the waves.
An excursion to Rainbow Beach and Double Island point is a fantastic way to get away from the crowds and see some of the region’s most spectacular stretches of coastline. You can hire your own car or join a tour, but the only way to get there is 4WD beach driving. I joined a Dolphin View Kayak tour with Epic Ocean Adventures and ventured up to Double Island Point with the hope of kayaking with dolphins, manta rays or even migrating humpback whales. Two days previous to my visit, the tour group had a pod of whales breach within touching distance and two days later, witnessed manta rays gliding directly beneath their kayaks. On our tour we were visited by a pod of playful dolphins for almost an hour, toying with us as we chased them around the bay. For incredible marine encounters, Double Island Point is pretty hard to beat.
As much as you can avoid the chaos of Hastings St and try to discover some secluded spots nearby, there is a reason travellers choose Noosa. The main beach and village have a relaxed atmosphere, excellent food & dining options, a variety of appealing accommodation choices and a great beach to enjoy. All you have to do to get away from the crowds is to get there before they do. Waking up for a walk along the beach and a swim at sunrise will be the best decision you make during your stay. Dolphins in the water, colour illuminating the sky and only a handful of other people scattered along the sand; it’s not hard to explain why sunrise is my favourite time to enjoy the classic appeal of Noosa’s main beach.