A flat, barren desert notable for its sand dunes and red dusty landscape, Australia's Simpson…
I’ve never been to Australia despite the fact that I have so many friends Down Under. I once had an opportunity to spend just one week in Sydney. I turned it down. It just seemed like it was far too far to go for one week. Two of my very best friends in Finland spent a year traveling in Australia. That seems more the way to do it. Annabel has traveled widely in Australia and I thought it would be great to see a bit of it through her eyes. Australia….one of these days!! ~ Jim
After scouring the world for 20 years looking for the best beaches I’ve seen a few. Like me, you probably have favourite beaches around world and dream of visiting more to see how they compare. There’s simply nothing like the colors, sounds and feel of the ocean to both chill you out and reinvigorate you at the same time. I lived near gorgeous beaches in New Zealand and Costa Rica years so when I moved to Australia you could say I was picky. But, for a beach lover, the obvious place to move to was Noosa. It’s a small town of around 8,000 people that almost everyone in Australia has heard of because Noosa is one of Australia’s favourite beach resorts and arguably the best.
Here in Noosa some beaches are long, white sand affairs and others hidden coves nestled between craggy rocks. The climate is tropical so you can happily swim in the sea all year round as many locals do. The summer months of January and February are hot and humid but the rest of the year it’s balmy in a good way, so even in winter you’ll be wearing shorts and a t-shirt.
It’s not just me that likes Noosa either, it’s a magnet for the rich and famous with many city folk owning second homes here or dreaming of retiring here. Even Richard Branson owns an island on the Noosa River called Makepeace Island which you can rent for only $8,000 a night if you want to experience the lifestyle of the rich and famous.
But what I love about Noosa is that it’s not just for the rich and famous because the best activities, like exploring beautiful beaches, swimming and walking in the National Park, are free and there are plenty of accommodation options to suit every budget. So even if you can’t afford to stay at heart-shaped Makepeace Island you can still camp on the Noosa River and have the same experience for a fraction of the price.
What makes Noosa a great beach resort?
As well as having a balmy climate, Noosa offers a pristine environment which is an officially declared UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. In Noosa National Park koalas, goanna and kookaburra hang out in their natural surroundings while dolphins and surfers play in the ocean.
You can visit a different white sand beach every day if you like and Noosa is a giant aquatic playground for swimmers, surfers, kayakers, kite-surfers and stand-up paddle-boarders.
Marine life abounds. Turtles are common and dolphins can be spotted year-round swimming offshore and, between July and November, look out for whales as the annual humpback whale migration passes through.
Just a short ferry ride across the river, Great Sandy National Park on Noosa North Shore is a popular spot for 4WD adventures, fishing and scuba-diving. A few miles inland, the Sunshine Coast hinterland offers a change of scene and pace, with volcanic peaks and lush rainforest. I love climbing Mount Coroora, a twenty-minute drive from Noosa in Pomona with its incredible views of the coast and hinterland.
For dining and shopping Hastings Street is the place with a fast food mall that’s tucked away behind the shops and beach-front restaurants serving world-class cuisine if you’re ready to slurge. The Noosa Surf Life Saving Club’s balcony is always crowded with people seeking refuge from the sun and enjoying a cool drink.
Meanwhile the Noosa River spills out just past Makepeace Island into the ocean between Noosa Main Beach and the North Shore. It’s a favorite spot for boating, fishing or walking. Every evening huge flocks of tiny, brightly coloured parrots return to roost in the trees on the riverbank, a riot of color and noise which lapses into silence as night falls. Then, as the parrots tuck their heads under their wings and go to sleep, colonies of fruit bats take to the skies.
As night deepens, peace falls. Time for parrots and beach lovers to sleep. If you’re dreaming of experience Australian beach life look no further, Noosa is the place.
Where to Stay
If you can’t afford Makepeace Island‘s $8,000 per night fee, Noosa has a wide range of holiday accommodation, from private houses, villas and apartments for rental to resorts, hostels and popular Munna campsite. Just do a Google search to see what suits you and consider staying on a houseboat which looks like fun.
Where to Eat
Bistro C – Popular with locals and holiday-makers for its stunning views over Laguna Bay, Bistro C is the ideal setting for cocktails and nibbles at sunset, a long lazy lunch or a splurge dinner of modern Australian cuisine with fresh seafood and local produce.
Wasabi – Listed by Gourmet Traveller as one of the world’s top 100 restaurants, this modern Japanese restaurant serves sublime food in the stunning surroundings of Quamby Place on the Noosa River.
Fish and Chips – No trip to Noosa would be complete without joining the locals to eat fish and chips by the Noosa River. Riverfront Gympie Terrace has an extensive selection of cafes and restaurants as well as traditional Aussie fish and chip shops where you can get fresh snapper or barramundi breaded, grilled or battered the old-fashioned way.
Where’s the best beach you’ve ever been to?
Annabel Candy is a freelance writer and travel blogger. Born in England, she’s traveled in over 40 countries, lived in eight of them and has both British and Kiwi passports. But don’t hold that against her. Annabel writes travel stories and travel tips on Get In the Hot Spot and sharing blogging tips at Successful Blogging. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.