ahhh Noosa. The quirky name does not fit the place. Noosa is the go-to place where moderately wealthy families spend their summers and school holidays. Actually, no. Its where very wealthy families spend their holidays. Which is why its exactly like Newport, Rhode Island. Its got that feeling and vibe of old money and class meets pristine geography and a new, sensible pastel style. Even though Noosa, Australia is pricey, just like its New England twin, its actually the perfect place for a solo get away. As a young female who always vacations/travels alone and often returns with a few horror stories… Noosa was smooth sailing. Its clean and it doesn’t boast the “backpacker” vibe that other beach-side destinations in the area like Gold Coast apparently have (i have never been…for this reason).
PS: for my american friends, “school holidays” are two weeks of vacation time/no school at the end of every term, which happens three times and then there’s summer.. Summer is mid November until the beginning of February too.
Noosa is known for three things: its National Park, its beaches, and shopping district known as Hastings street. The combination of world class beaches, ritzy titzy boutiques and cafes, as well as coastal walking tracks in a national park that gets over 1 million visitors a year where you can see dolphins and whales (yes!) all within 10 minute walking distance from each other makes Noosa magical.
If you ever find yourself 160km north of Brisbane, Queensland, for gods sake please spend a few days in Noosa. Here are my Noosa recommendations:
1. Walk Hastings street. But dont expect to eat at quaint cafes like youd find in Sydney or Melbs because they just arent there. Food on hastings street is pricey, and usually a bit more formal than the quirky melbourne smashed avo on toast or sydneys acai bowls. I just went to the grocery store and bought fruits, veggies, and things like salads so that i could spend money on one meal out a day. It saved me big time.
Noosa is very boutique-like, and it seems to almost have its own style. The Hastings street shops were busting with drapey, bright colored beach coverups that were quadruple the price you could even fathom for a weak piece of cloth. For the first time in Australia, i caught a glimpse of the New England “preppy” style in stores such as Tommy Bahamas and Seed (Australias version of J Crew basically). If Vineyard Vines opened a store in Noosa they would make an absolute fortune. And a fun fact…Hastings street was apparently just named the most expensive shopping district in the country!
Photo Credit: www.architectus.co.nz
2. Spend a day, or five at the beach. Obviously. This is Noosa afterall.
The reason Noosa beaches are the best is because they are the only north facing beaches around. The way the National park juts out from the mainland gives sunbathers and swimmers a way better chance of getting a complete day of straight uninterrupted sun. The beaches are known for the beautiful teal waters and soft sand. The waves are minimal too. When i was there i got the vibe that it was very family oriented; you wont see drunk backpackers blasting their radios like you would at Bondi or the tacky St. Kilda in Melbourne.
farther up the beach heading into the national park with Noosa main beach in the background
just look at the color! (ok maybe i edited the pic a littttttle bit, but not that much i promise)
a beach in the national park
View of the sunset from the national park
3. Do a tour of Noosa National Park. There is only one person legally allowed to do that, and that’s Nicola from Noosa Running tours. If you know me at all you know im a runner and this tour did not dissappoint. She came to my AirBnB house and picked me up on her moped!!! she drove us to a more lucrative entrance to the national park most people dont know is there. She took me on a tour, while we were running and explained little bits and pieces about the park and Noosa. We stopped at some beautiful rocky caves and cliffs, and stopped to watch a pod of maybe 20 dolphins swim by. It was surreal and magical and whatever other cheesy words you can think of.
A photo with Hells Gates in the back, and some dolphins are in there too but i cant see them
photo looking down from the running track
just two of the huge pod of dolphins Nicola was able to spot on the running tour
4. AirBnB. Please, spare yourself the cost of insane hotels which are unrealistically expensive for a single traveller, and avoid the backpackers hostels if you dont love em. Hostels are great in concept, but if youre a bit uncomfortable sleeping in a room with 7-15 or sometimes 23+ people of either gender, or if you’re okay with barely sleeping then go for it. But for me, i wanted my own room, and one that was clean and felt like home yet wasnt as expensive as a hotel. I paid around 50$ a night for 5 nights, and i used a promotional code i received for being a first time AirBnBer. I stayed with a lovely older woman (Hi Hazel, if you ever read this!) and every morning she offered me coffee, breakfast and recommendations on what to do. She offered to bring me to the bus stop if i needed it and to show me the local younger peoples hangout (hehe). In my opinion, it was well worth spending the extra bit to feel completely at home.
5. Fraser Island. So Fraser island isn’t technically part of Noosa. Its a fair drive from Noosa but there is several tours that run every day so i opted for a one day tour with Fraser Island Discovery.
It was one incredibly long day of mostly driving. But that was actually the best part. We drove directly on the beach which they called 75 mile highway. My tour guide was rad- Hi Brock if you ever see this. We left around 6 am and we drove this massive rig on the beach the whole way there. It was unreal. This was what it was like to drive on the beach:
There were a few stops along the way; to take the ferry over the river, for morning tea on the sand, to see the colored sands, and then the last ferry trip over the sound alongside a pod of dolphins.
Once we got onto Fraser island itself, it was off roading until we reached the star attraction: Lake McKenzie. Ill let the photos speak for themselves.
the sand is pure white silica, and the water is so clean that barely any species can survive.
And just like that, my 5 days in paradise were over. I hope you all get the chance to see this part of the world. Hope you enjoyed.