Noosa, Little Cove & Noosa National Park: I simply can’t count the number of times I’ve taken visitors and friends to this part of my home on the Sunshine Coast. I will tell you now: if you come to the Sunshine Coast and you don’t make it to Noosa, you’re crazy! This is to date, still one of my favourite spots in Australia.
Every time you visit the same place, you see it from a different perspective. If you’re with nature lovers, you’ll notice the trees, wildlife and vegetation. If you’re with surfers, you’ll notice the sparking, clear water. If you’re with people from colder countries, you’ll notice the deep, blue and clear sky. Today, I was inspired by all three. Noosa, today you were a sparkling gem and I’m so proud to call you home.
Well actually, my real home is Caloundra – a medium sized surfing town on the southern end of the Sunshine Coast. On the opposite and northern end of the Sunshine Coast, you’ve got Noosa. Anything in between counts as the coast too. This entire metropolitan area accounts for nearly 300 000 Australians and there are many ways you can drive to Noosa. Yes that’s right. I said ‘drive’. If you come from a highly efficient, developed and adequately equipped country with fantastic infrastructure, you’ll laugh at Australia. The Sunshine Coast isn’t properly supported by train, so apart from a freezing cold and insanely long bus trip, you’re best off driving.
If you’re a follower of my last entries, you’ll know that I’m a big supporter of taking the back roads for that scenic view.
Here are the possible ways you can drive to Noosa:
- Start in Maleny, then drive through Montville, Flaxton, Mapleton, Yandina then Eumundi before approaching Noosa’s neighbouring region Noosaville. These first few towns make up the ‘Hinterland’ region on the Coast, which is a notoriously lush and green area. It’s consistently around 3-5 degrees cooler up in the Hinterland and it gets a lot of rainfall. As you can imagine, it has a huge wedding market. I’m even getting married there in August this year! (Did you know the word ‘Hinterland’ is actually a German word meaning ‘behind the land’, which makes sense… because it’s up the mountain range, behind the coastline.)
- If you want the quickest and most direct way, you can also drive up one of the Sunshine Coast’s most hideously congested, boring and uninspiring main roads: The Nicklin Way. (I would avoid that like the plague if possible.)
- Lastly, you can take the Bruce Highway. This is one of the only ways you can get from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast and back. From Caloundra to Nambour the scenery is pretty same-samey. But luckily after Nambour, you’ll take the same road as if you were also coming from the Hinterland. The last 15 minutes of that highway is quite nice as you approach Noosa.
Once you approach Noosa, you’ll notice it’s pretty busy. The main street is called Hastings Street and it’s literally right next to the beach. Take my special Kaptain Kenny insider’s tip….. type ‘Noosa National Park’ into your navigator and leave the centre of Noosa. You’ll find a parking spot easier and you’ll see a really special little beach with hardly any tourists.
Noosa National Park
The Noosa National Park is stunning and full of many gorgeous Australian gum trees. Gum trees equal the possibility of KOALAS. (*And yes, we did spot a koala!) There are only 12 species of gum trees found naturally in other parts of the world. Have a guess how many Australia has? 700 native species of gum trees!
One of Australia’s greatest treasures is her flora – a staggering 24,000 species of native plants have been identified compared to England’s 1700 native plants.
First of all, your car will be happily stationed at the Noosa National Park for a few hours, under the protection of many tall Australian gum trees. Shady tree coverage = a nice, cool car upon your return. (Things to consider in a hot place like Queensland, trust me!)
Second of all, the National Park is just moments away from Little Cove. A perfectly little protected cove, only a 15 minute walk around the corner from the busy and over populated Noosa Main Beach. Take my second piece of advice and don’t bother with Noosa Main Beach! Noosa’s Little Cove is the only place you need. Think sparkling blue water where you can see all the way down to the sand, a backdrop of bushy gum trees and sharing the space with way fewer people.
Check this website for weather conditions, information about the tides and general beach safety, although every time I’ve taken someone here, the water has been safe and calm: https://beachsafe.org.au/beach/qld/sunshine-coast/noosa-heads/little-cove
Noosa’s main street: Hastings Street
After you’re done at Noosa’s Little Cove, you may like to walk to the main street and get a plate of overpriced Aussie style lunch. Sorry backpackers but I do hope you’ve saved some extra coins. You probably know by now that Australia is ex-pen-sive but Noosa is one of Australia’s wealthiest coastal regions so expect to pay a lot here! I can’t really give any specific recommendations on Hastings Street. I normally just wander and eat where I like the sound of the menu. If you’re looking for good coffee by the way, I’d recommend downloading the app “Beanhunter”. It’s got a database of nearly 150 000 cafe reviews and will search your location and give you the best cafes in the area. https://www.beanhunter.com/australia
Thongs = Aussie for Flip Flops
After you’ve eaten, I’d recommend walking off the meal. Put on your walking shoes and head straight back to the Noosa National Park. *NB* If you want to see koalas in this region, make sure you look up at the trees when you’re in the National Park. We did see one during the day and it attracted quite the crowd.
Do not make the mistake of walking for the next 2 hours in thongs. (Thongs = an Australian word for rubber flip flops.) I did exactly this, got a painful blister between my toes and bruised the tendons in my foot slightly. Woops!
The Noosa Fairy Pools
Once you’ve made it back along the boardwalk to the Noosa National Park, you should now continue along the path right next to the water. Following the path, you now want to make your way in the direction of the Noosa Fairy Pools.
Even though I’d been to Noosa countless times, I’d always shown people the main street and Little Cove. This time around, I met up with two fellow travel bloggers Michelle and Hannah (from the U.S) and they showed me a picture of a place near Noosa National Park which they’d heard about: The Fairy Pools. The picture looked great! A sparkling, blue tidal pool with a gorgeous young woman, just floating in pure and utter peace. Not a soul nearby to be found. After typing it into Google and finding that it was only a 30 minute walk from the carpark, we decided to go!
So getting there by foot (the only way) was more on the 45 minute side but admittedly, we stopped *many* times along the way. Why? I was astounded by the beauty of the coastline, especially as this was the first time that I, the local, had seen the ‘other’ side of Noosa. The scenery was jaw-dropping on each turn and it was lovely walking through the National Park’s bushland.
On your way to the Fairy Pools, you will have the chance to stop at many lookout points and a couple of small little beaches (like Tea Tree Bay) which you won’t have to share with many other people.
So after the 45 minute walk along the sunny cliff face (bring suncream!), we finally made it to the Fairy Pools. Think less ‘secluded’ and more ‘packed with Swedish, German and Brazilian backpackers. No worries, I still got a couple of snaps but I didn’t jump into the water. Let’s just say that I’m super glad I went – I got some incredible photos for this post for the walk along the way and I got to see a new side to Noosa. My advice would be to stop at the beach along the way and make that your swimming spot. In saying that, I was in Noosa on a pristine day without a cloud in the sky. And it was the second last day of the school holidays, so busy anyway.
This link has plenty of awesome information on Noosa, the Fairy Pools and organic cafes in the area. Thank me later! http://www.wildswimmingaustralia.com/
If you’ve been to the pools or are planning on heading there, let me know your thoughts. Also, if you’ve been to Noosa before, tell me if I missed something special.
Thanks so much for reading & I hope you found this helpful 🙂
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