I’m a proud Queenslander who has been, at different times in my life, fortunate enough to live near the gorgeous beaches on the Sunshine Coast. I lived at Maroochydore for many years, then further north at Coolum, as a career girl and single mum with two young sons. Finally, when career commitments called me back to Brisbane where I grew up, I was gifted a man for my birthday (true story….some might call it a Blind Date, I prefer to call him my birthday gift), who I eventually married, and who funnily enough, had a house at Noosa. So through a complex melding of blended family and serendipity, we are a dual home conglomerate. A city and a coastal home. It doesn’t get much better.
We try our hardest to abandon our ordinary life in the city and head to the beach as often as we can. It’s not always easy with a daughter immersed in the performing arts, but sooner or later, the smell of grease paint and plush velvet seats has to make way for the sting of salt water and the whisper of sea air.
I always have a little smile to myself when I hear friends raving about Noosa, because inevitably they’re not talking about the Noosa we know. They’re really talking about Hastings Street. And let’s face it, ‘Hastings’ as it’s fondly known, has a buzz all of its own. It prides itself on being rather European and cosmopolitan, and it does a fine job of that. ‘Hastings’ at Christmas is a sight reminiscent of theChamps-Élysées, and a very pretty sight it is too. But ‘Hastings’ and Main Beach are not the sum total of the Noosa we know and love, so here are a couple of our locals secrets.
Noosa North Shore is a pristine area accessible only by a ferry across the river, and a four wheel drive. You can enjoy a camping or caravanning holiday there without a four wheel drive, and there is pedestrian access to some portions of the beach. But the real fun is in driving down seemingly endless kilometres of white sandy beach, with the top down (that’s the Jeep’s top, not mine!), the wind in our hair, and seaspray on our sunkissed cheeks.
If the weather is good, we just set up chairs and umbrellas and laze around reading, making animal shapes in the damp sand, swimming without another soul invading our wave, and enjoying some antipasto and a well-chilled Sauvignon Blanc before a snooze. If the weather turns stormy, as it so often does at Noosa on a summer’s afternoon, we’ll pile back into the car, and chase the storm all the way back to the Third Cutting, which is where we re-enter the real world after a fantasy of sand-sea tranquillity.
For dining with a view, you can’t beat the Sunshine Beach Surf Club, where even on a cyclonic overcast day like the one pictured here, the views are spectacular. During whale watching season, you could do a lot worse than park yourself at one of the ringside tables on the outside deck, and just wait for both whales and dolphins to turn on the show. The $10 breakfast on Saturday and Sunday is hard to beat for value and speed of delivery to your table, something that is definitely lacking at some of the café venues favoured by the well-heeled visitors. Your $10 gets you two eggs done your way, loads of bacon, a slice of trendy toast as my husband calls it, and a cup of filter coffee. Other drinks, yes even tea, come as extras. But your food is delivered within 15 minutes, a feat unachievable in any other Noosa café or restaurant where we’ve ever breakfasted! Get there early though. They open at 8am and the best tables are gone by 8.15am in peak season. Lunches and dinners are equally competitive in price, value for money, and mouthwatering selection, and on a Sunday afternoon, it is THE place to be, live music and all.
Of course, there’s still ‘Hastings’, and Main Beach is so calm and kid-friendly that it of course, rates a mention. Try the bakery behind Berardos on the Beach for warm Danishes straight from the oven and great coffee, New Zealand Natural across the road for smoothies, and Massimos for unbeatable sorbets.
And then, if you truly must, there’s Hastings Street, which remains a hive of activity 365 days and nights a year. It’s not the Champs-Élysées, but then Paris doesn’t have a pristine beach behind the Arc de Triomphe, does it?
Have you been to Noosa? What’s on your list of must dos?