Noosa has long been the choice of family holiday-makers the country over. And now we know why… The ease, the beauty, the dining options and the relaxation all combine to make Noosa the perfect spot for families who want to get away and enjoy a truly stress-free vacation. Noosa’s family-friendly vibe allows parents to feel more at ease knowing their children aren’t a nuisance when staying at resorts or dining at restaurants, and although there are plenty of families about, it definitely isn’t overrun by screaming kids. It all comes down to the perfect harmony calculation of happy parents equals well-behaved kids (well, most of the time!).
However, after the sun sets Noosa belongs to the romantic couples that can have their fill of candlelit dinners and sunset cruises. So whether it’s your honeymoon or babymoon, Noosa will pleasantly surprise you, and the culinary delights alone will have you packing your bags (and an extra pair of slouchy wide-legged pants) quicker than you can say, “Reservation for two”.
HOW TO GET THERE
FLY -Landing at the Sunshine Coast’s Maroochydore airport, you can hire a transfer option from there to take you the 50 minutes drive up to Noosa. Either get your hotel to organise the transfer or book direct.
WHERE TO STAY
Seahaven Noosa Resort – check out Pen to Paper Media’s review of the resort, here.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
NOOSA HEADS SURF LIFE SAVING CLUB
The chillest spot to enjoy a meal and take advantage of, quite frankly, the best view over the Noosa Main Beach and out into the ocean. Sunset dinner here with the kids is a must: super family-friendly and you can enjoy your meal without worrying about your fellow patrons – it’s a noisy, casual and fun affair at the Noosa Heads SLSC.
CAFE LE MONDE
The casual-cool vibe this nautical themed place exudes is amazing, making it the perfect place for a cruisey breakfast with the family. Peruse the yummy menu and take your pick as the kids colour in with plenty of crayons and colouring menus at their disposal.
The Mango, Banana or Berry Superfood Smoothies are a must, as is the ‘Orange A’ pressed juice with carrot, apple, cucumber, lemon, ginger and turmeric.
Our food picks include the Noosa Spanner Crab Omelette; the Coconut, Quinoa and Buckwheat Pancakes with chai-spiced pears, banana and coconut icecream (extra maple syrup, please!); and the simple yet tasty Avocado on Organic Sourdough (baked by the renowned local Tanglewood Bakery).
These guys also have their specialty blend of coffee locally roasted by award-winning Clandestino Roasters, so you can’t go past their delicious coffees either. Cafe Le Monde is one place you’ll want to become a regular at.
Betty’s Burgers is an institution and although there are Betty’s popping up all over the country, this colourful Noosa hot-spot is a fantastic place for a fast, easy and tasty lunch. The burgers are amazing and so fresh – with the Classic Beef, Crispy Chicken, Pulled Pork and ‘Shroom to choose from.
And those ‘Concrete’ desserts (hello Peanut Butter Brittle and Hot Fudge Donut!) will have you licking your lips and vowing to head for the Noosa National Park walking track straight after lunch….
Sophisticated, sensual and heavily romantic, Locale is an authentic Southern Italian restaurant and bar (complete with Sicilian ‘Scopa’ cards as coasters) whose dark interior is both an escape from the Noosa heat and a candlelit diners’ delight.
Choose from a sit-down dinner or bar menu with signature cocktails. Our faves are La Signora and Sailor’s Crush. The perfect way to start your Noosa date night!
Bistro C is the epitome of laid-back yet sophisticated Noosa cool. With white-washed walls and contemporary decor, the bright and airy feel of Bistro C is thanks to some clever interior designing and the gorgeous beachfront location of this Noosa favourite. From weddings and birthday dinners, to casual brekkies and sunset snacks, Bistro C is dining perfection. It’s view of the ocean, the friendly and accommodating staff and delicious menu make it ridiculously likable, and if you’re up for dining al fresco, you can opt to sit outside on the grass and soak in the beauty of a Noosa sunset.
The menu is ever-changing as it highlights local seasonal produce with dishes created by Chef, Dayle Merlo. Perennial favourites include caramelised pork belly, chilli/lime/coriander calamari, miso-glazed Atlantic salmon and eye fillet steak. Our regular favourite dishes however, include: Ocean Trout Sashimi with green pea and wasabi puree, local cress, pickled watermelon rind, salmon pearls and black lavosh; and the fig and almond frangipane tarte with fresh raspberries, raspberry gel, almond syllabub (and extra cream!).
NOOSA BEACH HOUSE
Peter Kuruvita’s Noosa Beach House restaurant is a dining joy. Having seen Peter’s SBS TV show, ‘My Sri Lanka’, we were very interested to see how the celebrity chef’s cooking style would translate at his high-end restaurant.
And we weren’t disappointed with the service, the atmosphere and, most importantly, the wonderful food and wine. With intricate and interesting dishes that included clever combinations, from roasted pork belly with Yellowfin tuna, pickled beetroot and chili salt, to Wagyu sirloin with charred spring onion, speck, young peas and watercress, or Sri Lankan Snapper Curry with tamarind and aloo chop.
Ricky’s is a truly stunning waterfront restaurant that not only overlooks, but actually sits atop the waters of the Noosa River – so much so that you can moor a speedboat here, which is our preferred mode of transport when dining at Ricky’s…
A beautifully clever restaurant design of glass walls and windows overlooking the water gives you a sense of floating, as you take in the majesty of the surrounding area and the beauty of those unique and breathtaking Noosa sunsets. You can even spot the fish from your seat as lights illuminate the waters below.
The tasting menu with matched wines is our recommendation, as you enjoy sensational seasonal local ingredients, including Mooloolaba Yellowfin tuna and prawns, plus Queensland Cobia (or Black Kingfish as it is often referred to).
We recommend the Tasting Menu with matched wines, with special mention to these following delicious dishes: Char grilled local octopus, romesco, pickled garlic, chorizo and black lime; seafood bisque with prawns, mussels, pipis and scallops.
With a knowledgeable sommelier at your fingertips to enhance your culinary journey at Ricky’s, there’s not much else that could make your dining experience any better, than perhaps an amazing dessert to top it off. Try the peanut butter parfait, caramelised banana sorbet, salted caramel and feuilletine with a Provence rosé.
WHAT TO DO
CRUISE THE NOOSA RIVER WITH NOOSA DREAMBOATS
Want to know how you can experience the beauty of the Noosa River quite literally in the lap of luxury? Always wanted to cruise to a special dinner with your loved one whilst sipping champagne in a resplendent mahogany runabout, handcrafted in Seattle, Washington in the USA in the classic style of the 1940’s American powerboats? Then Noosa Dreamboats is your slice of heaven and a truly once in a lifetime experience whose memory will stay with you long after you’ve disembarked from this beautiful boat’s sleek interior.
Owners and operators of Noosa Dreamboats, Michael and Sandy, are the loveliest and most accommodating tour guides, having spent decades enjoying the Noosa River themselves, their private luxury cruises of this beautiful area are second to none.
Choose from multiple packages that will see you cruise past multi-million dollar waterfront properties (including Richard Branson’s Makepeace Island Retreat), quirky houseboats, beautiful varieties of native water birds, and the best part of all, peacefully watching the sun set over the mountains, as the light twinkles across the water.
We recommend a Sunset & Dine Cruise, with dinner at Ricky’s to follow. It is the best entrance to a restaurant we’ve had to date, and we look forward to jumping aboard the Noosa Dreamboat again soon.
Call or email Michael and Sandy to book your special cruise: https://www.noosadreamboats.com.au/
WALK THE NOOSA HEADS COASTAL TRACK
This stunning coastal walk follows the shoreline from Noosa Heads to the northern Sunshine beaches, passing over several headlines to provide some spectacular coastal views.
There are also many coastal beaches you can enjoy that are popular with surfers, although many are not surf lifesaver patrolled, so you will need to be cautious and check signage in case of dangerous rips.
RELAX AT NOOSA MAIN BEACH
Whether you’re a water baby, like to lie on your towel and indulge in a novel or get sandy with the kids, the Noosa Main Beach is a glorious white sand beach that is as good to relax on as it is to play. The water is also stunning and the beach is patrolled by surf lifesavers and safe to swim all year round.
Written and photographed by Pen To Paper Media’s Editor-in-Chief, Lara Antonelli-Leorke.