By Tracey Mitchell, Managing Director, Entice Travel
Southerners, do yourself a favour and head to Noosa Heads for some fun in the sun.
Just a 30-minute drive North of the Sunshine Coast Airport, Noosa Heads is a star of the Sunshine Coast. Surrounded by bay, beach, river and National Park, Noosa Heads has a laid-back coastal vibe, with the added bonus of glamourous fine dining and shopping and one of the most beautiful cliff top walks around to Hells Gate. With crystal clear waters, you can spot turtles and Dolphins playing in the waves.
We spent a week at the RACV Noosa Resort (if you are an RACV member it is a 50% Discount), in a 3-bedroom villa. The weather was in the 20s, which was just perfect for lazing about in the hot tub on the roof, drink in hand.
We came for the Sunshine Coast Winter Classic Golf Tournament, and while our golf left a lot to be desired, we played four great courses. We played Maroochy River first up which was a newish course. It needs a little more time to stand up against some rival courses but will be exceptional in a few years. We had a great round at the Peregian Golf Course and Twin Waters, which I would highly recommend as a truly great course. Lastly we hit off at Noosa Springs Golf Course, which has a great resort feel to it. It is very close to Hastings Street and girls – it has the best Pro Shop going. All up, Noosa is a great area for golf enthusiasts.
There are a couple of areas you can shop till you drop and what better place to start than Hastings Street, where we found some little gems. There is a fabulous little shop called Isabella’s Fine Antique and Jewellery, which has the funkiest umbrellas, walking sticks and shoehorns, along with jewellery and gifts. I fell in love with the umbrellas and left the shop with one for myself.
Diamonds of Distinction is a new-comer to Hastings Street. They offer custom designs and a gorgeous array of contemporary fine jewellery. Another stand out is Lilli Frey’s FREYA, who take a creative, handcrafted approach. Their environmentally and socially conscious pieces are perfect for the modern romantic.
With an emphasis on high quality, casual and elegant beach and evening wear, there is no shortage of men’s and women’s clothing shops. Local label, Palm Noosa, is a stand-out, offering contemporary resort wear in luxury linen, silk and cotton. For designer brands, head to Alterior Motif or Toscani, run by a mother-daughter duo, offering another level of sophisticated luxury.
There are plenty of menswear shops too, but the standout here is Orlebar Brown, where every product is developed with a better holiday in mind. You can even turn your favourite photo, drawing or graphic into a completely personalised pair of swim shorts.
If you need to get your hair done girls, Ziggys is the place to go. They do whatever they can to fit you in for your needs and I have to say they do a great job.
I was a bit disappointed I did not find a Tech Shop anywhere in the area which could be a problem if you needed one – we didn’t so it wasn’t an issue.
Local artist, Tracey Keller, has made a name for herself Worldwide, exhibiting her work in New York, Melbourne and Sydney. She creates stunning animal artwork and happily accepts commissions if you send her a photo of your favourite animal.
Hastings Street is also host to Nissarana Galleries, which displays a collection of some of the finest emerging, established and award-winning modern artists, including paintings, ceramics, fine-art photography and sculptures. Their exhibits change throughout the year and it’s definitely worth a visit.
Oh the food and wine!
If you are a foodie there are plenty of great restaurants in Hastings Street, Noosa Junction and Noosa River. We had a few nights out at different restaurants, but I have to say my favourite was Bang Bang Noosa, offering Asian fusion cuisine (at a moderate price for its glamorous Hastings Street address). The food was out of this world and then some. Chef, Raphael, certainly knows his stuff. The guys could not stop raving about the Kingfish Sashimi and the Korean Fried Chicken that came with the ‘Bang-quet’. My Pad Seuw with marinated beef was the best I have eaten anywhere in the world, which I know is a big claim but so true. There are loads of ice-creameries in the area and each one was a delight. With so many different flavours, all freshly made, good luck choosing just one.
We enjoyed our breakfast a few mornings at Aromas and the food was again top notch and very relaxing. This French-style café is a great place to people watch, located front and centre in Hastings Street. We had to line up for a table each day, however the line moves quickly. Once seated there is no pressure to get a move on, a rarity these days. I loved the Bacon and Eggs, and my husband loved the Eggs Benedict with Salmon and Beetroot Hollandaise Sauce. There are many restaurants overlooking Main Beach, however it’s very difficult to get a seat. Sails is one of the best, with its casual but elegant décor and 180-degree view of Laguna Bay. It also has one of the largest wine collections in Australia. I would suggest booking ahead if you want this experience. For more casual dining, try Noosa Heads Surf Lifesaving Club, with a great view over Noosa Heads Main Beach.
We ate down by Noosa River on a couple of occasions and Gusto Riverfront Restaurant was a delight. Excellent service, friendly staff and top-quality local produce. We had a breakfast at Jimmy Fox’s and while the Nasi Goering was not quite up to our standard, the Eggs and Bacon and Brekkie Burger were both very tasty. I would happily recommend it.
We spent a wonderful afternoon at the Boat House which sits on the Noosa River. It was buzzing and brimming with diners but we lucked in on a shared table and watched the sun set – a must in my mind for all. When we left around 6pm, it was dark, and there was a busker singing outside with people sitting around watching and listening, having picnics on the grass and on the picnic tables, which were all full. It was such a pleasant evening and we enjoyed having a chat with some young Canadians enjoying the evening. (Photo).
Whether we were eating, drinking, shopping or just meandering around, the staff at every venue we attended were exceptional. Service with a smile seems to be the par for the course in Noosa Heads, with not a frown or grump to be seen.