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Queensland offers an array of interesting places just waiting to be discovered. From the lush rainforests to the iconic Great Barrier Reef, it’s not uncommon for most visitors to spend all their time in Surfers Paradise. However, heading north up the Sunshine Coast, Australia’s tranquil town of Noosa beckons with its beautiful farmer’s markets, beaches and lush natural beauty – not to mention a rather large pineapple.
Making your way north from Brisbane, head off the Bruce Highway to visit the heritage-listed Big Pineapple. Not only is the iconic fruit classified as a heritage site, its accompanying railway tracks and ‘Pineapple Train’ are listed as well. Originally opened in 1971, visitors are invited to discover the pineapple farming process on this recently refurbished farm, take a photo with the ‘most photographed big thing on the Sunshine Coast’ and discover the native and exotic animals living within the plantation before continuing onwards.
From the Big Pineapple, make your way to the Noosa Farmers Market (sundays only) en route to Noosa Heads. Showcasing fresh and local produce until noon every Sunday, you can get your hands on fresh-squeezed lime drinks, aromatic skin care products, freshly caught seafood and bread just baked that morning.
If you’re travelling any other day of the week, or miss the noontime closure, there is still plenty to see and do along Hasting Street. Set in the heart of Noosa, this iconic strip offers both high-end and local labels and designers, affordable beachwear and footwear alongside a variety of cafes, restaurants and bars to stop by and indulge in a lunchtime snack. Whether you want to partake in a restaurant meal along the street, grab something from the local bakery and head down to the beach, or dine opposite Hasting Street along the beachfront, there are plenty of options to refuel.
Noosa Farmers Market, 155 Weyba Rd, Noosaville, QLD, Australia +61 418 769 374
Just a few steps away from Hasting Street lies one of the few beaches that faces north along the Australian coastline. The Noosa Main Beach is patrolled 365 days of the year by skilled surfing lifesavers, making it an ideal location any day of the year, even during winter. Walking along the shore, you will without a doubt be amazed by the soft golden sand to sink your toes and the warm water rolling in. With its gentle waves, Noosa Main Beach is also the perfect place to try a surf lesson without fear of going under a big one.
From the Noosa Main Beach, follow the boardwalk past Little Cove (a local favourite beach) to the nature conservation of Noosa National Park, which is spread out over more than 4,000 hectares. Home to a variety of rare and threatened species, this is easily one of Australia’s favourite national parks. Before entering the park, be sure to visit the Information Hut to learn of any recent animal sightings and where you might find them yourself.
Follow the coastal path towards the first beach within the park, and keep an eye out for koalas sitting in the trees that line its edge. This popular stroll is met by an inviting beach known as Tea Tree Bay, where you will often spot people kayaking across and soaking up the warm rays. Tea Tree Bay is closely followed by Granite Bay on your way through to Hells Gate.
The 5.2km round trip from the park entrance to Hells Gate is highly recommended, as it not only offers stunning views of Alexandria Bay but you may even be lucky enough to spot whales, dolphins and turtles swim by, as well as sea eagles and osprey hunting for food. But be warned, this is a very windy area, so be sure to hold onto your hats!
If you continue along the coastal track before heading back, Alexandria Bay is a must-see stop as it is unlike any other beach in Noosa with its unofficial ‘clothing optional’ policy. When in Rome, er, Noosa, right? From here, explore the rocky outcrop of The Devils Kitchen, and should you find yourself lucky enough to be present at a time of rough surf, the crashing waves put on a spectacular show as they break against the rocks. Head back to your starting point and discover a variety of flora and fauna along the park’s many tracks.
Noosa National Park, Park Rd, Noosa Heads QLD, Australia +61 7 5430 5000
There’s no better way to end your day of adventure than with a brilliant sunset over Noosa. Whether you head to one of the lookouts surrounding the National Park, relax or walk along the beach, or grab a pint along the beachfront to toast to your day, you can’t miss this golden sunset. After the last gold rays disappear, it’s time to make your way to your accommodation or head back to the Highway.