Noosa, Hasting Street in particular, draws a varied crowd. Amidst the European tourists there are the young families walking with a gelato in hand, and the older locals dotting the shoreline taking an ocean dip at sunrise.
It’s an intimate location on the Sunshine Coast which during peak season is overflowing with sheer kaftans and colourful Havaianas. And where once you plant your beach setup down on the golden sand, you will be very happy to stay for as long as the sunshine allows.
So what is it that lures so many to this tiny snippet of the Sunshine Coast?
For one Hasting Street leads you to the beautiful Noosa Main Beach. It’s a small stretch of sand that adjoins a national park, lined with tall trees and rocky shores. A classic timber boardwalk runs alongside the beach, providing a platform for morning joggers, parents pushing strollers, or slow walkers enjoying the sights.
What I love most about Noosa is the close distance of restaurants and small hotels to the sandy shore. It’s a rare luxury these days to sit and enjoy a gourmet breakfast with prime view of the ocean. Many popular Australian beaches are overrun by towering chain hotels. Or have a busy road and carpark parallel to the beach. But one of the beautiful features of Noosa is that you can admire the views while sipping on a flat white, and you're only meters from gently crashing waves.
It’s the epitome of relaxation and luxury.
One of my favourite things to do with my family is head to Hasting Street first thing in the morning. As early risers we are usually there by around 7am most days. We find our spot on the sand, plonk our oversized towel down with the kid’s buckets and shovels, and one of us lines up outside of Sails ready for their morning coffee and muffin service to begin. We sip on our flat white, and enjoy grazing on a big banana muffin while building sandcastles. It’s a simple ritual of sorts. And an enjoyable one at that.
There are a number of shops along Hasting Street to satisfy the avid spender. Amongst the touristy shops selling typical beach-life paraphernalia there are the boutique clothing and jewelry stores displaying unique artisan designed pieces. And when all that shopping leaves you parched, there are a number of juice bars offering a selection of fresh fruity squeezes and smoothies.
Dining at night in the Noosa area is quite special. You won't find a Hard Rock Cafe enticing you to eat an oversized burger combo. The restaurants are more refined, with some of the best chefs Queensland has to offer working behind the scenes to create impressive seasonal menus for their guests. Embasy XO, Wasabi or the classic Rickys are some of the best. Or Locale offering sophisticated Italian fare alongside a beautiful glass of wine. But for a more casual experience you can enjoy perfectly grilled locally caught fish with a serve of chips by the river and watch the boats go by.
Depending on your mood post dinner, there are a number of stylish bars to sit and enjoy a carefully curated cocktail. Or if a sweet is more favoured then the well known Massimo's Gelateria, which often has a line of people waiting to grab a gelato to go, is a nice thing to enjoy while wandering the boardwalk under the evening sky.
The biggest downside of Noosa is the parking situation. Arrive at 8am on a weekend as opposed to 7am and you will sit in traffic with other tourists hopeful for a carpark. It’s a popular place. But whilst frustrating to get into and the time it can take, it’s great that the Noosa council respect its intimacy and protect it from becoming much like every other commercially overrun beach along the east coast.
If you’re planning a visit to Noosa, you're best to aim for an early arrival. And if time allows book in for a night so you can rise at dawn with the locals and enjoy prime view of the sunrise. All while devouring a delicious and beautifully presented breakfast.