Ask a local: Noosa

By Rebecca Marshall

At the home of the famous food festival, Rebecca Marshall finds much to do.

The Sunshine Coast's Noosa Beach.
The Sunshine Coast's Noosa Beach.

Origin of name: The name Noosa comes from the local Aboriginal word (Noothera or Gnuthuru in the Kabi Kabi language) for shadow or shady place. This may have come from the tall trees in Noosa National Park.

Where is it?: The Shire of Noosa is about 130km north of Brisbane in the Sunshine Coast region of South East Queensland, Australia. The shire covers an area of 868.7sq km.

Floral emblem: The wildflower emblem is boronia keysii.

Most famous locals: Author and conservationist Nancy Cato (1917-2000), renowned playwright David Williamson, tennis champ Pat Rafter, businessman Bob Ansett and former Wimbledon winner Yvonne Goolagong.

Best local website: visitnoosa.com.au.

Biggest industry: Tourism.

Source of pride: Environmental credentials and 2013 council de-amalgamation. Low-rise buildings and Biosphere status. Lots of trees and only a couple of traffic lights.

Natural asset: The Noosa Biosphere. In October 2007, Noosa was declared a Unesco Biosphere Reserve. The Noosa Biosphere Reserve is the first in Queensland and covers approximately 150,000 hectares of freshwater/tidal and terrestrial areas. Biosphere reserves are sites that demonstrate innovative approaches to conservation and sustainable development. They share their experience and ideas regionally, nationally and internationally within a world network of biosphere reserves.

Town festivals: There are so many to choose from! Obviously the Noosa Food and Wine Festival (May) is the biggie. Also, there's the Noosa Long Weekend, the Floating Land Festival and the Noosa Jazz Festival. For the energetic, there are the Noosa Triathlon and the King of the Mountain at Pomona.

Best reason to stop: Have a surf or take a walk in the national park.

Best food: Try Fratellini at nearby Sunshine Beach for some authentic Italian. Noosa boasts some consistently award-winning, fine-dining restaurants including Wasabi, Berardo's, Rickys, Embassy XO and the Thomas Corner Eatery.

Best flat white: Head for Belmondos, Rene St, Noosaville.

Best bakery: There are many delicious bakery treats at the fabulous Noosa Farmers Market on a Sunday morning at the Noosaville AFL grounds.

Best walks: Noosa National Park and the Noosa River foreshore are terrific, as is a climb up Mt Tinbeerwah.

Best view: Noosa lookout at Noosa Heads.

Best adventure: Try kayaking up the pristine Noosa River (kayak hire is available along the Noosaville foreshore).

Make a memory: Noosa Dreamboats offers tours of the Noosa River on a classic wooden boat. But this is not just any wooden boat, it's a stunning piece of 1950s-inspired polished mahogany that allows you to experience the style of a bygone era and feel like a movie star. Sandbar picnics or spa packages can also be booked.

Still on the Noosa River: If your budget doesn't extend to the dreamboat level, just $20 will get you an all-day pass on The Noosa Ferry allowing you to explore more of the region. No need to book.

Surf's up: Noosa is renowned for having some of the best waves on the Sunshine Coast. Beginners can try Little Cove or Main Beach; longboarders frequent First Point while experienced surfers head to the bays off the national park, especially Boiling Pot. Also try Tea Tree Bay and Granite Bay. For the very experienced surfer, head to Sunshine Beach. Be aware this break can be dangerous for inexperienced surfers.

Learn to surf: Noosa has plenty of schools to teach just about anyone how to stand up, and stay that way while on a wave. If you prefer to move at a slower pace, why not give stand-up paddle-boarding a try in calmer waters?

Safety first: Swim between the red and yellow flags. If the lifeguards and lifesavers can't see you, they can't save you. Ocean conditions can change quickly, so take care.

While you're in Noosa: Check out the famous Eumundi Markets, held on a Wednesday and Saturday every week. There are hundreds of stalls featuring artworks, sculptures, furniture, handmade toys, homewares, and skincare, as well as fashion and jewellery by local designers, all guided by an ethos of "we make it, bake it, grow it, sew it". There's also all sorts of food, cakes and coffee as well as fresh produce. Something for everyone guaranteed.

Best facilities: Good barbecues at most of the beaches.

Wildlife: Watch out for the bush turkeys and dolphins off the national park.

Where the locals take visitors: A river trip or a drive through the Noosa hinterland, followed by lunch at the Apollonian Hotel at Boreen Point.

CHECKLIST

Getting there: Air New Zealand flies direct to Sunshine Coast Airport From June to October. Qantas, Air New Zealand and Jetstar all have daily flights to Brisbane.

Further information: visitsunshinecoast.com.au

- NZ Herald

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