Though it’s so close to home, we don’t go to Noosa nearly enough – for some reason we always seem to end up at Bunnings instead. So, we’ve sketched up our ideal weekend in Noosa, filled with free and kid-friendly stuff to do, to hopefully inspire Mum and Dad to take us back there again soon!
We’d probably arrive in quite late in the afternoon, so first stop has to be… the beach! Noosa Main Beach is one of the most child-friendly, parent-friendly beaches we’ve been to, and the perfect spot to cool off after a busy week at school. Protected by the headland, the waves are usually calm making it ideal for little kids, even my little sister will go in! There’s some great waves to catch if you have a boogie board or you surf, and Hastings Street is directly opposite if Mum and Dad want to grab coffee, snacks or ice-cream (try Happy Pops Gelato – they are super-yummy).
Best eats nearby
Kids’ choice: Noosa Surf Club / noosasurfclub.com.au
Parent’s choice: Bistro C / bistroc.com.au
Climb a mountain
There are several mountains to choose from, depending on how far you want to walk.
1. Mount Tinbeerwah: Only 15 minutes from Noosa Heads, this is the easiest walk ever (1km round trip) and has great views from the top. The first part of the walking track is paved so even prams can go if you have a baby brother or sister.
2. Mount Ninderry: This trail is a bit longer (about 3kms round trip) but is nicely shaded and not too tricky – my little sister did it with a few breaks along the way (she is only six). It has two lookouts – do one or do both! 3. Mount Coolum: Though it’s only about 2kms round trip this is a trickier climb (Dad had to carry my little sister at the top part). It’s a super-popular walk, lots of adults even run up and down, so if you are slow it’s best done in the quieter times. Don’t forget your insect repellent here too, the mozzies can be brutal.
Fun on the Noosa River
After a busy morning exploring, head over to Noosa River for the afternoon where you can play in the river or try some of the water sports there. At the jetty at Gympie Terrace you can hire a kayak or jet ski, or have a go at stand-up paddle-boarding.
There are boat cruises available along the river if Mum and Dad fancy doing something relaxing. Or if they are feeling more adventurous, join a kayak tour through the Noosa Everglades. There is also a great park – The Pirate Park – next to the jetty, with play equipment, space to run around and barbecues.
Best eats nearby
Kids choice: Noosa Boathouse / noosaboathouse.com.au
Parent’s choice: Woodfire Grill Restaurant / woodfiregrill.com.au The terrace here is next to a play park so the kids can have a play whilst Mum and Dad chat.
Peregian Beach Markets
Now, we don’t usually like markets, Mum and Dad take ages to go around, and there’s not always heaps to do for kids. But the Peregian Markets are great! It’s quite small and not super-busy, so it’s good for families. They usually have live music and often have kids’ activities set up in the park. Mum loves the locally-made art and produce, and it’s a really relaxed atmosphere. Make sure you get a donut from the Jam Factory – they are amazing! And stop for a play at the park afterwards – gives Mum and Dad a chance to grab a coffee from the markets or one of the many cafes in Peregian Village.
Best eats nearby
Kid’s choice: Pizzami / pizzami.com.au
Parent’s choice: The Captains Daughter / captainsdaughter.com.au This place has great fish and chips, craft beers and cocktails, and the bar spills onto the village square so we can climb trees and play tiggy whilst Mum and Dad relax.
Noosa National Park
We’d be happy chilling then heading back to the beach. But Mum and Dad are usually eager for us to be doing something ‘interesting’. If they are insistent, then heading into Noosa National Park is a great compromise. Mum reckons it is some of the region’s most picturesque coastline, so make sure you fill up her phone with plenty of snaps! There’s an easy walk around the headland and there’s plenty of places to stop off along the way – wear your togs and have a swim at Tea Tree Bay Beach, or explore the rocks at Little Cove. Older kids might want to make the scramble down to the Fairy Pools, but it’s too tricky for my little sister. Watch out for koalas munching leaves in the trees above the footpath too… they are super-chilled!
Image: Tourism QLD
If you prefer to get out and about on a Sunday, and you have a 4WD, Noosa North Shore is a must! Take the punt over the river at Tewantin and you are off! Head to Lake Cootharabra for kayaking and water sports, or try horse riding on the beach. You can drive along the beach all the way to Double Island Point, which is an amazing spot to hang out for the day. You’ll need a vehicle permit to drive on the beach, and make sure you check tide times as you can only drive on the the beach at certain times.
If you only have a normal car, you can still go over to North Shore and access the walking and horse riding tracks. Or, if you prefer something more relaxed, head to the North Shore Retreat. The Bar & Bistro has plenty for kids with laser tag, a climbing wall, giant jumping pillow, putt putt golf, a shaded play area, plus great food and a beer garden. Warning, North Shore can get really busy during school holidays.
Image: Tourism QLD
Big4 Ingenia Holidays Noosa Family-friendly accommodation in Tewantin, with a choice of cabins for every budget. Resort features a camp kitchen, pool, jumping cushion and games room. ingeniaholidays.com.au/noosa
Noosa International Resort
One- and two-bedroom self-contained holiday apartments with two lagoon-style pools located close to Hastings Street. noosainternationalresort.com
RACQ Noosa Resort
Perfect for families, there is a range of one- two- and three-bed apartments to choose from. The resort also has a restaurant and bar, two heated pools, a splash park, and kids club during school holidays. racv.com.au
Spacious, chic family accommodation in Noosa Heads, with a range of apartments and villas to choose from. Mum loves the restaurant View by Matt Golinski, they also have a great lagoon pool. peppers.com.au/noosa
Luxury accommodation with everything you need, right on the beach. It has three heated pools, a spa, children’s wading pool and a choice of family-friendly apartments. seahavennoosa.com.au
The Village Bicycle: Funky pub in Noosa Junction that Dad loves. They do the best burgers and have a good kids’ menu too, and it’s really relaxed so we feel welcome.
Noosa Marina: Great selection of places to eat (awesome fish and chips) and some shops for Mum and Dad to wander around. There’s some water fountains to play in at the park nearby too.
The Reef Hotel: Down-to-earth hotel with kids’ area that can be seen from the bistro.
Betty’s Burgers: Yum burgers and really handy on Hastings Street.
Bombetta: Delicious Italian food with amazing pizza and pasta, and super-friendly staff.
Paradise Arcade: Yummo Mexican food, with a good range for families. Mum loved the cocktails.
Noosa Yacht Club: Family-friendly bistro, with a good kids’ menu and outdoor seating so it doesn’t matter if we are a bit loud.
By Callum, aged 10 (and Mum)