Noosa is a picturesque coastal town on Australia’s East Coast. With idyllic beaches, lush green hinterland, and vibrant shopping strips, Noosa is the most visited region on the Sunshine Coast.
Located less than 2-hour drive north of its capital city, Brisbane, Noosa makes the perfect weekend getaway all year round. If you are visiting from interstate by air, you can also reach Noosa within 30 minutes from its nearest airport in Marcoola.
Although you can visit all the highlights of Noosa in only one day, a minimum of 2 days is required for visiting Noosa to scratch beyond the surface. With two days in Noosa, you will have enough time to enjoy the iconic Noosa Heads and still have time to check out Noosa’s beautiful hinterland.
Here I have put together a detailed 2-day itinerary for visiting Noosa. I hope it’s helpful to you.
Day 1: Noosa Heads
On the first day of your Noosa visit, you will be spending the entire day exploring the famous Noosa Heads to check out its renowned Noosa National Park, pristine beaches, and buzzing Hastings Street.
Noosa National Park
Noosa National Park is located on a massive headland on the northeastern tip of Noosa Heads. It is home to numerous tranquil walking tracks, endless secluded beaches, and various native Australian wildlife. It is by far my favourite place to be in Noosa Heads.
Noosa National Park is only a 15-minute walk from Noosa Heads Main Beach. You can also drive directly to its main entrance, which offers free designated car parks for up to 4 hours. However, since Noosa National Park is a popular place for locals and visitors alike, car parks within Noosa National Park can be tight during busy hours. So make sure you are here nice and early to secure a car park.
Near the car park, you can also find a visitor information centre, picnic and BBQ facilities, public toilets, and showers to cater for all needs. This is also the starting point for most of the walking tracks in Noosa National Park.
Although there are a few different walking tracks in Noosa National Park, the most popular walking trail (and the one I highly recommend) is the Noosa Coastal Walk.
Noosa Coastal Walk is a just over 10-kilometre return walk along the idyllic coastline of Noosa Headland. It provides the best coastal views in Noosa and access to numerous pristine beaches. It is a must-do when visiting Noosa!
A return walk along Noosa Coastal Walk should take about 3 to 4 hours, depending on fitness level. This walk will take you from the Main Beach end of Noosa National Park to the peaceful Sunshine Beach and back. You can also shorten or extend the walk with adjacent walking tracks.
Along Noosa Coastal Walk, you will walk by various picturesque beaches and lookouts. Among them, the most notable spots are:
- Boiling Pot Lookout: a spectacular view of the wild ocean swells crashing onto the rocks beneath you, making it look like a pot of boiling water.
- Tea Tree Bay Beach: about a 15-minute walk from the car park. It is an excellent beach for swimming and surfing & a lot less crowded than other beaches in Noosa, so you may want to pack your bathers and towers for this walk. Many people were also visiting with their surfboards so that they could hit the wave at this beautiful beach. Toilets are also available right behind Tea Tree Bay Beach.
- Dolphin Point Lookout: a stunning lookout to reconnect with nature. There are pods of dolphins to be spotted from this lookout, but you’ll likely need to bring a pair of binoculars. Between June and October each year, you can also spot migrating whales from here.
- Fairy Pools: one of the most Instagrammable spots in Noosa. If you are here during low tide, you can also swim in its picturesque rock pools.
- Hell’s Gate: for a breathtaking view of Alexandra Bay.
Tips: Bring water, snacks, and sunscreen & wear comfy shoes, as you will likely spend hours discovering the walking tracks and beaches in Noosa National Park.
Hastings Street is an iconic shopping street in Noosa. It runs parallel to the famous Noosa Heads Main Beaches & offers a great selection of glamorous fashion boutiques and resort hotels. It is also packed with trendy cafes, high-end restaurants, and lively bars to cater for all needs.
So Hastings Street makes a great place to take a break and enjoy a delicious lunch after a long walk in Noosa National Park.
For those who love shopping, you can also enjoy a bit of retail therapy before hitting the nearby beach.
Free short-term parking is available around Hastings Street, but hard to come by. Various paid options are available & can be your best bet for getting a car park around Hastings Street during busy hours.
Noosa Heads Main Beach
Just a short walk from the buzzing Hastings Street, you will be at the beachfront and feel the soft sand at Noosa Heads Main Beach.
As a patrolled beach with calmer water, Noosa Heads Main Beach is great for swimming and beginner surfing. Standup paddleboarding is also a popular activity at Noosa Heads Main Beach & you can easily rent a board from nearby shops.
Beginner Surf Lessons are available at Noosa Heads Main Beach, so you can hit the waves straight after your 2-hour lessons.
From Noosa Heads Main Beach, you can take a beach stroll west to check out Noosa River Mouth. A short walk east from Noosa Heads Main Beach, you can also find the secluded Little Cove Beach.
If you don’t like how crowded Noosa Heads Main Beach is, make sure you check out the peaceful Sunshine Beach!
Sunshine Beach is a long stretch of soft sandy beach, only a short drive from the buzzing Hastings Street and the populated Noosa Heads Main Beach.
With fewer visitors, Sunshine Beach is much quieter. That said, the beach itself is just beautiful & offers an excellent spot for swimming and surfing. It is much more enjoyable and relaxing, in my opinion. With a few shops and restaurants nearby, you can easily find all your beach essentials when needed.
Since Sunshine Beach is conveniently located at the other end of the Noosa Coastal Walk, you can also visit Sunshine Beach as part of your Noosa Coastal Walk.
Laguna Lookout offers a breathtaking panoramic view of Laguna Bay, Noosa River, and Noosa Hinterland. On a clear day, you can even view as far as the Glasshouse Mountains. It is the best place to obtain an impressive bird’s eye view of Noosa Heads and beyond.
You can visit Laguna Lookout at any time of the day, but I highly suggest visiting Laguna Lookout just before sunset, so you can watch the sky transforming into different shades of orange over the beautiful Noosa Heads and the coast.
Laguna Lookout can be accessed either by car or by walk. If you have a car, I suggest driving directly to Laguna Lookout, where you can find free designated car parks nearby.
If you don’t have a car, you can still easily reach Laguna Lookout by walking. It is a roughly 20 minutes walk between Hastings Street and Laguna Lookout (one way), but it can be steep in certain sections.
Day 2: Noosa Hinterland & Beyond
After spending the first day chasing the sun and beaches in Noosa Heads, you will now head into the lush green Noosa Hinterland on the second day of your Noosa visit for more greeneries.
In the afternoon, you will head back to the coast and check out the buzzing Noosa Marina before watching the sunset at the peaceful Lake Weyba.
Mount Tinbeerwah Lookout
A brief 20-minute drive west from Noosa Heads will bring you to the beautiful Tewantin National Park, where you can take a short hike to Mount Tinbeerwah summit for a spectacular panoramic view of the Sunshine Coast.
The hike from the Mount Tinbeerwah car park to Mount Tinbeerwah summit is relatively short and only took me about 10 minutes one-way. Along the walk, you can also enjoy some stunning views of the nearby mountain ranges and the various lakes around Noosa.
However, there are some large boulders along this hike, which may get slippery on wet days. With that said, we are on the Sunshine Coast, so what are the odds?
Once you have stepped up on the lookout tower at Mount Tinbeerwah summit, you will be immediately presented with a breathtaking 360-degree view of the stunning Sunshine Coast and its lush green mountain ranges. With this impressive view as background, the sheltered lookout tower at Mount Tinbeerwah summit also makes the perfect location for a picnic.
Since the walk up the top is a bit of an uphill hike, it can get challenging for some people. But the short distance and the unparalleled views from Mount Tinbeerwah Lookout will make it well worth the hike.
Tips: Try to visit Mount Tinbeerwah Lookout in the morning before it gets too hot.
Noosa Botanic Gardens
A short 15-minute drive from Mount Tinbeerwah car park, you can find a picturesque lake-side oasis, Noosa Botanic Gardens.
Noosa Botanic Gardens is perfectly positioned on the shores of Lake MacDonald. It houses eight hectares of beautifully manicured gardens, with a diverse collection of native and exotic plantations.
There are many different walking tracks within Noosa Botanic Gardens to explore this lakeside oasis. But in reality, you will likely be allured off the designated walking tracks by all the eye-catching plantations and architecture around this idyllic garden. So you may as well go where your heart desires and disregard the map.
With that said, make sure you have at least checked out the remarkable amphitheatre when visiting Noosa Botanic Gardens.
Built on an elevated ground on the shore of Lake MacDonald, the amphitheatre is one of the best places to appreciate the peaceful Lake MacDonald. The beautiful design of this amphitheatre also makes it one of the most Instagrammable places in Noosa Botanic Gardens, so make sure you check it out!
A walk around Noosa Botanic Gardens will take around 1 hour. But you will likely need to plan out a lot more time here if you’d like to look into this garden in detail or enjoy the garden at a more relaxed pace.
Free designated car parks are available within Noosa Botanic Gardens. Picnic facilities and public toilets can also be found within the botanic gardens. So you can literally spend half a day here if desired.
After checking out Noosa Hinterland, you will now head back to Noosa and check out its beautiful waterways.
Noosa Marina is a charming marina filled with buzzing seafood markets and restaurants. It is where you can find the freshest seafood in Noosa, so make sure you source some lunch here while visiting.
My favourite option is the fish & chips from Noosa Harbour Fish Market. It sells fresh seafood but will also prepare your choice of seafood at an additional charge. Once your seafood is perfectly cooked, you can enjoy it on one of the outdoor dining tables along the beautiful marina.
After lunch, you can then stroll along the marina to browse its interesting stores to burn some calories.
There is also a small water park near the marina car park. It is free and can be an excellent spot for families with kids to visit.
Various cruise companies are based at Noosa Marina & offer cruise tours along the Noosa River and Noosa National Park. They can be great options for exploring Noosa and its impressive waterways. A couple of cruise tours you may wish to check out are:
Short-term parking is available at Noosa Marina. It is free for the first 3 hours by registering your details via a QR code (when I visited, but it could change in the future).
Public toilets are available at Noosa Marina if needed.
The Big Pelican
If you prefer water sports, such as kayaking and standup paddle boarding, instead of a cruise tour, you should definitely check out The Big Pelican.
The Big Pelican is one of Australia’s Big Things. It is a fun spot to check out and take a photo of.
Located right along the Noosa River, the area around The Big Pelican is buzzing with trendy cafes and restaurants, making it a great place to grab a meal by the river. Various cruise companies and boat/kayak/paddleboard rentals can also be found along the Noosa River near The Big Pelican.
Free 2-hour parking is available at The Big Pelican but can be in high demand during busy hours. Also, in my memory, the time limit only applies on weekdays.
After a fun-filled afternoon along the Noosa River, you will now head down to Lake Weyba for sunset.
There are many access points for Lake Weyba, but I highly suggest you check out Lake Weyba from Weyba Tree near Charlotte Drive in Weyba Downs.
Weyba Tree is a photogenic spot along the shores of Lake Weyba. It is a tranquil spot any time of the day but incredibly scenic around sunset when the water turns from calming blue into different shades of orange and purple, with the peaceful reflection of the Weyba Tree within.
Tips: There are no public toilets at Weyba Tree, so make sure you have this aspect looked after before heading here for sunset.
Where to Stay in Noosa
As a popular coastal destination, Noosa offers a good variety of holiday accommodations, from hostels and apartments to boutique hotels and resorts. Many of these are conveniently located in Noosa Heads and Noosaville.
However, due to its popularity, it is, in comparison, more expensive to stay in Noosa than many other holiday destinations in Australia.
Here are a few accommodation suggestions around Noosa to suit different needs:
- Nomads Noosa: hostel stays in the heart of Noosa.
- Robyn’s Nest – Bed and Breakfast: a well-priced B&B, only a short drive from Noosa Heads.
- Noosa River Retreat: a superb apartment stay in Noosaville at an affordable price.
- Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort: a five-star hotel stay, centrally located on the vibrant Hastings Street in Noosa Heads.
How to Get Around Noosa
Driving is typically the quickest way to get around Noosa. You can also easily explore beyond the touristy places in Noosa Heads and Noosaville by having a car.
With that said, if you only plan on visiting the popular attractions in Noosa Heads, public transport and taxi may be a better option due to the heavy traffic and limited parking spots around Noosa Heads.
Uber is widely available around Noosa & may work out cheaper than paying for parking in some instances.
Alternatively, walking can also be a great option for discovering Noosa Heads. It can be the best way to find those hidden treasures as well.