Set on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and 160 kilometers north of Brisbane,
Noosa is the antidote to the strip malls, theme parks and gaudy casino-
hotels that sprawl, in depressing profusion, along Australia’s northeast
coast—just ask rockers Bob Geldof and Mick Jagger, British mogul Sir
Richard Branson (who recently bought an island, no less, in the Noosa
River upstream from the resort), Austrian tennis ace Thomas Muster or
Driving Miss Daisy and Last Dance director Bruce
Beresford. Noosa offers a boho lifestyle and an alluring menu of attractions,
The geography of the region has
conspired to create the perfect place for
forgetting that the rest of the world exists. The low-rise town fronts a
stunning beach and is set
between a heavily forested, rocky point and the mouth
of the Noosa River. To the north stretch national parks and other
pristine beaches all the way to World Heritage-listed Fraser Island.
Beyond the town, the Noosa River wends its way west into lakes and the
Everglades, now a popular eco-attraction. And the
rolling hill country of the
hinterland is dotted with
laid-back villages, New Age retreats and artists’ colonies.
Best of all is the town’s juxtaposition with the Noosa National Park. The park has been saved by decades of fierce environmental activism, and it’s right on your doorstep if you’re staying on Hastings Street—Noosa’s main drag and location of its best accommodations. From an apartment here, it’s a short stroll into the park, where walking trails lead through thick forest and koalas, goannas and other wildlife abound. You might encounter the local fauna downtown, too. While happily devouring an ice cream on Hastings Street one afternoon, I looked up and saw an Australian scrub turkey leave its natural habitat nearby to cross the busy road. No one else looked up from their sundaes.
For expert surfers and novices alike, Noosa’s waves beckon irresistibly. Sunshine Corner offers the most consistent waves throughout the year, while the waves at Boiling Point and Tea Tree are formidable to behold, luring more experienced surfers. Meanwhile, Noosa’s reputation as a culinary mecca is another draw—its restaurants are awash with upscale visitors from Sydney and Melbourne, particularly in the high season when the chattering upper classes of Australia’s largest cities seem to relocate north en masse. Whether it’s Mediterranean-influenced cuisine on the seafront terrace of Bistro C or outstanding seafood at the über-trendy Saltwater, the culinary word on Noosa is out.
So is the fact that Australia’s usually epic spaces seem agreeably compressed to navigable dimensions here. From the front door of my apartment, it’s a mere 20-m stroll to Laguna Bay and only 100 m to my favorite coffee shop, and a choice of more than 30 restaurants within a three-minute walk, alongside spas, boutiques and bookshops. The only thing that feels far away is the rest of the world.
And that, of course, is just how the celebrities like it.