Noosa in the winter
While Noosa is perennially sunny and its waters mysteriously perfect, there are a few chilly months in the year when only the bravest of locals dare dip their toes in the water. So, how do you spend the winter months still enjoying the best Noosa has to offer?
From bushwalking the National Park to chilling out in hidden cafes with excellent coffee, enjoying comfort food, bargain shopping and indulging in some well-deserved pampering, there is plenty to warm the cockles in Noosa every winter.
Student Flights chats with Sasha Lincoln, the Brisbane local who spends every other weekend in Noosa, to find out her best tips for enjoying winter by the beach in this picturesque little pocket of the world.
If it’s raining and overcast in Noosa, where can we find you?
When it’s raining at Noosa you can generally find me with a coffee in hand at Aromas, or avoiding the beach with a long lunch. Hastings Street is home to plenty of excellent options, but my favourite lunch spot around Noosa has to be Gusto on Gympie Terrace in Noosaville. Gusto serves delicious modern Australian that’s hidden from the crowds of Hastings Street. Top picks: cuttlefish for entrée, barramundi for main and sticky date for dessert. They also do a melt-in-your-mouth-to-die-for pita bread (yes, this pita bread it’s worthy of getting excited over).
For those rainy days that call for popcorn and a good flick, there’s a cinema along Noosa Junction.
If it’s too cold to surf, what’s the best way to enjoy the outdoors?
Winter doesn’t hit too hard in Noosa but for those who aren’t brave enough to face the water, the National Park is a must do. There are plenty of different walking tracks to choose from, which are great for all fitness levels. My favourite track goes from the National Park entrance at Noosa to Hells Gate (Coastal Track 4). From there you can walk across A-Bay (Alexandra bay) which also doubles as a nudist beach, then up the cliff face to Sunshine beach. It’s about 5.4 kilometres one way and it never gets old (can’t say as much for the nudists at A-Bay – good on them though)!
Where is the best place to get a coffee in Hastings Street?
Aromas for sure. Located centrally on Hasting Street, it has great coffee, lovely staff, and the added bonus of people watching.
Cafe Le Monde also has a great takeaway coffee stand with beans from the local Clandestino Roasters and cold press juices from Noosa Cleanse.
Best place to get winter comfort food by the beach?
For lunch you can’t go past Betty’s Burgers. They've recently opened up (late 2014) opposite the Surf Club. Some of the best burgers I’ve had – ever.
For a winter warmer dinner, head to Bistro C and grab their famous seafood spaghetti; a combination of fresh local seafood, basil, garlic, olive oil, tomato and aioli. The servings are hearty, so they’ll be sure to satisfy your wintery comfort needs.
Best place for a cheap meal?
Again, Betty’s Burgers are a great option for a cheap meal. If you’re after something a little lighter, Hastings 10 (at the woods end of Hastings Street) has delicious cafe-style options. You can pick up wraps and salads from their cabinet, or paninis and acai bowls from their menu. Overall, a good range of decent food, for a good price. It’s my go-to for a cheap, healthy lunch.
For another cheap meal you could also head to the Noosa Surf Club, but if you’re after something a little different, then Halse Lodge is perfect for a cheap meal too. Situated behind the surf board hire shop at the Hastings Street roundabout, Halse Lodge is a backpacker hotel which offers cheap eats without compromising on flavour. My pick is the Chicken Parmy (only $12!), accompanied by some even cheaper drinks, and a ping pong match to finish it off.
Best restaurant for to splash out for a special occasion?
Ricky’s is always good. Located at Quamby Place, it’s a popular fine dining restaurant at Noosa.
Sails on Hastings Street is a tough contender for Ricky’s – in fact, I think in recent months it would be my preference. They do a delicious Moreton Bay Bug dish which is just absolutely to die for. Sails is also good if you’ve got a large group of people. If you call in advance and book a table of 10 or more people they can generally do a set menu. We’ve done this a few times for birthday’s or group catch ups – it tends to work out to a reasonable price too.
What is something only a local would know about Noosa?
There are some rope swings around the Noosa River (the kind where you swing from land and bomb dive into the river). They’re fairly hidden but worth the adventure. You can find some along the bushlands near the overpass bridge where the Noosa Markets are held. I would also say that Gusto is a hidden gem too. It’s my favourite restaurant in the area, and because it’s away from the hustle of Hastings it tends to go a little more unnoticed. It’s consistently good – I head there 9 out of 10 times I’m at Noosa. Hire a SUP or U-Boat (or T-Boat) for the day. It’s a great way to get out and see Noosa from the water. If you hire a boat I recommend getting one with a BBQ and a driver. It’ll give you the chance to sit back, relax, have a feed and drink, and soak up Noosa and all its glory.
Best place to thrift shop?
In recent years a lot of cheaper clothing shops have opened up along Hastings Street. There are some great little Balinese-market-inspired clothing shops which you can generally pick up some cheap options. For all other thrift shopping, you can’t go past Eumundi Markets. Everything is handmade (it’s a rule to be able to merchant there), so you’d be sure to pick up some nifty thrifty items.
Repost from @melissagarratt With @monnitravel these girls are super happy to be visiting #theoriginaleumundimarkets. Make sure you tag us in your market pics! #eumundimarkets #markets #eumundi #artisan #artisanmarket #visitsunshinecoast #visitqueensland A photo posted by The Original Eumundi Markets (@eumundimarkets) on
Best place for market shopping (food or otherwise)?
Noosa Farmers Markets located at the Noosa Australian Football Club on Weyba Road every Sunday morning from 7am till 12pm are nice and central to those staying in Noosaville. They’re predominantly fresh food and produce, but have recently started to open up stalls which have health and wellness products, as well as soaps and creams. If you go to the Noosa Markets, make an effort to track down the French patisserie stall. The pastries are delicious, smell like heaven, and will make any Frenchman feel at home.
Eumundi Markets are the ‘Hail Mary’ of markets in the Noosa region. They’re on every Saturday and Wednesday, and have everything from arts and crafts; food and produce; fashion and jewellery; and health and wellness. If you’re making the time to visit any market in the area, make it a priority to visit Eumundi. Open Wednesdays 8am-1.30pma and Saturdays 7am-2pm
Belmondos Organic Market is your go-to-gourmet market. Organic, raw, nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, wheat-free – you name it, if it’s something you’d find on Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop, or some other ‘rawganic’ food blog, you’ll find it here. A word of caution – gourmet markets come with a gourmet price tag. You have been warned.
Best place to pamper yourself?
For a quick mani/pedi there’s a cute spa opposite Campos coffee and the newsagency in Bay Village, behind the Sheraton. It’s as cheap as you’ll get along Hastings Street and the staff are really lovely. For something a little fancier, check out the hotel spas (they’ll come with the price tag). There’s an Endota Spa located in Noosaville which is always a reliable place if you’re in need for a little pampering. Book in advance though as it tends to book up quickly.
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