Planning a Noosa camping trip? Everyone’s saying it’s the next Byron Bay and I can see why.
It has the sea, the sun, the surf, the cafes, the bars, and the stunning views that come with being located in a huge bay next to a National Park.
As a week-long getaway or a must-do stop on any East Coast road trip, there is a lot to do here. Or you can quite happily kick back, relax and switch off.
Here’s a list of the best things to do in Noosa and where to camp.
Where: Sunshine Coast, QLD, Australia
Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links which means I get a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. By using these links you are directly supporting this blog so thank you. Please read my Disclosure Policy.
It’s bigger than you think but Noosa can easily be split up into four main areas:
- Noosa Heads Main Beach, Hastings St and Noosa National Park
- Noosa Junction
- Gympie Terrace
Where should you stay? I had trouble getting my head around this when I was researching accommodation.
Essentially, Noosa Heads area is where you’ll likely spend most of your time so stay in this area if you can. Especially if you don’t have a car.
Being central, it’s also the most popular and more expensive place for accommodation so alternatively try and stay either near Gympie Terrace along the river which is a 10-minute drive away (or 40-minute walk); or inland at Noosa Junction where there are good food options and it’s only a 3-minute drive away (or 15-minute walk).
The fourth option is Noosaville which is more of a big industrial estate and the working side of the town, however it puts you close to the Land & Sea Brewery and Clandestine Coffee (a must-visit if you love coffee). You will just need to be prepared to drive everywhere or a get a taxi.
With only one campsite in town, I headed to Noosa River Holiday Park for my first couple of nights in Noosa. Even though it’s one of the few camping options, it’s a good one with an amazing location right on the river. The site itself is spread out but the amenities block is new and the camp kitchen has one of the best views I’ve seen, out over the river.
If you can, get a riverside spot (only possible for campervans and tents because the spots are relatively narrow, a 4×4 + side awning is fine) to enjoy the colourful sunsets from the comfort of your own camp setup. If you can’t get a riverside spot, there are still plenty of areas to set up with your own camping chair and a beer for the light show (and plenty of other campers do).
Accommodation in Noosa
I also checked into Hotel Laguna for a couple of nights to escape the heat and would recommend this place.
It’s great in terms of location (right on Hastings St but at the North end closest to the recreation/woods area, so it was still quiet), nice finish (modern design and stylish furnishings) and comfortable beds with a kitchenette in the room for making snacks and having drinks out on the balcony.
I was in Noosa mid-week in March and it was the off-season so the prices were great (I paid $220/night) but if you’re staying during peak time, expect to pay a lot more for this location.
7 Best things to do in Noosa
Here is a list of the best things I did during my stay and recommend checking out.
1. Head to Hastings Street
Running parallel to Noosa Heads Main Beach is Hastings St, full of shops and plenty of places to eat and drink. It’s a good mix of being upmarket with the classic laid-back Australian charm.
Enjoy this area during the day, especially on a sunny day. It looks clean and polished and I personally really enjoyed it for transporting me back to a European resort town. There are lots of shops to browse with a mix of high street brands and smaller boutiques to choose from. Once you’re done browsing simply dart down a side street and you’re right on Noosa Main Beach.
I visited in the offseason when it was quiet but I’ve heard Hastings St can get very busy so if you’re planning to visit over a peak period, it’s best to visit early in the morning and definitely book any restaurants in advance.
Drinks options include Moonstruck (a small gin bar) and Miss Moneypennys (Good cocktails and the Gin & Tonics coming in goblets).
2. Relax on Noosa Main Beach
Make sure to enjoy some good old relaxing beach time on Noosa Main Beach.
Lie on the beach overlooking the big bay, or meaner down the boardwalk walk and stop to have lunch or dinner right on the beach at either Bistro CC or Boardwalk Bistro. Definitely check one of them out and enjoy [insert meal here] with a view. Alternatively, for stunning views in a more casual setting check out the Noosa Heads Surf Life Saving Club.
3. Spend time in Noosa National Park
Visit the Noosa National Park either just as far as Tea Tree Bay, or the whole walk from Noosa to Sunshine Beach.
The Noosa National Park is stunning and the coastal walk allows you to fully enjoy the beautiful bushland, beaches and coastal views. There is even a chance of spotting koalas along the way. The full walk is 2 hours one way, or 4 hours there and back. Plus extra time for all the stops you’ll want to make along the way.
Alternatively, if you don’t have time to do the whole walk I would highly recommend walking the first part from Hastings St to Tea Tree Bay. Although the walk is in parts shaded, you’re mainly out in the open and there are long stretches where you’re crossing the beach so I’d recommend walking either in the morning or afternoon to avoid overheating.
Top tip: Try to avoid having to park on the Noosa side to start the walk because parking is limited. I was there in the off-peak season and it still took 15 minutes to get a parking spot.
There is 2 and 4-hour parking available but 2 hours isn’t long enough to complete the walk so you’re limited to the 4-hour car parking and it gets full early on from all the walkers and surfers walking down to Tea Tree Bay (a very popular longboarding spot).
Instead, either catch a bus (you’ll need a travel card) or a taxi to Sunshine Beach and start the walk from there. Or, walk from your accommodation (if staying near Hastings St) or get a taxi to the start and leave your car behind.
4. Drive over to Sunshine Beach
Part of the Noosa National Park walk but a beautiful spot to hang out, either at the beach or the cafes.
5. Catch the sunset over Noosa River
Head to the river for sunset because Noosa sunsets are incredible! Noosa Main Beach actually faces North meaning the top end and where the Noosa River meets the ocean, faces West. So it’s perfect for seeing sunset.
There are a couple of ways to catch the sunset and one of them is from the river. I saw a lot of people doing specific sunset cruises on the Noosa River but you’ll get the same experience (if you don’t want to pay extra) just getting the normal Noosa ferry. Either catch it into town or to the Noosa Boathouse for drinks on their rooftop Sunset Bar. Just make sure to check the timetable because they don’t run late (the latest arrives at Hastings St at 5.50pm and departs 6pm). You can buy a ticket on board.
The Noosa Spit Recreation Area also faces West so it’s another great place to watch an epic Noosa sunset. There are parking spots at River Entrance Beach next to the river mouth which is an excellent spot for watching the sunset. BBQs and benches are also there if you want to enjoy the light show whilst having drinks and a picnic.
6. Eat out at Noosa Junction
Head to Noosa Junction for dinner.
Noosa Junction is away from the main beach but is a beautiful street, lit up at night with lots of dinner options.
Eat at Mr. Drifter for delicious Asian, Sri Lankan and Indian food, fresh salads, beautifully marinated hunks of meat and utterly soft, flaky rotis. It’s sharing style but the portions are big (I ordered way too much) and the setting is lovely with live music some nights (I was there on a Monday night).
7. Hang out in Noosaville
This is the working part of the town but there are a few hidden gems to be found on the industrial estates. If you love your coffee, Clandestine Coffee is a must. It’s right up there with some of the best coffee I’ve had in Australia and if you’re up for something a little different, try their coffee tasting paddle or their nitro brew.
Clandestine Coffee is also located next to a deli serving up delicious breakfasts, a bakery and a wholefoods supermarket. So you can enjoy some food or stock up on (upmarket) supplies whilst you’re there.
And that’s Noosa! I hope this guide helps you plan an amazing camping trip to Noosa.
It really is a special place to go and relax with the perfect blend of cafes and restaurants, mixed with the beautiful surrounds of the National Park. It is an awesome stop, not to be missed, on any East Coast road trip from Sydney to Fraser Island, as well as making a perfect holiday destination.