It’s a very close race, but I think Noosa may have overtaken my love for Byron Bay! What can I say about Noosa?! I don’t think I can describe just how beautiful this town and its surroundings are.
After Brisbane Zoo we headed up to a town called Maroochydore and camped in a wooded area here. From there, we hopped in our car and with windows down, sun shining and music blaring, headed north for Noosa.
My first impression of Noosa was that it was a more stylish version of Byron Bay. With a quick drive up Hastings St, we figured it was pretty chic with alfresco restaurants and trendy cafes.
At this stage we’ve well and truly forgotten this is Australia’s winter. The weather is absolutely beautiful. A balmy climate coupled with a slight coastal breeze has us topping up the tan nicely without becoming a sweaty hot mess. I’m relishing this gorgeous temperature before we head any further towards Cairns, where it’s a hell of a lot hotter!
Our first stop in Noosa was a happy accident. We followed a winding road, five minutes outside of Noosaville and came across the Noosa Spit. We hopped out of the car and walked down a beautiful Boardwalk, turned the corner and an almighty squeal escaped my mouth! We had stumbled upon what the locals call the Noosa Spit. A totally sheltered beach, with crystalline water and white sand.
This is the local dog-walking area and is so sheltered there are zero waves. It’s a very safe place to swim and perfect for children. There are small sand island all around the Noosa Spit, which change in size and shape depending on the tide activity. We spent the afternoon swimming in the water and hopping up on to the islands to rest, not a bad way to spend an afternoon!
That evening we took a spin inland and camped in another forest for the night. It was super creepy with owls and bats flying over our heads and grass passed our knees. A low fog had settled around us for the night, and while Darren was more than enjoying the spookiness, I couldn’t wait to get back to Noosa for the day!
After our little adventure the night before, we checked into Nomads Hostel in Noosa the next day. Once we dropped out bags in our room, we tipped on down to Main Beach, and I can safely say, I was in my element!! This beach has to be my favourite beach so on the coast. Imagine the most typical tropical beach you can think of, and this was probably better. Aqua clear water and shallow for miles, it was perfect for swimming, I could just look down and see my feet among all the big fish! This just happened to be on the day of the Conor McGregor fight in Las Vegas, and Darren was eager to see the outcome. He walked up the road to a local bar to watch it, but I couldn’t pass up such an amazing day so I stayed out and swam for 45 minutes!
After a gorgeous day on the sand we took a trek up to Laguna Lookout, which I highly recommend. The walk is beautiful and the reward of a sunset at the end is even better. People around us has bought up crates of beer and a few families had picnics to enjoy the evening with.
Come evening time we were well and truly knackered from all the sun we’d had that day and decided to hit the hostel bar. We met a great group of girls from Ireland and and a few more we’d met previously on our trip! That’s the great thing about doing the east coast trip, everyone is going the same way and you always bump into the same people! Soon enough we were all joining in on the drinking antics with the bar quickly swallowing up our dollars. A few too many resulted in Darren standing in the bar wearing nothing but his shoes and me everything plus his underwear! We won fifty dollars and the party continued!
Oh God how I regretted that last drink…or five. Up at the crack of dawn to get the best part of the day, we shook off the hangovers and on to Noosa National Park we went. This is exactly why we bought our 4×4 and my God did pay off! Driving though this park was unbelievably amazing! We took a car ferry across to the park and began our journey down a 51km beach.
We previously organised a park permit and a camping permit for the park. These are a must and you can be heavily fined by park rangers if you don’t have one. The park is about 210,000 hectors, with shark-infested waters on one side and a tropical rainforest on the other. It’s home to an amazing array of wildlife including koalas, goannas, emus and eagles. Although my quest to see a wild koala still hasn’t been fulfilled, we did see some pretty huge goannas climbing trees! We also had some intimidating eagles circle our car while we cooked our sausages.
As we bombed down then beach, splashing through the water and swerving to avoid giant beached jelly fish we couldn’t stop laughing at how bizarre seeing speed and road signs on a sandy beach was!
Every once in a while we’d pass people camping in their campervans, complete with their own portaloos, marquees, solar panels for electricity and the whole works! Darren and I started to feel slightly unprepared as we delved deeper into the park and away from everyone else. There was no phone reception, no running water, and no toilets!
We stopped for lunch and got out of the car to stretch. I looked around and realised their wasn’t a sinner for miles. It was so incredibly peaceful to be on such a wild beach with huge crashing waves and a wall of green forestry behind us. I felt like I was on the tv show Lost!
Another venture into the rainforest and we came across some beautiful lakes and creeks to swim in. The park is well maintained with signs for directions and notices explaining which waters are fit to swim in. We happily splashed around knowing we weren’t quite in croc territory yet!
As the sun retreated behind the trees we found a spot on the beach to camp for the night. Perched on a little hill, safe from the tide we began a little fire. You must bring your own kindling and fire logs with you as burning anything on the island, even small sticks on the ground is illegal. The chances of someone catching you doing it are slim, but it’s important to respect the Australian way of conservation and respect for nature. If you’re planning on building a campfire, bring fire logs and kindling from the mainland.
Darren took out his fishing rod and caught some fish as the sun went down. The sky changed from a bright blue to a pink hue reflecting off the wet sand. We sat on the back of our car and watched the colours change before making dinner and retreating to the campfire. What a way to spend the evening!
As if the previous night’s sunset wasn’t gorgeous enough, the next morning’s sunrise took my breath away! I opened the back door of our car and watched the sun poke up from the horizon while Darren went off with his fishing rod again. A lovely man approached us and gave us some shellfish (or pippies as the Aussies call them) to use as bait and showed us how to find our own.
Our second day in the park was spent exploring more parts of the beach and forest. I was dying to go for a swim in the ocean but with no shark nets there’s no way was taking the chance! After a bumpy off-road journey through the forest, we finally made it out the other side and we on track to Rainbow Beach. Our first stop was a car wash where we hosed down the car as it stank of fish and salt water! The inside took a bit of cleaning too – I think we must have brought half the beach back with us!
This has probably been the best trip so far of our east coast. It was adventurous and refreshing to get away from civilisation and phone reception. If you’re considering getting a car for your time in Australia I would really encourage you to for the likes of this trip. It’s great doing guided tours but for Noosa Park, I really think you need a few days exploring to see it all and freedom of camping on the National Park beach was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Scroll down for more pictures of Noosa and the National Park!