Last Updated on August 25, 2020 by queenie mak
Noosa is Queensland’s most popular beach town on the Sunshine Coast in Australia. The town has some of the best beaches on the east coast where you can’t find anywhere else. And it has a national park with amazing hiking trails, scenic viewpoints, and rock pools.
With a relaxing and laidback beach vibe, Noosa is the perfect spot for a Brisbane day trip.
One of the highlights of Noosa is the famous Fairy Pools. These natural rock pools can be found in Noosa National Park. Want to know more about this natural phenomenon? Keep reading!
One of the highlights is the famous Fairy Pools in Noosa. These natural rock pools can be found in Noosa National Park. Want to know more about this natural phenomenon? Keep reading!
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Before you visit Noosa
Before you travel to Noosa, take a look at my list of 17 things you need to know before travelling to Australia. I included information about Australia including applying for ETA, transportation, money and accommodation.
Here is some more information to keep in mind when you are planning your trip to Noosa:
- Noosa Heads is a favourite holiday destination for locals, especially for families. It is one of the safest and family-friendly travel destinations.
- But the resort town is also popular with backpackers and solo travellers because of many great surf spots, gorgeous beaches, scenic hiking trails and laidback vibes.
- Festivals in Noosa:
How to travel from Brisbane to Noosa
Road Trip from Brisbane to Noosa
Driving to Noosa from Brisbane is the easiest way, but only if you have a vehicle already. The journey is over 140km and will take about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
However, driving may not be the best option financially since it can be quite costly for renting a car and putting in fuel. But if you do drive to Noosa, there is plenty of parking in Noosa Heads and Noosa National Park.
Brisbane to Noosa Bus
For a solo traveller, the easiest way to travel from Brisbane to Noosa is by taking a Greyhound Australia bus.
Greyhound Australia is Australia’s long-distance bus operator. The bus has recline seats, USB chargers, and free wifi.
Each day, there are five direct buses from Brisbane Coach Terminal (at Roma Station) to Noosa Junction Bus Station. The bus ride takes about 2 hours, 20 minutes and the cost starts at $22AUD.
Catch the first bus at 7:30 am and you will arrive in Noosa by 9:50 am. By taking the first bus to Noosa, you can visit all the attractions mentioned in this blog all in the same day.
Purchase your ticket online to secure a seat. The route from Brisbane to Noosa is very popular as it is the same bus that goes to the Australia Zoo.
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How to get around Noosa
Walking is one of the best ways to see Noosa. The distances between all the attractions mentioned in this blog are between 10 to 30 minutes.
And you can only explore Noosa National Park on foot. While the entire coastal trail in the park is 11km roundtrip, the entire trail is very scenic and enjoyable.
The public bus is also a great way to travel around Noosa if you want to explore other parts of the Sunshine Coast.
If you haven’t already purchased one in Brisbane, buy a Go Card, a rechargeable electronic card to take public transportation in Queensland. It makes taking public transportation so much easier.
You can buy and top-up a Go Card online, at the station or at convenience stores like 7-Eleven. Initially, you have to purchase the card for $10AUD but you get the deposit back when you return your card.
You can check the bus schedule by entering the start and end locations here.
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What to Bring to Noosa
Exploring Noosa as a day trip is super fun! Here are some tips on what you should bring for a fun day of exploring Noosa:
- a small backpack for all your belongings
- a pair of sensible shoes that is ideal for walking on the rocky path to the Fairy Pools
- bathing suit just in case you want to jump into the Fairy Pools
- a small towel to dry off
- plenty of water and snacks for the coastal hike around Noosa National Park
- lots of sunscreen to block all the UV rays while you are meandering through Noosa National Park
- hat and sunglasses to further block any sunrays
How to find Fairy Pools Noosa
The Fairy Pools Noosa are two natural rock pools, or tide pools, along the coastline of Noosa National Park.
Rockpools are pools of water formed by the sea. Strong ocean currents create natural pools of water over time, creating these magnificent natural pools in Noosa and other coastal areas in Australia including New South Wales, Victoria and other parts of Queensland.
During high tide, strong waves crash the rocky shores, which make it challenging to get into the rock pool. And the lower pool is not visible during high tide.
While at low tide, the seawater is calmer which makes it possible to take a dip in both rock pools.
Directions to find the Fairy Pools Noosa National Park
There are no signs in Noosa National Park indicating the location of the Fairy Pools.
But if you enter “Fairy Pools, Noosa Heads” in Google Map, the app will show you exactly how to get there.
From the Noosa Junction Bus Station, walk towards Noosa Heads, pass Noosa Heads Main Beach and follow the path into Noosa National Park. Google Maps will take you all the way to the Fairy Pools.
While you are on the coastal path closest to the Fairy Pool pin in Google Maps, look towards the water, and you will see the Fairy Pools. It may not seem like there are rock pools there that’s because you have to walk further into it.
At this point, keep following the path and walk to the right of the fence, where there is an opening. Then walk towards the edge of the water. This is where your sensible shoes come in handy because the path is very rocky. There isn’t a specific path; you just have to keep walking until you reach the pools by the edge of the coastline.
The entire journey from the bus stop to the Fairy Pools will take just over one hour. But there are many things to see along the way and the walk is quite enjoyable.
Best time to visit Noosa and Noosa Fairy Pools
The best time to visit Fairy Pools is during low tide because it is the only time when the lower pool is exposed and also the strong waves are not crashing into the pools.
I went during high tide which is why I can only see the upper rock pool (see the main photo). As you can see, the waves are quite strong and only one person is brave enough to sit by the Fairy Pool. Look closely, he’s sitting on the left of the upper rock pool.
If possible, check the tide level before you plan your trip to Noosa.
Weekends and holidays are especially busy. If you can go at other times and during cooler months, you may get the Instagram photo of your dreams.
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Other attractions in Noosa
Besides searching for the Fairy Pools Noosa, there are many other attractions you can visit in Noosa.
All the top things to do in Noosa are pinned in the interactive map below. You can find more information about each attraction by clicking on the individual pin.
Noosa Heads Main Beach
Most people visit Noosa Heads Main Beach because of the proximity to the town. Visitors to the beach can enjoy various activities like swimming, surfing and standup paddleboarding (which you can rent for a few hours).
However, the beach can get pretty busy during weekends and on holidays. But it is still worth checking out if you are visiting Noosa Heads.
And keep walking east until you reach Noosa River Mouth. The area is quite peaceful and during low tide, you can walk more halfway way to the other side of the river.
Noosa National Park
One of the best highlights in Noosa is Noosa National Park. The park is free to enter and has many trails throughout the park.
The one trail you must check out is the coastal trail where it takes you from Noosa Main Beach to the edge of Sunshine Beach.
Along the way, you will see many scenic spots like Little Cove, a small beach at the beginning of the trail. Then take in the view from Boiling Point Lookout, where you can see a steep rocky cliff. From the lookout, you can watch surfers in the water and if you are lucky, dolphins and whales too.
As you walk along the boardwalk, look up once in a while and see if you can catch a koala sleeping in a forest of gum trees. Few people were looking up while I was walking through the area and it took me a few seconds to spot a koala sleeping on one of the branches. So adorable!
Next, you will approach Dolphin Point Lookout, and the Fairy Pools will be next on the trail.
After the famous rock pool, continue on the path and you’ll approach Hell’s Gates, the highest point of the coast where there are several steep cliffs.
Then you will approach a long stretch of beach by Alexandria Bay. The peaceful beach is a great spot to relax. Some surfers like to bring their board to the beach because it is not as busy as Noosa Head Main Beach.
Towards the end of the trail, you will see Devil’s Kitchen where you can see a panoramic view of Alexandria Bay and surrounding areas.
Then finally, the trail ends at the north end of Sunshine Beach.
Sunshine Beach is the coastal neighbourhood just east of Noosa Heads. The area is quieter, not as busy at Noosa Heads, but the beaches are just as nice and very popular with locals. Most people like walking along the long stretch of beach and surf as well.
At the north end of the beach, you can start your trek to Noosa National Park. And if you go south, the long stretch of beach goes all the way to Peregian Beach.
Follow the signs and hike one of several pathways to Laguna Lookout. At the viewing platform, you can see Noosa Heads Main Beach and as far as the Glasshouse Mountains in the distance. There is a handy sign at the viewing platform indicating all the major landmarks in the vicinity.
The climb up is not difficult at all, and the unobstructed view is entirely worth it! And the sunset is quite spectacular!
There are several paths way to get to Laguna Lookout. Luckily, there are many signs along the way so you will not get lost. You can get to the lookout from the Noosa Junction Bus Station or at the east end of Hastings Street.
Need some tour ideas around Noosa? Check out some of the tours:
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Where to stay in Noosa
Noosa is a lovely place for a weekend trip. Locals seem to think that too! It is a favourite spot for locals to vacation! However, staying overnight is not exactly cheap.
There are a few budget hostels between the bus stop and Noosa Heads Main Beach. And if you want to splurge, there are many excellent beach apartments right on Noosa Main Beach and Hastings Street.
From what I researched, I found Airbnb the best option for accommodation. For what you have to pay in Noosa, I would much rather stay at an Airbnb apartment or private room than a hostel or hotel. There are over 300+ Airbnb options in Noosa Heads and Sunshine Beach.
Whichever you choose, book ahead so you will not be disappointed. Many places are booked in advance so once you know you are going to Noosa and staying overnight, start looking for accommodation!
- Noosa Flashpackers ($) – I prefer smaller hostels than bigger hostels because the bigger ones tend to be more of a party hostel. Noosa Flashpackers is quite nice if you want to stay in a hostel and meet other travellers. However, the hotel is in Sunshine Beach, but the walk to Noosa Heads is only 10 minutes.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- 10 Hastings Street Boutique Motel ($$) -Stay in a white-washed Scandinavian style room just off the main street, Hastings Street. Noosa Heads Main Beach and many food options are just minutes away!
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Peppers Noosa Resort & Villas ($$) – Enjoy the luxury modern suite located just a few minutes from Hastings Street. You’ll have an excellent view of the surrounding from your balcony!
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Mantra French Quarter Apartment ($$$) – Located on Hastings Street, stay at one of Mantra’s one-bedroom apartment which includes a balcony and a kitchenette.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Cost: average price is about $168AUD per day which include entire apartment, private rooms and shared rooms
- I stayed at the best place in Noosa for two nights where I get a private room and the shared bathroom. I shared the house with the host and was able to use all the public spaces including the living room, kitchen and the cozy backyard. I loved staying there because the host is very thoughtful and generous.
- Before you book your Airbnb accommodation, always read reviews and see all the fine print before booking.
- And if you are not part of Airbnb yet, please use this code to claim your $35 Airbnb discount.
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Where to eat in Noosa
Between restaurants with a beachy vibe to stores selling acai smoothie bowls, you will find something you want to eat in Noosa along Hastings Street, the main street in Noosa Heads.
Below are some budget and mid-range food suggestions. You can find more information about each location in the attached google map by clicking on the individual pin (see interactive map above).
- Acai Brothers Noosa Heads ($) – there are many locations throughout Australia so try one of their acai smoothie bowls before you leave.
- Blended Health Bar ($) – serves the prettiest smoothie bowls and excellent coffee-to-go
- Betty’s Burgers & Concrete Co. ($) – if you like The Priest Burger from The Burger’s Priest in Canada, you might want to try Betty’s Classic Stack. The burger with deep-fried mushroom is quite heavenly!
- Gelatissimo Noosa ($) – a trip to the beach is not the same without ice-cream! Try a classic flavour or flavour of the month. All of their ice-cream is made in-store!
- Aromas Restaurant & Bar Noosa ($$) – the atmosphere at Aromas is quite nice. The restaurant has excellent food, good coffee and delicious cake. Also, if you sit near the front of the restaurant, you can watch people as they walk by Hastings Street.
- El Capitano ($$) – a casual beachy restaurant serving the best pizza!
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Are you going to search for Fairy Pools in Noosa?
I went to Australia 15 years ago and travelled along the east coast. I stayed in other parts of the Sunshine Coast but missed Noosa. So glad I decided to visit Noosa this time around because Noosa is one of the best towns on east coast Australia.
If you are in Brisbane and want a quick get-away, definitely go to Noosa!
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