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Noosa Itinerary: Best things to do in Noosa Heads in One Day

Noosa Heads is Queensland’s most popular beach town on the Sunshine Coast. The town has some of the best beaches on the east coast which you can’t find anywhere else. And it has a national park with amazing hiking trails, scenic viewpoints, and natural rock pools.

I heard about Noosa during my first solo trip to Australia over 15 years ago. And I was so happy I visited Noosa when I returned to Australia because there are so many fun things to do in Noosa for solo travellers. I thoroughly enjoyed the laidback beach vibe and all the amazing activities.

So if you are planning on travelling around East Coast Australia, make sure to follow my Noosa itinerary so you can see all the best attractions in one day.

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What you need to know before starting your Noosa itinerary

Before spending the day in Noosa Heads, check out 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 solo trip to Noosa:

  • Noosa Heads is a favourite holiday destination for locals. It attracts families because of many family-friendly places and backpackers because of the great surf spots, gorgeous beaches, scenic hiking trails and laidback vibes.
  • It also attracts women travelling alone as it is a safe place for solo female travellers.
  • Book your accommodation as soon as you know you are going to Noosa. Many places are booked up, and most are pretty expensive.
  • Plan your visit to Noosa Heads with the following festivals and events:
    • Noosa Festival of Surfing (early March) – annual surfing competition in Noosa
    • Noosa Food and Wine Festival (May) – support the local food and beverage community during this 5-day event
    • Noosa Alive (July) – 10 days of live performances are scheduled for this performing arts festival

How to get from Brisbane to Noosa Heads

Self-drive

Driving to Noosa Heads 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 financial option for solo travellers since it can be quite costly for car rental and fuel.

Long distance bus

Greyhound Australia is Australia’s long-distance bus operator. There are five direct buses from Brisbane Coach Terminal (at Roma Station) to Noosa Junction Bus Station daily. The bus ride takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes, and the cost starts at $34AUD.

Purchase your ticket via the Greyhound website to secure a seat. The route from Brisbane to Noosa is very popular as the same bus goes to the Australia Zoo. The earlier you book, the cheaper the ticket.

How to get around Noosa Heads

Walk

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.

Public transportation

The public bus is also great for travelling around Noosa and exploring areas along 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 convenience stores like 7-Eleven. Initially, you must 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 on the Translink website.

Noosa itinerary: what to do in Noosa in 1 day

Follow my Noosa one-day itinerary if this is your first time visiting Noosa Heads. It includes all the must-do in Noosa, all involving being outside and experiencing the wonders of nature. So make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes, and bring a lot of sunscreen.

All the top Noosa attractions are pinned on the interactive map below. You can find more information about each attraction by clicking on the individual pin and by reading the description below.

1 & 2. Visit Noosa Heads Main Beach and Noosa River Mouth

Most people visit Noosa Heads Main Beach because of its 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 holidays. But it is still worth checking out if you are visiting Noosa Heads.

And keep walking west until you reach Noosa River Mouth. The area is quite peaceful, and during low tide, you can walk halfway to the other side of the river.

3. Hike around Noosa National Park

One of the best highlights in Noosa Heads is definitely Noosa National Park. The park is free to enter. Many people visit the park to relax, surf, swim, and trek the network of trails.

And when it comes to hiking, you must check out the coastal trail, which is an 11km trail that takes you around the park from Noosa Main Beach to the edge of Sunshine Beach. Along the coast, you can see many attractions including:

  • 4. Little Cove Beach
  • 5. Boiling Pot Lookout
  • 6. Dolphin Point Lookout
  • 7. Fairy Pools
  • 8. Hell’s Gate
  • 9. Alexandria Bay
  • 10. Devil’s Kitchen

And one of the best highlights of the park is the Fairy Pools. Finding the tidal pools isn’t difficult especially when you follow my instructions. Just make sure to go during low tide so you can dip in the rock pool.

Besides the coastal trail, many smaller trails meander throughout the park. You can definitely take your time exploring the park. And perhaps you can even see a koala sleeping in the gum trees.

11. Explore Sunshine Beach

Sunshine Beach is the coastal neighbourhood just east of Noosa Heads. The area is quieter and not as busy as Noosa Heads, but the beaches are just as nice and very popular with locals. Most people like walking along the long stretch of beach, surfing and swimming.

After exploring Noosa National Park, descend the set of stairways and walk straight into Sunshine Beach. And when you walk south, the long stretch of beach goes all the way to Peregian Beach.

So depending on your energy level and time of day, you can walk a bit on the beach and then take a local bus back to the central part of Noosa Heads.

12. See a panoramic view from Laguna Lookout

Follow the signs in Noosa 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. A handy sign at the viewing platform indicates all the major landmarks in the vicinity.

The climb up is not difficult, and the unobstructed view is worth it! And the sunset is quite spectacular!

There are several paths ways 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.

13. Eat and shop on Hastings Street

Then finish your day trip in Noosa on Hastings Street, the main street in Noosa Heads.

The main road is parallel to Noosa Heads Main Beach. The street itself isn’t very long, but it is packed with boutique stores, cafes, and restaurants.

You can find many clothing brands like Kookai, Billabong, Seed Heritage and more. Plus, there are other local boutique stores like Dissh, Who Invited Her and Flannel.

Moreover, this is where you will most of the eateries in Noosa Heads. Find a cute cafe or dine in a local restaurant and finish the day with an awesome meal.

Other Noosa attractions for solo travellers

There are so many more things to do in Noosa Heads that you might need a few more days in the coastal town. You can explore the hinterland and see other parts of East Coast Australia.

Here are some attractions in the Noosa area if you can stay longer:

  • Noosa Farmers Market – buy fresh local produce and baked goods at this Sunday market in Noosa Heads.
  • Mount Coolum – hike up the volcanic dome and watch the sunrise along the Sunshine Coast.
  • Mount Tinbeerwah – trek to the top of 263m to see a 360-degree panoramic view of Tewantin National Park.
  • Eumundi Markets – visit Australia’s largest outdoor market, sample food, and buy local artisan goods from 600 stalls. Open Wednesdays and Saturdays.
  • Noosa Everglades – join a guided tour on an eco-safari vessel and see wildlife in the Everglades.
  • Fraser Island – take a full-day tour to the largest sand island in the world and see ancient rain forests, turquoise freshwater lakes, and white-sand beaches.

Where to stay in Noosa Heads

It is possible to take a Noosa day trip from Brisbane. But I would highly recommend staying overnight so you can take your time and discover other Noosa activities.

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 on Hastings Street. Make sure to book ahead.

  • Noosa Flashpackers ($) – the small budget hostel near Sunshine Beach is only a 10-minute walk to Noosa Heads.
    • Check prices & reviews: Agoda
  • 10 Hastings Street Boutique Motel ($$) – stay in a white-washed Scandinavian-style room just on Hastings Street.
    • Check prices & reviews: Agoda
  • Mantra French Quarter Apartment ($$$) – conveniently located on Hastings Street, stay at one of Mantra’s one-bedroom apartments, which includes a balcony and a kitchenette.
    • Check prices & reviews: Agoda

Where to eat in Noosa Heads

As I mentioned earlier, most of the cafes and restaurants are on Hastings Street. But there are other places to eat around the Sunshine Coast as well. Here are some budget and mid-range food suggestions in the area:

  • Olakino Noosa Heads ($) – try one of their yummy acai smoothie bowls.
  • Blended Health Bar ($) – serves the prettiest smoothie bowls and excellent coffee-to-go.
  • Betty’s Burgers ($) – try Betty’s Classic Stack. The burger with deep-fried mushroom is quite heavenly!
  • Gelatissimo Noosa ($) – 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 creams are made in-store.
  • El Capitano ($$) – a casual beachy restaurant serving the best pizza!
  • Aromas Restaurant & Bar Noosa ($$) – 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.
  • The Captain’s Daughter ($$) – casual restaurant by Peregian Beach.

Which Noosa activities are you most excited about?

I initially wanted to go to Noosa Heads to search for Fairy Pools in Noosa National Park. But along the way, I discovered so many Noosa attractions that my day was packed with fun activities. I ended up staying for a few more days to soak it all in.

So I hope you will also include Noosa in your itinerary when you are travelling along East Coast Australia. The town is quite magical.

And let me know in the comments if you tried out this Noosa itinerary and if you like it, dislike it or have other suggestions to improve it.

Thank you for reading my Noosa Heads itinerary post

You might also like these other posts on solo travel in Australia:

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About Author

Hi, my name is Queenie, and I've been a solo traveller for 18+ years and currently based in Hong Kong. Follow me on my adventures through Instagram and my blog!

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