Living in New Zealand makes travelling to Australia very easy and not too expensive. One of the best ways to use a long weekend and to get some winter sun is to head to Queensland. We decided to do just that in July 2018.
A lot of New Zealanders like going to the Gold Coast for the shopping and the theme parks but we were looking for somewhere a little bit quieter so we headed straight to Noosa on the Sunshine Coast, just north of Brisbane. Noosa was once a sleepy beachside town which has now turned into an upmarket tourist destination with lots to do.
Where to stay
Due to the high prices of Noosa, we decided to stay in Sunshine Beach in a self-contained apartment – Andari Apartments. It was very reasonable despite our late booking and was just across the road from the beach. Sunshine Beach is only a 10min drive from Noosa and Noosa Heads and there are also frequent buses.
Sunshine Beach has a good Surf Lifesavers Club where you can get cheap drinks and food as well as a few other more upmarket restaurants. It is also close to the Noosa township where there are good supermarkets and bottle shops to get supplies.
Things to do in and around Noosa
- Enjoy the beach
- We went in the middle of winter and we could easily swim in the sea. Queensland has great weather all year round. Pack a picnic and lots of sunscreen
- Eumundi markets
- The Eumundi Markets are quite well known in the region and are popular with locals and tourists. They are on every Wednesday and Saturday mornings. We enjoyed our quick visit and enjoyed buying some home baking and listening to live music.
- Noosa Heads Coastal Walk
- The Noosa Heads Coastal Walk is a 10km walk around the headlands of Noosa. It takes about 4hrs and if you are lucky you might spot a Koala or 2 sleeping in the Gum Trees. We packed our swimsuits and a picnic and enjoyed the many beaches along the way. Make sure you bring plenty of water and sunscreen.
- The main street in Noosa Heads is filled with lots of great shops and restaurants. It is also a perfect place to buy a new swimsuit. Sea Folly make beautiful swimsuits and are famous in Australia
- Australia Zoo (day trip)
- Although we didn’t visit Australia Zoo during our latest trip, I visited back in 2012. This is the zoo that Steve Erwin set up to help local wildlife. His family have done a great job at continuing his legacy and it is still very popular. It is a good place to check out Australia famous native animals.
- Fraser Island (day trip)
- I visited Fraser Island back on a family holiday and have very fond memories of this amazing place. If you have a spare day, I would highly recommend a day trip or even a few nights camping, just be careful of the Dingos!
Sadly if you are only visiting for a long weekend, you won’t have time to do all of these activities, mostly during our recent trip we wanted to get some winter sun and relax by the beach.
- Noosa is expensive
- Noosa is very touristy and as a consequence is very expensive. It was too pricey for us to stay in the more popular area in Noosa Heads but you can find a few cheaper places in the Noosa township but it is a bit further away from the beach
- Parking is a nightmare
- Good luck trying to park anywhere near the beach in Noosa. It was chaos as there is very limited parking. We opted to get the bus from Sunshine Beach as it was easy and frequent
- Bad customer service
- Most places where we went to eat had terrible customer service. It took ages to get into places, then another life age to get served. We did notice if you looked rich you got served faster… so maybe it was just us
- The Glasshouse Mountains
- Not really worth driving extra for, just enjoy them at speed from your car or pop in on the way to somewhere else
Other useful tips
- Stay in Sunshine Beach – it is way less touristy which means it was cheaper. The beach was also great so you won’t be missing much by staying here
- Use the supermarkets – pack picnics for the beach or do your own cooking in a serviced apartment. Australia has lots of fresh fruit and this amazing salsa and corn chip brand Byron Bay Chilli Company. It was so yum, we ate it every day.
- Wear sunscreen – Even in the middle of winter you can get sunburnt in Australia
- Swim between the flags – Australia has amazing surf lifesaving clubs and they really look after people on the beach. Follow their advice to stay safe in the water
We really enjoyed our weekend away and will easily come back for another winter escape!
Sunshine Beach from Noosa Heads Coastal Walk