Exploring Noosa National Park on Australia’s Sunshine Coast

After One Week in Brisbane, I couldn’t wait to get on the road and head north to Noosa. I’d had enough of the busy city and felt like the sea was calling me! Plus, I was desperate for my first glimpse of Australia’s beautiful East Coast, which I’d read so much about. 

Australia's amazing East Coast

Australia’s amazing East Coast

I said goodbye to the friends (both human and feline!) that I’d made at Somewhere to Stay Hostel and jumped on the Greyhound from Brisbane’s Transit Centre to Noosaville – where I had booked into the Noosa Backpackers Resort for four days. I’d originally planned on staying longer but after realising that Noosa was one of the most expensive places for accommodation in the country, I decided I could probably fit in most of the things I wanted to do over just a few days.

Jumping on the Greyhound from Brisbane to Noosa

Jumping on the Greyhound from Brisbane to Noosa

After five-ish hours on the Greyhound – via Brisbane Zoo and the beautiful Glasshouse Mountains – we hit the coast and started dropping groups of backpackers off at whichever beachside location they had chosen. The bus (handily) stopped right outside my hostel on William Street and despite the price ($37 per night) it turned out to be a really great place to stay (more on that to come!)

Checking into the Noosa Backpackers Resort

Checking into the Noosa Backpackers Resort

Noosaville is slightly outside of the main area of Noosa Heads and Main Beach – where you’ll find most of the shops, bars and hotels – but the hostel backed onto the river, which made it a pretty nice place to watch the sunset and I liked the chilled out feel of the area more than the busy and touristy Hastings Street.

Sunset on the river in Noosaville

Sunset on the river in Noosaville

The hostel runs a free shuttle bus to and from the main beach (which is handy, as they have free surf boards, kayaks and paddle boards to use) but I decided to spend my first full day walking and getting to know the area (in my opinion, walking and getting lost is the best way to see somewhere new!)

Chilling out on Main Beach

Chilling out on Main Beach

I headed out of the hostel towards Noosa Heads and made it to Main Beach for around 8am…and despite it being early in the morning, it was already packed. I watched the early-morning surfers for a while before exploring Hastings Street and accidentally walking into Noosa Spit…this pretty dog-friendly park and man-made beach/lagoon area just north of main beach. It was quieter than the big beach and I ended up staying for a while – swimming out to one of the sandbars and snorkelling around in the perfect clear water.

Beach views in Noosa

Beach views in Noosa

On the sandbar, I met a local woman and her dog, who told me (the woman, not the dog) that I simply could not miss the National Park and that I should spend as much of my short time in Noosa exploring the hiking trails. It was pretty much the same story at the hostel – if you don’t have money to spend in the boutique shops on Hastings Street, and you’re not a surfer, Noosa’s main attraction is its incredible National Park.

Sandbar in Noosa Spit Recreation Reserve

Sandbar in Noosa Spit Recreation Reserve

Over 1 million visitors come to the park each year, making it the most popular National Park in the country…but given that it covers over 4000 hectares and comprises of four different sections, you’ll still feel like you’re leaving the tourists behind once you get started on a trail.

Warning signs in the East Weyba Section of the Noosa National Park

Warning signs in the East Weyba Section of the Noosa National Park

On my first attempt at going to the park, I somehow ended up in the East Weyba section (I’m honestly still not sure how I got there!) where large signs warned me that it’s really best if you don’t touch or stand on anything that looks like it might blow up.  This part of the park (where I was literally the only person) has some fire management tracks and apparently a few left over unexploded ammunition devices from when it was used as a military training ground in World War II.

Fire management tracks in the East Weyba Section of Noosa National Park

Fire management tracks in the East Weyba Section of Noosa National Park

In truth, I didn’t spend too long hiking here because a. I love a coastal path more than a trek through the trees and b. I’m known as a disaster-attracter back home and I really didn’t want to blow myself up after only three weeks in the country.

Leaving Main Beach on the Coastal Path

Leaving Main Beach on the Coastal Path

The following day, I decided to start where everyone else does – at Main Beach – and follow the Coastal Trail all the way to Sunshine Beach on the other side. Even though a small part of the trail was closed and a slight diversion through the trees was in place, the path to Tea Tree Beach and along to Hell’s Gate was incredible.

Beach views!

Beach views!

I stopped a couple of times along the way to take in the view and stayed for a while at Dolphin Point (where I sadly didn’t see any dolphins) before exploring the rock pools below.

Views from the coastal path in Noosa National Park

Views from the coastal path in Noosa National Park

If you get the tide right, you can easily jump and swim in these incredible pools along this part of the coast.

Rockpools near Dolphin Point on the coastal route

Rockpools near Dolphin Point on the coastal route

Afterwards, I headed on to Alexandria Bay (which, I discovered later, is known for its nudists!) and then up to the vantage point over Sunshine Beach.

Alexandria Bay

Alexandria Bay

There are gorgeous views all along this stretch of the coastal path but this last point before you walk down the steep stairs to arrive on Sunshine Beach is incredible – just miles of white sand and perfect blue ocean laid out before you!

The endless sands of Sunshine Beach, as seen from the end of the Noosa National Park Coastal Trail

The endless sands of Sunshine Beach, as seen from the end of the Noosa National Park Coastal Trail

noosa NEED TO KNOW

GETTING THERE:

Noosa is easily reached from Brisbane by car or bus. Check out the Greyhound website for saver deals or, if you’re planning on making Noosa one of a few stops on the coast, have a look at their Hop-on, Hop-off passes.

If you’re short on cash and don’t mind sharing, post your trip on Coseats – where (if you’re lucky with timing) you can find someone who is going in the same direction as you!

WHERE TO STAY:

I stayed at Noosa Backpackers Resort in Noosaville – about 10 minutes away from Main Beach and the bus station. It cost $37 per night, but it’s one of the cheaper options in Noosa and includes free use of their surfboards, kayaks and paddle boards.

FIND OUT MORE:

Visit Noosa is great for finding out more about what’s on and where to shop, eat and play, or if you’re headed straight for the National Park, check out the official government site for updates on routes and important information.

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This article contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a booking, I receive a small (tiny!) amout of money which I use towards the cost of travelling…just so we’re all clear here! 

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