Noosa Country Drive

Taste of Place: Get a Real Taste of Noosa

Image source: Photographer Visit Noosa

From the beach to the bush, Helen Flanagan shares her favourite ways to get a real taste of Noosa.  

Who remembers Betty’s Burgers dollar dazzlers, sitting under a Pandanus on fabulous Main Beach eating Eduardo’s fish curry and visitors thinking Noosa, pronounced with elongated vowels, was only about Hastings Street? Little did they know.

Today’s Noosa, that’s the 870km2 Shire, is renowned equally for its sparkling beaches and surf breaks; and globally-significant natural assets including the Noosa National Park, Everglades and lush hinterland. Not familiar? Time to gather friends, go exploring and debate about the route and the picnic spot. 

When it comes to the menu you are spoilt for choice given the serious bounty of local producers, farmers and fishermen. Around Noosa Heads and the eastern beaches, also dotted through the hinterland are artisan bread makers, pâtissiers’, providores, cheesemakers, chocolatiers, farmers’ markets, breweries and distilleries. Best plan ahead. 

Don’t want to venture far? How about the stretch of Noosa River parkland which runs parallel to Noosaville’s Gympie Terrace. Snag a barbeque and gazebo. Enjoy fish and chips, gourmet burgers and pizzas, try SUPing, a jet ski or kayaking, swim in the clear waters, let the kids loose at Pirate Park, watch the Noosa Ferry wind its way, book a sunset cruise, get the scoop of gelato, and hire a bike to burn some energy. Looking for a more secluded, read romantic, spot on the river, try Munna Point. 

Discover the wonderful surprise of Sunrise Beach which is lapped by pristine surf and almost surrounded by Noosa National Park. Take a picnic pack and find a spot in the rainforest or a grove of piccabeen palms, on a rocky shoreline or wide deserted beach and if you are lucky you might just spy a koala or rare glossy black cockatoo.


Take the 4WD on the car ferry across the Noosa River from Tewantin. It feels a bit of a trek to the Noosa North Shore but so worth it. Head to the beach side or find a quiet clearing on the river side, enjoy a pre-packed picnic basket, watch kangaroos and soaring sea eagles, and take a dip. Yes, the water is warm. 

Cooroy is an undiscovered beauty. Visit the brewery for cider, ginger beer and of course beer before heading to the 8-hectare Noosa Botanic Gardens. Bring on your native and international botanical nerdiness and check out the hundreds of different plants on display, adopt your Attenborough soft-side and feed the turtles in Lake Macdonald, channel Shakespeare in
the amphitheatre, and picnic by a pond. 

Love doughnuts from golden gaytime to apple crumble? Make your way to Kenilworth and be prepared to queue. Built beside the meandering Mary River, this historic town with dedicated picnic areas, may have a rich heritage as a 1920s rural hub, but it’s famous for two reasons: the Kenilworth Bakery and even more so the Kenilworth Dairies with Red Malling, Vintage and a range of yoghurts amongst the faves. 

Boreen Point, the gateway to the upper Noosa River, Noosa Everglades and the Great Sandy National Park, is situated on Queensland’s largest natural saltwater lake, Lake Cootharaba, the perfect setting for sailing, kayaking, fishing or picnicking on the foreshore. Make sure you have a coldie at the historic Apollonian Hotel.

Kin Kin is everyone’s idea of a quaint country town. It is renowned for its great food, art, scenery, craft beer, meadery and famous general store. Not far from the township are so many places to drop by and say hello, taste outstanding produce and add to the picnic fare. 

Pick strawberries in winter and blueberries in summer at Cooloola Berries at Woolvi and note to self for next time, Paella in the Paddock with live music every Sunday.

From the calming coastline to the exciting hinterland what a variety of places to throw down a rug, unfold the chairs and lay out the lavishness. We really are surrounded by best of everything in our slice of picnic paradise.

About the Author /

Noosa’s sophisticated charm, vibrant food culture and the magnetism of a subtropical paradise surrounded by national parks, inveigled Helen’s manic world and flipped it on its side. She pursues the good life with gusto, instinctively understanding the joys of travel, the art of story-telling, a candid review and surviving another reno whilst thriving on the motto Live Laugh Love!

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