Finding tranquillity in Noosa

The ultimate guide to Noosa.
By Australian Geographic June 10, 2021 Reading Time: 4 Minutes Print this page

If you’ve ever visited Noosa you’re likely to have fallen head over heels for its lush forests, wending waterways and abundant wildlife.

All three are parts of a whole that make up the Noosa Biosphere Reserve. Since 2007, the Noosa Shire has held UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status, which celebrates the continued work of the Noosa community to sustainably manage the region’s waterways, wildlife and land. 

While there are 669 biosphere reserves around the globe, in 120 different countries, Noosa is one of only two in the Sunshine State. The other is the adjoining Great Sandy Biosphere Reserve, made up of Fraser Island and the mainland coastline to its west.

Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation Chair, Rex Halverson, says the Noosa community is dedicated to nurturing the region’s environment and heritage. “We work together to create harmony between people and nature and share a commitment to low-rise development and the protection of large tracts of land. These are just some of the reasons for the biosphere declaration.”

There are myriad ways to immerse yourself in the region’s natural environment, including exploring the upper reaches of the Noosa River as it extends into the Noosa Everglades, and of course, exploring the area’s crown jewel, Noosa National Park.

Tea Tree Bay

NOOSA NATIONAL PARK

A wander from the hustle and bustle of Hastings Street, Noosa National Park is the place to spot koalas, wallabies, brush turkeys and goannas. Cast your eyes seaward as you walk the park’s coastal tracks and you might be lucky enough to spot a turtle sticking its head up for a breath or dolphins frolicking in the break. And don’t forget to look for whales from June to October as they migrate up and down the coast.

Noosa Everglades

NOOSA EVERGLADES

One of only two everglade systems in the world (the other is located in Florida, USA), Noosa’s version comprises a 60km stretch of pristine waters that’s home to a magnificent collection of plants and animals. It is known locally as the River of Mirrors because of its wonderful watery reflections. Grab your binoculars and camera and settle in for a spot of birdwatching or simply soaking in the sights – wildlife flitting and landscapes morphing with the movement of the sun.

Only a 40-minute drive from Noosa Heads, it’s easy to get to and can take as little as half a day to explore (though you’ll probably want to stay longer). 

Of course you can also explore the everglades from the water. If you’d like to dip a paddle into the briny why not join a kayak tour from Boreen Point (about 25 minutes drive from Noosa Heads) or if sitting back and drinking in the mirror-scape is more your speed, try a boat tour from Elanda Point. Alternatively, if you have your own watercraft, head into the upper reaches of the Noosa River and into the system. 

Cooloola Great Walk

COOLOOLA GREAT WALK

If pulling on your hiking boots is a holiday must, then head for the Cooloola Great Walk, a multi-day trek between Noosa and Rainbow Beach that will have you admiring subtropical rainforests, pristine beaches, secluded swimming spots and stunning coastal and hinterland views.

Noosa Trail Network

NOOSA TRAIL NETWORK

Walk, hike, horse-ride or mountain bike the eight scenic hinterland trails that constitute the Noosa Trail Network. A mere 30 minutes from Noosa’s iconic beaches, the network snakes through farmland, forest and spectacular mountain lookouts and takes in the country towns of Cooroy, Pomona, Cooran and Kin Kin.

Mt Tinbeerwah views

TEWANTIN NATIONAL PARK

Keep your eyes peeled for echidnas and koalas in Tewantin National Park, which encompasses Mt Tinbeerwah and the Wooroi Trails (designed for mountain biking not walking). The park is home to protected areas of rainforest, open eucalypt forest and remnants of wallum heath that provide refuge for a wealth of native wildlife.

Resident koala

WONDERS OF WILDLIFE

The Noosa Biosphere Reserve provides sanctuary for 3023 species of wildlife – more than 700 are native and range from ‘roos and glossy black-cockatoos to possums, echidnas and flying-foxes. Take a turn around any one of the nature trails in Noosa and Tewantin national parks for close encounters. And then there’s the riot of colourful reef fish, cetaceans (dolphins) and turtles – grab your goggles, snorkel and fins and dive in.

Pelicans on the Noosa River

BIRDS BIRDS BIRDS

Home to more than 44 per cent of all of Australia’s bird species, including the impressive white-bellied sea-eagle, Brahminy kites, great egret and the much-loved pelican, Noosa is a bird lover’s haven. Strike out on your own through the region’s national parks and along the Noosa River, or follow the Noosa Bird Trail and discover some for yourself!

Visit Noosa for more.