9 Things to Do in Noosa, Australia (With a Sunset Cruise) | 2024 (with Photos)

Things to Do in Noosa, Australia (With a Sunset Cruise)

Recently, I was fortunate enough to visit Noosa with my Travel-Lingual team, a beautiful part of Queensland, Australia. This article will highlight what makes Noosa so special, as well as how you can discover Noosa’s canals, national parks, and wildlife. 

There was no better way to do so than through a Noosa River Cruise, which we reference in this post.

Read on to find context relating to the indigenous heritage of Noosa, what makes the birds and marine life so special, and what to look out for on a Noosa Sunset Cruise.  

Let’s get into it. 

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Explore Noosa National Park.

Top Choice Hotel

Peppers Noosa Resort & Villas

Our Top Choice Restaurant

Sails Beach Restaurant

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Halse Lodge Bar

Best Time to Visit

Ideal weather for exploring Noosa and Sunshine Coast.

Average Temperature

Mild to warm temperatures all year round.

Transportation Options

Coasters, buses, taxis, bikes, ferries, car rentals, walking

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)

$$

My Top Recommendation

Noosa & Sunshine Coast is a stunning coastal gem that offers something for everyone. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Noosa National Park, where you can take leisurely walks along picturesque coastal trails and spot wildlife in their natural habitat.

Indulge your taste buds at the vibrant Noosa Farmers Market, where you can sample fresh local produce and mingle with the friendly locals, creating unforgettable memories and forging genuine connections with the community.

What You'll Need to Bring

Passport, sunscreen, swimwear, sunglasses, hat, comfortable shoes.

What Not to Miss

  1. Noosa National Park
  2. Noosa Main Beach
  3. Hastings Street shopping and dining
  4. Eumundi Markets
  5. Australia Zoo
  6. Sunshine Coast Hinterland
  7. Mooloolaba Beach
  8. Mount Coolum National Park
  9. Noosa River
  10. Glass House Mountains National Park

What to Avoid

  1. Crowded tourist areas

  2. Overpriced restaurants and shops

  3. Heavy traffic during peak hours

  4. Poorly reviewed accommodation options

  5. Tourist scams and pickpocketing

  6. Unsafe or secluded areas at night.

  7. Ignoring local customs and etiquette

  8. Neglecting to protect yourself from the sun

  9. Missing out on outdoor activities and nature walks

  10. Not trying local cuisine and fresh seafood

  11. Skipping the famous Noosa National Park

  12. Not exploring the nearby Sunshine Coast hinterland.

1. Learn About the Indigenous Heritage of Noosa

Gubbi Gubbi people

The following is no secret to Queenslanders, but for those not familiar with the region of Noosa, it’s important to understand that this part of Australia, like the vast majority of regions, has a rich Aboriginal history. 

The Kabi Kabi (Gubbi Gubbi) people are the traditional custodians of the land, and the respect Australians have for them is rightly iterated on tours and experiences. 

Noosa appeals as a destination that offers both natural beauty and vibrant community life, appealing to tourists, nature enthusiasts, and those seeking a relaxed lifestyle.

2. Check out the Noosa Highlights

Noosa Shire

There are three main spots we’d encourage you to visit during your time in Noosa. They are as follows:

  • Noosaville - This is where we stayed. It’s an upmarket area with beautiful views of Noosa River along a long promenade. From here, you’ll be able to spot pelicans, as well as perouse a wide range of dining options.

Noosaville

  • Noosa National Park - Home to wild koalas and a range of wildlife, this area provides a natural habitat to some of Australia’s most stunning wildlife. The park also boasts a dolphin lookout point, and several walking trails of various lengths and difficulties. 

Noosa National Park

  • Little Cove - This beautiful beach is located in Noosa National Park, a short drive or ferry ride from Noosaville. Its shallow waters at low tide make it a perfect spot for a dip after a hike through the National Park.

Little Cove

3. Go on a Sunset Cruise with Noosa River & Canal Cruises

Noosa River & Canal Cruises

During our trip, we were fortunate enough to experience a Sunset River Cruise with Noosa River & Canal Cruises. 

The Noosa Region is made up of canals and expansive everglades; naturally, a river cruise is a great way to see Noosa from the water. 

A sunset cruise, in particular, provides superb views of Noosaville, as well as the opportunity to watch the sun set over a picturesque setting of locals fishing for coral trout, high-end yachts, and stunning properties. 

Our guide was full of knowledge and passion for the area, and he shared facts throughout the cruise about the region. In typical Aussie style, he also cracked a joke or two. Or three…

Bird enthusiasts like me will also appreciate the egrets, peaceful doves, and pied oystercatchers that fly overhead, only further proving that regions like this are so important for Australia’s biodiversity and for its wildlife to thrive. 

Noosa River & Canal Cruises allow you to bring your own food and drink on board (including alcohol). They also provide glasses and ice buckets. If you’re with a partner or a group of friends, in particular, this is a great cruise to opt for if you want to enjoy a few drinks on the water at sunset. 

4. Experience Noosa’s Wildlife

Noosa Wave Whale & Dolphin Adventures 

Noosa is renowned for its rich biodiversity and unique ecosystems, encompassing coastal landscapes, national parks, and riverine environments.

This diversity provides habitats for a wide range of wildlife species, including marine life, birds, mammals, and reptiles. Here's an overview of the wildlife you can encounter in Noosa:

Marine Life

  • Humpback Whales: During their migration season (July to November), humpback whales can be spotted off the coast of Noosa. Please don’t expect to see these mammals on your sunset river cruise! Don’t worry, you won’t leave the estuary.

  • Dolphins: Bottlenose dolphins are often seen frolicking in the waters around Noosa and along the coastline. As referenced earlier, be sure to check out the Dolphin Viewing Point in Noosa National Park.

  • Turtles: Several species, including the loggerhead turtle, can sometimes be spotted in the ocean and around the Noosa National Park headlands.

  • Bull Sharks: Bull Sharks thrive in the Noosa River, alongside many other shark species. Don’t get jaws vibes, though. There have been no incidents with bull sharks in Noosa since the 1960s. Plenty of locals and holiday makers were swimming in the river and sea. 

Birds

  • Australian Pelicans: Commonly seen along the Noosa River, these large birds are a familiar sight. We saw two of these beautiful birds during our time in Noosaville. 

  • Kookaburras: Known for their distinctive laugh, kookaburras are present around Australia. We were lucky enough to see a kookaburra in the wild during our time here.

  • Egrets: These birds are abundant and you’ll see plenty of them during your time out on the water. 

Other Top Things to Do in Noosa, Australia

In addition to the Sunset River Cruise, there are many things to do in Noosa that appeal to families, couples and solo travelers of all ages. It’s an active and outdoor yet calming, relaxing place. 

Below, we’ve listed some of the most popular activities and experiences. 

5. Visit the Beaches 

Noosa Heads

Noosa is famous for its beautiful beaches, including Noosa Main Beach, one of the few beaches on Australia's east coast that faces north, making it more sheltered and ideal for swimming.

Noosa Main Beach was quite busy during the holiday season, particularly outside the upmarket Surf Club. Instead, we chose to spend our time in the nearby Little Cove, which is a little quieter and slightly closer to Noosa National Park.

6. Shop on Hastings Street 

Hastings Street

Hastings Street is a bustling hub located in Noosa Heads, known for its upscale boutiques, restaurants, and cafes. It's a prime spot for tourists and locals alike to dine, shop, and enjoy the beachside atmosphere.

My personal opinion is that spending time in shops when you are somewhere as beautiful as Noosa is time poorly spent. But this is a great place to grab a coffee, an Acai bowl, and enjoy some air con!

7. Visit Eumundi Markets 

Eumundi Markets

Located nearby, these markets are one of the biggest and best-known artisan markets in Australia, open Wednesdays and Saturdays, featuring local artisan products, food, and live entertainment.

8. Kayak on on Noosa River 

Kayak Noosa

Noosa River is huge, and offers a variety of water sports and activities, such as kayaking, fishing, and boating. The river's foreshore is perfect for picnics and leisurely walks.

During our time on the cruise, we saw locals fishing at sunset, as well as wealthy holidaymakers enjoying their private beaches, most of which back onto the river. Be sure to get out on the water if you can.

9. Attend Cultural Events and Festivals 

Noosa Alive!

Noosa hosts numerous events throughout the year, including the Noosa Triathlon, Noosa Food & Wine Festival, and Noosa Festival of Surfing, attracting visitors from all over.

Conservation Efforts in Noosa

Conservation Efforts in Noosa

Take any tour in Noosa, and you’ll learn from your guide that people in the area, and the government, are committed to preserving its natural environment through sustainable tourism practices. 

The area is part of the UNESCO Noosa Biosphere Reserve, recognized for its efforts to balance conservation with sustainable development.

The Noosa Everglades, one of only two everglade systems in the world, is an exceptionally pristine wetland area located within the Noosa Biosphere Reserve, near Noosa.

This unique ecosystem is renowned for its remarkable natural beauty, biodiversity, and the clear, reflective waters of the upper Noosa River, often referred to as the "River of Mirrors." 

Geographical Scope 

Geographical Scope

The Noosa Everglades cover an area of over 60,000 hectares and are part of the Cooloola Recreation Area within the Great Sandy National Park. 

The system stretches from Lake Cootharaba, through the serene waters of the Upper Noosa River, and into the coastal regions of the Great Sandy Strait.

Biodiversity

Biodiversity

The area is a haven for a wide range of flora and fauna. It supports a diverse array of species, including over 700 native animals and more than 1,365 species of plants. 

Its habitats range from coastal dunes and heathlands to dense forests and freshwater lakes.

Activities in the Everglades

Activities in the Everglades

The Noosa Everglades are popular for various recreational activities, including kayaking, canoeing, fishing, bird watching, and camping. The waterways provide serene and scenic routes.

Final Thoughts

We’d like to extend our gratitude to the team at Noosa River & Canal Cruises. 

The Sunset Cruise was a great way to see Noosaville and its surrounding area from the water in a fun, picturesque environment with a fun and knowledgeable guide. 

The Noosa Region is a part of Australia we will not forget in a hurry. Its pristine beaches, serene waters, and wide variety of wildlife made our trip unforgettable. 

We recommend a Sunset Cruise to you, our readers, as well as any friends and family visiting Noosa in the future. 

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