Surfers heading into Noosa National Park to catch some waves at the Bay
NOOSA NATIONAL PARK
Noosa National Park is a short walk from Hastings Street. Families surf here all year round watched by the occasional koala, bush turkey, goanna or wallaby. Hire boards (some accommodation provides them free) and walk to the bays and coves of the rocky headland. You will meet locals like Jim, Quinn and James who eat breakfast every Sunday at the entrance to the park after a morning surfing their favourite spot, Tea Tree Bay. They told me that First Point has a perfect long-board break that, on a small to medium sized swell, dishes up long, peeling waves. Further round the headland, protected coves and bays offer great surfing, but if you and your family are novices, stick to Noosa’s Main Beach or try the latest, Paddle Surfing.
Note: Patrolled swimming areas
Always swim between the red and yellow flags. Lifeguards patrol the main beaches only. NO FLAGS = NO SWIMMING.
BEST ACTIVITIES AND TOURS
Pray before you surfGreat Sandy National Park and Fraser Island
An unforgettable family tour is to the Great Sandy National Park which stretches for 37 miles from north of Noosa to Rainbow Beach. It offers easy 4WD access to World Heritage-listed Fraser Island with its pristine rainforests, clear blue lakes and lagoons and long, sweeping beaches covered in dazzling white sand. Pure-bred russet-coloured Fraser Island dingoes prowl the bush and beach, foraging for tucker.
Fraser Island’s original inhabitants
The Butchulla tribe inhabited Fraser Island before a shipwreck in 1836 brought a white man and woman, Captain James and Eliza Fraser. The Butchulla cared for the castaways on the island they called K’gari (Paradise), but by the late 1930s sadly they had been cast out of paradise.
Access the Great Sandy National Park via North Shore, located between the Noosa River and the Pacific Ocean. You need a boat or put your vehicle on the regular motor vehicle ferry from Tewantin, a few minutes from Noosa. At North Shore there’s camping, fishing, horse or camel riding, the lakes and the Everglades to explore.
Tel: +61 7 54490393 for tour information.
Terri, Bindy and critters at Australia ZooAustralia Zoo
Australia Zoo, home of Crocodile Hunter, the late Steve Irwin, is 27 miles south of Noosa. It can be the wildest show on earth, with risky wildlife action, crocodile feeding, and encounters with gorgeous animals. Behind the antics there is a strong message of wildlife conservation and care.
Entry: AU$54 adult, AU$32 child, or a family ticket of AU$161.
Tel: Local: 07 5436 2000
Tel: Overseas: +61 7 54948604
Australia Zoo - Whale Watching
Steve’s Whale One Whale Encounters leaves from the Wharf, Mooloolaba. An adrenaline-inducing day of whale watching on a luxury cruiser with a great lunch costs a family AU$320, a single adult AU$125.
BEST UNUSUAL ATTRACTION
Ettamogga Pub and Aussie World
Fair Dinkum Aussies arriving at Aussie World for a day of Down Under fun
Ettamogah Pub is 24 miles south of Noosa. You will be charmed by its quirky shape and caricature appearance and while you’re there, tuck into a huge fair dinkum Aussie family meal in Bluey’s Bar and Grill.
A Fair Dinkum Aussie history lesson
The word ‘ettamogah’ is Aboriginal for ‘place of good drink.’ The original creator of the Ettamogah Pub, cartoonist Ken Maynard, started drawing the Pub in 1959. The real life Ettamogah Pub was built in 1989, using trees cleared from the site. Pictures of the original cartoons hang around the walls alongside other eclectic displays of Australiana.
Ettamogga Pub, from comic book to reality
Check out the 1927 Chevy truck on top of the bright red roof of the Pub. It stands an impressive 59 feet high. In the cartoon the theory is the truck was washed up there in Australia’s mighty flood of 1946 and no-one bothered to get it down.
Aussie World family fun-park is located behind the Ettamogah Pub and has over thirty rides and games for children and big kids. There are great gift stores with a huge display of aboriginal souvenirs and artefacts.
Entry, free, but you buy tickets to the rides. For AU$80 a family has entry to all rides all day.
Tel: +61 7 54945444
Eumundi Markets, centre of fresh produceEumundi Markets
Every Wednesday and Saturday this former timber and railway town close to Noosa becomes a bustling marketplace under the shade of massive ancient fig trees. These trees were planted in memory of local boys who died in the Great War. Over 500 stalls sell local hand-crafted goods. Check out local artwork. Taste test pungent ginger beer. Try local organic coffee and snacks while listening to buskers and entertainers playing didgeridoos, world music, Australian country and western tunes or tribal rhythms. Australian culture at its most relaxed.