A change of jobs last week meant the opportunity for a last minute get away to Noosa. I had a fun time on the phone trying to book accommodation as almost everywhere was booked out online. Standard conversation, me: “Do you have any availability for October?”, them: “Yes plenty for October 2016. Oh, sorry, do you mean October this year?”. All hotels and decent Airbnb options were unavailable but I eventually found an apartment which was basic but in a good location and so could relax.
I must be one of the few Melbournians who has never been to Noosa before (deprived childhood!) and so it was lovely to discover this beautiful little part of Australia with its white sandy beach, gentle waves and lush National Park just a short walk from the main street. Perhaps because Noosa is a bit more expensive than other beach towns it also has a lot of good restaurants, decent coffee (essential) and excellent gelati. Even taking into account that everything tastes better when you are on holiday and eating with a view of the sea, it really is a great destination for the food obsessed. Here are my top picks:
The best gelati in Noosa hands down. Queues can be out of control here and prices are steep but it’s worth it for the Italian style gelati. Massimo’s doesn’t do tastings or kids serves so you have to work your own way through the flavours but that was a challenge I gratefully accepted. My favourite was the passionfruit but I must admit a soft spot for Massimo’s take on Toblerone as well.
Details: Massimo’s Gelato, 75 Hastings St, Noosa Heads
Damage: $5 for one scoop.
Noosa Beach House
TV chef Peter Kuruvita is behind Noosa Beach House but don’t let that put you off. This isn’t just a restaurant that Kuravita has put his name to and has nothing to do with. Kuravita lives in Noosa and his Sri Lankan heritage is reflected in the menu which features lots of seafood and fresh flavours with a little spice. The must order dish here is the snapper curry ($40) which is light and aromatic. I also loved the raspberry souffle ($16) on the dessert menu which came out towering and puffy with just the right amount of sweetness. Service was a little hit and miss with drink orders going missing and my expensive wine by the glass poured away from the table but I think this is down to a fairly transient wait staff.
Details: Noosa Beach House, 16 Hastings St, Noosa Heads (Ph 07 5449 4754)
I hit up Bistro C quite a few times while in Noosa for breakfast as I loved the light and fresh menu and the view looking out over the ocean. The corn and chive griddle cake ($23) is pretty exorbitantly priced but you do get a generous serve of bacon on top and along with lots of baby spinach and a zesty avocado salsa. From the specials menu Bistro C’s banana bread is excellent especially when topped with fig butter ($8 with coffee). The coffee here is excellent and there are also lots of delicious fresh juices on the menu.
Details: Bistro C, 1/49 Hastings Street, Noosa Heads (Ph 07 5447 285)
Kids: There are high chairs here, books, colouring stuff and a kids menu. Good stuff. Damage:
Ricky’s River Bar and Restaurant
Ricky’s is supposed to have some of the best views in Noosa set right on the river. Unfortunately I ate there at night time so didn’t really get to make the most of setting – that request for a window seat was a bit of a waste when it was pitch dark outside! Even without a view the food and service at Ricky’s makes it well worth a visit. The menu features top quality produce prepared simply like bronzed wood fired prawns with spiced butter ($24) and sweet spanner crab with midnight black squid ink pasta topped with lots of crunchy gremolata ($38). Service was seamless. This is a great “special occasion” restaurant or just for a holiday treat. I’d love to go back for a long lunch and make the most of that view.
Details: Ricky’s Bar and Restaurant, 2 Quamby Place, Noosa Heads Ph 07 5447 2455
Damage: Budget breaking
The all black interior of Locale gives a glamorous feel to this Italian restaurant which features great pastas and wood fired pizzas. If you eat pre 5pm there’s a bargain deal of $20 for a pizza and glass of wine or beer. The pizza here has a thin crisp crust, puffed at the edges with a nice char to it. The salsicca pizza ($23) is excellent featuring pork and veal meatballs with a good hit of chilli.
Details: Locale,62 Hastings St, Noosa Heads (07) 5447 5111
A newcomer to Noosa, Betty’s Burgers packs them in with hearty gourmet burgers and excellent chips. The Betty’s Classic ($12) is Betty’s version of a cheeseburger with a juicy meat pattie and slightly melted cheese. The burgers are on the small size but teamed with chips and perhaps one of the “concrete” ice-cream concoctions it makes a good meal.
Details: Betty’s Burgers, 2/50 Hastings St, Noosa Heads (07) 5455 4378
10 Hasting Street
This cute little cafe serves up all day breakfasts with a wholesome vibe thanks to all the fresh juices and acai on the menu. Unfortunately 10 Hasting Street did seem a little disorganised with a couple of the dishes I tried to order off the menu. Through a process of order elimination I ended up having the confit duck with a wombok salad which was certainly spectacular looking but could have done with a bit more spice to lift the dish.
Details: 10 Hastings Street, 10 Hastings Street, Noosa Heads.
Gourmet Travel Tips
- We flew with Tiger Air to Brisbane and then hired a car and drove the hour and a half to Noosa. It’s closer to fly in to the Sunshine Coast but due to our late booking there weren’t many flights available.
- We rented a two bedroom apartment in Little Cove booked through Noosa Holiday Rentals for $1500 for six nights. It was clean and in a good location although the decor was dated (tiled floors even in the bedrooms!). Other good options are the Mantra on Hastings Street and the RACV Resort just out of town.
- The Noosa Surf Club has a great view over the beach and is good fun for drinks and simple food like fish and chips. Restaurants that were also on my wish list were the Japanese restaurant Wasabi and Thai restaurant Spirit House (about 40 minutes drive out of Noosa) but I didn’t get to try them on this visit.