Welcome to another post on Queensland National Parks!
Today, we are traveling down the East Coast to a town called Noosa, located about 2 hours north of Brisbane, home to the Noosa National Park. Noosa is one of the most popular holiday destinations in all of Queensland and Noosa National Park is the most visited National Park in the country with more than 1 million visits each year! Its draw? Warm weather all year around (the daily average rarely goes below 15 degrees, even in winter), great beaches with crystal clear blue waters, plenty of nature walks and activities around, and a chance to spot Australia’s national animals, like koala’s and kangaroos.
As I started writing about the Noosa National Park, I quickly remembered how much I loved exploring this area and a little sense of longing for another Noosa adventure awoke inside of me. So without too much thought, Max and I booked an Airbnb room, hopped in a car, and set off on a last minute weekend getaway! That’s the beauty of Noosa! It’s a trip that doesn’t require an elaborate plan, all you need is the desire to just say “Let’s Go!”
Noosa caters not only to travelers exploring Australia, but also to locals looking to get away from the city and get closer to nature. For many, Noosa is the perfect weekend getaway! And it was for us!
Noosa National Park
Noosa National Park is divided into 4 sections: Headland Section, Peregian Section, Emu Mountain Section and the East Weyba Section. The Headland Section is by far the most popular and most picturesque one of them all, easily accessible from Hasting St, in the heart of Noosa.
There are over 15 kms of walking tracks to explore in the Headland section, each one ranging from 1km to 5.4kms in length. The Palm Grove circuit, Tanglewood track, the Noosa Hill track and the Alexandria Bay track are all inland tracks, running through the eucalyptus woodlands inside the park. The Coastal Track is the only one that follows the shoreline and, in my opinion, this track is what really sets this park apart from the rest. Needless to say, this is my favourite way to explore Noosa National Park.
We started our day at the Noosa National Park headquarters, just off Hastings Street, with a plan to follow the Coastal Track all the way around the Noosa Headland section of the park. The coastal track, as you would imagine, is set along the coast, making for some beautiful views along the way. There are a number of lookouts and bays to keep an eye out for along the way. Each one gives you a different view and a new perspective on the seascapes around you.
There are a few beaches along the track, like the Noosa Main Beach or the Tea Tree Bay Beach, each one tempting you to quit the walk and sprawl out under the sun, alongside hundreds of other vacationers. But the further you walk, the less crowded the beaches get. That’s the payoff for all your hard work!
By the time we got to Alexandria Bay, about half way through the Coastal Track, I was hot, sweaty, and tired. It was time to press the pause button. Luckily, Alexandria Bay beach is a perfect place for that. It’s grand, it’s picturesque, it’s quiet, and it’s full of… naked people! Yes…naked people! Alexandria Bay is Queenslands most popular unofficial nudist beach, that has been used for nude swimming and nude sunbathing for years. Apparently, there is even a nude beach carnival that takes place here every year in March, attracting hundreds of nudists to Alexandria Bay beach.
The thing about Alexandria Bay beach is that no one warns you about its little hidden secret. There are no signs on the map saying, take note “nudist beach ahead”. Not that I have anything against naked people. I think being naked on a beach is awesome and I secretly wish I had the guts to bare it all in front of strangers, but I don’t. And being clothed on a nudist beach is maybe even more uncomfortable than being naked. Luckily, this wasn’t my first time on Alexandria Bay beach, so I was mentally prepared for the … erm… sights.
Most of the nudists gravitate towards the Southern end of the beach, away from the curious observers. We discovered them by complete fluke last year during our first visit to Noosa National Park. It went something like this…
Me: “Is it just me or is that guy sunbathing naked?”
Max: “No, that’s a guy sunbathing naked. Weird”
2 mins later.
Me: “Ermmm…there is another one right in front of the bushes”
Max: “Maybe they are friends, just being free and all”
Me: “Max, there is a whole group of them straight ahead. Is this serious? Are we on a nudist beach?”
Max starts laughing. “This is hilarious and awesome. Should we get naked and join them?”
Me: “Hell no!!! This is so awkward, their junk is just hanging out. I have never seen so many penises out in the open…Let’s leave immediately.”
And that time, we did. But this weekend, we were feeling a bit more relaxed about it. Maybe it was because we knew what to expect, or maybe because we just didn’t care. There were plenty of nudists roaming around Alexandria beach, but to my surprise, there were quite a few “regular” sunbathers, enjoying this secluded beach in bikinis. Feeling less pressure to strip down, we found a great spot to call our own for a few hours. The water was chilly, but so clear! There were no children running around the beach, no loud conversations… it was and quiet and it was EXACTLY what we wanted!
After a few naps under the sun, we were re-energized and ready to carry on with our walk. Instead of taking the same Coastal Walk back to Noosa Heads, we decided to explore the inland tracks, following Alexandria Bay track which eventually turned into Tanglewood Track. Going through the shaded forest was the perfect way to cool off after a few hours in the sun. The track was easy and after a few questionable turns (literally), we found our way back to the park headquarters, 5-odd hours from when we departed.
There were 3 other tracks in the Emu Mountain/Peregian section of the park, but we opted to check out some shops instead of embarking on another trek. And I don’t regret it. There is more to Noosa than the National Park with its treks and beaches.
From Peregian, Noosa Marina and Farmers Markets, water activities like kayaking, paddle boarding and surfing, whale watching, BBQs and beautiful sunsets over Noosa River, to day spas and great restaurants, Noosa is sure to please the fussiest traveler!
Essential Travel Information
When to go: Noosa is a great destination all year around, although it does get chilly in the winter months from May to August.
Getting there: Noosa is located a 2 hours drive north from Brisbane. Greyhound busses also stop in Noosa along the Cairns/Brisbane route. Getting around Noosa is best done on foot, although Translink busses or taxis are also available for longer journeys.
Where to stay: Noosa has plenty of accommodation options, ranging from luxury hotels to cheap backpacker hostels. Prices start at $30-40 per person for dorm rooms and go up all the way to $500+ for luxury resorts. On average, a $50-70per person budget will get you a great guesthouse/bungalow/hotel.
Where to next: Noosa is a popular getaway to Fraser Island, with many tours starting from there. Although if you are planning to head up to Fraser from Noosa, consider reading my post on Fraser Island Tours first. An organized tour to Fraser Island may not be for you.
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Have you ever been to Noosa? What was the highlight of your trip?
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