I am thinking I am not alone when saying the first year of parenting can pass in a haze of sleep deprivation, active wear (minus the exercise) and a mixture of anxiety and excitement for outings? Not surprisingly we made it to November before even clocking the fact that we had 7 days at Christmas that needed to be filled with a holiday, better yet something that was kid friendly and a within a short-ish plane ride of Sydney…
Fast forward one week later and countless late nights researching Fiji and other tropical paradises, only to conclude the wet season and ridiculous humidity might negate the AMAZING deals on Luxury Escapes.
Now we are not Noosa virgins by any stretch.
Back in the glory days of impressive fitness levels that beckoned the occasional social media humble brag (yes…we were those people) we used to visit yearly for the Noosa Triathlon in November…. but this was a merry-go-round of lizard-like sessions on the beach, rising at leisure for exercise and long lunches in the lead up to the big race.
Now we needed to accommodate our 15-month-old son and his need for paddling sessions, park playtime, lunch time snoozing and some bus and boat spotting for good measure.
How to get to Noosa:
Noosa is 1100kms from Sydney. Enough-said right?
With just 7 days up our sleeve we decided to fly.
Flights from Sydney to Maroochydore take approximately 1.5hrs. Just enough time to squeeze in a cheeky wine or two… if you didn’t draw the short straw and end up with a wriggling monkey tethered to your seatbelt.
For those of you adventurous souls with grand visions of Griswold-style road trip adventures you should be able to do the drive comfortably in about 2 days….
Getting around Noosa:
We hired a car with a baby car seat from Hertz at Maroochydore Airport. Given it was high summer its worth packing a sunshade or spare muslin for bubs door in the event of a long nap in the backseat.
WHERE TO STAY:
As we were the definition of lastminute.com when travelling to Noosa in peak season our choices were limited. We decided Air BNB was for us so that we had more space to spread out and the flexibility of meal prep etc.
Normally our search centres around Hasting Street right next to Noosa Main Beach and Little Cove as it is a simple stroll to the heart of the action and the potential for sneaking off for cheeky mummy-time solo shopping sessions is high….
BUT… we ended up in Cooroibah.
Stay with me… it fulfilled our dreams of staying in a beautiful Queenslander, our little man had room to move and it was nice to play house somewhere that was in a peaceful location, clean and beautifully presented. The only downside was that it was a 20 minute drive to Noosa Main Beach.
We stayed at Cooroibah Wellness Retreat
The listing says no kids under 12 but our booking wasn’t an issue and it was super easy to baby-proof by moving a few delicate things out of reach. It was gorgeous and suited our purpose, but the travel time into Noosa won’t be for everyone.
Other super popular spots to stay in the heart of Noosa:
The Lodge (On my Lust-List for the next visit)
Seahaven Noosa (pictured above)
The Sofitel Noosa – Home to AQUA Spa..one of the best in Noosa!
EATING OUT WITH BUB
A LITTLE BIT FANCY
Providing the ultimate in beachside dining Bistro C is a Noosa institution and our must-dine every time we go to Noosa. Staff are friendly, the food is based on regional produce and never fails to disappoint and they were very accommodating and attentive of our little one. We shared entrée’s of the zucchini and halloumi fritters and calamari and bub happily polished off some of both. We went with a steak and fish special for mains and there was more than enough to share with our toddler who loved both despite being quite contrary at home with similar dishes….
The actual kids menu is small but very tasty even offering kids mocktails. Highchairs appear to be plentiful and there is a change table in the bathroom.
Entrée’s $20 approx. Mains mid $30’s.
For our first feed off the plane we started at the top. Season Restaurant was the location of our first meal of the holiday and probably the fanciest. Perfectly positioned on Noosa Main Beach it is in good company with other posh nosh and fancy ocean fronted apartments.
We had the Grilled Ocean Trout and the Spanner Crab Linguette and shared this with bub who LOVED the Linguette (expensive taste!). Based on seasonal and local produce the food is beautifully presented and maxes out on taste. There is a kid’s menu and the staff were pretty accommodating although it didn’t feel as relaxed and inviting as Bistro C. The front section of the restaurant was uncomfortably hot on a 32 degree day with a lack of ocean breeze and only fans to attempt to keep us cool… I would avoid it with small kids on a warm day – just adds another level to meal time excitement that most of us don’t need. Cue smashed water glass and projectile salt dish. Entrees mid-high $20 and Mains high $30’s-$40’s.
Sticking to our obsession with dining by the water this restaurant sits in a lovely position next to the river and also a great little playground that helps pass the time between ordering and meal arrival. Hubby and I had eaten at sister restaurant Ricky’s pre-kids and loved the atmosphere and food and weren’t disappointed with its more relaxed offering at Wood Fire Grill.
Bub had the Spaghetti Bolognese from the kid’s menu and along with a side of greens was unstoppable – two thumbs up for that dish! I had the squid ink spaghetti and hubby the steak and very little was left of either. Staff were super friendly and accommodating, quickly bringing forth crayons and the colouring in activity on the menu to ensure we enjoyed our first wines in peace…
If you want to make dining at Wood Fire or Ricky’s a little more of an adventure then book a water taxi to take you to or from the restaurant via their little private pontoon out the front!
Set on the Noosa River in Noosaville and featuring a bistro, espresso bar, top deck bar and takeaway fish and chips this is a one-stop dining shop! The three-level venue is a truly idyllic location and the glass fronted bistro provided a great vantage point to watch the world drift by whilst dining in air conditioned comfort. Our bub was truly mesmerised by the constant stream of kayakers, paddle-boarders, fishermen and boats and the empty plate post bangers and mash made the whole dining experience super relaxed. The menu is extensive and offers a large range of seafood options given the location. They have a vegan/vegetarian menu, kids menu, feast menu and gluten free options. Entrée’s mid $20’s and Mains approx.. $30
Other options at the Noosa Boathouse:
Little Boaty – on the front deck – Open from 6am daily
Espresso bar offering coffee, toasties, pastries and other delicious treats baked fresh in-house.
The Sunset Bar – on the top deck – from 4pm daily
A perfect place to watch the sun set over the water whilst sipping a cocktail or sharing an antipasto plate.
Fish & Chips Takeaway – on the front deck – Open from 11am daily
Don’t feel like cooking after a long session at the park? Grab a fish & chips or pick from their fresh seafood options. Also great if you fancy a picnic along the Noosa River.
Definitely the most cost-effective way to dine on premium real estate of Hastings Street facing the beach whilst not breaking the bank. The vibe is always bustling and frenetic due to its popularity with tourists, families and locals but it’s part of the charm. The club opens out onto a large covered terrace that takes in a great view of Noosa main beach.
The menu pricing is more on the Sydney surf club side of things with meals on average around the mid-$20’s but the chicken salad and pasta dishes we ordered were fresh and nice and the kids Bolognese did the trick for our little guy.
Great location and very convenient for a quick meal after the kids have worn themselves out in the Pirate Playground located next door. The food is a little on the uninspiring side however (think old school RSL dining) and if it hadn’t been for my husband watching The Ashes cricket the wall of TV screens in the dining space would not be my choice for a nice holiday meal.
On the flip side the staff were friendly and the view from the deck of the river is great, not to mention it is easy to duck back to the playground with the kids while one of you wait for the meals. Change table in the bathroom.
ACTIVITIES AROUND NOOSA:
The Pirate Playground
A park and playground with its own little beach, BBQ’s and an adjoining Yacht Club for balcony sundowners and late lunches? Check. Check. Check.
Set on a huge sandpit, the Pirate Playground features multiple slides, climbing equipment, flying fox, rope climbing apparatus, small parkour course and interactive elements to cater to tiny tots through to bigger kids.
Expansive sunshades shelter the park and it also features a large, fenced wheelchair-accessible swing (Keys are required so contact Sunshine Coast Regional Council Office at 9 Pelican St Tewantin, Mon – Fri, 8.00am – 5pm for access).
Along the front of the playground is a path that follows the length of the river at Noosaville, great for bigger kids with scooters or a pram stroll.
A large undercover area sits next to the playground and the 50 space carpark of the Noosa Yacht Club. The area features BBQ’s, multiple picnic tables and faces onto the playground and a large expanse of grass that stretches across to a set of swings. Noosa River provides the perfect paddling pool for small kids with a flat beach and wave free water.
139/141 Gympie Terrace, Noosaville QLD 4566
A visual and sensory experience this is a market with some serious scale and a huge array of handcrafted furniture, homewares, artworks, ceramics, fashion, jewellery and farmers-plucked produce and freshly baked gourmet delights. Just a 15 minute drive from Noosa Heads along the Noosa – Eumundi Road.
For those not chasing a toddler you also have the opportunity to rejuvenate with a massage, tempt fate with a palm reading and soak in the musicians and street performers. We did whirlwind tour of the market as the super hot weather forced us to head for the shade and soon saw us in the very large and naturally shaded adjacent park, Dick Caplick Park.
Open Wednesday 8AM-1:30PM and Saturday 7AM-2PM
80 Memorial Drive, Eumundi
Set under a beauty canopy of fig trees it is almost possible to miss this brilliant playground for the thoughtful way it has been integrated into its surroundings.
Featuring a timber fort with rope bridge that is suspended between two trees, swings, rocking animals, a giant Revo spinning wheel (essentially a hamster wheel for kids) and a giant web-like climbing structure it has something for kids of all ages. But it was the retro style, multi-coloured timber train (below) that really captured the attention of my little one. The connecting carriages saw him ducking and weaving (somewhat precariously) in and out of windows and doors and channelling his inner train driver.
There is a large grassed area that borders the park and was busy with families picnicking and was relatively tranquil retreat away from the frenetic pace of the markets and playground.
Noosa Marina / Tewantin Water Park
I’ve heard this water park described as “small but perfectly formed” and it’s a perfectly accurate way to think of it. This was the perfect spot for my 15 month old to cool down on a particularly sweltering summer day and has the bonus of a spongey flooring for little ones still finding their feet, a large shade covering, adjoining bathrooms and shower plus a great vista of the river. It is relatively basic and no frills but definitely caters well to toddlers and the skate bowl next to it would keep bigger kids amused while the little ones play.
9 Pelican St, Tewantin QLD 4565
OUT AND ABOUT BABY TIPS
Optimistically hoping to limit disruption to sleep as much as possible, I decided to hire a timber cot rather than lugging our port-a-cot with us (my son hates travel cots) so it was worth a shot. We also needed a high chair for meal time.
We went with the rock stars at Emu Hire. And I don’t use that term lightly – They made it so easy! They delivered the cot to our accommodation and set it all up for us with a proper mattress and mattress protector in perfect condition.
They co-ordinated with our accommodation host on delivery plus texted us updates and arranged collection at the end of the trip. I can also happily report my little man smashed out 2-3 hrs at lunch time each day as a result. Boom!
Cost for 6-7 nights was $68. A small price to pay for parental sanity.
** They also do prams, car seats, high chairs, baby gates, outdoor equipment.. you get the idea!
We also took 2 black out travel curtains with us to make sure there was no chance the beautiful QLD sunshine stopped him from sleeping soundly. They are literally the best investment ever and go everywhere with us for out-of-the-house napping.
GETTING Out & About:
I will confess to having FOMO at not owning a Babyzen Yoyo pram (the must-have travel pram approved as carry-on luggage) but our stroller travelled with ease from Sydney and the oversized luggage drop off and pick up was straight forward…although we do have a travel bag for it.. Another option was to hire one from Emu Hire.
NOT BAKING ON THE BEACH:
Get to the beach early and nab a spot outside Sail’s Restaurant (the National Park end of the beach) under the grassed section of trees bordering the beach and boardwalk. Sail’s do coffee from the crack of dawn and although you will be sharing the space with other sun-savvy families it keeps the little one’s cool and you charged with caffeine and refreshments whilst still beach front.