Far from the madding crowds of Hasting Street, the serenity of Noosa’s North Shore.
Sometimes referred to as Australia’s ‘Rodeo Drive’, Noosa’s Hasting Street is a mecca for tourists from all over Australia and indeed, the world. Designer label fashion shops compete alongside traditional tourist haunts, and five-star beach-front apartment complexes mingle with trendy coffee shops and international renowned restaurants to provide an atmosphere of fun and excitement. A place where skimpy bikinis are equally at home with uber-elegant casual attire and high-end glitzy evening wear.
For decades, Noosa has been an international destination for fun-loving, sun-loving visitors. A place to revel and relax on some of the world’s most pristine white sandy beaches or shop and eat in style. It truly is the jewel in Australia’s holiday destination crown. But there is another side to Noosa. A side that few know, but those who do, develop a whole new appreciation for the natural beauty and crowd-less spaces of this iconic destination.
Ferry across the river
A short drive from Noosa to Tewantin and the Noosa North Shore Ferry, the gateway, or should we say, waterway to the natural beauty of Noosa’s North Shore. In peak season there are two ferries operating from the river end of Moorindil Street, Tewantin, departing every 10 minutes. Crossing the Noosa River takes about 5 minutes, but in the busy seasons the queue of vehicles waiting to catch the ferry can be significant, particularly with the number of 4 wheel drives, caravans and campers wanting to cross. The lower North Shore is a popular beach entry point for the 80 kilometre drive along unspoilt open beaches of golden sands and forest wilderness to Double Island Point and Rainbow Beach.
North of Double Island Point heading towards Rainbow Beach you’ll pass the Coloured Sands, spectacular sand cliffs that tower over the beach. I’ve talked at length on this site about our numerous wonderful experiences on the beach at Double Island Point and about camping at Rainbow Beach.
The Cooloola Coast is popular for camping, fishing, beach horse-riding, and 4 wheel driving. If you are planning to take your vehicle onto the beach, the road rules apply. Make sure that you monitor your tyre pressures. This means deflating your tyres to drive on the sand and reinflating them when back on the bitumen. Check also the tide times. This is no place to get bogged in super-soft sand or worse still, get swamped by the incoming tide. Remember, permits are required to drive on the beach as the beach is effectively a road and is part of the Cooloola Recreation Area within the Great Sandy National Park. Access is strictly limited to 4WDs and costs $30.You can book a Vehicle Access Permit online at: www.parks.des.qld.gov.au
Setting up camp
If you are planning to camp along the beach at any of the nominated camping sites, you’ll need to pre-book a camping area and obtain a camping permit. You can do this by visiting: www.qpws.usedirect.com
Alternatively, if you prefer not to take all your camping gear onto the beach but still want to experience the joys of beach camping, you can book a site for your tent or caravan at Noosa North Shore Beach Campground. This is an absolute beachfront caravan park and campground with a true wilderness vibe and is ideal for families, groups of friends, adventure-seekers and fisherman. Dinah and I love it here as it offers us secluded bush sites for our off-road caravan that are just behind the dunes and the beach. The location offers both privacy and protection from the on-shore winds. A bonus for us living on the Sunshine Coast is that all this is under an hour from home, making it ideal for shorter getaways.
A 10 minute drive from the ferry towards the beach, the campground offers a range of sites, from tent sites to caravan sites. There are even larger sites to cater for families or groups with multiple tents and caravans. You access these sites via a series of windy bush tracks through the campground, thereby providing seclusion and privacy and a true feeling of bush camping. While these sites are unpowered, the campground also provides flat, open powered sites for those requiring AC power. The facilities here are absolutely fantastic. The amenities block is modern and clean and offers free hot showers as well as laundry facilities. There is also a superb Camp Kitchen complex with gas BBQs. And, of course, there is a Dump Point. There is however no water to the sites, so you will need to bring your own. Fill up your caravan tanks before arriving and/or bring a jerry can or two. As the park is mostly in a natural bush state with native wildlife abundant, no animals/pets are permitted.
The staff are super-friendly, and the campground is extremely well maintained and managed, making it a safe and pleasurable place to experience true beach camping. But you’ll need to book ahead for, secluded as it is, it is incredibly popular all year round. To find out more and book, go to: www.noosaholidayparks.com.au
The other side of Noosa
If you are considering a holiday on the Sunshine Coast and Noosa is your preferred destination, make sure to check our both sides of Noosa…the Hastings Street, beaches and National Park we all love and Noosa North Shore, for a truly different and authentic Noosa experience, without a Hugo Boss shirt in sight!
Main picture: Enjoying the tranquility of Noosa’s North Shore beaches
- Vehicle ferry across the Noosa River to the North Shore
- The perfect camping spot, private and protected
- Definitely not crowded Noosa Heads main beach
- Beach fishing just doesn’t get any better
- The wind-swept treescape
- Silver palms make a magnificent display
- Looking back from the beach at sunset
- The Camp Kitchen at Noosa North Shore Beach Campground
- A red bellied black snake sunning itself by the beach path. Be careful
- Goanna love the campsite as they forage for food
- Female eastern grey kangaroo and joey
- A bilby makes friends with us in the evening
- A local drop and the local North Shore Bistro and Grill
- Looking south to Noosa Heads
- No crowds here