Insider's guide to the hidden secrets of Noosa

Australian singer and songwriter Katie Noonan loves Queensland's Sunshine Coast. She reveals her favourite places to visit.

A guy carrying a surfboard and a girl walking with him and people sunbathing on the beach behind them.
  • Krysia Bonkowski
  • August 2018

Katie Noonan first caught Australia’s ear with her ethereal lead vocals in the band George, when the band’s debut album Polyserena topped the charts in 2002. Since then, Noonan has forged a career as one of the country’s most respected performers, and this year helmed the Queensland Music Festival as artistic director. Brisbane-born and raised, Katie decided to leave the city behind when she had children.

“I wanted my kids to have a bit more freedom to run around … I wanted to move somewhere beautiful and in touch with nature but not too remote,” she says.

During a gig in the small town of Eumundi with her band The Captains, Katie fell for the Sunshine Coast, and her family of four have lived there since.

“There’s a great sense of community, a lot of us have chosen to move here from somewhere else,” Katie says. “It’s still connected, but disconnected enough to have that escape from the busy hubbub of the world.”

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Katie shares some of the places that make her proud to call the Sunshine Coast home.

Noosa beach cloudy sunrise.
A spectacular sunrise over Noosa Mainbeach.

Eumundi Markets

80 Memorial Drive, Eumundi

These are the oldest-running artists’ markets in Australia; they’ve been running since the 1970s. I love the feeling of all these people coming in with their beautiful handmade objects and their organic food … there’s a great feeling, and a strong sense of community. I think I bought almost all of my Christmas presents there last year. It’s great to support local businesses, farmers, producers and artists.

The Butter Factory Arts Cetre

11A Maple Street, Cooroy

Cooroy is another lovely little town just up the hill from Noosa, and the Butter Factory is a great space to see interesting music and art, and exhibitions from local artists and local musicians.

People enjoying the view of the sunsets over Noosa Heads.
The Noosa Lookout to get a great view of the sunsets over Noosa Heads.

Chenrezig Institute

33 Johnsons Road, Eudlo

This is a beautiful space to go and have some quiet [time] and get some Zen in your life. The Dalai Lama came here on his last Australian trip. It’s a special space for meditation and tranquillity.

Bohemian Bungalow

69 Memorial Drive, Eumundi

It’s a gorgeous, quintessential Queenslander turned into a funky restaurant – just good fresh, local food. It comes back to that spirit of supporting local smaller businesses that I love. They have an awesome menu, interesting art and friendly staff … and it’s very kid-friendly.

Overview of Sunshine Beach, South of Noosa.
Sunshine Beach, south of Noosa, is a magnet for those wanting to relax.

The Majestic Theatre

3 Factory Street, Pomona

I’ve played here quite a bit, and seen lots of people I admire such as Uncle Archie Roach, Josh Pyke and Lior; lots of wonderful artists. It’s a gorgeous space that’s cared for and loved by the community, and a lovely place to see music and old films.

Peregian Skate Park

Kingfisher Drive, Peregian Beach

My kids are avid skaters and BMXers, so as a skater mum I find myself here a lot. It’s an amazing skate park right next to the beach. They also have a thing called Peregian Originals every month, which is a free outdoor music festival, and lots of great cafés. It’s a nice place to hang out with the skater boys.

Noosa Heads Coastal Track

This is an amazing bush walk at Noosa Heads. When you’re at the Noosa main beach, it’s to the right up around the headland. It’s one of the most beautiful bushwalks you could ever do, and you come across all these tiny little beaches where you can set up for the day and have a surf and swim.

Noosa Heads National Park
Noosa Heads National Park

Mount Coolum

This is another wonderful natural highlight of the area. You can climb Mount Coolum, it’s a relatively relaxed bush walk/mountain climb, and another wonderful vantage point to look at our gorgeous coastline.

Spirit House

20 Ninderry Road, Yandina

Sprit House is an amazing restaurant in the hinterland. It’s perfect for a special night out with friends. We’re spoilt for choice here for excellent restaurants in amazing locations. It’s a magic little spot that you wouldn’t expect to be there; you go in and kind of immerse yourself in this special world.

Ikatan DAY SPA

46 Grays Road, Doonan

I’m a big fan of a day-spa. I go when I can, and also go with my girlfriends. Being the only girl in an all-boy house – one big boy and two little boys – I like to have my girly time. And Ikatan is just down the road from us. It’s so beautiful. Set on acreage, it’s a place to pamper yourself and escape from the world for a few hours.