The Sunshine Coast is known for its many days of sunshine, beautiful beaches and all day shopping. A less well-known treasure for visitors is the Noosa National Park, part of the Noosa Biosphere Reserve.
Situated on the Noosa Headland, the national park features spectacular scenery, great places for whale watching, secluded coves where dolphins play and pristine native vegetation that’s home to an array of wildlife.
The park includes many hidden beaches and 15 kilometres of walking trails. Noosa itself is the gateway to the park and is just 20 minutes drive north of Coolum Beach, a favourite Sunshine Coast vacation spot.
What is Noosa National Park?
As an important wildlife preserve situated in a dense urban area, it’s several microenvironments are home to almost 3,000 species of plants and animals including many that are native to Queensland and the Sunshine Coast.
Walk through eucalyptus groves, forests of brush box trees, stands of Hoop and Kauri pines, creeping boobialla that covers the escarpments and native rainforest. Wildflowers abound in the understory. Look for the distinctive cone-shaped banksias and rare swamp orchids.
As you walk through the park, you will see wildlife up, down and all around. Have fun spotting koalas that nest in the trees.
Higher up, birds create a cacophony of background sound. Look for cockatoos, parrots and Peregrine falcons that soar on the wind. Pelicans and cormorants inhabit the wetlands, and shorebirds play in the surf.
Lower to the ground, you may see an echidna, a prickly anteater, run through the undercover. Many kinds of marsupials and rodents live in all the eco-zones.
Reptiles are present, too. Although most are shy around humans, you might hear the throaty calls of frogs and toads after a heavy rain. Butterflies in a rainbow of colours flutter in the wind.
If you stand on the headlands and look out to sea, you may see dolphins and whales frolicking. Saltwater and freshwater fish are abundant, including several that are endangered.
The day-use area at Noosa Headland includes picnic tables, drinking water, barbecue grills and toilet facilities. Talk to the rangers about what to see and be sure to visit the display that includes maps and other useful information about the park.
Noosa National Park Walking Tracks
A number of walking tracks traverse the park through several ecological zones. Many tracks are about one kilometre long and start at the day-use area. A few are several kilometres. Be sure to bring water and food because there aren't many facilities in the park.
The main trail, the Coastal Walk, is almost 11 km from start to return. The trail hugs the escarpment and offers spectacular views of the coastline. It can be done in sections if you are not up to a 4-hour trek.
It starts as a sealed track from the day-use area to Boiling Pot, 300 metres away. This track is suitable for wheelchairs and strollers. At Boiling Pot, you get a view of the coastline, the coastal dunes in Great Sandy National Park and the popular surfing spot, Tea Tree Bay.
Continue to Dolphin Point, a strategic spot to watch for dolphins. After this point, the track is unpaved. A bit further is Hell's Gates, a rocky escarpment with a sandstone cave carved into the headland. Here, birds bask in the sun to dry their wings. Turtles, sea eagles and osprey are also present. This is a favourite spot for whale-watching.
Below Hell's Gate is Alexandria Bay, a secluded location popular for bathing au natural. The beach is not patrolled, and there are strong currents, so take care when swimming. Sunshine Beach is 5.4 km from the start, where you join up again with the track.
Other popular walks include Emu Mountain Summit Walk, a 1.1 km return trek that ascends to Emu Peak. Here, you can enjoy panoramic views of hinterlands, swamps and coastline.
The Point Coolum Beach
The Mediterranean-style villas at the Point Coolum Beach provide all amenities for a relaxing Sunshine Coast holiday. Staff can help you plan a day trip to Noosa National Park and other popular venues in the area.