Our family loves spending time in nature. It’s probably our favourite thing to do together. However, we’ve learnt (the hard way) that we have to choose outdoor activities our four-year-old will enjoy. Otherwise it’s just not fun for anyone. Rock-hopping at the beach, riding our bikes, short walks… these are all fine. Long walks are out of the question. So when little miss recently stayed with her grandparents for a few nights, we jumped at the chance to do one of our favourite walks on the Sunshine Coast – the picturesque coastal track at Noosa National Park. This is, in our opinion, the best Noosa walk. Here are our tips before you set out.
Tip 1 – Go early. This is the most popular Noosa walk!
Even though it was the middle of winter, the temperature was a balmy 25°C (77°F) and being the school holidays, it was super busy. Noosa Heads, with it’s pristine beaches and upmarket main street, is a particularly busy tourist spot. If you want a car park close to the action, whether it’s the main beach, Hastings Street or the entrance to the National Park, arrive early. We usually aim to arrive around 8am. If we didn’t have little kids, we’d go earlier. By the time we finished the walk it was about 10.30am and drivers were circling around like vultures, waiting to swoop on a parking spot. To avoid this situation, you can catch a bus to Hastings Street then walk along the boardwalk to the park entrance. The boardwalk section is also very pretty. It will just add to the time and distance which might be a challenge if you have little kids.
Tip 2 – Dress appropriately.
I was glad I was wearing joggers and not thongs. Sections of the track are hilly and rocky so it’s best to have sturdy shoes. Also, the Aussie sun is strong so wear a hat and sun cream or protective clothing. We had our baby in a babybjorn carrier and her little hat didn’t keep the sun off her face. Next time I’ll take a hat with a wider brim. If you’re walking with a pram or stroller, make sure you’ve got a shade for it. It can get windy so if it’s a cooler day you might need a jumper. Finally, consider wearing your bathers under your clothes. I was kicking myself for not bringing my togs so I could jump into that crystal clear sea water. It looked sooooo inviting. (Note – the beaches on this Noosa walk are unpatrolled and you swim at your own risk.)
Tip 3 – Walk the coastal track to Hell’s Gate for the best views.
If it’s sensational ocean vistas you’re after, you can’t beat the coastal track. It would have to be the most scenic Noosa walk. The path follows the shoreline around several picturesque bays and if you’re lucky you might spot dolphins, whales or turtles. It’s an easy walk along a gently sloping track that winds through patches of rainforest and open woodlands with pretty native plants. Hell’s Gate is 2.7km from the main park entrance and has sweeping views north and south. The path continues on past this point but many turn around here and head back.
Tip 4 – Look for wildlife
Remember to look up into the trees every now and then to see if you can spot a koala. Unfortunately, numbers have dwindled over the years, making sightings less frequent. A few years ago we spotted a koala at Tea Tree Bay but this time we weren’t so lucky. The open woodlands are also home to lizards, snakes and native birds such as parrots. Don’t expect to see a kangaroo on the coastal track.
Tip 5 – Supervise your kids
Did I mention how happy I was that we didn’t have our four-year-old with us? Honestly, we would have spent most of the time making sure she didn’t collide with one of the runners or pirouette off the cliff. There are high, rocky outcrops without barriers so you do need to watch the kids at all times. Take snacks and water to keep them happy. Remember also that there are no lifeguards patrolling the beaches.
To top off your Noosa walk you can treat yourself to a nice coffee or refreshing cold drink at one of the cafes on Hastings Street or go for a swim at the patrolled main beach. Would I recommend this walk to families with young children? Yes. If your little ones can’t handle long walks you can just walk to Tea Tree Bay and explore the beach there. It’s still worth a visit. The track is also paved and stroller-friendly to Dolphin Point (1km from the entrance) where there is a nice lookout.
Next time I’d like to walk this track in the afternoon. I’ve heard the sunset is amazing. Morning or afternoon, a walk through Noosa National Park is a ‘must do’ when you visit Noosa. Have you visited Noosa National Park? If so, we’d love to hear about your experience and any tips you have.
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