Rachel Quilligan escaped to a nearby paradise for a few days to unwind and relax.

There’s nothing like clocking off from the work week and heading straight to paradise for a weekend of bliss. With the Sunshine Coast under two hours’ drive from Brisbane, it’s far enough away to forget the woes of the city but close enough for a weekend trip.

Eat

Café Le Monde (52 Hastings Street) – Taking advantage of the proximity of the coast, fellow journalist Laura and I feasted on the extremely fresh seafood platter and cocktails served in coconuts followed by a delicious prawn linguine. This restaurant also becomes a late-night hotspot for those looking to party on into the night.

Sirocco Noosa (2/257 Gympie Terrace) – Our table had incredible views of the river, offering a refreshingly different visage to the other restaurants in the area. We’d worked up an appetite in our stand up paddle board lesson, which was then sated on a delicious tasting plate and incredible chilli seafood linguine, followed by a delectable buttermilk pannacotta with dried rhubarb – a must-try.

Aromas Noosa (36 Hastings Street) – Aromas is a little slice of Paris on the coast, with classic French wicker chairs arranged for al fresco dining with a great view of those wandering by. They also serve wonderful food that tastes as good as it looks – I couldn’t resist ordering the pancakes, and my mocha was simply a work of art.

Stay

The first night we arrived we were welcomed warmly by Greg at Seahaven Noosa Resort. There’s nothing like waking up to that breathtaking view of the beach or being able to stroll down past the three pools and lush gardens for a swim in the calm green waves of Main Beach, especially when blessed with beautiful weather.

After check-out Greg was warmly accommodating of all our requests, regardless how numerous or trivial, and pleasantly insistent that we continue to use the guest amenities, which meant we could stretch out our time on the Sunshine Coast as long as possible.

Do

Hike – Noosa National Park has some fantastic walking trails over and around the headland. We took the coastal path which meant lookouts over rock pools and sandy inlets. Remember to wear sunscreen and bring togs to enjoy a swim in one of the more secluded beaches along the walk to refresh before turning back.

Paddle – Our instructor Hayden from SUP Noosa, the company that brought stand up paddle boarding into Australia ten years ago, was very friendly and an excellent teacher, which meant the expected falls never happened—instead we enjoyed a smooth paddle up Noosa River beside gorgeous pelicans and tranquil mangroves, chatting away like we’d been doing it for years.
At least one lesson is recommended for those attempting the new water sport, but here’s a quick tip: keep your eyes up and your board moving, as it’s more difficult to balance on if stationary.

Swim – Hitting the beach is top priority when visiting the Sunshine Coast. Noosa’s Main Beach has calm waters perfect for swimmers of all abilities. For a better surf break try Sunshine Beach, or Little Cove for beginners.

Fun – With Australia Zoo, Underwater World, the Ginger Factory and Aussie World all nearby, there are plenty of different attractions to fill your weekend with. The world-renowned Eumundi markets are also worth a trip.

Note: The author was a guest of Seahaven Noosa Resort. To book, visit their website.