The Sunshine Coast is a big place. From the pastures and mountains of the hinterlands to its world-famous beaches, the region boasts a diverse spread of attractions. It’s also home to a thriving community of small and family-owned businesses; operations that, taken as a whole, make this slice of Queensland an ideal home for locals and a great getaway destination for those who appreciate the value of community.
In collaboration with American Express, here’s a starting point for making the most of your time in one of the country’s best coastal destinations.
Timing is everything at this sleek hide-out, where mosaic flooring and bentwood chairs channel the all-day cafes of Europe. By day, it’s all about good coffee and bagels, breakfast bowls, salads and other easygoing AM foodstuffs. After dark, however, Moonstruck goes full small bar, and the focus switches from shots of coffee to gin. Local distilleries are well represented in the in-house selection, ably supported by spirits sourced from other (predominantly small-scale) distilleries from further afield. Break up all that high-proof juniper with something from the concise wine list or a plate or two of European-inspired ballast from the kitchen: think anchovies and guindillas with sourdough, cheese boards, and duck and cherry pate.
In Hindustani, the word “pucca” is used to describe a building that’s solid and reliable. It’s a fitting moniker for a restaurant that locals and clued-up travellers have come to depend on for polished Indian cooking. Fittingly for a smartly attired restaurant in Noosa Heads, India’s southern coast is a recurring motif on the menu, which showcases local seafood in Keralan and Goan-style curries and pairs gin-cured fish with mustard oil and kachumber, an Indian salad of chopped tomatoes, cucumber and onions. Shared feast menus – with optional drinks packages – are also available, leaving the decision-making to chef Neale White and his team.
Stay at Sofitel Noosa Pacific
Europe gets remixed with the Sunshine Coast at this elegant property that exemplifies resort relaxation. Rooms are spacious and designed to show off the outdoors, with views taking in everything from the lagoon-style pool to the ocean and bustling Hastings Street. Suites up the luxury factor, while options are also available for larger family groups travelling together. Although the hotel’s Noosa Heads address puts it right in the thick of the action, the Sri Lankan-influenced food served at home-town hero Peter Kuruvita’s in-house restaurant, Noosa Beach House, is worth considering.
Sofitel Noosa Pacific
Hike Noosa National Park
The first custodians of the Noosa region were the Kabi Kabi people, who gave the area its name. (Noosa is derived from a local word that means “shade” or “shadow”, likely a reference to the region’s towering forests). Exploring the Noosa National Park is a fine way to connect with nature and see the region’s beauty up close. Walks range from an easy half-hour meander along a seaside boardwalk to a four-hour excursion punctuated by headlands, flora and photo ops galore.
Noosa National Park
Land & Sea Brewery
And now for a different take on the magic that happens when surf meets turf. Opened in 2018, Land & Sea was instrumental in kickstarting the region’s current craft-beer boom, and its popularity continues to grow. It’s not hard to see the appeal: thoughtfully brewed beers are matched by sharp packaging, while the kitchen keeps things cheery with comforting pub cooking à la burgers, chicken parmigianas and bratwurst. (Vegetarian options are also available). On Saturdays, a joint tour taking in the brewery and attached distillery, Fortune, is also available.
Land & Sea Brewery
Woodfired pizza. Lo-fi wine. A vinyl-based playlist. Newish Noosa Heads outfit Somedays Pizza is right in tune with the new-wave pizzeria zeitgeist, and locals have fallen for it hard. While the slow-fermented pizzas are the star attraction, a selection of salads, charcuterie and desserts play their part too. Plant-based diners aren’t forgotten either, with vegan pizza specials, vegan dessert and even vegan “prosciutto” made with smoked radish among Somedays’ offerings.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with the American Express Shop Small program, encouraging Australians to support small business while travelling domestically. Learn more about Shop Small here.