Looking for natural charm combined with casual sophistication and wonderful local produce? There’s no better place on Australia’s east coast to take in the good life than Noosa, on the aptly named Sunshine Coast.

Start the day like a local and enjoy brunch while watching the local beach life sitting in Noosa’s chic, sun-soaked beachfront café, Bistro C. It’s the perfect spot to watch the crowd go by while enjoying amazing local produce with changing menus to suit the seasons.

Long-time owner Lorri Banks and her team bring panache and passion to this establishment. Enjoy the fruits of their labour.

Those in the know accept that it’s not a proper visit to Noosa without a casual promenade down the main street, Hastings Street, that runs parallel to the beach. Take in the glamorous collection of fashion boutiques, cafes and charming restaurants as you go.

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Hastings Street is perfect for a bit of retail therapy (Image: Tourism Noosa)

Enjoy a cocktail at Aroma’s or Miss Moneypenny’s and capture some of the history of Noosa at Café le Monde while enjoying fresh shucked oysters direct from the grower. Across the road, drop by Massimo’s Gelateria. The many boutiques carry both international labels and brands unique to Noosa – and can be forgiving on the more mature figure.

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Dine with stunning beachfront views at Season Restaurant (Paul Smith Images / Tourism Noosa)

Visit Gordon Herford, a master jeweller in his Poeta shop that is among some of the best designer shops on the strip. Take to the beach with a Noosa LongBoard handcrafted surfboard. NL can help surfers of all abilities.

Check out the sand artist along the boardwalk for the finest sand sculptures. Next, leave your towel on the beach and head to an old beachfront favourite, Season Restaurant for a casual Noosa-style lunch.

Walking in the Noosa National Park is a must for everyone; whether you choose the coastal or the rainforest track on a morning run or a stroll any time of the day.

If you’re up early enough, watch out for those koalas on the pathways and keep your eyes alerted to their mates sleeping in the eucalypts.

The coastal track runs from Noosa to Sunshine Beach. If you enter from the Sunshine Beach end, you are more likely to see pods of dolphins swimming in the bays or migrating whales from the headlands.

Watch the currents when you swim at beautiful isolated Alexander Bay – they can be wild, and it is unofficially ‘clothing optional’ at the southern end.

Whichever entrance you use, walk to Hell’s Gate, the half-way headland. Some of the best surf spots are in the park and the ideal swimming spots are Tea Tree Bay and Granite Bay.

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Keep an eye out for adorable koalas at Noosa National Park during the early mornings (Photography By Jewelszee / Tourism Noosa)

Little Cove Beach, a short walk along the seaside boardwalk towards the entrance to the Park is worth a stop – well protected with gentle surf.

While in Sunshine Beach, don’t miss a coffee at the Golden Bean award-winning Costa Noosa Espresso among the Duke Street shops and cafes that add to the Sunshine Beach charm. Best of all, head to the Sunshine Beach Surf Life Saving Club perched on a headland with great views of the ocean for a casual drink and a steak or seafood.

Watch out for the next artist to sing at their Sunday afternoon concerts – it might just be your favourite! There’s a modern Asian restaurant, Embassy XO Restaurant and Bar too, try the beef cheeks! Cocktails, wine list and tapas are good at the Marble Bar.

To stock up on your weekly food supplies, head to the Farmers Market every Sunday morning at the AFL ground on the road to Noosaville. The local farmers set up their stalls by 7am – don’t be too late or you’ll miss seeing the basket-loads of local produce – fruit and greens all grown in the region, tapenades, nuts and spices, take-home pork, seafood, spatchcock and duck. There is a first grade cheese maker who makes a rich burrata and mozzarella and Gympie Farm Cheese, run by French born Camille Mortaud has delicious handcrafted goat's chèvre and handmade butter.

If you’re serious about your health then you won’t regret shopping and eating at Organika supermarket and café on Gibson Road, Noosaville. Stroll along Gibson Road to take a peek into the homeware, swimwear and giftware shops of OneWorld and Gibsons of Noosa Homewares & Deli Café. You will definitely find a gift to take home or a new swimsuit.

Fuel up for the afternoon with a healthy food basket packed by Belmondos Organic Market, tucked in the industrial back streets of Noosaville. It stocks local products, including Eumundi meats, Clandestino coffee and a range of local Ayuvedic health supplements, Yukti Botanicals. Relax and ease away any tension at Noosa Springs Golf and Spa with a hydro-massage and full body massage.

Eumundi markets are a short drive from Hastings Street, opening on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. This market is full of the most exquisite local handicraft and a good place to go for your morning cappuccino and pastry or freshly made lemonade.

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Situated around the magnificent Noosa River, Noosaville is a lively centre for aquatic activities, bars and restaurants (Paul Smith Images / Tourism Noosa)

Whether it’s lunch or dinner you want, head to Wasabi or Ricky’s restaurant on the river. Take the ferry, water taxi or a gondola to both. Check the time of sunset before booking, to see the sunset view across the glittering Noosa river from these award-winning restaurants.

The 2-hatted Wasabi has been in Noosa for many years offering refined Japanese cuisine using produce grown on their Honeysuckle Hill Farm. Next door, devour a six-course tasting menu at Ricky’s. Want to cook like the chefs at Wasabi and Ricky’s? Enrol in a course at the Noosa Cooking School in the same complex.

Exhausted after the eating and shopping? Don’t forget the beach…

What is your favourite Australian destination? Let us know in the comments below.

(Feature image: Paul Smith Images / Tourism Noosa)

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