I haven’t stayed on Hastings Street, Noosa’s main drag, since my early twenties.
Even then, saying, ‘I stayed on Hastings Street,’ is a stretch. My friends and I, in the name of a big night out, would pitch a tent in the campground at the river end of the street (old-timers like me will remember it) then we’d get dressed in the toilet block before hitting the bars. Nice. Klarsy. But still, Noosa. Hastings Street. It was great then and it’s still magic now that I’m all grown up with a family of my own.
The campground is no longer there, but the tiny street where European SUVs and Wicked Campers fight for parking spaces is still special and the beach is one of the most beautiful I know. A perfect north-facing arc with enough swell for serious surfers but enough shelter for young families.
The thing with Noosa though is this (and it’s why I’ve never stayed there since those mad campground nights): unless you’re right in the heart of Hastings Street, preferably on the beach side, Noosa can be hard work, especially at peak times. The European SUVs and Wicked Campers mean beach-bliss can be cancelled out by parking headaches, and nights out can be more trouble than they’re worth.
So how lucky were we to stay at Seahaven?
Located at the quiet end of the street (but close enough to the surf club that the flags and excellent breakfasts are just a tenminute stroll away). Seahaven has been there forever but has recently been totally re-created to make it the schmickest of the schmick beachfront properties. If location is everything, Seahaven has it. On a still day, you can throw a sea-shell from your balcony onto the sand. You could do it on a windy day too, if you had a half-decent arm. Sadly, that’s not me. But I digress – if you want to experience Noosa from the best possible perch, this is it. There’s lots to recommend Seahaven besides the location, but the big thing for us was the family apartment fit our family of five. Three proper beds in the kids’ room. Not a rollaway or fold-out with paper-thin mattress. The bathrooms are big and luxurious and the kitchen is no kitchenette. We could have stayed a month.
I could also have stayed put. Especially after a beachside breakfast at Bistro C (wander in off the sand, no shoes required). But kids want to do stuff, so my dream of sitting on the balcony watching Laguna Bay behave like a lagoon while reading the papers was replaced with a schedule of activities. But this is where Noosa really shines. You can easily spend a week on Hastings Street and never get in a car and still have a fine time. The beach is at your back door. Lovely shops, friendly bars and endless cafes and restaurants are at your front door.
But if you draw your activities radius a little wider – say maximum 10 minutes driving, you’ll find the Noosa River. It’s Noosa Heads’s stunning sister, a shiny blue ribbon perfect for boating, fishing or sitting under a tree watching people go boating and fishing.
If you do want to get onto the water (and with kids it’s kind of impossible not to) I’d recommend The Noosa River Sailing And Rowing Club. It was a nostalgic outing for me. I’d raced sailing boats there when I was the age my daughters are now. The club is bigger now, and offers food other than a post-race sausage-in-bread. They also offer one of the country’s best learn to sail programs and after a couple of hours on the water with James (sailing instructor straight from central casting), our kids were hooked.