The ridiculously stunning beaches of the Sunshine Coast are no secret, but you may not realise that inbetween surfing and chilling on the sand, you can find a plethora of top-notch food options with a focus on home-grown produce to delight even the biggest foodie.
Set yourself up with a rad hotel for the weekend – something close to the beach like Peppers Noosa Resort & Villas – and grab yourself a rental car to go on the food journey you truly deserve, you absolute champion. Avis even have some killer deals on their cars RN, plus we’ve made you a map (which you can download right here), so you can’t really afford not too, right?
Day 1: Beach Trippin’
Dive right into the weekend with a scenic hour drive from Noosa over to Maroochydore for some of the best coffee you’ll ever sip at Little Sisters Coffee Co.
So yeah, you go for the specialty coffee, but you stay for the food – and for the unexpected but delightful local art collection, vintage clothing and occasional craft workshops. Three sisters own and run this joint, and they know their way around everything from panini, to bagels and pink cinnamon doughnuts (yes, I said pink).
While you’re in the area, you should do yourself a favour and take the 15-minute drive inland to the scenic Buderim Forest Park. An easy 600-metre walkway will take you through lush forest onto the cascading Buderim Falls (aka Serenity Falls).
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When you make it back from Maroochydore, continue out to Noosa Heads. You have plenty of time before lunch, so work up an appetite with a dip in the stunning, yet somehow relatively undiscovered Tea Tree Bay in Noosa National Park.
When you’re good and ready, head back to your hotel and rince off before popping over on foot to Bistro C. This absolute beachfront restaurant has won actual awards for its food. Their menus are created by hatted chef Dayle Merlo and inspired by the seasonal local produce available – from locally caught seafood to caramelised pork belly.
Take in a change of scenery for dinner at the very funky Sum Yung Guys in Sunshine Beach, which is less than 10 minutes drive from Noosa.
Remember MasterChef’s 2016 runner-up Matty Sinclair? Well, old mate opened a restaurant with three friends and people have been raving about it ever since. The food, cocktails and even the decor have all been carefully crafted to highlight their passion for Asian cuisine and culture. While there are single meals available, many of the dishes are crafted with sharing in mind, making this the perfect place to turn up to with a group.
Day 2: Delighting All Senses
Now you’ve had a chance to sleep off your food coma, it’s time to do it all again. Right in the heart of Noosa is VanillaFood, but there’s nothing vanilla about it.
It’s the cafe inside an organic food market, so it’s no surprise their focus is whipping up wholesome dishes with a rustic twist, out of fresh, seasonal produce. Translation? This is one brekkie that will be as good for your body as it is for your tastebuds. Think acai bowls covered in juicy fruit, raw smoothies and waffles that are actually decorated with flowers.
Time for a drive inland until you reach The Spirit House Restaurant in Yandina, about half an hour away from Noosa. The drive itself is a dang treat, winding your way through the hinterland.
Dining here is an experience, not just a meal. You will 100% need to make a booking because the popularity of this joint is off the charts. No wonder, when the menu features exotic flavours and even textures that you won’t find anywhere else, from fresh seafood to chicken wings and curry balls, all with a truly unique twist. Plus it’s in the middle of a tropical garden, so it’ll please all your senses. There’s an amazing cooking school here too, in case you’re inspired to make the meals for yourself.
Continue driving through the beautiful Sunshine Coast until you reach Mooloolaba and the haven that is Spice Bar restaurant along the main esplanade. If you decide to stay the night so you can really indulge at dinner, the Mantra Hotel is literally a two minutes walk away.
On tonight’s menu is a little modern Asian fusion, combining the freshest of ingredients into delectable dishes. Expect the menu to reflect things like Hervey Bay scallops with soy and ginger-infused sabayon and local prawns with a chili kick wrapped in betel leaves. If you’re overwhelmed by the choice, let the chef do the choosing with five or ten-course degustation options.
I don’t know about you, but I am drooling. You’ve remembered Avis rentals are on sale right now, yeah? As if you aren’t already booking this trip.Image: Instagram / @sumyungguys