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Hiking the Coastal Track in Noosa National Park

{Last updated: April 2018}

Noosa is a super popular holiday destination on the Sunshine Coast, and as we live only 45 minutes away, we’ve finally gone back last weekend to join just a few holidaymakers in traipsing about Noosa National Park.

I know I’ve said this a million times already but I’m going to say it again: I love winter in southeast Queensland! The weather is glorious with blue skies, sunshine and at least 20 degrees every day, it’s delicious!

So given the fantastic weather and since we’ve had a friend staying with us for the last week and half, we went upΒ  Noosa National Park to hike out to Noosa Headland along the coastal track.

Unfortunately, once there we had to realise that about 500 other people had exactly the same idea. Oh the fun! But at least not everybody wanted to traipse along the coastal track like we did…

Hiking Noosa National Park

Of all the national parks on the Sunshine Coast, Noosa National Park is the most stunning! Steep cliffs, clear turquoise water, tucked away coves, and if you’re lucky you might even spot some whales.

The carpark at the day-use area in in the national park can get incredibly busy so be prepared to drive around for a while trying to find a spot. Another option is to start your Noosa walk from Sunshine Beach. It’s much quieter but you’ll be faced with quite a few steps at the start of the walk.

Along the Noosa Coastal Walk

There are several short hikes available but if you’re up for a big(ger) walk, take the Coastal Track (blue) along Tea Tree Bay to Hell’s Gates. It goes all the way around to Sunshine Beach, and the views at the end are brilliant!

It’s about 11 km if you do the whole circuit but it’s a beautiful walk and it won’t feel that long.

Keep in mind that it’s a popular spot so you may want to avoid weekends or school holidays. The first part of the track tends to be the busiest with people making their way to Tea Tree Bay for surfing and swimming.

Basic trail info about the Noosa National Park Coastal Track

Distance: 10.8 km loop with some elevation gain
Difficulty: Easy to moderate (most enjoyable in the cooler months, I think)
Time: 3-4 hours (though 2-3 hours if you’re speedy)
Trailhead: Day-use area in Noosa National Park (just off Park Road); alternatively, start from Sunshine Beach

Noosa National Park walking tracks. Image credit: Queensland National Parks.

We started at the day-use area, and walked out to Noosa Heads (Hell’s Gates) along the coastal track, and then onto Sunshine Beach.

We looped back via some of the walking track links and then the Tanglewood Track (orange). I’m still to explore the Noosa Hill Track (yellow) and complete the entire Tanglewood Track.

Dolphin Point looking onto Winch Cove

Looking back over Tea Tree Bay

Apart from some very nice looking beaches, we came across an echidna, woohoo! I love my Australian animals, I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of them (well, ok, snakes excepted…).

Hungry echidna… Way too busy eating to worry about all those onlookers staring at him!

From the echidna excitement, we went on to Hell’s Gates, a high bluff that has water crashing into the rock face. Someone told us that turtles feed on the rocks and hooray, I did see a turtle swimming happily in the water, getting rocked back and forth by the waves! πŸ™‚

Looking down into Hell’s Gates. The turtles apparently feed on the rocky outcrops here.

Hell’s Gates with views onto Alexandria Bay beach

Somewhere along here are also the famous Fairy Pools but I haven’t really looked for them so I’m not exactly sure where they are. I’m sure in the warmer months, you’ll be able to spot them easily with tons of people milling about!

From Hell’s Gates and turtle spotting, it’s only a very short stretch to Alexandria Bay.

I had this vague recollection that Alexandria Bay was one of the few nudist beach, and voila, it was. How is it that in 13 years of living in Australia I’d never been to a nudist beach but since moving to Queensland I’ve been to two?!!

Whilst unofficially a nudist beach, Alexandria Bay also sprouts lots of surfers and beach goers so I didn’t feel too out of place in my t-shirt and shorts. πŸ™‚

Along Alexandria Bay

View onto Sunshine Beach with Mount Coolum on the horizon. You could actually see as far as Mooloolaba.

From the bottom of Sunshine Beach and the end of the coastal track be ready to climb a lot of stairs down (or up… phew, that’d be some good exercise!).

We then took a fire management track back to Tanglewood Track. And in this case, the track is actually aptly named as there are indeed tanglewoods along the path. A great many of them. Lots of fun for people who’ve always wanted to feel like Tarzan… πŸ˜€

So don’t miss the Noosa National Park coastal walk when you next come up to the Sunshine Coast for that relaxing holiday! And once you’ve done the Noosa coastal walk, climb up Mount Coolum for sprawling views of the coast.

If you don’t want to go for a long walk but still want fabulous views, drive up to Laguna Lookout in Noosa Heads. The views over Noosa River and into the hinterland are splendid, especially at sunset.


To download a map of the walking trails, check out the Queensland National Park website on walking in Noosa National Park.

More posts on hiking on the Sunshine Coast

On clear days, Mount Coolum offers great views over the Sunshine Coast. Here’s what you need to know about the hike.

For a whole heap of lookouts, check out my post on beach lookouts on the Sunshine Coast.

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Noosa National Park offers some stunning walks, best of all the Coastal Track. Steep cliffs, turquoise blue water and endless views of Sunshine Beach! 🌐 Queensland & Beyond #australia #sunshinecoast #walks #hiking #noosa #queensland

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