Author: By Eat drink and be Kerry
We recently welcomed Kerry Heaney from Eat drink and be Kerry to Noosa to experience a Noosa food trail with fresh, local produce from farmhouse food to local coffee and a distillery. She found roadside produce, pastured eggs, local beef, seasonal fruit and more!
Get ready for some stunning country vistas on this drive that goes deep into the coastal fringe between Noosa and Gympie. It is a comfortable Noosa daytrip that will take you about an hour and 30 minutes, one day or two if you go slow and stop to make the most of the journey.
The best place to start the drive is in Gympie. You can go straight up the Bruce Highway or take a longer route through the Mary Valley. There is plenty to explore in Gympie and lots of great Gympie food, so plan to stay a night here and discover more about this heritage city.
Pictured below: Eat drink and be Kerry goes shopping at Farmer & Sun for local Gympie food. Local produce is staple for Gympie food.
Gympie’s emerging café scene won’t disappoint. You’ll feel like you are in Melbourne at quirky SoMa SoMa, enjoy a mix of Italian favourites with local stars at Emilia’s Café or dive headfirst into the local produce pool at Farmer & Sun. I highly recommend breakfast or lunch at any of these restaurants.
Take a walk around Gympie town which has a deep heritage linked to the discovery of gold here in the 1880s. Try your luck with gold panning at Deep Creek. With gold at $2,506 an ounce (June 2020) it might be a better investment than your super!
Panning for gold at Deep Creek is hard work.
After that back-breaking work you might need a little luxury and you will find that at soaperie Oska & Willow which has a huge range of bath salts and locally crafted soaps. Luckily the B&B I am suggesting for you has a deep claw foot bath.
Soaps designed to reflect the regions at Oska & Willow
Another top spot I discovered was Murphy’s Store which is filled with the sort of retro and antique stuff that makes vintage lovers squeal with delight.
Take a browse through Murphy’s Store in Gympie before your Noosa drive.
I stayed overnight at a delightful boutique-style accommodation with a whole house to myself at Laurelea. Owner Bambi just completed the finishing touches on a big renovation an hour before I booked in. It was picture-perfect with beautiful spaces to enjoy inside and out.
Pictured above: Have a heritage stay on your Gympie to Noosa trail at Laurelea which has two beautiful double bedrooms.
If you have just arrived in Gympie, stop and stretch your legs with a walk around Lake Alford which is conveniently close to the Gympie Visitor Information Centre where you can pick up maps of the area.
Next, you’ll need some Gympie food and coffee and there are two stops on the way – Emilia’s in the heart of town (plenty of Mary Street parking available) or SoMa SoMa (street parking) where you’ll also find some cute locally produced wearables.
Head out of town on the Gympie Connection road to join Tin Can Bay Road and then Cedar Pocket Road. I have included a map at the end so you can see the Noosa drive route
Start your Sunshine Coast trail with a coffee at SoMa SoMa.
This is such a pretty day trip from Noosa and the winding road really highlights the diversity of the landscape, take it slow and watch the wilderness unfold.
Do remember to put some gold coins and small notes in your pocket so you can buy from the roadside stalls along the drive to Noosa. I saw everything from bromeliads to Buddha’s Hands (a type of citron that you can use to perfume rooms or clothing or just as zest) and mushroom compost.
I filled the car with finds on this Noosa drive.
Look out for roadside stalls on your Noosa day trip
You are heading for lunch at Kin Kin General Store, a surprising café run by fifth-generation farmer Jodie Williams and her daughter Tahlia Anderson who creates the most amazing desserts.
Here it is really about ethically grown, local produce with more than half of the ingredients sourced within the region, some from her backyard café veggie garden. Jodie, who also runs Black Ant Gourmet catering, has a Slow Food Noosa Snail of Approval certification. Sustainable food practices are another keystone for Jodie who attended the Terra Madra World Food Festival in Italy in 2018.
The cafe is open every day for breakfast and lunch. They also serve dinner on some nights (check their Facebook for the latest details).
Pictured below: Jodie Williams and daughter Tahlia Anderson, Kin Kin General Store.
My lunch was an amazing compilation of panko and poppy seed crumbed red claw crayfish from local producer Alba Aquaculture, with a finger lime mayo and avocado. Beautifully simple food done very well. K2 enjoyed beef brisket on a charcoal burger.
Dessert was another surprise as a pile of wontons linked by lemon butter arrived on the table as a real eye-pleaser. Equally impressive was the spun sugar basket dotted with borage flowers which topped an apple crumble better than grandma used to make.
Finish off with a Noosa Black coffee made from beans grown just a few kilometres away by Noosa’s only commercial coffee grower. Noosa Black is a small, family-owned business with around 6,000 arabica coffee trees - another Slow Food Noosa Snail of Approval recipient. Their single-origin coffee is hand-blended and roasted on the property. You will find it for sale around the area (check their website for a list) and via mail order.
Sitting on the veranda here is a pretty fine way to spend a few hours. You might think ‘I wish I had booked that cute B&B, Ambrosia House across the road so I can come back for breakfast’. Otherwise, back in the car to follow the signs leading towards Pomona. It will take you about 16 minutes.
Noosa Black coffee beans from bush to cup ready.
Stop at Pomona Distilling on your Gympie to Noosa drive.
The country town of Pomona was named after the Roman goddess of fruit and orchards. It has been home to the Gubbi Gubbi people for thousands of years.
Fires devastated the town in 1939 and 1942 which has resulted in a predominance of Art Deco architecture in the town.
What lies behind the shopfront at Pomona Distilling Co is a real surprise. Décor at the small-batch boutique distillery is inspired by the heritage of the region with a glorious arbour made from recycled bridge timbers.
The cellar is positioned in original Pomona Bakery which dates from the early 1900s and repurposed shipping containers turned into a small art gallery.
Master Distiller and owner Robin Yates first started distilling in the back of the Uni chemistry lab while studying industrial chemistry.
Now spends his days on his farm in Pomona finding native botanicals to craft new gin blends and creating artesian spirits using a 200l copper still. The range includes Pomona Pink Gin, Pomona Blue Pea Flower Gin, a standard gin and vodka. The best way to try them in with one of their Perfect Serves which have been developed to highlight individual flavours.
Stay as long as you like here in the outdoor garden setting enjoying the simple menu featuring classic pub food.
Pick your Pomona gin by its colour.
Follow the signs from Pomona through Cooroy to Tewantin and Noosa to complete your Noosa Food Trail.
There is plenty to see in both Tewantin and Cooroy but save these larger centres for a day when you want to stay closer to Noosa.
There are many ways to extend your Noosa Food Trail. See Eat drink and be Kerry's full Noosa Food Trail blog here for other experiences including:
Disclaimer: This post on Eat drink and be Kerry is sponsored by Tourism Noosa and Visit Gympie Region.