The best ways to explore the Noosa River

You may be well acquainted with Hastings Street and Noosa Main Beach but venture beyond and you’ll find the lifeblood of the Noosa Biosphere, snaking its way from the ocean to the Noosa Everglades. Noosaville is the laidback centre point of the Noosa River, with 2km of foreshore that meanders through parkland and past waterfront restaurants, boat hire spots, and plenty of pelicans.

Whether you prefer to do your exploration on land or via eco-friendly water activities and tours, there are endless ways to experience the beauty of the Noosa River. Get amongst it with this guide.

Noosa River Boat Hire

This side of Noosa is undeniably best seen from the water, and you don’t even need a boat licence.

Go DIY and hire a BBQ pontoon boat to cruise the river with O Boat Hire and enjoy your lunch wherever you choose to pull up. To truly soak in the serenity of the waterway, with minimal impact on the environment, jump onboard a whisper-quiet electric boat from Eco Noosa or hire a catamaran from U Drive Boat Hire.

Pelican Boat Hire (next to the Big Pelican) has wheelchair accessible boats with enclosed toilets. And dogs are welcome, too!

Noosa River Tours & Water Sports

Whether you prefer to explore under the steam of your own exertion or to kick back, a glass of champagne in hand as the sun melts into the mountains, there’s no better way to get a feel for the real Noosa than on one of these tours.

Get your thrills on a high-adrenaline jet boat tour up the river and across the Noosa bar – Noosa Oceanrider and Noosa Thriller both have you covered – or saddle up for an Ocean or River jet-ski tour from the Noosa Marina with Noosa Jet Ski Hire.

Eco Noosa River Adventures hire Nauticycle water bikes, alongside their fleet of kayaks and SUPS, and can get you kitted up for a lesson in hydrofoiling on one of their Fliteboards. Or Boardwalk Boat Hire rent out boats, SUP's and kayaks from their handy Noosa Heads location, just off Hastings Street, right next to the Sofitel Jetty.

If you’re celebrating a special occasion, book ahead for lunch on the water or join a Sunday Session aboard the winsome Catalina, or dial up the romance levels with a jaunt on Noosa Dreamboats or Gondolas of Noosa.

You can also ogle the local real estate and sip sundowners aboard Noosa River & Canal Cruises, join a sunset cruise with Noosa Ferry Cruise Company or an eco-cruise into the Noosa Everglades with Everglades Ecosafaris, or go cheap and cheerful with a $15 sunset cruise aboard the MV Noosa Queen.

Fishing on the Noosa River

With 40km of waterways to explore, if you love to fish, Noosaville will have you hook, line and sinker. Hire a rod and buy some bait to throw a line in from the shoreline, or join a local fishing charter.

Both Noosa River Fishing Safaris and Noosa Fishing & Crab Adventures can get you out on the water with the local experts for a fuss-free adventure chasing a variety of species, no matter your experience level. You can fish as much as you like, sit back with a cold one in hand, and come home with a fresh catch, already cleaned for you. Now, that’s what we call a holiday.

Noosaville Restaurants

There’s something about dining on the waterfront that makes everything taste better but with the pedigree of Noosaville restaurants also highly lauded, you’re guaranteed a memorable meal.

Let lunch melt into an afternoon session and perhaps into dinner from your perch at Thomas Corner where local, seasonal produce is elevated to delectable heights or enjoy an excellent prix fixe lunch with impeccable service at French bistro, Gusto, just a couple of blocks away.

Noosa Boathouse is the spot to go if you’ve got a hankering for a well-executed seafood platter – all three tiers of it – as you bob on the river, then head upstairs to the Sunset Bar for the best seat in the house for the day’s finale. And if you haven’t dined at Noosa institution Rickys, set on the Noosa Sound, book yourself a water transfer for some spanner crab spaghettini or local pasture-fed eye fillet and make a date night to remember.

Noosa River Accommodation

Stay as close to the river action as possible by renting a houseboat and sleep to the gentle ebb of the tide. Oasis Noosa is designed for couples while Luxury Afloat have houseboats that can sleep up to 10 people.

Keep it low-key with a campsite on the waterfront at Noosa River Holiday Park or, families will love a self-contained apartment with waterfront views like Regatta Noosa or Culgoa Point Beach Resort, which has the longest private beach in Noosa.

The Islander Noosa Resort is a great choice for multi-generational trips, set right on Gympie Terrace with three pools and generous two- and three-bedroom villas.

Looking for more Noosa inspiration? Discover a whole world of destinations to enjoy the best beaches, rivers and hinterland experiences.