The conscious traveller's guide to Noosa

Author: Celeste Mitchell

If there’s anything Covid-19 has gifted us, it’s not face masks or the ability to shirk any social engagement citing a runny nose, but the realisation that we can no longer travel the way we used to. Our supercharged globetrotting ways were only accelerating the Climate Crisis and it’s now, during this pause, that nature has had a chance to catch its breath.

If you’re one of the growing breed of travellers who think more deeply about the impact of their travels, you want to know how you can still holiday and leave the lightest footprint possible – if not give back in some way.

Sound like you? Then, read on for this guide to sustainable travel in Noosa.

Sustainable travel experiences

In an eco-minded destination like Noosa, it’s easy to track down green travel experiences. Its biggest drawcard is its natural assets, after all, from the pristine Noosa Everglades to the peeling waves that have seen the region bestowed the title of the 10th World Surfing Reserve.

Start with nature as your muse and explore on foot in Noosa National Park, along one of the Noosa Trails, or within one of the many parks, like the Noosa Botanic Gardens. The best things in life really are free here with time spent on Main Beach or one of the eastern beaches, a worthy main event in your itinerary.

This doesn’t mean you can only be a sustainable traveller by hiking everywhere and lying on the beach doing nothing. If you’re keen to take a boat trip, think sailing, electric boat or kayak. Love food? Connect with local growers at the weekly Noosa Farmers Market.

Or use Noosa as a retreat from the world. Instead of rushing around to see the sights like you might have once done in Europe or any big city, dedicate your time to connecting with nature and reigniting your creative side. Practice mindfulness and take things slowly with nourishing activities like yoga, meditation and spa treatments and see the destination open up to you in a whole new light.

Eco-friendly Noosa tours

If you’re looking for a little more adventure or want to get off the beaten track without having to find your own way there, there are eco-friendly tour operators who can take you abseiling down Mount Tinbeerwah, mountain biking through Wooroi National Park, and on carbon-free kayaking trips into the Noosa Everglades.

On Noosa North Shore, you can swap the car for real horsepower with a trail ride along the beach. Nearby, the Cooloola Great Walk is currently undergoing a revamp and will see off-grid Cabin accommodation open in late 2022 to help you sleep easy along the way in sustainable style. The lesser-known 102km-hike is a five-day, self-guided experience from the North Shore to Rainbow Beach via the eastern high dunes known as the Cooloola sandmass.

Slow shopping in Noosa

You’re only human if you feel the urge to indulge in a little retail therapy while holidaying in Noosa. The good news is you can get your fix and consider the earth at the same time by supporting small, local businesses and sustainable brands.

Head to The Travelling Kimono in Noosa Junction where you’ll find ethically made garments that are designed to last. Friends Janelle Rawlins and Nicki Edmiston launched the label in 2013, dedicated to recycling deadstock fabrics and empowering their female seamstresses in Vietnam. At Cloth & Hide in Peregian, their slow fashion collections are made with sustainable plant-based textiles, which are hand-dyed and largely sewn by skilled home seamstresses in Bali.

If you’re looking for a beauty fix, visit the Saya Skincare flagship in Noosaville for purely-plant based products laced with Australian botanicals, or shop natural and clean beauty brands at The Orangerie.

Slow Food and sustainable dining

Eating local produce is one of the best ways to travel sustainably – along with choosing plant-based eats – and in Noosa you’re spoilt for choice for both. Sourcing local produce isn’t a trend here, it’s a way of life, with many of the region’s top restaurants pulling ingredients from their own farms or working closely with high-quality growers from the ocean to the hinterland.

Big names like Ricky's and Locale run their menus based on seasonality and what is available to them from their Maravista Farm. Breakfast or lunch at Jungle & Co is a lesson in prebiotics and probiotics, and gut-friendly eats, all created from fresh, local ingredients.

You can easily see those Noosa restaurants and cafes who have gone the extra mile by looking out for the Slow Food Noosa ‘snail of approval’, found at businesses like Cooloola Berries, Kin Kin General Store, and Vanilla Food.

Grabbing takeaway? In keeping with the region’s mission to banish single-use plastics under the Plastic Free Noosa program, you can feel confident grabbing a bite in compostable and eco boxes and containers from 170 conscious cafes and restaurants like Tanglewood Bakery at Belmondos Organic Market, Telephone Call from Istanbul, and Humdrum Espresso in Eumundi.

Green Sleeps

While camping is your ticket to the most eco-friendly accommodation in Noosa, sometimes more creature comforts are called for.

Sleep a little more soundly knowing your accommodation choice is having a lighter impact on the planet with these 7 green sleeps in Noosa.

Keen for more sustainable travel tips? Here are 10 more things you can do to improve your environmental footprint during your Noosa holiday.

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