Out of the blue in Noosa
Following a tourism hiccup Australia-wide, Helen Flanagan confirms the surf’s up in Noosa and barefoot glamour has returned to Hastings Street aka Eat Street.
Noosa, or ‘Toorak in shorts’ as it’s known by many, has the only north-facing beach on the east coast of Australia and is regarded internationally as a highly desired world-class destination.
This summer, fairy lights through the broad arboured trees on Hastings Street, the last instalment of a beautification program, have been a huge hit; tourism accolades such as Best Australian Beach Holiday are on the up; and record dollars for an absolute beachfront property sale ratified the strength of Noosa’s distinctive location.
After 23 years, owners of the Sheraton Noosa Resort & Spa spent millions on a thorough and thoughtful renovation, replaced the tired blush pink-palace look with a more charismatic stony-white and touches-of-grey face, and the art deco-style characteristic of flat roofs with rectangular parapets was accentuated by spot illumination.
With the 477 hectare Noosa National Park almost on the doorstep it’s little wonder natural timber furniture, and serene contemporary colours including a pop of funky orange were chosen for the refurb of over-sized guestrooms, suites and villas, are a nod to a rich local cultural heritage plus invite the outdoors inside. In most cases, the view is from Laguna Bay across the ocean to the North Shore, alternatively the meandering Noosa River and lush hinterland.
When it comes to the epitome of romantic indulgences, sleeping under the stars – all 5-stars, this hotel reigns supreme.
Adding another dimension is the Noosa Beach House, helmed by celebrity chef Peter Kuruvita. The sophisticated restaurant looks out to Hastings Street and contributes in a big way to Noosa’s reputation for good food, while the people-watching abutting bar serves casual fare, clever cocktails and cool beverages all day.
Peter is very charismatic, easy-going and known for his culturally-inspired cooking. He was influenced by his Sri Lankan father and Austrian mother, also his grandmother when he and his brother were growing up in Colombo, before the family moved to Australia, where he ultimately became an integral part of Sydney’s Flying Fish.
“I love Noosa with its bountiful natural attributes and no buildings higher than the trees strategy,” extols Peter, a television presenter, author and devoted family man whose third television series airs in February on SBS. “It’s all about light and fresh fare with loads of local ingredients and always respecting the main ingredient, such as seafood tapas; seared yellow fin tuna with ruby grapefruit and dressed with crunchy shards of pork crackling; or how about a Mexican-style chicken with salsa; or a contemporary take on surf and turf; all simply cooked to perfection of course. This is my style of place.”
Peter’s signature modern Sri Lankan snapper curry has amazing aromats and condiments; the Kobe cuisine grain-fed hangar steak with chimi churi is worth leaving home for; and a live mud crab, flash-fried with black pepper and curry leaf, borders on sublime. Sharing a soufflé for dessert should win you points for largesse.
Meanwhile at the pool bar, things are a helluva lot more casual. Guests can swim up and order a G and T or just lounge poolside, soaking up the stay rays and enjoying salads, burgers, char-grilled sweet corn, pizza and more.
Directly across from the hotel is Main Beach. A stroll along the boardwalk leads you to the National Park which weaves in mostly a parallel formation to the ocean. Occasional gaps of white sand provide tempting interludes to cool off before continuing along the pandanus-fringed pathways, past stands of eucalypts and bird-attracting banksias, hoping all the way to spot a koala.
Back on the sophisticated boulevard of Hastings Street, with its bevy of boutiques, art galleries and dining options galore, barefoot glamour has returned. It’s easy to see why Noosa rivals the best resort towns in Australia, and has a much more value-for-money balance than anywhere in the world. From bars to the boutiques - the bush to the beach, what’s not to love about Noosa.
Play and stay:
Noosa is 160 kms north of Brisbane, Queensland’s capital. The closest airport is Sunshine Coast Airport at Maroochydore. There are direct flights from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and during winter, from Auckland in New Zealand with Air New Zealand.
The Sheraton Noosa Resort & Spa, in the heart of Hastings Street Noosa, and just steps away from Noosa Main Beach, is offering a special rates starting from $269 per night. It includes breakfast for two at the Noosa Beach House Peter Kuruvita.
For further information on Sheraton Noosa Resort & Spa visit www.sheratonnoosaresort.com or contact the hotel directly on +61 7 5449 4703.