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Setting up a treasure hunt for friends helps one family strike gold on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

WORDS Hilary Doling

Aplanned holiday in Noosa went awry when we discovered that our friends couldn’t visit the famous Queensland vacation destination at the same time as us. Determined to share the experience with them somehow we organised a treasure hunt of all the favourite things we had done so that they could follow our clues. Here’s our treasure trail to some of Noosa’s best luxury family offerings.

What is soft all through and never lasts long in the sun or in kids' hands?

What is a holiday without ice cream? The ice cream gourmet’s choice is definitely Massimo’s at the far end of Hastings Street. The gelateria is an institution in these parts and transported us back to our Italian holiday, although we have to say the Royal Copenhagen ice cream shop further down the street dishes up a pretty good cone too. As our son put it “there is no such thing as bad ice cream, Mum”.

We dream of messing about on the river.

You can’t go to Noosa Heads without exploring the Noosa River and the best way to do it in style is with Dreamboats. This reproduction of a classic wooden motor boat looks like something straight out of a Cary Grant film. It was shipped all the way from the USA, so definitely has a touch of old Hollywood glamour with its red leather seats and polished wood. We cruise past million dollar riverside homes and expensive yachts. However, it is not long before the houses are behind us and all that’s left are the mangroves, waterside mango trees and the odd fish eagle looking for lunch.

Main image: The pool at Fairshore, Noosa
Above: Image thanks to Tourism Queensland


From above: Kids ride in a Noosa Dream Boat
Family fishing
Ricky's on the River

Smells like good coffee to us!

Aromas on Hastings Street is a Noosa institution, decked out like a French cafe. Chairs are turned towards the street for people watching – very Parisian. The cafe is very kid-friendly as it is right on a pedestrian square where children with ants in their pants can run around while parents linger over the best cappuccino in town. The breakfast buttermilk pancake stack with strawberries and banana got a kid’s thumbs up too. Aroma’s owner, Brent Ogilvie, also owns the famous Rickys on the River. Little kids will love playing around on the grass just outside Ricky’s and parents will enjoy having a sunset cocktail there as the views of the Noosa river are beautiful. There is also a good kids’ menu for early evening dinner at the restaurant. Our son voted Rickys' garlic prawns (not on the kids’ menu – but on ours) as the best seafood of the trip.

Feeling on top of the world - and the waves.

Tropic Surf specialises in what they call ‘the art of luxury surfing’. The company which now operates in surfing spots around the world was founded 20 years ago in Noosa Heads and has twice been voted Surf Australia’s Surf School of the Year. They offer private lessons for any level on the surf beaches around Noosa. They also supply the boards and all equipment. Our son declared his lesson with instructor, Tim, ‘awesome’ and from a 13- year-old there is no greater praise. The same company can organise luxurious live-aboard experiences internationally on boats such as Four Seasons Explorer in the Maldives or the luxury yacht Pelagian in Sulawesi.

Tee for two springs to mind.

Keen to give the convertible a spin, we drove up to Eumundi markets (a little too hippytrippy for our taste) and then on to Noosa Springs resort. My husband and son couldn’t resist a round on the resort’s 18-hole championship golf course, while I couldn’t resist the lure of the spa. The course also has a driving range, putting and chipping green, which would kept them happy for hours. This was just as well, because the luxurious spa has its own Roman Baths-type water therapy experience and expert masseurs which had me floating on air long after I left the pool.

It was hard to leave our beachside apartment with its views of the sea and sand but by the end of our holiday we all agreed we’d found some of the best five star family fun – and our friends enjoyed themselves too. Even if it was the week after we left! Hopefully, by following our clues, you can find a treasure trove in Noosa as well.

Info: Tourism Noosa Stay: Fairshore

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