Wining, dining and unwinding makes for an indulgent Sunshine Coast escape discovers Tiana Templeman.
With its pristine beaches and laid back holiday vibe, the Sunshine Coast has long been a favourite for holidays, but not everyone arrives with a bucket and spade. Couples have discovered this beautiful destination is ideal for a delicious romantic escape. Think happening bars, sophisticated dining, sublime spas and sunset strolls. It really is beautiful one day and perfect the next when you’re here with someone special.
DESTINATION GETAWAY NOOSA
Everyone comes to Aromas to see and be seen. Wicker chairs face outwards onto Hastings Street in classic European style and Betty Blues – a French-style bowl of coffee named after the movie of the same name – are a specialty. Aromas is also ideal for a late afternoon glass of wine and some serious people watching. Just like the film ‘Betty Blue’, this cafe remains a classic. 36 Hastings St, (07) 5474 9788.
Funky chill-out tunes and a hip clientele come together to create an exciting vibe at Miss Moneypenny’s, a cocktail lounge and restaurant that embraces Noosa’s tropical lifestyle. Cocktails are a speciality here. Don’t miss the Istanbul Old Iced Tea, a refreshing tipple made with London Dry gin, quince liqueur, elderflower cordial and Turkish apple tea. It is available as a stand-alone drink or a ‘share cocktail’ that is perfect for couples. 6 Hastings St, (07) 5474 9999.
This beachfront restaurant and bar is one of Noosa’s most romantic spots to watch the sun go down. Order a Sea Haze cocktail and sit back and relax as suntanned beach goers wander past along the Noosa boardwalk. It is worth getting here early to score a prime front table. Even if these have reserved signs it is worth asking if you can sit down for a drink. 49 Hastings Street, (07) 5447 2855.
Party people will enjoy the lively atmosphere of the bar at Noosa Beach House by Peter Kuruvita. Early afternoons tend to be laid back with the action kicking off at around 4pm. Glass windows let in the breeze and people frequently wave to friends passing by on the street outside, urging them to come in ‘for a quick drink’ which is usually anything but. High-end Mexican-inspired bar snacks make it tempting to stay all night. 16 Hastings Street, (07) 5449 4754.
While this restaurant is open all day it is hard to go past the breakfast menu. Start with a glass of freshly squeezed juice followed by house-made ham-hock baked beans or enjoy a sweet start to the day with buttermilk pancakes topped with pecan ice-cream and caramelised banana. With stunning views over Laguna Bay, Season is the perfect spot to linger over a second coffee. 25 Hastings Street, (07) 5447 3747.
Take a seat high above the treetops at View on Little Hastings, a casual restaurant which epitomises Noosa’s stylish laid-back atmosphere. Start with tempura soft shell crab accompanied by a coconut and green papaya salad or spice rubbed lamb carpaccio. Barramundi tagine served with preserved lemon and Israeli couscous for mains is a standout. Imaginative Mod-Oz cuisine and friendly waitstaff make this spot the kind of place you return to again and again. Outrigger Little Hastings Resort and Spa, Little Hastings Street, (07) 5455 2209.
Locale has the brooding good looks of an Italian lothario and a sultry colour scheme which makes this restaurant especially romantic at night. Local produce features heavily on the menu which has large and small share plates along with an impressive array of pizzas. This is modern Italian at its best with a menu that offers far more than pizza and pasta. Service is as polished as a bright red Ferrari. 62 Hastings Street, (07) 5447 5111.
Exploring Noosa’s waterways in a classic 1940s style speedboat will make you feel like movie stars. Start off slow with a leisurely cruise alongside million dollar mansions then hold onto your hat for a thrilling ride up past Richard Branson’s Makepeace Island. Further ahead the freshwater tidal parklands of the Noosa Biosphere Reserve offer a change of pace. Dark tannin-stained water reflects the beauty of the surrounding bush and it is completely silent except for the calls of the birds. Finish your cruise with a romantic picnic for two on a sandbar or secluded beach. Your skipper will return when the Champagne is finished and it is time to leave. Noosa Dreamboats, 0414 990 708.
This chic haven tucked away at the Outrigger Little Hastings Street is filled with the ambient glow of burning candles, soothing music and the scent of essential oils. Everything is soft, warm and instantly relaxing. There are seven treatment suites including a colour therapy flotation pool and a luxe hydro-massage Geisha bath that is big enough for two. After your treatment relax in the Tranquillity Lounge with a pot of Harmony tea or a shot glass piled high with tangy mango sorbet. Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort & Spa, Little Hastings Street, (07) 5473 5353.
Enjoy a couple’s massage then lie down side-by-side in a mineralised flotation pool which is the only one of its kind in Australia. Gaze at the twinkling ‘stars’ overhead as the interior lights slowly fade into darkness. All you can hear is the gentle swish of water and the rhythmic sound of your breath. This is an intimate spa experience which is also deeply soothing. Couples treatments finish with a glass of Champagne and a fruit and cheese platter in your own private sitting area. Links Drive, (07) 5440 3355.
Connect with nature at this Balinese-inspired oasis which is reminiscent of a traditional village with freestanding treatment rooms set amongst gardens filled with birdsong. Couples can indulge in one of Ikatan’s most popular treatments, a sensual Balinese Boreh wrap and massage. Traditional spices are used to create a warming body wrap followed by a warm coconut milk cleanse and a one hour Balinese massage. Ikatan offers a complete escape for mind, body and soul. 46 Grays Road, Doonan, (07) 5471 1199.
WHERE TO STAY IN NOOSA
Perfect for a romatic getaway, Noosa Blue is a boutique style resort with a four and a half star rating offering contemporary open plan one-bedroom, air-conditioned studios and penthouses. This resort provides the perfect Sunshine Coast accommodation for couples seeking luxury. 16 Noosa Drive, Noosa Heads, +61 7 54 475 699.
Feeling inspired to enjoy your own Noosa holiday? Visit Tourism Noosa to see more info on tours, places to dine and things to do in the area.
OUT & ABOUT ON THE SUNSHINE COAST
Venture further afield and you will discover the entire Sunshine Coast offers an impressive array of options for wining, dining and unwinding - all the ingredients you need for a romantic couples' getaway.
A shiny baby grand takes centre stage at Piano Bar, a clubby European wine bar with some of the best jazz and blues in town. Tap your toes while you nibble on Mediterranean tapas and sip on a Sexophone cocktail. Fringed lampshades cast a romantic glow over this Maroochydore favourite. 22-24 Ocean St, Maroochydore, 0422 291 249.
Sparkling chandeliers and an intimate, grown-up vibe make this bar ideal for couples. Its location just off the main Mooloolaba tourist strip gives this cosy spot an air of exclusivity. Drop in for a drink then move next door to the restaurant for dinner. 5/19-23 First Ave, Mooloolaba, (07) 5477 7289.
It might not be fancy but this bar has one of the best views in town. Grab a couple of seats overlooking the beach and enjoy a cold brew or two. Mooloolaba Surf Club is ideal for sundowners and a bite to eat when you don’t feel like dressing up. Mooloolaba Esplanade, Mooloolaba, (07) 5444 1300.
Start your day with the locals at Velo Project, a funky retro- inspired cafe where quirky objets d'art and generous servings are the order of the day. Eggs Benedict comes piled high with bacon and the coffee is excellent. Fill a bag with local produce for $6, pick up something delicious from the deli or surprise your sweetheart with a bunch of flowers to take home. 19 Careela St, Mooloolaba, (07) 5444 8693.
Smart linen-napped tables and a professional welcome provide a hint of things to come at Tides Waterfront Dining, a one- hatted Caloundra restaurant with ocean views. Try an entrée of locally caught spanner crab artfully arranged with black rice crisps, crab mayonnaise and glistening caviar pearls, a main of Kilcoy beef or save yourselves for dessert. Coconut panna cotta served with local marinated pineapple and coconut crunch tastes like sunshine. The Esplanade, Bulcock Beach, (07) 5438 2304.
Enjoy a taste of Asia at Spice Bar, a sleek and sexy restaurant specialising in spicy share plates. Mooloolaba honey king prawns are followed by Hervey Bay scallops wearing a crown of creamy sabayon. Free range roasted duck topped with edible blooms is a feast for the eyes and the palate. Can’t decide what to order? Multi-course set degustation banquets are also available and offer excellent value. 123 Mooloolaba Esplanade, Mooloolaba, (07) 5444 2022.
WHERE TO STAY
In the heart of paradise, yet a world apart. That's Amore. Surprisingly, your secluded retreat is only 8 minutes from cosmopolitan Mooloolaba, with its stunning beaches, cafes, clubs and great restaurants. No long drives when you venture out for dinner. Amore is a luxury boutique retreat for couples, and is the perfect place for your romantic weekend getaway, honeymoon or anniversary on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland ... or simply a place for you to relax, unwind, reconnect and rejuvenate yourselves. 27 Earlybird Drive, Buderim, Sunshine Coast, +61 7 5445 5771.
Take a relaxing country drive through the Sunshine Coast hinterland and seek out Spa Anise, a delightful day spa overlooking Maleny’s rolling green hills. Allow time to soak in the bubbling mineralised spa pool which can be pre-booked for you and your partner’s exclusive use. 88 Obi Lane, Maleny, 1300 311 429.
If you don’t want to leave the romantic sanctuary of your room there is Ripple Massage, a mobile massage service which comes to you. Try the sensual honey massage which uses warmed honey-infused oil to tantalise your sense of smell and touch. You will both look good enough to eat after this treatment. 0438 567 906.
All photos by Tina Templeman where not otherwise credited.