A MasterChef’s guide to Noosa: how to spend a weekend

Dining at RACV Noosa Resort

Megan Whitfield

Posted October 11, 2019

MasterChef alum Matt Sinclair on the best things to eat, see, drink and do in Noosa.

One of Australia’s favourite MasterChef alumi, Matt Sinclair grew up in Sydney. But he always looked forward to his family’s annual trips to Noosa, packing the car and heading off every Boxing Day to spend four or five weeks camping with friends.

Now well and truly a Noosa local, in 2017 he opened modern Asian restaurant Sum Yung Guys with friends Mo Rickard, Jeremiah Jones and Dylan Campbell, and basks in the easy (if, for him, incredibly busy) Sunshine Coast lifestyle with his wife, Jess, and young son, Spence.

Surrounded by beautiful beaches, a burgeoning food scene, access to the hinterland, and a family-friendly atmosphere, Matts says there’s “not a chance” he’d live anywhere else.

We asked him for his favourite local Noosa haunts.

Ricky's riverside restaurant. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland
Boats on Noosa River. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland
Bar Locale. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

Where Matt Sinclair goes in Noosa...

For a great cup of coffee…

There’s a little place in Noosa Heads called Puncheur which is a really good spot. They roast their coffee themselves, and you’ll always find locals hanging out there. I used to work with the owner, Justin, and it’s just a really good place to chill out.

For a long lunch…

I’d have to say Rickys. The food is heavily seafood based and showcases local produce. I usually go for the spanner crab spaghettini with garlic, chilli, shallots and lemon. It’s probably been on the menu for 20 years, and I don’t think it’s going anywhere – which is the way I like it. The little bar area to the side of the restaurant is a great spot for grazing and drinking too, overlooking the river. (Love seafood? Here's where to find Noosa's best.)

For a drink...

There’s a restaurant on Hastings Street in Noosa Heads, Locale. It’s got a really nice cosy atmosphere, and is great for a snack and a drink, either for a date night or with friends. I’m no stranger to a negroni there. It’s a really versatile spot; they’ve got a sit-down restaurant with a seasonally changing Italian menu, but I like sitting at the bar around the side.

To get back to nature…

It has to be the walk at Hell’s Gates at Noosa National Park. It’s about a five-kilometre trip round, and they’ve just redone the boardwalk. It’s just magic – one of those walks where you stop and say ‘why don’t we do this more often?’. Sometimes I’ll grab Spence and the pram, and go for a run, but it’s great if Jess and I both have the day off and we can go together. We’ll kick off the morning there, before heading out to breakfast.

To unwind I also like to just head down to the river – grab a few mates, the Esky and have a barbecue. It’s generally pretty peaceful, and there’s plenty of room for the kids to run around.

Getting around

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People on the beach in Noosa

Beach in Noosa. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

For a special gift…

There’s an Indonesian spa and relaxation retreat in Doonan called Ikatan. It’s a pretty popular gift option; they’ve got the full works there, spa treatments, massages, a day retreat. Plus, it’s in a really beautiful spot, with traditional Balinese decor. (For wellness holidaymakers, here's how to get your bliss on on Noosa.)

For a special occasion…

I’d probably say Spirit House, in Yandina. It’s a modern Thai restaurant, set on incredibly stunning grounds. It’s a bit out of town, the kind of place you plan your day around, but it’s just beautiful, with lush tropical gardens, looking over water. Last time I was there I had the beef short rib green curry [but the menu changes seasonally].

To treat myself...

In all honesty, treating myself is heading down to the beach – maybe going for a run, falling asleep on the sand and ducking in and out of the water. It’s simple, but it’s rare I get that time just to chill out.

I like bodysurfing, but regular surfing is another story. I’ve got a mate from Sydney who recently moved up here who shapes surfboards. He built me a board and I’m gradually taking the training wheels off. But for me, it’s just about the enjoyment of being out in the water.

Relax in Noosa with a getaway at the RACV Noosa Resort
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