How to spend a weekend in Noosa: a local’s guide

Travelling Well | Megan Whitfield | Photos: Tourism and Events Queensland; | Posted on 11 October 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.


Slides: Bar Locale; RACV Noosa Resort; Ricky's riverside restaurant; Noosa beach; boats on Noosa River; Noosa boardwalk (Images: Supplied and 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. 

Woman walking through Balinese-inspired day spa foyer

Bliss out at Ikatan spa.


Chef Matt Sinclair

Sydney ex-pat Matt Sinclair now calls Noosa home.


Close up of Thai-style stir fry with rice

Pan-Asian flavours of modern Thai eatery, Spirit House


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. 
 

While you're there: Access these great member benefits on the Sunshine Coast

Aussie World: Save 10 per cent on entry to this all-Australian theme park
Australia Zoo: Get 10 per cent off admission
Con-X-ion: Save 10 per cent on Sunshine Coast Airport Transfers
Fraser Island Adventure Tours: Save 10 per cent on Fraser Island Explorer Tours
SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast: Save 15 per cent on general admission
RACV Noosa Resort: Save 25 per cent on accommodation 

Escape to the Sunshine Coast staying at RACV Noosa Resort