THE INSIDERS I SUNSHINE COAST, QLD
CRUISE: Noosa River A great thing to do with friends is grab some gourmet nibbles from Belmondos Fresh Food Market, pick up a bottle of wine, hire a pontoon boat for the day and cruise Noosa River. We drop an anchor in a hidden cove just below Richard Branson’s Makepeace Island and enjoy paradise; belmondos.com; oboathire.com.
SUNRISE: Noosa National Park It’s worth the effort to get to the Sunshine Beach end of the park early — it’s the best place on the Sunshine Coast to watch the sun rise; noosanationalpark.com. ADVENTURE: Noosa North Shore When I’m in the mood for a bit of adventure I get a 4WDand take a trip to Noosa North Shore. I head up 40 Mile Beach past the Coloured Sands to Rainbow Beach; visitnoosa.com.au/regions/noosa-north-shore.
DELUXE DIGS: Freestyle Escape This cooking and art school with luxury accommodation in Dulong is one of those special hidden-away places where you can relax and get away from it all. Owner Martin Duncan ensures every detail is taken care of and is offering hands-on cooking classes with celebrity chefs; freestyleescape.com.au.
ROMANCE: Gondola ride Expert gondolier Ricardo has taken many of my overseas guests on a magical sunset cruise of Noosa River. I love to tag along with a special bottle of bubbles, but if they are in the mood for romance I leave them with the expert who knows all the secret spots; gondolasofnoosa.com.
EAT: The Long Apron My favourite dish at this restaurant, in the Spicers Clovelly Estate at Montville, is the roasted duck breast with coastal honey, pear and duck ham; spicersgroup.com.au/restaurant/long-apron.
LAZY SUNDAY: Cooroy Pay a visit to this hinterland village, if only for the most amazing macarons and a truly authentic French cuisine experience at Eric Pernoud’s Maison de Provence; 13 Garnet St, Cooroy; (07) 5472 0077.
PRODUCE: Noosa Farmers Market I shop here for Cedar Street Haloumi for our restaurant, Berardo’s; noosafarmersmarket.com.au; berardos.com.au. The Noosa International Food & Wine Festival will be held from May 16-19. More: noosafoodandwine.com.au.