Visions of little elf-faced fairies flitting about in frothy blue water? Sort of. The Noosa Fairy Pools are a set of ocean tidal pools a short walk from Noosa central that have become pretty Instagrammable in the last few years. Are you keen on visiting? We’ve got the lowdown on how to get there, what to expect and when to go to the Noosa Fairy Pools.
What are the Noosa Fairy Pools?
The ‘fairy pools’ are essentially a series of natural sea tidal rock pools located near Noosa, Australia. Made out of basalt rock, the pools are part of the rocks jutting out over the ocean. Essentially when it’s low tide, these depressions fill with clear sea water and become picture-perfect ‘pools.’
When to go
Avoiding the crowds
As with most things that are slightly Insta-famous, the Noosa Fairy Pools should be visited as early as you can stomach it. You can edit out those sleepy eyes and your bedhead won’t be noticeable when you’re submerged in crystal clear water anyway!
Jokes aside: go early. We arrived at the pools at around 9am and it was already relatively busy, with four people in the small pool and about ten clustered around the large one. We’re told 6am is empty but we’re quite sure 7am would also be fine.
That said, you also need to time it with the tide…
Getting the perfect water level
The pools are sea tidal pools so it’s critical that you visit while it’s low tide, not only since you’ll be unable to visit them (they will be covered in water), but if you tried, it could be incredibly dangerous since the waves will be hitting up on the (very jagged, pointy and painful) rocks.
Check out the tides for Noosa here, to plan your trip.
Read next: Want to know the must-visit places on a road trip from Cairns to Brisbane?
How to get to the Fairy Pools Noosa
Now this one is pretty simple, regardless of what you might read on other websites!
In short, the Noosa Fairy Pools are located just past Picnic Cove, on the Noosa National Park Coastal Walk.
Firstly, you’ll need to start at the Coastal Walk. We parked at the Noosa National park carpark – see it in the map below.
From the car park, you’ll take a pretty clear path past a few viewpoints like Boiling Pot and Dolphin Beach Lookout, both of which are paved and easy to manage.
Continue on the coastal track which eventually changes into a very easy dirt trail past two spectacular beaches: past Tea Tree Bay and Granite Bay.
Once you pass Granite Bay and then Picnic Cove, you’ll see a bench and a large tree, along with steel wire railings on your left-hand side. This is where you turn off the path and clamber down the rocks to the pools.
The journey to the pools is between 30-40 minutes walking time (depending on your fitness and pace), and then the same back to the parking lot.
What to pack for the Noosa Fairy Pools
- It’s a relatively long walk to the pools and while parts are shaded, it can get very hot in the sun. Pack lots of drinking water!
- As above, it can be a hot and humid walk, and you’ll need sun protection.
- Swimming costume. Of course you need your swimmers! You can’t frolic in the pools and get your perfect picture without your bathing costume. It’s also worth taking a towel.
- You’re fine to take your normal camera (without waterproof housing), since there is little chance you’ll get it wet.
Can you fly a drone at the Noosa Fairy Pools?
At time of writing, yes. Queensland has some of the most relaxed rules around drone (UAV) usage in Australia and you are allowed to fly your drone as long as you observe all of the usual rules created by the authorities, like those available from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Be warned – the Sunshine Coast (so most nearby towns) doesn’t allow for drone usage on council land without a permit but the Noosa Shire is an independent council, so flying them in Noosa seems to be okay for the moment. As always when flying drones, check the rules beforehand.
A few travel tips for the Noosa Fairy Pools
We’ve probably covered most of what you need to know, but here are a few more tips to throw at you.
- Go to the loo. There are no toilets or ablution facilities on the walk, so maybe sure you use the facilities at the car park before you set off.
- Wear sturdy shoes. You can definitely do the walk in flip flops (we did!), but it’s better to wear more functional sandals or sneakers for the hike.
- Get your caffeine fix in the café. There is a tiny café tucked away in the car park which offers delicious coffees and muffins. Particularly the raspberry and white chocolate muffin which is to die for!
Where to stay in Noosa
Premium: We stayed at the incredible Offshore Noosa apartments, which have breath-taking views over the Noosa river. Think pristine white surfaces, dreamy, comfy beds and high-end amenities which make cooking and relaxing (especially for families), incredibly easy. The complex also includes three (yes, three!) swimming pools and BBQ facilities.
Budget: Nomads Noosa is a hostel which is a stone’s throw from Noosa main beach and offers big, clean dorm rooms for backpackers. It’s also near amenities like heaps of affordable restaurants, shops and a cinema.
Bonus: More things to do in Noosa
Okay, so there are honestly so many things to do in Noosa, that it’s difficult to write a short list of ‘extras’. So we’ve jotted down a few of our favourites for you, and you can find your perfect experience on the Visit Noosa website.
Check out the Noosa Spit
Now we’re particularly enamoured with this spot since we feel like we got some epic drone shots from this place, and wanted to show them off! That said, the Noosa Spit is a beach which looks out after the bay and is a great place to have a picnic. If you have a dog, you can also take it off-leash here.
Walk the boardwalk and visit Main Beach
Right near the National Park is a long boardwalk, which gives you great views across the sea. Best to start at Hastings street. Some people actually include the boardwalk as part of their Fairy Pools trek by starting at Hastings street, walking past Little Cove and then continuing through Noosa National Park.
While you’re on the boardwalk, you could always veer off and visit the most popular beach in town: Main Beach.
Noosa Everglades Eco Safari
Did you know the Noosa boasts one of the only two everglades systems in the entire world? Why not explore this peaceful place through taking an Eco Safari in the Great Sandy National Park?
The Noosa Everglades day tour takes you out onto the waters (The ‘River of Mirrors’) to explore the everglades, where you’ll see incredible birdlife, probably a kangaroo or two or three and heaps of lizards, flouncing through the liquorice-coloured waters.
You can also take the option to not just cruise in a boat, but canoe yourself down parts of the river, which makes for a great, active day out. You also get a roast lunch as part of the deal – winner!
Granite Bay beach
We wish we’d had a bit more time to explore this absolutely deserted beach, especially since it’s on your route to the Fairy Pools! Because it’s a bit of a walk, the Granite Bay beach doesn’t seem to have too many sun worshippers on its shores; just how we like it!
If you want a beach all to yourself, budget some time on Granite Bay as part of your Fairy Pools trek.
Lick ice-creams at Gelatissimo Noosa
Right near Hastings street (handy if you’re doing the boardwalk), is this incredible gelato store. Try the famous Dulce de Leche, or even their award-winning raspberry sorbet.
Go horse-riding near Peregian Beach
Head to Lake Weyba, about 15 minutes out of town to do horse-riding or even do some fishing or birdwatching. While you’re there, you might as well spend more time relaxing on the beach, as Peregian Beach is a great, relaxed beach with a bit of a homely feel to it. There on a Sunday? They have a great beach market twice a month on Sundays.
Check out the Eumundi Markets
Speaking of shopping, nearby Eumundi has a world-famous arts and crafts market every Wednesday and Saturday. It’s chockfull of talented artisans making everything from fashion to furniture, and often boasts street performers too.
Feed the pelicans on the Noosa River
We decided to take a stroll along Noosa River one evening and were amazed to see a huge flock of pelicans just waiting for the evening dinner! Apparently the pelicans congregate every night near the Noosa Boathouse restaurant, waiting to be fed by the locals.
Eat fish and chips at the Noosa Boathouse
And while we’re talking about the Boathouse, we highly recommend you pop in for a meal. If you don’t have time for a sit-down dinner, then they do what must be the best fish and chips in Australia, as a takeaway! Trust us, if you do have time to be seated, then plan a dinner here. We can definitely recommend not just the fish and chips, but the mango and white chocolate cheesecake – absolutely decadent but delicious.
Get your gardening fix
Noosa also has a botanical gardens, which over eight hectares of plant species. Take a stroll around Lake Macdonald and also check out the Greek amphitheatre set in the grounds.
Hike Mount Cooroora
If you’re quite outdoorsy like us, there is a great trek up Mount Cooroora that you can do. It’s a slightly challenging hike but you’ll have incredible views from the top of the mountain, plus some other trails in the area if you’re perhaps not as fit as you thought. Reward yourself with a croissant in one of the cute cafes at the base, in Pomona.
So, have you been to the Fairy pools? Let us know if we’ve skipped any key tips or anything has changed by dropping us an email (Get in Touch), or just in the comments below.
And if you want more ideas for your trip to Australia, check out our itineraries and guides here.
What camera equipment and other gear do we use?
We’re living proof that you don’t need the most expensive gear to travel the world and take good photos. Here are some of our must have items that make it into the packing list for all our travels.
- Main Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ1000
- Drone: DJI Mavic Air – Fly More Combo
- GoPro: Hero 7 Black
- GoPro Dive Case: Go Pro Housing
- GoPro Case: Smatree GoPro Carry Case – Small
- Packing Cubes: Eagle Creek Packing case
- Backpack: Osprey Farpoint 70
- Powerbank: Anker Powercore
- Phone: Xiaomi Mi 9
- Hard drive: Transcend Slim Storejet 2TB
- Laptop: Lenovo IdeaPad 720s
- Headphones: Bose Quiet Comfort 35
- Wifi Hotspot: GlocalMe G4
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