'Before Kids' Noosa was always my beach of choice. I loved the fact that I could roll out of bed, sit kerbside on Hastings St as I delicately nibbled a croissant, sipped coffee and read the paper, before strolling down to the beach with just a towel draped over my shoulders. Well, those days are gone but after a 'baby-blur' enforced absence – I'm back.
I'll admit that the leisurely dining and lightweight stroll to the beach are destined to remain a thing of the past for some years yet, but Noosa and I have renewed our love affair in a more, I have to say, 'family friendly' fashion.
The good news, and there's not many up sides of this, when you march to the tune of pre-schooler early morning wake-ups, is that you can beat the traffic. If you can hit the beach before 8am, parking is a dream. Easy for those of us up at 5am but if you are one of those blessed parents that have to wake their children to leave the house then it is worth noting that the car park at the surf club has a three hour limit starting at 8am so if you time your arrival right at 11am you have a fighting chance of snagging pole position.
There is plenty of parking further afield but for those of us who now have to lurch like pack horses down to the sand before setting up umbrellas, eskis, picnic regalia , surf craft, sand toys and the rest of a morning's entertainment regime, proximity is key.
Once base camp is established you are then free to enjoy the tranquillity of the beach that I have always loved. The bay is protected from most winds and big swell if you head towards the right hand side of the beach. It usually offers waves gentle enough to learn to surf on for older kids or for toddlers to wade about in without fear of being dumped.
If you don't come weighed down with your own surf craft then you can hire boogie boards for about $15ph on the beach. Forgotten sand toys can easily be replaced by the many shops off the boardwalk and coffee is on tap. There are beach showers behind the beach tower should sea lice drive your little surfers out of the water or the toilet block under the surf club also has showers and a changing room if you have only come for the day and would like to freshen up. If you have time after your shower, a walk along the headland in the National Park is a great way to get out of the sun and enjoy all aspects of the beach.
Snowcones are sold on the beach for $4 which seem to be the biggest highlight for most little Aussies after a dip and are the perfect way to round off a trip to one of Australia's most beautiful bays whatever your age.
Marks out of ten
Safety: 9.5 Patrolled by professionals and volunteers
Sun safety: 3 Very little shade unless you hug the boardwalk Toilets: 10 Plenty available including disabled
Coffee access 9 A mobile van on the beach and plenty on the way
Parking: 7.5 Street and car parks available but peak season can be tricky