Have you ever visited Cooroy?
Nope, I hadn’t either, which is ironic considering it is only about a 20-minute drive from Noosa and at the heart of the Noosa Hinterland.
But I suppose with so much beauty across the Sunshine Coast, it’s hard to view it all and well, like me, perhaps you didn’t realise just how cool Cooroy really is.
So, let me enlighten you. My husband and I decided to venture up into the rolling hills of the hinterland and arrived in the quaint little town of Cooroy (which I am told has no traffic lights) at around 10am. Neither of us had eaten yet so our first stop was going to be somewhere that dished up a delicious breakfast. Thankfully, we didn’t need to search for long to find such a place. We parked the car and wandered about 100 metres up Emerald Street.
It was then that I spotted some bowls of goodness waiting to be devoured by smiling patrons at Fika Cafe – so, that’s where we headed.
Named after the Swedish custom ‘fika’, which is all about taking a break from the day’s activity to drink coffee, eat yummy cakes and relax with others, I would say this cafe got it just right. The inside tables, where we sat, featured vases of dried flowers, while the cafe walls were adorned in local artwork.
The menu was fresh and inviting and even shared some insight into the local produce used in the cuisine. We ordered, ate, sipped, and then headed off to check out some antiques at The Shed, a funky looking store I spotted from the window of the cafe. Safe to say it took a whole of three minutes before I decided I wanted to buy every last piece in the store (I settled on a vintage heart necklace).
With items dating back hundreds of years, this shop is a destination in itself. They stock second-hand goods, collectables, decorator items, antique, vintage and retro wares from across the globe. Everything in this place has a story to tell and certainly captures your attention; even down to the resident water dragons who have made the store their home.
Post shop we decided to get a little lost… on purpose. Cooroy’s tiny laneways are perfect for just that. We discovered more yummy cafes and bakeries – all with deliciously fresh cakes and pastries, boutique coffee beans and shaded sidewalk seats. We even stumbled across a quaint cafe and bookstore called A Little Shop of Soul. It was the perfect spot to browse the range of books, and to sit in the garden courtyard and relax as the happy faces of Cooroy strolled by.
By this stage, our day had turned into the most pleasant adventure and we were sold on this hinterland town. But it wasn’t over yet.
Some friendly locals suggested that we check out the new Hinterland Adventure Playground, stop by the Butter Factory Arts Centre, and taste the treats dished up at the famed German Bakehouse. So, that’s exactly what we did.
First up was the playground and it’s one worth the drive, no matter how far you live from Cooroy. Built on an old timber mill site, the landscaping and architecture were designed to integrate into the surrounding landscape. There are many diverse elements to inspire nature-based learning. Think waterplay, flying fox and swings, rock play areas, a sandpit, open green spaces, sensory garden and tunnels.
This park is sure to keep the whole family entertained all day. And when you’re finally done, you can wander a hundred metres or so and check out the town library and the Butter Factory Arts Centre, an institution in Cooroy.
As the name suggests, it is an old converted butter factory. Built in 1930, it now operates as a centre to provide a friendly and collaborative environment for both new and established artists working in any media. There is even a pottery studio where adults and kids can get hands on.
Happy with our art fix, we then chose to invest in another form of art – baking.
As we discovered, the only downfall to visiting the celebrated German Bakehouse is that it is really hard to choose just one tasty treat to eat. So, of course we chose about four. My favourite was the apple danish, which melted in my mouth.
Not only can you grab fresh pastries and breads here, the bakehouse has a dine-in menu and a range of cool European produce and grocery items for sale.
Owner Sven Noack is a third-generation ‘master baker’ originating from Berlin. At the age of 23 he was named the youngest person in Germany to qualify for the prestigious and honoured bäckermeister (master baker) title. He is still baking up a storm to this day.
My advice? Go and taste his cooking creations for yourself.
Needing to give our bellies a break we jumped back in the car, which until then had been rendered useless given the close proximity of the Corooy highlights we had so far experienced. Now, we drove a mere 10 minutes out of town to the Noosa Botanic Gardens.
On the shores of beautiful Lake Macdonald, these gardens are home to an abundance of wildlife and consist of eight hectares of native and exotic plant species. You will also find the photo-worthy Greek-style amphitheatre, fern house, lily pond, a play area for kids, and large lawn areas with winding paths. My highlights were the cacti garden and the view out to the lake from atop the amphitheatre.
It really would be easy to spend the entire day soaking up the sunshine in this natural playground.
With all the walking we had worked up an appetite (again) and a thirst for something tasty, so we headed back towards town to the Copperhead Restaurant Brewery. Along with some entrees, we enjoyed a tasting paddle of five icy cold beers (it’s paddle number two on the menu, if you’re interested), which included a Japanese rice lager, a hazy XPA (my favourite!), a spiced rum stout, a guava tropical pink beer and rauchbier (a German smoke beer).
Paired with arancini balls and eggplant chips cooked to perfection, I’d call this stop the perfect way to end a fantastic day of adventuring in a hidden gem of a town.
Add a stop!
Just a hop, skip and jump from Cooroy is another Noosa Hinterland gem, Pomona. Home to the historic Majestic Theatre which is the oldest continuously running silent movie cinema in the world, Pomona is most loved for its distillery, art galleries, yummy cafes and a cute weekly country market. It is also well known for hosting the annual King of the Mountain Festival at Mount Cooroora. Be sure to stop in while you’re up that way.