Noosa National Park is one of those rare National Parks located right next to a city centre. It’s walking distance from downtown Noosa Heads, making it an ideal place for landscape and travel photography. Not only that, but you’ll love the chilled vibes of the beach culture and the walk along the coast.

While are always plenty of people out for a good sunset, sunrise rewards the early risers. There are more early risers than you’d think in Noosa – at 5am I encountered walkers, joggers and surfers. Plus, for those early risers, there are plenty of coffee options opening around 7am.

Here are my top five landscape photography locations in Noosa National Park.

Laguna Lookout

People watch the sunset at Laguna Lookout in Noosa National Park
You can spot yours truly photographing the sunset at Laguna Lookout in Noosa.

While you might think Laguna Lookout is in the town of Noosa, it’s actually in the national park. This is the perfect place to watch the sunset as it cuts across the Glasshouse mountains. Arrive at least half an hour before sunset and allow plenty of time to set up your camera. Don’t be like me, running up the hill extending tripod legs… I’d recommend bringing a telephoto lens to make the most of the views.

It’s a step workout to get to Laguna Lookout from the main town, following the hill up behind Hastings Street. Alternatively you can drive, although you’ll miss the local wildlife encounters on the way back down – I saw an echidna and frogs after sunset.

Granite Bay and Winch Cove

Surfers riding the waves in the early hours of the morning at Granite Bay.
Surfers riding the waves in the early hours of the morning at Granite Bay.

There’s something about Granite Bay with its incredible Pandanus Palms arched over the beach or the way the sunrise hits the rock formations in the morning. It’s a popular spot for surfers in the wee hours of the morning – you’ll spot a couple hitting the waves at sunrise.

Surfing is at the heart of Noosa, with the Noosa Festival of Surfing held every year. Try to capture some surfing culture that surrounds this national park and local town. It’ll add an Aussie element to your landscape and travel photography.

Picnic Cove and the Fairy Pools

Picnic Cove at Noosa National Park at sunrise.
Picnic Cove at Noosa National Park at sunrise.

On paper, I thought Picnic Cove could be a good option for sunrise photography, but I’d recommend focusing your efforts on Granite Bay and Winch Cove. However, the rocks on the beach are a great highlight which gives water that beautiful wisping effect on a long exposure.

Around from Picnic Cove are the Fairy Pools, but don’t try to find these stomping around in the dark! I had a keen idea to get sunrise over the Fairy Pools, but there’s a steep rocky embankment and escarpment to get there – no thanks. During the day it’s a popular local swimming spot and Instagram location.

Hell’s Gates

Hell's Gates in Noosa National Park
Hell’s Gates. As foreboding as the title. Be really careful around this area.

You know what they say about the Gates of Hell… “Abandon all hope ye who enter here…” Okay that was Dante.

Hell’s Gates is just as foreboding as the title. I’m not one for heights, and the one time I went to Hell’s Gates, I took my photo while lying on my belly. While it’s a dramatic photography location, don’t get too close to the edge of the cliff and keep your personal safety the first priority.

The Coastal Walk

Rainbow over Noosa Heads
While I took this photo in 2007 (and Noosa has changed a lot!) I still love it. How many times do you get to see a rainbow?

While these beautiful destinations are along the Coastal Walk, there’s nothing like walking this yourself, taking time to stop at Boiling Pot, Dolphin Point or just meander along to enjoy the views. The Pandanus Palms are a beautiful photographic feature any time of day. Make sure you take a circular polarizer filter if you’re shooting when the sun’s out to reduce glare.

These are just a handful of the beautiful photography destinations in Noosa National Park. I’d love to hear your favourite spots. Let me know in the comments below if this guide has helped you.

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