We have been to Noosa twice in the past 4 years and loved it - and have always been impressed with how its many great cafes are also very child-friendly. Here are a few excerpts from a travel article I wrote for our local paper. It's not online anywhere or I'd just post a link. Just bear in mind this list is a couple of years old - hopefully most of these establishments are still going...mmmm Massimo's gelato.....
"Bistro C, which is right on the beach on Noosa's style mile, Hastings Street. Its all-white interior and smart mod-Oz menu might initially seem intimidating, but charming wait-staff invariably gave us a warm welcome. Bistro C's $5 coffee and muffin deal is perfect after a morning stroll along the boardwalk.
Another morning cafe favourite is Aroma's on Hastings Street, just near the entrance to the luxury Noosa Sebel Hotel. With its French-cafe atmosphere and wicker chairs all facing the street, Aroma's is definitely a people-watching place. The cafe is part of a Brisbane-based chain and was recently voted the region's best coffee spot. Hold your breath for some of the prices though - a muffin costs around A$4.40.
For more modern fare, try the sophisticated beach-front bistro, Season, at 30 Hastings Street. Season has an indoor water feature to keep kids entertained and wonderfully inventive salads (warm duck, roast pumpkin, baby beetroot and rocket) and delicious gourmet pizzas for the grown-ups
For some of the most inventive food you’ll find in Noosa, Ricky Ricardo's riverside restaurant and bar was top of our list with a fantastic tapas menu. As with most Noosa eateries, the seating here is largely outdoors and from our table it was easy to keep an eye on the kids playing in a convenient play area right next door. Even at a seriously gourmet haunt like this, staff offered to cook 'whatever we wanted' for the kids, and were more than happy to whip up a bowl of chips while we munched on olives stuffed with goat cheese and a bowl of spicy fried broad beans and chickpeas. Ricky Ricardo's is situated on Noosa River and the regular river ferry service stops right at the door, or it's an easy 15-minute walk from Hastings Street.
For more low-key dining you can take the ferry all the way from Hastings Street (the wharf is just behind the Sheraton Hotel) up-river to the town of Tewantin. A A$10 ticket allows you to ride all day and hop on and off where ever you want. The skipper provides chatty commentary as you cruise, complete with gossipy details about the multi-million dollar real estate which lines the river.
Once there, you can dine on the waterfront at the Noosa Harbour Marine Village. The fish and chip shop on the wharf lifts takeaways into a whole new realm with fresh tuna, mahi-mahi and prawns all cooked to order, along with salads, dipping sauces and more standard fish and chicken nuggets for the kids. Take your meal to the tables outside, add a glass of Aussie chardonnay from the winebar next door and you have the perfect family holiday meal.
Massimo’s, at the end of Hastings Street near the surf-life-saving club, was named the town's favourite icecream spot in the Noosa Good Food guide. It's easy to understand why. Tempting flavours like creme caramel, tiramisu, and the very indulgent Ferrero Rocher, (yes, it tasted just like the chocolates - only better) are almost reason enough to plan a week's holiday in the town.
At Noosaville, about 5 minutes drive up-river, the atmosphere is more laid-back than trendy Hastings Street and there are still plenty of excellent cafes and shopping along river-front Gympie Terrace.
Caught in a tropical downpour there one afternoon, we stumbled upon Gusto, a cafe which was voted the local's favourite dining spot in the Noosa Good Food Guide. Again, a friendly greeting and a highchair for Joe and a restoring coffee for his parents. Unfortunately, it was after lunch and before dinner, but we asked to look at the menu and the desserts caught our eye. We ordered an outrageously rich banana creme brulee and a decadent tiramisu - just to eat while we waited for the rain to pass, you understand."
Boy, I'm dreaming about heading back just re-reading this...have fun and watch that waistline!