Travel Update

News from the world of travel

The AJN takes you around the world to see what’s new in travel.

Pool at the new Essence hotel overlooking the Noosa National Park.
Pool at the new Essence hotel overlooking the Noosa National Park.

New boutique hotel opens in the Sunshine Coast

ESSENCE, a new boutique property with hotel rooms and apartments as well as standalone beach houses, is nestled on the edge of Noosa National Park just 10 kilometres south of Noosa.

The property, which opened in July, is the latest addition to the charming coastal village of Peregian Beach, popular with holidaymakers thanks to its laid-back lifestyle and home to numerous artists.

The Peregian Beach township is centred around the Village Square, a grass hub flanked by cafes, restaurants and shops selling everything from organic beauty products and antiques to local arts and crafts.

The Essence hotel comprises 22 modern studio rooms with facilities including dining table, couch, mini-bar and coffee machine, as well as 10 larger two-bedroom apartments with fully-equipped kitchens.

A two-bedroom apartment room in Essence.

The complex’s 20 freestanding beach houses range from three to five bedrooms in size. All have spacious lounge, dining, full-size kitchen and patio with dining table, plus car parking.

The bigger houses are ideal for multi-generational families or small groups of friends celebrating special occasions.

Works by local artists Emma Nancarrow, Colin Passmore, Soren Kearney are on display throughout the resort.

Essence also features two compact guest pools – one with a pool bar where you can enjoy a cocktail and watch the sunset over the national park.

Other hotel facilities include a boardroom that can be used as a private dining room, a gym and undercover carpark.

Take a walk on a national park trail or head out of the resort, crossing David Low Way and past the kids’ playground and skatepark to the nearby surf beach, one of a string of wide sandy beaches on the Sunshine Coast between Coolum and Noosa.

For a bite to eat, a coffee or a drink at the bar, stop in at the Outer Square café in the Peregian Village Market, just metres from Essence. It is open daily for breakfast and lunch and for three nights (Thursday-Saturday) for dinner.

Or if you have a kitchen and want to cook a meal, shop at the IGA supermarket and bottleshop in the Peregian Village Market.

Essence is the brainchild of Sunshine Coast property developer Tony Scanlon whose dream was to create a luxury property where visitors could experience the coastal village feel of Peregian Beach.

“Our vision was to enhance the area by producing an exceptional resort that complements the village feel and culture,” he said.

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Sounds of jazz in Noosa

The iconic swimming pool at the Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort.

JAZZ music will delight fans at this year’s Noosa Jazz Festival, being held on stages, streets and river cruises from August 27 to September 3.

Local and overseas performers and bands including the Syncopators and Silver Onions will perform at venues including The J Theatre, The Majestic Theatre, bars and restaurants, culminating in a free afternoon community concert on the final day.

For details of events and booking information, visit the Noosa Heads Jazz Club website (

A great place to stay in the heart of Noosa is the Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort on Hastings Street, Noosa Heads.

For decades until its rebranding in 2016, the hotel was known as Sheraton Noosa Resort, a favourite with members of the Jewish community. Apart from its distinctive pink exterior, it boasted larger than average rooms and suites with outdoor balconies offering sweeping views.

While not built overlooking the beach – even though it is less than 50 metres to walk to the surf beach – its famous oversized landscaped pool with swim-up bar is still a favourite with guests today.

In 2016, Accor took over the management of the hotel and introduced the distinctive Sofitel style to the 176-room property and in 2013 undertook a multi-million-dollar renovation.

Today the five-star Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort offers spacious rooms, suites, villas and residence apartment for families planning longer stays.

Guest can enjoy health and beauty treatments at the onsite Aqua Day Spa and dine at the Noosa Beach House Restaurant run by award-winning executive chef Bret Cameron.

Relax by the pool or book a luxury cabana for several hours or a full day to enjoy time out on a sun lounge and the hotel’s personalised butler service.

On the hotel’s doorstep are Hastings Street’s cafes and shops, Noosa Main Beach and walking paths to Noosa National Park.

For more information:


Rail travel in gold premium style

Relaxing in Journey Beyond’s new Gold Premium cabin.

JOURNEY Beyond’s popular rail trips on The Ghan and Great Southern have introduced a Gold Premium category that sits between its current Gold and Platinum range.

Travellers have access to newly-designed cabins and suites with greater comfort and exclusive access to the Gold Premium lounge for meals and drinks.

Gold Premium dining includes hearty breakfasts, two-course lunches and four-course dinners served with premium drinks.

The Gold Premium suite is the larger of the new cabin types which converts from a lounge by day into sleeping quarters at night with a three-quarter-size double bed.

The décor in Gold Premium features walnut timber and polished brass detailing, with Indigenous prints on the upholstery inspired by the outback.

Gold Premium includes off-train experiences and 75kg of checked luggage per guest.

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