9 July 2013 by Adam Hickmott
The British and Irish Lions recently spent four days in Noosa on Queensland's Sunshine Coast ahead of an historic series win against the Wallabies in Sydney.
Just a one-and-a-half-hour drive North of Brisbane, Noosa is surrounded by ocean, rainforest, river, national parks and bush.
It's also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and an adventure playground with plenty to offer sporting fans as well as food and nature lovers.
The area's warm climate - with an annual temperature of 25 degrees Celsius - means whenever you travel you can be sure of a warm welcome.
Here are the top five highlights to experience in Noosa:
Learn to surf, stand-up paddle or kite surf on Noosa's Main Beach
Renowned as one of Australia's best longboard surf destinations and host to the annual Noosa Festival of Surfing each March, Noosa's protected, north-facing beach is warm and safe year-round and is perfect for both beginners and skilled wave-riders.
Board a boat to explore Noosa by water.
Tour the tranquil Noosa Everglades, one of only two everglades systems in the world (Florida being the other). Catch the Noosa Ferry for a stunning sunset cruise along the Noosa River; be exhilarated aboard a thrilling jet-boat ocean ride or step back in time aboard the 1940s style Noosa Dreamboat.
Discover Noosa at your own pace
Take a walk or run in the Noosa National Park, Australia's most visited park that is a mecca for surfers and also home to koalas, wallabies and kookaburras. Hire a bike for a leisurely ride along the picturesque Noosa River; paddle a kayak through the area's many canals to view native Australian birds and wildlife; or browse the boutique shops of famous Hastings Street in the hub of Noosa.
Dine with a view from absolute beachfront, river's edge or hinterland
Noosa is regarded as one of Australia's leading food destinations, and for good reason. Home to the Noosa International Food & Wine Festival (May), the region's dining experience has also been recently recognised, with five of the top 10 Queensland restaurants in the prestigious 2013 Australian Gourmet Traveller's annual restaurant awards.
A local icon, Berardo's offers local seafood such as prawns, tuna and spanner crab mixed with Asian spices. Or get to grips with the local scene with cooking lessons and guided market tours from Gail Rast.
Take a day tour and travel by 4WD
Drive along more than 50km of ‘sand-road' from Noosa to World Heritage listed Fraser Island, the world's largest sand island, with the pristine wilderness of the Great Sandy National Park on one side and the stunning Coral Sea on the other.