Noosa Shire is located in south-east Queensland, about 120 kilometres north of the Brisbane CBD. Noosa Shire is bounded by the Gympie Regional Council area in the north and west, the Coral Sea in the east, and the Sunshine Coast Council area in the south.
Noosa Shire includes the localities of Black Mountain, Boreen Point, Castaways Beach, Como, Cooran, Cooroibah, Cooroy, Cooroy Mountain, Cootharaba, Doonan, Federal, Kin Kin, Lake Macdonald, Marcus Beach, Noosa Heads, Noosa North Shore, Noosaville, Peregian Beach (part), Pinbarren, Pomona, Ridgewood, Ringtail Creek, Sunrise Beach, Sunshine Beach, Tewantin and Tinbeerwah.
Noosa Shire is a growing residential and tourist area, with substantial rural, rural-residential and parkland areas. The Shire encompasses a total land area of 871 square kilometres, including significant beaches, coastline, waterways, national parks, state forests and bushland. Urban development is concentrated in the coastal communities and eastern beaches. The main residential areas are located around the Noosa River in the townships of Noosa Heads, Noosaville and Tewantin, the coastal suburbs of Castaways Beach, Marcus Beach, Peregian Beach and Sunshine Beach, and the small villages of Boreen Point, Cooran, Cooroy, Kin Kin and Pomona. Tourism is a major industry with many resorts and holiday accommodation places. Much of the rural area is used for forestry, farming, cattle grazing and crop growing.
Noosa Shire is thought to be named from an Aboriginal word meaning "ghost or shadow".
The original inhabitants of Noosa Shire were the Kabi Kabi or Gubbi Gubbi Aboriginal people.
European settlement dates from the 1860s, with land used mainly for timber-getting and grazing. Growth occurred from the 1870s into the early 1900s, spurred by the opening of the railway line between Cooran and Gympie in 1889. Land was then used for crop growing and dairy farming. Expansion took place during the 1920s and 1930s, particularly in and around Noosa, aided by tourism and improved access. Significant development occurred from the late 1960s, with substantial growth during the late 1970s and 1980s. Rapid growth continued from the 1990s.
Major features of Noosa Shire include various National Parks (Great Sandy, Mount Pinbarren, Noosa, Tewantin and Tuchekoi), several Conservation Parks (Goat Island, Harry Spring, Keyser Island and Sheep Island), Mount Cooroy Regional Park, Noosa Botanic Gardens, Noosa Aquatic Centre, Noosa Leisure Centre, Girraween Sports Complex, Criterium Cycling Track, Noosa Regional Gallery, The Big Pineapple, CQUniversity (Noosa Campus), Noosa Hospital, Lake Caloola, Lake Cooroibah, Lake Cootharaba, Lake Macdonald, Lake Weyba, various state forests, the Noosa River and numerous golf courses, shopping centres and beaches.
Noosa Shire is served by the Bruce Highway and the Sunshine Coast railway line.
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