The Noosa River forms one boundary of the town, the headlands of the Noosa National Parkanother. Nearby are the suburbs of Tewantin and Noosa Junction, which create a continuous urban area at the northern end of the Sunshine Coast.
The beach at Noosa Heads has remained a popular tourist attraction since the 1890s. The Shire's tourism exponentially grew shortly after the Second World War.
In the 1800s, Noosa's early wealth came from the timber and milling industries with tourism developing in the late 1920s. In this decade cafes and tourist accommodation was built along the beachfront. The town has been the site of many tussles between developers and those seeking to preserve the town. Since the seventies, people have continued to migrate from southern states.
In 1988, Noosa was renamed Noosa Heads