Hi, I would be bias to Noosa. Noosa I feel while well populated maybe a little more of a relaxed lifestyle. We have awesome markets - Noosa Farmers Market and only a short drive to the famous Eumundi Markets. We have great bars, clubs and live music and many venues spread across Noosa, Tewantin, Noosaville, Sunshine and again Eumundi is just a short drive. Like any coastal town we do get busy in the holiday season but it only adds to the atmosphere. You can not go past the beautiful Noosa River for morning walks, afternoon drives and the go old fashion weekend BBQ. Don't forget we are also only 25 - 30 minutes from Maroochydore, Mooloolaba etc so why not live in one of the most beautiful places in Queensland and work just down the road :)
After just spending a few days on the sunshine coast I would definitely go for Noosa - it has charm, and has everything you need and is not too yuppy. However, it is expensive - but there are great alternatives that are close by eg. Tewantin (5 mins away) and on the river. Also Sunshine Beach is beautiful too and only 5 minutes away.
Mooloolaba is quite boring, and looked like lots of retirees when we were there. Lots of 70's resort type hotels, and very boring shops. The beach is nice - but the whole place is lacking in charm and character. Coolum is full of character and beach is beautiful. slightly hippy, very laid back.
How long does it take to get from Noosa to Brisbane airport? I dont think you can fly interntional destinations from the Sunshine Coast airport, can you?