Firstly, if you’re visiting the Sunshine Coast, welcome! The Sunshine Coast is renowned for it’s quality people, chilled out lifestyle and down-to-earth experiences.
It’s not extravagant in man-made innovation, but it is one of the most beautiful, and captivating cities in the world; due to it’s eye-catching beaches and hinterland. It’s a rarity to find somewhere that captures the beauty of the ocean, and the serenity of the mountains, within a 20 minute drive.
It does have some key things that you won’t find anywhere around the world, so make sure you study the list below and choose wisely what you do.
Our #1 tip, savour every moment, and take your time.
The famous Australia Zoo is an absolute must. It’s 22km from Caloundra, a beautiful laid-back beach community. You’ve heard of Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter, and you need to experience the legacy he has left behind; it’s truly remarkable.
Everyone will love it; teenagers, elderly couples, backpackers, and especially children. It’s set out over a 100 acre facility. Of course the park that you can roam in is not 100 acre’s, but that just goes to show the leg space that all of the animals have. They adore all of their animals, and for a zoo is remarkably clean and well kept. There is room to initiate contact with some animals, like the kangaroos, holding a koala, feeding the elephants, watching zoo keepers feed the crocodiles; everything.
Allow a full day’s outing for this, from morning till night. This is an experience you won’t want to rush.
Noosa is one of Australia’s most prized destinations. Located at the northern-most part of the Sunshine Coast, it’s only 20 minutes from the Sunshine Coast Airport. Noosa is full of culture; breath-taking beaches, nearby hinterland outlooks, fine cuisine and pristine accomodation; the reasons it is one of Australia’s most demanded tourist destinations.
This beautifully conserved national park has some of the most incredible views you could possibly imagine. There are several avenues to take; but the beach side walks are just magical. Noosa Headland is on the outskirts of the national park, and has long walking tracks that take you on a breath-taking journey; from ‘Winch Cove’, to ‘Fairy Pools’ and all the way to ‘Hell’s Gates’. You can sit and admire the water, or get in amongst the surf; you decide your journey.
The wildlife conservation is remarkable. You’re almost bound to see a species of bird you’ve never seen before, with a slight chance of seeing a Koala; yes they live among the trees here.
There is always something happening at the Noosa Beaches; food festivals, Watersport’s, carnivals & competitions, everything. This place is just magical.
This is the worlds largest Aqua Park, being roughly 100m x 70m; now that’s a young person’s dream. The ‘aqua’ aspect makes it perfect in Summer, but due to the mandatory wetsuit is still suitable, and well worth the trip in the colder months of the year.
There are several different Aqua Fun Parks on the Sunshine Coast, but the Coolum one takes the cake in our opinion due to it’s size and number of activities. Alternatives are located in Bli Bli, and Twin Waters, both of which make a great day out.
If you’re into a thrill, there are high elevated inflatables that require a great leap of faith to reach the bottom. Don’t worry it’s safe, but not for the faint hearted. Alternatively, there are heaps of slides and obstacles to overcome; so enjoy trekking around the park on your hands and knees. If you’re an adult or a parent, beware, this will bring the ‘child at heart’ inside of you come out. Guaranteed a perfect day out for a group of friends, a family or even a bucks or hens night. If you’re travelling, and looking for a way to amuse yourself, don’t look past this.
The Ginger Factory is the largest operating ginger factory in the world, which is notorious for it’s sweet treats and tasteful tours. It’ll ring all the excitement bells inside you when you smell the gingery goodness a mile away.
‘Moreton’, the famous tour train will take you on a little journey around some of the gardens in proximity of the factory, and will allow some time for rest and relaxation with some serene views. The perfect opportunity for a family day outing, or romantic date.
Mt. Coolum knows all and sees all. You can see it from almost anywhere your situated on the Sunshine Coast, seriously. It may not be the biggest mountain, but it amounts to some of the most pristine views you’ve ever seen. The opportunity to see the most beautiful sunrise on planet earth is situation right in the heart of Coolum, just south of Noosa National Park; about a 10 minute drive.
It will take about 30 minutes to climb for a person who doesn’t consistently exercise, but to be sure, allow for an hour and a half for a return trip.
This is also a perfect place to meet the locals, many people have a daily ritual to climb it, so no matter what time of the day, you’ll see people on the way up, or down. Be sure to say ‘hello’, the Sunshine Coast locals are very friendly, and are always up for a some ‘chit chat.’
It doesn’t matter what age you are; the inner Star Wars storm trooper inside of you lives on. There is a place sci-fi war dreams live, and it’s called Lazerzone. It’s situated in Kawana, and is central to most areas south of the Sunshine Coast airport.
Dodge all your friends laser-beams, and do your best to come up with top spot on the leaderboard. Perfect for those with a competitive streak in them.
Tip: Make sure you listen to the pre-game overview, although many people choose not to listen, it has some great tips to send you straight to the top of the leaderboard. Also, if you want to feel like a walking party, wear lots of white; but if you want to be sneaky, where black.
Allow for a couple of hours, just to make sure you savour the entertainment. It’s ridiculously fun.
Relax, eat a strawberry, and get some vitamin-D while you’re at it. On the Sunshine Coast, there are several different places to pick your desired strawberries. This is only accessible in certain months, due to the season that strawberries grow locally; but if you’re around from June-November, you’re in luck.
The best thing about this day-out, is the hand-made ice-cream. It is filled with strawberry goodness, and is creamy to the core; perfect for a warm, sunny day. You pay by the kilogram, so don’t go too crazy. It’s a good, wholesome, cheap day out for all ages. Children can go running up and down the strawberry lanes, or you and your partner can debate what the perfect strawberry truly is.
Our personal favourite would be the Palmview strawberry fields; the largest around.
All of the coast has it’s quirks around every corner, but there’s nothing like shopping through the locals’ markets. Each has a different taste, and different products weekly. Great food choices, knick-knacks and souvenirs, and some cool clothing styles.
There’s several different markets located all around the coast.
– Bulcock Street Markets (Sunday mornings)
– Kawana Farmers Markets (Saturday mornings)
– Fishermans Road Markets (Sunday mornings)
– Eumundi Markets (Wednesday & Saturday mornings)
Each has a different feel, and you’ll always find something unique and intriguing. Bring cash, an open mind, and your shopping bags; you’re bound to walk away with something.
One of the most thrilling things you can do on the coast is jump off the edge of a waterfall. Away from the salty air, and the sandy beaches is Gardeners Falls, a gorgeous running creek topped with a rushing waterfall. The area has different rock pools to dip your feet into, and a stunning round-track walk. Leave the teenagers by the waterfall, and go for a stroll; you’ll have your breath taken away.
Alternatives for waterfalls are Kondalilla Falls, and Buderim Falls; both have similar aspects to Gardeners Falls, just on a smaller scale. Both have a much more pristine outlook, and a longer walk; so they might be a brighter choice for the more exploring type.
If food tasting is your thing, and you have a knack for sweet and savoury, the Maleny Cheese Factory is your new bestfriend. Located in Maleny, you’ll experience the stunning hinterland views along side a pallet of fine cheese. It doesn’t stop at cheese; they even have yoghurt tastings.
Be there from 9:30-4:30 any day of the week, and you’ll be treated as a king. If you tastebuds are left tingling, and your cravings are going through the roof, a mere $20 will give you a large cheese platter to share with friends, or hoard for yourself.
Just bring a napkin. There is a 100% guarantee you’ll be left salivating on the way home.
If you’re just looking for as the locals say; ‘a mean feed,’ then make your way to one of these places for an undoubtably good experience. The coast is full of restaurants that will blow your socks off, but these are a couple of local favourites.
– The Nines (Maroochydore): Next level cafe food; milkshakes, perfect breakfasts and snacks.
– Ricks Garage (Palmwoods): Sunshine coasts famous restaurant, filled with meat, beer, chips and more meat.
– One Block Back (Calounda): A relaxing eatery, somewhere to chill-out whilst enjoying a wide variety of quality food.
– Stormie D’s Cupcakery (Caloundra): For the sweet tooth. All things cake, cupcakes and Epic Shakes. You’ll be left wanting more, thats for sure.
– Dirty Moes (Mooloolaba): Great bar food. Seriously tasty; and always have great deals on the daily.
– Augello’s Ristorante & Pizzeria (Mooloolaba): Award winning authentic Italian pizza with a view of the beach; does it get much better then that?
– Harry’s on Buderim (Buderim): A unique fine-dining 5 star eating experience. Built into an ‘Old Queenslander’ home, this place carries culture, and a quiet, intimate dining experience.
If you’ve got adrenaline in your veins, or you want some, then Sunshine Coast Skydivers will put your fears to the test. It is sure to be the experience of a lifetime, with the best view on the coast. You’ll feel wind go in places you didn’t think possible, but you’ll be in one of the most unique experiences you could possibly come across.
Sky Diving is not for the feint hearted, but if you consider yourself a slight Daredevil, then this is the perfect opportunity for you. With a maximum height of 15,000 feet; you’ll experience over one entire minute of free-falling. Just keep your eyes open, you don’t want to miss that view!
This is one of the pricier things to do on the coast, but it’s worth every cent.
So that’s that. Depending on your interests, you can literally drive around each town on the coast from as south as Bribie Island, all the way to Noosa and everything in between and you’ll find a whole days worth of things to do.
We hope you love the Sunshine Coast as much as we do!
– G1 Holidays