Stretching from the coastal city of Caloundra, near Brisbane, to the Great Sandy National Park in the north, the Sunshine Coast is home to pretty towns, renowned surf spots and spectacular rural hinterland. The Sunshine Coast is easily accessible and easy to navigate. The region does however cover a large area and there is no doubt that you are going to want to explore as much as possible. A car is a must!
There is something for all the family to enjoy, whether you prefer a guided tour or relaxing in the sun, the Sunshine Coast of Australia has it all.
Unlike the heavily tourist beaches of the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast beaches are much more relaxed. They are rimmed with wide stretches of clean, white sand, with a choice of surf or calm bays sparkling with warm water, and most are patrolled. There are different beaches to suit your different needs. Here's a list of our favourites ...
Kid friendly beaches
- Kings Beach - dotted with playgrounds, a water park, and many-a-barbecue, Kings Beach in Caloundra is the go-to for salty family broods, with a gentle beach break, patrolled swimming spots, and decent surf if you want to whip the boards out
- Mooloolaba Spit - ideal for families with its shady parklands and calm waters year-round, thanks to the rock wall
- Coolum Beach - located halfway between Maroochydore and Noosa, this massive strip of coastline never feels too packed, with miles of sand, hidden bays and rock pools, making it easy to spread out with your brood
Beach, shopping and food options
- Noosa - as well as boasting one of the only north-facing beaches on the east coast (hello calm waters) and most visited national parks, this stunning beachside town also lays claim to one of the most popular shopping and foodie strips in Australia
- Mooloolaba Beach - the buzzing beachfront Esplanade that makes this spot a front-runner choice for most, full of cafes, juice bars, alfresco restaurants, boutique fashion, luxury accommodation, and bars
If you want to catch a wave
- Noosa National Park - while the gentle rolling waves of Noosa Heads Main Beach are ideal for beginners, it’s the first-class breaks around the headland of Noosa National Park that are the main drawcard for serious surfers
- Alexandra Headland - another popular surfing spot, 'Alex', as it's known, is a great spot for both a swim and a surf.
Fancy calmer waters?
- Golden Beach, Caloundra - calm and sheltered, this small patch of patrolled coast is perfect for those who can’t handle dumping waves
- Bulcock Beach, Caloundra - like its neighbour Golden Beach, Bulcock Beach offers the same calm and patrolled conditions
Sunshine Coast Hinterland
Beyond the beaches of the Sunshine Coast, lie small historic towns, antique shopping, day spas and amazing food. Welcome to The Hinterland.
The options here are endless. Devour award-winning Thai food in a magical setting and learn the chef’s tricks in a cooking class in Yandina, sample local organic wine or splurge on a degustation menu in a luxury Montville homestead.
Explore the art gallery trail, hunt for antiques and devour homemade fudge in Montville or shop til you drop at the Eumundi Markets.
Tour a dairy farm in Maleny or sample some of Queensland’s best produce at farmer’s markets and roadside honesty stalls.
Must Do Activites
Besides the amazing beaches, there is so much more to do on the Sunshine Coast.
Swim with whales
- Witness the grace and scale of whales up close and in the water at Mooloolaba. The opportunity to swim with the largest mammals on Earth in their natural habitat is rare and incredible. The best months for whale watching and swimming are July to October, when the whales are migrating.
Visit the many markets
- The region's markets are an exciting blend of sights, sounds and smells, where you'll find fresh food produce, artworks and original fashion and jewellery by local designers. Eumundi Markets are among Australia's best artisan markets and take place every Wednesday and Saturday. Other excellent markets include Noosa Farmers Market, Peregian Beach Markets, Cotton Tree Markets and the Caloundra Street Fair.
Feel on top of the world
- An Instagrammers delight, Mt Coolum is one that will require a medium level of fitness for the walk. Once you hit the top, the spectacular views of the coast are enough to take your breath away ... if the climb up didn't take it first!
- The Mount Ngungun Summit track at the Glass House Mountains offers beautiful views over the mountains, all the way to Brisbane
Check out the animals
- The world-famous Australia Zoo, home of the Croc Hunter, is not to be missed. A full day is required to see all the animals they have from nearly every continent. Don't miss the daily croc show!
- SEA LIFE Moloolaba is a marine mammal park, oceanarium and wildlife sanctuary that reveals the colourful and mysterious creatures that inhabit the oceans and rivers of Australia. Travel through a see-through tunnel for an up-close look at sharks, interact with starfish in the touch pools and enjoy a variety of live animal presentations.
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