The Sunshine Coast consists of a number of beachside towns including Maroochydore and Mooloolaba, Caloundra, Coolum and Noosa, and is about an hour to two hours north of Brisbane.
Each of these towns has their own character and surf beaches.
Driving from Brisbane on the Bruce Highway you will see the spectacular Glasshouse Mountains, ancient volcanic plugs that rise from the land, where the magma has created almost vertical cliff sides, and the earth that would have formed the mountain sides has been washed away. It is possible to climb them, and in most cases this requires a lot of experience in climbing. Check with
The Glasshouse Mountains National Park website to see when and how you can do this.
Heading north will also pass through Caboolture which is renowned for its dairy farms, and then on to Nambour where there are lots of pineapple plantations and also large pine forests that have been grown for timber.
Here you will find Steve Irwin’s “Australia Zoo”(www.australiazoo.com.au at 1638 Steve Irwin Way in Beerwah), and also “The Big Pineapple” – a giant pineapple, with tours and a marketplace, an icon that has been here since 1971 and located on the Old Bruce Highway at Woombye (Tel: (07) 5442 1333).
Turn right to head to Buderim, a town on top of a mountain overlooking the coast, and home to Buderim Ginger – 50 Pioneer Rd, Yandina, where the company has free tours, and their shop selling Buderim Ginger Marmalade, and lots of other ginger products. Close by is Nutworks – that processes Macadamia Nuts and sells them in all sorts of flavours.
NOOSA HEADS – Noosa is considered one of the best of all the Sunshine beachside towns, with the main street, Hastings Street being a mecca for fashion shops, spas, beachwear, gift shops, restaurants and cafes. The beach is just metres away from Hastings Street and runs for miles up the coast, while on the southern side it leads to a walkway that leads to the Noosa National Park. You can walk through the coastal trees and vegetation to a lookout and small beaches in between the rocky outcrops. Look out for Pandanus Palms and breadfruit trees. Alexandria Beach in the National Park is also a ‘naturalist’ or nudist beach, where clothes are optional.
Noosa is located next to the Noosa River, and the combination of the beaches, great shops and the river, canals, small boats, pelicans and other birds on the lake right next door make Noosa a favourite destination for surfers and holidaymakers from all over Australia.
The lake is tranquil and there is a ferry service that runs from Noosa Heads Sheraton wharf to Tewantin with a few stops in between – including the Boathouse Marina at Noosaville – where there are restaurants, cafes and other shops to browse in. See www.noosaferry.com Tel: (07) 5449 8442.
At the Marina, you will also find www.kayaknoosa.com (Tel: (07) 5455 5651 who have kayaks to hire, lessons and group kayaking adventures on the lake. Another Kayaking company is based next to Noosa Main beach on the river end off Hastings Street www.noosakayaktours.com Tel: (07) 5449 8442. Kayaking is a great way to explore the river and area, but if you are looking for a bigger boat to cruise on check out www.noosaqueen.com.au Tel: (07) 5455 6661 or 0488 734 220. It is also possible to hire a houseboat www.luxuryafloat.com.au Tel: (07) 5449 7611, go deep sea fishing, hire jet skis, and organise a 4WD trip to Fraser Island – so lots to ways to have fun and make your Noosa trip interesting.
On Gympie Terrace, next to the River you will find other boat hire places too – see www.pelicanboathire.com.au Tel(07)54497239; www.tboathire.com Tel: (07) 5449 7182; www.kitesurfaustralia.com.au Tel(07) 5455 6677 and another is www.noosaboathire.com Tel: (07) 5449 9248.
For deep sea fishing – see www.noosabluewatercharters.com.au Tel: (07) 5449 9355, Address: 2 Parkyn Court Tewantin.
Noosa is also close to lots of other beaches heading south and all the attractions of the Sunshine Coast are within an hour or so of Noosa, including golf courses.
Just inland, there is the Eumundi Markets – one of the best known craft and produce markets on the Sunshine Coast see www.eumundimarkets.com.au 80 Memorial Drive and also see Eumundi Square
1 Albert Street in Eumundi for lots of small interesting shops, as well as the Nougat Company at 4 Tallgum Avenue. At Pomona there is the Majestic Theatre, built in 1921 and still showing films Tel: (07) 5485 2330 to see what movie is showing and times. About 30 minutes north of Noosa is Boreen Point – where you will find the Garnisha Spice Gardens (44 Hatch Rd, Cootharaba) and their curry factory Tel: (07) 5485 3386. It is only open by appointment. The Noosa Botanical Gardens are located at Cooroy (Lake MacDonald Drive).
Travelling north from Noosa on the Bruce Highway, you will come to the town of Gympie – formerly called Nashville, named after James Nash who discovered gold here in 1867. Here you will find the Woodworks Museum (Next to the Bruce Highway), and also at the old Gympie Railway Station (Tel: (07) 5482 2750 ) a steam train service ( The Valley Rattler) that travels along the Mary River Valley stopping at small stations along the way to sample and buy local produce and arts and craft. The steam train runs on most Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, but you would need to book to secure a seat. The Gympie Gold Mining Museum is located at 215 Brisbane Rd Tel: (07)5482 3995 to make sure it is open. This has a lot of historic gold mining equipment on display and interesting people to tell you about the gold mining days.
SOUTH OF NOOSA
All along the coast there are great beaches, different restaurants, fish and chip shops, Tourist parks to camp at, as well as plenty of holiday houses to rent, shopping centres, surf shops, and resort hotels to stay at and each beach has its own attractions. Favourite beaches include Peregian Beach, Coolum, Alexandra Headland, Mooloolaba, Mooroochydore and Caloundra – and all of have sandy beaches and waves to surf.
In Coolum – there is the Palmer Coolum Resort with hotel resort, a Golf course, Motorama Car Collection and Dinosaurus – large life size models of different dinosaurs roaming on the land. Certainly different! Clive Palmer, who built the resort has now been elected to the Australian Federal Parliament – setting up his own political party – the Palmer United Party.
In Mooloolaba there is also a very large Oceanarium next to the Wharf (Parklyn Pde) where you can walk through a long glass tunnel to see the fish, sharks and other marine life all around you. They also have a dinosaur show too. Next door to the Oceanarium (Tel: (07) 5444 8488) on the wharf you will also be able to find deep sea fishing charters see www.odysseycharters.com.au Tel: (07) 5478 1109 and www.fishncrabcharters.com.au Tel: 0412 155 814.
In Mooroochydore look for Top Shots (www.topshotsfunpark.com.au Tel: (07) 5452 7007 at 2 Allora Drive, where you will find mini-golf, and lots of water fun – including an inflatable water slide, blaster boats – boats equipped with water cannons, and another Cannon Ball blaster game using foam balls, plus rock climbing and trampolines – making Top Shots a top attraction for kids.
For bigger kids and teenagers, head to Bli Bli (www.blibliwatersports.com.au Tel: (07) 5448 7555 at 367 David Low Way in Bli Bli. Here you will find a cable ski park – with a variety of jumps for wake boarders, knee boarding and ski jumpers. Also in Bli Bli on David Low Way is a castle called the Sunshine Castle complete with turrets, a moat, dungeon and other attractions for both kids and adults.
In Caloundra there are a number of beaches with a coastal walkway connecting Moffat Beach to Kings Beach and Bulcock Beach, while there are other beaches too, including the popular Dicky Beach and Golden Beach. The wreck of the SS Dicky ship that ran ashore in 1893 is also located on Dicky Beach. There are lots of big resort hotels and apartments to stay in Caloundra as well as numbers of shopping places and eating places too.
Aussie World (www.aussieworld.com.au Tel: (07) 5494 5444 is located at 73 Frizzo Rd, Palmview next to the Ettamogah Pub, and has roller coasters, dodgem cars, a Ferris wheel, slides and lots of other attractions making it a fun family day out. It is located about 1 kilometre up the Bruce Highway from the turnoff to Caloundra.
Australia Zoo (www.australiazoo.com.au ) is about 30 minutes from Caloundra at 1638 Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah, and it is probably the biggest attraction on the Sunshine Coast with lots of Australian and exotic animals as well as shows every day of the week with crocodile feeding and information about them being one of the many highlights. (SEE Zoos on this website).
If you are looking for Go Kart track or Bungee jumping head to the Big Kart Track at 2310 Steve Irwin Way in Landsborough www.bigkart.com.au Tel: (07) 5442 1333. The track is 1.2 kilometres long with lots of bends, straights and twisting turns to make it one of the best in Australia.
If you are looking for a quieter time, and even if you aren’t – make sure that you take a trip to the Hinterland behind the Sunshine Coast to the small towns of Maleny, Montville and Kenilworth. This area has attracted artists, craftspeople and foodies for many decades and the refreshing mountain air makes a welcome change to the coast.
The area is full of surprises, with small art and artisan galleries, regular markets, and interesting places to drop into. You can also stay over and enjoy the views, the climate and activities. The towns are small and friendly, making visitors very welcome.
In Kenilworth (see www.kenilworthhomestead.com.au Tel: (07) 5446 0555 at 2769 Eumundi-Kenileorth Rd ) a homestead built in red cedar from the property in the 1860’s with its original tin roof, and paddocks where people can camp on weekends and school holiday periods. The homestead and grounds are next to the Mary River, where you can swim or paddle a canoe, with a small sandy beach next to the river too.
In Montville you will find lots of different shops – and everything from antiques, to jewellery, chocolates, clocks, gemstones, shoes, glassware, leather, spices, coffee, opals and body lotions – making it an interesting place to take some time just drifting around the village and finding things of interest.
Maleny was a timber and dairy town originally and still is today with cheeses, yoghurts, ice cream and other dairy foods still being produced here. (See the Cheese factory at 1 Clifford St). Maleny is also home to the Bunya Nut festival, lots of arts, craft, music and artist shops, retreats and places to stay. The Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World is also here at 233 Maleny-Stanley Rd – (Tel: 0400 091 731) taking advantage of the mountain climate and volcanic soils to grow an amazing array of plants and trees.
Also look out for the Baroon Pocket Dam on Obi Obi Creek and Garness Falls – where there is a pool where you can swim in the fresh mountain water. The Mary Cairncross Reserve is also nearby – a good place for a picnic.
The main thing about the hinterland is coolness of both the climate here but also the people too – so take a refreshing drive to the small towns up here to get a breath of fresh air. You’re bound to have a good time.
The Sunshine Coast certainly has lots to offer – but the beaches remain the main attraction and being only a few hours from Brisbane makes it easy to get to and from throughout the year, with winter in Queensland being just as attractive as the summers, but not as hot.
We hope you enjoy your time on the Sunshine Coast.