At the Sunshine Coast Tour Company, we’re super passionate about all things Sunny Coast. We’ve made it our mission to put together the ULTIMATE list of things to do Sunshine Coast. Our comprehensive guide is easy to follow and is filled with great information.
Just before we get started, if there’s anyone here who thinks that the Gold Coast & the Sunshine Coast are the same place, then get ready to learn about your new favourite holiday destination.
It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time visiting the Sunshine Coast or you’re a seasoned vet, our blog has something for everyone including things to do with kids sunshine coast.
Location: Kings Beach, Mudjimba Island, Noosa National Park, Point Arkwright, Point Cartwright, Point Perry.
What is it? Snorkelling is one of the ultimate ways to get up close and personal with the Sunshine Coast’s vast marine environment.
Why do it? To fully embrace your surroundings and have a unique experience. This is your chance to see the abundance of fish, turtles, dolphins and other marine creatures that call these warm waters home.
When to go? The best time to go snorkelling is when the conditions are similar to the following;
A bright and sunny day
A low sea swell to make it easy to swim
No or minimal wind
Around low tide
When there is high water visibility
Highlights: Engaging with the marine life of the Sunshine Coast and having a memorable experience.
Location: Alexandria Bay, Noosa Heads. Price: FREE
What is it? A stunning and vast beach located on the eastern side of the Noosa National Past.
Why do it? Pristine sand, powerful ocean and often very few people. The bay can be accessed from the northern or southern end of the park but is best accessed from Sunshine Beach.
Stroll up into the Noosa National Park and follow the meandering pathway that will soon reveal the impressive and mighty Alexandria Bay. Allow yourself some time to walk down to the beach and don’t be shocked to see a couple of people going au-naturel on this unofficial nudist beach.
When to go? The bay is best enjoyed on a calm clear day.
Highlights The bay boasts secluded vibes, a great place to settle down for a couple of hours to enjoy a spectrum of glistening blues ripple through the ocean.
Location: Somewhere with minimal light pollution. Price: FREE or paid
What is it? A night off, a weekend away or just plain old camping in the backyard. It doesn’t matter where, what matters is what you can see. With so many attractions to see and do, camping is the perfect way to relax at night.
Why do it? To admire the countless number of stars in the beautiful Milky Way.
When to go? The best times to go stargazing are;
Days after a full moon. The less moonlight, the better.
Autumn, Winter and Spring are referred to as the best seasons for stargazing.
There is minimal haze and no light pollution.
Low to minimal wind to keep cloud interference low.
Highlights: Taking some time out to learn more about our universe from a real-world activity. See below for a list of night sky events to keep an eye out for in 2020.
What is it? A stunning headland at the northern end of Kawana Beach, overlooking Mooloolaba and surrounding beaches.
Why do it?The headland makes for a great place to walk, catch a glimpse of local sea life or a place to sit and enjoy the coastal views. Another great thing about here is being able to access the rock wall forming part of the spit. Head out along the wall for a great view over the local surfers and marine wildlife inhabiting these waters.
When to go? You’ll enjoy this spot whenever you go, our favourite time is late afternoon.
Highlights: Walking around the base of the headland when the tide is low.
Discover the rainforest at the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
Location: Maleny Price: A gold coin donation
What is it? 55 hectares of stunning subtropical rainforest.
What is it? To immerse yourself in nature; feel small and humbled in the grandness of the subtropical rainforest. Truly understand what is meant by the rainforest is alive when wandering through this living museum.
Learn about the subtropical rainforest in the interesting information centre, talk to a friendly volunteer and then let the adventure begin as you walk along the well kept path and boardwalk that weaves between gigantic trees. Impressively hundreds of years old, you’re going to love getting up close and personal to some lovely wildlife.
When to go? The rainforest can be enjoyed at any time of day, however, our favourite time to go is early to mid-morning when there are less people and the birds are chirping.
Highlights: Coming across a family of Red-Legged Pademelons gently hopping along the forest floor. The Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is a great addition to day trips if you’re planning one for the hinterland.
Location: Alexandra Headland, Coolum Beach, Noosa Main Beach. Price: Starting from $50
What is it? Learn to surf, Aussie style.
Why do it? Did you actually holiday in Australia if you didn’t learn to surf? The Sunshine Coast is famous for its surf beaches, so board up, get some tips from the pros and tackle the waves in a surfing lesson.
Book on to a group lesson, make some friends and enjoy a laugh together as you test out your skills.
When to go? There are various reputable surf schools along the coast with their own timetables. Often there are a few sessions a day, with most that will begin early morning and go for a few hours.
Highlights: The feeling of standing up for the first time with the power of the wave taking care of the rest. See below for a list of surf schools that are epic things to do on the Sunshine Coast.
What is it? Climb a laccolith. The second largest rock in the world.
Why do it? Get your heart pumping on this fantastic walk. The walk will take anywhere from 20-40 minutes to reach the summit, an awesome 208m high. The majestic panoramic views from the top are well worth the sweaty t-shirt. With it’s close proximity to the airport, it makes for the ultimate tourism photos.
If you’re feeling particularly active then join locals who jog up, or take a more leisurely approach and enjoy nature and the views as you go.
When to go? The walk can be done at any time of day. Keep in mind, it can get really hot so it’s best not to go in the middle of the day. It’s best to go in the morning or late afternoon when it’s a little cooler.
Highlights: Being able to watch the local plane activity from the neighbouring airport and the unreal panoramic views.
Location: Point Arkwright, Point Cartwright (End of the break wall), Point Perry, Noosa National Park. Price: FREE
What is it? Visiting a beautiful vantage point that will give you a great view of Loggerhead Turtles that call the Sunshine Coast home.
Why do it? It is such a joyful and humbling experience to see turtles in the wild, elegantly and effortlessly pottering along the Sunshine Coast shoreline. While they are on Queensland endangered list, the Sunshine Coast has a healthy population. These lesser-known spots are perfect for spotting the beautiful Loggerhead turtles.
When to go? There is no time to guarantee you will spot a turtle, the weather, the tide and the turtle’s mood will all play a factor. Our biggest tip is to be patient. You might need to hang around for 15 minutes before you see one, but trust us, keep your eyes peeled and you’ll have a great chance.
Highlights The moment you see your first turtle pop a head out of the water.
What is it? The perfect secluded bay giving you that exotic island getaway feel.
Why do it? Nestled next to the rock pools adjacent to Point Perry is a secluded beach that oozes private island vibes. This small cove is a popular spot and is the perfect place to set up under the shade of a pandanus palm, swim in the ocean and explore the rock pools.
When to go? When a lazy day with sand between your toes is calling your name. This refuge is the perfect location to really kick back & relax.
Highlights: Having majestic headlands hugging the bay giving off the closest vibe to a rocky island that the Sunshine Coast can offer. This location is a huge drawcard for local tourism.
Location: Ikatan Day Spa Price: Packages from $240
What is it? A great place to relax, leave your stress at the door and give your body some love.
Why do it? Put yourself first, treat yourself, you deserve it! There are many known benefits to the treatments you can receive at a spa, with a range of treatments to choose from, all promote good wellbeing. From massage to body scrubs and wraps, a spa is a great place to treat yourself.
When to go? Listen to your body and go when you need to destress and relax.
Highlights: You’ll walk out feeling like you’re on cloud nine. First class service is what you’ll experience here which is why they are a fantastic fixture of the Noosa tourism scene.
Location: The Sunshine Coast hinterland Price: $$-$$$
What is it? An epic way to discover the Sunshine Coast hinterland & meet other travellers along the way.
Why do it? To kick back, relax and let someone else do all of the hard work.
When to go? We currently offer the Hinterland Adventure every Saturday and Sunday.
Highlights: Exploring hidden gems of the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Visiting amazing rainforests, chasing waterfalls, cool country towns and experiencing your holiday destination with genuine people. Check out the Hinterland Adventure to see a full itinerary of our day.
What is it? One of the best walks in South East Queensland steadily supporting local tourism.
Why do it? Enjoy 50 shades of crystal clear blue water, as you meander your way from the Noosa National Park entrance along the famous UNESCO heritage listed Noosa National Park coastal trail. There are various walking tracks in the national park, but the coastal trail trumps them all.
Walk along where the national park meets the ocean and take in the heavenly views of the idyllic beach coves, impressive setting and surfers riding the waves. Wear comfy footwear to make the most of the walk and bring your swimmers to cool off in the pristine water, you won’t be able to resist it, nor should you!
When to go? Whenever you feel like it. The park attracts many visitors but luckily due to its size, it manages the volume really well.
Highlights Walk to Hells Gates to get the full Noosa National park coastal track experience. On your way back, stop under a palm tree at Tea Tree Bay for a well-deserved break.
What is it? Feast at some of the best restaurants on the Sunshine Coast.
Why do it? Who needs an excuse to go and try great food? The Wharf, Mooloolaba underwent major renovations in 2019 and with it, opened some of the best places to eat and drink on the Sunshine Coast. Feel like you’re in the city with this amazing location to spend the night.
Sit waterside on the Mooloolah River, soak up a great atmosphere and enjoy fantastic cuisine utilising local produce and flavours from all around the world.
When to go? The Wharf comes alive from mid afternoon well into the night.
Highlights: Don’t limit yourself with just one restaurant or one bar. Start with a late afternoon aperitif at The Dock, indulge on dinner at RiceBoi and then continue on for a drink, or 3. The Boston Shaker also does great live music!
Location: Cotton Tree Pier – Cotton Tree Beach Price: Hire from $25
What is it? Embrace your inner water baby and give stand up paddleboarding a go on the clear waters of the Maroochy River.
Why do it? You’ve seen the photos, your friend on holiday and their stand up paddleboard on crystal clear waters. Join them, it really is worth it. Cotton Tree is located on the southern side of the Maroochy River mouth and the perfect place to paddleboard.
The sheltered waters here offer a great place to give it a go and not go down like the Titanic in front of onlookers.
When to go? You want to avoid battling a moving tide, so aim for low tide, making it easier for you to paddle further. Even better if you can match the tide to a clear day where the water will be crystal clear and the golden sandbanks show, giving you various mini private islands to paddle to.
Highlights: If the conditions are right and you’re feeling confident, a real highlight is going for a paddle as the sunsets over the river.
Location: Alex Skate Park, Alexandra Headland & Tickle Park, Coolum Price: FREE
What is it? Both skate parks boast awesome bowls and street sections, with epic beach backdrops.
Why do it? These impressive concrete parks are just meters away from the beach and a great hang out, whether you are participating or watching people try their hand at different tricks.
Alex Skate Park is the most renowned of the area due to its size and location, attracting everyone from the novices to the elite skaters, bladers and BMX riders; while Coolum is a slightly smaller setup, it is still very popular and a great place to kick back for a few hours.
When to go? Both locations are floodlit so they can be enjoyed in both the day and nighttime.
Highlights: Not breaking your leg in front of a crowd.
What is it? An epic western facing lookout and the perfect spot for sunset.
Why do it? This is one of the best places to see the whole of Noosa, including Noosa North Shore, Noosa River, Noosaville and even distant volcanic plugs.
At this hidden lookout within the Noosa National Park, during the day you’ll see crystal clear water exposing swirls of sand channels and in the late afternoon, you’ll see the brilliant reds, oranges and pinks that illuminate the sky in this tranquil setting.
When to go? Check the time of sunset and aim for an hour before. Take a picnic rug and a few nibbles to be nothing but content for a couple of hours. We think you’ll want your camera too.
Highlights: Kicking back and watching the sun go down with your mates over a cold brew and some tasty food. It’s definitely a great way to finish a day.
What is it? The best way to get sand in all of the places you never thought it could go.
Why do it? Volleyball is a great way to exercise and spark up some friendly competition. We’ve all seen it on the tele at the Olympics and stared in awe at those amazing bodies, while we can’t promise you’ll look like that, it’s certainly a bunch of fun.
When to go? There are public volleyball nets on Mooloolaba Beach that operate on a first-come, first-served basis. If you fancy some competition then bring a team of 4 to a social night, or rock up solo and you’ll be placed in a team.
The weekly socials are held every Wednesday and Thursday night, arriving by 5.30 pm at the “Loo With A View”, for games from 6-8 pm.
Highlights: The weekly social nights finishes up with drinks and some pizza which is all included in the price. Bloody Bargain! See below for a link to the public volleyball courts in Mooloolaba.
What is it? Snorkelling with some of the most majestic animals on the planet.
Why do it? If you need to be convinced of why it would be an amazing experience, then this might not be the activity for you.
When to go? During the annual Humpback whale migration which occurs up and down the East Coast of Australia. Sunreef out of Mooloolaba offers a fantastic half day experience which will surely be a highlight of your sunshine coast adventures.
Highlights: Enjoying a once in a lifetime experience with educated professionals guiding you the entire way.
What is it? Nestled in the rocky cracks of a picturesque creek hides this amazing little oasis.
Why do it? To escape the crowds of other popular swimming spots and discover an often quiet hinterland hidden gem.
When to go? When you’re craving a natural adventure that’s off the beaten track. Click learn more below for a map of where to find it. Park in the car park and follow signs to get to the creek. When you hit the creek you have to turn right and climb over the rocks until you reach the body of water which is only a couple of minutes walk.
Highlights: Being surrounded by nature at it’s finest. When you arrive here, you’ll see that this largely hidden body of water is a great place to go and have a relaxing few hours escaping the grind.
What is it? That epic weekend activity of hitting the sandy pavement with the windows down and the tunes up.
Why do it? To change up your surroundings and explore the great outdoors.
When to go? When the weather gods are blessing you with sunny skies and low tides.
Highlights: Testing out your 4wd in some hopefully not so sticky situations.
Photo supplied by | Tristan Chu – Backstage at the Veronicas
The Caloundra Music Festival
Location: Caloundra Price: From $60
What is it? A four-day music festival overlooking the beach in Sunny Caloundra.
Why do it? To experience a beachside festival with chilled vibes and epic performances from big names in the industry.
When to go? This festival is held in early October.
Highlights: This epic location and friendly atmosphere make for the perfect mix. Chilling at the southern end of the Sunshine Coast, this four-day festival is a great day out and is rapidly growing in popularity.
What is it? Mudjimba Island, also known as Old Lady Island, watches over this pristine stretch of coast from approximately 1 kilometre offshore.
Why do it? A short drive away from Maroochydore, on the northern side of the Maroochy River you’ll find a charming pocket of the coast. The close-knit shops consist of a bakery, a general store, a beach bar, a couple of restaurants and one spectacular beach. All that frequent here, love it!
Mudjimba beach is perfect for swimming, surfing, sunbathing and fishing, made even better with Mudjimba Island as the backdrop. When the water is calm, it is common to see the boats, jet skis and kayakers all around the island, but it can easily be enjoyed from the beach too.
When to go? Whenever it suits you, there is no bad time to visit Mudjimba.
Highlights: Join the locals and sit on the beach deck or check out the local pride and joy in the epic venue High Tide.
Location: Alexandra Headland, Point Cartwright, Point Perry, Kings Beach, Price: FREE
What is it? Getting in touch with your inner child and exploring rock pools over the Sunshine Coast.
Why do it? Depending on their age, it can be a great place to teach your kids the dangers of what can be found on our beaches. It’s also a chance to trigger a newfound love and develop a child’s interest in Marine Biology with exposure to your local rock pools
When to go? Rockpool exploring should only be done in the safest of circumstances. Constantly monitor wave activity and tides to make sure you’re not in any danger.
Highlights: Learning about what resides at your local beach and getting your kids interested in marine wildlife. See below for a list of locations that are a great place to start exploring.
What is it? A must-do when visiting the Sunshine Coast for market lovers.
Why do it? To experience the famous Eumundi Markets which attracts visitors from all over the world.
When to go? Saturday & Wednesday mornings.
Highlights: The large number of stalls here all with their own unique and quality products. The food and drink stalls here are also amazingly done showcasing authentic flavours and eye-watering combos making it quite the challenge to decide what to eat.
What is it? Get your gallery walking pose ready and hit the colourful studios.
Why do it? There are various small galleries and art houses dotted across the Sunshine Coast featuring fantastic collections of local artists’ work.
From the delicate to the bold, traditional to modern, these galleries showcase a variety of mediums from pencil & paint, to photography. The Neon Arthouse even amazingly weaves neon lights into already striking and unique pieces.
When to go? An art gallery can be enjoyed at any time and is the perfect activity for average weather. See below for a list of galleries to check out on the coast.
Some of the best Art Galleries on the Sunshine Coast are;
Location: Shelly Beach, Noosa National Park, Point Cartwright, Point Perry. Price: FREE
What is it? Every year between June and November Humpback whales migrate thousands of kilometres from the cooler waters of Antarctica to the warmer waters of Queensland to have their young.
Why do it? Reaching lengths of 18m and weighing in at up to 40 tonnes, Humpback whales are majestic and magical to see in real life. In the season, thousands of whales make the journey and watching this is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Lookouts and headlands are the perfect places to catch a glimpse of these awesome animals.
When to go? The migrating whales can be seen from around July to November. The best time to view the whales is when they are making their way back down south as they’re generally closer to shore and easy to spot.
Highlights: Catching an epic breaching session where the whales are jumping out of the water.
What is it? The Glass House Mountains are made up of 13 unique peaks formed approximately 25-27 million years ago. Enjoy some of the best views of these one of a kind formations from Mountain View Road in Maleny.
Why do it? These impressive formations have huge cultural and historical significance to the Aboriginal and the local community. Mountain View Road is the best place to explore for the most fantastic view. This is a view you won’t have seen before so sit, enjoy and feel the power of the mountains. If you are loving what you’re seeing, then check out the Glass House Mountain Tourist Drive for a closer experience with the mountains.
When to go? The mountains can be enjoyed at any time of day.
Highlights: Start at the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve and check out their observation deck. Then travel west along Mountain View Road, keeping your eyes to the left when you pass One Tree Hill and finish at McCarthy’s Lookout.
Location: Buderim, Coolum Beach, Currimundi, Warana Price: From under $5
What is it? Op shopping! Get your thrifty hat on and hit the op shops to find some hidden treasure.
Why do it? The Sunshine Coast is somewhat of a mecca for op shops. Supporting worthy causes, getting a bargain and ending up with previously loved items are all great reasons to support the local op shops.
When to go? Most stores operate normal trading hours. If you are unsure, give them a buzz before you head out.
Highlights: Finding your perfect outfit with a retro twist.
Location: The Sunshine Coast hinterland Price: From under $10 per night for camping sites.
What is it? A challenge like no other. A 58km walk through mountainous terrain all the while surrounded by the beauty of the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
Why do it? To say you’ve accomplished this great trek in South East Queensland with beautiful natural attractions at every twist and turn.
When to go? When you’ve thoroughly planned and researched the ins and outs of this massive adventure. This experience definitely requires some prior planning with booking campsites and the purchase of the right equipment so plan ahead.
Highlights: The countless challenges along the way surrounded by amazing rainforest, bush waterfalls and unspoilt nature. See the website below to help kick off your preparations.
Location: Fraser Island Price: Day tours departing from Noosa start from $175
What is it? K’Gari, Fraser Island. Stunningly beautiful and the world’s largest sand island.
Why do it? While not officially the Sunshine Coast, you cannot come to the Sunshine Coast and not make the most of your proximity to Fraser Island. Home to the beach highway, where the rainforest grows from the sand dunes, crystal clear lakes, expansive beaches, freshwater creeks and an inspiring shipwreck, this piece of paradise has to be on your to-do list.
With everything from luxury accommodation to camping on the beach, you can explore on your own or join a tour, whichever you decide, you are going to love it.
When to go? This is a popular destination, so if you can, avoid school holidays to beat the crowds.
Highlights: Swim in a crystal clear lake, such as Lake McKenzie, float down a cool freshwater creek, such as Eli Creek and check out the Maheno Shipwreck.
Location: Click learn more below for a list of breweries to check out. Price: From under $10
What is it? A chance to let your beer belly fly and throw back some local brews.
Why do it? Supporting a local brewery is a great way to try some awesome new flavours and often a good opportunity to learn about the beer and the brewing process. An epic day out with your mates cruising the Sunshine Coast. Shot not driving!
When to go? Check out the opening times but we love a long lazy afternoon in a local brewery.
Highlights: Not only are the beers top-notch, but their food menus make for the perfect combination.
What is it? Visit the magical heritage-listed Glass House Mountains and go one step better, climb one.
Why do it? Estimated to have formed between 25 and 27 million years ago, these historical magma vents that were once inside a volcano are some of the most unique formations we will ever see. Get up close and personal with the mountains and climb to the top.
There are 13 peaks in total, with varying degrees of difficulty and access. We recommend you start with Mount Ngungun, located right in the middle of the mountains. Sitting 253m high, it’s a great place to get your heart pumping. The recently refurbished pathway means that this is the most accessible mountain to experience. You’ll be humbled by the view at the top, it’s a game-changer! Mount Ngungun is located a short ten-minute drive from Australia Zoo.
When to go? From mid morning to late afternoon. Don’t go too late, you don’t want to climb down in the dark. Any sign of a brewing storm should be a deterrent to keen adventurers.
Highlights: You’ll want your camera for this walk, did you actually climb it if you don’t have a photo to prove it?
What is it? Investing your time wisely and focusing on improving your mental and spiritual health. Activities such as Yoga and regular meditation are great for this.
Why do it? There are many documented benefits to regular meditation and yoga. A few include reduced anxiety, reduced stress levels, increased energy levels and improved cardio.
When to go? It’s a great practice to enter into on a regular basis. It could be as often as once a day or a few times a week. You should incorporate this into your life so that it can be maintained on a regular basis and not feel like a burden.
Highlights: It’s a fantastic way to meet new and like-minded people all the while focusing on your health for better living.
What is it? Hidden within the Noosa National Park coastline you will find a collection of natural rock pools and one in particular which has become highly popular with visitors.
Why do it? Nestled next to the shoreline away from the main walking track are the Fairy Pools, where crystal clear sea water gently washes over the rocks and refreshes this amazing pool. We say embrace the cliche. Lay back, look at the blue sky and put your arms out for “the” photo, you certainly won’t regret having that photo to remember this magical place.
When to go? You want the waters to be calm so you can easily access the fairy pools, you should not attempt to access the pools in rough weather. The last thing you want here are any waves to be crashing over the rocks as this can be very dangerous.
This is a highly popular spot so the best time to visit here is either mid-week or early in the morning.
Highlights: There are various small fish, such as Clown Fish that inhabit the Fairy Pools. Take a pair of goggles or a mask to get a closer look. Click below for our map showing the best way to get there.
What is it? The ultimate destination for the hardcore sweet fans.
Why do it? Because eating healthy all of the time is BOORRRIING.
When to go? Weekends are the best time to visit Montville. The atmosphere is buzzing with visitors from near and far which provides a great place to stop off on your hinterland adventure.
Highlights: A staggering 43 different flavours of milkshakes and endless amounts of hard candy. You’d think that would be enough, wouldn’t you, but no, they also have 80 flavours of Gelato which rotate weekly with 12 on offer at any given time.
Monty’s is located at the southern end of Montville’s high street with plenty of on-street parking. Follow the cuddly koala sign for a sweet-toothed reward.
What is it? A food experience not for the easily fed.
Why do it? Because how many people can say they’ve eaten a burger bigger than their head?
When to go? Whenever you’re craving one of the most delicious burgers of your life in a truly classic atmosphere.
Highlights: The quirky fit-out of Ricks Garage is a huge drawcard for people from all over. Many people make the trip from far and wide any given weekend to experience the lush countryside and the awesome destination at the end. If you’re interested in the ULTIMATE big day out, then tag on Australia Zoo as it’s only a 20-minute drive away.
Location: Mooloolah River & Noosa River Price: Starting from $10
What is it? A river boat cruise as the sun goes down.
Why do it? The sunset is beautiful at the best of times but even better when enjoyed from a boat, with a drink in hand. Some cruises even throw in some delicious bites for you to feast on as the sun goes down.
A sunset river cruise is an affordable way to take date night up a gear or spend time with friends and family. Depending on which company you choose, intimate setting or larger, this is the perfect setting to enjoy one of nature’s simple pleasures.
When to go?Cruises will depart at various times, depending on the season. Aim for a clear day so the clouds don’t hide that gorgeous sunset.
Highlights: Mixing things up and doing something that you wouldn’t usually do.
What is it? Also known as Serenity Falls, this is a wonderful waterfall hidden within Buderim Forest Park.
Why do it? A stunning waterfall just a stone’s throw away from the town of Buderim, you won’t believe this peaceful piece of paradise is so close by.
Walk through the towering trees of the impressive subtropical rainforest that surround the falls. When you reach the falls, be sure to climb the Serenity Bridge for a great view looking down at the waterfall and swimming hole.
When to go? Visit late afternoon, aim for about 4-5 pm, there is something that’s so calming about the way the sun hits the falls. At this hour, you’ll hopefully see why it got the nickname, Serenity Falls.
Highlights: Take a dip in the refreshing water and dry off whilst sitting amongst the surrounding rock pools.
What is it? The body of water that separates the mainland and the northern tip of Bribie Island.
Why do it? The crystal clear waters drenched in bluey goodness are a massive hit with the locals and visitors. With many little beaches and spots to set up camp for a day of fun, it continually proves to be a great place to visit.
When to go? Whenever the sun is shining and you’re feeling a coastal escape. Make yourself available for this epic location.
Highlights: The group of shops that sit on the esplanade offer great food and beverage options to wind up a big relaxing day on the sand.
What is it? A western facing grassy hill on the headland.
Why do it? The headland is one of the best spots to watch the sunset and is loved by the locals. Loved not only for a great view of the sun going down but also for the sweeping view across Mooloolaba beach and along the coast, up to Mount Coolum and the northern Sunshine Coast beaches.
When to go? Check the time of sunset and aim to get there with an hour to spare.
Highlights: Enjoying a picnic on the hill with the other happy campers taking in the sights and sounds.
Why do it? They’re iconic, impressive, loveable and we think it is an all-time must do to spot some in the wild. They can be a little challenging to see on the Sunshine Coast depending where you are hanging out.
Although unlikely to be seen in built-up areas, you should have some luck to spot these powerful and (for the most part) peaceful marsupials in open fields with plenty of grass. If you find yourself out of luck with finding some kangaroos in the wild, be sure to visit Australia Zoo. They have some fantastic enclosures that let you get up close and personal with hand raised Kangaroos that are really safe around children.
When to go? The best time to spot Kangaroos is leading into dusk.
Highlights: A family or a couple interacting with each other is a pretty special moment to observe. Also, if you don’t want to be on a knockout highlight reel, we suggest you avoid trying to pat a wild kangaroo.
Location: Maroochydore Price: Drinks from under $10
What is it? The ultimate sky-high drinking and dining experience with a laid back atmosphere.
Why do it? To socialize high in the sky, overlooking the Sunshine Coast landscape. There are 2 rooftop bars in Maroochydore. Let’s set the scene, picture a breezy atmosphere with botanical garden highlights, both with well-stocked bars, great cocktails & beer with extensive wine lists to keep you refreshed as you pick from a mouth-watering menu. Sounds good yaa?
When to go? Join the fun on a Friday and Saturday afternoon and enjoy the view before the sun goes down.
Highlights: The Rooftop Bar and Garden is the place to be when the weather is shining; boasting a retractable roof and walls, this place transforms to an open-air bar 7 stories above Maroochydore with ocean views. See below for opening hours.
What is it? A great opportunity to clean up your local beach and help protect the environment.
Why do it? To help preserve our amazingly beautiful surroundings and clean up the man-made rubbish often found damaging wildlife habitat.
When to go? Keep an eye out on social media and in the local community for when these events are organised. Then again, you don’t have to wait for an organised event to pick up rubbish. Next time you spot some rubbish in your day to day activities, just throw it in the bin.
Highlights: Feeling like you’ve contributed to a cleaner environment and setting a good example for your kids or friends to follow.
What is it? Spot these highly intelligent creatures playing and darting through the aqua waves that surround the Noosa National Park.
Why do it? It’s not every day that you get to catch a glimpse of dolphins in their natural environment and the Noosa National Park is a great opportunity to see a pod. Located on the coastal track of the Noosa National park you’ll find Dolphin Point, a purposefully located vantage point with panoramic views of the coastline.
When to go? While we have seen them at various times across the day, we are most successful early morning (before 9 am) and early evening (after 4 pm).
Highlights: Seeing more than just dolphins. Keep your eyes peeled for other sea life such as turtles and whales between July and late October.
Location: Sunshine Beach Price: Food starting from $10
What is it? A secluded group of passionate restaurants nestled into one of South East Queensland’s favourite destinations.
Why do it? To experience amazing cuisine and many different vibes suitable for all tastes.
When to go? The atmosphere here is at it’s best on the weekends. It’s important to know that not all venues are always suitable for walk-in bookings. Some require bookings in advance.
Highlights: Walking from one restaurant to the next and deciding on which menu takes your fancy. After dinner is finished, it’s always nice to go for a stroll under the moonlight at the beach down the road.
What is it? An epic location to set up for the day with access to Currimundi Lake and the beach.
Why do it? The calm, clear and clean waters of the lake is one of the best places to swim, kayak and paddle board. This spot is popular for those of all ages, especially families. Why not make the most of the local hire shops and get on the water. When you’re done, relax on the sandy shoreline and grab a snack from a local cafe or cook up a feast at the public BBQs.
When to go? This lake is tidal, so low tide is a great time to explore the sand islands that appear at low tide.
Highlights: Be sure to conquer Coffee Rock. If you’re not sure where this is, ask one of the locals.
What is it? Premium markets to be explored at twilight as the sun goes down offering a perfect place to spend a few hours.
Why do it? Twilight markets are a great evening activity. With plenty of food to choose from, you can spoil yourself and travel the world through taste as you make your way from stall to stall. Often lit by fairy light and with local musicians playing, a twilight market should be on your list of things to do.
When to go? There are regular markets and also pop-ups throughout the Sunshine Coast. Always check timings and dates before you head out so you aren’t left disappointed.
Highlights: It’s the only excuse you need to have a 5-course dinner for a fraction of the price!
Eat freshly caught seafood at the Spit, Mooloolaba
Location: The Spit, Mooloolaba Price: From under $10
What is it? Indulge in some of the best locally caught seafood.
Why do it? Fresh, flavoursome and fantastic seafood can be hard to find. If you love seafood then don’t miss out on venturing down to the Spit for a range of seafood outlets, restaurants and cafes. Indulge in some of the finest restaurants in the area, such as Fish on Parkyn, or go more casual at Fisheries On The Spit.
Eat-in or eat it on the beach. Alternatively, if you’re looking for fantastic fresh produce, The Spit is also one of the best places to buy fresh and cook up a little storm.
When to go? At the majority of these eateries, the fish is fresh off the boat so it doesn’t matter whenever you go.
Highlights: Enjoying some fresh seafood with your friends or family followed by a walk along the beach, Perfecto! Click below for a link to some great venues to get fresh seafood.
Here are some places you can get fresh seafood on the Spit.
What is it? A decommissioned warship from the Australian Navy.
Why do it? Because look at that photo? As if that wouldn’t be the coolest thing ever. Besides the fact you get to explore an amazing piece of history from the Australian Navy, the abundance of sea life will leave you in awe of what lies just off the beach.
Location: Sunshine Plaza Price: You can’t take it with you, right?
What is it? Splashing some cash at the newly extended Sunshine Plaza.
Why do it? To check out the latest in fashion, homewares, electronics and sporting goods.
When to go? The weekends are the best time to visit the plaza. The Sunshine Plaza is also open for late-night shopping on a Thursday.
Highlights: The new section built on to the existing plaza has some amazingly designed thoroughfares and elegant shops. See below for a list of some of the popular shops that call the Sunshine Plaza home.
Location: Noosa Price: PP Dinner Ranges from $$ – $$$
What is it? One of the best destinations for dinner and a night out on the Sunshine Coast. Awarded Australia’s best main street in 2019 by Wotif.
Why do it? In the heart of Noosa Heads is a lively and bustling high street, with something for everyone. Hastings Street is a great mixture of relaxed holiday spirit and romantic beachside luxury, offering a great selection of cafes, restaurants, shops and galleries. With so many fantastic restaurants, we love to stroll the street and see what takes our fancy.
When to go? Hastings Street is full of energy day and night. Start with an early evening pre-dinner drink followed by dinner.
Highlights: Delicious world-class food and the perfect atmosphere made even better by the fairy lights that illuminate the entire street. It really is a must-do when visiting the Sunshine Coast.
Why do it? If you’re a dog lover, owner or admirer, then you’re going to love this walk. This great circular walk that starts at the southern end of Mudjimba Beach and follows the shoreline towards Pincushion Island (not actually an island), check out the swirling patterns on the rock and climb up for an awesome view.
Then walk inland along the crystal clear waters of the Maroochy River. Follow the white sands of the river line, meandering through trees to one of the best dog beaches around. Even better, if you have a dog they can come along too as this area is all dog friendly.
When to go? You want to aim for low tide for this walk so that you can easily walk along the river shoreline.
Highlights: Finding the tiny hidden beaches and using the river swing. A great secluded spot to relax and take a break from your walk. Click below for a map outlining a nice walk when the tide is low.
What is it? EXERCISE! Walk, run or rollerblade from Mooloolaba’s main esplanade along a newly renovated coastal boardwalk to the spit and entrance to the Mooloolah River.
Why do it? Join an icon of Sunshine Coast living and walk the Mooloolaba Spit. A great place to get some exercise, or if that’s not your style why not grab a gelato on the esplanade to keep you refreshed while you walk. Enjoy the stunning calmer waters of the Mooloolaba Spit Beach all the way to the rockwall, a great place to sit back and watch the world go by.
When to go? The walk can be enjoyed at any time. It is most popular early in the morning and late afternoons to avoid the hot midday sun.
Highlights: Keep your eyes peeled at the end of the rock wall for local sea life, such as dolphins and turtles.
What is it? Browsing through market stalls of fresh, locally grown produce and putting together the perfect meal or weekly shop.
Why do it? To meet the people behind the scenes and support often small family-run businesses in your local community.
When to go?
Noosa Farmers Market – Every Sunday
Yandina Markets – Every Saturday
Kawana Waters Farmers Markets – Every Saturday
Highlights: Taking in some fresh air and getting some good exercise. The farmers markets are a fantastic way to save money as they’re usually much cheaper than the major supermarkets and provide high-quality goods and foods.
Keep up to date with the latest information direct from the markets.
Location: Mapleton Falls National Park Price: FREE
What is it? A jaw-droppingly high observation deck perched above a 120m tall waterfall.
Why do it? To experience one of the most beautiful views in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
When to go? Any time of day is great for a trip to the hinterland. With the right conditions and luck on your side, you can be above the clouds here in the early morning.
Highlights: You’ll love this stunning outdoor view over the valley below and distant mountains which is the ultimate appetizer for a short walk in the subtropical rainforest right next to the observation deck.
Keep on the lookout here in Spring for some Peregrine Falcons that roost on the side of the rocky hills. These are famously the fastest birds in the world exceeding speeds of an unbelievable 300km/ph. Mapleton Falls National Park is located about a 30 minutes drive from Maleny.
What is it? A dreamy stretch of golden sand and crystal clear water bordering the Noosa National Park.
Why do it? Located at the northern end of the Sunshine Coast is a trendy and luxurious pocket of picturesque scenery, golden sand and bright blue ocean. Finish your day or take a lunch break from the beach at the stunning and newly renovated Sunshine Beach Surf Life Beach Club, where modern architecture and a comfortable set up mix perfectly to make this location fantastic for a meal.
When to go? Early mornings and late afternoons are amazing here. The cool and relaxed vibes of the locals make for the best uncrowded day to escape.
Highlights: Crystal clear water, mighty ocean and eating with a view.
Location: All over the Sunshine Coast Price: Starting from $10
What is it? That magical moment when you realise you can combine breakfast and lunch.
Why do it? A great way to treat yourself. Following a lazy sleep in or a morning walk with a ginormous brunch. Hit the classics or mix it up with something new. Go healthy or indulge in a brunch feast. There are several fantastic spots scattered along the coast that will tickle your taste buds. See our list below.
When to go? Check out the serving times of your local spot but brunch should be enjoyed at between 10 am and 11 am.
Highlights: Great food, if you do it right you’ll start with a juice and coffee and end a couple of hours later on a glass of wine.
What is it? The act of giving time or donating resources to local charities.
Why do it? To support a fantastic cause or to directly impact someone’s life in a positive way.
When to go? Whenever you have some downtime and are in the position to do so.
Highlights: It’s great to be able to provide much-needed support to local charities who support worthy causes. If you find yourself at a loose end for a period of time and have skills/expertise to offer, then why not support a good cause.
You might be able to donate in many more ways than what people would traditionally think. Here are a few ideas for ways in which you could support a local charity.
Events and function assistance
Working in charity shops
Here is a great local Sunshine Coast charity that is always looking for help with their activities.
Run, jump and splash through an inflatable water park
Location: Bli Bli, Coolum. Price:$20 for 50 minutes
What is it? A great activity which is surprisingly fun for all ages.
Why do it? Because it’s awesome exercise and is a great way to spend a sunny or even overcast afternoon.
When to go? Open 7 days a week 10 am to 5 pm. These opening times change slightly throughout the year so just double-check the website before you leave.
Highlights: Being able to race around with a group of friends or family and test each other out on the surprisingly hard obstacle course. There’s many big swings and slides that are a great way to embarrass yourself or show everyone the acrobat you were born to be.
The best inflatable water parks on the Sunshine Coast are;
Location: Mooloolaba Price: Food from $8 – Drinks from $8
What is it? One of the best bars on the Sunshine Coast.
Why do it? Because the atmosphere is pumping, the food is epic and the drinks are cold. Not only can you pour your own beers from your table but you can also finally put people’s trash-talking to bed by annihilating them in a game of Mario karts on their Nintendo 64’s.
When to go? Weekends are best.
Highlights: Taps is a local favourite for the extra mile they go to make sure their customers are having a good time. They’ve enlisted the help of some giant Jenga and Connect Four to help out in this department. Party the night away at an epic venue which is a stone’s throw away from Mooloolaba Beach. See below for a link to their website and their location.
Location: Noosa Price: We wouldn’t want to get anyone in trouble.
What is it? Voted Australia’s best main street in 2018, Hastings Street is one of the best attractions on the Sunshine Coast. Regularly attracting affluent holidaymakers from all over the world, this place is a must-do on your east coast adventures.
Why do it? To experience world-class restaurants and high-end fashion with a distinct coastal undertone.
When to go? If avoiding crowds is on your to-do list then a visit mid-week is definitely advised. Failing that, the beach-friendly clientele perusing the shops in their numbers here is a part of the charm so don’t let busy days be a deterrent.
Highlights: Delicious eateries and immaculately presented shops that make you want to splash some cash. Hastings Street is also home to world class artists with unique styles bursting to life with colour.
Location: Mooloolaba, Alexandra Headland, Maroochydore, Coolum, Sunshine Beach, Noosa Heads. Price range – Per Person. Breakfast $6 – $25. Lunch & Dinner $9 – $30
What is it? Immersing yourself in Aussie culture and grabbing a feed at the local surf club.
Why do it? If you’re an international visitor or even just on holiday, there’s no better way to wind down and visit the local surf club for food and a couple of beverages. With Surf clubs up and down the east coast of Australia being positioned in prime beachfront locations, it’s no wonder they’re packed with smiling faces and people enjoying themselves. The food is often great, the service is authentic and the locations speak for themselves.
When to go? Whenever you feel the urge. Surf clubs are open for food most days so check with your local before attending if unsure.
Highlights: A prime beachfront location, amazing food and stunning views of the famous Australian coastline. Click below for a map view of awesome surf clubs on the Sunshine Coast.
What is it? A night time street market filled with atmosphere, food and happy people.
Why do it? To experience some of the amazing local talent involved with food, music and good times. These markets are a sign of the increasingly popular need for unique interactions with small businesses.
When to go? The 1st Friday of every month.
Highlights: The family, friendly atmosphere and delicious food.
What is it? A beautifully constructed dam from the late 1970s that holds a mind-boggling 16,587 megalitres of water.
Why do it? The dam offers some stunning scenery with only a short 30-minute drive from Mooloolaba. The 8km walking trail is a fantastic way to start or finish your day by the water. Popular with walkers and cyclists, it’s a great way to get some exercise in and suck back some fresh country air. Non-motorised craft are permitted on the dam so take your SUP if you’re feeling the urge to explore with a closer view.
When to go? When the sun is shining and you’re craving some beautiful scenery. Before heading out on your trip, always check for dangerous weather conditions before setting out.
Highlights: A sandy beach making entry into the lake a breeze, great lunch facilities with BBQs and amazing walking trails.
Location: Noosa Heads Main Beach Price: $110 for 60 minutes
What is it? What dreams are made of!
Why do it? Because why wouldn’t you want a massage on a beach? I mean, come ooon. Seriously, picture this, a nice seafood lunch overlooking the beach with a glass of wine or local beer, followed by a soothing massage LITERALLY on the beach with the sound of crashing waves in the background.
When to go? They are open 7 days a week.
Highlights: If I have to spell it out, you just, might not get it.
What is it? A tranquil site and picturesque part of Noosa to spend the afternoon and watch the sun go down.
Why do it? Nestled between trees on the western end of Noosa’s fantastic Hastings Street is a small road that weaves through the Noosa Wood. After approximately 700m this road will bring you out at the Noosa Spit and entrance of the Noosa River. This western facing and open, sandy area is perfectly exposed at low tide. This is the perfect spot to pull up with a late afternoon picnic and watch the sun go down over the backdrop of Noosa North Shore and distant volcanic plugs.
When to go? Sunset will vary on the season, give yourself plenty of time to enjoy this great spot and aim to get there a few hours before sundown.
Highlights Before you set up, walk towards the river mouth and out onto the break wall for an awesome view looking back down Noosa main beach and the adjoining headland.
What is it? An athletic event consisting of swimming, cycling and running. If you needed a sign to push you into your next challenge, this is it!
Why do it? To give yourself a challenge and help maintain focus. These events are physically and emotionally demanding, they require incredible endurance and dedication during the preparation phase. Why not give yourself a challenge?
When to go? The Noosa Triathlon is held in early November and the Mooloolaba Triathlon is held in March.
Highlights: Being able to vastly improve your athletic ability, test your focus and get into shape. See below for links to find out more about these events.