Summer vibes are kicking year-round on this sunny stretch of coastline, so we’ve rounded up the best things to do on the Sunshine coast
In all its sun-kissed glory, Queensland’s very own Sunshine Coast is nothing short of paradise. From Noosa to Maroochydore to Mooloolaba, the string of beachside towns and lush hinterland is an outdoor lover’s dream, and it all caters well to the throngs of tourists that grace its shores year-round.
A water wonderland with crashing swells, swimming beaches, meandering waterways and inlets, the Sunshine Coast is a veritable playground for water-based activities – surfing, kayaking, sailing, and diving. And although its seaside location is the biggest drawcard, land-based adventures and activities are just as revered – Australia Zoo and Sealife anyone?
But that’s not all this seemingly endless stretch of coastline serves up, there is a lot of other beautiful things to do on the Sunshine Coast. Thanks to the ocean-fresh seafood that gets reeled in on the daily, the Sunshine Coast’s foodie scene delights on so many fronts. Then throw a handful of shopping hubs and lustful waterfront properties into the mix, and you too will be contemplating a sea-change when next in town.
Noosa to Mooloolaba and across to the hinterland, on-trend cafes, fine-dining restaurants and the casual fish n’ chippery are in abundance. And although seafood features in a big way, that’s not all the Sunshine Coast does well – Asian, Mediterranean, American, and organic health food bars also have a place here.
Where the views are just as impressive as the food itself, The Boat Shed overlooks the Maroochy River with a dining area that flows inside and out. It’s all about seafood here, and rightfully so, with a tapas, lunch and dinner menus that pair beautifully with their drink offering. The private lawn out front is highly prized, and to make it a real casual affair, grab your food to go and have a picnic in the nearby parks. But really, your best bet is to soak up the sea breeze in the terrace area with a cocktail in hand.
The Esplanade, Cotton Tree
Neon-lit signs and playful art, Light Years Asian Diner combines Asian-fusion fare with a seriously good drinks menu. The bountiful menu is designed to be shared, so if you're a dining duo, we recommend you taste your way around at least five of their delicious dishes, but not before starting out with some dumplings. And although they have a comprehensive drinks menu, it’s the cocktails that will really get the night going.
1 Sunshine Beach Road, Noosa Heads
A bright and breezy casual dining restaurant at Mooloolaba Marina, Pier 33 oozes summer vibes. Inside, the interiors are fresh with coastal hues of navy and white with relaxing couches and dining tables to linger around. But outside is really where it’s at. Spread out on the lush lawn or at one of the many outdoor tables while you take in the coastal surrounds. Dine on fresh seafood and order a delightful cocktail from the panoramic island bar.
33-45 Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba
Every Sunday morning, before Tome Cakes & Coffee swings open their doors at 8am there’s a line of those eager to get their share of the sweet sugary scrolls that are known to sell out before Tome even finishes baking. But that’s not all that has locals drooling. Tome’s cakes and slices are achingly pretty to look, be it a treat to go with your morning coffee or custom-made multi-tiered cake – think red velvet, white chocolate, salted caramel and raspberry. Yum!
21 Ocean Street, Maroochydore
The many night-time hangouts and day bars of the Sunshine Coast soak up the coastal vibes in a way that only this stretch of coastline knows how. Cafés that turn into chilled-out bars, and eateries that have a killer drinks menu to rival one of the many pulsing or chilled-out bars. Needless to say, the Sunshine Coast delivers on all fronts.
A sleek fit-out with a tropical garden feel, this is one good looking bar and eatery that you’ll want to escape to. There are several areas to relax in, from the couches to the banquette seating to the bar stools. The cocktails are creative, and the spirits, beers and wine are flowing. tThey even have kombucha on tap. Plus, if you’re feeling a bit peckish, the menu is Asian fusion.
51 Duporth Avenue, Maroochydore
Inside the old courthouse, Urban Garden has fast become a bit of an institution. In part for their own unique house blend of coffee, and in part for the revolving food trucks that park up out front. From early morning, the coffee is flowing every day of the week, while on weekdays only, Urban Garden has a different food truck out front between 11am and 2pm to appease the lunchtime crowd. From slow-smoked barbeque to carb-filled Italian, the food trucks are different every day.
4 First Avenue, Maroochydore
Good coffee, locally brewed beers and delicious local food all day long. Moto is a café/bar hybrid that uses local roasters for their beans and welcomes laid-back coffee chats every day of the week. The industrial décor focusses around the still in-service shipping container that the café originally operated out of. Come nightfall, select one of their scrumptious Asian-fusion dishes. The menu is tight, but the choices are delicious. As for the drinks, the wine, beer and cocktails are well and truly flowing.
66 Noosa Drive, Noosa Heads
Miss Moneypenny's is exactly what you’d expect from a stylish beachside bar. Laid-back bamboo chairs, ambient lighting and an easy-on-the-eye palette. Perfectly plated Mediterranean-inspired dishes flow freely, while the drinks menu is extensive, with an entire section dedicated purely to Champagne cocktails. Be sure to check out their renowned bottomless brunch and their cocktail classes go down a real treat.
6 Hastings Street, Noosa Heads
Thanks to its stunning location, the Sunshine Coast is a hotspot for holiday-makers. And when it comes to accommodation, each beachside village has an abundance. From seaside resorts to barefoot glamping to Airbnb waterfront properties, the Sunshine Coast delivers in spades.
A collection of bespoke holiday homes in Noosa, Sunshine Beach and Sunrise Beach, Sable Stays brings a whole other level of coastal coolness that this part of the Sunshine Coast has been begging for. Each one of the four houses are a private oasis that accommodates up to four or six guests, completely self-contained with a chic boho coastal styling. Their winning location, either steps from Noosa’s Hastings Street and beachfront or with views of the coast, also makes these properties a standout.
Noosa Heads, Sunrise Beach, Sunshine Beach, QLD
If you love the work of interior design powerhouse, Luchetti Krelle than you’re going to love Little Red Barn. This Noosa Hinterland hideout is the work of Rachel Luchetti, who brings a touch of luxe to the humble barn. Soaring vaulted wooden ceilings, a spacious living area and three bedrooms, plus two bathrooms, one with a freestanding cast iron bathtub on the verandah. Outside, balconies overlook the lush treetops and a heated concrete water tank swimming pool is a treat year-round.
Head inland into the lush regions of the Sunshine Coast’s hinterland rainforests, and you’ll stumble across this stunner, which backs onto the Kondalilla Falls National Park, famous for its cascading waterfall. They offer a variety of studio, lodge and villa-style accommodation, but the resort’s treehouses are what’s in hot demand. They’re all equipped with kitchenettes, TVs, air conditioning, baths and decks that lap up the lush surroundings. To take your stay up a notch, ask for an in-room spa treatment.
61 Kondalilla Falls Road, Flaxton
The Sunshine Coast is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. On and off-land, there is so much fun to be had in the way of water sports, treetop adventures and parklands aplenty.
Sunshine Coast Beaches
The Sunshine Coast is renowned for its beaches, and people come great distances to experience surf breaks, swimming spots and impressive views. Mooloolaba Beach ranks as the safest beach in the area, while Alexandra Headland is permanently etched in local folklore as having the best surf in the area. But no matter the time of year, the string of beaches from Noosa to Mooloolaba are teeming with people eager to feel the sand beneath their feet.
The Sunshine Coast is jam-packed full of activities on and off-land. The many beaches and waterways provide ample opportunity to go surfing, swimming, paddling, gliding, cruising and sailing on your own terms, or private tourism operators have made it their business to showcase the region’s finest. Australia Zoo gets you up close and personal with Australia’s most feared and loved animals while Sealife gives you a glimpse into the magical underwater world.
Noosa National Park
The resort town of Noosa Heads, not only has stunning beaches that were made for swimming and paddling, but it also has one good looking national park. Hugging the coastline, Noosa National Park has a network of walking trails that takes in some incredible views of the coastline and connects Noosa Heads with Sunshine Beach. Along the way, there are several secluded beaches and bays, so don your hiking shoes and swimwear and escape the bustle of Noosa Heads.
The Sunshine Coast Hinterland
Take a break from hanging out beneath oversized beach umbrellas and head in-land to explore the incredible Hinterland region. Just a short 30-minute drive from the coastline, charming mountain villages, national parks and conservation reserves give way to wineries, produce markets, and studios and galleries that showcase local artists. There are treetop adventures, mazes and botanic gardens to explore.
For your next holiday, why not book a weekend on the Sunshine Coast? From Mooloolaba and Sunshine Beach, to Caloundra and Coolum Beach, there is a lot of things to do on the Sunshine Coast. Take a swim at the best beaches, check out the great attractions, and stay in beautiful accommodation along this beautiful stretch of coastline.