If you’re yet to explore the Sunshine Coast, where beach and bush collide, then it’s time to add this scenic Queensland destination to your holiday bucket list. With the sun and sand, a lush hinterland, a thriving food scene, and endless opportunities to meet local Aussie creatures, this coastal region has something for every explorer.
Where is it located?
Sunshine Coast is located on an hour’s drive away from the north of Queensland’s capital, Brisbane.
How to reach the Sunshine Coast?
All major Australian airlines fly directly into the Sunshine Coast Airport at Maroochydore or, if you prefer to drive, the journey from Brisbane Airport is about 100km. You can also reach through trains and buses which run on a daily basis from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast.
Top 5 things to do in Sunshine Coast
- Great Beach Drive 4WD Tours – Rainbow Beach
- Stay at the mesmerising Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat – Sunshine Coast Hinterland
- Step into the world of Steve Irwin – Australia Zoo
- Kondalilla Falls Circuit – Montville
- Grab a beachside meal at beachfront eats of the Sunshine Coast
1. Great Beach Drive 4WD Tours – Rainbow Beach
A trip to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is incomplete without experiencing a unique once in a lifetime four-wheel drive tour of the Great Beach Drive from Noosa to Rainbow Beach. Accessible only by 4×4, imagine the freedom and pure exhilaration of driving more than 70km on white sandy beaches with the Pacific Ocean on one side and natural bushland on the other side. This tour is an unforgettable experience of the natural beauty and rich history of this unique coastline, with knowledgeable and passionate guides. Offering the experience of driving on some of the world’s most stunning beaches and through some of the most idyllic National Parks, this is truly a once in a lifetime touring holiday experience.
The Great Beach Drive, 4WD Tours are the only dedicated Noosa to Rainbow Beach tour operator and are the only tour operator with direct vehicle access to protected Double Island Point Lighthouse.
2. Stay at the mesmerising Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat – Sunshine Coast Hinterland
Lose yourself in the peacefulness of the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat is a boutique five-star luxury resort comprising six fully self-contained secluded pavilions nestled in two hectares of pristine rainforest. The property is adjacent to Kondalilla National Park in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Hinterland, minutes from the picturesque village of Montville, a short 40-minute drive from Noosa. The property is a 30-minute drive from Sunshine Coast Airport and 90 minutes from Brisbane airport. Experience the tranquillity of nature, breathe in the crisp, rainforest air, unwind with a sensuous massage, snuggle by your fireplace, dive into the sparkling pool or simply enjoy the chorus of birdsong from your hammock. Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat is the perfect romantic escape one could ever wish for.
3. Step into the world of Steve Irwin – Australia Zoo
Australia Zoo, home to the incredible Irwin family and over 1200 amazing animals, is the world’s most interactive wildlife conservation location. You can cuddle a koala, feed their gorgeous kangaroos or even walk a wombat! Don’t miss the amazing African animals on their very own savannah, or head to South-East Asia to visit their majestic tigers and their gorgeous red panda. Take a trip to Bindi’s Island, where you can climb a three-storey treehouse, but look out! With that view, you might spot ring-tailed lemurs, giant Aldabra tortoises, colourful parrots and so much more. Besides wandering around the park, and saying hello to your new furry friends, you can step inside their wildlife hospital for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The hospital gives injured wildlife a second chance at life, by conducting lifesaving treatment to get them back to optimum health. Over just twelve months, 6000 to 8000 animals are brought in for treatment. The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital is playing a vital role in saving Australia’s native species, and a behind-the-scenes look into how they operate is an opportunity not to be missed.
4. Kondalilla Falls Circuit – Montville
Move over to Montville for a wonderful walk in the wilderness; this charming town is just a 30-minute drive west of the Sunshine Coast.
Kondalilla Falls Circuit is a track that takes you down an escarpment to a lush rainforest valley, then up a ridge to return. On the climb back you’ll see impressive trees such as bunya pines, piccabeen palms and shapes of pink ash. Literally meaning ‘rushing waters’, the word Kondalilla perfectly sums up the steep 90m drop off of Skene Creek’s waterfall. Enjoy a picnic at the large grassy area when you need a break. This park, with the handy facilities of barbecues, tables and toilets, is just 100 metres from the Kondalilla Falls car park. This area is easily accessible from Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat and can be covered during your stay there.
5. Grab a beachside meal at beachfront eats of the Sunshine Coast
- Mooloolaba Esplanade is an eat street overlooking tranquil beach waters, offering dozens of spots for bar bites, caffeine hits and hearty gourmet meals. Whatever you fancy, there will be something to satisfy. For farm-fresh food in a vintage interior, head to the quaint cafe called The Velo Project. The Velo Faithful is the perfect sweet treat which is a mix of banana, date and pecan bread with Byron Bay honey and fresh fruit.
- If you’re looking for some lip-smacking food with an unbeatable view, head to The Surf Club Mooloolaba. The Surf Club Mooloolaba is the ultimate beachfront location to enjoy a cold beer, coffee, cake and a delicious meal from an all-day dining menu. Dine-in a spacious Boathouse Restaurant or on the outdoor deck.
- Sunshine Coast is also famous for Queensland’s rich dairy produce and an excellent feather in its cap is the Maleny Cheese Factory. Maleny Cheese is a destination food attraction showcasing and selling products made on site. This educational food tourism experience, allows you to try before you buy. On weekdays, visitors have the opportunity to see first hand on how products are made through the viewing windows of the cafe, which overlooks the factory floor.
- Fancy a ‘MasterChef’ meal? Head to Sum Yung Guys – A modern Asian eatery by the Matt Sinclair of the MasterChef fame. The restaurant and its food not only puts this coastal town firmly on the food map but also showcases some of the most unique and delicious ingredients.
- Gourmet Traveller Magazine described the Spirit House as ‘a tropical film set that takes your breath away. Like the setting, their Thai inspired cuisine is breathtaking.’ Clustered around a tranquil pond, the restaurant setting is magical; a temple style main building with covered courtyard tables nestled amongst lush tropical gardens with towering palms and stands of bamboo. Spirit House chefs conduct daily classes every week in the purpose-built, ‘hands-on’ cooking school. These classes demystify Asian ingredients and cooking methods and are a great day out with a group of friends.
- Last but not the least on our food recommendation list is, the Brouhaha Brewery. Brouhaha Brewery is a microbrewery and restaurant. All beers brewed on-site and the menu offers locally sourced produce. You can enjoy a share plate or a main and taste your way through a variety of craft beers.
Amazing, isn’t it? The village of Sunshine Coast is a beautiful home to many picturesque beaches, vibrant nightlife, watersports to create adrenaline rush, eye-catching greeneries, and what not! This place has it all to excite you! Already excited to plan your vacation to the Sunshine Coast? If yes, quickly check on to Pickyourtrail website and browse on the super cool holiday packages to Australia and reach a step closer to your dream vacation with us!