Situated North of Brisbane and South of Fraser Island, the Sunshine Coast is home of some wonderful places, all as beautiful and different. In this article we will give you information on where to go to make the best of your stay on the Coast.
Back in the day, Buderim Falls were unofficially named “Serenity falls” by the indigenous of the region. They were using them as a recreational area. Today Buderim Forest Waterfalls are a really famous place for people living on the Sunshine Coast. Whether you go there for a quick dip or a picnic, you will enjoy the quietness of the place. To access the falls you will need to walk through the forest, first on a wooden path and then jumping from rock to rock. You might even have to go through some water in the rainy season. Walk for a kilometre and you will arrive to some water holes and waterfalls. The water is a bit cold but you can’t miss out on the swim.
Be careful, mosquitos love the place too, bring some spray with you if you want to avoid being attacked.
Montville and Kondalilla falls
Montville is a small and cute little town 400 meters above sea level. From there, you can enjoy a stunning view of the full Sunshine Coast. The place gives a feeling of being in an old town where time has stopped. It is full of funny little shops and cafés, all cuter than the next. It is difficult to explain the atmosphere there because the town is so different than any other. Definitely a must see in the region. The drive to Montville is also an experience by itself; the landscape is so different than the coastline. You will be going up the mountain, looking at an amazing view of the area.
After visiting Montville stop at Kondalilla Falls and go for a walk to the falls through the forest. The falls are a famous destination on Sunday afternoons for families of the region. Walk for a couple of kilometres before arriving to a huge fresh water hole and enjoy a nice swim in the middle of the forest.
The Glass House Mountains
The Glass House Mountains are extremely famous in the area. They are a group of 11 hills formed by volcanic plugs. They offer a stunning view of the region ranging until Brisbane. The highest hill is Mount Beerwah at 556m above sea level. Mount Tibregargan and Ngungun are open for bushwalking and climbing. Mount Ngungun is an amazing spot to watch the sunset, it is definitely worth the 30min walk to the top. Allow yourself a minimum of a hour before sunset so you can climb the hill without rushing to much and you have time to set up your camera. And here is a new picture for your Instagram account!
Noosa is one of Australia’s most famous towns. Is has its own chilled atmosphere circled by National Parks and stunning beaches and river. Among the Australians, the place has a pretty “posh” reputation. Everything is more expensive and it is a rich area, which makes living or staying in Noosa a luxury. However the place has kept its charming side, no big shops, no fast foods, Noosa is a little paradise out of time. It is the perfect holiday place, you can walk from a National Park to another, stopping for a dip on the way. The place is also full of secret coves where you can often swim alone, away from the tourists. The river doesn’t have anything to envy from the beach, it spreads all around the town and offer amazing spots for a relaxing day. Noosa is definitely a place where you want to rent a bicycle or a paddle board and go exploring the coast line without being stuck in traffic.
North Shore beach and river in Mudjimba
Super famous among locals, North Shore is almost unknown among backpackers and tourists and it is a real shame! First of all, you need to like dogs, the place is pet friendly and there are many. However the place offers something special that you won’t find anywhere else on the Coast. No building, no shops, no houses, nothing but a stunning river, beach and bushland. When you arrive on the carpark you have two options, either you go left and you will arrive at the beach or you go right and you will end up on the riverside. It doesn’t really matter because the best way to discover the place is to go from one to the other going through the bush or swimming around. You will be going from beach to river with an amazing view of Cotton Tree and Maroochydore, situated on the other side of the rivermouth.
Most famous market of the Sunshine Coast, Eumundi Markets take place every Wednesday and Saturday mornings. You can find a bit of everything there, fruits and veggies, art, entertainment, clothes and a LOT of food! You can eat Italian, Japanese, French, Spanish food, etc. Most of the things for sale are quite expensive but fruits, veggies and food offer pretty good deals. You can go there for lunch and listen to one of the numerous artists playing around the market.
Mount Coolum is an ancient volcanic dome created 26 million years ago. It offers a really nice 40 minute’ walk to its summit. From there you can admire the full Sunshine Coast. The difference with the Glass House Mountains is that Mount Coolum is pretty close to the beach, which gives a totally different point of view. We would definitely advise you to do both. Enjoy a sunset there or have a picnic at the top, you won’t regret it. The walk is also pretty casual for those who aren’t professional bushwalkers.
The town of Mount Coolum is also worth seeing, the beach is wonderful and at low tide you will find some natural swimming pools in the rocks. In winter, look for the whales jumping out to sea and all year long, open your eyes, you will probably see some dolphins.
Situated at the northern end of Kawana Beach and on the side of Mooloolah rivermouth, Point Cartwright has numerous assets. The place is for all tastes. There is a huge park, a beautiful river side, a surf break, a stunning and wild beach side, a lighthouse, picnic tables, BBQs, etc. It would honestly be difficult to not like it, unless you don’t like dogs (the place is pet friendly). Our advice would be to have a swim at the beach, to walk through the park and enjoy the wildlife and finally swim again on the river side while having a nice BBQ. That is you day planned!
In winter, the lighthouse is the perfect spot to go whale watching.
Mooloolaba and Maroochydore
It is difficult to visit the Sunshine Coast without having a look at the two biggest towns of the area, Maroochydore, aboriginal meaning home of the black swan and Mooloolaba, home of the black snake. Linked by a nice 3km coastal walk, they are also the places to go out for dinner or for a drink. Enjoy your day at the beach and go for a nice dinner on Mooloolaba Esplanade. You can also go to Ocean Street in Maroochydore for a quick dinner and a drink. You will find there is heaps of different kind of food, Asian, Mexican, Burgers, Tapas, etc. Some places offer really good deals.
Some very nice places in Maroochydore:
- Junk: Asian food, super cheap and so good!
- Piano Bar: Mediterranean food, serves great tapas and such a cool atmosphere! Tapas are a bit pricy but they are delicious. You can also go for a drink there and enjoy live music every night of the week.
- Hello Harry: Burgers at $10
Cantina: Mexican restaurant with a good vibe
- Sol Bar: Bar food and pizzas, it is a place to go out, there is always live music and concerts in the back room. One of the best places to go out on the Sunshine Coast and it closes at 3am.
Cotton Tree is a cute little place on the river side of Maroochydore. True to its name it is dotted with cotton trees giving a nice shade to all the people of the area. The place is perfect to enjoy a day outside. It is equipped with numerous BBQ’s situated everywhere in a big park. The river runs by the side of the park and stretches to the mouth. Run in for a dip as often as you wish! There is heaps of shade which allows you to stay for a while. You can also rent a paddle board or a canoe to go exploring the river and river mouth.
If you have a bit money to spend, the Boat shed in Cotton Tree is a great spot. Situated on the river side it is a privileged place for couples for a romantic dinner. Many people even get married there, under the beautiful tree at the front. The menu is great, amazing cocktails (try the lemon meringue tarte cocktail, yummy!). Bonus, it is BYO wine! (4 bottles/table). Make sure you book, it is usually pretty busy.
Situated south of the Sunshine Coast Caloundra is quite isolated but is one of the biggest holiday destination in Sunshine Coast. It is easily accessible from Brisbane and offers numerous beaches to visit. There are many nice walks to do from beach to beach. In October, Caloundra city organises the Caloundra Music Festival, extremely famous on the East Coast and welcoming many Australian Artists.
Check out the Surf club on Kings Beach, the view is amazing and beers are really cheap!
To finish our article, a touristic place! Australia Zoo, an amazing place protecting Australian and woldwide wildlife. The zoo was created in 1970 by Bob and Lyn Irwin. Their son, the famous Steve Irwin took over early 90’s with his wife Terry. In 2006, Steve Irwin died in a tragic accident after being stung in the chest by a stingray while filming a documentary. Extremely famous in Australia, he is respected everywhere in the world for his documentaries sensitizing people to wildlife protection. The Australia Zoo is pretty amazing, the Irwin family is all about protecting animals and offering them the best environment. A few years ago they created a Wildlife Hospital known to be the biggest one in the world. Entry fee to the Zoo is $59.
There are of course way more amazing places to visit on the coast, here were just some favourites. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you have another nice spot to add to our list.
For more information about the Sunshine Coast: 10 reasons to live on the Sunshine Coast
Updated on 25/11/19 – Initially published 20/09/18