The Best Things To Do on the Sunshine Coast
Located 90 minutes north of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast is home to over 100km of glittering coastline, effortlessly cool coastal towns, a lush hinterland bursting with fresh produce and rainforest trails, and 300 days of glorious sunshine every year.
Think of the Sunshine Coast as the Gold Coast’s more chilled out cousin. Here the beaches are just as beautiful, the surf breaks are just as epic, and the list of things to do and see is just as long – but the pace of life is much more laidback and loose.
A relaxing getaway destination for couples and families all-year round, you’re bound to fall in love with this captivating corner of Queensland. From the north to the south, here are our favourite places to visit on the Sunshine Coast.
Explore Trendy Noosa
Noosa is one of Australia’s most trendy coastal towns and Hastings Street is at the heart of it all, boasting stylish boutique shops and hip cafes and bars. Grab yourself a treat from Massimo’s Gelateria, enjoy an afternoon tipple at Miss Moneypenny’s or settle in for a coffee with a side of people watching at Café Le Monde.
Just a few steps from Hastings Street you’ll find the white sand and turquoise waters of Noosa’s idyllic Main Beach. The calm conditions make this the perfect beach for swimming, especially for the little ones.
Head to Noosa National Park to explore Noosa’s wilder side, sprawling across three untouched areas, Noosa Headland, Emu Mountain and Peregian. If you’re up for a challenge, you can make the trek to Noosa’s famous Fairy Pools at the far end of Granite Bay.
As one of Australia’s most sought-after destinations, this slice of coastal paradise is extremely popular all year round so don’t come to Noosa to escape the crowds (or find a park easily!).
Keep Cool in Coolum
Sit back and enjoy the carefree beachside vibes of uncrowded Coolum – a far cry from the bustle of Noosa. Coolum is a surfer’s sanctuary, boasting some of the best waves on the Sunshine Coast. If you’re keen to learn, Coolum Surf School can show you the ropes with individual and group lessons available.
Cutting a dramatic figure on the Sunshine Coast landscape, Mount Coolum is a 25 million-year-old volcanic dome that you definitely have to climb when visiting the region. It takes about 45 minutes to reach the summit, and once you’re at the top, you’ll be greeted with spectacular 360-views of the entire coast and verdant hinterland.
After you’ve conquered Mount Coolum, head back to the main street opposite Coolum Beach for a well-deserved feast. Check out Coolum Surf Club for a classic pub feed, Canteen Kitchen + Bar for a cheeky midday cocktail, Mr Mancino for primo Italian, or head down Birtwill Street to The Caf for great coffee and all-day brekkie options.
Maroochydore and Alexandra Headland
Maroochydore is considered the CBD of the Sunshine Coast, and is home to a thriving nightlife and live music scene, plus exciting and creative restaurants with cuisine from all over the world.
Ocean Street is arguably Maroochydore’s top nightlife hotspot, stacked with an array of hip restaurants, bars and live music joints that turn up the beat after 9pm. Kick off your evening with an authentic Asian street food feast at Junk, before bringing your dance moves to Solbar or Old Soul.
Set beside the Maroochy River, there is a scenic coastal walk that runs from Cotton Tree through to Alexandra Headland – another beautiful beach and popular spot for surfers. Here you’ll also find our beachside Oaks Seaforth Resort, with spacious and family-friendly waterfront apartments.
Holidays in Caloundra essentially revolve around beach-hopping – and Caloundra’s picturesque coastal paths and boardwalks provide the ideal way to take in the ocean views and visit each of the area’s postcard-perfect beaches.
Kings Beach is always a family favourite, with rock pools to explore, gentle surf and a calm ocean pool. Stroll the boardwalk at Bulcock Beach and catch a glimpse of the Pumicestone Passage and Glass House Mountains. To avoid the crowds, enjoy the serenity of Shelly Beach (but keep in mind this beach is unpatrolled so swimming is not advised). Surfers can hit the waves at Moffat Beach and Dicky Beach.
After a long day of lazing on the beach, kick back with an ice-cold craft beer from Moffat Beach Brewing Co. or grab a coffee, cocktail and everything in between from beach café The Pocket Espresso Bar. For dinner, you can’t go past a good ol’ pub meal and incredible ocean views at Mets on Kings – a Caloundra institution.
Caloundra has been a much-loved family holiday destination for generations, and it’s also home to our Oaks Sunshine Coast Oasis Resort, ranked among the Top 10 Family Resorts in Australia by Holidays with Kids.
Sunshine Coast Hinterland
Dreaming of your next Sunshine Coast getaway? Check out our Sunshine Coast stays.