If you are looking for your pocketful of sunshine, it’s got to be in Sunshine Coast. This coast is everything a beach lover could hope for. Just Over 90-minutes from Brisbane and the famous Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast has some unbelievably beautiful attractions and experiences to offer.
From beautiful beaches to surf and swim, to trekking across verdant national parks to exploring museums, unique hinterlands and botanic gardens – there is an enthralling list of things to do on the Sunshine Coast to make the most of your time there. Let’s check them out.
Dive at the Mooloolaba Beach
The soft white sand and the many shades of turquoise ocean waters at Mooloolaba Beach is just the tip of it. This sleepy surf beach spot is 30 minutes away from Golden Beach and an hour from Brisbane.
It is the perfect place to go for a good swim or a snorkelling session – you can even swim with sharks (if you dare)! Do you want to make it a day trip? Then, you can spend time exploring the Glass House Mountains, the Sunshine Coast Hinterland which is just approx. 30 minutes away and finally end the day by going on a sunset cruise to enjoy the magic of twilight.
Explore the Nature Wonderland of Noosa National Park
There is something unmistakably alluring about a lush forest national park nestled on a small hill overlooking the stunning turquoise coast of Noosa Head. The National Park is surrounded by other sunshine coast attractions like Lake Weyba and Mount Coolum. Since it’s approx. 15 minutes from the Noosa Main Beach – you can walk past the Little Cove into the national park to explore the many breathtaking features it hosts.
Find unexpected lush pockets of rainforests to walk across, cliff tops that reward you with the most unforgettable views of Granite Bay and Hell’s Gate – where the cliff view is out of this world! And also the dainty little fairy pools.
Trekking this nature heaven, camping in it, or just going for a picnic, is a definite must add to your list of things to do in the Sunshine Coast.
Visit the Bird Paradise in Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World
Approx. 40 minutes from the Mooloolaba Beach, A little over an hour from Brisbane, the Maleny Botanic Gardens awaits and it is the ultimate paradise for every kind of bird and nature lover. The bird tours here are nothing short of phenomenal.
The guides will take you on a journey to learn about the incredible feathered beauties that live in these gardens. The bird tours can last approx. 50 minutes while visitors will be introduced to many of of the 700 native and exotic birds that live here.
You can also order a picnic box and enjoy it in the quaint garden setting while listening to the bird chirps. A must add to your list of things to do on the Sunshine Coast.
Learn to Surf at Noosa Main Beach
Located along the Coast of Noosa Heads, surrounded by Hinterland, is the most famous beach spot on the Sunshine Coast. Pristine waters and white sand so soft, it feels like well-sifted flour, spread on the beach coast. If you arrive before sunrise, you’re in for a rare treat. Watching the sunrise over the waters of the Noosa Main Beach is just magic. The waves are so calm in the morning. It’s just perfect for a good swim. The gentle waves make it the beginner surfer’s paradise.
There’re beach umbrellas and chairs available for rent and plenty of cafes around for a snack. If you feel like you’re up for some exploration on foot, the Noosa National Park is 15 minutes away. But there are a large number of beach activities you can be a part of too. Like windsurfing, kite Surfing and whale watching!
Explore the Iconic Australia Zoo
Get ready to enter the home of Steve Irwin the Crocodile Hunter. You don’t have to be an Australian or wildlife enthusiast to know this iconic legend. His passion lives on through the Australia Zoo. Visiting here can be added to your list of things to do on the Sunshine Coast.
Located just 90 minutes from the Coast of Sunshine – 30 minutes from Caloundra, an incredible wildlife experience awaits. Although it’s a zoo, the animals have spacious enclosures. Witness and learn about the wildlife in the Australian Zoo.
There’re special programs to educate visitors on crocodile conservation and even the chance to get close to these giant toothy reptiles. It’s unnerving and exciting, but they are not the only toothy predators you’ll see here.
There are the incredibly majestic cheetahs and tigers, the stunning green anaconda, and many more. Entry tickets are a little on the pricey side, but if you’re a wildlife enthusiast, it’s worth checking out.
Splash Away at Kings Beach
If you’re ready for more sunshine, sand and sea – Kings Beach in Caloundra awaits, 30 minutes from the Sunshine Coast. Ideal if you are travelling with family. While the beach itself is super beautiful, there are other attractions to explore, like the cool little rock pools, and a large saltwater pool for families to come and enjoy.
It’s a water & sunshine wonderland. Take a quick trip to the Caloundra Street Fair if you want to grab some yummy food and enjoy the locale bustle. Make your beach visit a day trip.
Paddle along the Noosa River
This streaming river is found 30 minutes from the Sunshine Coast. A beautiful river destination – located pretty close to the Noosa Head – a little different from the attractions on the coast. There’re public ferry rides you can take. Enjoy a BBQ on a boat while floating along the tranquil river.
In the upper reaches of the Noosa River, you’ll find the famous Noosa Everglades. It’s one out of the two everglade systems on earth. How amazing is that?
There are plenty of Noosa riverboat tours available that reach the everglades. Or you can make it more interesting by kayaking and exploring the 60 km stretch of tranquil and untouched waterways filled with diverse flora and fauna up close.
Surf at Maroochydore Beach
Less than 10 minutes from the town of Sunshine Coast, this beach town has some big old waves to surf on, and it’s ideal for swimming too. It’s all about the waves, the sunshine and beach vibes at Maroochydore Beach.
Located close to the beautiful Maroochy River, it also offers some other epic beach activities like jet boating, parasailing and even fishing.
When you’re done with the beach fun you can visit the Maroochydore Sunshine Plaza. It is located along the river line. Here, you can get some good food, and maybe go on a quick shopping spree.
Tour the Queensland Air Museum
You do not have to be a fanatic about museums, history, or aeroplanes to enjoy this historical museum in Caloundra – right opposite the Caloundra Airport. This museum maintains a collection of historically relevant aeroplanes, military aircraft and other aviation artefacts, which are displayed alluringly, in this open space museum. From Australia’s oldest DC-3 to the Canberra Bomber, there’s much to see.
The guides are super eager to share their knowledge with you in the most intriguing way. If you started the tour with zero knowledge of Australia’s aviation history, you will come out feeling like an expert!
Explore the Coolum Beach & Mount Coolum
Coolum Beach (like all other beautiful beaches on the coast of Sunshine) is another stunning beach attraction along the coast. Just 30 minutes from Golden Beach and 90 minutes from Brisbane, it’s perfect for a laid-back beach visit.
But there’s more to experience in Coolum beach than just soaking sunshine and beach vibes. Approx. 8 – 10 minutes from Coolum Beach, you will find Mount Coolum. A colossal volcanic dome that rewards you with the most stunning 360-views of the region – gaze at the far-stretching white and green coast and incredible beach sceneries, and you will understand why the Sunshine Coast is given that name.
Come prepared to climb because the trail can get a little rough. But is it worth it? It is.
Taste Local flavours at Original Eumundi Markets
You cannot miss a visit to the lively hinterland village of Eumundi when visiting Sunshine Coast. It’s where you get your artisan senses tingling. Just 20 minutes from Coolum, you should head straight to the Original Eumundi Markets to get the feeling of what Eumundi is all about.
A premium artisan market, selling everything from chutneys, fruitcakes and more. The aromas blending with the fresh air is a significant feature of the lovely Eumundi Markets. Explore all around Eumundi Square and have a taste of the local flavours and buy something for the road. Make sure you visit on either Wednesday or Saturday.
Visit the Waterfall at Kondalilla National Park
The aboriginal meaning behind Kondalilla is ‘rushing waters’. The reason for this name will make sense once you trek deep into the lush greenery of the Kondalilla National park to witness the Kondalilla Falls. This 90 m tall waterfall is the star attraction point of the national park. And rightly so, because it is stunning.
The landscape of the park was created by volcanoes carved out by the water, approx. 28 million years ago. The trail is about 5 km in and you will have some stairs to climb. There is much verdant beauty to explore – including observing some diverse wildlife like wallabies, possums and a lovely variety of bird life.
It’s going to be more exciting than exhausting. Worth including in your list of things to do in Sunshine Coast.
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