Here are my favourite places to visit along the Sunshine Coast – an area I’ve been visiting for over 20 years!
If you follow me on Instagram (which you totally should be), you may have seen I visited the Sunshine Coast back in June. I was there to attend my friend from uni’s wedding near Maleny, which was honestly just magical. While I was on the Sunshine Coast, my parents and I spent our spare time touring the region’s many towns and cities. It was like the old days, as we’ve done a few road trips over the years to visit family on the Sunshine Coast. It has always been one of my favourite places in Australia, so it’s about time I shared my love with you guys. Here are eight of the best places to visit across the Sunshine Coast.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Firstly, the Sunshine Coast is located roughly one to 1.5 hours north of Brisbane (depending on the destination). You can fly into Sunshine Coast Airport from several Australian cities or start in Brisbane instead. Although there are trains operating between Brisbane and various Sunshine Coast towns, the easiest way to get around is by hiring a car.
The Sunshine Coast is a popular destination because it includes a little bit of everything: beautiful beaches, award-winning restaurants, gorgeous national parks and cute towns. It also has perfect weather year-round, as the average winter temperature is 20 degrees. However, if you visit the hinterlands in winter it does get cold at night, so don’t forget a jacket!
WHERE TO VISIT ON THE SUNSHINE COAST
Maroochydore is the heart of the Sunshine Coast. It’s where you will find major office buildings and the airport. When I was younger, I absolutely loved visiting Maroochydore. I always thought Sunshine Plaza – its massive shopping centre – was amazing compared to its counterparts in Townsville. It basically has every store you could possibly want. This time around, we went for a lovely afternoon walk along the Maroochy River and towards the beach.
If you want to be in the centre of it all, stay at The Sebel Maroochydore. It’s located directly on the beach, has one and two-bedroom suites, and is only 15 minutes from the airport. With local restaurants and cafes on your doorstep as well, The Sebel Maroochydore is the perfect base for exploring the Sunshine Coast.
Ah, good old Mooloolaba. Located just south of Maroochydore, Mooloolaba is known for its restaurants and its beaches. In fact, Mooloolaba Beach has been named one of Australia’s top 10 beaches multiple times. Some of its best restaurants include Spice Bar, The Boathouse Restaurant at The Surf Club, and Augello’s Ristorante and Pizzeria. If you’re visiting Mooloolaba with kids, definitely check out SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast as well.
This is where I’m usually based when I visit the Sunshine Coast these days, as it’s where my aunt and uncle live. The small town is located inland from Noosa and is known for the iconic Eumundi Markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays. There are hundreds of stalls selling everything – clothing, gifts, homewares, you name it. You will also find plenty of delicious food options and live music. If you’re visiting the Sunshine Coast on either of these days, make sure you head to Eumundi.
My friend got married outside of Maleny, where the view over the Glass House Mountains was incredible. After my lovely parents picked me up, we headed into Maleny to check out the quaint hinterland town. It was buzzing with people when we visited on a sunny winter’s Sunday. We picked up some delicious local cheese from Maleny Food Co, and if it was closer to lunch we would have ducked into Maleny Lane as well. The international street food alley is filled with food from Greece, Nepal, Korea and more.
GLASS HOUSE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
Speaking of the Glass House Mountains, if your perfect Sunshine Coast holiday includes hiking, definitely head to this national park. The notable peaks were formed by volcanic activity some 25 million years ago. The largest peak is Mount Beerwah, but the two mountains open to hikers are Mount Ngungun and Mount Tibrogargan. There are several easy and challenging hikes available across Glass House Mountains National Park. While you’re there, pop into Australia Zoo for a visit and say hi to the Irwins for me!
Montville is practically Maleny’s neighbour and has the same small hinterland town charm. Things to do in Montville include visiting Kondalilla National Park and its 90-metre waterfall; perusing the plethora of art galleries; visiting Flame Hill Vineyard; enjoying a meal at The Long Apron Restaurant; and stopping for a sweet treat at Fudgyboombahs. Montville is also known for its top accommodation options, if you need more convincing 😉.
Noosa is probably the Sunshine Coast’s most famous destination. From its beachfront accommodation options to its main street lined with boutiques and restaurants, it’s made for tourists. Some of Noosa’s top restaurants include Wasabi, Sails and Bistro C. I have to admit though, even I couldn’t get over how beautiful the beaches are in Noosa. They’re protected, so if you’re after less surfing and more calm ocean conditions, head to Noosa. It also has a really pretty beachfront walk.
Coolum Beach is an area located between Noosa and Maroochydore. It’s a bit more chilled, but it has excellent surf and a beautiful beachfront walk as well. While in the area, you can climb Mount Coolum too, which offers amazing ocean views. Other things to do in Coolum Beach include visiting the Coolum Twilight Markets in summer and enjoying a meal at Coolum Surf Club.
I hope this post helps you plan your Sunshine Coast adventure. I personally can’t wait to return (hopefully in the new year!).
Thank you to The Sebel Maroochydore for partnering with me on this post.
P.S. This post contains affiliate links.