Welcome to the Sunshine Coast

a couple walking along Noosa Heads Main Beach

Take a walk along Noosa Heads Main Beach. Photo: Tourism & Events Queensland

The Sunshine Coast is a dream location for people who love the great outdoors. The Sunshine Coast is one of Queensland’s hot spots and is one hour drive north of Brisbane. In summer, people flock to the beaches, and in the cooler months it’s bush-walkers heaven with the nearby mountains and rainforests waiting for you to explore.

Other popular all-round year activities are adventure sports, spa and health retreats, the world-famous Australia Zoo and Eumundi Market which is Australia's biggest art, craft and produce market. 

Beach & water activities

2 women stand-up paddleboarding on the Sunshine Coast beautiful clear water

Go stand-up paddleboarding on the Sunshine Coast. Photo: Tourism & Events Queensland

The Sunshine Coast is one endless stretch of golden sand, with some of the best beaches in the world. It's combination of sparkly water, blue skies and warm weather all-year-round that makes this a perfect holiday destination. The Sunshine Coast is full of water adventures from surfing lessons, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). Your biggest decision is choosing which beach you want.  

  • Spread your towel out at one of the popular spots including Cotton Tree, Maroochydore or Mooloolaba beaches. The esplanade has grass and playgrounds and just across the road are cafes and shops. 

  • Enjoy a glorious day at Sunshine Beach, which is nestled between Noosa and Coolum beaches. Visit ‘The Surf Club’ for a refreshing beverage or tasty meal, and watch the surfers catch a wave. 

  • Kings Beach and Golden Beach are both in Caloundra and are family favourites when it comes to Sunshine Coast beaches. Head to Golden Beach if you love calm waters or to do some stand-up paddleboarding. Golden beach is also popular for fishing, and there’s boat ramps to launch your boat.  Kings Beach also has calm waters so the kids can search for sea creatures in the rock pools or swim and play in the saltwater pool.  If you’re there in the first weekend of October, book tickets to the annual Caloundra Music Festival which is held at Kings Beach and showcases an incredible line-up of local and international music talent.

  • Swim with the fish in the crystal clear waters of Noosa Main Beach. You’ll find the swell is gentle and is just right for a relaxing dip. When you finish your swim, wander up the road along the iconic Hastings Street which is known for its trendy shops and cafes.

  • This is not quite a water activity, but near enough. Take a skydive adventure from 15,000 feet in an adrenaline-pumping free-fall, landing safely on one of Caloundra’s beautiful beaches.

Boats & cruising

A group of friends taking a sailing tour on the beautiful waters of the Sunshine Coast.

Set sail on the beautiful waters of the Sunshine Coast. Photo: Tourism & Events Queensland

  • Boating is a popular pastime on the Sunshine Coast. Choose from one of the organised cruises, or take your own private Venetian-inspired gondola up the Noosa River.

  • If you're keen to hire your own boat and cruise around at your own pace, there are plenty of boat hire places with runabouts, tinnies, barbeque pontoons, and cruisers on offer. Most boat hire is available without the need for a boat license (conditions apply).

  • If you love fishing, book a deep-sea fishing charter. Summer is best for tuna and mackerel, while in winter you’ll find the pearl perch and snapper are biting.

  • Whether you’re a novice or a SUP (stand-up paddle-board) surfing pro, Noosa is the ideal place to hone your skills. Hire a SUP board and glide your way along the calm waters of the Noosa River. There's also experienced instructors who provide lessons and will have you up on your feet in no time.

  • Go scuba diving and explore the mysterious HMAS Brisbane, which is about nine kilometres out to sea from Mooloolaba. This underwater wreck is home to schools of fish, eagle rays and turtles, and attracts experienced divers from all over the world.  

  • Whale watching: Join one of the crews for a Whale Watching experience. Your tour will be jam-packed with spectacular scenery and up-close whale encounters. Jump aboard one of the luxurious vessels departing from The Mooloolaba Wharf and go in search of the majestic Humpback Whale. Choose from half-day, full-day tours, and even the occasional swim with whales. NOTE: Whale watching season happens between July and October.

  • Visit beautiful Fraser Coast. which is a little further up the coast and is on the World Heritage list. Fraser Island is home to marine life, possums, wallabies and dingoes. It's also a great place to watch Humpbacks whales migrate north.

Activities & adventures

a mother and her duaghter walking through the Sunshine Coast-Sea Life aquarium, with sting rays, fish and sharks floating above them

Head to the Sunshine Coast-Sea Life aquarium for a great day out. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

  • Visit Underwater World SEA LIFE, Mooloolaba. This is a marine animal menagerie where you can explore the wonders of the ocean without getting wet. See sharks, seals, turtles, otters, and much more. Check out the Tidal Touchpool where you can (gently) tickle a sea star or touch a squidgy sea cucumber. Want to get even CLOSER! Do a Shark Dive Xtreme scuba experience where swim where all the action is!

  • Australia Zoo was made famous by the legendary Steve Irwin, also known as ‘The Crocodile Hunter’. His legacy is carried on by his children Bindi, Bob and wife Terri, who are all enthusiastic wildlife conservationists. Australia Zoo is home to Australian native and International animals. Watch huge saltwater crocodiles being handfed, and get up close and personal with cuddly koalas, not so cuddly echidnas and so much more. There are world-class exhibits including the Crocoseum, Africa, Elephantasia and Tiger Temple.

  • Visit the Ginger Factory and ride the Overboard Train, or meander through the tropical gardens. Sample the extensive selection of products including ginger ice cream, ginger beer, chocolate-coated ginger, and of course gingerbread men!  

  • After your visit to the Ginger Factory, skip across the road to Nutworks and The Chocolate Factory. Sample some of these delectable treats. During the school holidays, Nutworks run ‘Kids Chocolate Hub Sessions’ where kids can make their very own chocolates.

two friends at the Ginger Factory

Visit the Ginger Factory. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

  • Uncover medieval history at the Sunshine Castle, Bli Bli. There’s armour and weaponry, fairy-tale dioramas, model trains and an impressive doll collection. Find the dungeon, go on a treasure hunt, and climb the keep for a spectacular birds-eye view.

  • Head to Bellingham Maze for a fun day out. You enter through the magic waterfall, walk past the wishing well and over the bridge and through a tropical rainforest garden! And then there's the huge living hedge maze for you to find your way through. There's also a Timber Scrabble Maze, mini-golf, puzzles and games, and picnic areas.​

  • There’s something for everybody at Aussie World. Take your pick from over 30 rides and activities, plus a range of specialty stores. Had your fill of thrills and spills? Then head next door to the peculiar Ettamogah Pub. Sink your teeth into some good ol’ Aussie pub grub at Bluey’s Bar & Grill, and wash it all down with an icy cold beer.

  •  Visit Opals Down Under where you can fossick in the ‘Scratch Patch’  and unearth gems such as opals, rose quartz, tiger-eye and amethyst.

  • Pick your own strawberries at two Sunshine Coast's farms: Strawberry Fields in Palmview, or McMartins Strawberry Farm, Bli Bli.

  • Satisfy your need for speed at the Big Kart Track, Landsborough. Skilfully navigate chicanes, straights, bends and hairpins as you unleash your inner racing car driver. Duo karts available for children under 7 years when accompanied by an adult.

  • Why not set your inner rebel free and book a Harley Davidson trike or motorcycle tour. Otherwise, take an off-road bike ride. Whether you're an experienced thrill-seeker or a first-timer, there are trails that will keep you smiling and your legs moving. Tours cater for all levels of fitness, skill and abilities, and are a great way to see the local area.

Explore the national parks

two friends who have hiked to the top of Mount Ngungun in the Glass-House Mountains national park

Go hiking in Mount Ngungun. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

Glass House Mountains national park is a dominant feature of the Sunshine Coast Hinterlands. This cluster of 11 volcanic hills rise from the ground, making them impossible to ignore. This national park is pure paradise for hikers, runners and nature lovers. There’s plenty of walking tracks to suit every level of fitness and adventure. Just some of the popular Glass House Mountains walks include:

  • The 15-minute walk to Mount Beerwah lookout which takes you through the eucalypt forest for views of Beerwah's peak. (Easy walk).

  • The 3km Mount Ngungun summit walk which takes around 2 hours. (Easy walk).

  • Mount Beerburrum summit walk is 3.5km round trip and takes around 1.5 hours. You’ll walk through a eucalypt forest to the Mount Beerburrum fire tower where you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views. There are some steep sections so you need a reasonable level of fitness. 

  • Yul-yan-man track has a couple of different walking options. If you start from Beerburrum entrance, it’s a 9km return walk and takes between 3-4 hours. From the Tibrogargan entrance, it’s 13.4km return walk that takes between 4–5 hours. 

  • Mount Tibrogargan summit route Mount Tibrogargan is challenging and should be a fit and experienced hiker for this climb. The walk is 2.3km and takes around 3-4 hours to complete. 

Noosa National Park is close to the beach, has great walking tracks, stunning scenery, and if it’s your lucky day, you might see a koala in the trees.

Kondalilla National Park is near Montville (and in the Blackall Range). Follow the walking trail through the rainforest to the Kondalilla Falls lookout, and on your way back, have a swim in the rock pools. 

Mapleton Falls National Park is also in the Blackall Range and has walks under waterfalls, across creeks, through palm groves, blackbutt forests and vine forest. 

Walk up Mount Coolum – a 25 million year-old volcano. You’ll walk through forest and bushland, traverse the rock face before reaching the summit where you’ll enjoy 360-degree views of the Sunshine Coast. Along the way, you might be lucky to see an echidna, Northern Brown Bandicoot or a Grey-Headed Flying-Fox. Allow 1½ hours for the return walk. 

Hike through the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, which is a must for wildlife and nature lovers. Take a guided tour and uncover the rainforest’s secrets, as the songs of native birds, provide you with a tranquil soundtrack. 

Shopping & markets

two women looking at fresh fruit and vegetables at the Eumundi Markets

Visits Eumundi Markets which has everything. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

The Sunshine Coast is where you’ll find beachwear, summer dresses, gold and colourful sandals. Explore the many boutiques on the beach esplanades at Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, Peregian, and Caloundra. Be sure to visit:

  • The historic town of Montville. Take the scenic drive and find all kinds of homemade gifts, fashions, Montville Art Gallery, antique shops, the Clock Shop which has cuckoo clocks, grandfather clocks, watches, music boxes and so much more. Need a break from shopping, stop in at the many delicious cafés selling homemade goodies. 

  • Noosa’s Hastings Street is the place to be seen. walk along this strip and you’ll find stunning boutiques, expensive and exclusive designers.

  • Eumundi Markets is Australia's biggest and best art, craft, fashion and fresh produce market. There’s over 300 or 600 stallholders selling their wares. In between shopping, why not have a massage or have your fortune told. (Every Wednesday and Saturday.)

  • Fishermans Road Markets is the place to buy your fruit and veggies, seafood, pet treats, plants, or grab a bite to eat from one of the food vans. (Maroochydore, every Sunday.)

  • Not far away are the Cotton Tree markets selling local art, homewares, jewellery, fashion designs and skincare. These markets are quirky and fun. (Also Maroochydore, every Sunday.)

Sunshine Coast wineries

two couples enjoying a glass of wine at the Flame Hill Vineyard in Montville

Visit Flame Hill Vineyard, Montville. Photo: Tourism Australia

Fancy some wine tasting, then visit the Sunshine Coast’s 10 boutique wineries and cellar doors including: 

  • Flame Hill vineyard and cellar door is in Montville. All wines are 100% grown and produced on the estate. There’s plenty of other delicious produce grown on the farm to give you the total ‘paddock to plate’ experience. Join Flame Hill vineyard in February each year for their annual grape-stomping event.

  • Maleny Mountain Wines cellar door sells its home-made sweet, dry, fruity, sparkling, full-bodied and fortified wines, as well as local produce and artworks. While you’re there, head to the Maleny Botanic Gardens for a little quiet time.

  • Robinsons at Noosa not only has vineyards, cellar door but also a gorgeous B&B. The location is spectacular, with it being only 10 minutes from Noosa’s Hastings Street and beaches, and in the other direction, 10 minutes to Eumundi markets.

  • Kenilworth Bluff Winery is an hours drive west from Mooloolaba, and is officially the Sunshine Coast's first vineyard. This winery produces Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Semillon and Chardonnay grape varieties. Visit the nearby Kenilworth Cheese Factory and art gallery.