8 Places To Visit On The Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast is not just about beautiful beaches but a great diversity of natural attractions ranging from waterfalls to rock pools for you to explore. 8 Places To Visit On The Sunshine Coast
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8 Places To Visit On The Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast is not just about beautiful beaches but a great diversity of natural attractions ranging from waterfalls to rock pools for you to explore.

By Scott Pass

After years of scouring all the hillsides and edges of every beach and rock pool on the Sunshine Coast, I think it’s time to make a list of the top places for new visitors to explore. Most locations only take less than an hour to reach, so I strongly encourage you to check out all of them.



Buderim Forest Park, Buderim, Queensland

Buderim Forest Park is only five minutes away from Sunshine Coast by car. It's a hidden gem known only by locals. So for those visiting, this is the perfect micro-adventure and morning hike that’s sure to impress. Serenity Falls is only a short walk from either Quorn Close, or Harry’s Lane (Harry’s Restaurant) in Buderim. It's classified as a “ledge waterfall” so it is even more impressive during heavy rain or a period of constant rainfall. Although Serenity Falls is definitely the highlight, there are also a large number of smaller waterfalls and swimming holes stretching along the walk in the lower section of the park.


Glass House Mountains, Queensland

As you drive along the Bruce Highway toward Brisbane or the coast, it’s hard to miss the looming silhouettes of the Glass House Mountains. The Glass House Mountains are a popular tourist stop on the Sunshine Coast due to their appeal to hikers, their range of picnic locations and views from the top. Mount Ngungun (the easiest of the mountains to hike) provides visitors with a 360-degree view of the Hinterland and surroundings. It’s best to hike at sunrise or sunset when the mountains offer uninterrupted views of the fruit orchards and pineapple fields below.


Mapleton, Queensland

A trip to the Sunshine Coast is never complete without passing through the little country towns of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland – more specifically Maleny, Mapleton and Montville. There are numerous waterfalls, hidden tracks, walking trails and rolling hills throughout this countryside region, all within a 45-minute drive from Maroochydore.

The easiest route to reach Mapleton is via Nambour and up along the range if starting from Maroochydore. Here, you will find easy walks to Mapleton Falls. Further along the main road are tracks leading to the popular Kondalilla Falls. These trails make up the smaller section of the “Great Walks” national park hike in this region, often connecting to other hikes that can take days to explore.

If exploring by day just isn’t your thing, the night sky comes to life in the Hinterland region during a new moon. With a backdrop of a pure sky without light pollution, the lone trees scattered along the rolling hills provide the perfect silhouette for some astrophotography. Or you can always sit back and relax under the stars.


Booloumba Creek Road, Queensland

Booloumba Creek lies on the outskirts of Kenilworth, triangulated between Conondale, Mapleton and Kenilworth. There are four campgrounds throughout Boomloumba Creek. All of which are nestled right along the most incredibly clear stream of water you’ve ever seen. Similar to the Noosa Rock Pools, you’ll find plenty of crystal clear swimming pools all along the creek edge, all varying in depth. Fed by fresh water from the mountains above, this location makes for a perfect swim break from the summer heat.

Booloumba Creek is easy to locate. Take the scenic drive through Mapleton out to Kenilworth, or alternatively via Maleny and Conondale. From here, follow the dirt track all the way to the end and then cross the cattle grid. There are two creek crossings to get through before you arrive at the creek's campgrounds, so take care. The best swimming holes are located at Campground Three, which are perfect for swimming and relaxing.


Rainbow Beach, Queensland

The multi-coloured layers of sand of this appropriately titled Rainbow Beach attract a huge number of visitors. A backpacker’s dream destination, Rainbow Beach is situated less than two hours north of the Sunshine Coast, making it a simple day trip or weekend drive. This laid-back beach-side town has a growing range of accommodation options catering for all travellers.

If it’s adventure you seek, take a brief drive to the Carlow Sand Blow, the premier natural attraction of Rainbow Beach. From here, you’ll get to experience the vast, desert-like landscape with views overlooking the ocean to Double Island Point and Hinterland. Do try horse-riding along the beach or four-wheel driving to Double Island Point. Also, the Carlow Sand Blow is the perfect location to enjoy the sunsets on the Sunshine Coast.


Noosa National Park, Noosa Heads, Queensland

Noosa National Park has over one million visits each year. There are series of rock pools at the farthest end of the Noosa National Park trail. Pictures of the pristine pools gleaming in the sun have been shared countless times on social media, making the location a popular attraction in Queensland.

The pools are easier to find than you imagine. Park at the entrance of Noosa National Park and follow the trail all the way to the end. The rock pools are right below a lone bench overlooking the ocean. Both the main pool and the smaller second pool are deep enough to take a swim in. There are large corals in the main pool, so be mindful not to touch thus damage them. These pools provide shelter for smaller fish and organisms within, so be gentle, bring a snorkel mask and a GoPro to enjoy nature at its liveliest.


Sunshine Beach, Noosa, Queensland

There are a number of hidden caves that can be explored through sections of Noosa National Park. Some are relatively easy to access; others are much more difficult. The cave covered in this guide is the closest to the Sunshine Beach headland. To locate it, you should park at the very end of Seaview Terrace, Sunshine Beach and then walk down the timber stairs. Follow it to the top of the headland. Take the track on the right and weave your way to the top of the grassy hill overlooking the main beach.

From here, things get a little trickier. From the top of the hill, you can spot the cave situating on the left of the headland, tucked away beneath the hill. If you want to take a closer look, there is a very narrow strip to scale down to the cave and rock pools below. Exercise this part with caution and care.


Alexandria Bay, Noosa Head, Queensland

Tucked away at the very end of Noosa National Park hike is a quiet white sand beach. A favourite location for backpackers and local surfers, Alexandria Bay offers spectacular views from both adjoining headlands between the magnificent and impressive stretch of pure white sand.

If you’re hiking from Noosa, stop in at the Noosa National Park kiosk and grab a coffee on the way. You can expect the hike to take approximately an hour and a half return. This incredibly scenic coastal walk is a favourite for locals and visitors alike. It's best to tackle this one early morning or afternoon to avoid the crowds.

If you’re staying farther south, why not check out the most underrated beach-side town on the Sunshine Coast? Coolum Beach. Staying true to its surf and beach culture origins, Coolum Beach has recently received a full facelift of the esplanade and boardwalks. A wide range of coffee shops, health bars and restaurants are all within close walking distance to the esplanade. With many different bays and cliff sides to explore, Coolum Beach is bound to impress. Additionally, it’s only a 20-minute drive to reach the Noosa National Park, so why not experience two fantastic Sunshine Coast beaches in one?

This article originally appeared on Townske

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