9 amazing things to do on the Sunshine Coast

As its name suggests, the Sunshine Coast is a classic summer holiday destination. 9 amazing things to do on the Sunshine Coast
Site Requires Javascript - turn on javascript!

9 Amazing Things To Do on the Sunshine Coast

As its name suggests, the Sunshine Coast is a classic summer holiday destination. 


By Malcolm Chenu

A 75 minute drive north of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast is one of Australia's favourite holiday spots. It is home to many upmarket beach villages, most notably the sophisticated holiday town of Noosa Heads, more commonly known as Noosa. The town is an ideal base from which to explore the region, and has superb restaurants as well as premium accommodation, including international hotel chains and boutique stays. Here are nine amazing things to see and do while you're there. 

HORSE RIDE THROUGH THE WATER AT RAINBOW BEACH

Horse riding, Rainbow Beach, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

At the coastal village of Rainbow Beach, a scenic 70 kilometre (43 mile) drive north from the town of Noosa, you'll find one of Australia's most beautiful horse-riding experiences, available year round. Saddle up on one of the gentle horses at Rainbow Beach Horse Rides and you'll ride along the beach before heading into the water on horseback. You'll also stop for photos along the way. Rainbow Beach is known for its particularly picturesque, multi-coloured sand cliffs.

SWIM WITH HUMPBACK WHALES

Humpback whales, Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Swimming with humpback whales is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and the Sunshine Coast is one of the few places on Earth you can do it. On your four hour expedition with Sunreef Tours you'll see whales and dolphins, and when the time is right you'll jump into the water, hold on to a float line and allow these magnificent, curious creatures to approach you. Tours leave the town of Mooloolaba every day during whale migration season, between July and October. Mooloolaba is a relaxed, pretty town a 40 minute drive south from Noosa, with a beach and riverfront. As well as its whale watching, it's renowned for sailing, fishing and surfing.

EXPLORE THE SUNSHINE COAST HINTERLAND

Montville, Sunshine Coast hinterland, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

The Sunshine Coast hinterland is beautiful. The best way to explore it is to hire a car in Noosa and pick up a map that details the highlights (available from all car hire businesses). In just 30 minutes you'll be in stunning landscapes of green valleys and rainforest, ancient volcanic peaks and mountains, beautiful waterfalls and scenic lookouts. The hinterland area is also a thriving art and food scene. Browse a gallery, drop in to a winery cellar door (or two) and visit the charming towns of Mapleton, Maleny, and Flaxton. Enjoy lunch with a mountain view on the deck at Edge Restaurant in Montville.

ESCAPE TO SPICERS CLOVELLY ESTATE

Spicers Clovelly Estate, Montville, Sunshine Coast hinterland, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

A celebrated fine-dining and spa retreat, Spicers Clovelly Estate is set among huge fig and jacaranda trees and magnolia groves. The luxurious lodgings include a stately three-bedroom French cottage and nine other large suites. Sample the degustation menu at the multi-award-winning Long Apron restaurant and indulge yourself with a treatment at Spa Anise. Spicers may feature French décor and cooking but you'll wake to sounds of kookaburras and other Australian birds. Spicers is in Montville, a one hour drive south-west from Noosa.

RELAX ON ENDLESS BEACHES

Little Cove Beach, Noosa, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

The Sunshine Coast is blessed with miles of perfect white sand and clean turquoise water, so there are plenty of places to lay down a towel. Many offer safe swimming as well as surf breaks and the main beaches are patrolled by lifeguards during summer. Noosa Main Beach is very safe and has shops, bars, cafés and restaurants just across the road on Hastings Street. Little Cove is a good swimming beach too, and just a five minute stroll from Noosa Main Beach. Mooloolaba Beach is also a good place for young children, especially around Mooloolaba Spit, and has cafés and bicycle tracks. Roomy Kings Beach in Caloundra has a nearby amphitheatre that is often used for live music, while Peregian Beach boasts beautiful sand dunes and is usually uncrowded.

LIVE LIKE A BILLIONAIRE ON MAKEPEACE ISLAND

Makepeace Island, Noosa, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Just a few minutes from the town of Noosa you'll find Makepeace Island. It's an exclusive resort owned by Sir Richard Branson, on an island shaped like a heart. This private retreat, in the middle of the Noosa River, is a peaceful, Balinese-themed sanctuary with only three two-bedroom villas. It has a lagoon pool, water features, boardwalks and a two-storey open-air pavilion. Follow the walking trail and meet the resident kangaroos, koalas, echidnas and kookaburras, and relax with a champagne sunset river cruise.

KAYAK THE NOOSA EVERGLADES

Noosa Everglades, Noosa, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Join a half or full-day wilderness cruise and explore the unique Noosa Everglades, a pristine wetlands and lakes region. The mirror-like waterways, bushland and abundant birdlife are a natural wonder and a photographer's dream. Noosa Everglades Discovery Tours’ morning cruises (including a steak or barramundi barbecue lunch) and afternoon cruises leave the beachfront at Hastings Street in Noosa or from the nearby town of Noosaville and travel about 20 kilometres (12 miles) up the Noosa River to reach the Everglades. 

TAKE A WALK IN THE SUNSHINE

Noosa National Park, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

The Sunshine Coast region is blessed with spectacular walking trails, from easy to challenging. Choose from beach and wetlands tracks through Noosa National Park. There are several scenic tracks and lookouts, including the very popular coastal track, a 5.4 kilometre (3.4 mile) return track that starts at the entrance of the park. It is graded as easy and partly shaded. Almost half the track is paved, making it suitable for wheelchairs and prams. 

WINE AND DINE IN NOOSA

Main Beach, Hastings Street, Noosa, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

The Sunshine Coast food scene is exceptional, especially around Noosa. Hastings Street in Noosa in particular is an excellent dining hub. Try Sails for fusion-style Mooloolaba prawns and coral trout. Head to Ricky's River Bar & Restaurant for casual elegance and superb cocktails. Woodfire GrillWasabi and Betty's Burgers are all true to their names and very popular. And don't miss Noosa Farmers Market, held every Sunday under a canopy of leafy eucalpytus trees in nearby Noosaville (an eight minute taxi ride, or short bus trip from Hastings Street).

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

Guide To Gold Coast

Guide To Gold Coast

From theme parks to shopping, and surfing to ancient rainforest, here’s how to make the most of the Gold Coast.

View more information

Add to your dream trip add favourite
Surfing in Australia

Surfing in Australia

Australia's surf beaches, where first-class waves for all surfing abilities crash, are born from the Pacific Ocean in the east, the Indian Ocean in the west and the Southern Ocean in the south . Visit iconic Bells Beach, near Torquay, the gateway to Victoria's Surf Coast on the Great Ocean Road. In New South Wales, Byron Bay, Newcastle, Sydney and its south coast offer a superior swell. Hang out in Burleigh Heads or coast along one of the world's longest waves at Snapper Rocks on Queensland's Gold Coast. In South Australia, great surf beaches dot the Fleurieu, Yorke and Eyre peninsulas as well as the Limestone Coast. In Western Australia, Perth, Margaret River and Esperance are home to an abundance of surf beaches. Brave Tasmania's Southern Ocean swells in Hobart, Bruny Island, Launceston, Devonport and Marrawah. You'll find a wave to yourself on our uncrowded and pristine coastal beaches.

View more information

Add to your dream trip add favourite
Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast

The superb weather of the Sunshine Coast, a little over an hour from Brisbane, is perfect for an action-packed holiday or quiet escape at any time of year. The Sunshine Coast has four sub-regions, all with their own unique attractions. Pristine beaches stretch for miles, with both safe swimming beaches and spectacular surf breaks.

View more information

Add to your dream trip add favourite
The Whitsunday Islands

The Whitsunday Islands

Swim with sea turtles and rainbow-coloured fish, sail the clear waters of the Great Barrier Reef and sink your toes into the world's most beautiful beach on a tropical Whitsundays holiday.

View more information

Add to your dream trip add favourite
Brisbane

Brisbane

Combine art and outdoor adventure in Brisbane, where South Bank's cultural institutions and restaurants meet riverside gardens and a lagoon. Take a paddlesteamer or ferry down the Brisbane River, abseil Kangaroo Point cliffs and bike ride through the City Botanic Gardens. Day trip to Moreton Island or add Noosa, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast hinterland to your itinerary.

View more information

Add to your dream trip add favourite