6 Sunshine Coast experiences beyond the beach
Nothing beats a day of sun, sand and surf on the Sunshine Coast. The beautiful stretches of beach between Caloundra to Mooloolaba, Maroochydore to Mudjimba and all the way up to Noosa Heads are the perfect place to unwind and soak up the sun.
But the coast is full of experiences beyond the beach – from farm-to-table feasts to markets and fun-filled water parks – so here are 6 new ideas for things to do next time you visit.
1. Enjoy a day of quaint hinterland experiences
The Sunshine Coast Hinterland is a pocket of villages filled with wineries, cheese shops and hidden restaurants. A day trip can take you from sampling cheese and meeting the cows that provided the milk at Maleny Dairies, to walking through the rainforest at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve with stunning views of the Glass House Mountains.
Top it all off with dinner at The Terrace in Maleny to enjoy fresh seafood looking out across the hinterland to the ocean beyond.
Here’s a handy day-trip itinerary to follow, that we prepared earlier!
2. Bush walk Mount Coolum and the Glass House Mountains
Unlike the big red rock in the middle of Oz, (arguably) the second largest is bright green and on the Sunshine Coast. Mount Coolum gets its emerald glow from over 700 types of plants, including 590 flowering plants, 49 ferns and over 100 species mosses, liverworts and lichens living on the mountain.
An isolated volcanic dome over 208 metres in height, Mount Coolum gives you a 360-degree view of the coast and you can make the hike up and down in just 40 minutes.
The iconic Glass House Mountains offer more than stunning scenery with interesting walking and cycling tracks and numerous picnic spots. If you’re in need of an adrenalin rush, you can rock climb or abseil spots like the Thanksgiving Wall, Short Cool Ones, Nursery Cliff, Slider Wall, Halfway House Terrace and Sunburnt Buttress.
Want more inspiration? Check out our Into the Sunshine video about rock climbing in the Glass House Mountains here.
3. Meet the locals
Make new friends when you spot a koala at Noosa National Park – they’re often seen taking an afternoon nap in the trees along the stunning Coastal Track. If talking to the animals is your thing be sure to say hello to Whoppa the Eclectus parrot at Parrots in Paradise or let Thomas the Macaw hitch a ride on your shoulder at Maleny Botanic Gardens.
Don’t forget to say “g’day” to alligators, birds, snakes, and lizards roaming the park at Australia Zoo, made famous by Steve Irwin and his family. The zoo has four walk-through enclosures where you can feed kangaroos and wallabies, view crocodile feedings in the Crocoseum and help feed the elephants at ‘Elephantasia’ in the afternoons.
Psst! Find out how to get the most out of a day at Australia Zoo here.
4. Dive into theme park fun
Swim with sharks, walk with tigers or slide down a 46-metre slippery dip – you won’t be left wanting for adventure on the Sunshine Coast. Sea Life Underwater World, Australia Zoo and Aussie World and are just some of the theme parks for the big kid in all of us.
Get wet beyond the beach with some of the Sunshine Coast’s water parks. Top Shots Fun Park has the Inflatable Blue Crush Waterslide while Bli Bli Aqua Park, Aqua Fun Park Coolum and Thrill Hill Family Fun & Waterslide Park all offer plenty of water action.
5. Shop up a storm at Eumundi Markets
The Eumundi Markets are Australia’s biggest and best art, craft and produce markets. Held every Saturday and Wednesday of the year (rain, hail or shine) the markets are the heartbeat of the charming historic hinterland town of Eumundi.
Over the past 35 years, the markets have grown a loyal community of musicians, street performers, face painters and palm readers who add even more colour to the rainbow of offerings for sale. Pick up an original artwork, organic skincare, fashion by local Sunshine Coast designers, as well as fresh local produce and fabulous food to enjoy while you explore the 500-plus stalls that make up the Eumundi Markets.
6. Devour fresh Mooloolaba Prawns
Mooloolaba’s most famous crustacean is the big, fat, juicy prawn pulled fresh from the waters of the Sunshine Coast. Mooloolaba prawns are renowned for their vibrant red colour and are best served fresh not long after the trawlers pull into port.
There are plenty of places to pick up some prawns: Shop straight from the trawlers at Mooloolaba Spit and pack a picnic rug for a beachside feast, try the fine dining option at Fish on Parkyn or Noosa Boathouse or head out to sea with Coastal Cruises Mooloolaba‘s Seafood Lunch Signature Cruise.