Exploring the Sunshine Coast art gallery trail
Sunshine Coast art galleries may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of things to do in the area, but as anyone who’s visited the iconic Eumundi Markets will know, there’s no shortage of creative talent in the region.
From hinterland hideouts Maleny and Montville, to the beachy vibes of Caloundra and up the coast to Buderim, Eumundi and Noosa, the Sunshine Coast art gallery trail is for the cultured who like their art fix served with a generous side of local.
If you’re keen to explore the Sunshine Coast’s creative side, make your way through this list of the best Sunshine Coast art galleries.
Buderim is an underrated star in the line-up of Sunshine Coast’s hinterland hotspots.
Inside an old Queenslander sits Art Nuvo, a sleek gallery that’s home to a carefully curated collection of original artworks from local and interstate Australian talent. Ceramics and sculpture sit alongside paintings and limited edition prints for purchase, and you’ll even find the odd handmade homewares treasure that’s a work of art in its own right.
Local tip: Before Art Nuvo opens, stop in for an organic breakfast at The Shak Organic Cafe near the Ballinger Road roundabout. The Eggs Benedict is as pretty as a picture.
25 Gloucester Rd, Buderim
P: +61 7 5456 2445
Open Tuesday to Friday, 10am-5pm, Sat 9am-12pm
Montville’s reputation as a cute mountain getaway is undeniable, but it also holds the honour of having one of the largest concentration of Sunshine Coast art galleries, most within walking distance of each other.
Secrets on the Lake Gallery
Hungry for art with a view? The Secrets on the Lake Gallery’s views over the rainforest and Lake Baroon are almost more of a drawcard than the art inside, which has been curated from local artists and artisans. Hand-carved red cedar sculpture is a specialty here and there’s a clear Australian influence in almost all the artwork featured.
Local tip: Feeling peckish? Grab some sustenance from the gallery’s Dining on the Deck restaurant before continuing your art odyssey.
207 Narrows Road, Montville
P: +61 7 5478 5888
Open Monday to Sunday, 7am-7pm
For the past 15 years, specialist gallery Illume Creations has been showcasing the talents of local glass artist Tina Cooper, along with a select few other glass artisans. Colourful and extra-delicate, pick up a beautiful vase or platter, a unique piece of jewellery, or hand-blown glass decorations to add to your art collection.
Insider tip: Right behind Illume Creations at The Edge Cafe, Bar & Restaurant, you will find one of the best panoramic views in Montville.
Shop 4 Mayfield, 127-133 Main Street, Montville
P: +61 7 5478 5440
Open Monday to Sunday, 10am-4.15pm
Montville Art Gallery
A dynamic line-up of more than 50 emerging and established Australian artists and a different feature artist every month means there’s never a dull moment at the Montville Art Gallery.
Artworks adorn every spot of the old Queenslander’s walls, spilling out onto the shady verandahs and wooing art lovers from the Sunshine Coast, and all over the world.
Local tip: If you’re looking to take home an art keepsake to remind you of your trip, look for one of Lorraine Rogers’ watercolours inside the Montville Art Gallery. The Sunshine Coast’s natural beauty – from beach to hinterland – is a common source of inspiration from this respected local artist.
138 Main Street, Montville
P: +61 7 5442 9211
Open Monday to Sunday, 10am-5pm
Main Street Art Gallery
Main Street Art Gallery is Montville’s champion of contemporary and eclectic pieces made by predominantly local artists. Dealing in sculpture, paintings, photography, prints and ceramics, there’s a high chance you’ll luck upon something you love.
Local tip: Above Main Street Art Gallery is Montville’s iconic Poets Cafe. Grab a spot at the back to take in the lush green view while you sip your coffee.
167 Main Street, Montville
P: +61 7 5478 5050
Open Thu-Sun 11am-4pm
The artsy fraternal twin to Montville, Maleny’s delights keep coming. With wineries, a cheese factory, and a long list of scenic walks, you can easily spend a day or a week at this mountain-top escape.
Art on Cairncross
A collaboration between two of the Sunshine Coast hinterland’s gallery powerhouses, Art on Cairncross has been going strong for 25 years. Filled with a huge range of fine art pieces including paintings, ceramics, glass and sculpture, the gallery highlights the work being produced by the Sunshine Coast’s best up-and-coming and renowned artists.
Local tip: Art on Cairncross co-owner Tony Gill is a prominent face in the Sunshine Coast community and writes a regular art column for Sunshine Coast Daily’s Weekend Magazine.
Cairncross Corner, 3 Panorama Place, Maleny
P: +61 7 5429 6404
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-5pm
Ben Messina Photography
Local photographer Ben Messina has been capturing both local and national landscapes in the name of beautiful photographs since he was 10. He opened his fourth, and largest, gallery on Maple Street in Maleny in 2013, which features his best work from the city to the sea, and all the landscapes in between.
His photographs are vivid and the change in seasons and weather, along with iconic natural landmarks of the greater Sunshine Coast area, are a source of much of his inspiration.
Local tip: While you’re more likely to see Ben in Maleny, he also has a gallery in Montville at 178 Main Street.
3/41 Maple Street, Maleny
P: +61 7 5494 3854
Open Monday to Sunday, 10am-4pm
Peace of Green Gallery
Peace of Green Gallery is a Sunshine Coast artists’ collective. You’ll find a different artist manning the desk every day who’ll be only too happy to tell you a story about the work in the gallery.
The art is eclectic and unique here, from double-exposure photography to pen and ink drawings and mosaic mirrors. With the feeling of a boutique gift shop and art gallery in one, there’s both art to make your own, or just admire.
Local tip: Since you’re already in the area, make a detour after your gallery visit to travel the cheese circuit. Sample fresh yoghurt and ice-cream at Maleny Dairies’ farm shop then head on to Maleny Cheese to end the day with a cheese platter and glass of wine.
38 Maple Street, Maleny
P: +61 7 5499 9311
Open Monday to Sunday, 9.30am-4pm
David Linton Gallery
A tree’s life is never done at the workshop and showroom of Maleny timber artist David Linton, who gathers and salvages wood to make heirloom furniture, vases, chopping boards and sculpture plus commission pieces.
The gallery is also home to the work of other local woodturners and artists like glassmakers and painters.
Local tip: If you’re visiting on a Sunday, stop by the Maleny markets between 8am and 2pm to see more local artwork and handmade crafts. It’s just a short stroll away on Bunya Street at the RSL Hall.
14 Maple Street, Maleny
P: +61 7 5429 6831
Open Monday to Sunday, 10am-4pm
Maleny Art Direct
The mood is fresh and colourful at Maleny Art Direct. Exhibiting fine artworks by Maleny artists at affordable prices, you’ll find Gary Myers’ unmistakable technicolour Australian landscapes; Lindsay Muir’s vibrant pottery wall hangings, animal figurines and vases; and Vanessa Perske’s quirky animal paintings that pop with intense colour, along with pieces from guest artists. It’s a modern gallery that knows how to put you in a good mood.
Local tip: Fun fact: The gallery’s owner, Lindsay Muir is known as the ‘frog man’ – when you see his ceramics in the gallery, you’ll know why.
21 Maple Street, Maleny
P: +61 413 885 220
Open Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm; Saturday, 9.30am-3.30pm; Sunday, 9.30am-2.30pm
Home to the famed markets of the same name, Eumundi is a ‘can’t-miss’ whether you’re an art buff or not. Venture beyond the township’s main strip to see how the locals do it.
Artisans Gallery Eumundi
Artisans Gallery is an art hub that shares the works of emerging creatives and regular guest exhibitors in the heart of Eumundi. Timbercraftsman David Suters’ sculptural woodwork features prominently, and one of Australia’s best galleries for Aboriginal fine art, Red Desert Gallery, is now under the same roof.
Local tip: Red Desert Gallery specialises in the work of elders of Central and Western Desert regions. If you get a chance, spark up a conversation with Red Desert’s owner and curator Paul Curtis, who has the most impressive wealth of knowledge on Aboriginal art.
43 Caplick Way, Eumundi
P: +61 409 848 098
Open Wednesday to Friday 10am-4pm; Saturday 9am-3pm
Noosa Regional Art Gallery
Overlooking the river in Tewantin, Noosa Regional Gallery is home to the beating art heart of Noosa. An initiative of the Noosa Council, this contemporary gallery supports local artists and artisans through exhibitions and its well-stocked shop, plus holds regular programs, workshops and events for children and adults.
Local tip: Time your gallery visit with the Noosa Marina craft and produce markets, which are on every Sunday from 8am to 2pm.
9 Pelican Street, Tewantin
P: +61 7 5329 6145
Open Tuesday to Friday, 10am-4pm, Saturday to Sunday, 10am-3pm
Hearts and Minds Art
Borrowing from the old war adage, Hearts and Minds wins visitors over with a light and breezy gallery brimming with contemporary art, furniture, sculpture and jewellery. There’s always at least 14 artists on show at any given time to show the breadth of talent from the local Sunshine Coast area. Open daily, it’s hard to pass up the original artworks and limited edition prints in this art trove.
Local tip: After your morning art fix, make your way just a few doors down to indulge in a Bottomless Brunch at Miss Moneypenny’s.
1 Hastings Street, Noosa Heads
P: +61 418 108 299
Open Monday to Sunday, 9am-5pm
Nissarana are selective about the artists they have on show in their Hastings Street gallery. A theme of spirituality and culture are at the heart of the modern masterpieces they hand-select. Expect to find solo and group exhibitions of award-winning Australian and international artists as well as emerging talent.
Local tip: You’re just a few steps away from some of the best coffee in Noosa. Grab a latte to-go from 10 Hastings on your way to Nissarana.
5 Hastings Street, Noosa Heads
P: +61 7 5455 4428
Open Monday to Sunday, 10am-5pm
Caloundra Regional Gallery
Caloundra Regional Art Gallery’s ever-changing exhibitions from local and national artists gives you plenty of reasons to stop by on the regular. Operated by Sunshine Coast Council, the professionally curated talent on show is impressive and diverse.
Local tip: You’re just a block away from authentic Italian gelato! Even vegans won’t want to miss out on a scoop of Milano Gelateria’s sorbet on a hot Queensland day.
22 Omrah Avenue, Caloundra
P: +61 7 5420 8299
Open Tuesday to Friday, 10am-4pm; Saturday and Sunday, 10am-2pm
University of the Sunshine Coast Art Gallery
This Sunshine Coast university knows how to put together a world-class exhibition. Combining thought-provoking artistic showcases from local and international creatives with workshops and lectures, you’ll get the full immersive art experience at the University of the Sunshine Coast (and no, you don’t have to be a student to attend).
Local tip: The University of the Sunshine Coast Art Gallery is currently in the midst of getting a refresh and will reopen in 2020 with even more exhibition spaces.
90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs
P: +61 7 5459 4645
*Note: The University of the Sunshine Coast Art Gallery is temporarily closed until the first half of 2020 while it undergoes a transformation.
This post was originally published in June 2016 and updated in November 2019.