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The best secret beaches of the Sunshine Coast

Once temperatures begin to rise, Queenslanders head for the coast. The Sunshine Coast is a firm favourite for locals eager to cool off, but mingling with the masses fortunately isn’t a non-negotiable for seekers of solitude.

Forget all about fighting the crowds. Take yourself instead to one of the hidden gems residing within the seaside stretch – but be warned that while serenity is promised, a beach patrol is not.

Below you’ll find seven of our favourite secret beaches on the Sunshine Coast.

Alexandria Bay

Alexandria Bay

Photo by @shanmintay

You know a beach is secret when you can only access it by foot. Alexandria Bay is completely off the beaten track nestled between Hell’s Gate and Lion’s Rock in Noosa National Park.

Literally, all you’ll need is a towel and sunscreen to discover this beach (technically it’s an unofficial nudist beach, so prudes beware). Here, you’re guaranteed a private patch of sand to call home and a few capable surfers to watch from your perch.

Point Cartwright Beach

Nestled right into the northern tip of Buddina’s Kawana Beach by the mouth of the Mooloolah River sits this secret sandy stretch. Swell is the specialty here, with surfers abundant in the nearby break. But those who aren’t fans of board games will be able to appreciate the views of Mooloolaba, the Mooloolah River, and Mount Coolum enjoyed from the Point Cartwright Lighthouse just up the hill.

Shelly Beach

Indulge your inner marine biologist with a scavenge through Shelly Beach in Caloundra. Not suitable for swimming, the sandy precinct is best explored on foot while you forage for the clusters of marine life like black sea cucumbers, blue periwinkles and rose barnacles in the rockpools scattered throughout.

Dogs are also welcome to run amok throughout the year.

Mudjimba Beach

Mudjimba Beach | Secret beaches on the Sunshine Coast

Photo by @ourcoastlife

Serenity is the forte of clandestine Mudjimba Beach, a picturesque stretch wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the Maroochy River.

With the Maroochy River Conservation Park its only neighbour, this secret beach may offer you ample seclusion, but is handily only a short drive from local favourites Coolum and Noosa. A sinister riptide can make itself known here, so dipping much more than your feet isn’t recommended.

Moffat Beach

Moffat Beach, Sunshine Coast

Sitting in the shadows of its more popular neighbours, Kings and Dicky Beach has really done Moffat Beach a favour; the secret stretch doesn’t tend to suffer from the same crowds come summer.

The Caloundra gem remains a local favourite courtesy of its quiet nature, and a growing number of quality cafes that line its length. While it’s not patrolled, the beach itself is home to a famed swell for surfers, as well as the country’s longest running surf competition (The Ma and Pa Bendall Classic). If you do want to wade out for a dip, head straight for the adjoining Tooway Creek.

Happy Valley

Kids in tow? Happy by name and happy by nature is this Caloundra offering, which is a particular favourite for those with energetic little ones. Parents will be delighted to hear that ample green space and playgrounds surround the sand for entertaining any kids, accompanied by a handful of barbecues for dinner parties al fresco.

Rainbow Beach

Rainbow Beach | Secret beaches on the Sunshine Coast

One of the most breathtaking secret beaches on the Sunshine Coast will tempt those not afraid of a little adventure.

Settled at the southern gateway to Fraser Island on Great Beach Drive is Rainbow Beach, the home of natural wonder, sand expanse the Carlo Sand Blow. Best accessed by 4WD, Rainbow may take the better part of a day to reach, but it’s worth the extra effort. Activities await those not satisfied with lazing on the sand – horse riding included.