10 best things to do on the Sunshine Coast

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  • Post last modified:June 24, 2024
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Few places radiate holiday vibes like the Sunshine Coast. In fact, just picturing these gorgeous things to do put you in a better, more relaxed state of mind.

1. Play in the calm water at Noosa Main Beach

A soft beach backed by a glittering ocean may be a common feature on the Sunshine Coast, but Noosa Main Beach has an ace in its sleeve. Facing north, it dodges those characteristically big Pacific waves and instead, on most days, offers calm waters that everyone can enjoy. Embrace the fortunate setting as you feel the sand under your feet, splash in the water and give surfing a go without the pressure of an intimidating swell.

When thirst or hungers call, turn to the adjacent Hastings Street.

Quiet afternoon at palm-framed Noosa Heads Main Beach where visitors soak up some sun
Frolic on tranquil Noosa Main Beach.

2. Make a toast on Hastings Street

Parallel to Noosa Main Beach, Hastings Street is one of Australia’s most atmospheric main streets. Take a leisurely stroll to explore all from upscale restaurants to low-key eateries and trend-setting fashion stores to traditional gift shops. Then celebrate that you’re on holiday with a toast, maybe at Noosa Heads Surf Life Saving Club, iconically overlooking the beach.

A woman in a red dress and hat walks along Hastings Street in Noosa
Raise your glass on Hastings Street.

3. Experience effortless adventures in Noosa National Park

Just a 20-minute walk from busy Hastings Street, the Headland Section of Noosa National Park invites you to discover some of Queensland’s most dramatic vistas. Be amazed by the thundering waves colliding with imposing cliffs at the Boiling Point Lookout, Dolphin Point Lookout and Hell’s Gates — all lining the 10.8km out-and-back Coastal Walk.

The local fauna adds an extra ingredient to an already big experience: Scan forests of pines and eucalyptus for species including goannas, echidnas and koalas. Keep your eyes peeled on the water for the chance to see dolphins, turtles and (from July through October) migrating humpback whales.

Powerful waves battering the cliffs of Noosa National Park during sunset
Absorb dramatic scenery along the Coastal Walk.

4. Paddle into sensational Noosa Everglades

No, visiting an everglades doesn’t demand a trip to the USA. On your Sunshine Coast holiday, simply make your way over to the upper catchment of the Noosa River, accessed from the shoreline of Lake Cootharaba, where mazes of waterways and wetlands decorated with floating lily pads form one of the planet’s only two everglades ecosystems.

For the rawest experience, glide away into the unique pocket of nature on a kayak or canoe; campsites along the way make multi-day adventures feasible. There’re no gators or crocs to beware of, but you can spot over 40% of Australia’s bird species along the way.

Rather sit back and relax? Embarking on an eco cruise into the wilderness makes an excellent alternative.

5. Try local treasures at the Ginger Factory

Enter the Ginger Factory, an entertainment park entirely dedicated to ginger (yes, really). The concept is simple: There’s no entrance fee, so you can roam the friendly grounds, encompassing beautiful rainforests and gardens without paying a cent, but some of the best attractions require a paid ticket.

The favorite for those who want to learn is the Factory Tour, going behind the scenes of the Buderim Ginger production before finishing with an invigorating tasting session. Younger visitors tend to gravitate towards the Overboard ride, taking you around the ginger globe with music and 200-plus handmade puppets, and the Ginger Train, allowing you to enjoy the quirky park from a seated position.

A ginger man holding a stop sign encouraging visitors to watch for trains at the Ginger Factory
Step into a world centered around ginger.

6. Be inspired by the Original Eumundi Markets

Visit the hinterland town of Eumundi on a Wednesday or Saturday morning to be wowed by the creativity and talent it holds. You’ll find hundreds of stalls selling artisan goods, from furniture to homewares to artworks to ceramics to clothing to jewelry — making a list feels rather pointless when you can expect just about anything.

But what about things to eat? With a motto of “Make it, Bake it, Sew it, Grow it”, you can anticipate an array of delicious foods and fresh produce at the Original Eumundi Markets too.

7. Unwind on well-equipped Mooloolaba Beach

Crescent-shaped Mooloolaba Beach is a sandy holiday dream with two distinct sides.

Most of the action revolves around glamorous Mooloolaba Esplanade, boasting restaurants, bars and shops within steps of the sand. Although it can get busy, especially on weekends, green parks and playgrounds contribute to a tranquil atmosphere.

For time away from the crowds, head east to the Mooloolaba Spit, where a seawall makes for calmer swimming conditions. For lunch here, try the Fisheries on the Spit, selling popular fish and chips across the road.

Lifeguard station overlooking sandy Mooloolaba Beach with skyscrapers looming on the horizon
Discover the lure of Mooloolaba Beach.

8. Be enchanted by the Glass House Mountains

Marvel at the 11 peaks, remains of ancient volcano plugs, that enchantingly protrude from the Sunshine Coast hinterland: the Glass House Mountains. Stop at the Glass House Mountains Lookout, where the breathtaking views on a clear day reach Caloundra, Maroochydore, Moreton Island and even Brisbane. If this stirs your appetite for more, get your hiking boots ready to conquer the out-and-back tracks of Mount Ngungun (2.4 km) and Mount Tibrogargan (3.4 km).

9. Take the kids to thrilling Australia Zoo

What started as small-scale Beerwah Reptile and Fauna Park in 1970 has grown to become an international wildlife powerhouse spanning over 700 acres. While Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter himself, tragically passed away in 2006, his family continues to strive for a world where people and wildlife harmoniously coexist.

Applaud these efforts as you journey through the Australia Zoo, letting you admire and interact with animals in countless ways. The showstopper is the Wildlife Warrior Show; you can almost feel Steve’s presence as huge crocodiles strike in front of you in the 5000-something Crocoseum arena. Other highlights include feeding kangaroos and petting a cuddly koala.

10. Picnic at rising Point Cartwright Reserve

There’s no shortage of things to rest your eyes on at the wave-battered Point Cartwright headland. On its west side, the Mooloolah River peacefully flows while a stonewall provides spectacular views of Mooloolaba Beach. On its east side, Kawana Beach magically unfurls as far as you can see. At its summit, Point Cartwright Lighthouse hides behind pine trees and a mural-styled water tank.

To fully appreciate the scenery, walk the 2 km loop around the reserve. Elevate the occasion by unfolding a blanket on the headland’s grass slopes, relishing a picnic with the waves brilliantly hitting the steep cliffs below you.

If this isn’t holiday, what is?

Strayaguide's Marie sitting on a towel in front of two bikes at Point Cartwright, overlooking Kawana Beach to the south
Marie relaxing atop Point Cartwright.

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