Where to stay on the Sunshine Coast

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  • Post last modified:June 24, 2024
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From sophisticated Noosa Heads to exciting Mooloolaba to southerly Caloundra, not to mention the Hinterland rising in the background, the gorgeous places to stay on the Sunshine Coast are many. Read on to narrow down exactly where you should base yourself during your Sunshine Coast holiday.

Noosa Heads

At the northern end of the Sunshine Coast, Noosa brilliantly blends nature’s and civilisation’s best.

Laze on Noosa Main Beach — where the waves are gentle thanks to its north-facing angle — all day long. Or adventure into Noosa National Park, which begins just a scenic 20-minute stroll along the coast from the town center.

Steps from the beach, Hastings Street makes up the heart of Noosa. Enjoy stylish dining and drinking venues, upscale yet relaxed, and browse boutiques loaded with cutting-edge fashion and souvenirs for the memory shelf back home.

Why wouldn’t you want to stay in Noosa Heads? Well, the word about this Sunshine Coast gem got out long ago, and accommodation rates can be steep, especially during school holidays.

Best hotels in Noosa

Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort

It doesn’t get better than a 5-star hotel on Hastings Street. Try the acclaimed on-site Noosa Beach House Restaurant, or move over to the swim-up bar and order a refreshing drink.

Hotel Laguna

Hotel Laguna provides affordable (for Hastings Street) self-contained apartments and a lovely pool area. The best units feature river views.

Caribbean Noosa

Zoom out 250m from Hastings Street to enjoy a rare combo of convenience and seclusion. Caribbean Noosa has 16 boutique-style apartments radiating homey vibes.

People sunbaking on Noosa Main Beach under a blue sky
Embrace holiday-perfect Noosa.

Mooloolaba

Central on the Sunshine Coast, Mooloolaba gives Noosa Heads a run for its money as the best place to stay on the Sunshine Coast.

Feel the buzzing holiday vibe along Mooloolaba Esplanade, lined by high rises on one side and the ocean on the other. Fancy resorts, eateries and bars — you find it all within steps of remarkable Mooloolaba Beach.

A stone’s throw away, celebratory Mooloolaba Wharf, backdropped by the soothing marina, adds even more options for eating and enjoying a cold one. Consider elevating the occasion by entering the complex’s biggest attraction, the magical underwater world of Sea Life Sunshine Coast Aquarium.

At Mooloolaba’s eastern end, the Spit area offers a serener ambience. Thanks to a stonewall, the waves are smaller. So are the crowds, meaning the setting is excellent for quiet reading or family time.

Best hotels in Mooloolaba

Oceans Mooloolaba

With understated luxury, Oceans Mooloolaba lets its breathtaking view speak for itself. The units are ridiculously spacious, especially considering the attractions on your doorstep — Mooloolaba’s esplanade and beach — will pull you away.

Mantra Mooloolaba Beach

A sprawling complex with two pools (indoor and outdoor), Mantra soars high above Mooloolaba Esplanade. Choose from neat one, two and three-bedroom units.

84 The Spit Holiday Apartments

Embrace a quieter but as eye-popping Mooloolaba at 84 The Spit Holiday Apartments. Get from your bed to the beach in one minute without crossing any roads.

Blue mural depicting ocean creatures at Sea Life Sunshine Coast Aquarium, Mooloolaba
Appreciate all that Mooloolaba has to offer.

Caloundra

In the shadows of Noosa and Mooloolaba, Caloundra welcomes you to the Sunshine Coast’s tail end. Discover a quintessential Aussie town with a beach for every mood.

At the friendly CBD, Bulcock Beach hugs the northern inlet of the Pumicestone Channel. A short distance across the passage, Bribie Island’s north tip protects swimmers from large waves, adding to the tranquility.

Neighboring Kings Beach features a bigger swell, attracting surfers, and a laughter-evoking fountain, enticing kids. For the most iconic view, swim some laps in the saltwater pool beautifully perched above the ocean.

If you crave something away from the crowds, try peaceful Moffat Beach, best enjoyed sipping a coffee from the nearby Pocket Espresso Bar.

Can’t decide which beach to pick? Hop between them as you explore a slice of the Coastal Pathway, covering 73 km of the Sunshine Coast.

Best hotels in Caloundra

Aspect Caloundra

Spread out in style at luxurious Aspect Caloundra. The fantastic facilities encompass a heated lap pool, recreation pool, hot tub, tennis court and gym.

Waterview Resort

Aptly named, the Waterview Resort lets you gaze out over Bulcock Beach from the comfort of your balcony. Each unit offers a panoramic view and comes with a full kitchen.

Belaire Place

These motel-style apartments are laid-back without sacrificing comfort. To add some glamour, snap up one of the units with a view of the Pumicestone Channel.

Coast beyond

Beyond the draws of Noosa, Mooloolaba, and Caloundra, you find several other gems along the Sunshine Coast. Consider one of these spots if you want to go off the beaten path.

Sunshine Beach, Sunrise Beach & Castaway Beach

Stay here to enjoy easy access to the world-class Noosa Heads without being constantly exposed to those world-class crowds. When you’re up for it, go by car to Hastings Street in minutes, or, for a unique entrance, take the 5.4km (one-way) Coastal Walk from Sunshine Beach to Noosa Heads through Noosa National Park.

Marcus Beach and Peregian Beach

Nature dominates in sleepy Marcus Beach and Peregian Beach, framed not only by untouched beaches but also the southern sections of Noosa National Park and Lake Weyba. To refuel after an outdoor adventure, head to the cute Peregian Square, where a handful of charismatic restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques line up.

Mount Coolum & Coolum Beach

Reaching 207 m above sea level, Mount Coolum, protected by the namesake national park, is one of the most distinguished landmarks along the Sunshine Coast. At the mountain’s base, Coolum Beach beckons visitors with its exposed surf beach and bubbling atmosphere — experience both with a meal at Coolum Surf Club.

Maroochydore

Maroochydore functions as the Sunshine Coast’s CBD. Shop until you drop at Sunshine Plaza, the region’s biggest shopping center with over 300 stores. To recharge, walk along the soothing Maroochy River, home to picturesque boatsheds.

Buddina

Sensational scenery awaits in Buddina. The wow factor peaks at Point Cartwright Reserve, majestically overlooking Mooloolaba Beach, Kawana Beach and the Pacific Ocean.

Quiet canal with a pedal boat at Sunshine Plaza, Maroochydore
Sunshine Plaza, the coast’s shopping hub.

Hinterland

The Glass House Mountains magnificently tower up in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Book a hinterland stay, or at least take a day trip from your oceanfront location.

Montville

A town with an exceptional view, Montville has Kondalilla National Park, named after its picturesque waterfall, and the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk, winding 59 km through the Blackall Range, on its doorstep. Right on Main Street, the Edge serves breakfast and lunch in front of hills rolling all the way to the ocean.

Maleny

Maleny embodies the rural pace of the hinterland. Feel it as you watch the town go by while drinking coffee on central Maple Street or roam around the 23-acre Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World.

Eumundi

Eumundi is a small town with a big market. Every Wednesday and Saturday morning, the Original Eumundi Markets set up hundreds of stalls brimming with handmade goods and tasty treats.

Beerwah

Beerwah Mountain, the Glass House Mountain’s tallest peak, at 556 m, watches over its namesake town. Come to visit Australia Zoo, passionately created and managed by the family of Steve Irwin, known as the Crocodile Hunter.

Yandina

Dating back to the late 1800s, a cluster of heritage-listed structures, including the still-going-strong Yandina Hotel, reveal that this is one of the Sunshine Coast’s oldest towns. Still, most come to taste and play at the free-to-enter Ginger Factory.

Couple walking under colorful umbrellas hanging above a rainforest trail
Go for a walk through the Hinterland.

Frequently asked questions

Is it worth staying on the Sunshine Coast?

If you like jaw-dropping beaches, nature or just relaxation, the Sunshine Coast is for you. Add acclaimed attractions, like Australia Zoo and Sea Life Sunshine Coast Aquarium, and you have a complete holiday destination.

What is the nicest Sunshine Coast suburb?

At the end of the day, the best place to stay on the Sunshine Coast depends on your preferences. Noosa and Mooloolaba offer an array of things to do — on and off the beach — but each Sunshine Coast town and suburb has its own charm.

Is it better to stay in Noosa or Mooloolaba?

Both Noosa and Mooloolaba are excellent options for a Sunshine Coast stay. In the north, Noosa elevates your experience with its stunning, protected beach and national park. More central, Mooloolaba has a lovely seaside esplanade with all the amenities you might need.

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