Firstly, if you’re visiting the Sunshine Coast, welcome! The Sunshine Coast is renowned for it’s quality people, chilled out lifestyle and down-to-earth experiences.

It’s not extravagant in man-made innovation, but it is one of the most beautiful, and captivating cities in the world; due to it’s eye-catching beaches and hinterland. It’s a rarity to find somewhere that captures the beauty of the ocean, and the serenity of the mountains, within a 20 minute drive.

It does have some key things that you won’t find anywhere around the world, so make sure you study the list below and choose wisely what you do.

Our #1 tip, savour every moment, and take your time.

Let’s begin…

Australia Zoo

The famous Australia Zoo is an absolute must. It’s 22km from Caloundra, a beautiful laid-back beach community. You’ve heard of Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter, and you need to experience the legacy he has left behind; it’s truly remarkable.

Everyone will love it; teenagers, elderly couples, backpackers, and especially children. It’s set out over a 100 acre facility. Of course the park that you can roam in is not 100 acre’s, but that just goes to show the leg space that all of the animals have. They adore all of their animals, and for a zoo is remarkably clean and well kept. There is room to initiate contact with some animals, like the kangaroos, holding a koala, feeding the elephants, watching zoo keepers feed the crocodiles; everything.

Allow a full day’s outing for this, from morning till night. This is an experience you won’t want to rush.

Noosa National Park

Noosa is one of Australia’s most prized destinations. Located at the northern-most part of the Sunshine Coast, it’s only 20 minutes from the Sunshine Coast Airport. Noosa is full of culture; breath-taking beaches, nearby hinterland outlooks, fine cuisine and pristine accomodation; the reasons it is one of Australia’s most demanded tourist destinations.

This beautifully conserved national park has some of the most incredible views you could possibly imagine. There are several avenues to take; but the beach side walks are just magical. Noosa Headland is on the outskirts of the national park, and has long walking tracks that take you on a breath-taking journey; from ‘Winch Cove’, to ‘Fairy Pools’ and all the way to ‘Hell’s Gates’. You can sit and admire the water, or get in amongst the surf; you decide your journey.

The wildlife conservation is remarkable. You’re almost bound to see a species of bird you’ve never seen before, with a slight chance of seeing a Koala; yes they live among the trees here.

There is always something happening at the Noosa Beaches; food festivals, Watersport’s, carnivals & competitions, everything. This place is just magical.

Aqua Fun Park

This is the worlds largest Aqua Park, being roughly 100m x 70m; now that’s a young person’s dream. The ‘aqua’ aspect makes it perfect in Summer, but due to the mandatory wetsuit is still suitable, and well worth the trip in the colder months of the year.

There are several different Aqua Fun Parks on the Sunshine Coast, but the Coolum one takes the cake in our opinion due to it’s size and number of activities. Alternatives are located in Bli Bli, and Twin Waters, both of which make a great day out.

If you’re into a thrill, there are high elevated inflatables that require a great leap of faith to reach the bottom. Don’t worry it’s safe, but not for the faint hearted. Alternatively, there are heaps of slides and obstacles to overcome; so enjoy trekking around the park on your hands and knees. If you’re an adult or a parent, beware, this will bring the ‘child at heart’ inside of you come out. Guaranteed a perfect day out for a group of friends, a family or even a bucks or hens night. If you’re travelling, and looking for a way to amuse yourself, don’t look past this.

Ginger Factory

The gingerbread-man still lives; and he’s located in Yandina; who knew, right?

The Ginger Factory is the largest operating ginger factory in the world, which is notorious for it’s sweet treats and tasteful tours. It’ll ring all the excitement bells inside you when you smell the gingery goodness a mile away.

‘Moreton’, the famous tour train will take you on a little journey around some of the gardens in proximity of the factory, and will allow some time for rest and relaxation with some serene views. The perfect opportunity for a family day outing, or romantic date.

Mt. Coolum

Mt. Coolum knows all and sees all. You can see it from almost anywhere your situated on the Sunshine Coast, seriously. It may not be the biggest mountain, but it amounts to some of the most pristine views you’ve ever seen. The opportunity to see the most beautiful sunrise on planet earth is situation right in the heart of Coolum, just south of Noosa National Park; about a 10 minute drive.

It will take about 30 minutes to climb for a person who doesn’t consistently exercise, but to be sure, allow for an hour and a half for a return trip.

This is also a perfect place to meet the locals, many people have a daily ritual to climb it, so no matter what time of the day, you’ll see people on the way up, or down. Be sure to say ‘hello’, the Sunshine Coast locals are very friendly, and are always up for a some ‘chit chat.’

Lazerzone

It doesn’t matter what age you are; the inner Star Wars storm trooper inside of you lives on. There is a place sci-fi war dreams live, and it’s called Lazerzone. It’s situated in Kawana, and is central to most areas south of the Sunshine Coast airport.

Dodge all your friends laser-beams, and do your best to come up with top spot on the leaderboard. Perfect for those with a competitive streak in them.

Tip: Make sure you listen to the pre-game overview, although many people choose not to listen, it has some great tips to send you straight to the top of the leaderboard. Also, if you want to feel like a walking party, wear lots of white; but if you want to be sneaky, where black.

Allow for a couple of hours, just to make sure you savour the entertainment. It’s ridiculously fun.

Strawberry Picking

Relax, eat a strawberry, and get some vitamin-D while you’re at it. On the Sunshine Coast, there are several different places to pick your desired strawberries. This is only accessible in certain months, due to the season that strawberries grow locally; but if you’re around from June-November, you’re in luck.

The best thing about this day-out, is the hand-made ice-cream. It is filled with strawberry goodness, and is creamy to the core; perfect for a warm, sunny day. You pay by the kilogram, so don’t go too crazy. It’s a good, wholesome, cheap day out for all ages. Children can go running up and down the strawberry lanes, or you and your partner can debate what the perfect strawberry truly is.

Our personal favourite would be the Palmview strawberry fields; the largest around.

Markets

All of the coast has it’s quirks around every corner, but there’s nothing like shopping through the locals’ markets. Each has a different taste, and different products weekly. Great food choices, knick-knacks and souvenirs, and some cool clothing styles.

There’s several different markets located all around the coast.
– Bulcock Street Markets (Sunday mornings)
– Kawana Farmers Markets (Saturday mornings)
– Fishermans Road Markets (Sunday mornings)
– Eumundi Markets (Wednesday & Saturday mornings)

Each has a different feel, and you’ll always find something unique and intriguing. Bring cash, an open mind, and your shopping bags; you’re bound to walk away with something.

Waterfalls

One of the most thrilling things you can do on the coast is jump off the edge of a waterfall. Away from the salty air, and the sandy beaches is Gardeners Falls, a gorgeous running creek topped with a rushing waterfall. The area has different rock pools to dip your feet into, and a stunning round-track walk. Leave the teenagers by the waterfall, and go for a stroll; you’ll have your breath taken away.

Alternatives for waterfalls are Kondalilla Falls, and Buderim Falls; both have similar aspects to Gardeners Falls, just on a smaller scale. Both have a much more pristine outlook, and a longer walk; so they might be a brighter choice for the more exploring type.

Maleny Cheese Factory

If food tasting is your thing, and you have a knack for sweet and savoury, the Maleny Cheese Factory is your new bestfriend. Located in Maleny, you’ll experience the stunning hinterland views along side a pallet of fine cheese. It doesn’t stop at cheese; they even have yoghurt tastings.

Be there from 9:30-4:30 any day of the week, and you’ll be treated as a king. If you tastebuds are left tingling, and your cravings are going through the roof, a mere $20 will give you a large cheese platter to share with friends, or hoard for yourself.

Just bring a napkin. There is a 100% guarantee you’ll be left salivating on the way home.

Are You a Foodie?

If you’re just looking for as the locals say; ‘a mean feed,’ then make your way to one of these places for an undoubtably good experience. The coast is full of restaurants that will blow your socks off, but these are a couple of local favourites.

– The Nines (Maroochydore): Next level cafe food; milkshakes, perfect breakfasts and snacks.
– Ricks Garage (Palmwoods): Sunshine coasts famous restaurant, filled with meat, beer, chips and more meat.
– One Block Back (Calounda): A relaxing eatery, somewhere to chill-out whilst enjoying a wide variety of quality food.
– Stormie D’s Cupcakery (Caloundra): For the sweet tooth. All things cake, cupcakes and Epic Shakes. You’ll be left wanting more, thats for sure.
– Dirty Moes (Mooloolaba): Great bar food. Seriously tasty; and always have great deals on the daily.
– Augello’s Ristorante & Pizzeria (Mooloolaba): Award winning authentic Italian pizza with a view of the beach; does it get much better then that?
– Harry’s on Buderim (Buderim): A unique fine-dining 5 star eating experience. Built into an ‘Old Queenslander’ home, this place carries culture, and a quiet, intimate dining experience.

Jump Out of a Perfectly Fine Plane

If you’ve got adrenaline in your veins, or you want some, then Sunshine Coast Skydivers will put your fears to the test. It is sure to be the experience of a lifetime, with the best view on the coast. You’ll feel wind go in places you didn’t think possible, but you’ll be in one of the most unique experiences you could possibly come across.

Sky Diving is not for the feint hearted, but if you consider yourself a slight Daredevil, then this is the perfect opportunity for you. With a maximum height of 15,000 feet; you’ll experience over one entire minute of free-falling. Just keep your eyes open, you don’t want to miss that view!

This is one of the pricier things to do on the coast, but it’s worth every cent.

IT DOESN’T END THERE.

So that’s that. Depending on your interests, you can literally drive around each town on the coast from as south as Bribie Island, all the way to Noosa and everything in between and you’ll find a whole days worth of things to do.

We hope you love the Sunshine Coast as much as we do!

– G1 Holidays

The Mooloolaba must do: 4 mile beach
If you’ve ever seen it, the magnificence of 4 Mile Beach speaks for itself. A blue-green ocean reaching to the horizon. Clean, flat sand stretching as far as the eye can see. Gentle but crisp waves tapping rhythmically as they roll in and break on the beach. A hot sun making sand and sea shine. Palms trees leaning lazily towards the ocean and creating a cooling shade…..Yes, if you’ve seen it, the famous Mooloolaba beach has its own voice. But if you haven’t seen it, here’s your chance. Watch as this camera pans up and down the beach, looks through the palms and out over the ocean. Watch this camera capture the idyllic nature of this spectacular coast in FNQ.

Afternoon cruise to the Low Isles

“Yes, but the winds come up in the afternoon on the ocean,” I said in response to a suggestion we take an afternoon cruise to the Low Isles.

“But you have to see the sunset,” my cousin said.

To be fair, the winds were stirring the waters morning and afternoon, so visibility would be reduced and the quality of the snorkelling on the reef would be compromised. We booked an afternoon cruise with Sailaway out of Mooloolaba marina.

It was liSailaway to Low Isleske driving on a bumpy road all the way out to the mooring just off Heritage Island. The captain worked hard. The coral cay was below us and we were keen to explore. Geared up, we sank into the blue water with eyes wide open. We’d been told about the reef sharks and we wanted to see one. Token efforts were made to stay with the main group because it was too much fun exploring underwater alone.

As predicted, visibility was limited to perhaps 4metres. From the surface, the coral was pale and the colours watery. But when I dove down and hung suspended within a metre or so, the colours of the coral and there fish were vibrant. Amazing. And to think government policies treat such beauty with disregard. It saddened me as I marvelled at the beauty a few metres below the surface.

Just as I turned to face a large school of fish I thought to swim into it. Two slow kicks with my fins and then I stopped. Equally unhurried was a reef shark. Perhaps a metre and a half…a metre and a half from my goggles. Its languid movements conveyed a sense of calm and confident control of its domain. The shark had 100% of my attention. It paid me no heed at all. Zero attention.

I caught up with my friend to tell my story. Then came a call to finish up and return to shore. As we started to swim away, there was a stingray snuggled into the sand at the bottom. As we approached, it darted away.

We splashed in the shallow water and then boarded the small, glass-bottomed run-about that took us back to the yacht where wine and wonderful food were laid out.

We’d had a good swim and snorkel didn’t know the best was yet to come.

On the sail home, we sat up near the skipper to watch him steer us up and over the swell. As on the outward journey, he was working hard and having fun. We rode the swell up and down and sometimes through it – to our drenched delight.

As we bounced and rolled and splashed our way back to Mooloolaba, the sun was setting in front of us. With the swell near shore reduced and the sun below the ridge, the mood changed. Suddenly calm. It was nature’s closing time and the afternoon felt complete. With weary bodies, joyous spirits and full smiles, we said our thank you and wandered along the wharf for one last drink before heading home.

Yet another full and fun day in Mooloolaba!

A day in Mooloolaba

Another glorious day in Mooloolaba. But today we were heading north.

cooper creekAfter a quick stop at Mossman north of PD for some supplies, we travelled slowly, relishing the morning air and feeling the high peaks of the Atherton Tableland that followed us on our left.

Breakfast at Newell Beach. We weren’t in a hurry. Hot coffee, fresh fruit, a pastry…or two. We strolled it off before getting back in the car for our drive to Daintree Village. We stood looking up and down the Daintree River wondering quietly to ourselves and then later in conversation about the crocodiles that might have been in the river.

One more coffee for the road. Then to the punt across the river. It was like traveling back in time. We remembered punts from our childhoods in NSW and Qld. This ancient transport took us to ancient forests. Indeed we had been transported 300 metres across a river and thousands of years into the past.

Cape Tribulation Road took us slowly up to Mt Alexandra Lookout where we waited until there was almost no one and enjoyed the views down across the plain to where the Daintree River met the sea.

Before we left the carpark, we put the roof down on the Mercedes SLK 350, generously loaned to us by my cousin back in Mooloolaba. The lookouts and beaches were spectacular, but the real beauty was above. We stopped and put the seats way back so we could just stare in wonder and the lush and vibrant canopy overhead. We could almost touch the roof of the forest. We agreed that we’d make a return visit to explore the forest floor.

On to Thornton’s Beach. Well…after an ice-cream at the Daintree Ice Cream Company, it was on to Thornton’s Beach for lunch. Our picnic lunch was complete with a yummy Pinot Noir. The beach stretched north and south from where we sat. Low tide gave us plenty to explore in both directions before a short snooze on the sand.

A spicy meal awaited us back in PD. So we decided to leave Cape Trib for our next visit. We packed up and dawdled back in our sports car to the punt.

Yep, another glorious day in PD.

Great Barrier Reef In Crisis

“It’s Just Terrible. Horrific.” Australia’s iconic reef has been hit by its worst ever bleaching event this year.

Devastating images showing the destruction have been obtained and illustrate what is happening to coral there that would fill an area the size of Scotland.

Six of the world’s seven species of marine turtle live in the waters around Australia, and all occur within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Some species such as the loggerhead and green turtle are seen frequently, while others such as the olive ridley and leatherback are known to occur in the Great Barrier Reef but are seldom seen.

Mooloolaba for a week

  1. Get out on the great barrier reef, scuba or snorkel on the outer reef with Calypso.
  2. Sunset cruise to the low isles with Sailaway
  3. Swim at Mossman Gorge
  4. Evening sunset picnic on Rex Smeal park
  5. A game of golf at either the links or Mirage country club course
  6. Visit the Sunday Mooloolaba Markets and meet Pla at Play Love Alive
  7. Take on a day trip up to the Daintree and Cape Tribulation
  8. An early morning walk along the legendary 4 Mile Beach
  9. Go up to Flagstaff hill and take in the views down 4 mile beach
  10. Enjoy a helicopter trip out to Mossman Gorge, over port Douglas village and out to the reef and back.