Sunshine Coast Guide
Though they only sit on either side of Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast seem like worlds apart. The Gold Coast may be famous for its shine and flash, but you'll find none of that on the Sunshine Coast. For this coastal town, less is more and natural is beautiful. It may be a lot quieter than its southern counterpart but the Sunshine Coast is by no means sleepy. The European cars and super yachts found at Noosa can’t help but scream luxe. And for every noisy family on holiday at Mooloolaba, there's a backpacker parting hard at Maroochydore or a surfer boasting about his morning breaks at Alex Heads. Come for the beaches, stay for the lifestyle and leave wishing you didn't have to.
With a sprawling coastline as beautiful as this, it's no wonder that most things to do at the Sunshine Coast revolve around days at the beach. If you do wish to venture further than the sand, consider a paddle in the deep end with a surfing lesson. The protected corners of Mooloolaba, Coolum and Noosa are great places to learn how to hang 10 with the best of them and board hire is readily available. From the surface of the ocean to underneath it, Underwater World at Mooloolaba is a fantastic aquarium showcasing the Sunshine Coast's marine life. Hold a starfish at the touch pools, get a kiss from a seal at Seal Island or wander under sharks at the Ocean Walk Through.
Where to Eat and Drink »
Dining is somewhat of a mixed bag on the Sunshine Coast. From corner fish'n chip joints to cheerful bistros and award winning fine dining, there's something for everyone – especially if you like seafood. For some of the finest Sunshine Coast restaurants, Hastings Street in Noosa is the place to be. Those with deep pockets may wish to splurge on the gastronomy on offer at Berardo’s Restaurant, an award–winning restaurant on Hastings Street boasting million dollar views. Low key diners should try The Boat Shed at Cotton Tree which looks out over the Maroochy River. Further inland, book a table at the popular Spirit House restaurant in Yandina, where contemporary Thai recipes are brought to life with fresh local produce.
The old Queensland adage 'beautiful one day, perfect the next' certainly rings true when it comes to Sunshine Coast weather, which is why you will find most Sunshine Coast accommodation taking advantage of the sun with glistening pools, ocean views and lush gardens. If money is no option, the holiday homes and resorts of Noosa will ensure your beach holiday is doused in luxury. For a more middle of the range price tag, opt for a hotel or resort at Mooloolaba or Maroochydore, while Caloundra is home to more value-for-money accommodation options.
The Sunshine Coast isn't really a destination you travel to for shopping. Surprisingly though, there is a great range of shopping opportunities available, if you so wish to indulge. After time spent at the beach, it's worth wandering down Hastings Street, even if it's just for a browse. The stylish boutiques along this street commonly sell the iconic 'Noose style' of fashion and homewares; luxurious beach-inspired items in neutral tones. More colourful and eclectic, the Eumundi Markets is where you can experience the other, more bohemian side of the coast. From organic food to handcrafted items, art, locally produced clothing and jewellery, the popular markets go by the ethos 'we make it, bake it, grow it and sew it'.
Sunshine Coast Like a Local
A favourite spot for locals and the odd tourist who ventures away from Noosa (there's not much accommodation here) Lake Weyba is a shallow salt-water lake and a fantastic place to spend a peaceful afternoon. The lake is also an important fish-breeding habitat making it an ideal spot for fishing and canoeing. Bring a picnic, splash in the shallow end, keep an eye out for local wildlife and enjoy a picturesque sunset over the water.