Sunshine Coast

The Sunshine Coast is the matured counterpart of its neighbour, the Gold Coast. The coast begins at Caloundra, only an hour’s drive from Brisbane, and from here begins the lush vegetation, superb beaches and tranquil atmosphere that characterise it. Although the surf is still a dominant feature, older surfers grace its waves and families flock here during holiday periods. Other activities such as fishing, hiking and snorkelling are available, or you can just relax and soak up the exceptional weather and breathtaking surroundings, or engage in a game of golf.


Beaches line this entire coast, ranging from deserted beaches at the towns such as Mooloolaba to the busy main beach at Noosa. Depending on what you are looking for, you will be able to find a golden sand beach along this coast that will cater for your needs.

[ Australia Zoo] has to be one of the country’s most revered and visited attractions. Set up by the late Steve Irwin, this zoo is unique in that it centres around animals of the reptile variety. Crocodiles obviously play a huge part in the attractions of the zoo, and four daily shows which exhibit these creatures’ incredible abilities are performed. Other mammals and birds are also on show, and you are invited to watch and participate in feeding times. There is also a Crocoseum and a Tiger Temple, and zoo tours are available if you wish to learn more about the animals.

Visits to the [ Underwater World] take you on a journey of the magical world found at the bottom of the ocean. With over 25,000 sea creatures on display, you will be amazed by a visit to this oceanarium. Located in Mooloolaba, only two hour’s drive from Brisbane, a whole day can be lost here.

The Sunshine Coast also offers ample opportunities to partake in some of the best diving in Australia. [ Scuba World], which is located in Mooloolaba, is the dive centre which is affiliated with the sunken ex-HMS Brisbane. Shark dives are also offered, as well as many different types of diving qualifications and awards. Dives from Noosa Heads are also available which take you to dive sites such as Murphy's Reef and Mudjimba Island. You should expect to encounter tropical fish, starfish, turtles, stingrays, spanish dancers and sea urchins to name but a few.

Noosa National Park, which is one of the most visited national parks in Queensland, is one of the areas most stunning highlights. The Noosa Parks Association has made sure that its vegetation and wildlife is undisturbed and is protected. Koalas perch in many of the trees, and a sighting of one of the national creatures is almost guaranteed. The entrance to the park is only a small walk from the town centre, and the tracks which run around the park take in the rainforest, scrub and grasslands, as well as the rocky headlands which take you right to the seafront. The rainforest can also provide a cool haven on the scorching hot days that Noosa is often subject to. Maps of the park are available from the rangers at their station located at the entrance of the park.

The Sunshine Coast is home to some of the best golf courses in the country, which are embedded amongst outstanding scenery. The most popular of these include the [ Hyatt Coolum], [ Noosa Springs], [ Club Pelican Golf Course] and [ Twin Waters] courses.

Noosa offers some of the best surf on the Sunshine Coast. Although this area rarely is blessed with swells like those found at the Gold Coast, these gentler breaks often become crowded due to their well shaped, high quality waves. This also means that the Sunshine Coast is one of the best places to learn to surf, and surf schools can be found at all the major beaches which line the coast.

Fishing trips are also popular in the Sunshine Coast. Freshwater fishing is available at Lake Baroon, Ewan Maddock Dam, Lake MacDonald and Lake Borumba. In Noosa, fishing if also possible from the mouth of the river, known as the Frying Pan, or from selected areas at Noosa Sound. Dusk and dawn boat trips are offered from the gutters and beaches, which is known as surf fishing, alternatively Deep Sea Fishing charters can also be organised. Details of all of these can be obtained from the Tourist Information Centres.


The infamous Eumundi Market, ever Wednesday and Saturday at Eumundi, embodies the culture of the Sunshine Coast. All types of goods can be found here, from home-grown produce to authentic Australian crafts. Noosa’s farmers market, held every weekend, is also the place to come if you want to get your hands on some locally grown and produced foods.

As it is the largest town on the Sunshine Coast, Noosa has the largest quantity of shops, and you will find an abundance of surf shops and designer retail stores here. The other towns have a scattering of typical Australian shops, and local markets.

Nightlife and Eating Out

The Sunshine Coast is renown for its innovative cuisine, and with many of the restaurants offering al fresco dining, eating here is an unrivalled experience. In Caloundra you will find many Bistros and surf shack, as well as some hidden hinterland eateries. Mooloolaba and Maroochydore provide a great variety of cafes with an immense variety of cuisine on offer. Noosa has the greatest density of restaurants, and these range from expensive seafood restaurants to simple noodle shacks. As with the majority of Australian food, much of the eateries here are influence by cuisine from the Pacific Rim and Asian food plays a particularly important role. Locally caught seafood also dominates many of the menus, and you can often dine with a view of the sea from which your dinner was caught.

Tourist Information

Visitor Information Centres can be found at Caloundra, Maroochy and Cooloola but the one that provides the most information about the Sunshine Coast’s activities and attractions can be found at Noosa.

  • Noosa Information Centre, Hastings Street, Noosa Heads, Queensland 4567
  • Tel: +61 07 5447 4988
  • Fax: +61 07 5474 9494
  • Telephone: 1800 448 833 (free call)
  • Website: []


The Sunshine Coast Airport is located in Marcoola, which enables quick access to all towns on the coast. Internal flights are available to and from the airport, but if you wish to travel to an international destination then you need to fly from Brisbane Airport which is around ninety minutes drive from Noosa. Shuttle buses are available from The Sunshine Coast Airport to the surrounding towns through a bus company called [ Henry’s] and journeys cost around $20 for an adult and $10 for a child.

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