A collection of about 20 beachside and hinterland towns north of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast is a popular destination for tourists and Brisbanites looking to escape the city and enjoy the sun and surf, or spectacular mountain ranges. The most popular beach towns are Noosa, Maroochydore, Mooloolaba and Caloundra and the hinterland mountain towns of Maleny and Montville.
The best way to really see the area is to hire a car from Brisbane and drive along the coast as there are some beautiful places to stop. The Sunshine Coast airport is located 10km from Maroochydore with regular flights to Sydney and Melbourne. Buses also run up and down the coast with a hop off hop on service.
With so many towns to choose from you first need to decide what you’ll be doing before you choose where to stay. If beach is your thing then you’ll find a dorm bed in one of the popular beach towns for around $25. Double rooms with shared facilities start at $55 or $70 with private bathroom and 5 star resorts start at $170. You can stay in the national park or maybe in a log cabin in the hinterlands for a special experience.
Spend a relaxing day on one of the many stunning beaches along the coastline or national parks and state forests inland. You can climb one of the Glasshouse Mountains or visit the famous Australia Zoo (Steve Irwin’s park) to see the amazing Australian wildlife. Try some tasty treats at the Buderim Ginger Factory or Aussie World for a fun adventure and have a beer in the famous Ettamogah Pub. A tandem skydive over the area is a great way to see how beautiful it is.
There are a few dive centres in the major towns of Caloundra, Noosa and Moolooaba. The HMAS Brisbane is the most popular dive site here and for good reason. The 115 metre warship was sunk in 2005 and is now an artificial reef starting to cover in coral and teaming with sea life. You can see turtles, eagle rays, groupers, octopus and schools of small fish. All certification levels can enjoy this dive. There are other sites in the area but it’s best to head a little further north to the Great Barrier Reef for amazing reef diving.
You can spend a great few days or even a few weeks discovering the fantastic Sunshine Coast . From beaches to mountains, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
(By Kelly Luckman)