Sunshine Coast (Queensland)
Queensland's Sunshine Coast is a collection of beachside and hinterland towns to the north of Brisbane. Unlike the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast is not just one destination, but a collection of them. A travel experience in Noosa, for example, is likely to be very different from one in Caloundra or Coolum. Behind the coast, in the Blackall Ranges, is the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, with the mountain towns of Maleny and Montville.
Cities and towns
Renowned for its relaxed approach to Queensland life, the Sunshine Coast is famous for its uncrowded white sand beaches and green scenery. Stretching for nearly 70 klms, the Sunshine Coast falls within the Sunshine Coast Council's jurisdiction and provides for a great (and popular) escape from Brisbane, or the Gold Coast. A holiday mecca even for South East Queensland locals, the Sunshine Coast is a great place to relax, unwind and taste the amazing local produce.
The Glass House Mountains were sighted by Captain James Cook from the deck of the HM Endeavour in 1770.
Many of the Sunshine Coast's towns began as simple ports and jetties for timber industry during the 1860s and 1870s, as the area once had magnificent stands of forest. Likewise, the region's road biggen snigging tracks for hauling timber. Timbergetters used the region's creeks, rivers and lakes as seaways to float out their logs of cedar - the resultant wood being shipped far afield as Europe.
Today, the Sunshine Coast is one of the fastest growing regions in Australia. As the region became increasingly residential, most of the district's small farms, especially tropical farms have now disappeared. Instead business concerned with retail, catering and tourism have now assumed increasing importance.
The Sunshine Coast is between 1 and 2 hours (depending on traffic and exactly where you're going) north of Brisbane by car.
Sunshine Coast Airport
Sunshine Coast Airport is 10km north of Maroochydore and has daily flights to Sydney and Melbourne. The airport has good facilities for an airport of its size, with multiple ATMs, rental cars, transfer services, and food and shopping outlets.
There is a small cafe in the arrivals area, selling coffee and snacks, open from the first flight to the last. Most of the facilities are located after clearing security in the departures area, there is a cafe, a salad store, jewellery store, bookstore and a bar. There is an outside area next to the tarmac which can be an area to enjoy a drink while waiting for your flight.
The Translink (Sunbus) 622 bus services the airport terminal hourly between Maroochydore and Noosa Junction, but somewhat inconveniently stops before the last flights arrive from Sydney and Melbourne. The 620 bus runs later and with greater frequency, but only stops on David Low Way outside the airport precinct. It is just over 1 kilometre to walk from this stop to the airport terminal, simply walk along the Friendship Drive out of the airport, turn right onto David Low way and walk the short distance to the stop. Change at Sunshine Plaza in Maroochydore for points south. Change at Noosa Junction for Noosa Heads and Noosaville.
The hire car chains are located in arrivals.
Door to door transfers are available to the entire sunshine coast area, but should be pre-booked. Henry's operates north (to Noosa and Coolum), and Sun-air operates south to Maroochydore, Caloundra. Discounts are available for groups - expect to pay around $20 per person. If you haven't prebooked, Henry's has a desk inside the arrivals area, where you can see if there is availability on the next shuttle. Sun-air has no presence at the airport, and you'll have to call them to see if you can arrange a pickup.
Sunshine Coast taxis Taxis are available and operated by Suncoast cabs (131 008). It can cost up to $100 to get to Noosa by taxi from the airport, so if you are heading a distance from the airport make sure you have determined your onward transport before arriving.
See the Brisbane guide for how to get to Brisbane airport. Flights to Brisbane may be more convenient for those who don't want to connect through Sydney or Melbourne to get to the Sunshine Coast. Transfers are available with Sun-air Pick Me up Airport Transfers to the Sunshine Coast. Cost is around $40.
Public transport is possible, but to many points on the Sunshine Coast will involve a very circuitous route, and cost $30 or more. See the details on the translink site for your destination.
It is also possible to take coach from Brisbane and/or the Gold Coast. There is a cheap, regular local bus connectiong the towns of the Sunshine Coast, with possible plans to build a tram line in the future.
- Redspot Car Rentals, .
- All Age Car Rentals, .
- Choice Car Rentals, .
- Cut Price Car Rentals, .
- East Coast Car Rentals, .
- Suncoast Car Rentals, .
- Select Rent A Car, .
- Thrifty Car Rental, .
- Australia Zoo. Owned and run by the family of the late Steve Irwin, is a popular tourist drawcard. The site tends to be frequented more by overseas visitors.
- Buderim Ginger Factory, 50 Pioneer Road, ☎ +61 7-5446-7096. Yandina. Mini-theme park based on ginger. Cane Train through rainforest and a couple of rides and features to entertain children, including a boat ride with animate characters - like a Ginger "It's a small world". Claims to be biggest selection of ginger products anywhere in the world. Cafe for meals and snacks.
- Glass House Mountains National Park. And Beerburrum and Beerwah State Forests and Forest Reserves.
- Kenilworth State Forest. Rainforest and eucalypt forest. Camping in various areas. Tel: 13 13 04 for permits and information.
- Kondalilla National Park, ☎ +61 7-5494-3983. On Western Avenue about 4 km north of the centre of Montville. 327 hectares of lush subtropical rainforest and tall open forest plus Kondalilla Falls dropping 90 metres from Skene Creek into water pools below. Parking area, picnic facilities, barbecues, shelter sheds, toilets, a lookout and three walking trails. No fresh water available. Can become quite crowded during peak holiday periods.
- Aussie World, 73 Frizzo Road, Bruce Highway Palmview, Queensland, 4553 Australia (Around 3km from the nearest public bus stop. Can be accessed by taxi or door-to-door services like Sunair), ☎ +61 7-5494-5444. A family fun-park, dodgem cars and the like, located next to the Ettamogah Pub.
- The most popular beaches are Kings Beach (surf beach, patrolled year round, with a direct-from-ocean saltwater pool and boardwalk walk to Bulcock Beach), Golden Beach (calm water, patrolled in peak periods. Popular with wind/kite surfers) and Dicky Beach (surf beach, patrolled year around). Australian waters can be dangerous with strong rips or unexpectedly large waves. All swimmers are advised to only swim on patrolled beaches, between the red and yellow flags, where lifesavers are available if required. Swimmers in trouble should raise a single hand straight into the air.
- Long walks are possible between various beaches around the various headlands (i.e., along the rocks) if the tide is low enough. Also at low tides, lots of interesting rock pools can be uncovered (but watch for unexpected waves if approaching near the edge).
- The Kings Beach headland is a popular spot for walking and BBQs
- Bulcock Beach (adjacent to Kings beach) is a very popular evening spot for BBQs and fish and chips by the beach
- The main street of Caloundra features a variety of small shops, including some interesting older stores. A cinema operates at the top of the street, and there is a variety of eat-in and takeaway restaurants.
- Dive the wreck of the HMAS Brisbane with Sunreef Scuba Diving
- A popular market operates on Sundays in the main street, with food, crafts, novelties and entertainment.
- Go Tandem SkyDiving with Sunshine Coast Skydivers
- The adventurous may wish to climb one of the Glasshouse Mountains
- Surf, or learn to surf, at Noosa
- Drive a go-karting at Landsborough
- Go Fishing with Noosa's Laguna Charters
- Noosa Kite Surfing (Noosa Kite Surfing Lessons). Kite Surfing lessons with Mike Burrell. Noosa Kiteboarding cater for all levels of Kite surfing experience.
- Thai Street - Located in Alexandra Headland along the main road near the beach. Good quality Thai food at reasonable prices. Friendly staff.
- Steak - Pay your steak AU$ 2.00 with the purchase of any drink on Sundays at the SurfAir Resort in Marcoola, close to the airport. Food is good and you have an option to choose fish instead of beef.
- India Today - Excellent quality Indian cuisine in a unique setting. Great service. The tandoori chicken is a very tasty and filling choice. Aerodrome Road, Maroochydore.
- Sang's Thai Restaurant (BYO), 1/2 Maroubra Street Alexandra Headland 4572 (opposite the Blue Bar), ☎ +61 7 54754412. Dinner Tu-Sa, Closed Sunday & Monday. Best Thai Restaurant on the Sunshine Coast!
- Cafe by the Beach, 12 Seaview Terrace, Moffat Beach (Up the hill from Moffat Beach). Popular restaurant, especially for breakfasts.