TOP-10 things to do on Sunshine Coast: best attractions

Photo by @watersedgeimages

Sunshine Coast is one of the favourite spots for New Zealanders once they have ventured beyond the Gold Coast.  No skyscrapers or casinos yet elements such as amusement parks, wildlife sanctuaries, bird aviaries and markets provide choices where to go and what to see.  The Sunshine Coast is a classic Australian holiday experience.  Diverse with a hinterland offering rainforest nature walks and waterfalls to gold sandy beaches, a national park is even called the Great Sandy National Park, towns where agriculture, food production leads to a culinary explosion of tastes, camping holidays in the warmth of the tropical north, all these experiences with a large dollop of Sunshine hospitality.

Here are the top ten things to do and see.  It is not an exhaustive list rather it is a lucky dip of adventures with plenty of more to experience around the corner.  There is a selection of activities that do not cost the earth yet are fun, edible and healthy.

Top ten things to do and see

Buderim Falls

Check out a village with its boutique food stores, coffee shops and general merchandise stores, fueled up for a short walk to Buderim or Serenity Falls.  The walk is five minutes from the Buderim Village making this a two for one deal, shopping and walking.  There is a photo moment with a pretty elevated arched timber bridge. The falls flow through a 45 hectare reserve with strangler figs, native tropical vines and a surprising amount of bird life.  There are two points of access, the higher entry point from Quorn Close is 300m easy dirt track.  To access the base of the falls involves rock hopping, slippery when damp and steps.  A quiet oasis in a Queenslander village.  A taste of local life makes the grade for the top ten.  This walk is free although a visit to the local shops would tempt anyone not to get a treat or two.  Duration 2 hours browsing Buderim and the waterfall walk.

Serenity Falls in Buderim
Serenity Falls in the Buderim Forest waterfall walk.

Ginger Town

The Ginger Town, & Ginger Factory is free to enter.  Ginger and the tropics are a match made in plant growing paradise.  A great climate for ginger and visitors are the beneficiaries of all things ginger.  Sub-tropical gardens and a factory tour provide insights into how ginger is turned into tea, powdered spices, coated in chocolate and biscuits among other products.  For retail therapy Ginger Town has your gifts wrapped and ready to go.  Taste and test before purchase is part of the deal. A remember to have room for the well known parfaits at the Ice Creamery.  Tours and rides have an admission charge.  

Duration from 1 hour to several hours.

Photo by @mullaroundtheworld
Photo by @inspired_life_wellness

Kings Beach

Beaches always make the top ten, it’s Australia and, more importantly Queensland. Kings Beach, Caloundra is a shallow, calm patrolled beach along with a managed natural tidal pool.  There is marine life to explore with a snorkel.  The beach has toilets, showers, BBQ and picnic tables. Kings beach has a redeveloped foreshore with water sports encouraging kids to engage and play in water based fun parks.  Kings Beach together with Noosa Main beach can absorb many hours relaxing in the warmth of a tropical balmy winter. 

Duration ½ day to full day beach activities.  NOTE  There are a number of cafes nearby.

Photo by @thesaltypixel
Photo by @sunnycoastsunrises

Eumundi Markets

Retail therapy and the classic market, a perfect combo where there is the elusive bargain to be sought. Eumundi This small, laidback town is known for its rich history and heritage listed buildings. Experience Eumundi | Welcome to Eumundi – Australia is a visitor experience wrapped around a heritage main street with fig trees that are heritage listed as well.  Glorious Queenslander architecture now supporting a range of quirky, unusual and one of a kind shops.  There are art galleries, artisan crafts such as book binding, glass making, confectionery producers, creative arts supported by a vibrant local School of Arts. The icing on the cake is every Wednesday and Saturday the town hosts the Eumundi Markets, attracting thousands of people to over 600 practicing the market ethos of, “ make it, bake it, design it, sew it or grow it” type stalls. Duration 1 day to several Eumundi days.

Duration full day

Photo by @pure_by_toko_emporium
Photo by @earthjewelcreations

Maleny Botanic Gardens

Alfresco picnics at Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World Sunshine Coast are popular with locals and visitors.  There are 6 km of walking flat, wheelchair accessible tracks, within the 14 acres of planted grounds.  Locals are invited to bring their dogs on a leash.  The gardens are not free for adults, children are admitted free 14 years and under.   The bird aviaries mean that glorious technicolour parrots are easily viewed and, at reception parrots are very willing to pose for photographs.  Children have birds, walks to a fairy treehouse, the fun of parents driving the self-drive golf cart and picnic ingredients can be purchased from the on-site cafe.  Opening hours, admission fees check website for up to date information.  

Duration ½ day to full day

Photo by @raw_shotz_photography
Photo by @malenybotanicgardens

Sea Life

Is one of Australia’s top aquariums.  The aquarium is interactive with children and all ages encouraged to explore the marine environment directly touching starfish in the tidal pool, a number of underwater observation platforms and an extensive underwater tunnel.  The coastal wreck is a highlight for many people.  Located on the Wharf at Mooloolaba Sea Life is in the heart of Mooloolaba beach culture.  On Friday the twilight market is a great pit stop after a day exploring Mooloolaba aquarium and beach.  Queensland’ marine environment is made accessible for all age groups regardless of whether there is a visit to the Great Barrier Reef or not.  A reef experience made easy.

Duration full day exploring Mooloolaba beach, aquarium and dinner at one of the many twilight market stalls.

Photo by @sealifesunshinecoast
Photo by @experienceoz

Aussie World | Sunshine Coast Theme Park, Queensland

And you thought it was only the Gold Coast with theme parks.  The Ettamogah Pub realised a good thing when they witnessed the Gold Coast theme park growth of four major theme parks the pub decided to get in on the act. Aussie World family fun-park is located alongside the iconic Ettamogah Pub on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. The Ettamogah Pub became well known as a place in a regular cartoon in The Australasian Post.  The pub found a new identity in 1989, complete with furniture made from trees from the original site and a 1927 Chevy perched on the roof.As part of one of the most Australian pubs in Queensland, the theme park Aussie World has grown as part of the attraction. With great eateries and outstanding value for money, Aussie World has quickly gained a reputation for fun, service and good old fashioned value-for-money.  The Sunshine Coast now is the proud location of its very own theme park.  

Duration 5 mins to 5 days

Photo by @aussieworldfun
Photo by @aussieworldfun

Australian Zoo Wildlife Hospital

If the wildlife in Australia has a human celebrity it is the late Steve Irwin and his family who single handedly established the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, one of the world’s largest and busiest purpose-built wildlife hospitals.  This sanctuary has exotic animals such as giraffes and other African wildlife making the Australian Zoo not simply a place for native wildlife.  This does not detract from the passion and purpose of the Irwin family to lobby and support the wildlife of Queensland and its continued well being.  Queensland is the home of the saltwater crocodile and viewing the salty is a must do experience at Australian Zoo.  The Zoo has an extensive range of visitor experiences which can be purchased as an entrance package.

Photo by @daisycharlottelodge
Photo by @_verseus_

Noosa Main Beach and Hasting Street

Visit a classic laid-back Aussie tropical destination, a favourite for generations of Australians with no a high rise in sight or sound of Noosa.  A curved beach with a wooden boardwalk to stroll on.  There are great views of  Noosa National Park cloaking the headland at the eastern end of the beach.  Noosa Main Beach is a safe patrolled shallow swimming beach within walking distance of Hasting Street.  Hasting Street, the main thoroughfare is stacked with delectable eateries, art galleries, bookshops and all the accessories you need for a beach holiday.   Something for kids and something for the adults. 

Duration all day to several days

Sunshine Coast holiday beach
The Noosa Main Beach

Bribie Island Recreation Area

An island where you do not need to board a ferry sounds like the perfect island escape.  Bribie Island is linked to the mainland by a road bridge,only a 65km drive north of Brisbane. Bribie is part of the National Parks.  The perfect spot for a camping trip together the quintessential elements of an Australian outdoors holiday, a quiet beach, walks and outdoor exploration, opportunities to fish and indulge in water sports and practice your skills at driving your 4WD on sand. Paper barks are augmented with spring flowers making the park part of the spring flower touring circuit. Bribie Island, along with the larger sand islands of Moreton and North Stradbroke forms the protected waters of Moreton Bay. This low-lying island has a maximum elevation of less than 10 metres, and supports an extensive system of wetlands.

Duration all day to several days

Photo by @bribieisland
Photo by @michael.leadbetter
Travel Pack Information

The journey is worth it

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