Top 16 Things To Do in Sunshine Coast, QLD Australia (with local Hidden Gems)

Sunshine Coas
Source: Tourism and Events Queensland

Welcome to the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, where golden beaches meet lush hinterland and a vibrant coastal culture thrives beneath the warm Aussie sun. This stunning region is a hidden gem, offering a plethora of activities and attractions that cater to every traveler’s interests. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a lover of art and culture, or simply seeking relaxation, the Sunshine Coast has it all.

Embark on an extraordinary journey as we unveil the hidden treasures and share an incredible list of things to do on the Sunshine Coast. From exploring brilliant coastlines fringed with nature to following walking trails that lead to hidden waterfalls in rainforests, the Sunshine Coast offers a diverse range of experiences. For adventure seekers, there are thrilling activities like jet skiing, jet boating, skydiving, and treetop challenges to get your adrenaline pumping. If relaxation is more your style, you can unwind at natural pools, immerse yourself in cultural attractions, or visit art galleries.

Join us as we reveal the top hidden gems and must-visit attractions on the Sunshine Coast. Whether you’re a local looking for new experiences or a visitor seeking unforgettable adventures, this comprehensive guide will ensure you make the most of your time in this picturesque region. Get ready to immerse yourself in the natural wonders, uncover the cultural treasures, and create lifelong memories on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

Things To Do In Sunshine Coast, QLD

1. Noosa National Park

Noosa National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. Covering over 4,000 hectares, the park boasts stunning coastal scenery, diverse wildlife, and a variety of walking trails to suit all fitness levels. Keep an eye out for koalas, black cockatoos, and even migrating whales during the season.

Source: Tourism and Events Queensland

Don’t miss the coastal track, which offers breathtaking views of the ocean and the chance to spot dolphins playing in the surf. After your hike, relax on one of the park’s pristine beaches, such as Tea Tree Bay or Granite Bay.

Source: Tourism and Events Queensland
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds.
  • Opening Hours: Open 24 hours, but day-use areas are accessible from 6 am to 6 pm.
  • Address: Park Road, Noosa Heads, QLD 4567
  • Distance from town: Approximately 2 km from Noosa Heads town center.

2. Kondalilla Falls Circuit Track

Located in the lush hinterland of the Sunshine Coast, Kondalilla Falls Circuit Track is a 4.7km hike that takes you through subtropical rainforest to the base of the stunning Kondalilla Falls. The trail is moderately challenging, with some steep sections and stairs, but the reward is a refreshing swim in the natural rock pool at the base of the waterfall. Along the way, you’ll encounter diverse plant life, including towering eucalyptus trees, ferns, and orchids. Be sure to pack a picnic and enjoy a leisurely lunch at the designated picnic area near the trailhead.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds.
  • Opening Hours: Open 24 hours, but day-use areas are accessible from 6 am to 6 pm.
  • Address: Kondalilla Falls Road, Montville, QLD 4560
  • Distance from town: Approximately 5 km from Montville town center.

3. Lake Currimundi

Lake Currimundi is a hidden gem on the Sunshine Coast, perfect for a relaxing day out with family or friends. The calm, shallow waters of the lake make it an ideal spot for swimming, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. The surrounding parklands offer plenty of shaded areas for picnics and barbecues, as well as a children’s playground. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a walk along the Currimundi Lake Conservation Park trail, which meanders through coastal heathland and offers stunning views of the lake and ocean.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds.
  • Opening Hours: Open 24 hours, but day-use areas are accessible from 6 am to 6 pm.
  • Address: Westaway Parade, Currimundi, QLD 4551
  • Distance from town: Approximately 5 km from Caloundra town center.

4. Mary Cairncross Reserve

Mary Cairncross Reserve is a 55-hectare subtropical rainforest located in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. The reserve is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including over 140 bird species, red-legged pademelons, and the elusive platypus. Explore the well-maintained walking trails, which wind through the rainforest and offer spectacular views of the Glass House Mountains. The reserve also features an eco-friendly Discovery Centre, where you can learn about the area’s unique ecosystem and participate in interactive displays.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds.
  • Opening Hours: Rainforest walk open daily from 7 am to 6 pm; Discovery Centre open daily from 10 am to 4 pm.
  • Address: 148 Mountain View Road, Maleny, QLD 4552
  • Distance from town: Approximately 4 km from Maleny town center.

5. Glass House Mountains

The Glass House Mountains are a group of 13 ancient volcanic peaks that dominate the landscape of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. These iconic mountains offer a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, rock climbing, and abseiling. For a moderate hike with rewarding views, tackle the Mount Ngungun Summit Track, which takes you to the top of the 253-meter peak. Alternatively, take a scenic drive through the Glass House Mountains National Park and stop at the various lookout points for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Source: Tourism and Events Queensland
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds.
  • Opening Hours: Open 24 hours, but day-use areas are accessible from 6 am to 6 pm.
  • Address: Glass House Mountains National Park, QLD 4518
  • Distance from town: Approximately 10 km from Beerwah town center.

6. Booloomba Falls

Booloomba Falls is a hidden oasis tucked away in the Conondale National Park. The falls cascade into a series of crystal-clear rock pools, perfect for a refreshing swim on a hot day. The 3km Booloomba Falls Walk takes you through lush rainforest and along the picturesque Booloomba Creek. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes, as the trail can be rocky and uneven in places. After your hike, enjoy a picnic in the nearby day-use area, which features tables, barbecues, and toilet facilities.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds.
  • Opening Hours: Open 24 hours, but day-use areas are accessible from 6 am to 6 pm.
  • Address: Booloumba Creek Road, Conondale, QLD 4552
  • Distance from town: Approximately 20 km from Kenilworth town center.

7. Adventure Rafting

For thrill-seekers, adventure rafting on the Sunshine Coast is an exhilarating experience not to be missed. Join a guided tour and navigate the rapids of the Noosa River or the Mary River, depending on the season and water levels.

Source: Tourism and Events Queensland

With experienced guides leading the way, you’ll tackle exciting rapids, navigate narrow channels, and enjoy the stunning natural scenery. No previous rafting experience is necessary, making this a fun and accessible adventure for all ages and fitness levels.

Source: Tourism and Events Queensland
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds.
  • Opening Hours: Varies depending on the tour operator.
  • Address: Tours typically depart from Noosa or the Mary Valley.
  • Distance from town: Varies depending on the tour operator.

8. Climbing and Abseiling

The Sunshine Coast offers a range of climbing and abseiling experiences for both beginners and experienced climbers. Test your skills on the natural rock faces of the Glass House Mountains or join a guided climbing tour in the Noosa National Park. For those new to the sport, there are also indoor climbing gyms available, such as Rockit Climbing Gym in Warana. With expert instructors on hand to teach you the ropes, you’ll be scaling new heights in no time.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds.
  • Opening Hours: Varies depending on the tour operator.
  • Address: Tours typically take place in the Glass House Mountains or Noosa National Park.
  • Distance from town: Varies depending on the tour operator.

9. Treetop Challenge at the Big Pineapple

The Treetop Challenge at the Big Pineapple is an exhilarating high ropes adventure course set amongst the lush rainforest canopy. With over 100 challenges, including zip lines, rope bridges, and swinging logs, this course will test your balance, strength, and nerve.

Source: Tourism and Events Queensland

The Treetop Challenge is suitable for all ages and fitness levels, with various difficulty levels available. After conquering the course, explore the rest of the Big Pineapple complex, which includes a wildlife park, tropical fruit plantation, and the iconic Big Pineapple structure.

Source: Tourism and Events Queensland
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds.
  • Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 9 am to 5 pm.
  • Address: 76 Nambour Connection Road, Woombye, QLD 4559
  • Distance from town: Approximately 2 km from Woombye town center.

10. Australia Zoo

Founded by the late Steve Irwin, Australia Zoo is a world-class wildlife park that offers an unforgettable experience for animal lovers. Spread over 100 acres, the zoo is home to over 1,200 animals, including koalas, kangaroos, crocodiles, and tigers. Enjoy daily wildlife shows, hand-feed kangaroos, and even cuddle a koala. For a truly unique experience, book an up-close animal encounter or take part in the Zoo Keeper for a Day program. With so much to see and do, Australia Zoo is a must-visit attraction on the Sunshine Coast.

Source: Tourism and Events Queensland
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds.
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm, closed Christmas Day.
  • Address: 1638 Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah, QLD 4519
  • Distance from town: Approximately 3 km from Beerwah town center.

11. SEA Life Sunshine Coast Aquarium

SEA Life Sunshine Coast Aquarium is an immersive marine experience that will delight visitors of all ages. With 11 themed zones, you’ll encounter a diverse range of aquatic creatures, including sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, and tropical fish. Don’t miss the Ocean Tunnel, where you can walk beneath a 2.5 million-liter oceanarium filled with sharks and other marine life. Participate in interactive touch pools, watch daily animal feedings, and learn about the aquarium’s conservation efforts through educational talks and displays.

Source: Tourism and Events Queensland
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds.
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 9 am to 3 pm, last entry at 2 pm.
  • Address: Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba, QLD 4557
  • Distance from town: Located in Mooloolaba town center.

12. Ginger Factory

The Ginger Factory is a unique family attraction located in Yandina, offering a range of fun and educational experiences. Take a guided tour of the factory to learn about the fascinating process of ginger production, from planting to harvesting and processing. Hop aboard the Ginger Train, a historic cane train that takes you on a leisurely tour of the lush gardens and tropical plantations. Kids will love the Overboard Boat Ride, a water adventure featuring animated gingerbread characters. Don’t forget to sample some delicious ginger treats at the Ginger Café and pick up some souvenirs at the Ginger Shop.

Source: Tourism and Events Queensland
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds.
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm, closed Christmas Day.
  • Address: 50 Pioneer Road, Yandina, QLD 4561
  • Distance from town: Located in Yandina town center.

13. Sunrise at the Beach

There’s nothing quite like watching the sunrise over the ocean, and the Sunshine Coast offers plenty of beautiful beaches to choose from. Head to Point Cartwright, Alexandra Headland, or Moffat Beach to catch the first light of the day. Bring a blanket and a thermos of coffee, and settle in to watch the sky transform from inky black to vibrant shades of pink, orange, and gold. This is a magical experience that’s worth waking up early for, and it’s a great way to start your day on the Sunshine Coast.

Source: Tourism and Events Queensland
  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds.
  • Opening Hours: Beaches are open 24 hours.
  • Address: Point Cartwright, Alexandra Headland, or Moffat Beach.
  • Distance from town: Varies depending on the beach location.

14. Spa Day

Treat yourself to a day of relaxation and pampering at one of the Sunshine Coast’s luxurious day spas. Ikatan Spa in Doonan offers a tranquil Balinese-inspired setting, with a range of treatments including massages, facials, and body scrubs. Alternatively, visit Organica Day Spa at Peregian Beach for a range of organic and natural treatments, including hot stone massages, aromatherapy, and detoxifying body wraps. Whichever spa you choose, you’ll leave feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to continue your Sunshine Coast adventure.

Source: Tourism and Events Queensland
  • Best time of the year: Year-round.
  • Opening Hours: Varies depending on the spa.
  • Address: Ikatan Spa in Doonan (46 Grays Road, Doonan, QLD 4562) or Organica Day Spa at Peregian Beach (1/6 Grebe Street, Peregian Beach, QLD 4573).
  • Distance from town: Ikatan Spa is approximately 12 km from Noosa Heads town center, and Organica Day Spa is approximately 2 km from Peregian Beach town center.

15. Flame Hill Vineyard

Nestled in the picturesque Montville region, Flame Hill Vineyard is a must-visit destination for wine lovers. The vineyard offers wine tastings and cellar door sales, allowing you to sample their estate-grown wines, including their award-winning Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc. The on-site restaurant serves a delicious menu of Modern Australian cuisine, made from locally sourced produce and ingredients grown on the property. Enjoy a leisurely lunch on the terrace, taking in the stunning views of the surrounding countryside and the distant coastline.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds.
  • Opening Hours: Cellar door open daily from 10 am to 5 pm; restaurant open Thursday to Sunday for lunch and Friday and Saturday for dinner.
  • Address: 249 Western Avenue, Montville, QLD 4560
  • Distance from town: Approximately 6 km from Montville town center.

16. Clouds Vineyard

Clouds Vineyard is a picturesque winery located in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. While specific wine recommendations are not available due to a 40x error on their website, you can check out their reviews on TripAdvisor, where visitors praise the beautiful setting and friendly staff. Sample a range of premium wines, including reds, whites, and sparkling varieties. After your tasting, take a stroll through the vineyard and soak up the stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

  • Best time of the year: Year-round, but spring and autumn offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds.
  • Opening Hours: Varies depending on the vineyard.
  • Address: 787 Landsborough Maleny Road, Maleny, QLD 4552
  • Distance from town: Approximately 4 km from Maleny town center.

Towns Nearby Sunshine Coast, QLD

Here are some nearby towns/suburbs around Sunshine Coast, QLD Australia, along with their highlights, attractions, distance from Sunshine Coast, and reasons why they are worth visiting:

  1. Caloundra, QLD (20 km from Sunshine Coast): Known for its stunning beaches, Caloundra is a great destination for water sports enthusiasts. It offers a range of activities, including surfing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Don’t miss the Caloundra Street Fair, held every Sunday, where you can sample local food and crafts.
  2. Noosa, QLD (40 km from Sunshine Coast): A popular destination for tourists, Noosa is known for its beautiful beaches, national park, and vibrant dining scene. Take a walk through Noosa National Park, where you can spot koalas and dolphins, or visit the Noosa Farmers Market, held every Sunday.
  3. Montville, QLD (30 km from Sunshine Coast): A charming town in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Montville offers a range of boutique shops, art galleries, and cafes. Don’t miss the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Track, a scenic walking trail that leads to a beautiful waterfall.
  4. Maleny, QLD (35 km from Sunshine Coast): Another town in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Maleny is known for its stunning views of the Glass House Mountains and its vibrant arts community. Visit the Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World, where you can see a range of exotic birds and plants.
  5. Eumundi, QLD (25 km from Sunshine Coast): Home to the famous Eumundi Markets, held every Wednesday and Saturday, this charming town offers a range of artisanal crafts, local produce, and live music. Don’t miss the Eumundi Brewery, where you can sample craft beer and enjoy live music.
  6. Nambour, QLD (15 km from Sunshine Coast): A historic town in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Nambour is known for its art deco architecture and its vibrant arts community. Visit the Nambour Museum, which showcases the town’s history, or take a walk through the Maroochy Regional Bushland Botanic Garden.
  7. Maroochydore, QLD (10 km from Sunshine Coast): The commercial hub of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore offers a range of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Visit the Sunshine Plaza, the largest shopping center on the Sunshine Coast, or take a walk along the Maroochy River.

Getting To Sunshine Coast, QLD

To get to the Sunshine Coast, QLD Australia from common destinations or origins as a local tourist, you have several options for both public transport and driving.

From Brisbane CBD:

  • By train: Take the train from Brisbane Central Station to Nambour Station. The journey takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • By car: Drive north on the M1 and take the exit for the Sunshine Motorway. Follow the signs to the Sunshine Coast. The drive takes approximately 1 hour, depending on traffic.

From Gold Coast:

  • By train: Take the train from Gold Coast Airport Station to Varsity Lakes Station, then transfer to the train to Nambour Station. The journey takes approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.
  • By car: Drive north on the M1 and take the exit for the Sunshine Motorway. Follow the signs to the Sunshine Coast. The drive takes approximately 2 hours, depending on traffic.

From nearby towns:

  • From Noosa: Take the bus from Noosa Junction to Maroochydore Station, then transfer to the bus to your destination on the Sunshine Coast. The journey takes approximately 1 hour.
  • From Caloundra: Take the bus from Caloundra Station to Maroochydore Station, then transfer to the bus to your destination on the Sunshine Coast. The journey takes approximately 1 hour.
  • From Mooloolaba: Take the bus from Mooloolaba Station to Maroochydore Station, then transfer to the bus to your destination on the Sunshine Coast. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes.

For public transport options from other nearby towns, use the TransLink website (https://translink.com.au) or app to plan your journey, as it provides detailed information on train and bus routes, schedules, and ticketing. If you prefer to drive, the Sunshine Motorway is the main road that connects the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane and the Gold Coast.