Boasting a 100 kilometre stretch of pristine coastline, luxury boutiques, sophisticated beach resorts, picturesque hinterland and the volcanic peaks of the Glasshouse Mountains, if you're yet to experience the wonder of the Sunshine Coast, now is absolutely the time.
The natural beauty of the Sunshine Coast is what's made it so famous, but in our opinion, it’s the communities that create the true essence of this slice of paradise. From the stylish and luxe village of Noosa and the urban centre of Maroochydore to the easy-going charm of Mooloolaba and the laid-back lure of Eumundi, it’s time to explore our own great state and what better place to start than the Sunshine Coast?
To help you tackle it all, we've teamed up with Queensland to bring you everything you need to eat, drink, see and do on the Sunshine Coast.
What To Do
Get Your Heart Racing With A Land And Sky Adventure
For a once in a lifetime experience, we recommend taking to the skies with Paradise Seaplanes that is well worth the price tag. Imagine flying high over the stunning Sunshine Coast in a genuine Wilga warbird—the only one in the Southern Hemisphere. We recommend the Surf Patrol Adventure that takes you all along the coastline from Noosa to Caloundra, or the Noosa to Glasshouse Mountains tour that finishes off with a water landing that will have you holding your breath! If you’d rather stay on land then opt for The Great Beach 4WD Tours where you will experience the stunning scenery from Noosa to Rainbow Beach only accessible by 4x4. There are loads of stops along the way including Honeymoon Bay for secluded lagoon swims. It's pure bliss.
Go Boutique Hopping
Hastings Street is Noosa’s main shopping precinct that's bursting with boutique stores and loved for its wonderful mix of beachside luxury and laidback holiday vibes. We suggest walking from one end to the other, stopping at favourite shops like Bowery 475 whose offerings are luxe and lust-worthy and Bow and Arrow that boasts over 50 upmarket labels. All that shopping calls stopping for a champagne brunch or a long lunch.
Treat yourself at a Spa
Maleny Beauty Rooms is a space as serene as it is seductive that will have you floating out the door after an indulgent treatment like a Swedish relaxation massage or a vitamin-booster facial. Want to transport to Bali? Then look no further than Ikatan Spa which is a tropical oasis and was voted best destination spa in Australia four times! Or if you just want to pick up some products that are good for you, your body and the planet, then The Orangerie is a new natural skincare emporium in Noosa heads, with only high performing, ethical and natural beauty brands on offer.
Soak Up The Seaside Serenity
There’s nothing quite like a romantic cruise down a river in a gondola as the sun sets while sipping French champagne. No loud boat engines to spoil the serenity, the Gondolas of Noosa glide almost silently through the canals of the river. Surprise your significant other or splurge and shout your friends (it seats six people) and book a private and luxury cruise. It’s BYO drinks but they supply ice buckets, ice and glasses so all you have to do is turn up, bottle in hand! If you're chasing a bit more action than that then channel your inner daredevil and jump on a jetski with Caloundra Jet Ski Hire where you can choose from a number of tours and waterways to explore. If you already have a jetski license then you can hire one for the whole day to use at your own leisure. Keep the adrenaline pumping with a surf lesson at Coolum Surf School. They teach beginners how to stand up for the first time, groms to solidify their skills and experienced surfers to master their sport. Have a group lesson and share the stoke!
Kayak Through The Everglades
Noosa happens to be home to Australia’s only everglades, and with the only other Everglades system found in Florida, this is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity you need to tick off your bucket list. The Everglades is a waterway so tranquil and still, it transforms into a glass mirror and reflects the skies above. Kanu Kapers will guide you through the stunning natural features in their handcrafted kayaks. You can opt for a guided tour, take yourself with a packed picnic, or challenge yourself by taking on the three-day self-guided tour where each night you can sleep under the stars, right by the water. Looking for a place to stay near the Everglades? Habitat Noosa Everglades Ecocamp has got you covered with their camping sites, paperbark tents, wilderness tents, glamping. They offer up a bunch of tours and they even if an eco brewery on site! We'll see you there.
Where To Eat
Belmondo's is a one-stop-shop for all your grocery, health, coffee, deli and breakfast needs. This isn’t your typical corner store to pick up a loaf of bread, but an organic mecca of fine food and local produce from a bunch of different vendors. You won’t walk out hungry or empty-handed, guaranteed.
The Grounds Providore
Another corner store with a little more is The Grounds Providore which is a carefully curated food and goods hideaway with everything you could possibly need including much-needed takeaway coffees and freshly-baked pastries.
For a really fanciful, treat-yourself-kind-of-meal then head to Bistro C for an award-winning meal perched right on the white sands of Noosa’s Laguna Bay. Offering a menu bursting to the brim with locally caught seafood, succulent steaks and signature dishes like the chilli crab pasta from chef Dave Merlo and team, it will be a meal to remember.
Orleans Restaurant and Bar
Drawing inspiration from New Orleans cuisine, this Maroochydore hotspot has a relaxed modern dining vibe boasting an impressive menu and quality service. Think cornbread, buffalo wings with a French Orleans twist, seafood gumbo and spiced roast spatchcock—it’s an experience that will transport you right to the melting pot of culture that is New Orleans. Book your table at Orleans Restaurant And Bar, stat.
Fish on Parkyn
A very elevated take on fish and chips, this contemporary restaurant’s ethos is from ‘dock to table’ making it an icon on the Sunshine Coast foodie scene. Fish on Parkyn features sustainable and seasonal seafood with the BBQ Seafood Plate for two being a superb standout. Think Moreton Bay Buys, Mooloolaba Prawns, Huon Salmon, and Hervey Bay scallops. Sign us up.
Noosa Boathouse is a three-level bistro and bar right on the waterfront overlooking Noosa River that offers a coffee bar and takeaway fish and chip window, a lunch and dinner restaurant and a sunset bar—there's seriously something for everyone at every time of day. Don’t fret if seafood isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of other options on the menu including smoked chicken gnocchi and premium steaks sourced from Gympie. We suggest leaving room for dessert, the chocolate and raspberry brownie is out of this world.
Only opening its doors last year, Mr Mancino has become a favourite family-owned Italian restaurant of Coolum Beach and for very good reason. You get to pick your style of pasta from either spaghetti, penne, fettuccine, gnocchi or lasagna and then select your sauce creating a custom dish to match your mood. We bet you’ve never seen a menu like it.
Noosa Beach House Peter Kuruvita
If you haven’t heard of chef, restaurateur, TV presenter, author, consultant, surfer, fisherman Peter Kuruvita, then you need to head on down to the restaurant at the Sofitel in Noosa and try some of his exceptional food. You can feel like part of the action and dine outdoors on Hastings Street or embrace the sophisticated restaurant for dinner. Peter grew up in Sri Lanka so you will find lots of international inspiration on the delectable menu with lots of imported wines to pair perfectly with your meal.
Where To Drink
Locale is an impressive Italian restaurant in Noosa that is also known for its extensive cocktail list including a multitude of Negronis and Margaritas, as well as some signature mixes like the La Signorina. With a blend of citrus vodka lychee liqueur, pink grapefruit, rose water and lime it will be hard to go past anything else.
Pomona Distilling Co
Pomona Distilling Co is a place that well and truly bottles the spirit of the Sunshine Coast. They pride themselves on being a small-batch boutique distillery specialising in artesian spirits with a focus on quality over quantity, infused with native botanicals from their own farm. Head to the garden bar on weekends for some live music and a taste of what they make.
This Belgian wine and beer garden is tucked away in Yandina and quite the contradiction to the usual Sunshine Coast beach venues. The atmosphere and ambience at Bar Deco is second to none with sleek and intimate vibes that pair perfectly with the creative cocktail list, self-imported beer and wines and European food. It’s such a sophisticated style you won’t feel mad that we can’t go to Europe any time soon—this is enough to fulfil the need for a while.
Land and Sea Brewery
Noosa’s first and finest craft brewery Land and Sea is completely inspired by the beautiful landscape of the Sunshine Coast. You can do a tour of the brewery and distillery where you will learn the magic of creating such a divine drop. If you don’t have 90 minutes to spare, stop by to try any of their nine craft beers on offer. Make sure you don’t leave without a Land and Sea tee to remind you of a beer made in paradise.
This Noosa institution is well known for its stylish setting, diverse cocktail list, relaxed atmosphere and globally influenced modern Mediterranean cuisine. Plus, Miss Moneypenny's has even been voted Best Regional Bar in Australia. If you want to learn how they craft their delicious cocktails, then sign up for a class and learn the science of spirits and master mixology.
Where To Stay
Loea Boutique Hotel
A simply stunning brand new boutique hotel opposite the Maroochydore River is Loea that's inspired by warm, breezy and beachy Sunny coast days. It’s styled exactly how you would want your home: light, coastal and oh, so luxe. With a magnesium pool and plenty of sun loungers to perch and locally sourced food available from a very cute food truck, it’s the perfect spot to unwind and dine.
Glasshouse Mountains Ecolodge
If the hinterland is your happy place, then book a stay amongst the Glasshouse Mountains at this ecolodge that has a number of different accommodation options to suit every budget. From two-person rooms with a view to self-contained bungalows and family rooms overlooking the rainforest. You can even stay in a 125 year old restored country church or a train carriage from the 80s—now that’s a special stay!
The Point Coolum Beach
A blissful beach resort with breath-taking panoramic views of Coolum coastline, world-class golf courses nearby and a short stroll into Coolum village, you need to send The Point Coolum Beach to the top of your must-stay hit list. One, two and three-bedroom villas are available with open plan living and kitchen areas, meaning sweeping views of the Coral Sea right off your balcony. With the option to hire a BBQ, two swimming pools and the best views in the house there really is no need to leave.
The Sebel Noosa
If being in the midst of things is your style, then the Sebel is the play to stay. Right in the bustling heart of Noosa, moments from the main beach and surrounded by cafes and boutique stores, it’s one awesome oasis for your next holiday. Featuring lush gardens, a BBQ area, room service, a heated outdoor swimming pool, spa, and completely self-contained apartments—it’s a sub-tropical paradise you'll never want to leave.
Secrets on the Lake
Your rainforest escape awaits at Secrets on the Lake, a beautiful colonial-style building on the foreshore of Lake Baroon. With beautiful gardens surrounding the forest, lake and mountains there is even a picture-perfect jetty to perch and read a book or try and catch some fish. With 11 different luxury cabins to choose from including secluded treehouse cabins designed especially for couples on romantic getaways, penthouse treehouses or heritage cabin options with more room for the troops. It’s like straight out of a fairy tale.
Spicers Clovely Estate
French-inspired luxury set amongst the rolling hills of Montville, surrounded by grand fig trees, shaded jacarandas and groves of magnolias and gardenias makes Spicers Clovelly Estate the perfect place to stay. Be prepared for an extraordinary experience with a range of contemporary rooms to choose from, a Chef Hatted fine dining restaurant made up of French-style cuisine and an elevated spa onsite—there’s no doubt you won’t leave this place feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
If you haven’t experienced the beauty of the Sunshine Coast yet, we think it’s about time you did. And what better excuse to explore our beautiful backyard than to support Queensland businesses that need your help right now. Make the promise to holiday here this year by joining our 20 For 20 Challenge.
Queensland is good to go, so let's get out there! And remember, always be COVID safe and check operator details and opening times prior to travel.
Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Queensland and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.
Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast Instagram, Bistro C Instagram