Our glorious pocket of paradise is blessed with a ton of stunning walking trails—dotted with towering waterfalls and pristine creeks, and populated by precious wildlife and cool rainforests—there’s no doubt we live in one of the most beautiful spots in the world. Hiking is one of those weekend activities which makes you feel like you’ve achieved something come Monday at the office. Of course, no hike is complete without taking way too many photos, uploading them on Instagram and feeling better than everyone who slept in on the weekend.
Here on the Sunshine Coast, we are so lucky to have all these drop-dead gorgeous walks close to our home, so go on—lace up your hiking boots and celebrate the incredibly beautiful place that we live in. Here's ten of the prettiest walks on and around the Sunshine Coast that you need to explore this summer.
Mooloolah River National Park
There are a couple of gentle, short walks through Mooloolah River National Park—you just need to decide whether you want to wind along the river or explore the rainforest. The Jowarra Section is an absolute must-walk and is one of the few remaining coastal rainforest areas. We’ve even got it on good authority that platypus live in the river, so if you head out at dusk, bring along some cheese and wine (for you, not the platypus!) stay very quiet, and you might even be lucky enough to spot one of these shy little critters.
Noosa Heads To Sunshine Beach Trail
Noosa National Park
The extensive network of walks around Noosa National Park and over the headland is world-famous, so we’re sorry to say you almost definitely won't have it to yourself. But when you see the amazing ocean views, or when you spot a koala napping in a tree, or even if a gorgeous carpet python slithers across your path, we promise you won’t notice anything else. There are dolphins galore if you make an early enough start, and during whale-watching season, we can practically guarantee you’ll see a whale. Start at the national park carpark, following the coastal track to A-Bay. Then, enjoy getting a bit of sand between your toes before hiking around the headland at the southern end of the beach, and then down the giant staircase to Sunshine Beach.
Great Noosa Trail
People travel from all over the world to take part in the annual three-day Great Noosa Trail Walk, and we’ve got it right in our backyard—some of us, literally. We’re not jealous at all…This network of eight connected trails passes through private property as well as national parks, roads, and parklands through the Noosa Hinterland. The trail itself has everything from short hour-long strolls, through to the whole trail which will take you about three days, camping along the way. The highlight of the trail are the lookouts, so you can not only admire the amazing view of the mountains, you can also feel pretty damn smug about how far you’ve come.
Kondalilla, the Aboriginal term for “rushing water”, is just that. In fact, it’s 90 meters of rushing water plummeting into a gorgeous valley. This stunning walking track leads from Kondalilla Falls down the escarpment into a lush rainforests valley, which is ripe with prime photo opportunities. If you’re after a real adventure, ditch the easy 2.4km Picnic Creek Circuit, even the moderate 3.2km Rock Pools walk, and get lost on the 4.6km Kondalilla Falls Circuit. This subtropical rainforest trail winds around chilled gorges and secluded rock pools with plenty of scenic lookouts along the way. Hint: use this opportunity to take in the view, and some deep breaths too, because once you reach the main event, it’s another 4.6km back. After all, what goes down must come back up.
If you’re a bit of a thrillseeker—looking for rock climbing dizzying volcanic peaks, and other hardcore, death-defying active stuff—Mount Tibrogargan is probably one of the prettiest walks on the Sunshine Coast for you. This hike is more of a free climb than a walk, as you have to follow the obvious wear makes to scramble up, and up….and up. Conquer this adventurous climb and you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views from the 364 metre high summit.
Buderim Forest Park
Not all the beautiful walks on the Coast are, well… on the coast. Chuck on your best activewear and head for Buderim Forest Park, which is located deep in the lush Sunshine Coast Hinterland. You can check out the wildlife and native subtropical forest, rockpools, caves, and of course Buderim (or Serenity) Falls. Plenty of this gorgeous walk is along boardwalks, so no need to get your hiking boots out for this one.
Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk
Sunshine Coast Hinterland
Every Sunny Coast local needs to try this epic walk of almost 60km, which people do over a couple of days—camping along the way. Thankfully, the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk is also broken into smaller chunks, with easy spots to start and finish along the way. We recommend starting small with some of the gorgeous day walks. The Baroon Point section is one of our favourite walks, with plenty of rest areas, and glimpses of Obi Obi Creek. When you reach Baroon Lookout, you can enjoy the view and head back, or if you’re up for something a bit tougher, keep going on to Flat Rock for a stunning, secluded swimming hole that usually doesn’t have too many visitors, especially outside peak tourist season.
If you want to look at more than just glorious ocean views (although there’s plenty of them too) check out the cheeky little dune and heathland walks from the carpark in between Peregian Beach and Coolum Beach (you’ll spot it on the left, heading south from Coolum State High School). If you’re quiet along the Ocean Track, you’ll spot heaps of birds, wildflowers, and have a moment to appreciate the delicate ecosystem of our coastline. Make sure you pack your fave mandala towel and sunhat, because it’s only a short walk to the beach, where you can while away a few lazy hours before heading back again.
Do you like the idea of bushwalking more than the actual practice of it? Do you start muttering to yourself “are we there yet?” before you’re even out of sight of the car park? Well, we have just the walk for you. You can drive almost all the way to the top of Mount Tinbeerwah, which itself is just a very civilized five minutes from our home away from home, Clandestino Roasters. Best of all, the actual walk is less than 300m long, and a nice easy climb to a viewing platform. Because you’re just out of range of the suburban lights, head out close to midnight, and you’re guaranteed a breathtaking view of the starry night sky.
For the big daddy of all stunning walks, check out this 73 kilometre long track that takes you from Bells Creek in the south all the way to Coolum, right up the entire Sunshine Coast. This isn’t a rural countryside hike either. This is urban walking, along coastal paths, through dune areas, and most importantly, past cafes, public toilets, and even alongside some sneaky bus routes. You can break it into sections, and explore a different part of our amazing coastline every weekend for months.
If all this talk of hiking and mountains has got your inner adrenaline junkie going, get your heart rate pumping with these incredible mountain hikes near the Sunshine Coast.
Image credit: Amy Higg Photography