With lockdown restrictions easing in Queensland this weekend, there’s no better time to re-discover the beauty of the Sunshine Coast and surrounding regions.
Although we’re still technically only allowed 50 kilometres from home, that still opens up a plethora of options when it comes to taking short road trips on the Sunshine Coast.
So load up the playlist with sing-along bangers, round up some loose change to start supporting local businesses along the way and get the camera ready, because these scenic Sunshine Coast drives will dish up plenty of photo ops for the memory bank.
Live by the beach and craving to go country for the day? A day-trip through the Mary Valley should satisfy all your needs for cows, rustic tin sheds, rolling farms, creeks and teeny old towns. Head inland at Beerwah, through Peachester and onto Connondale. Keep your eyes peeled for any local farm gates, and gather up goods for an impromptu picnic along the way. From there, you’ve got Kandanga Imbil, and Amamoor to explore, so get those wheels a-turning.
Maleny To Mapleton
Surely, you’ve done this drive at least once in your life, but there’s no reason not to do it again, just differently. Once you’ve found your way to the mountain town of Maleny, visited the local bookstore and hit up one of the best cafes in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, it’s time to hit the road. This is where we mention, there are a few detours. First stop is to take in those Glass House Mountain views and take a stroll through Mary Cairncross Park. After getting your mind blown, keep travelling to Mapleton. But instead of hanging about town like you usually do, take a left onto Western Avenue and find your way down to Baroon Pocket Dam. When you're ready to leave, head down to the coast via Mapleton.
Yandina To Eumundi (Along The Back Roads)
Nope, we’re not just going to tell you to go straight up the guts on the Bruce. Where would the “scenic” be in that? Instead, after you’ve wandered the lanes at Yandina Country Markets (yes, they’re open!) and searched all things vintage at Collective Haus (also open!), get behind the wheel and veer onto Old Gympie Road which will soon turn into Cooloolabin Road. Then, keep an eye out for the unsealed Buckby Road and chuck a left onto it. Follow this for about eight minutes, before you take another right and head up to Point Glorious Lookout. Once you’ve taken photos in every direction (the view is incredible), jump back on Buckby Road and head north until you get to Eumundi-Kenilworth Road. From here, it’s all systems east until you arrive at Eumundi. Sounds like a complicated drive but as long as you see the fun in getting lost and a dirty car, you’ll be fine. Reward yourself with a takeaway coffee and pastry at Humdrum Espresso.
Glass House Mountains
Despite its name, the official Glass House Mountains Tourist Drive is not-so tourist-friendly. Sure, it’ll take you past the mountains, but in the least scenic way possible. So if you’re looking for a way to explore the mountains from the comfort of your car, ignore the signs and follow our favourite route instead. Start at Beerburrum and head towards the Glass House Mountains lookout for incredible views of Mount Tibrogargan. Hop back onto Old Gympie Road and head north, taking Fullerton’s Road to climb Mount Ngungun (now open!) and soak in those sky-high views.
One for the southern end of the coast, if Bribie Island falls within your 50km radius, this is the perfect spot for a day of exploration. The most “lived-on” of the islands within driving distance of the Sunshine Coast, you can go au natural and explore the top half of the island (which isn’t much more than bush and beach) by paddling across the Pumicestone Passage from Caloundra’s Bulcock or Golden Beach. Or, if wining and dining suits you to a tee, head down the Bruce Highway to the Bribie Island turn off, then before you scoot across the bridge go directly to The Oyster Shed for a golden feed of takeaway fish and chips, right on the shore.
Image credit: Trent Bradley