Coolum is home to one of the best mountain climbs around as well as some perfect little beach bays. But that’s kinda all it’s known for.
The thing is, if you spend your morning hiking up Mount Coolum or your afternoon at First, Second, or Third Bay swimming, surfing, sun baking (or let’s face it, all three) eventually you’re going to need sustenance.
We’ve found seven hotspots where you can eat, drink, and be merry in Coolum.
Canteen Kitchen & Bar
Coolum’s newest addition, Canteen tastes as good as it looks. The all-black interior, exposed light globes, and concrete bench tops contrast perfectly against the sea views. Pair that with great coffee, cocktails, and menus doning all the right things (think Citrus Smashed Avo on rye for breakfast, Organic Blue Corn Cajun Fish Tacos for lunch, and Crispy Skin Ginger Pork Belly for dinner) and you’re actually in heaven.
Where: 1748 David Low Way, Coolum Beach
Compound Secondhand Surf + Espresso
Compound is one of our favourite hang spots. Their passionate baristas use Padre Coffee to whip up everything from the classic latte, to cold drip and Aeropress. The vibe is uber-chilled with surfboards, second hand clothing, and a nifty supply of coffee instruments for sale, as well as an ever-evolving selection of goodies like brownies, toast-your-own bagels, cookies, and croissants.
Where: Shop 23B/ 15 Heathfield Road, Coolum Beach
Looking to take your date somewhere a little bit spesh to up the love-game? You can stop the search! Harvest Restaurant is casual fine-dining at its best. The setting is relaxed, the food will have drooling (and that’s just with a glance over the menu), and the service will leave you dishing up rave reviews to anyone who’ll listen.
Where: 5/1806 David Low Way, Coolum Beach
Combine superb traditional Italian gelato with local Sunny Coast produce and you get Gelato Mio. Their standard flavours are epic; creamy hazelnut that will knock your socks off, divine lemon sorbet, and coconut gelato that is literally summer in a cone. But their rotating specialty flavours are even better—things like Wild Berry Panna Cotta, Chocolate Velvet Wattle, and a sugar-free option made with organic blue agave syrup. Hot damn.
Where: Element on Coolum Beach, Shop 2, Corner David Low Way and Elizabeth Street
New Earth Cafe
If you’re a raw foodie, vegetarian, or vegan, New Earth Cafe is basically your heaven on Earth. And even if you’re not, this health spot is THE place for cold pressed juices, epic real fruit smoothies, and big ass vegetable-laden lunches. And then there’s the treats. Oh my! Their goodie cabinet is overflowing with fresh, house-made vegan cakes, bars, and slices (like the chocolate macadamia salted caramel tart with whipped coconut peanut butter cream—say what!?)
Where: 21-37 Birtwill Street, Coolum Beach
Okay, so it’s technically in Mount Coolum, but that still has “Coolum” in the name so it totally counts. Daily Dose is where you will find cracking coffee, fab juices, mean smoothies, and a damn fine menu that is particularly friendly to gluten-free peeps (try the crispy potato rosti for breakfast). They’ve also recently added a bar on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights with a smashing happy hour of $3 wine and beer from 3pm and $4 from 4pm. Don’t worry, it doesn’t go up to $11 at 11pm.
Where: 8/2 Suncoast Beach Drive, Mount Coolum
Reception Specialty Coffee
They say good things come in small packages and it totally rings true for Reception. A bright little spot tucked in Coolum’s industrial estate, this weekday-only espresso bar literally has just two indoor benches and a few low slung tables and stools outside. It’s the perfect pit stop to grab yourself a cup of primo coffee and more-ish slices supplied by Hamptons Espresso in Buderim.
Where: 2 Access Crescent, Coolum Beach