Sunshine Coast Updates

Download PDF

April 2019

Regional Updates

Sunshine Coast International Visitors

International visitation to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is on the rise and the region is well poised to welcome the rising wave of global interest. Data released by Tourism Research Australia shows an increase in the number of international visitors flocking to the Sunshine Coast, as well as a surge in visitor spending. For the year ending December 2018, Sunshine Coast recorded $246.5 million in visitor expenditure, an increase of 4.8% from the previous year. In addition, there was a 3.5% increase in international visitors totalling 311,000. Top source markets include New Zealand, the UK, Germany, the USA, Asia (whole), France, Scandinavia and Canada.

Sunshine Coast – new Qantas direct service

On 1 April 2019, Qantas commenced a second daily direct service between Sydney and the Sunshine Coast departing Sydney at 10.30am. The service, which is perfectly timed to connect with international flights from Asia, Europe, North America and New Zealand, will provide a major boost for international tourism to the Sunshine Coast. The new flight facilitates seamless travel from international destinations, direct to Sunshine Coast Airport on the one ticket. Meanwhile, the Sunshine Coast Airport expansion project continues to steamroll ahead, with the project’s completion set for 2020.

Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion

The Sunshine Coast Airport expansion project is well underway and scheduled for completion in 2020. The expansion, which involves the creation of a new longer and wider runway, will open the Sunshine Coast up to a range of new markets through direct flights from around Australia, across Asia and the Western Pacific. The expansion will see an increase in the number of visitors to the region, further cementing the Sunshine Coast as a leading tourist destination.

Australia’s newest food festival debut - The Curated Plate – August 2019

A revolutionary new food festival – The Curated Plate – will be held on the Sunshine Coast from 8-11 August 2019 and will change the way people view regional dining. Spanning the Sunshine Coast’s lush hinterland rainforests and valleys to the stunning beaches and coastal regions, the festival will celebrate the region’s finest produce with the best chefs in the Australian and international dining scene, including Japan’s ‘best restaurant’ chef, Zaiyu Hasegawa. The festival will also be accompanied by the extended Destination Series program from 5-18 August put together by those who know the region best: the locals. The Destination Series will include everything from Jet Ski food safaris in Caloundra to craft beer tours and a five-course degustation on board the iconic Mary Valley Rattler. For more information, visit the The Destination Series will be released on 13 May.

Restaurant hub booms at The Wharf Mooloolaba

The Wharf Mooloolaba has undergone a major redevelopment, with new restaurants, attractions and retail stores transforming the space in to a hot new food destination. Stage two of the multi-million refurbishment saw burger and dessert bar – Ninth Street – open its doors in December 2018, along with traditional Italian restaurant Il Vento. The Wharf is also home to the Sunshine Coast’s newest live music venue: The Boston Shaker Bar, Colombian café La Finca and Fior di Latte Gelateria.  As well as eateries a number of fashion, lifestyle and homewares stores have opened their doors in the precinct, including Gingers, Bedouin Traders, Mikimi Australian Resortwear and Meraki Thread Co.

Triballink Activity Centre opens in Mapleton

Visitors are encouraged to learn about Indigenous culture at the newly opened Triballink Activity Centre. Run by Goombuckar Creations, Triballink offers a Dreamtime Immersion with a night walk through the rainforest, local Dreamtime storytelling and bush tucker, as well as a night time Aboriginal dance and dinner immersion experience. Triballink is located at the Queensland Conference and Camping Centre in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

The Big Pineapple

Work has started on restoring the Sunshine Coast’s iconic The Big Pineapple to its former glory through a $150 million renewal project. Work includes the new Treetop Challenge high ropes adventure course, water park, major events space, onsite accommodation and $60 million agribusiness precinct.

TreeTop Challenge launches 

Thrill seekers looking to push their fear of heights to the limit need look no further than the TreeTop Challenge. The high-ropes adventure in the Sunshine Coast’s iconic Big Pineapple precinct opened in March 2019 and includes more than 100 activities across a 2km course, including a 120m long zipline.


Tourism Product – New International Ready Product at ATE19

Croc Tours

Croc Tours is a locally owned company that is passionate about wildlife conservation and specialises in small group tours to Australia Zoo from the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane. Croc Tours’ vehicles are modern, fully air conditioned with plenty of leg room and are designed for total comfort.


Makepeace Island

Makepeace is a heart-shaped island situated on the Noosa River – just minutes from Noosa or 20 minutes’ drive from Sunshine Coast airport. As the Australian home of Sir Richard Branson, Brett Godfrey and Radek Sali; Makepeace Island offers guests their own private sanctuary on the Sunshine Coast that uniquely fuses luxury and wilderness. Makepeace has undergone extensive renovations to take the island to a new level of luxury accommodating up to 22 castaways.


Mary Valley Rattler

The Mary Valley Rattler has been restored to its former glory, with the century-old track and its fleet of historic locomotives and carriages undergoing extensive upgrades. The Rattler takes passengers back in time on scenic journeys through the Mary Valley and runs Wednesday through Sunday each week. The return journey takes passengers from Gympie or Amamoor stations. As well as being a celebrated piece of history, the Rattler is a major tourism drawcard for the Gympie and Mary Valley regions.


Product Updates


Australia Zoo – Crikey! It’s the Irwins

Crikey! It’s the Irwin’s launched globally on Animal Planet in more than 205 countries and territories.  The series has reached more viewers than any other globally launched Animal Planet series and filming is now underway for season two!  Season one saw audiences meeting a wide range of animals including a giraffe named Scarlett whom Terri transported 2,000km to participate in a breeding program - part of Australia Zoo’s conservation efforts. Australia Zoo’s Crikey! Café was recently refurbished and serves up several delicious crowd favourites including sushi, salads, sandwiches, burgers, pizza, hot chips and more. When visiting Crikey Café take a seat at one of the unique handcrafted tables made from Queensland hardwood - your table may have been made by Steve Irwin himself!


Hinterland Farm to Fork Tour with Sunshine Coast Craft Beer Tours

Sunshine Coast Craft Beer Tours have added a Hinterland Farm to Fork experience to their program. Guests are taken to visit a local coffee roaster for insights into the coffee industry, roasting process and a cup of fresh coffee to start the day. The group then proceeds to a behind-the-scenes-tour of two private farms to meet local producers, hear their stories and sample the amazing produce of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. The tour then visits Brouhaha Brewery and Restaurant for lunch featuring fresh seasonal local produce accompanied by a range of craft beers brewed on site, followed by a final stop to the Glass House Mountains for spectacular views.

Ecoqld - Everglades Eco-Safaris

Ecoqld Everglades Eco-Safaris day tours to the Noosa Everglades now depart from Eco-Queensland’s everglades eco-camp, Habitat Noosa, with complimentary return transfers operating from Habitat Noosa to Noosa Heads. Eco-safaris operate two Noosa Everglades tours daily, the Everglades Eco Safari and Serenity Cruise. The Everglades Eco Safaris cruise departs from Habitat Noosa at 9am and includes an Everglades cruise followed by a roast lunch at Habitat Noosa. Guests also have the option to canoe the Everglades. The Serenity half-day cruise departs daily from 2.30pm. Guests enjoy a leisurely cruise through the Everglades guided by an experienced and knowledgeable skipper with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine or coffee.

Accommodation Updates

NEW! Habitat Noosa (Eco Queensland)

The Everglades Eco-camp has relaunched as Habitat Noosa, having been built on an existing campground. Nestled on 65 acres of natural bushland, with a 500m beachfront on Noosa River, Habitat Noosa is a wilderness experience like no other. The world-class eco-facility is home to a large eastern grey kangaroo population and offers guests a range of accommodation, dining and tour options. The eco-camp offers five paperbark tents, 20 cabins and 13 wilderness tents for guests as well as powered or unpowered sites for campers, motorhomes and RVs.


Novotel Twin Waters Resort – NEW ownership and major changes

Novotel Twin Waters Resort is set to undergo major changes, with Shakespeare Property Group purchasing the resort for $100 million from Abacus Property Group. Shakespeare’s immediate intentions are to improve the resort’s current facilities to reposition Novotel Twin Waters as one of Queensland’s leading business events venues, having committed $8 million to the construction of a new convention centre on site which will open in late May, 2019.



Mantra Mooloolaba Beach refurbishment

Loved for its beachfront location, Mantra Mooloolaba Beach will be undergoing a full building repaint to give the property a fresh new look in April. The property has further embraced its water views with the launch of two new room types: the one-bedroom superior and one-bedroom superior ocean. The refurbished self-contained apartments are complete with a king bed, refurbished kitchen, lounge area with Foxtel TV and spa baths in some of the rooms.