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14 things to do in Caloundra

byCatherine Milne-30 Sep 2017

Caloundra is taking coastal cool to the next level with its award-winning beaches, thriving coffee, craft beer and market scene, and a social calendar brimming with festivals, events and expos. Take another look at this holiday gem, it's just an hour north of Brisbane making it the perfect base for your next Sunshine Coast escape. 

1. Grab a frothie at Moffat Beach Brewing Co

Queensland's only brewery boasting beach views, Moffat Beach Brewing Co is a major player in the Sunshine Coast’s thriving craft beer scene. This award-winning café and micro-brewery specialises in crisp, handcrafted pale ales, ciders and lagers, featuring quirky monikers such as the Hipsterdoofus ESB, and C-Bomb IPA (named as a nod to the hops - chinook, cascade, centennial and citra - that flavour the brew). The brewer is no slouch in the food stakes either. Banish your hangry feels with a serve of macadamia crusted chicken schnitty, Mooloolaba king prawn pasta, or Eudlo pork bangers and mash - and leave room for dessert as chef Dan brings a serious cake game to his kitchen creations. For some of the best weekend vibes on the Sunshine Coast, head along on Saturdays from 5 pm and from 3.30 pm on Sundays, to enjoy live music from local talent performing “between the tanks”. Bookings recommended.

Moffat Beach Brewing Company.
House brewed and international craft beers straight from the tap at Moffat Beach Brewing Company.

2. Festivals and events

Caloundra’s calendar is jam-packed with festivals and events year-round. Pencil these up coming events into your social diary, and tack on a few days to explore the rest of the region’s attractions.

Enjoy the best of catwalk fashion from local and international designers at the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival on 21 October. It’s Queensland's only internationally recognised fashion festival, and this year’s line-up features a range of award-winning designers showcasing everything from bikinis and active wear, to bridal fashion and wearable art.

Caloundra turns up the heat on Bulcock Street on 25 November, 2017 for the inaugural Ignite Caloundra Chilli Festival. Take a stroll down the tree-lined street to sample spicy and delicious cuisine from around the world, an incredible range of piquant peppers, cooking demonstrations and information on everything that's so hot right now.

If you’ve worked up a thirst at the Ignite Caloundra Chilli Festival, then mosey up the road to Kawana and wash down those peppery flavours with an ice cold beer! Sunshine Coast’s inaugural Craft Beer and Cider Festival kicks off on 25 November showcasing more than 160 brews from Australia and New Zealand. Bring your beer palate and buddies to a day of brews, live music and good food.

Head turning fashion at the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival.
Head turning fashion at the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival.

3. Take a dip at the king of beaches

Kings Beach has a festive atmosphere year-round, so whenever you visit you’ll be assured of good time vibes in the sunshine. With an oceanfront saltwater swimming pool, and a gentle beach break, a Kings Beach holiday is totally relaxing. Cafés, restaurants and markets are all just a few minutes’ walk away from a myriad of Kings Beach accommodation options, so you can unpack your bags and leave the car in the garage until the day you leave. 

Voted Australia's number one beach by Surf Lifesaving Australia in 2015.
Kings Beach. Voted Australia's number one beach by Surf Lifesaving Australia in 2015.

4. Market shopping

Caloundra Street Fair (Sundays 8 am to 1 pm) is held under the canopy of the tree-lined main street, surrounded by cafés, boutiques and speciality shops. There are more than 200 stalls to explore, featuring handcrafted goods, arts and crafts, as well as delicious food and fresh flowers. 

The Caloundra Twilight Markets operate Friday evenings during holiday periods along Bulcock Beach esplanade. This charming market is brimming with artisan, craft and homemade wares so there are some truly unique products to browse and inspirational gift ideas to discover. Wander the boardwalk and enjoy entertainment featuring world music tunes and colourful street theatre performers - and bring your appetite, there's a bounty of delicious fare to enjoy. 

The Spin Ninjas at the Caloundra Twilight Markets
The Spin Ninjas at the Caloundra Twilight Markets. Image: Caloundra Street Fair.

5. Sunday sessions at 26° Bar and Venue

If you've hit the beach in the morning, indulged in some retail therapy at the Caloundra Street Fair, then come Sunday afternoon you're probably looking for a place to chill. Look no further than 26° Bar and Venue in Rumba Beach Resort - it's the ideal spot for lazy Sunday afternoon hangs with your crew. This swish bar has a killer cocktail list, delectable tapas from 2 pm, and cruisy beats and cool tunes from some of the Sunshine Coast's best live music acts from 3 pm to 6 pm. We'll see you there!

Hamptons interiors meet killer cocktail list at 26 degrees bar.
Hamptons interiors meet a killer cocktail list at 26° Bar and Venue.

6. Caloundra Coastal Walk

Soak up the beauty of the Caloundra region by taking the scenic coastal walk. Take on the entire 25 km stretch that starts from Golden Beach in the south, or enjoy strolling along sections of the walk at a leisurely pace. Keep an eye out for birdlife and dolphins in Pumicestone Passage, check out the historical Military Jetty used for operations during World War II, as well as the heritage listed Kings Beach Bathing Pavilion – and have your camera ready to capture those stellar ocean views.

Caloundra Coastal Walk
Caloundra Coastal Walk.

7. Jet Ski around Pumicestone Passage

Pumicestone Passage is a 35 km channel of pristine water stretching from Caloundra in the north to Deception Bay in the south. It’s ideal for all kinds of aquatic escapades, and if you like to travel a little faster than a SUP or kayak, hop aboard a Caloundra Jet Ski. Ride through tranquil mangrove-lined waterways into a marine park green zone, home to dolphins, dugongs, turtles and more than 360 species of birds. Don’t forget to bring your waterproof camera, you’ll want to capture the insta-worthy views of the Glass House Mountains that dominate the horizon.

Caloundra Jet Ski
Caloundra Jet Ski.

8. Explore Currimundi Lake trails

Lake Currimundi is a stretch of calm water which runs into the ocean at Currimundi surf beach. There is an abundance of picturesque walking tracks surrounding the lake, so lace up your walking shoes, slip, slop slap, and tackle one of the many bush-beach trails that lead down to the lake’s cool waters. The tracks are well mapped, with signage along the way explaining the native flora and fauna you may encounter on your walk. There are plenty of shady spots for a picnic, or you can relax in one of Currimundi’s boutique cafés. 

Currimundi Lake
Currimundi Lake walking trails.

9. Fish and chips at Bulcock Beach

Locals know that the Sandbar Café and Kiosk serves up some of the best fish and chips on the Sunshine Coast. Enjoy beer-battered and crumbed barramundi with hand cut chips, or market fish of the day with kipfler potato and bouillabaisse. The café also has a fine selection of designer burgers, salads and desserts. Kick back in the café or take your fare across the road to enjoy an alfresco fish and chips at one of the many picnic tables over looking Bulcock Beach. If you need a sweet chaser after your meal, pick up a delectable cupcake from Stormie D’s Cupcakery.

Take your fish 'n' chips to the picnic tables over looking Bulcock Beach.
Take your fish 'n' chips to the picnic tables over looking Bulcock Beach.

10. Take a cruise

Discover the spectacular beauty of Caloundra's marine environment on a Caloundra Cruise tour.  Hop aboard "Tern o' the Tide" for a 90-minute "Smoothwater Classic" tour (Sunday, Tuesday and Friday) - a relaxing cruise offering views from Caloundra Heads to Moreton Island, and Bribie Island. On Thursdays, the "Eco Explorer Cruise" will take you deep into the clear waters of Pumicestone Passage Marine Park to discover an abundance of bird and marine life. You'll drop anchor at Lighthouse Beach and enjoy a scrumptious morning tea. On Friday and Saturday nights, watch the sun disappear behind the Glass House Mountains while relaxing on a BYO sunset tour. 

Caloundra Cruise
Enjoy spectacular sunsets on a Caloundra Cruise.

11. Take a street art stroll

The colourful, massive murals around Caloundra snapshot the area’s cultural identity and history. There are quirky and colourful representations of iconic locations, activities and events, such as the heritage lighthouses and Ma & Pa Bendall (surfing pioneers), and Pumicestone Passage. The bright, bold colours pop right off the rendered canvas, so snap away and add some colour to your Instagram page. 

Dingle Avenue mural.
Dingle Avenue mural.

12. Take a mountain bike for a spin

Caloundra has its own mountain bike trail, the Sugar Bag Road Bike Trail, located in the Caloundra Town Reserve. There is a range of tracks for everyone from novices to experienced riders, featuring more than 12 km of rideable adventures. The course includes natural features of rocks, drops, and crevices, as well as bridges, jumps, seesaws, and ramps. You’ll find it exhilarating, challenging and an excellent work out. If you've not brought wheels with you, give Bike On a call and they'll deliver a suitable bike to your door. 

Sugar Bag Mountain Biking Trail
Sugar Bag Road Mountain Biking Trail.

13.  SUP & kayak adventures

Caloundra’s calm waterways lend themselves to all kinds of aquatic exploration and you’ll often see SUPs and kayakers gliding across Pumicestone Passage, Currimundi Lake or Tooway Creek. BYO craft, or hire from Golden Beach Hire, Experientia Sunshine Coast, Kite Thrills or Ocean Adventure and chart your own course, or let the experienced guides take you on a tour. The waters are teeming with marine life so set a relaxed pace and keep your peepers peeled for humpback whales (May to November), turtles, dolphins, dugongs and rays.

You'll see all kinds of marine life and perhaps even encounter a humpback whale (between May to November)
The calm waters of Caloundra are ideal for SUP and kayaking adventures. 

14. Zip around on a Caloundra Jet Boat

Step aboard the Caloundra Jet Boat's luxury "SeaDoo" for an epic 40 km adventure along Pumicestone Passage that includes pristine wilderness, two marine national park green zones, and the historical "Lighthouse Reach" on Bribie Island. Not only will you enjoy an exhilarating ride, but you'll encounter a myriad of marine life and enjoy some spectacular views of the Glass House Mountains. This is definitely one the whole family will love.

Caloundra Jet Boat
Caloundra Jet Boat

... and more

Caloundra makes the perfect base from which to make day trips to the Sunshine Coast’s leading attractions including Australia Zoo, Aussie World, the Queensland Air Museum, Rockit Indoor Climbing Gym, Caloundra Rollerdome, and the Big Boing Trampoline Park, the Events Centre, Sunshine Coast Stadium and Sunshine Coast Turf Club.

Fun for the whole family at Aussie World.
Fun for the whole family at Aussie World.

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