15 things to do in Caloundra

21 Sep 2020

Only one hour north of Brisbane, you can have it all. Some of the Sunshine Coast’s most pristine coastline to explore, a matured café culture with an emphasis on specialty coffee and community, brimming with festivals and events, fresh local cuisine with stunning views AND home to Australia’s best beer. Scroll through this list of the ___ best activities and places to see in Caloundra and start counting down the days before your arrival. 

1.Spend the day at Moffat Beach

Moffat Beach bursts to life each morning with the sound of fresh wax rubbing and gripping to the bodies of beaten up longboards. Locals smile to one another between sips of specialty coffee through the small vents of their keep-cups and dogs run up and down the headland unhindered.

This vibrant little strip of alfresco cafes and restaurants fronts the famous right-hand point break at Moffat Beach Headland – home of Australia’s longest running surf competition the Pa & Ma Bendall.

‘Moffs’ is simply too easy, with a range of great beach-view accommodation options all just metres from the beach and even closer to the local restaurants.

While you are here, make sure you check out two of the Sunshine Coast’s coolest venues. 

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

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 and is home of Australia’s best beer, according to the Royal Queensland Food and Wine Show (RQFWS) Beer Awards.

This multi-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 with a serve of macadamia crusted chicken schnitty, sous vide beef cheek or duck ragout papperdelle- and leave room for dessert as the talented chef brings a serious cake game to his kitchen creations.

For some of the best weekend vibes on the Sunshine Coast, head along from 4pm to 7pm Friday through to Sunday to enjoy live music from local talent performing “between the tanks”. No bookings currently due to COVID***

The Pocket Espresso

Caloundra locals are early risers so don’t be surprised if the Pocket is teeming with smiling locals and their four-legged friends at the crack of dawn. You will be drawn in by their effortlessly cool brand of customer service and delicious locally-sourced food, next-level Guru coffee and forced to stay by their creative menu offering everything from breakfast to crafty cocktails.

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.

Luminate Festival is a three-night, walk through festival featuring unique light installations, music and markets designed to provide a immersive cultural experience for those visiting the Sunshine Coast in the September/October school holidays. Organise your school holiday travels around this unique event while also getting to explore the beautiful coastline of Caloundra.  

*** Normally come the October long-weekend, Caloundra is gearing up to enjoy four days of sun, surf and soul at the annual Caloundra Music Festival at Kings Beach. This beachside town comes alive to the sounds of a diverse line-up of entertainment featuring the best of the Australian music industry as well as incredible international artists.

Caloundra's Events Centre has a calendar featuring the best in touring comedy, ballet, classical music, modern dance, opera and musical theatre. Add a show to your next holiday itinerary.

Sunshine Coast Stadium in Bokarina is just a short drive from Calounda, making it the perfect place to base yourself if you're attending an event.  The stadium is THE place to see top-level sporting matches and is currently the Melbourne Storm’s replacement home ground as conditions in Melbourne continue to improve. You can also catch thrilling circus acts open air cinema evenings and concerts from leading international acts throughout the year.

Book yourself in to see the death defying stunts of the Nitro Circus as they come to town in March 2021

Whether you are a craft beer and cider enthusiast, or just enjoy one or two with your meal – you cannot miss the Sunshine Coast’s Craft Beer and Cider Festival which showcases 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. While this event has been cancelled this year (2020) stay tuned for some brews news to hear about what they have in stock for 2021.

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 1240 stalls to explore, featuring handcrafted goods, arts and crafts, as well as delicious food and fresh flowers. 

The Caloundra Twilight Markets operate on the last Friday evenings of the month and run 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. 

Currimundi Lake Twilight Markets the newest market in Caloundra really is the Sunshine Coast’s best kept secret. Shhh! With local craft beer icons Your Mates Brewing doing what they do best, local musicians and a wide variety of street food and gourmet market feasts it won’t stay a secret long!

This market runs on the third Friday of the month and is not to be missed!

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

5. Catch some live music at Drift Bar

Caloundra is filled with so many incredible sunset-sip options that it can be difficult to choose! If you need a little live music to top of your afternoon however, you cannot go past the Iconic Drift Bar which features live music almost every day! Featuring delicious views and a stunning menu this sea-side haven will pull you in from the street with its enchanting décor and the friendly faces of locals.

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 or hire a boat

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. If you feel like taking the wheel, hire your own boat from Bills Boat & Bike Hire

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 HireExperientia Sunshine CoastKite Thrills, Ocean Adventure, or Bills Boat & Bike Hire. 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 ZooAussie Worldthe Queensland Air MuseumRockit 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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