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Get outside! Best next-level hikes on the Sunshine Coast

byLayne Whitburn from The Urban List -24 May 2017

So, you want an action-packed story for the office on Monday that rivals the past weekend’s wild shenanigans of Netflix, boxes of Maltesers (those addictive suckers will be the end of us!), and coffee sippin’ in your activewear?

We’ll you’ve come to the right place! Because we’re uncovering some of the best hikes on the Sunshine Coast, tried and tested, to get your heart racing, your face glowing and your activewear, well, a little worn in (after all, there’s only so much wear and tear that comes with café schmoozing).

So, what are you waiting for? Get your sneakers on (or go super coastal in thongs, cool guy), and hit this list of bush walks, mountain climbs, and rainforest trails.

Mount Coolum

Judging by the amount of #mountcoolum posts, climbing Mount Coolum has to be one of the best hikes on the Sunshine Coast. But don’t let the smiley Insta photos fool you—a sneaky lo-fi or sierra filter can do wonders on a flushed face! This hike is actually #hard but if you can make it to the top, you’ll be rewarded with stunning vistas that stretch from Noosa National Park down to the high rises in Caloundra and over towards the lush countryside at Maroochy River. Totally worth your sweat (and those tears).

Views from the top of Mount Coolum.
Views from the top of Mount Coolum. Photo: Jame Nagel.

Noosa Heads to A-Bay

It would be rude to visit Noosa and not drop by the national park. Because you simply cannot experience Noosa in all its glory without witnessing this slice of natural paradise. Okay, so you may have already seen the famous sights printed on a postcard, but experiencing it up close and personal? That’s a whole new level. Speaking of levels, there’s a track to suit everyone, from your triathlete wannabe bro to your shuffling nanna. But for a good hike where persistence pays off, our pick is the coastal trail to Alexandria Bay. For au naturel enthusiasts, this isn’t the time to be shy. A-Bay is a renowned nudist beach.

Alexandria Bay in Noosa National Park.
Alexandria Bay in Noosa National Park.

Mount Tibrogargan

Exploring the Glass House Mountains is an adrenaline junkie’s dream. There’s no shortage of outdoor adventure with numerous trails for walkers, mountain climbers, dirt bike riders, and even horseback riders! All intertwined around 11 rugged volcanic peaks, it’s hard to choose favourites among some of the best hikes on the Sunshine Coast. But if we must, then Mount Tibrogargan is where it’s at! Standing at 364 metres tall, Tibrogargan comes in as the third highest peak behind Mount Beerwah and Mount Coonwrin. And considering these two beasts are closed for ‘safety’ reasons, Tibrogargan is the highest you’ll get. (Well, if returning in one piece is a high priority on your life list.)

Mount Tibrogargan
Mount Tibrogargan in the Glass House Mountains, Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

Kondalilla Falls

Kondalilla, the aboriginal term for “rushing water”, is just that. In fact, it’s 90 metres of rushing water plummeting into a gorgeous valley. If you’re after a real adventure, ditch the easy 2.4 km Picnic Creek Circuit, even the moderate 3.2 km Rock Pools walk, and get lost on the 4.6 km Kondalilla Falls Circuit. This subtropical rainforest trail winds around chilled gorges and secluded rock pools with plenty of scenic lookouts along the way. Hint: use this opportunity to take in the view, and some deep breaths too. Because once you reach the main event, it’s another 4.6 km back!

Kondalilla Falls.
Kondalilla Falls.

Mount Cooroora

Not a fan of long hikes? Keep it short and (not-so) sweet with Mt Cooroora’s 2 km return trip. A 2 km walk sounds a breeze, right? Wrong! Your legs will be shaking at the knees after tackling just 1 km of this steep, strenuous hike. If you’re really feeling the burn and contemplating turning back early, get the grateful vibes flowing knowing that unlike those crazy fitness-y people who knock over Mt Cooroora in 20 minutes during the King of the Mountain challenge, you can take all the time in the world. And you won’t lose a medal for dallying. Amen to that!

Mount Cooroora. Home to the annual 'King of the Mountain' race held in July.
Mount Cooroora. Home to the annual 'King of the Mountain' race held in July.

Did we miss one of the best Sunshine Coast hikes off our list? We’d love to hear from you!


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Layne Whitburn from The Urban List
ByLayne Whitburn from The Urban List

The leading go-to guide for everything worth tasting, trying, booking and buying in the Sunshine Coast.