Three nights at the Southern Gateway to the Sunshine Coast

21 Sep 2020

Your next holiday plans sorted – too easy

The Sunshine Coast’s Southern Gateway is home to the gorgeous seaside villages of Kawana and Caloundra – each bestowed with a distinct laidback charm that welcomes you and your family back time after time.

Just an hour north of Brisbane, Caloundra and Kawana are ideal seaside getaway locations where you can escape the hustle and bustle AND the price-tag. With some of the Sunshine Coast’s best slices of coastline, limitless aquatic activities and endless picnic locations - the Southern Gateway to the Sunshine Coast is considered one of the region’s premium blue-water destinations.

Featuring the Pumicestone Passage, framed by the majestic Glass House Mountains, and bordered by the iconic Point Cartwright Lighthouse Caloundra and Kawana have established themselves as a favourite holiday base for families who love the relaxed, almost retro, vibe of the region.

Duration: Three nights, four days | Mode of Travel: Car | Degree of Difficulty: 1/5  

Day One:

Head straight to the beach! Get your shoes on and stretch those limbs! “Yes, even you little ones” we are off to explore the over 9km scenic coastal pathway which winds its way across all seven of Caloundra’s beaches. Before you start panicking at the size of this adventure, just know that you can do this at your own pace, you can start your journey at any beach access in the area AND you can turn back whenever you’d like.

If you didn’t bring your own bikes, scooters, skateboards or any other wheeled device there are plenty of places to choose from to hire including Rusty’s who will drop bikes directly to your door!

Pack your togs and a towel and find yourself an isolated patch of sand at almost any point of your journey, or head to some of the more popular and safer beaches such as Kings Beach or Dicky Beach which are patrolled regularly.

Hungry yet? We know you don’t want to venture too far from the beach so we recommend going for the family favourite, FISH & CHIPS! Regardless off where you ended up going for a swim, we can guarantee that there will be a great shop local. Here are some of our favourites.

Dicky BeachClancy’s is a Dicky Beach Icon and have a full menu of your traditional options. Added bonus, you can shuffle right next door and pick up some bread to make chip and gravy sandwiches!

Moffat Beach – Moffat Beach Takeaway is neatly positioned just metres from the calm waters of ‘Moffs’ Headland and boasts one of the best playgrounds in Caloundra. Dig in!

Caloundra – The Sandbar Café & Kiosk located on the Bulcock Esplanade is one of our all-time favourites. The food is fantastic and the clincher is the countless bench seats located just metres away where the sounds of the Pumicestone Passage lapping against the shore will perfectly compliment your meal.

Now it’s about time you check into your accommodation: Whether you are simply after somewhere affordable and close to the beach or want something truly spectacular for the family to enjoy, you can find it at the Southern Gateway towns of Caloundra and Kawana.

Everything you need is just a short and easy drive of one another so you can’t go wrong. 

Dinner is calling!

You can’t have a beachside holiday in Australia without dropping into the local Surf Club, so good thing you are close-by to the king of Surf Clubs the Kings Beach Surfy. Also known as Mets, this beautifully positioned bar and restaurant overlooks Caloundra’s coastline and the famous Kings Beach salt water pool. Mets on Kings offers your traditional pub feeds as well as a great range of contemporary dishes – dig in!

Day Two:

Live like a local and pull yourself out of bed early – coffee awaits, and you are spoilt for choice here in Caloundra. Head here for a list of our favourite spots to satisfy your caffeine cravings. If you are looking for something new with an incredible breakfast menu and beautiful aesthetics – try White Picket Fence. 

Gather your things, it’s going to be a big day! Make your way down to the Southern-most beach of the Sunshine Coast – Golden Beach. The ever calm, crystal-clear waterways of Golden Beach are protected by the northern tip of Bribie Island and offer endless fun. From here you can do just about anything! BYO craft, or hire from Golden Beach Hire or let the experienced guides take you on a tour. Our recommendation is a day on the BBQ boat exploring Bribie Island!

Say g’day to the friendly owners of Bill’s Boat Hire and combine Australia’s favourite past time (BBQ’s), Bribie Island vibes and the internationally recognised waterways of the Pumicestone Passage for another unforgettable day. No boat licence or experience? No worries! You will earn your sea legs in no time and will be cruising up and down the passage all morning.

If you’re not completely tuckered out, and while you’re in the area, you have plenty of options to make the most out of the afternoon right in town along Bulcock Street. From the Caloundra cinemas at the top of town, Escape Room Oz in the centre of Bulcock Street, bowling and an arcade at the bottom and shopping from one end to the other OR seasonal ice skating/roller blading & the Queensland Air Museum just 5 minutes from town – you’re bound to find something you can all agree on.

While you’ve been cruising around Caloundra the past two days you have surely spotted a number of incredible sea-side spots to visit for Dinner – so we recommend one more night out in the area. Here are a couple of our favourites for dinner with a view.

On the other end of Kings Beach to the Mets, you will find the ocean-facing Kings Beach Bar which not only has one of the best views on the Coast but also includes a very creative and vibrant menu with plenty of share plate options. As an added bonus there is plenty of space on the grass for the kids to run wild, while the parents share a drink or two and a moment of relative peace.

Opposite the Pumicestone Passage with views out to Bribie Island, Drift Bar will pull you in from the street with its enchanting décor and the friendly faces of locals. With live music nearly every day and the smell of salt spray in the air you can’t go wrong at Drift Bar.

Day Three:

Caloundra and Kawana are the best destinations to base yourself if you are interested in heading to some of the Sunshine Coast’s most famous destinations. Today, take your pick from exploring the world-famous Australia Zoo, have an adrenaline fuelled day at the Big Kart Track or make your way to Aussie World for some theme park thrills and spills. Only a short drive from town these major attractions will keep you busy for the whole day.

Hungry yet? We will take the guessing out of the equation for you. Here’s a couple of dinner options that’ll please the whole family. It’s time to see what’s new and happening in Kawana.

These Craft Beer Barons are local legends and for good reason. Far from their home brew origins, Your Mates Brewing Taphouse in Kawana has carved out a name for itself as a must-visit Sunshine Coast destination. With a playground for the little ones, pinball machines for the not so little and a great menu of locally sourced and reasonably priced food. This includes a great selection of family favourite burgers!

One of the newest establishments in the area, Malt Shovel Taphouse offers more than just their wide selection of beers. With a rotisserie turning over perfectly tender slabs of meat such as the Pork Belly Porchetta spice rubbed, crackling and apple slaw and rolled beef brisket coated with light mustard spice you’ll feel right at home here. Although, if craft beer is something you’re interested in, you’ll be pleased to find 40 taps serving 16 different beers on rotation AND they have live music playing Friday and Saturday between 5:30pm to 8:30pm and Sunday afternoons between 1:30pm to 4:30pm.

Day Four: Make the most out of your last day

It’s your last day, so make it count. Head north towards Point Cartwright and stop into another local favourite ‘Twinfins Espresso’ for a cuppa and hot chocolate for the kids. *local tip. Head into Norma’s Café and Seafood just a few steps away for $5 bacon and egg rolls!

Now you’ve got something in your belly, continue on to La Balsa Park and take a walk around the water towards Point Cartwright Headland. As you your way around you will notice the iconic Point Cartwright Lighthouse and water tower bursting with colour and sea-life. You’ll see what we mean.

Before you head on home make sure you head into town and treat the kids to an afternoon at the Big Boing or Rockit Climbing gym.  Rockit caters to all levels of skill and fitness and includes 18 unique top rope walls, five auto belay machines and an epic bouldering area.

The Big Boing Indoor Trampoline has it all from dodgeball, basketball, and giant airbags – all connected to more than 70 trampolines for hours of family fun. Flip a coin, vote or just have both!

For those heading back or aren’t afraid of a little more time in the car we have one last must-do for you!

A trip to the Southern Gateway towns of Kawana and Caloundra is not complete until you have truly had your breath taken away by the ever-looming Glasshouse Mountains. Stop into the Wildhorse Mountain lookout and once you have walked the short, but strenuous journey to the top – you will be treated to one of the best sunsets of your life. Seriously.


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