The Sunshine Coast is known for its fresh seafood, with the year-round warm waters teeming with Fraser Island Spanner Crabs, Mooloolaba prawns, swordfish and export grade tuna that are brought into Mooloolaba each morning, ready to sell at market.
But it’s not just the seafood that makes the Sunshine Coast a must-visit for foodies. Inland, the rich volcanic soil is perfect for growing fresh produce such as pineapples, macadamia nuts, ginger, finger limes and avocados, It’s also in the Hinterland that dairy farmers produce some of the best milk in Australia which local producers use to make award-winning cheeses and yoghurts. Go behind the scenes on a farm to fork tour, or take it all in with a paddock to plate experience.
The Sunshine Coast is fast emerging as a leading craft beer destination, with more than 19 craft breweries dotted across the region. If you like something a little stronger, a number of distillers are also finding inspiration in the region’s local ingredients to create delicious vodka, gins and rum.
With so much local produce to celebrate the Sunshine Coast is home to a thriving café and restaurant scene - all that’s left to do is tuck in!
Mooloolaba is the biggest swordfish port in Australia and one of the busiest seafood ports on Australia’s eastern seaboard.
Early each morning you’ll see fleets of trawlers bringing in boatloads of swordfish, Mooloolaba prawns, Spanner crabs, lobsters and export grade tuna.
Local seafood can be found on the menu of cafes and restaurants across the Sunshine Coast, or you can enjoy it fresh off the trawler at one of the many fish and chipperies across the region.
Local tip: The Spit Mooloolaba is home to a number of fish and chipperies – get your order takeaway to enjoy on the beach!
Farm to fork
As you drive through the Sunshine Coast Hinterland make sure to keep a look out for rustic produce stalls by the roadside.
Here local farmers are selling anything from pineapples to macadamia nuts, avocados or citrus freshly picked that morning, an honesty box the preferred method of payment.
If you wonder just what goes on beyond the farm gate, take part in a Farm to Fork tour, visit a winery or embark on a factory tour. Creative Tours and Events will take you behind the scenes to meet the locals and hear their stories, before finishing with a lunch celebrating the produce you just saw.
For a real paddock to plate experience, People, Plates & Places hold pop-up events across the Sunshine Coast, bringing diners straight to the farm to dine under the stars.
If you’re looking to get hands on, the region is also home to a number of cooking schools that will have you eating like a local in no time, such as Spirit House Restaurant & Cooking School or The Tamarind Cooking School.
Cafes, restaurants and coffee
With so much fresh local produce at their fingertips, it’s little wonder the Sunshine Coast has such a thriving café and restaurant culture.
Here chefs are spoiled for choice, and the end result is a slew of award-winning eateries, cafes and restaurants.
Sunshine Coast locals love a good coffee, and whether you’re wandering through the foothills of the Blackall Range in Yandina or exploring the coastline, there are plenty of trendy cafes to try.
For the food lovers, the Sunshine Coast’s restaurant scene is exciting in its diversity. From fine dining to delicious street eats there’s something for everyone, but one thing they all have in common is their passion for showcasing the local produce the region is renowned for!
Craft beer and gin, we’ll drink to that!
The Sunshine Coast is the craft beer-brewing capital of Queensland with more than 19 breweries in the region, and behind every beer is a passionate local ready to share their story.
Here local brewers find inspiration in their surroundings, for example, Brouhaha Brewery in Maleny uses local strawberries to make a Strawberry Rhubarb Sour. Sustainability is also a key focus, with many brewers working together with local producers.
Join a craft beer tour to go behind the scenes and see brewing in action - sampling the beer as you go along - or settle in for the afternoon at one of the Sunshine Coast’s many brew-pubs.
If you like something a little stronger, an increasing number of distillers are taking up residence on the Sunshine Coast creating delicious gins and rum – yum!