Mt Coolum boardwalk
Try something different next time you're visiting the Sunshine Coast and head inland to explore beautiful waterfalls, stunning swimming holes and energising walks to jaw-dropping views you won't find anywhere else in Queensland!
Hike around the incredible Glass House Mountains, find secret swimming holes in various national parks, discover family-friendly walks, dog-friendly walks and even a unique walk that features a sculpture by renowned British artist Andy Goldsworthy.
While there are plenty of walking tracks to choose from, here are our 10 best picks to help you plan your next trip!
1. Kondalilla Falls
Above image: Kondalilla Falls
Starting with one of the most popular hikes on the Sunshine Coast is the beautiful Kondalilla Falls walk. Situated in Kondalilla National Park near the town of Montville, this 90-metre waterfall is home to a great swimming hole and epic views out to the rolling hills.
There are plenty of options for getting to Kondalilla Falls! Tackle the entire 4.6km circuit, which will take you to the swimming hole at the top of the falls before winding down to the bottom and gradually back up again. You'll want to go for a swim when you've finished the walk! I must say, there is something completely energising about swimming at the top of this waterfall in the hinterland!
Prefer a longer walk? Why not take on the Baroon Pocket to Kondalilla Falls, a 20km walk that takes around five hours to complete!
Prefer a shorter walk? No problem! If you're looking for a swimming hole in the Sunshine Coast you can practically roll out of your car into, try Gardner's Falls, located on the outskirts of the nearby town of Maleny. It's just a 300-metre walk to the Obi Obi Creek, where you can swim in the pools all along the river here. Be warned; it does get very busy!
2. Dularcha Forest Tunnel
For the adventurous types looking for a hidden gem even most locals don't know about, you might like to explore the Dularcha Forest Tunnel walk between Landsborough and Mooloolah. Completed in 1891, the Dularcha Forest Tunnel is one of two tunnels built on the original railway line between Brisbane and Gympie.
There are three ways you can reach the heritage-listed tunnel; either a 500m walk or 2km on the Landsborough side, or a 900m walk from Mooloolah.
3. Fig Tree Walk
Dog lovers rejoice! We are sure you'll love the Fig Tree Walk in the Imbil State Forest near the gorgeous town of Kenilworth. Walk beside 150-year-old Moreton fig trees and enjoy this beautiful hidden gem with your pooch. It's a fantastic family-friendly walk that takes around 20 minutes at most to complete.
After you've finished the walk, you might like to bring a picnic and sit beside the adjacent river. It's so beautiful; you won't want to leave!
4. Booloumba Falls
Are you looking for somewhere special? 4x4 drivers will love exploring Conondale National Park and the stunningly beautiful 3km Booloumba Falls walk. Bring a packed lunch and your swimmers! Honestly, you won't regret it! The walk takes around two hours to complete, but you'll undoubtedly want to spend the entire day here. There are a couple of campgrounds nearby, so it would make a beautiful weekend away too.
Looking for a longer hike? Hike 10km to the Artist Cascades further up the river if you have time on your hands. As it's part of the Conondale Great Walk, expect to put aside a good five hours to complete it.
5. The Strangler Cairn Walk
Immerse yourself into nature and discover artwork by the famous British artist Andy Goldsworthy on the Strangler Cairn walk. Located in Conondale National Park, you'll need a 4x4 to reach the track's starting point. However, you can park up 3km further back if you have a 2wd and add it onto your hike.
The Strangler Cairn stands 3.7m tall and was created using hundreds of rocks from a nearby quarry. What's incredible is that it's a forever evolving piece of art. A strangler fig has been positioned purposely at the top of the sculpture so that when the roots grow bigger, they will grow through the rocks and will determine how the sculpture will change and literally grow.
6. Mt Ngungun
Known as one of the most popular walks in The Glass House Mountains, the Mt Ngungun walk is a hike that includes some of the best views you need to see in person.
The 2.4km walk takes around two hours to complete and is a popular Instagram spot to get that iconic sunrise or sunset photo that lines up Mount Coonowrin and Mount Beerwah perfectly.
Make sure you look out for the rock overhang on the way up, which creates a fantastic looking cave, perfect for a photo opportunity!
7. Gheerulla Falls
Discover one of the lesser-known waterfalls in Sunshine Coast Hinterland and opt for a walk to Gheerulla Falls in Mapleton National Park.
The 2.7km walk winds down to the secret waterfall that won't come as a surprise if you have it all to yourself. It's an easy walk without the crowds, a win for many looking for secluded swimming holes!
8. Mount Coolum Walk
Mt Coolum at sunrise
Start the day right and climb to the top of the 25 million-year-old Mount Coolum! Located just 3.5km from Coolum Beach, expect the entire walk to take around 1h30m return.
At 208m high, you'll be able to see from Double Island Point and down to Caloundra. It's a popular walk for families and highly recommended for anyone visiting the Sunshine Coast.
Make sure you start early or later in the day to avoid the hot sun, and always bring more water than you think you'll need.
9. Baxter Falls
Discover another hidden waterfall hike on your trip to the Sunshine Coast and explore Baxter Falls in Kondalilla National Park.
You can choose from two entrances to hike; either take the Northern end or the Southern end. It will take you around two hours to complete with a beautiful suspension bridge to walk over in this sub-tropical rainforest.
10. Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk
Hiking through Kondalilla National Park
If you really want to tick off a major bucket list Sunshine Coast walk, you have to do the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk! The 58.8km walk isn't for the faint-hearted. It takes four days to complete with three walkers' camps to camp under the stars, but make sure you book well ahead.
Many people complete the hike in sections by doing short half-day walks from one to seven hours over a period of time to complete it.
Expect to be surrounded by sub-tropical rainforests, beautiful waterfalls and eucalypt forests throughout this epic hike. You'll cross the Maleny and Mapleton Plateau, the Blackall Range, Bunya Pines, Kondalilla National Park, Mapleton National Park, and many creeks and waterfalls to name but a few.
When hiking in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, make sure you are fully prepared by wearing hiking boots, bring more water than you think you'll need, wear a hat, bring sunscreen and try walking in the cooler parts of the day. Most of all, bring out the adventurer within and enjoy the serenity and peacefulness the Sunshine Coast Hinterland has to offer.