Tank Riviera, Mooloolaba
On Queensland’s Sunshine Coast you can do just that, and more. The ‘coast with the most’ serves up much more than sparkling seas and soft white sand, think epic events, a thriving food scene and of course, great craft beer.
Surprise yourself as you discover what’s new across the region in 2023, from beachside accomodation to food festivals and even a brand-new airline to make getting here that much easier. So what are you waiting for? Make 2023 the year you follow the sun to find your sunshine moment on the Sunshine Coast!
1. The Crocodile Hunter Lodge opens new cabins
Wake up to the sounds of wildlife and watch the kangaroos grazing on the grass from The Crocodile Hunter Lodge’s brand new one-bedroom ‘Red Kangaroo’ cabins. Inspired by Steve
Irwin’s life, legacy and love for wildlife and wild places, The Crocodile Hunter Lodge first opened in 2022. Features of the new rooms include a wrap-around deck, kitchen, stone bathtub and heated floors, as well as complimentary breakfast and welcome gift pack, exclusive access to The Billabong, a 25-metre infinity pool, unlimited entry to Australia Zoo and a Sneak Peek tour of the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.
2. Spicers ups the luxury with Private Collection
Think Spicers Retreats think sophisticated luxury, and that’s exactly what you’ll find when you step foot in their two new Private Collection by Spicers properties in Noosa. The Howard,
offering four apartments in Noosaville, gives visitors a taste of 1970s Miami with all the modern comforts. Apartments can be booked individually or together for groups of up to 12, with six bedrooms and six bathrooms a stone’s throw from the buzz of Hastings Street. Nestled in the Noosa Hinterland town of Doonan, the floor-to-ceiling glass windows of the Magari offer panoramic views so breathtaking you’ll never want to leave. Awarded the National Design Excellence Award in 2018, this home is an architectural masterclass in luxury.
3. Country charm in Kenilworth
Kenilworth Country Cabins
The Sunshine Coast Hinterland town of Kenilworth might be tiny in size, but it’s big on natural beauty and country charm. Kenilworth’s first store swung open its doors in 1924, and a stroll along the high street, lined with galleries, cafes, independent boutiques and historic pubs will reveal that much of its old charm remains. Soak it all in with a stay at the new Kenilworth Country Cabins, located in the heart of town. The six new cabins will open early 2023, with one-bedroom, two-bedroom and a wheelchair accessible cabin on offer. With the main street a short walk away, you’ll be stocking up on local cheese, popping in to the craft brewery at Kenilworth Hotel and grabbing a donut from the iconic Kenilworth Country Bakery in no time.
4. Famly fun in new lagoon-style pool
With unrivalled views over the sparkling Pumicestone Passage, Big4 Caloundra Holiday Park already has a lot going for it. Add a new lagoon-style pool, and you’ll never want to leave. The upgraded pool is the just the start of exciting changes happening at the park, with new waterslides and a new food and beverage precinct also in the works.
5. Go retro in a restored Airstream
Airstream at Ingenia Rivershore
Nothing screams ‘nostalgic beach holiday’ like an Airstream, and Ingenia Rivershore - located on the banks of the Maroochy River – are stepping back in time with a beautifully restored vintage camper they’ve dubbed ‘Gidget’. Step inside the iconic chrome exterior and you’ll be met with a comfortable home on wheels for two, complete with everything from a kitchenette to oh so comfortable bed, tv, towels, blankets, tea/coffee, kettle and toaster. As night falls, kick back in the outdoor deck chairs and watch the world go by. Gidget is the latest in Rivershore’s Airstream team, joining the existing Bambi and Sovereign.
6. Take the plunge (pool) at Soul Beach House
Soul Beach House
It’s the kind of relaxation you could only dare to dream about… until now. Soul Beach House, located in the seaside town of Alexandra Headland has expanded their offerings to include a
new and delightfully private magnesium plunge pool. Soothe your soul in this tropical garden oasis, spa jets and a day bed pavilion only adding to the tranquil vibes. The beach may only be a minute down the road, but chances are you won’t want to leave.
7. Boutique Hotel coming to Peregian
Fringed by a soft sandy beach and a greenery-strewn national park, it’s pretty clear Mother Nature sprinkled something a little extra over Peregian Beach. And come this Autumn, guests will be able to experience it in from a whole new perspective with the opening of Essence Boutique Hotels and Holiday Homes. Essence will open with a new 32-room, gorgeously appointed luxury boutique hotel, as well as 20 holiday homes nestled within the heart of the Peregian Beach Village. Hotel suites will range from one-and-two bedrooms, while the holiday homes cater for larger groups with three to five bedrooms.
8. Avani coming to Mooloolaba
Avani Mooloolaba Beach Render
Minor Hotels has announced it will bring its first Avani hotel to the Australian market, with a new-build property planned for Mooloolaba. Opening to guests in 2025, Avani Mooloolaba Beach Hotel will be located just moments from Mooloolaba Beach and will feature 180 rooms catering to solo travellers, couples, groups, and families. The hotel will also include four distinctive restaurants, state-of-the-art meeting and conference facilities, a well-equipped kids’ club, a dedicated AvaniSpa, and a spectacular rooftop pool, bar, restaurant, and wedding venue with 180-degree water views.
Food & Drink
9. Historic pub and hatted chef join forces
He’s the hatted chef known for his love of local produce, while they run one of the Sunshine Coast’s most loved organic farms. So when the couple behind The Falls Farm in Mapleton in
the Sunshine Coast Hinterland acquired the town’s 113-year-old pub and teamed up with none other than local chef Cameron Matthews, it was a match made in foodie heaven. Using produce picked fresh from their farm down the road, Mapleton Public House is dishing up a true paddock-to-plate experience. On the menu you’ll find all the classics like Chicken Schnitzel, Fish of the Day and Prime Rib, but in Matthews hands, they’re definitely not your usual pub grub. But it’s the share plates where he’s truly gone to town, with Beef Tartare and Farm Ginger and Wood Roasted Octopus just some of the must-haves.
10. Latest from Australia's Craft Beer Capital
Craft beer is a recurring theme on the Sunshine Coast (there’s a reason why we’re Australia’s Craft Beer Capital after all) and there are always plenty of new openings to wet your whistle at. When thinking about what goes with a good craft beer, lawn bowls might not immediately spring to mind, but just like avo on toast, it works. One of the Sunshine Coast’s most prolific breweries, Your Mates, has thrown open the doors of their very own Your Mates BowlsPub in the Noosa Hinterland town of Cooroy, reimagining the traditional ‘bowlsy’.
Another new kid on the block is Blackflag Brewing Coolum. Blackflag is already known and loved for their Mooloolaba venue, with the new Coolum digs serving as their headquarters and brewhouse. Lovers of a cold one are welcome to pull up a stool here in front of the larger than life murals that embody their signature tattoo and street art style.
Further north, Sublime Farm & Brewery has opened up in a town called Kia Ora - between Gympie and Tin Can Bay – incorporating a brewhouse alongside a lime orchard, making for an exceptionally pretty backdrop. You can camp here too, giving you the full experience.
Sublime beer garden
Jarrah Boy, a new Sunshine Coast brewer, is operating out of an existing venue in Noosa combining native Australian ingredients with great beer and ‘celebrating Indigenous excellence’. They source ingredients from across Australia, supporting Indigenous businesses.
Lovers of local craft brews can sip their way around the region at The Craft, which aims to showcase Australia’s Craft Beer Capital from their venue in Flaxton in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
11. Sip, hop on, hop off, repeat
The Barrel Runner
While the Sunshine Coast is officially Australia’s Craft Beer Capital, you’ll also find a number of distillers here finding inspiration in the local produce to create gin, vodka and rum. You’ll want to savour every sip along the craft beverage trail, so why not jump on board the Sunshine Coast’s new ‘Hop on Hop Off’ Tour Service – The Barrel Runner – with Tasty Tours. Simply pick where on the Coast you would like to explore – they run four routes in the Noosa Hinterland, Noosa, Mooloolaba and Caloundra – and get ready to taste your way across the region.
12. Farm to bring people together through food
Described as the ‘Sunshine Coast’s best of everything’, Barns Lane Farm is poised to open in the beachside town of Coolum on the Sunshine Coast in late 2023. More than just a farm, this foodie hub will incorporate a produce hall, dining precinct, entertainment area and more.
14. New cafés to chow down at
Popular coffee spot and café John Kyle Espresso – who originated in Buderim – have expanded with a new café and bar in Maroochydore.
In Gympie, a new lounge bar and restaurant – Dolly & Oats – is dishing up delicious food and killer cocktails, think plump saganaki prawns, delicious grazing boards and martinis just how James Bond likes them.
The Mary Valley is a natural food bowl, and three new eateries are providing fresh reason to visit with the Village Green Café, The Wild Vine Café and Imbil’s Taste of Croatia ones to add to your gastronomic hit list.
Things to do
15. Ultimate relaxation in the heart of Mooloolaba
Inspired by the day clubs of the Mediterranean rivieras, a new day spa is offering absolute luxury in the heart of Mooloolaba. Tank Riviera combines six magnesium pools, a sauna and steam room, treatment rooms, Champagne river cruises, a degustation restaurant, luxe waterfront bar and sunset deck together to create the ultimate day club experience. There’s plenty of pampering too, with the option to book in for your treatment of choice. This experience is designed to be shared, so bring your friends for a day you’ll never forget.
16. Painting the skies purple
Bonza legends excited for launch Credit: Tony Gough
Australia’s newest regional airline, Bonza, has received regulatory approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), with their fleet of jets - Shazza, Bazza and Sheila - ready for take off in 2023. From its base at Sunshine Coast Airport, Bonza will connect the Sunshine Coast to 13 destinations across Australia. Visitors from Albury, Avalon, Cairns, Coffs Harbour, Mackay, Melbourne, Mildura, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Rockhampton, Tamworth, Townsville and the Whitsunday Coast will soon be able to jet direct to the Sunshine Coast on board a Bonza flight. In support of their home base in the ‘Bonza backyard’, the onboard menu is packed with Sunshine Coast ingredients, including local craft brews, gin and coffee, as well as the highly anticipated ‘snag in a bag’ – the closest thing you’ll come to a Bunnings snag in the sky.
17. Into the wild after dark
Binturong at WildlifeHQ NightZoo
The Sunshine Coast’s Wildlife HQ has launched a bespoke Night Zoo experience to showcase its range of exotic animals ‘in action’ after dark. The special guided tour takes visitors through the zoo’s rainforest gardens to see nocturnal residents such as Tasmanian Devils, African Painted Dogs, Servals, Red Pandas, Binturong and a Maned Wolf, who are at their most active after the sun goes down. The zoo uses environmentally sensitive lighting, allowing visitors a rare upclose opportunity to see these incredible animals’ social habits and feeding behaviours. The Night Zoo tours run every Friday and Saturday evening from 6.30pm, lasting between 90 minutes and two hours.
18. Meet the farm friends
Alfie at Maleny Botanical Gardens
With names like Biscuit, Oreo and Cookie, it’s fair to say the new baby goats at Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World are seriously sweet. The trio are at home in the attraction’s new ‘Farm Friends’ exhibit, which houses a gorgeous selection of miniature and baby farm animals. As well as the goats, you’ll meet miniature donkeys, miniature horses Peanut, Raven and Ben Ben, fuzzy baby doll sheep, a proud rooster and a flock of clucky hens. With views over the Glass House Mountains, aviaries full of native and exotic birds and beautifully manicured gardens to explore, you’ll want to spend the day here.
19. Get your motor running
With sweeping views and winding roads, the Sunshine Coast Hinterland is the place for motorbike enthusiasts to get their motor running. And now Sunshine Coast Motorcycle Hire & Tours are giving visitors a chance to experience it for themselves with guided tours and bike hire. Experienced riders can have their pick of an Indian, Victory, Thunderbird, 650CC V-Star or Harley Davidson bike for a half or multi-day hire. If you’re keen to see the sights, you can also jump on one of their tours along the coastline, through the Glass House Mountains or their food tour.
20. The Curated Plate announces dates for 2023
The Curated Plate
Mark your diaries for 28 July-6 August 2023, the Sunshine Coast’s annual food festival – The Curated Plate – is back! Hot off the press is the announcement that the much-loved
celebration of food is returning next year, inviting foodies to embark on a culinary journey from the seafood hub of Mooloolaba to the rich volcanic soils of the Hinterland. The Curated Plate is all about connecting people to place through food, and across the festival’s 10 days you’ll learn the stories of the local farmers, the producers whose secret ingredient is a generous pinch of passion and the chefs who celebrate local in every dish. Watch this space for the official event program to be released in 2023.
21. Mary Valley introduces GourMay
The Mary Valley has long been considered a food lovers paradise, and this May they are making it official with the GourMay Mary Valley Food Festival. The event, which spans the entire month of May, will celebrate the region’s local produce with a series of satellite events from farm tours to degustations, mystery picnics, cooking demonstrations and markets. Local foodies will come together on 6 May for Festival Day in the charming town of Imbil, where foodies can fill their basket with all things local.
22. Art and culture take centre stage at Horizon
Horizon Festival, the Sunshine Coast’s leading contemporary multi-arts festival, is returning in 2023 with 10 days and nights of visual art, music, theatre, dance, words and ideas, film and creative workshops; all inspired by the stories and beauty of the Sunshine Coast. Horizon Festival believes that art is transformative and celebrates home-grown and global artists who create artistic experiences that reflect the here and now, igniting new ideas and fuelling the cultural vibrancy of the region. The festival delights in the natural beauty of the Sunshine Coast, with a program that honours the Traditional Custodians of this Country; the Kabi Kabi and Jinibara Peoples.
23. Dates for the diary
Noosa Festival of Surfing
The Sunshine Coast’s events calendar is jam-packed with epic events worth your time in 2023. Ones to plan your trip around include the Noosa Festival of Surfing (3-12 March), Mooloolaba Tri (12 March), the Maleny Wood Expo (29 April – 1 May), the Queensland Garden Expo (7-9 July), the epic beachside Caloundra Music Festival, and Gympie’s infamous Gympie Music Muster (24-27 August).