Mapleton National Park - Gheerulla Falls
As the only place in Australia where three UNESCO Biospheres sit side-by-side, the Sunshine Coast has its fair share of pristine environments just waiting to be explored.
Discover some of the world’s lesser-known natural wonders on a journey in a leafy backyard where bird calls and gentle streams set the soundtrack for your adventures.
Nothing quite matches the serotonin boost you get from soaking up the great outdoors and naturally, the Sunshine Coast is rife with rolling mountains, beautiful boardwalks, tranquil everglades, glorious lookouts and secluded campgrounds calling your name.
Read on for some of the Sunshine Coast’s natural wonders you haven’t explored – yet.
Mapleton National Park
Mapleton Falls National Park - Great Walk
Lush piccabeen palm groves, shrubby bushland, bunya pines and towering blackbutt forests - there’s a lot that will make your jaw hit the floor in Mapleton National Park. A heavy hitter for hikers, mountain bikers and avid birdwatchers, this scenic expanse is rich with winding rainforest trails and lookouts. Your first stop? Mapleton Falls Lookout where you can soak up views of the 120m waterfall cascade into the ferny valley below. Elsewhere, Kureelpa Falls circuit takes you into a deep into the blackbutt forest towards the South Maroochy River – just make sure your phone has enough juice for all the snaps.
Mapleton Falls National Park
Mapleton National Park - Gheerulla Falls
Not to be confused with the aforementioned Mapleton National Park, this protected area spares unbelievable views over the Obi Obi Valley. Riparian rainforest and eucalypt are stars of the show here and word on the street is that the Aussie peregrine falcon is known to perch up near the waterfall so make sure to keep your eyes on the skies. There are several short walking trails you can tie your laces up for but if you’ve got some stamina, the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk is a 58km stretch that can be done over multiple days with camping spots along the way.
Conondale National Park
Booloumba Falls, Conondale National Park
Leafy campsites, aqua-blue waters and deep gorges—these are just some of the natural wonders you can expect to encounter when you make your way through Conondale National Park. If camping is high on your agenda and you sport a high clearance 4WD, you’ll be able to put some pedal to metal on Booloumba Creek Road to access three different campsites which all stock their own little bit of woodland magic. Delve a little deeper into the forest and you’ll be rewarded with the Strangler Cairn: an egg-shaped rock sculpture that has a Strangler Fig tree planted on top. Over time the fig will grow, eventually enveloping the sculpture with its roots.
Imbil State Forest
Imbil State Forest - Fig Tree Walk
One of the highlights of Imbil State Forest is easily the refreshing sanctuary of the Charlie Moreland day-use area. Here you’ll not only find a bit of shady respite from the sun but a place to plunge your limbs on a sweltering day in Little Yabba Creek. Whether you’re keen for a hike packing a bit of punch, a bike ride or a scenic horse ride—the Mount Allan shared trail does not disappoint. The leafy path clocks in at about 8.8km return and will see you winding through hoop-pine plantations as you make your ascent towards Mount Allan.
The Noosa River at Noosaville
Noosa’s beaches definitely get a lot of credit (for good reason) however one of the best ways to take in this coastal destination’s natural beauty and stunning biosphere is through the Noosa River. Whether you hire out a BBQ pontoon boat or kick back and cast a line on any of the many fishing safaris out here, the aquatic activities are pretty much endless. Local tip: make your way down at sunrise of pastel skies and glassy calm waters.
Buderim Forest Waterfall
Buderim Forest Waterfalls (Serenity Falls), Buderim
Located about a kilometre from the quaint Buderim Village, this set of cascades trickles down mossy rocks and fern tree gullies. The entire area spreads out to an oasis of 45 hectares and you’ll find everything from electric barbeques and picnic tables to wooden boardwalks and even a stunning bridge. With cool waters for swimming and plenty of shade, you’ll want to spend the day here.