Serenity Falls, Buderim
We've put together seven must do places every nature lover should visit when exploring the Sunshine Coast. For real.
1. Conondale National Park
Forming the heart of unspoilt mountain scenery, Conondale National Park creates a picturesque overnight trip to explore the magnificent forests, deep gorges, and spectacular views. A great location to bring the whole family, offering picnic areas, campsites and plenty of walking tracks for beginner’s all the way to advanced hikers.
For those who want a 4WD adventure, we recommend the scenic drive starting on Booloumba Creek Road, just make sure you leave yourself enough time for picnics and bushwalks along the way. You can also bring along your mountain bike or go for a horse adventure along the vehicle tracks.
2. Currimundi Lake Regional Park
Currimundi Lake Regional Park is a natural gem. A great location to immerse yourself in nature and perfect for kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing, swimming and even fishing, there is something for everyone. Enjoy a stroll along the short walking tracks and take in the local flora and fauna or walk to Currimundi Beach for some epic surf, which is patrolled by lifesavers on weekends and school holidays.
3. Glass House Mountains
If more adventurous walks are your style, challenge yourself on a hike on the volcanic peaks of the Glass House Mountains. Mount Ngungun and Mount Tibrogargan are popular and easily accessible with stunning 360-degree views of the region.
These 20 million-year-old monoliths are part of the Aboriginal ‘songlines’ navigational landmarks once used by Aborigines to find their way and are a prominent feature of local Aboriginal legend.
If you prefer to stay close to the ground, let the awe-inspiring landscape wash over you as you take a leisurely drive through the Glass House Mountains National Park, stopping at picturesque lookouts along the way.
Mountain biking is another fun and active way to explore the hinterland and forests, with escorted tours or hiring options available to get you on your way on the trails.
4. Kondalilla National Park
A refuge for many species of native animals and plants, Kondalilla National Park is a magnet for birdwatchers and nature photographers as well as bushwalkers. With a stunning waterfall that drops 90 metres into a rainforest valley, rocky pools and freshwater creeks - is it clear why the park gets its name from an Aboriginal word meaning 'rushing waters'.
Five rare and threatened frog species - as well as the Bopple Nut, a rare macadamia species - can be found in the park. There is a wonderful day-use area which is ideal for picnics and can be reached on an easy 1.7 kilometre circuit track. For more of a challenge, tackle the 300 stairs on the 4.6 kilometre Kondalilla Falls Circuit or explore the Kondalilla leg of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk which winds its way through this park on the way to Lake Baroon, Mapleton and Gheerulla.
5. Mary Valley
Escape to the countryside in the Mary Valley. This idyllic valley is dotted with villages that have a welcoming community spirit and are ideal for a technology break. Make a weekend of the experience and stay at Amamoor Lodge. Nestled between magnificent mountain ranges and 50 acres of stunning Australian bush, this local gem boasts breathtaking sunsets and phenomenal stargazing, as well as plenty of outdoor adventure.
Explore the Amamoor State Forest parks, go for a swim in the lagoon style pool, relax in the spa, or go for a stroll to the waterhole through the rainforest and say hello to the local wildlife. Head to Imbil to stroll the historic Timber Cutters' Walk that weaves between age-old jacaranda trees right down to Yabba Creek, or hire a kayak from Ride on Mary and explore the tributaries that make up the magnificent river giving the region its name.
6. Great Sandy National Park
If you want to get off the beaten track, head for the Great Sandy National Park and take to the beach in your 4WD. Cruise along the shoreline, marvel at the coastal cliffs and coloured sands, throw in your fishing line and catch yourself dinner.
You’ll need a vehicle permit to drive along the sand and there are some places where camping is restricted, so be sure to check the signs before you set off on your adventure, or alternatively book a tour.
Packed with a diversity of nature and wildlife, this area represents the only place in the world where there are two adjoining Biosphere Reserves recognised by UNESCO: the Noosa Biosphere and Great Sandy Biosphere
7. Noosa Everglades
The Noosa Everglades are one of only two Everglades in the world. For the ultimate in serene tranquility, the area is best explored on an eco-cruise or in a kayak. Marvel at the reflections of the flora on the banks of the water that appear like a mirage.
Kayaking down the Noosa Everglades. Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland
Lock your eyes on birds from around the world. Noosa Everglades is home to 44 per cent of Australia’s bird life (yes, that’s more than Kakadu). Kanu Kapers and Everglades Eco Safaris can get you right among the birding action.