So, you’ve already hit up the Sunshine Coast’s best beaches and devoured the newest eateries, you’re probably thinking about what are you going to do next? Fortunately the Sunshine Coast is home to a bunch of unique, hidden gems that are just waiting to be discovered.
We’re talking magical waterfalls, stunning natural beauty, unique restaurants and quirky towns soon to become your new favourite places to go.
Gather your mates, fire up the playlist and hit the road, these are the most unique places to visit on the Sunshine Coast.
For one of the most magical swimming spots you’ll ever see, make tracks to Conondale National Park. Take a scenic three-kilometre return walk through lush rainforest to the stunning Booloumba Falls and prepare to be wowed by Mother Nature. Fringed by moss-covered boulders and rock formations, the sparkling turquoise waters of Booloumba Falls were made for floating in all day long. And if you love it so much you want to do it all over again the next day, there’s secluded camping at the park too.
When it comes to unique spots on the Sunshine Coast, you can’t go past Rick’s Garage. Stepping inside this Palmwoods eatery is like going on a trip to America’s deep south, in particular a classic Route 66 diner with ALL the trimmings. With vintage cars parked out front, inside you’ll slip into a vinyl booth, bliss out to live tunes and check out the incredible memorabilia covering the walls. Once you’ve picked your jaw up off the floor, there’s a mouth-watering menu to check out, filled with American classics like crispy wings, corn bread and chicken and waffles. But if you only order one thing, make sure it’s Rick’s famous ‘Big One’ burger. Weighing a whopping 1.1kg, the house made prime blended patties come topped with bacon, cheese, eggs, lettuce, tomato, beetroot, onion rings and pickles.
Rick's Garage, Palmwoods
Discover a tropical paradise that feels worlds away from civilisation, just 15 minutes off the coast of Mooloolaba at Mudjimba Island. Home to an abundance of marine life, you’ll be able to snorkel amongst dolphins, turtles, stingrays, crayfish, wobbegongs, eels, and starfish—a truly breathtaking experience. Mudjimba, also known as ‘Old Woman’, is filled with vibrant coral gardens, plus plenty of gullies, ledges and small watery drop offs for you to explore depending on your skill level. Pro tip: the western side of the island is our favourite spot to dive.
Nestled in the tranquil hills of Eudlo, prepare to get your inner zen on at the Chenrezig Institute. Established back in 1974, this Buddhist retreat is a serene haven where you can experience the authentic teachings from Tibetan Buddhists. One of the first Tibetan Buddhist centres in the Western World (and the largest) it’s open to the general public from Tuesday to Sunday every week. Check out the institute's onsite vegetarian eatery the Big Love Cafe, library, meditation hall, art studio and memorial garden and, if you’re there on a Saturday, you can join a free guided tour from 11am.
With a population of just 1000 people, Montville is a perfectly quaint gateway in the gorgeous Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Combining European-style stores selling a variety of hand-crafted goods with natural splendour aplenty, Montville more than deserves its reputation as the creative soul of the region. Start your day with brunch at one of Montville’s many cafes, then hop in your car and head south to Baroon Pocket Dam, a gorgeous lake tucked between Montville and Maleny that will low-key blow your mind. If you’re looking for one of the most unique places to visit in Queensland, this is it.
After you’ve checked out Montville, take a short drive to Kondalilla National Park, home to a beautiful waterfall and rock pools perfect for dipping your feet into. Kondalilla, an Aboriginal word meaning 'rushing waters', perfectly describes this magical spot, which while beautiful all year round, really comes alive during the summer wet season. The natural pool is encased by towering eucalypt trees and a subtropical rainforest that will make you feel like you’re in your own private oasis. Be on the lookout for the 107 species of birds, 70 species of reptiles and 32 species of frogs that call this gorgeous spot home.
The beautifully positioned country town of Kenilworth is absolutely worthy of your must-visit list when heading into the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Nestled between hilly ranges and rolling green fields, one of the gems in the town’s crown has to be their famous bakery. People drive for hours for a taste of Kenilworth Country Bakery’s delicate flaky pastries (the pies are a must) and selection of incredible doughnuts in flavours of Nutella, Turkish Delight,
classic glazed and many more. And if you really want to do your experience here justice, take on the 1KG doughnut challenge. Post food coma you can stroll the quaint town’s main street filled with artisan shops and boutiques.