9 things to do in winter on the Sunshine Coast
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Mt. Coonowrin at Sunset, Glass House Mountains National Park

With everything from cosy wood-fires, misty hinterland walks, whale encounters and wine tasting on the list, winter is the time to explore another side to the Sunshine Coast.

Whale season ahoy

Getting ready to swim with the Whales with Sunreef
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Getting ready to swim with the Whales with Sunreef

Between June and November, more than thirteen thousand humpback whales make their annual journey to warmer climes... with many stopping to enjoy the waters just off Mooloolaba. For the ultimate bucket-list activity, pull on your wetsuit and join Sunreef’s Whale Swim tours, which depart from Mooloolaba. If you’d rather keep your toes dry, admire these magnificent creatures from a boat deck: Sunshine Coast Afloat and Whale One are your go-to whale-watching cruise experts.

Enjoy a luxe farm-stay

Make your own pizza at Mayan Luxe Villas
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Make your own pizza at Mayan Luxe Villas

Recline back on a hammock, soak in a bubble bath, and set a crackling fire going at one of our many luxe farm stays on the Sunshine Coast. With wintery paddocks and hills as your backdrop, you'll feel a world away from our beaches and golden coastline. Check out Mayan Luxe Villas in Kin Kin, Sixty6 Acres in Woombye, and Seven Peaks Farm Stay in Beerwah for some getaway inspo.

Hinterland hiking

Kondalilla Falls in the Kondalilla National Park, Montville
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Kondalilla Falls in the Kondalilla National Park, Montville

You’ll need to head to the cooler climes of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland if you want to rock that beanie you picked up at Eumundi Markets.

Whatever your level of fitness, there’s an easy trail or next-level hike for you in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Breathe in the crisp mountain air while rambling along trails of native forest, waterfalls and scenic lookouts. If you feel like an easy stroll, head to Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve in Maleny, or Fig Tree Walk at Kenilworth, and wander the boardwalk and bush track through the sub-tropical rainforest.

Alternatively, explore Mapleton Falls National Park, where the walk to the waterfall lookout is just a short walk from the car park. Need something more challenging? Lace up your walking boots and turn your wheel towards Kondalilla National Park, celebrated for its stunning waterfall, rock pools and freshwater creeks You won't want to miss Conondale National Park, either, which is renowned for its magnificent forests, deep gorges and spectacular scenery.

Cook up a storm

The Tamarind Cooking School
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The Tamarind Cooking School

The wonderful local produce available on the Sunshine Coast attracts some of Australia's top chefs... so it’s no surprise you'll find brilliant cooking schools and classes across the region.

A holiday is the perfect time to don your apron and learn the tricks of the trade from the best. The award-winning Spirit House in Yandina holds regular classes where you can hone your Asian food skills in a seafood banquet or ‘one bowl wonder’ group class. Alternatively, experience a flavoursome class in Southern Thai cuisine (among other classes) at Spicers Tamarind Retreat.

Pick your own strawberries

Strawberry Picking at McMartin’s Farm 
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Strawberry Picking at McMartin’s Farm 

Pick your in-season produce and enjoy it straight from the paddock – it doesn’t get much fresher than that! Strawberries become ripe for the picking in May and you’ll find plenty of places to sample this delicious fruit on the Sunshine Coast.  Bring the whole family to McMartin's Strawberry Farm and Ice Creamery, a family farm in Bli Bli (Nambour region) where you can pick fresh strawberries and then relax with a Devonshire tea served with scrumptious home-made strawberry jam or traditional strawberries and ice cream.

Wine tasting

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The cooler weather lends itself to a glass (or two) of red, which always goes down a treat when paired with a local cheese. So, leave the coastline in your rearview and mosey up to Flame Hill Vineyard in Montville, where you can sip and sample the estate-grown Shiraz and other varietals, settle in for a paddock-to-plate long lunch in front of a wood-burning fire, or stroll the grounds with a picnic and be warmed by the winter sun.

The Barrel at Clouds Vineyard also serves up a cracking selection of hearty winter fare with everything from generous platters of local cheese, chutneys and pickles to big, house-made beef burgers that’ll hit your hungry spot into next week.

Take a tour

Great Beach Drive
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Great Beach Drive

The Sunshine Coast has a fleet of designated drivers just waiting to whisk you off on a tour of the region. Enjoy views, brews and behind-the-scenes tours of the thriving craft beer scene with range of tours.

Looking for something different? Buckle up to enjoy jaw-dropping views of the Sunshine Coast from the air in a Paradise Seaplane, or join a 4WD tour up to Double Island Point with Great Beach Drive 4WD Tours.

Witness a winter sunrise

Sunrise at Point Cartwright
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Sunrise at Point Cartwright

There's nothing quite like rugging up in your jacket and beanie to watch a clear winter sunrise here. This is a truly magical experience that combines an incredible glimpse of the disappearing starlight with the golden sunshine that falls over the chilly sand. Whether you feel like witnessing the action from Point Cartwright, Mudjimba, Coolum, or another one of our gorgeous beaches, this will be one for the photo album!

Attractions galore

Australia Zoo, Beerwah
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Australia Zoo, Beerwah

You’re guaranteed hours of endless fun at Sunshine Coast attractions. Visit Australia Zoo to get up close to cheeky wombats, cuddly koalas or rascally lemurs – don’t miss the midday Wildlife Warriors show in the Crocoseum featuring some of the zoo’s favourite animal stars. 

SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast has thousands of fascinating marine creatures to discover and you can take swim with a seal or a shark dive. During school holidays, have a family sleepover in the underwater tunnel and see what the marine critters get up to when the sun goes down. 

Head to Aussie World for bird’s eye view of the Sunshine Coast from atop the Ferris wheel or practise your circle work on the dodgem cars. If you'd rather keep your feet on the ground, then stroll the stunningly landscaped gardens at The Ginger Factory and enjoy a meal made from locally sourced produce in the fully licenced Ginger Café.