Think you know the Sunshine Coast? You’ve been there, done that. Pristine beaches, world-class attractions, markets and mountains. Here we share some surprise and delight tourism experiences, down-to-earth characters, coffee spots and accommodation ideas. For real.
The Eudlo area is surrounded by countryside and situated in the valley below the Blackall Range. Settled in the late 1880s, the township has a quaint general store, town hall and café and nearby is Chenrezig Institute - a Buddhist Temple oozing with nature, wellness and spirituality. For Real.
Established in 1974, the Institute was among the first Tibetan Buddhist centres in the Western World and remains one of the largest. Chenrezig is a Tibetan word that refers to the Buddha of Compassion and with this approach to life, the centre offers mindful yoga every Friday morning and meditation sessions.
Set amongst lush rainforest, the centre also has a vegetarian cafe, library, art studio, memorial garden and beautiful grounds which are all open to the public from 9am to 1.30pm Friday to Sunday. You can even take a guided tour with a Buddhist Nun (available every Sunday at 11.15am). For Real! Chenrezig Institute is located at 33 Johnsons Rd, Eudlo.
Weekender presenter Jillian Whiting with Buddhist Nun, Ailsa Cameron
If you want to extend the healing tranquillity, you can stay in a Balinese inspired subtropical paradise retreat at Jetavana Grove. With mid-week stays from $200 per night, the retreat comprises three architect-designed, luxury bungalows Lhasa, Amdo & Kham, each idyllically positioned to capture the most stunning, panoramic aspects.
You recognise the impressive peaks of the Glass House Mountains as the southern gateway to the Sunshine Coast. But did you know the township and area surrounding the mountains is a serious food bowl? There is avocados, pineapples and papaws as well as strawberries, vegetables, nuts and tobacco. Not to mention camel milk and snails!
First stop: Glasshouse Plantation - a working tropical orchard giving you an opportunity to see, taste and learn about growing coffee, fruit and macadamia nuts. They have up to 9000 coffee plantings on the 10-acre property - a perfect location to get away, slow down and enjoy the country setting. Plus, everything in their farm shop and café is locally grown. For Real. Glasshouse Plantation is open 9am to 6pm on weekends and is located at 122 Glasshouse-Woodford Road, Glass House Mountains.
You might also like to drop into Everything Good Fruit and Vegetable Stall located at 1094 Steve Irwin Way, Glass House Mountains. The Sunshine Coast is brimming with personalities with a fervour for food such as former accountant, Neil Federer who traded his life working in the coal and gas industry to help farmers and local growers. His stall boasts fresh and seasonal produce from up to 70 farmers, including backyard growers.
While exploring the area, why not stay in a Victorian or Queenslander train carriage or in a church loft at the Glasshouse Mountains Ecolodge. With mid-week prices from as little as $128 per night, the land is also intimately connected with produce. In fact, the owner Keith Murray is passionate about growing his own coffee plants to serve up a real cup of coffee and the property also has 30-year old Jaboticaba fruit trees reaping grapes to make jam and wine for guests.
Everyone has heard of Noosa, of course you have. The National Park, main beach and famous Hastings Street. But just a stones throw away and behind the glitz and glam, there is an adventure wonderland to get your adrenaline pumping in Tewantin National Park.
To get underway and dial up the smiles per miles, you can hit the mountain bike trails with Bike On. They offer bike hire or can guide you on mountain bike tours through the park. Justin the owner has been riding for twenty-five years and says there’s nothing better than to just get out in the fresh air of the forest. Even his young kids love it. The trails have been professionally built with a grading system for new riders, right up to black diamond with difficult trail features for your advanced. There is even a track called Secrets! For Real. Need we say more.
For other escapades in Tewantin National Park, Outdoor Adventure Australia offer abseiling and rock climbing sessions. Challenge yourself and tackle Mount Tinbeerwah, which at 110 metres, happens to also be the tallest ‘natural surfaces’ abseil in the world. For Real.
Weekender presenter Lee Carseldine enjoys the sunset abseil experience.
Famous for the Ginger Factory and Spirit House Restaurant; Yandina was officially proclaimed a township 150 years ago. It was the original workers’ village for the railway, cattle, dairy and sugar. Today, it’s retained its character with the pub, historic buildings and quirky businesses including antique shops, art stores and vintage clothing.
Our top tips for the best in beverages:
Weekender presenter Liz Cantor with a tasting paddle of brews
Located nearby, the historic Yandina Station, established in 1853, is a luxury country estate and working cattle property. Owner Sally Schmidt says it evokes a serene vibe where guests can relax and unwind. In addition to being a wedding venue, Yandina Station has luxury two-bedroom cottages set peacefully amongst eucalypts and Moreton Bay Fig Trees. From $345.00 per cottage per night Sunday to Thursday ~ each cottage has 2 bedrooms and maximum capacity for 4 guests with a minimum 2 night stay. Located at 684 N Arm Yandina Creek Rd, Yandina Creek, the property even has their own label - the Yandina Station Ginger Beer (both non-alcoholic and alcoholic versions available). For Real.
Terella Brewing bar