Full of creatives, galleries and hidden art trails, there is so much beauty to be adored and explored on the Sunshine Coast.
This winter food lovers and those looking to explore their creative side will be spoiled for choice with a number of arts and culture festivals popping up across the region during the cooler months.
Whether you’re visiting for the Sunshine Coast Chamber Music Festival (9-11 June), Queensland Garden Expo (7-9 July), the Australian Wearable Arts Festival - (11-12 August), Sunshine Sounds Festival, Buskers by the Lake or the Horizon Festival (25 August - 3 September), or looking to embark on a culinary adventure with The Curated Plate (28 July - 6 August), there's plenty of reasons to inspire a getaway.
To get your creative juices flowing, we've put together the ultimate itinerary to help you make the most of your arts, culture and foodie adventure on the Sunshine Coast.
The best art & culture activities
Saltwater Eco Tours
If you truly want to embrace the Sunshine Coast’s culture, then do it through the eyes of a First Nations guide on a Saltwater Eco Tour. Join Aunty Bridgette Chilli aboard an authentic timber sailing boat and cruise the waterways of Mooloolaba as she regales you with dreamtime stories of the Kabi Kabi people while you soak up the sunset and sample bush tucker.
Saltwater Eco Tours on the Mooloolah River, Mooloolaba
Caloundra Regional Art Gallery
Art buffs will love the Caloundra Regional Art Gallery. Filled with an ever-changing exhibition program, one visit here simply isn’t enough. Located in a converted 1970s former library building called Felicity House, the gallery is all about celebrating the diversity and vibrancy of the arts. Home to exhibitions from renowned local and international artists, as well as First Nations creatives - you’ll lose hours in this magical space so plan to get here when the doors open at 10am.
Caloundra’s Mural Trail
You’ll find vibrant street art covering the laneways and buildings of Caloundra on the town’s Mural Trail. Begin at the top of Bulcock Street and make your way down Dingle Avenue for colourful snapshots of Caloundra’s cultural identity and history. Meander through Lamkin Lane for three retro-styled murals before heading to Kings Beach Bathing Pavilion,
Memory Lane and Williamson Lane for more larger-than-life artworks.
Sunshine Coast Hinterland Art Trail
In case you missed it, the Sunshine Coast hinterland is a hub for art, culture and creativity, so a stroll along the Art Trail here is essential. Discover a wealth of incredible artists from Maleny to Montville as you stretch your legs meandering from gallery to exhibition with this ultimate guide.
Frida’s Sip and Paint
Feeling inspired to get your creative on? The crew at Frida’s Sip n’ Paint in Mooloolaba will
teach you how to become a Picasso in the making as they guide you through the painting process so you can create your very own work of art to take home. The chandelier adorned studio is the perfect space for an evening activity with your art-loving mates - especially because it’s BYO booze and cheese platters, so why not make a night of it?
The iconic Eumundi Markets are a must-do for any art and culture-lover visiting the Sunshine Coast. The biggest and best artisan market in Queensland, it boasts more than 100 stalls nestled amongst towering heritage-listed fig trees. You can shop for everything from freshly picked farm produce, arts and crafts, skincare, clothing, homewares and excellent street
food. Plus there’s live music and street performances - even palm readers - to keep you entertained. Pro tip: Be sure to carve out at least half a day to work your way through this creative labyrinth.
The best places to eat & drink
Harry's on Buderim
Hidden within the Buderim rainforest in a 142-year-old homestead, Harry's on Buderim is a nonnegotiable when exploring the Sunshine Coast’s food scene. Head chef Stuart Bell is all
about celebrating local produce and showcasing their incredible flavours in a contemporary way. Sample dishes like marinated Brisbane Valley quail with parsnip puree and rosemary roasted plums and crispy Coral Coast saltwater barramundi with grilled cucumber and salsa verde. AKA it’s Queensland on a plate and it’s absolutely delicious. Pro tip: request a table on the verandah at dusk for breathtaking views of the parkland.
If you’re really looking to soak up the best foodie culture on the Sunshine Coast, then take your tastebuds on a trip to heaven at Spirit House. Set within tropical gardens and a tranquil pond in Yandina, this award-winning eatery is a feast for all your senses. Listen to the babbling waterfalls, wind chimes and local birds serenading you, as you devour Asian-inspired eats like Cambodian lamb ribs and Mooloolaba baby squid noodles. Lunch or dinner, you won’t be disappointed with a visit to Spirit House.
For a true representation of Sunshine Coast’s melting pot of cultures look no further than Spice Bar in Mooloolaba. This decadent fine-dining restaurant offers stunning ocean views, a vibing open kitchen and sake menu (pro tip: order a tasting flight). Dazzle your palette
with the Chef’s Tasting Menu at dinner and drool over eats like Hervey Bay scallops with ginger sabayon, beef tataki and burnt leeks with sesame and smoked almond.
Sunshine & Sons Distillery
Located in Woombye, Sunshine & Sons Distillery are making waves for their coastal-inspired tipples. Drop by their Distillery Door for a tour and tasting and learn about how they craft their famous Pineapple Parfait Gin - tasting like a classic Sunny Coast holiday. And make sure you grab a bottle of their Original Vodka to take home. It’s pot-distilled in the local rainforest, then filtered through millennia-old Sunshine Coast volcanic rock giving it an extra special texture and taste. Now that’s pretty special.
Sampling Sunshine & Sons (CAVU Distilling) Gin at the Woombye pop-up bar
Beachtree Distilling Co.
You’d be hard pressed to find a distillery that has more local pride than Beachtree Distilling
Co. Head to their Caloundra distillery and taste your way through their range of gin and vodka infused with native ingredients. Like the Koala Gin - inspired by walks through the Australian bush - with notes of native lemon myrtle, marshmallow leaf, lime, cinnamon, and vanilla. Or try the Tiger Quoll Vodka, made using organically grown sugar cane.
If you’re more of a beer drinker, make tracks to Brouhaha Brewery for some premium
craft brews. With two locations - in Maleny and Baringa - you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to epically crafted pale ales, sours, stouts, lagers and XPAs. Head here for lunch, or whenever your stomach starts to grumble to feast on tasty lemongrass and garlic Mooloolaba prawns, crispy mountaintop mushrooms and wagyu burgers.
Brouhaha brewery, Maleny
Where to stay
Escape to Europe, minus the airfare, with a stay at HOLA Eumundi. The brand-new
boutique digs are nestled in the Sunshine Coast’s creative hub of Eumundi and feature 15 truly unique rooms. Oozing contemporary chic, the space has been inspired by the region's beautiful landscapes and creative culture. Think: balconies overlooking the treetops, timber furnishings and hand-crafted basins. Plus there’s all the luxurious essentials like flat screen smart TVs, coffee machines and plush king beds.
Loea Boutique Hotel
If your art and culture tour of the Sunshine Coast takes you to the coast, then Loea Boutique Hotel is where you’ll want to rest your head. The boutique retreat is the ultimate place for some zen time with its magnesium pool, walled garden and hanging chairs. Located across from the Maroochy River, unwind in the coastal-inspired rooms awash with a pastel colour palette. Fuel up with locally sourced eats from their vintage food truck like the Gourmet Gather Box filled with artisan biscuits, local cheeses, gourmet olives, sopressa, nuts, chocolate and seasonal fruit. It’s holiday vibes personified.
Loea Boutique Hotel, Maroochydore
Scandi At Maleny
This self-contained,adults-only luxury cabin, nestled in the picture perfect town of Maleny is
absolutely calling your name. After a big day of exploring and touring the arts and culture scene around the Sunshine Coast, Scandi At Maleny is where you’ll want to be. In particular, curled up on the deck, wine in hand with a jaw-dropping view of the Blackall Range spreading out in front of you. There are uber comfy king beds with the finest quality linen sheets, a fireplace, modern kitchen and cosy lounge. Yes, you’ll absolutely want to move in.