The novice photographer's guide to Caloundra

Caloundra - family walking along Bulcock Beach

By: Jane Chapman

So the school holidays are in full swing here in ‘paradise’ aka Caloundra, the laid-back, holiday beach town on the southern end of the Sunshine Coast.

I’ve just purchased a Canon DSLR (a step up from snapshotting on my iPhone) and I’m dying to get back to nature and hunt out Caloundra’s secret photography spots. Sounds simple and fun right? Wrong, I failed to mention that coming along for the ride are my two, very active, young boys. So I had an idea: I’d take the boys on an adventure trail of Caloundra. Think a 5 km walk from bush through beach, culminating in Caloundra’s urban jungle, the CBD. On the way we’ll visit six secret photography/play locations to satisfy my creative side and entertain the boys as well.

1. Foreshore walk from Moffat Beach to Caloundra CBD

Recently opened, hipster café, One Block Back, may seem like an unlikely start for our photography/child adventure trail but this hidden gem is in fact the perfect spot. Situated between Tooway Lake and the industrial park this converted warehouse, set in a natural bush location, not only creates a multitude of delicious RAWR treats (which tick all the boxes for a pre-walk child-friendly energy boast) but its rear deck is a photographer’s delight. The soft light and natural bush vista offers a serene and green back drop for the first image. It feels a million miles away from the usual beachy coastal venue vibes, and if you are lucky you might catch a glimpse of the local black cockatoos who love to swing by and interrupt the calm with their distinctive squawk.


2. Tooway Creek

A stone’s throw away from One Block Back is Tooway Creek. During the recent Tooway Creek bridge redevelopment, the local council created an old school, wooden boardwalk to run under the busy road. The practical access point not only connects locals safely with Moffat Beach, but it’s a shady, prime fishing and crabbing spot to boot. Mangrove Jack inhabits the salty waters during the summer months, and mud crabs can be captured with the right nets and a bit of know how. So whilst my boys have a go at catching some fishies I set about capturing the perfect bush-meets-lake picture.


3. Moffat Beach and headland

Good morning from Moffat Beach.

Continue along the coastal path a few hundred metres and you’ll hit Moffat Beach and headland. The rocky outcrop and legendary surf break are a photographer's dream. I tried to capture the iconic landmark and white waters whilst the boys headed to the recently revamped Moffat Park. The wooden, surf themed, structure lost none of its charm when it was transformed earlier this year. Even better, as the boys were showing signs of hunger we just had to nip into locals favourite, The Pocket, for a Caloundra manufactured and crafted Guru coffee for me and a slice of Persian love cake for the boys. Yum.


4. Shelly Beach rock pools and marine life

Recharged and happy we climbed Moffat’s 30 metre headland and followed the coastal walk way to rugged Shelly Beach. This quiet, off the beaten track, location is a marine biologist's dream featuring an abundance of marine species - sea cucumbers, limpets, crabs, and of course, turtles. There are heaps of rock pools for the kids to explore and a million rocky photograph opportunities for my ‘trying to be creative genius’ eye.


5. Kings Beach boat ramp

Our final leg of the beach walk led us to Kings Beach boat ramp. The popular boatie hangout has awesome views of Kings Beach, Golden Beach, Pumicestone Passage and the Glass House Mountains. The spot offers a unique photography angle over the water. The boys paddled in the shallows whilst I snapped away trying to do justice to this majestic location. 


6. Urban jungle Caloundra CBD

The final leg of our walk ended in Caloundra’s heart, the urban jungle, the CBD. Recent months have seen the centre begin its transformation from sleepy, laid back town to vibrant cultural centre. We headed to the town’s laneways to hunt out the graffiti murals created earlier this year by graffiti street artists First Coat. My personal favourite, the cartoon style transformation of the art gallery external wall  hit a note with the boys too. After I’d finished snapping the murals, the boys put their brains to the test and played a game of oversized chess outside the art gallery.

Great fun and a cultured way to end a day filled with the wonders of nature and beachside culture.