Family walking onto Mudjimba beach
We can’t have a list of places to cool down on the Sunshine Coast and NOT include a beach! If you’re looking for somewhere on the quieter side (but with a spectacular view), we recommend heading over to Mudjimba Beach. This patrolled beach is just over 10 minutes-drive from Coolum – making it a fabulous, central coastal location.
Here, you can marvel at the beautiful views out to Mudjimba Island (where you can take guided snorkelling tours across the reef) as well as make the most of the abundance of sand (everyone can enjoy their own space!). Set up the beach umbrella and allow the refreshing water temperature to offer the ideal remedy to our warm summer days.
Kings Beach Ocean Pool + Kings Beach
Kings Beach Ocean Pool
What’s better than a swim at the beach? A swim in a beachside saltwater pool, of course!
We’ve got something to rival the iconic pool at Bondi Icebergs – the Kings Beach Ocean Pool. Patrolled by lifeguards in the summer, this 25m sea water pool has plenty of shaded spots and seats to relax away from the sun (plus an incredible view).
When you’re ready to experience some real wave action, simply head straight down to the sand for a dip in the magnificent blue waters of Kings Beach.
Fancy a swim in a stream of gold? The clear, cold water in Seary’s Creek (part of the Cooloola Recreation Area) has a stunning amber colour thanks to the tannins from the surrounding vegetation. Here, you can bring along your inflatables and float down the creek (just like nature’s own waterpark), or see if you can spot rainbowfish flitting beneath the surface beyond.
If you’d rather stay on land, check out the Seary’s Creek boardwalk that weaves through bushland filled with wildflowers and native fauna.
With a day-use carpark close by and picnic tables on offer, this is the perfect place to hang out with friends away from the summer heat.
If you’re creating your list of summer waterfalls to explore, let us introduce you to Baxter Falls. This small, but stunning waterfall is tucked away in the northern tail end of Kondalilla National Park, and features a beautiful suspension bridge with plenty of greenery along the way. Like all waterfalls, you’ll find Baxter Falls looks best after decent rainfall – so make sure to keep an eye on the local forecasts.
Keep in mind that this walk requires a higher level of fitness and will take you a few hours as a round-trip, so be sure to leave early to make the most of the cooler morning air!
If you’re looking for a walk that’s accessible for walkers, prams and wheelchairs, look no further than the Maleny Boardwalk (otherwise known as the Platypus Walk) in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. This ambling pathway is a dream for nature lovers, with plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife along the way.
Better yet, the boardwalk is largely protected from the sun by surrounding subtropical rainforest. You can also stop by the platypus-viewing platforms, which are the perfect vantage points for witnessing these shy creatures as they frolic in the Obi Obi Creek beyond.
Conondale National Park
The deep blue vein of Booloumba Creek feeds life into Conondale National Park in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. You’ll find this stunning spot approximately two hours-drive from Brisbane, surrounded by lush forestry, walking trails, camping spots and an incredible swimming hole. You’ll probably recognise this one from social media – it’s a dream to photograph!
Booloumba Creek looks best after a decent rainfall, so keep an eye on local forecasts when making your plans (you’ll also need a 4WD to get there).
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
Couple at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve. Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland
The dark earth, mossy logs and ancient subtropical rainforest at the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve in Maleny are all synonymous with a cool summer! This place is particularly spectacular early in the day, so set your alarm to rise early (the rainforest walks open from 7am). Be sure to download the ‘Forest Detective Trail Guide’ if you’re travelling with kids – see if they can tick buttress roots, pademelons and strangler figs off their list!
There are plenty of loops to explore in this spectacular place, with wheelchair accessibility on the Glider Gallery Boardwalk (via the Rainforest Discovery Centre) and the Butterfly Walk.