Point Cartwright sunset
Here the weather is warm, the ocean sparkling and the hinterland full of hidden gems just waiting to be explored, and to make your moment in the sun one to remember, we’ve put together the ultimate list of things to see and do.
Think endless beach days, craft beers with the crew, days spent snorkeling with turtles off Mudjimba Island and hidden waterholes surrounded by rainforest.
Whether you’re visiting for a day or taking a well-earned break, discover something new (and cool off in the process) with an endless summer on the Sunshine Coast.
1. Swim with turtles at Mudjimba Island
Did you know that just 15 minutes by boat out of Mooloolaba is one of Queensland’s most undiscovered coral reefs? The water surrounding Mudjimba Island is teeming with marine life, including turtles, wobbegongs, rays and fish. Take a snorkeling tour of the island with Sunreef Mooloolaba and see if for yourself – you won’t be disappointed!
Swim with turtles at Mudjimba Island
2. Dive with sharks at SEA LIFE
Come fin-to-fin with enormous sharks and rays this summer at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast! Thrill-seekers are invited into the iconic Ocean Tunnel to swim with nine different shark species including three grey nurse sharks, reef and wobbegong sharks. But don’t fear, the two-hour adventure takes you behind the scenes for a safety briefing and dive training before you take the plunge!
Shark Dive at SEA LIFE
3. Discover a world of wonder in the Noosa Everglades
The Noosa Everglades is one of only two everglades systems on Earth in the upper reaches of the Noosa River. This pristine environment is one of Australia’s most diverse ecosystems, in fact, more than 40% of Australia's bird species are found here. This summer, explore the everglades on an eco-tour with Everglades Eco Safaris or by kayak with Kanu Kapers. You can even stay the night at the gateway to the everglades at Habitat Noosa Everglades Eco Camp.
4. Sample award-winning gelato
On the main street of Maleny in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland you’ll find ice-cream so good it will make you melt. Maleny Food Co churns local Geurnsey milk with fresh local produce to create small batches of more than 100 flavours of premium gelato and sorbet, many of which have won national awards. Winning flavours to try include their Hazelnut, Chocolate, Espresso, Blood Orange and Blueberry and Lavender.
Gelato at Maleny Food Co
5. Indulge at the ultimate barbeque
Nothing says summer like a barbie, and we’ve found one of the best! Terra Firma Dining has partnered with Kenilworth Homestead to host the Weekend Fire Pit: an outdoor barbeque of epic proportions. This event sees local produce including meats, seafood, vegetables and even pineapples slow-cooked over an open flame, a technique inspired by the traditional Argentinian Asado Barbeque. Enjoy watching the cooking process, before relaxing in the shade to tuck in - live music setting the scene.
Terra Firma at Kenilworth Homestead
6. Kick back with a cold one at one of our 21 craft breweries
The Sunshine Coast is Australia’s Craft Beer Capital. Here you’ll find a staggering 21 craft breweries across the region, and as well as being the perfect place to kick back with family and friends on a hot summer day, behind every brewery is a passionate local ready to share their story. Here local brewers find inspiration in their surroundings, using local produce in their beer and focusing on sustainability, turning your afternoon at the pub into a full exBEERience.
Beachside beers at Moffat Beach Brewing Co
7. Learn to surf like a local
If you have ‘learn to surf’ on your list of things to do every time summer rolls around, now’s the time to make it happen! Take your pick of Coolum Surf School, XL Surfing Academy at Alexandra Beach, Noosa Learn to Surf or Rainbow Beach Surf School – you’ll be hanging ten in no time.
Learn to surf at Coolum Beach
8. Eat seafood at sunset on a coastal cruise
For many summer conjures up memories of delicious seafood, and Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast is one off the busiest seafood ports on the eastern seaboard. For a truly unique experience, take to the water at sunset with Coastal Cruises Mooloolaba for a seafood dining experience like no other. Enjoy a fresh local seafood platter - glass of wine and Mooloolaba prawn in hand - as you cruise along the Mooloolah River.
Seafood on Coastal Cruises Mooloolaba
9. Beach days on the Great Beach Drive
Wish your beach day could last forever? On the Great Beach Drive it will! The breathtaking drive takes you along the sand from Noosa North Shore all the way to Double Island Point and north to Rainbow Beach for more than 100km of pristine coastline and sandy beaches. Pass through two UNESCO declared Biospheres, spot dolphins and turtles off the point and marvel at the coloured sands. The Great Beach Drive is accessible by 4WD only for self-drivers or through tours with Epic Ocean Adventures and Great Beach Drive 4WD Tours.
Great Beach Drive
10. Explore hidden waterholes in the Hinterland
There’s plenty to explore beyond the beaches of the Sunshine Coast, and hidden waterholes and stunning waterfalls are just the beginning. Just 10 minutes from Mooloolaba will take you to Serenity Falls in Buderim, or head to the Hinterland for a cooling dip at Garnders Falls in Maleny or Kondalilla Falls in Montville – bliss.
Buderim Forest Waterfalls (Serenity Falls), Buderim
11. Shop for local wares at twilight markets
Warm nights are best spent outdoors, and some of the Sunshine Coast’s biggest and best markets open up at night, the Twilight Markets Caloundra overlooking Bulcock Beach, the Currimundi Lake Twilight Markets and the Marcoola Friday night market.