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If you're looking for a relaxing break but can't decide whether you want beaches or bushland, fine dining or fantastic views, the Sunshine Coast is the answer to your dream holiday dilemma.
With everything from pristine white sand beaches and 'Instagrammable' natural adventures, to the freshest local produce, the Sunshine Coast is a haven for relaxation.
Making that dream escape even easier, the region is a short hour drive from Brisbane, or two hours north from the Gold Coast.
Here are some short break ideas on the Sunshine Coast to explore and relax, and make memories that will last a lifetime.
At the southernmost end of the Sunshine Coast, Caloundra is the easiest town to access from Brisbane and also offers some of the best beaches and watersports. Bulcock Beach is a hive of activity, with top quality cafes and restaurants overlooking the beautiful, protected beach. It is also located at the entrance to Pumicestone Passage, which should not be missed. This 35km channel of pristine water is a haven for wildlife and watersport lovers alike. You can SUP, kayak or take a ferry ride, with those who enter the Marine Park likely to see dolphins, turtles and more than 360 species of birds.
Sunrise and sunset chasers should make a beeline for the headland at Point Cartwright, Kawana. Situated in between Buddina Beach and the Mooloolah River, this picturesque spot is home to the iconic Point Cartwright Lighthouse and is an ideal spot to take in both sunrise and sunset. You can also enjoy some of the most stunning views you’ll find on the Sunshine Coast, looking northwards as far as Mount Coolum and southwards all the way to Caloundra.
Applauded as one of the top 10 beaches in Australia by TripAdvisor in 2019, Mooloolaba is an ideal spot to base yourself when exploring the Sunshine Coast. Step out of your accommodation and stroll through the foreshore parklands or along the cafe-lined beachfront esplanade, before stepping onto the white sand of Mooloolaba Beach. Some of the Sunshine Coast's best boutiques and alfresco dining are found in Mooloolaba, with the freshest seafood brought in daily to the nearby marina.
The heart of the Sunshine Coast, the Maroochy River winds its way through the landscape and carves an impressive entrance to the ocean at Cotton Tree. The calm waters are an ideal spot to cool your feet or try out stand-up paddle boarding or other watersports. Leave the river behind and within a few minute's drive you can be wandering your way through the sub-tropical rainforest of Buderim Forest Park to discover the picturesque Buderim Falls (aka Serenity Falls). This tranquil spot can be accessed in a little as 20 minutes return walk.
Serenity Falls in Buderim
A trip to the Sunshine Coast wouldn't be complete without hiking the iconic Mount Coolum. Claimed as the largest monolith in Queensland, Mount Coolum sits 208m above sea
and rises dramatically out of the ground. It's an 800m walk from the car park to the summit and take about 1.5 hours return. For an equally beautiful but less strenuous stroll, take a walk along Coolum's impressive beachfront boardwalk that follows the ocean from Coolum Beach around the beaches and cliffs to jut out towards the ocean at Point Arkwright.
At the top of Mount Coolum
The Blackhall Range Tourist Drive through the Sunshine Coast Hinterland is one of the region's most picturesque drives, as you discover the lush green pastures of the Sunshine Coast's 'food bowl'. Local produce stalls dot the roadside offering the freshest flavours, while cafes, restaurants and a vineyard along the route offer paddock to plate experiences. The Hinterland is also home to some of the region's most spectacular national parks, with waterfalls and impressive views of the Glass House Mountains easily accessible.
Beautiful countryside and paddock to plate experiences make for a perfect short break.
Eumundi is a haven for artists, musicians and foodies alike. This quaint historic town is overflowing with vibrant, modern galleries and studios and delicious cafes and produce stalls. This concentration of artistic expression increases further every Wednesday and Saturday morning, when the Original Eumundi Markets are held. A sea of colourful stalls takes over the town, with stallholders offering everything from handmade ceramics and homewares, to fashion and jewellery, and a wealth of fresh produce and gourmet treats. After your market wanderings, head across the road to the Imperial Hotel and Eumundi Brewery for a delicious takeaway meal from this charming heritage pub.
The Original Eumundi Markets