Sunrise at Moffat Beach
And who better to show you around than the locals?
We’ve rounded up our favourite hidden gems, from indoor fun to outdoor adventure and everything in between, that will have you seeing a whole new side of the Sunshine Coast.
So listen up, these are the secret spots only locals knew about… until now.
Pocket Espresso, Caloundra
Imagine yourself sitting on the expansive shore at Moffat Beach, cup of coffee from The Pocket Espresso Bar in hand, watching as the sunrise blooms across the ocean. Time shifts, and by tomorrow, you’re snapping photographs of the golden light swelling around Mudjimba Island, drinking a brew from High Tide. In another moment, you might be warming your hands around a latte from Sunshine Social Coffee Roasters at Sunshine Beach, witnessing the pink and amber morning hues glow across the gentle swell. With more than 100km of shoreline ribboning up along the coast, there’s no shortage of cafes here where you can live like a local and enjoy your sunrise walk and morning brew.
Gin on the Green
Pomona Distilling Co
Stepping back from Noosa’s oceanic views and into the sprawling green hinterland of Pomona will see you arrive at Pomona Distilling Co, where local produce plays a starring role. This isn’t just any distillery, however. Almost half a century of expertise, passion, and Sunshine Coast pride has collided to create sumptuous, high-quality spirits that will have you loading up the car with gifts for your friends. Even better, at Pomona Distilling Co, you’ll not only get to taste some of the Coast’s finest gin, but you’ll also be supporting a sustainable production process.
Take A Bird’s Eye View
Sunset tour with Oceanview Helicopters
Assume the point of view of a soaring eagle and explore the Sunshine Coast in style, sweeping across the sparkling blue coastline with Oceanview Helicopters. Survey the Glass House Mountains as you’ve never seen them before and marvel at their rocky magnificence from above. Train your camera lens on the lush treetops below, witness the rolling oceanic swell beyond and follow the rolling hills as they rise towards the Blackall Range – all while partnering with a family-run local business.
Go High or Go Home
Treetop Challenge, Woombye
Did someone say the highest adventure course in Australia? Where do we sign up! Balance precariously along epic high-ropes, zip down through the vivid avenue of trees, and be embraced by the cooling shade of subtropical rainforest as part of The Treetop Challenge, located next door to the iconic Big Pineapple. Suspended high in the air, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported into a magical bushland city. Unlock your competitive side and challenge your friends on the six courses that range in difficulty… prepare to let your heart start thumping on the Black Diamond Extreme course!
Witness Wild Wonders
Maleny Botanic Gardens and Birdworld
Imagine strolling through a wealth of colourful flora, hearing a bubbling waterfall in the background, being warmed by dappled sunlight and feeling invigorated by the promise of multiple native and exotic bird aviaries around the corner. Welcome to Maleny Botanic Gardens & Birdworld! Be inspired by the educational tours within the aviaries, where you’ll not only have close encounters with new feathered friends, but also be able to soak up the views of the Glass House Mountains.
Beauty on the Beach
Rainbow Beach Horse Rides
Feel the wind whip through your hair and the steady rhythm of a horse beneath you as you gently plod your way along the pristine, wide open sands of Rainbow Beach. Locals on the Sunshine Coast have all been to the beach before… but not everyone has ridden a horse right down to the waves! Rainbow Beach Horse Rides makes this a reality and is happy to accommodate every level of rider – whether you’re a hesitant beginner or a confident jockey, this experience is definitely one to add to your bucket list.
Barrels and Beer
The Barrel at Clouds Vineyard, Maleny
Don’t drink wine from a barrel, drink it IN a giant one! There's no way that you could miss The Barrel on the way into Maleny. Inside, there is plenty of local wine and beer to taste, and a wander out the back will unveil one of the most scenic spots in the heart of the Sunshine Coast hinterland. See if you can spot the Glass House Mountains!
Paddle the Pumicestone Passage
Bills Boat Hire at Golden Beach, Caloundra
Underwater magic is weaved at the Pumicestone Passage, where numerous dugongs, dolphins and turtles are known to frolic and play. Stretching for 35 kilometres from the tail of Caloundra to Deception Bay, you’ll see this ecological estuary best from a hired kayak or stand-up paddle board (Bills Boat Hire is happy to oblige). If you’re a keen birdwatcher, keep your eyes trained on the trees – the little curlew, eastern osprey and shy albatross are just a few of the many of the feathered creatures that call this spectacular place home.
Feeding the meerkats at Wildlife HQ
Did you know that The Big Pineapple shares its lush terrain with one of the best, yet little-known zoos around? Wildlife HQ’sis a truly exciting secret spot on the Coast where you and your family can spend the day. Boasting an impressive primate collection (one of the largest in Queensland!), you’ll find yourself marvelling at Wildlife HQ’s cleverly designed enclosures that allow for premium viewing access. Meander through the subtropical rainforest and be on the lookout for all creatures great and small… inquisitive meerkats, allusive red pandas and even large rabbits are residents here. Plus, this is also where you’ll find a notable VIP: Maly – Queensland’s only Sun Bear!
Giddy Geisha, Maroochydore
Tucked away in the new Maroochydore CBD is an eatery that will take your tastebuds on a holiday. Dive into the Asian fusion, street food-style menu at Giddy Geisha, including wood-roasted teriyaki chicken, baked Hervey Bay scallops served with umami butter, and pork gyoza packed with flavour from ginger, chives and sesame.
The sight of chilled silver tubs piled with thick ribbons of local gelato is sure to get your sweet tooth calling! Gelato Rumba at Bulcock Beach is here to satisfy any cravings you might have after a relaxing day by the sea. Be it a vivid bubble-gum delight, a creamy vanilla, or something more whimsical like a pink grapefruit sorbet, even the fussiest gelato lovers will find something to enjoy here.
With ‘secret’ in the name, you know a dining experience at Secrets on the Lake is going to be special. Tucked away in the lush rainforest right on the foreshores of magnificent Lake Baroon in the Sunshine Coast hinterland town of Montville, not only are you treated to panoramic views of water, mountains and rainforest but the food is top-notch too. Settle back in the cosy atmosphere, marvel at local art displays and enjoy a delectable high tea. If you’re planning your upcoming nuptials, Secrets also offers wedding packages – say ‘I Do’ in style!
Biking with a Backdrop
Noosa Trail Network
If you're looking for a different way to explore the spectacular Noosa countryside, then jump on your mountain bike and hit the Noosa Trail Network! Meander your way alongside glistening rivers, encroaching mangroves and our famous national parks… or cycle up through the hinterland where you’re assured a stunning panoramic view of the Noosa region. Let the endorphins flow, bring the whole family along, and get ready for plenty of photography spots along the way. Don’t be daunted by distances – there is something for everyone, from 5km to 40km for the more adventurous. Hire a bike with Bike On!