Where the locals go: secret spots on the Sunshine Coast

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Experiencing a place beyond the façade of the glossy tourist brochure is what the well-travelled holiday-maker dreams of these days. The challenge is digging up what’s going on behind the scenes. A few of the locals have divulged some of their secret spots. Here they are:


Humdrum Espresso

Humdrum Espresso in Eumundi has earned a reputation for its hip but relaxed atmosphere, friendly staff and top-notch brews. The locals love it and word is getting around that if you are passing through town and need to ‘re-fuel’ this is your go-to. Humdrum is situated on the northern end of the main street in the old butcher shop, beside the kids’ playground.

Local coffee from High Tide Cafe, Mudjimba

Local coffee from High Tide Cafe, Mudjimba

Guru Life (Rosemount)

With the promise of enlightenment in every cup how could you go past this cool coffee spot? Guru Life coffee is sourced from a rich blend of quality beans from around the world and roasted locally. The restaurant and garden space have a chilled vibe, incredible food, coffee and drinks and laidback tunes. Guru Life is open seven days a week from 6am – 3pm and is situated in Rosemount, just 15 minutes north west of Mooloolaba.

The Shop Foodstore

The Shop as it is known to locals has earned a reputation for its excellent small batch Flying West coffee with accolades such as the ‘best latte on the Esplanade’ and ‘best macchiato in Coolum.’ While you’re there you can stock up on gourmet local organics and conventional groceries as well as ready-made sandwiches, salads and wraps.


Falls Farm

Nestled in the hills behind Mapleton on the Sunshine Coast, The Falls Farm produces fruit, veggies and herbs in the loving hands of a green-thumbed family. Falls Farm have a philosophy of only selling what they grow so if you are interested in the provenance of your food its worth a visit. Whilst the farm itself is nestled down Johnson Road, an old Forestry Shed on Mapleton Falls Road has been converted into the farm gate, aka #Smithstore. Just off Obi-Obi Road, it's a destination worth going to if only for the view at sunset over the falls. Opening hours are Saturdays: 8am – 1pm-ish and weekdays: 9am – 3pm-ish

Good Harvest Organic Farm

Good Harvest Organic Farm


Ewen Maddock Dam Trails

This is a great family walk. The first part follows the edge of the lake, while the remainder moves out into the surrounding woodland, where you will see a mixture of Rough, Scribbly and Paperbark trees. There is plenty of bird life both on the dam and in the woodland. The path is generally shady and can be muddy after rain, with parts of it shared with bikes and horse riders. To get to these trails head to Mooloolah Valley Connection Road, off Steve Irwin Way.

Ewen Maddock Dam

Ewen Maddock Dam

Mt Emu

Situated between Coolum and Peregian Beach, Mount Emu gets its name from the local Aboriginal word Peregian which means Emu. This is an easy walk up a fairly rutted path and a leisurely pace will see you at the top in about 20 minutes. During the best whale watching month, October, Mount Emu is an excellent spot to see pods of whales breaching just a few hundred metres from the shoreline. Access to the mountain is from Havana Road (the High School turning). The mountain is the exclusive home to a small red flowering bush, Allocasuarina Emuina. Wallum wildflowers, Tumble Down and Scribbly Gum are also found there in abundance.


Collective Haus

This place is a serious treasure trove. Packed to the rafters with vintage interior pieces and clothing Collective Haus in Yandina is a must visit for the vintage shopper. With collectables sourced from all over the world it is hard to resist leaving without something!

Alterior Motif

Fashionistas don’t go past Alterior Motif on your next trip to the Sunshine Coast. Their focus is on stocking local brands and Australian brands that are making steps to reduce their carbon footprint. Shopping sustainably and mindfully is important to them and they believe shopping locally is a huge part of this. Pop into one of their shops in Noosa or Maroochydoore to get your retail fix.


Yandina Country Markets

This market is the ‘real deal’. If you are after authentic, well-priced finds its worth a trip to the Yandina Country Markets which open at 6am on Saturdays. They are loved by local gardeners for their incredible selection of plants. You will also find amazing second-hand books and quality tools like they don’t make any more. Hinterland farmers are also there bright and early with armfuls of fresh produce.

Local markets

Local markets

Marcoola Market

The Marcoola Market is a popular spot for locals to unwind after a busy working week. Every Friday evening from 4pm-8pm, this outdoor food market is buzzing with people enjoying the food, music and good times. Then on Saturday mornings from 8am-12pm, local farmers bring the best of the Sunshine Coast's fresh produce to Marcoola for the Farmer's Market.

Kawana Waters Market

If you like a market without pretention, Kawana Waters Market is as down to earth as they come. We suggest hitting a coffee stall for a steaming brew before filling up your netted bags with fresh produce, creamy cheeses, breads and sweet treats. Then, use this hidden picnic spot to put down your rug for brunch. Kawana Waters Market is on every Saturday from 7am to 12pm in the grounds of Kawana Waters State College on Sportsmans Parade, Bokarina.

 Visit Sunshine Coast recommends checking with each operator in relation to opening times and terms and conditions. It is also advisable to book ahead with attractions/tours and dining venues due to limited capacities and to avoid disappointment.