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Your Sunshine Coast bucket list: 8 must-dos

From swimming with whales to discovering waterfalls, the Sunshine Coast is full of hidden gems you will want to experience.

Your Sunshine Coast bucket list: 8 must-dos

Discover coastal walks and hidden waterfalls

Stretching just over four kilometres from Cotton Tree to The Esplanade in Mooloolaba is a coastal walk offering the calm vistas of the Maroochy River and the popular beaches at Maroochydore, as well as Alexandra Headland with dining along the Esplanade and Ocean Street. Head just a short drive inland and discover the hidden paradise that is Buderim Falls – also known as Serenity Falls – where you will find towering trees, strangler figs and ferns, meandering tracks, and a stunning waterfall.

Go swimming with humpback whales

The Sunshine Coast was the first place in Australia where you could swim in the wild with humpback whales and from July to October it is still one of the best locations to get up close with these majestic creatures. Dive in with Sunreef at The Wharf in Mooloolaba where you can also fuel up at one of the many delicious restaurants and tasty bars overlooking the Mooloolah River.

Indulge in beachside culture

With a postcard-perfect coastline, Caloundra is a laid-back seaside wonderland. From the Pumicestone Passage, with views of the Glass House Mountains to Caloundra’s stunning coastal paths and well-maintained boardwalks, daily life here revolves around early starts by the beach. Get the best views from the water with Caloundra Jet Ski or Bills Boat Hire. In October each year, this beachside town comes alive with the Caloundra Music Festival. It is four days of sun, surf and sounds as Kings Beach comes alive with a line-up of family-friendly entertainment featuring the best of the Australian music industry as well as incredible international artists.

Hit the high ropes

Everybody loves stopping at Queensland’s Big Pineapple and snapping a pic with the world’s only 16-metre-high fibreglass pineapple – but your visit is about to get even better! Perched up to 120 metres above ground, the TreeTop Challenge in the Sunshine Coast's Nambour region is the highest adventure course in Australia. Test yourself with 100 high ropes challenges and 12 ziplines all set in a stunning rainforest.

Experience the Original Eumundi Markets

Every Wednesday and Saturday the small town of Eumundi explodes with colour, crafts and culinary delights at the Original Eumundi Markets. These are one of the largest craft and art markets in Australia and are renowned for locally made artisan treasures. Meet the talented hands behind handcrafted furniture, homewares, artworks, ceramics, cutting-edge fashion and jewellery, and chat to the farmers and bakers selling fresh produce and gourmet delights.

Conquer a mountain and cool off in the surf

You don’t have to be a mountaineer to tackle iconic Mount Coolum! The one-hour trek will reward you will spectacular coastal views. Cool off afterwards and try your surfing skills at the home break of pro surfer Julian Wilson. Surfing at Coolum isn’t just for the experienced – there are plenty of waves along the coastline that beginners will love and it is a great spot for lessons. Re-fuel with a hearty feast at Coolum Surf Club or sundowners at Canteen.

Explore a secluded coastline

From Point Cartwright in the north to Currimundi Lake in the south, Kawana Beach at nine kilometres long is one of the Sunshine Coast’s longest stretches of sand. You are sure to find your very own untouched piece of paradise. Enjoy the epic views both north and south from Point Cartwright, – from July to November you may even spot a few whales frolicking off the coast – take a scenic stroll around the headland or just pack a picnic and watch all the action on the Mooloolah River mouth from La Balsa park. For a little more action, check out what is on at nearby Sunshine Coast Stadium with regular Rugby League, Rugby Union and Soccer games and the occasional beer festival and concert too!

See the Glass House Mountains and Hinterland villages

Discover the ancient volcanic peaks of the Glass House Mountains, walk through the lush rainforests, take in the breathtaking scenery - lose yourself in the natural beauty and serenity of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. On your travels, stop by the mountain villages of Maleny, Montville and Mapleton - strung out along the crest of the Blackall Range. The towns are not only full of thriving cafés and arts and crafts spots, but also enjoy views that stretch all the way to Caloundra’s beaches.