Wonders of nature 

The Sunshine Coast is home to some of Australia’s most pristine natural environments. 

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The Sunshine Coast is home to some of Australia’s most pristine natural environments. 

Here is one of the few places in the world where you’ll find two UNESCO declared biospheres sitting side by side, one of only two everglades systems in the world, more than 100km of pristine beaches, pockets of sub-tropical rainforest and the Glass House Mountains that are actually remnants of volcanic activity that occurred 25-27 million years ago.   

Today, the Glass House Mountains have become iconic landmarks on the Sunshine Coast and a popular location for bushwalkers and hikers to explore. In total there are 11 peaks, some of the most recognisable being Mount Beerwah, Mount Tibgrogargan, Mount Coochin and Mount Coonowrin. 

Visitors can walk around the base of Tibrogargan, trek to the summit of Mount Beerburrum and Mount Ngungun and embark on the Yul-yan-man track that traverses amazing country between Mount Tibrogargan and Mount Beerburrum.  

Long before white settlement, the Glass House Mountains region was a special meeting place for Aboriginal people to gather for ceremonies and social activities. Events were planned for times of the year when local food sources were abundant, like the bunya nut festival. 

The Noosa Everglades, one of only two everglades systems on Earth, is a 60km stretch of pristine waterways and magnificent flora and fauna in the upper reaches of the Noosa River.  

The almost imperceptible current and dark, tannin-stained waters combine to make the surface of this waterway so reflective that it has earned the nickname ‘the River of Mirrors’. 

This unique environment is relatively untouched and is one of Australia’s most diverse ecosystems. In fact, more than 40 per cent of Australia's bird species are found here. 

The Noosa Everglades stretch across two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, the Noosa and Great Sandy, and can be explored by kayak, canoe or eco safari. 

The Sunshine Coast region is one of the few places in the world where two biosphere reserves site side-by-side. The Noosa Biosphere Reserve received USNESCO status in 2007, and the neighbouring Great Sandy Biosphere in 2009.  

A great way to explore the Great Sandy Biosphere is by embarking on the Cooloola Great Walk, which spans 102km one-way and takes about five-days to complete. The track passes through epic sand hills and beautiful pockets of rainforest, making for an unforgettable experience. 

For day-trippers, the Great Beach Drive connects Noosa with the Gympie Region and up to Fraser Island (K’gari), and is one of the longest and most epic beach drives in the world. Accessible only by four-wheel drive (4WD), the beach highway takes you along the sand through both biospheres. With wide stretches of beach as your road, you’ll be driving in a rare natural environment where you will witness whales during the migration season, dolphins, turtles and rare bird species. This tourist drive is steeped in Australian indigenous and pioneering history. 

The Sunshine Coast’s national parks are rich in their diversity. 

By the coast, Mount Coolum National Park offers spectacular views over the ocean, with Mount Coolum itself the second largest rock in Australia behind Uluru! 

On the Blackall Range in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, you’ll find Kondalilla National Park and Mapleton Falls National Park. There are plenty of options for visitors to explore the area, from short hikes to multi-day walks, the most adventurous being the Hinterland Great Walk which at 58.8km takes you through pockets of sub-tropical rainforest, eucalypt forests and waterfalls. 

If you are looking for a little more adventure, take a short break and make good use of your Four Wheel Drive (4WD), exploring forestry roads through the rugged Conondale Ranges, where the everyday seems a lifetime away.  

Discover creek-side camping, walks, horse trails and roads for mountain-bike adventure in Jimna, Imbil, and Amamoor state forests. Conondale National Park also offers superb camping areas along Booloumba Creek, as well as half-day, full-day or multi-day bushwalking options on the Conondale Range Great Walk.  

Pick a spot high on the foreshore during a bushwalk through popular Noosa National Park and watch dolphins ride rolling waves and humpback whales breach on the horizon (between July and October).  

If you’re keen to get away from the crowd, take a short drive to Tewantin National Park or Eumundi or Parklands conservation parks, where forest trails beckon walkers, mountain-bike riders and horse riders.  

Explore National Parks and State Forests 

The Sunshine Coast is home to pockets of sub-tropical rainforest and hidden waterfalls. 

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, located in Maleny on the Blackall Range, is 55 hectares of sub-tropical rainforest that offers spectacular views over the Glass House Mountains. Visitors can walk through the rainforest, stop in for a coffee at their onsite cafe, or learn all about the region at their Rainforest Discovery Centre. 

Venture inland from the coast and the Sunshine Coast has a number of waterfalls just waiting to be explored. Just 10-minutes from popular Mooloolaba beach you’ll find Buderim Falls, perfect for bushwalks or cooling off on warm days. 

Other popular waterfalls perfect for Sunshine Coast Hinterland day-trippers include Gardners Falls in Maleny, Kondalilla Falls in Montville and Mapleton Falls on the Blackall Range. 

Explore rainforests and waterfalls