Top 19 Things to Do in Sunshine Coast, Queensland Australia

Top 19 Things to Do in Sunshine Coast, Queensland Australia

Discover the pristine Mooloolaba Beach, hike the heritage-listed Glass House Mountains and swim alongside sharks in SEA LIFE Underwater World. Here's a list of things to do at Sunshine Coast – the hidden gem of Australia, Queensland!

A short drive from the glitzy Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast is one of the most underrated hidden gems in Queensland, Australia.

Situated on the vast Pacific Ocean coastline, Sunshine Coast spans across the beach paradise of Caloundra and the tranquil sanctuary of Noosa North Shore. True to its name, it boasts of year-round sunshine, and is a perfect beach getaway with warm, crystalline waters and powdery-white, pristine beaches.

But more than just a beach getaway, there is a bevy of things to do and see in this emerald-hued hinterland! Be it for avid beach goers, nature enthusiasts, adrenaline junkies, foodies or huge families with kids, Sunshine Coast has something for everyone. Lest you will be spoilt for choices, we have handpicked 20 things you must do on your first trip to Sunshine Coast.

1. Stay in a beachfront resort, a rainforest cabin, or even on a private farm

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

Image credit:  Visit Sunshine Coast

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

From the luxurious beachfront resorts of Oceans Mooloolaba to the secluded rainforest cabins of Amore on Buderim and the private farm stays, the accommodations in Sunshine Coast are truly #housegoals. Just picture yourself drinking cocktails by the pool with a sunset view, or waking up to an unobstructed view of lush greenery!

Oceans Mooloolaba Resort
Address: 101-105 Mooloolaba Esplanade, Mooloolaba QLD 4557, Australia
Contact: +61 7 5444 5777

Amore on Buderim
Address: 27 Earlybird Dr, Buderim QLD 4556, Australia
Contact: +61 7 5445 5771

Imbil Bridge Farm
Address: 765 Kandanga Imbil Rd, Imbil QLD 4570, Australia
Contact: +61 407 698 384

2. Scuba-dive at Mooloolaba Beach and explore the mystery of a sunken warship

Recently nominated as one of TripAdvisor’s top ten Australian beaches, Mooloolaba beach truly lives up to the title.

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

Image credit:  Visit Sunshine Coast

Other than scuba-diving to explore the sunken ex HMAS Brisbane warship, a visit to Mooloolaba beach can be a fun-filled day of fishing for your own lunch (think a yummy feast of fresh squids, fishes and crabs) and even swimming alongside humongous whales.

Mooloolaba beach
Address: Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba, Queensland 4557, Australia

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

Other beaches in Sunshine Coast to explore include the less crowded Bulcock beach and the popular beaches in Noosa.

3. Abseil the heritage-listed Glass House Mountains

Image credit:  Visit Sunshine Coast

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

Hiking up the peak of the heritage-listed Glass House Mountains to get a spectacular view of the orange-reddish sunrise sounds pretty romantic. But if you are an adrenaline junkie looking for a cliff-hanging adventure, take the plunge by abseiling down the mountains!

Glass House Mountains National Park
Address: Glass House Mountains QLD 4518, Australia

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

Another mountain worth a hike is the Mount Coolum, one of Sunshine Coast’s ancient volcanic domes which rises 208m above sea level. You will get to discover rare, endangered plants and wildflowers such as the dwarf species, Montane heath, which only grows on the summit of Mount Coolum and a few peaks on Glass House Mountains.

4. Trek the lush rainforests and majestic waterfalls at Buderim Rainforest Park

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

If hiking is too gruelling for you, try going for a leisure walk through the Buderim Rainforest Park, just 15 minutes away from the coast. Taking in the earthy smell and marvelling at the beauty of lush rainforests and magical waterfalls are some of the best ways to cure a tireless soul.

Buderim Rainforest Park
Address: Buderim QLD 4556, Australia

5. Pet a full-grown tiger at Australia Zoo

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

Animal lovers! If you intend to go for a hike in the Glass House Mountains, consider dropping by the all-time-favourite Australia Zoo which is close by.

This 100-acre zoo allows you to get cozy with cute Koalas, feed giant kangaroos and turtles up close, meet odd-looking wombats, and even pet a full-grown tiger without worrying about being eaten up!

Australia Zoo
Address: 1638 Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah QLD 4519, Australia
Opening hours: 9am to 5pm

6. Swim alongside sharks at SEA LIFE Underwater World

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

If you’re intrigued by the marine life, don’t miss out on the SEA LIFE Underwater World at Mooloolaba! And for the brave ones, check out the Shark Dive Xtreme where you can scuba dive and swim along with sharks, turtles, stingrays and more!

SEA LIFE Underwater World
Address: Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba QLD 4557, Australia
Opening hours: 9am to 5pm

7. Up your #foodporn game at Insta-worthy restaurants

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

A three-level bistro, bar and events hub, Noosa Boathouse Restaurant is one of the many exquisite restaurants in the region. This floating waterfront restaurant is well-known for its mouthwatering seafood feast menu, and the beautiful 360 degree seaview that you can enjoy while dining!

Noosa Boathouse Restaurant
Address: 194 Gympie Terrace, Noosaville QLD 4566, Australia
Opening hours: 6am to 10pm

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

Another restaurant to include in your itinerary is The Bridge Seafoods restaurant. It overlooks the gleaming waters of Mooloolah River and is one of the best kept secrets of Sunshine Coast. This restaurant serves, arguably, the freshest and most affordable seafood in town. Trawlers literally drop their catch of the day on the doorstep for the chefs to cook and serve immediately to customers.

The Bridge Seafoods
Address: 209 Brisbane Rd, Mooloolaba, QLD, 4557, Australia
Opening hours: Tuesday (11am to 2pm, 4pm to 7pm), Wednesday and Thursday (11am to 2pm, 4pm to 7.45pm), Friday to Sunday (11am to 8pm)

Image credit:  Visit Sunshine Coast

If you are allergic to seafood, you may wish to drop by the multi award-winning Wasabi Restaurant and Bar which serves Japanese cuisine with creative farm-to-table menus and stunning water views of Noosa River.  

Wasabi Restaurant and Bar
Address: 2 Quamby Pl, Noosa Sound QLD 4567, Australia
Opening hours: Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday (5pm to 11.30 pm), Friday and Sunday (12pm to 11.30pm)

8. Experience local life at Eumundi market

What better way to experience authentic local culture than spending an afternoon at a traditional market? Eumundi market, which operates every Saturday and Wednesday (rain or shine), houses over 300 stalls selling a horde of fresh produce and plenty of quirky crafts that are not easily found anywhere else.

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

Image credit:  Visit Sunshine Coast

Eumundi Market
Address: 80 Memorial Dr, Eumundi QLD 4562, Australia
Opening hours: Wednesday (8am to 1.30pm) and Saturday (7am to 2pm)
Contact: +61 7 5442 7106

Another market to check out is the Crystal Organics Farmers Market – a fully operational boutique farm nestled in Palmwoods, Sunshine Coast. Not only does it grow and sell fresh certified organic leafy greens, you can go on guided farm tours as well. Talk about killing two birds with one stone!

Crystal Organics Farmers Market
Address: 46 Chevallum Rd, Palmwoods QLD 4555, Australia
Opening hours: Monday to Friday (6am to 5pm) and Saturday (6am to 10.30am)|
Contact: +61 402 353 894

9. Shop till you drop at Sunshine Plaza & Noosa’s Hastings Street

Shopaholics, rejoice! Other than traditional local markets, you can indulge in quality retail therapy at the wide boulevard of chic fashion boutiques and shopping plazas in Sunshine Coast.

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

If you are the kind of shopper who eyes on limited edition collections, squeeze in some time to visit Noosa’s prestigious Hastings Street.

Noosa’s Hastings Street
Address: Hastings St, Noosa Heads QLD 4567, Australia

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

Otherwise, drop by Sunshine Plaza for greater variety. Hailed as the largest shopping centre in Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Plaza houses retail stores ranging from big labels like Coles to lesser-known ones like Witchery. You can also find the Australian version of Burger King – Hungry Jacks, right here!

Sunshine Plaza
Address: 154-164 Horton Parade, Maroochydore QLD 4558, Australia
Opening hours: Monday to Wednesday, Friday and Saturday (9am to 5.30pm), Thursday (9am to 9pm) and Sunday (10.30am to 4pm)
Contact: +61 7 5443 4133

10. Kitesurf on the clear blue waters of Maroochy River mouth

Image credit:  Visit Sunshine Coast

Not meant for the faint-hearted, kitesurfing harnesses the power of wind to propel across the waters on a kiteboard. Unlike the quintessential beach activities like surfing and kayaking, this is one notable water sport unmatched with the rest. Adventure seekers, be sure to head down to the beach at Cotton Tree, near the Maroochy River mouth, for the experience!

Cotton Tree
Address: Cotton Tree Parade, Maroochydore QLD 4558, Australia

11. Ride a sweet natured horse at Rainbow Beach

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

If the heart-racing water sport of kitesurfing does not pique your interest, how about bareback riding on a sweet natured horse in the crystal-clear waters of Rainbow beach? Tailored for experienced riders, this is a twist to the usual horse-riding experience! For the less experienced riders, fret not. You can still enjoy the usual horse-riding experience along the magnificent Rainbow Beach.

This Valentine’s Day, skip the cliché roses and candlelit dinner and try this out for an unforgettable experience.

Rainbow Beach
Address: 3/6 Rainbow Beach Road, Rainbow Beach, Queensland 4581, Australia
Email: [email protected]

12. Take to the skies with skydiving

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

With plenty of vast pristine beaches, Sunshine Coast is one of the best destinations for a beach landing skydive. Even if you fear heights, seeing the fantastic aerial view of Sunshine Coast from atop is bound to take your fear away.

There are different skydiving operators to choose from, depending on the type of beach landing you prefer. For instance, Sunshine Coast Skydivers provides 15,000 feet beach landings and Skydive For Fun provides beach landing at Coolum Beach and Rainbow Beach.

13. Ride the 13m high Redback at Aussie World amusement park

Whether you are travelling with your family or simply a student who wants to escape from the mundane study life, take your fun-meter to the next level with a visit to the Aussie World amusement park in Sunshine Coast!

Image credit:  Visit Sunshine Coast

Thrill seekers, test your limits with the 13m high Redback ride which is voted as the scariest thrill ride in Aussie World, or experience heart-stopping drops at the 10m Bombora Bounce ride. If these rides make you feel weak in the knees, just fall back on the classic ferris wheel ride.

Aussie World
Address: 73 Frizzo Rd, Palmview QLD 4553, Australia
Opening hours: 10am to 5pm

14. Slide down giant water slides at the World’s largest aqua park

Water play is one thing that never fail to elicit squeals of laughter from kids and adults alike. Now add in giant slides, bouncy trampolines, swings and balance beams – the fun will be multiplied tenfold!

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

Suitable for all ages from kids as young as 6 years-old, BLAST Aqua Park is a massive water arena permanently situated on a freshwater man-made lake.

Aquaphiles, grab your family and challenge them in overcoming the water obstacles. Otherwise, enjoy a water fight game with your friends and have a good laugh watching them fall off the slippery floating walkways!

BLAST Aqua Park
Address: 60 Junction Drive Coolum, inside the Oz Ski Resort Complex
Opening hours: Varies (for more information, visit here)

15. Hold your own Mario Kart race at the Big Kart Track

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

With karts that go up to a speed of 70 km/h, you can live your Lewis Hamilton dream at the Big Kart Track, the largest commercial go-kart track in Australia. Big Kart Track has a 1.2km track, a wide selection of different tracks for different weather conditions, and even a kids track for smaller go-karts.

Big Kart Track
Address: 2310 Steve Irwin Way, Landsborough QLD 4550, Australia
Opening hours: 9am to 10pm

16. Try destruction therapy at this first-of-its-kind rage room

Image credit: The Smash Pit

Have you heard that destruction therapy helps to relieve stress and the pent-up frustration in you? Ditch the gym and head to The Smash Pit instead, Sunshine Coast’s first-of-its-kind rage room.

Guests are provided with a bat, safety gears and some plates or bowls, and can destroy all they want while jamming along with heart pumping music!

The Smash Pit
Address: 26 Price Street Nambour, QLD, 4560
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday (4.30pm to 6.30pm; by appointment only), Friday (4pm to 8pm), Saturday (11am to 6pm), Sunday (11am to 5pm)
Email: [email protected]

17. Party and rock out at Caloundra Music Festival

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

Is a buzzing and vibrant nightlife experience at the top of your squad’s criteria when choosing a travel destination? If so, head down to the Caloundra Music Festival held yearly at King’s Beach.

With past line-ups of quality eclectic acts including the iconic Spiderbait, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic and The Black Sorrows, party animals, this is going into your travel bucket list!

18. Go on a self-drive road trip

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

If karaoke-ing in the car while whizzing past stunning natural sights is your kind of thing, going on a self-drive road trip around Sunshine Coast is an excellent way to explore the region.

From Noosa to Mooloolaba, Caloundra, Maleny and Montville, you can stop along Parkyn Parade for some fresh seafood, indulge in wine-tasting at Flame Hill Vineyard, savour cheese like a gourmet at Maleny Cheese Factory, and get close to Mother Nature at Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World.

19. Take a day-trip to the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

The largest sand island in the world, Fraser Island is draped with strikingly coloured sands, lush rainforests growing atop sand dunes, and a limitless stretch of uninterrupted white beach flanked by clear blue waters. It also makes a perfect skydiving spot for the adrenaline junkies!

Fraser Island
Address: Fraser Island, QLD 4581, Australia

Are you pretty convinced that Sunshine Coast is a must-visit destination?

If 19 things are not enough for you, Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC) has an 84-page Holiday Planner highlighting its diversity of tourism offerings – from the region’s appeal and coastal activities to local secrets. You can view and download it here.

About Author

Serene Chan
Serene Chan

An adventurous daredevil, Serene finds an adrenaline rush from exploring the unknown and off-the-beaten tracks in every country she travels to. She is an advocate of solo travel and enjoys connecting with awesome travellers along the way. On a lazy Sunday, she is either binge-watching Korean and Hong Kong dramas or dancing and singing the day away.

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