Top things to do on the Sunshine Coast for the Thrill Seeker
January 1, 1970
by Karina Vera
Welcome to your Sunny Coast Guide
In 2014 I made the best decision of my life when I decided to move to the Sunshine Coast, Australia from Canada. I embarked on a journey of a lifetime that began with completing a Teaching Degree and ended two years later with becoming a full time explorer. I traveled across the entire east coast of Australia, and even some of the west coast. Australia has some of the most beautiful beaches, cities and hinterlands you can visit, but the Sunshine Coast was not only my home for two years, but the best place in Australia in my opinion! If you’re an active and adventurous person like myself, here are the top things you NEED to do while you visit the Sunny Coast (or if you decide to move there like I did):
Cotton Tree to Mooloolaba Spit
Walk, jog, cycle, rollerblade or skateboard down the beautiful coastal path from Cotton Tree, Maroochydore to the Mooloolaba Spit and take in the gorgeous sunrise or sunset. Have a seat at the end of the point and watch the sailboats and catamarans go by while pondering how amazing life is because you are in one of the most beautiful places in the country, or maybe even the world.
Surfs Up at Alexandra Headlands Beach
Run down to the local Alex Surf Shop, rent a board and go for a surf at Alexandra Headlands Beach. Grab a longboard or shortboard if you’re skilled enough. Watch out for those rocks! Best times to go are sunrise and sunset, but go all day if you have the energy!
Stand Up PaddleBoard Around The Coast
Go for a Stand Up Paddle (SUP sesh) at Cotton Tree to get one of the best and most fun core workouts ever. Paddle your way over to Pin Cushion Island to catch some small clean waves and lay on the sand pretending you are on a small island in the middle of nowhere. Head South to Happy Valley in Caloundra if you would like to hit some bigger waves and test out your paddling skills. Get up super early if you’re keen and stop at Moffat’s Beach for the best looking sunrise of your life.
Get Addicted to Kitesurfing
Get a kitesurfing lesson at Kite Action (say hello to Paulie at the shop and ask for Corey to be your instructor). Once you become addicted (and you will) you will return to the shop, buy all the amazing gear and never look back (this amazing sport is worth the money, believe me). Hit up four of the amazing spots the sunny coast has to offer depending on wind direction. Head to Noosa on a N/NE wind to shred through some clear water with an awesome sandbar. Head to the lagoon at Cotton Tree on a E/ESE/or N wind with both flat water and waves (this was my local spot and definitely a favourite. If you’re a beginner or you’re craving some awesome flat water, head to Golden Beach on a SE wind (just watch out for the oysters), or for the more intermediate, hit some waves at Happy Valley around the corner for the most amazing kite session of your life! Do a 10-15km downwinder from Caloundra to Kawana with some mates (need to be okay in waves and expect to be absolutely wrecked afterwards).
Dive Down Under
If you haven’t quite gotten your dose of salt water, head to Sunreef Mooloolaba and book your next Scuba Dive (or take an Intro Course if you don’t have your license). Dive down to the amazing shipwrecks and local reefs. If you’re visiting during the winter, don’t forget to also book you Swim with the Whales for an experience of a lifetime. See these wonderful creatures of the ocean perform some acrobatic tricks, and then rush into the water and swim as fast as you can to see them swimming right beside you! This experience is worth the money because you will leave feeling a whole new type of adrenaline rush. These mammals put nothing but a smile on your face and make you appreciate the little things in life (or should I say big)
Set Sail and Cruise into the Horizon
Grab some mates and make up an excuse to go Sailing with Set Sail Cruises. Book one during the day if you want to stop for a swim, or a sunset cruise for the more picturesque adventure. Best to do this on a Sunday arvo. BYO beers and food, grab some of your best mates, plug in your own tunes and look out into the horizon leaving everything behind for 2-3 hours. This is a must do and such a great way to spend the day outdoors, on the water on a good sunny Aussie day.
Hinterland Climbing Experience
Explore the hinterland that the Sunshine Coast has to offer. Try out the peak challenge tested out personally by Bam & myself. Roll out of bed early and start with the most challenging climb (Mt. Beerwah). This is not for the faint of heart. You will be scaling for the first 20 metres (just don’t look down). The walk through the organ pipes is surreal and the view at the top is worth breaking your fear of heights. Next, head to Mt. Tibrogargan for another challenging climb. Some sections require scaling as well (good gripped shoes necessary). Don’t forget to follow the path to the back of the mountain for a great spot to have some snacks to refuel. Lastly head to Mt. Ngungun for the most amazing panoramic view of the Glasshouse Mountains (best to save this one for sunset, hence why it’s at the end). This one is also the easiest climb, just a moderately steep hike to the top (no scaling). If you’re feeling super adventurous like my mate and I did, fill your 70L backpacks with a tent, sleeping bags, some snacks and a camera to sleep under the stars and wake up at the crack of dawn to see an amazing sunrise as well.
Chase Some Waterfalls
Head to the hinterland in Maleny and Montville, just 40 minutes from the coast. But this time chase some waterfalls and swimming holes. Kondalilla Falls National Park offers an amazing walk and a nice swimming hole to cool off in. Head to Gardner’s Falls (secret spot) that has some small rope swings, and a big rope swing for the more daring. Wappa Falls is another one for a good chill out spot and little picnic.
Work Up a Sweat For a Scenic View of the Coast
Head to Mt. Coolum for a short (20-30 min), but steep (step climbing, glute defining) hike up to the top to see the beautiful panoramic coastal view. Best done at sunrise and sunset. In the winter you can see some whales spraying water out in the horizon of the ocean. Avoid doing hikes in the middle of the day during the summer time (I warned you). Cool off at Coolum beach afterwards.
Get Lost in Noosa National Park
Drive North towards Noosa. Pack a backpack with healthy snacks, grab your camera and set off on the Noosa Coastal track through the Noosa National Park. This amazing, walk through the forest, across the cliff’s edge is absolutely a must do. Stop at the rock pools and cool off. Head to tea tree bay to work on your tan and don’t forget to look for the Koala that hangs around. Do the entire track stopping to look over Hell’s Gates. Look into the horizon and see some dolphins and whales. Look over the cliff’s edge and see some turtles and sting rays. Continue down the path and chill at Alexandra Bay (nude beach). Go for a nude swim because why not!
Experience More Views
Head to Pomona and climb up the steep and challenging Mt. Cooroora which is towards the hinterland away from Noosa. This is where the King of the Mountain festival happens if you’re crazy enough to not only climb it, but run up and down it. This offers a good sweat and sweet panoramic views of the Noosa hinterland.
Evergreen Everglades Experience
Get onto the Noosa Everglades 2 Day 1 Night Camping, Canoeing and Hiking trip. Canoe 12 km, and then hike another 10km up to the sand dune, then go all the way back, fill up on some food and drinks and sleep under the stars.
Experience Free Fall
Sign your death waiver at Skydive Ramblers and jump out of a plane at 10-15,000 feet. If you want panoramic views while falling through the sky, then this is your stop for a thrilling arvo. Must do to experience the views and feels of the sunny coast with a big smile on your face!
Thanks for reading!