What Are the Best Tours on the Sunshine Coast?

People standing on top of a mountain


In the heart of Queensland, Australia, is a paradise you’ll find yourself falling in love with: the Sunshine Coast.

With its stunning beaches, lush hinterland, and thriving food and wine scene, there’s no shortage of exciting activities for visitors to enjoy, including the many tours across the region’s favourite tourist hot spots.

So, where do you start? In this article, we take a look at the best tours on the Sunshine Coast, guaranteed.

Sunshine Coast’s Hinterland Tours: A Nature’s Paradise

The local Hinterland is a haven of tranquillity, offering breathtaking views, lush rainforests, and charming country towns. Embark on a day out with Coast to Hinterland Tours to discover the exquisite beauty of this region.

With this must-do activity, you’ll enjoy the perfect combination of food, cheese, and wine as you head off to picturesque locations across the area. 

Experience incredible cheese tastings, local cellar doors,  a lakeside lunch, and stops at scenic lookouts.

It departs on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and offers door-to-door pick-ups from various accommodations in the area. 

Glass House Mountains Tours: An Adventure Seeker’s Delight

The iconic Glass House Mountains are one of the Sunshine Coast’s natural wonders. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual walker, these mountains offer trails for everyone.

  • Mount Ngungun: This popular walking track offers a moderate climb and stunning panoramic views of the Sunshine Coast.
  • Mount Tibrogargan: For experienced climbers, the challenging Tibrogargan trail is a must. The summit offers unmatched views of the surrounding mountains.
  • Glass House Mountains Lookout: If you prefer a relaxed experience, the Glass House Mountains Lookout offers breathtaking views with minimal effort. Perfect for a picnic with the family.

Wine Tour: Discover Sunshine Coast’s Wine Country

The Sunshine Coast is home to some exquisite wineries offering excellent wines and stunning vineyard landscapes. A wine tour is a perfect way to sample local wines, learn about winemaking, and enjoy the picturesque surroundings.

  • Montville’s Flame Hill Vineyard: This 300-acre property produces award-winning wines. Taste their Verdelho or Cabernet Sauvignon while enjoying the panoramic views of the Sunshine Coast.
  • Maleny Mountain Wines: Known for their wide range of wines, from Chardonnay to Shiraz. The cellar door, shaped like a giant wine barrel, is a sight to behold.
  • Sirromet Wines: In Mount Cotton, Sirromet offers a world-class wine experience. Enjoy a guided wine tour, wine tasting, and a gourmet meal at their restaurant.

Sunshine Coast Boat Tours: Explore the Coast from the Water

The Sunshine Coast is as beautiful from the water as it is on land. A boat tour offers a unique perspective on the region’s stunning landscape, beaches, and wildlife.

  • Noosa River and Everglades Tour: Explore the pristine waterways of the Noosa River and the mirrored waters of the Everglades. Look out for wildlife like kangaroos, koalas, and various bird species.
  • Mooloolaba Seafood Lunch Cruise: Enjoy a delicious lunch while cruising the Mooloolah River. Admire the beautiful homes and yachts along the riverbanks.
  • Whale Watching Tour: Between July and November, embark on a whale-watching tour to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

Food and Wine Tasting Tours: Savour the Flavours of Sunshine Coast

The Sunshine Coast is a foodie’s paradise, offering a variety of local produce, artisanal products, and world-class cuisine. A food and wine-tasting tour is a must for gastronomes looking to explore the region’s culinary delights.

  • Maleny Cheese Factory: Delight in an exquisite cheese-tasting experience as you learn about the intricate cheesemaking process.
  • Montville Coffee: Visit this award-winning coffee roastery and learn about sustainable coffee production. Don’t miss the coffee tasting!
  • Nutworks: Located in Yandina, Nutworks offers a variety of nuts and dried fruits. Take a tour and learn about the nut-cracking process.

Seafood Lunch Cruise: A Gastronomic Delight on Water

One of the most enjoyable ways to explore the Sunshine Coast is on a seafood lunch cruise. Enjoy the scenic beauty of the coast while savouring a sumptuous seafood spread.

  • Mooloolaba Seafood Cruise: This 2-hour cruise along the Mooloolah River offers a buffet of fresh seafood, including prawns, Moreton Bay bugs, and oysters.
  • Noosa River Cruise: Enjoy a leisurely cruise along the Noosa River while feasting on a seafood platter featuring local produce.

Noosa River Tours: Discover Noosa’s Stunning Waterways

The Noosa River is one of the Sunshine Coast’s most beautiful natural attractions. A Noosa River tour allows you to explore the river’s diverse ecosystem, spot local wildlife, and enjoy various water-based activities.

  • Everglades Tour: This tour takes you to the spectacular Noosa Everglades, one of only two Everglade systems worldwide. Look out for diverse birdlife and admire the mirrored waterways.
  • Sunset Cruise: Enjoy a romantic sunset cruise along the Noosa River. Sip a glass of champagne as you watch the sunset over the water.

Double Island Point Tours: An Off-Road Adventure

Experience the thrill of a 4WD adventure with a tour to Double Island Point. This secluded paradise offers a variety of activities, including surfing, fishing, and wildlife spotting.

  • Rainbow Beach Drive: This exhilarating 4WD drive along the Rainbow Beach offers stunning coastal views. Don’t miss the coloured sands, a unique natural phenomenon.
  • Honeymoon Bay: This secluded bay is perfect for a relaxing swim or a picnic. If you’re lucky, you might spot dolphins or turtles.
  • Lighthouse Walk: Take a short hike to the lighthouse for panoramic coastline views and the chance to spot migrating whales between June and October.

Day Tours to Rainbow Beach: A Colourful Experience

Rainbow Beach is one of the Sunshine Coast’s most beautiful beaches, known for its colourful sand cliffs. A day tour of Rainbow Beach is a must for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts.

  • Coloured Sands Walk: Take a guided walk along the beach to see the spectacular coloured sands, a natural wonder created by mineral deposits over thousands of years.
  • Carlo Sand Blow: This unique dune offers stunning views of the coastline. It’s also a great spot for sandboarding!
  • Sea Kayaking: Enjoy a sea kayaking adventure to spot dolphins, turtles, and other marine life.

Tour to The Ginger Factory: A Fun-Filled Family Day Out

The Ginger Factory in Yandina is among the Sunshine Coast’s most popular attractions. It offers a variety of fun activities for the whole family, from beekeeping demonstrations to gingerbread decorating.

  • Factory Tour: Learn about ginger production, from planting to harvesting and processing.
  • Ginger Train: Take a ride on Moreton, a 117-year-old cane train, through beautiful gardens and rainforests.
  • Taste of Ginger: Enjoy a ginger-tasting session featuring various ginger products, from ginger beer to ginger ice cream.

Visiting Eumundi Markets: A Shopper’s Paradise

The famous Eumundi Markets are a must-visit for any visitor to the Sunshine Coast. With over 600 stalls selling everything from handmade crafts to gourmet foods, you will find something unique.

  • Local Art: Discover various local art, including paintings, sculptures, and jewellery.
  • Gourmet Food: Sample a variety of delicious foods, from fresh pastries to mouth-watering street food.
  • Live Music: Enjoy live performances by local musicians as you browse the stalls.

Choosing a Tour Operator: How to Make the Right Choice

When deciding “what are the best tours on Sunshine Coast“, choosing the right tour operator is essential. Here are some things to consider:

  • Reputation and Reviews: Check online reviews and ratings to get an idea of the tour operator’s reputation and the quality of their tours.
  • Tour Variety: Look for a tour operator that offers a range of tours to suit your interests, whether food and wine, nature, adventure, or history.
  • Guide Knowledge: An experienced and knowledgeable guide can greatly enhance your tour experience. They should be able to provide interesting commentary and answer any questions.

Best Time to Visit Sunshine Coast: When to Plan Your Trip

The Sunshine Coast is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit depends on the activities you’re interested in. Here are some tips:

  • Beach and Water-Based Tours: The summer months (December to February) are perfect for beach and water-based tours, with warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine. However, this is also the busiest time of year.
  • Nature and Wildlife Tours: The cooler months (June to August) are ideal for nature and wildlife tours. This is also the best time for whale watching.

Frequently Asked Questions about Sunshine Coast Tours

What is there to do on the Sunshine Coast today?

The Sunshine Coast offers a range of activities, from exploring the beautiful beaches and hinterland to visiting local markets and wineries to embarking on thrilling adventure tours. Check with local tour operators for the latest offerings.

What are the best tours to do in Sunshine Coast with kids?

Family-friendly tours on the Sunshine Coast include:

  • Visiting the Ginger Factory
  • Exploring the Eumundi Markets
  • Taking a boat tour along the Noosa River
  • Indulging in sweet treats at a chocolate shop

Many tour operators offer special family rates and child-friendly activities.

How far in advance should I book a tour on the Sunshine Coast?

It’s generally a good idea to book your tour at least a few days in advance, especially during peak tourist season. However, some Sunshine Coast tours may have last-minute availability, so it’s worth checking with the tour operator.

Which places provide the best tours on the Sunshine Coast for groups?

The best tours on the Sunshine Coast for groups include the Glass House Mountains tour, the Sunshine Coast Hinterland tour, the Noosa River cruise, and the Fraser Island day tour.

Which places provide the best tours on the Sunshine Coast for couples?

For couples, the best tours on the Sunshine Coast include a scenic food and wine tasting tour, a romantic lunch cruise, a peaceful river cruise on the Noosa River, or a thrilling 4WD adventure to Double Island Point.

How do I choose the best tour operator for my Sunshine Coast trip?

When selecting a tour operator and evaluating your options for a tour guide, consider factors such as the types of tours offered, the tour operator’s reputation and reviews, and the price of the tours. It’s also worth checking what’s included in the tour price (e.g. meals, entrance fees, transportation) and whether the tour operator can cater to any special requirements you may have.

What is the best time of year to visit the Sunshine Coast hinterland and take tours?

The Sunshine Coast enjoys a mild, subtropical climate, making it a great destination year-round. However, the best time to visit will depend on the type of tour you’re interested in. For example, if you’re planning on doing a lot of outdoor activities, the cooler, drier months of May to November might be the best time to visit.

Key Takeaways

  • The Sunshine Coast is a haven for nature lovers, with tours highlighting its stunning beaches, verdant hinterland, and the iconic Glass House Mountains.
  • For those with a palate for indulgence, the coast boasts a plethora of wine tours, and food enthusiasts can delve deep into the local flavours with dedicated food and wine-tasting experiences.
  • Towns like Montville and Maleny are must-visits for their boutique wineries, artisanal cheese factories, and local art galleries.
  • Adventure seekers can explore the coast from a different vantage point with boat tours, offering sights of the region’s wildlife and breathtaking landscapes.
  • The Sunshine Coast isn’t just for adults. It’s a family-friendly destination, brimming with activities for kids, from the Ginger Factory to wildlife spotting tours. And don’t forget the nearby island adventures on Fraser Island, Bribie Island, and more!
  • The region has something for everyone: shoppers can get their fix at the famous Eumundi Markets, while history buffs can delve into the area’s rich Indigenous heritage.
  • When organising your itinerary with family or friends, booking tours ahead of time is advisable, especially if you’re travelling during the peak season (December to February).
  • The best time to explore the Sunshine Coast’s offerings is during the cooler months of June to August, especially for nature and wildlife tours. However, the coast shines year-round, catering to different interests across seasons.
  • Remember to research tour operators, focusing on their reputation, the variety of tours they offer, and the expertise of their guides, to ensure a memorable trip.

Sunshine Coast Accommodation

After an unforgettable day of exploring, you’ll need a comfortable place to rest and recharge. 

The Sunshine Coast offers a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly hostels to self-contained holiday rentals. 

Many accommodations are strategically located near popular tour departure points, making it easy for you to get to and from your tour. 

So, why wait? Start planning your Sunshine Coast adventure today!

Browse our Sunshine Coast Family Holiday Accommodation