The Sunshine Coast is fast becoming Australia’s best holiday destination for Aussies and international visitors alike! The popularity of the area is largely due to the beauty of the Pacific Ocean, kid-friendly theme parks, tropical gardens, and other delights.
There are tonnes of exciting things to do in the South East Queensland region, along with just as many opportunities to lay back, relax, and drink in the beautiful scenery.
From beaches to forests, dolphin watching to shark cage diving, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
While some top tourist attractions cannot be missed, we’ve compiled a list of the lesser-known wonders for you to visit that should be on your list of things to do in Sunshine Coast.
1. Sunshine Coast Markets
Looking for delicious local produce and interesting handmade crafts to take home for family and friends? You’re in luck! There are some great local markets to choose from in this quaint town.
Why not wake up with the Sunday morning sunrise and grab a freshly brewed coffee to enjoy on the beach? Or visit a bustling night market with live music and good vibes? Just take your pick.
Here are some of the markets we recommend checking out with the whole family on the Sunshine Coast:
- Cotton Tree Markets
- Peregian Beach Markets
- Eumundi Markets
- Caloundra Street Fair
- Yandina Markets
- Maroochydore’s Fishermans Road Markets
- Noosa Farmers Markets
- Kwana Waters Artisans & Farmers market
- Marcoola Twilight Market
- Kenilworth Country Markets
2) Beautiful Beaches
Let me confess, this one isn’t really that big of a surprise now, is it? But we just had to include it!
The Sunshine Coast offers endless beach options to fulfil your every wish!
You can book a sunset cruise and enjoy fresh oysters, do a kayak or boat tour and enjoy spotting marine life, or find a secluded beach. You could visit a different one every day and be occupied for weeks!
Get even more up close and personal with a dive to the ex-HMAS Brisbane wreck, or rent a jet ski and explore the region while getting your adrenaline pumping!
Whether you’re looking to fulfil your kids’ Sunshine Coast dream of building sandcastles or a fantastic fishing spot where you can test your might, you don’t need to travel far to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Some great beaches to choose from on the Sunshine Coast:
- Sunshine Beach
- Kings Beach
- Mooloolaba Beach
- Rainbow Beach
- Coolum Beach
- Noosa Main Beach
- Golden Beach
- Bulcock Beach
- Shelly Beach
3) Hidden Waterfalls
Some hikes are found on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, where you’re rewarded with a gigantic waterfall to cool off afterwards.
If a long, strenuous hike doesn’t suit you, there are waterfalls within a short walking distance of the car park.
For places to swim other than the beautiful Mooloolah River and Champagne Pools on Fraser Island, also boasting spectacular waterfalls.
The Booloumba Falls can be found in the Conondale National Park. It takes around a one and a-half kilometre walk to reach the pristine waterfalls and crystal-clear pools. The main pool is good for doing laps, and if you wander a little further, there’s a waist-deep plunge pool with a spectacular view.
Gardner’s Falls are in the Maleny area on the banks of the Obi Obi Creek. A short, level walk downstream will lead you to the picturesque pool outlined with rock ledges. There’s even a rope swing into the rock pools for the adventurous, or shallow waters great for kids to splash around in.
The Kondadilla Falls are accessible via a scenic 4.7km return walking trail and are one of the best scenic Sunshine Coast hikes you can take. Enjoy the breathtaking rainforests and be enticed by the cascading waters when you reach the swimming hole and take a plunge.
4) Botanical Gardens
Typical touristy activities like rolling down the sand dunes, visiting Australia Zoo or Sea Life are fun. Spending time exploring the indigenous fauna and flora in their natural habitat is also a beautiful way to spend a day.
Some of the breathtaking gardens to put on your to-do list of sunny coast activities will take you to an oasis like no other.
Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World boasts almost 18 acres of lush gardens, magnificent rainforest and an aviary. Choose one of the walking tracks that overlook the backdrop of the iconic Glass House Mountains.
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve spans 55 hectares of subtropical rainforest with views of the Glass House Mountains. The reserve is a living museum, showcasing diverse plant and animal life.
There are numerous national parks to visit that offer spectacular coastal views of the surrounding hinterland and Noosa Heads.
Here are some more national parks to check out on the Sunshine Coast:
- Mount Coolum
- Buderim Forest Park
5) The Sunshine Coast’s Art Gallery Trail
There’s no shortage of artistic talent in this coastal location, and you can visit art galleries displaying intricate beauty.
Most have places to eat either on site or close by since being cultured is hungry work!
Here are some cool and quirky galleries to check out:
- Art Nuvo
- Secrets on the Lake Gallery
- Illume Creations
- Montville Art Gallery
- Art on Cairncross
- Ben Messina Photography
- Peace of Green Gallery
- David Linton Gallery
- Artisans Gallery Eumundi
- Noosa Regional Art Gallery
- Hearts and Minds Art
- Nissarana Galleries
- Caloundra Regional Gallery
Experience These Fun Sunshine Coast Attractions!
With so many exciting things to do on the Sunshine Coast, it’s best to make an online booking and plan ahead for your family holiday.
While you’re visiting the sunny state, don’t forget to:
- Buy some fresh produce at a local market and have a chat with farmers from the area.
- Spend a few hours under the sunny skies on the golden sand of pristine beaches. Go fishing, boating or jet skiing, or even go snorkelling in an ocean pool.
- Go for a scenic walk in Noosa National Park or some rock climbing, discover hidden waterfalls and take the best pictures.
- Experience local and international mammals and reptiles of the land and sea by taking a trip to some of the beautiful parks and gardens.
- Wander through galleries displaying all different kinds of artwork from local creatives.
If you’re looking for beachfront accommodation for the school holidays that’s close to the Sunshine Coast Airport, The Sunshine Towers offer different apartment options with beautiful views and a central location.
So you can make the most of the sunny, coastal skies and beautiful surroundings, pack your hat and your book, and don’t forget the sunscreen!