THE SUNSHINE COAST

About 100 km north of Brisbane is where you’ll find the beautiful Sunshine Coast. It stretches from Bribie Island to Rainbow Beach. The scenery is second to none, from the sun drenched beaches to the beautiful hinterland with it’s Glass House Mountains, pineapple plantations, sugarcane, and citrus orchards.

It’s an easy drive from Brisbane. I’d recommend taking the Bruce Highway until you get to the Noosa turnoff at Eumundi and on the return journey, take the scenic coastal route. Or you could do it in reverse, however, I feel you get more of an impact of the coastal scenery if you drive from north to south.

Make sure you allow two or three days, or more, to explore the many beautiful seaside towns and beaches along the way. This link will help you plan your journey – https://www.queensland.com/en-au/journey/caloundra-to-noosa-scenic-drive-tour

NOOSA

Noosa is one of Australia’s most popular beachside destinations and I’d recommend a minimum of 5 nights here. It has tremendous atmosphere and you won’t be disappointed. Don’t expect flashing disco lights or nightclubs though. It’s more about the dining – and the relaxation. Along famous Hastings Street you’ll find cafes, bars, restaurants and fashion boutiques as well as beautiful beachfront accommodation. Sit back and soak up the atmosphere.

One of my favourite things to do is to take a walk along the coastal track, beginning at the Surf Club. Follow it along all the way until you get to Hells Gate, stopping off at Little Cove or Tea Tree Bay for a dip. If you don’t want to double back, then follow the inland Tanglewood Track back to Main Beach. The information centre will provide maps which outline the different walking tracks as well as a host of other things to see and do. Or visit their website – https://www.visitnoosa.com.au

On Wednesdays or Saturdays, set aside the morning to visit the 40 year old Eumundi Markets. It has over 500 stalls under heritage-listed fig trees. It’s Australia’s largest art, craft and produce market.

Another recommendation is to spend a day driving out to the hinterland, stopping along the way at McCarthy’s Lookout for panoramic views of the Glass House Mountains. Next stop, breakfast or morning tea at Maleny where you can also buy award-winning cheeses if you’re a cheeseaholic. The quaint village of Montville is next on the list with its galleries and craft shops – and of course lunch.

You could do this little tour on your way to Noosa if you prefer and perhaps spend the night at Montville before heading on to Noosa.

This link will give you some tips on what to see and do – https://www.queensland.com/en-au/journey/couples-getaway-to-maleny-and-montville-58043a2d246ac43b0aa6dbda

MOOLOOLABA

When you leave Noosa, head down the coastal road, stopping at Coolum Beach for refreshments. Take a walk along the boardwalk until you get to the beach for amazing views of a beach which looks like it goes on forever. After you leave Coolum Beach, you’ll pass through Maroochydore and Alexandra Headlands. Mooloolaba is about 20 km from Coolum and is a cool place to spend the night. It has a nice vibe about it.

For lovers of the golden brew, you could book a “Hinterland Exbeerience” brewery tour. They’ll pick you up from TAPS and you’ll visit the Macleod Brewing Company and then head off to Brouhaha Brewery in Maleny for a tasty lunch and more beer sampling. After lunch, it’s back down the ranges to Moffat Beach Brewing before heading back to Mooloolaba. This tour can also be taken from Maroochydore and pick up is the Sneaky Baron.

CALOUNDRA

Caloundra is a 15 km drive from Mooloolaba and is more family orientated so if you’re travelling with a family, then you might want to spend the night here instead. Perhaps even stretch it to two as there are a plenty of beaches to explore.

A must do is the coastal walk from Bulcock Beach on the Caloundra Esplanade to Shelley Beach. If you’re energetic, then continue on to Cliff Hargreaves Park in Currimundi. It’s a breathtaking walk and probably up there as one of the best coastal walks you’ll probably do. Don’t forget your togs (swimsuit in Aussie) as you might want to take a dip if it’s a hot day.

Once you leave Caloundra, instead of travelling straight back to Brisbane via the M1, take a detour after Burpengary, turning off at Highway 26 and follow the road to Scarborough. It’s a pretty drive from there down to Redcliffe (home of the Bee Gees in the 1950s) and on to Sandgate and Brighton before joining the M1 again. Make sure you follow the roads along the coast from Scarborough to Brighton. You’ll be crossing Australia’s longest bridge – The Ted Smout Memorial Bridge.

I never get tired of visiting the Sunshine Coast and it’s even a perfect weekend getaway when you can explore bits and pieces at a time.

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