Top Activities recommended by Sunshine Coast locals 2019-2020
Best Sunshine Coast Activities as recommended by locals 2019
The Sunshine Coast is aptly named for its white beaches, never ending sunshine, and prime holiday destination in any season. Every year this stretching coastline attracts nature lovers, adrenaline junkies, people looking to adventure, or relax. From the challenging four-wheel driving tracks to the fine waterfront dining options, you will be able to find the right fit for you. Here you will get the inside scoop on Top Activities recommended by Sunshine Coast locals 2019-2020.
1. Double Island Point
Located on the northern end of the Sunshine Coast, the Great Sandy National Park is an expanse of untouched rugged, sandy coastline. The point itself is a form of illusion, with it’s two large sand dunes only giving it an impression that they are separated from the mainland by the sea. This is a long spit with shallow beaches filled with gentle waves lapping in the bay.
The water is a breath-taking turquoise blue which contrasts starkly with the deep red sand of the dunes. There are dolphins which swim just off the coast, several short hikes you can do up the dunes, and abundant space to set up your four-wheel drive directly on the beach. Our number one choice – Top Activities recommended by Sunshine Coast locals 2019-2020.
Once set up you can fish, during permitted seasons, swim, surf, kitesurf, kayak, sunbake, dune board, or relax in the sun. There is no camping at Double Island Point, however campers can stay at the adjacent Rainbow beach. You can get National Park permits to camp on the beach, or head to one of the many caravan parks in the area. This marks our Number One in the Top 10 Activities Sunshine Coast 2019-2020 by Explore the Sunshine Coast.
To reach this pristine natural coastline you will need a four-wheel drive. You can either rent one and self-drive or jump onto one of the many daily tours operating from Noosa or Rainbow Beach.
If you are feeling adventurous, then plan a trip to Fraser Island.
2. Fraser Island
As someone who has travelled almost the whole way around Australia, my number one place in Queensland is always Fraser Island. This is the biggest sand island in the world, is sparsely population, entirely a national park, and features some of the most beautiful views in the country. If you are a fan of fishing, four-wheel driving, camping, relaxing, dune boarding, sunbaking, sandcastle building or a relaxing getaway then Fraser Island is the destination for you.
All you need is to grab a self-drive 4×4 drive or four-wheel drive tour, drive onto Inskip from where you will take the Manta Ray Barge over to the Island.
The sand around the entry and exit points of the barge is often soft, and deep so it is advisable to have some four-wheel driving experience prior to attempting this trip. Once you are on Fraser Island, you will take a bumpy inland track until you reach the Eastern side of the island.
This beach doubles as a highway and runway, so stay alert.
As you drive along the sand to the North of The Island, you will pass the SS Maheno shipwreck which was beached during a 1935 cyclone. Further up north you will find a collection of parked cars clustered around the entry to Eli Creek.
This is a great, little freshwater stream which you can cruise down on an inflatable mattress, boat, or ring. Kids and families spend hours running up the wooden ramp towards the top of the creek and letting the gentle current push them towards the ocean.
Fraser Island also has Lake McKenzie, which is a freshwater lake containing some of the clearest waters you can imagine. It is located at the center of the island and provides a fantastic setting for a swimming or picnic day trip.
Dingos live on Fraser Island, and while they are not dangerous to a human adult, please stay alert. It is prohibited to feed them or to leave food unattended at your campsites. This makes them dependent on humans and can make them aggressive.
There are options to camp on the beach, fenced of campsites, or to rent holiday houses in the small settlements on the island.
3. Scuba Dive the ExHMAS Brisbane
If you are an avid diver, planning a double dive on the ex HMAS Brisbane sunk off Mooloolaba is an absolute must do! This wreck was specifically sunk as a diving, artificial reef which was sunk 9 miles from the Mooloolah river in 2005. In the decade since it has been sitting at 28m of water, the ship has become a refuge for underwater life. This ship which served as a warship in its previous life, is now an oasis in the open ocean. It has been covered over with hard and soft corals and become a permanent home to batfish, coral trout, crayfish, sea urchins, turtles, stingrays and nudibranchs. If you are lucky, you might see a passing humpback whale or shark!
The divers can either stick to the impressive, towering outside of the ship or venture inside through one of the many purpose cut holes to ensure the divers safety. Inside you can see where the navy men slept, used the bathroom, explore the engine room, food halls, and many more on the 133m long battleship. Top Activities recommended by Sunshine Coast locals 2019-2020 has to include a dive.
The Ex HMAS Brisbane
The exposed conditions of the ship and the 28th meter depth means that it is advisable for divers to be PADI Advanced Open Water or equivalent. If you are unsure or uneasy, request a dive guide who will ensure you have the best and safest experience. The two dive companies which provide tours out to Ex HMAS Brisbane also offer courses if you wish to get certified. Good weather, calm winds, and better water quality are more common during the winter months of May to October.
4. Swim with Whales from June to November
The humpback migration stretches along the eastern coast of Queensland every year. These magnificent creatures travel from their cold, Antarctic feeding zones to warmer temperate waters to mate and give birth to their young. This means you can see them straight from the coast from early July until late November. They jump, splash, and play putting on a spectacle for any people watching.
The whale watching companies make sure to adhere to strict safety standards to maximize the positive experience for both the viewer and the whales. Whales are inherently curious and will sometimes approach the boats to have a closer look at the cameras and humans. In those cases, buckle up for a once in a lifetime chance of connecting with these gentle giants. Top 10 Activities Sunshine Coast 2019-2020 has just reached number 4.
There is also a choice to swim with the whales, which is strictly limited in participant numbers and books out well in advance. So, for this once in a lifetime experience of swimming with a giant marine mammal, book early! The whales truly dictate these encounters, with our little fins being no match to their powerful movements underwater. Some whales will come up and say hello, some will dance to show off, while some move away from the groups of swimmers.
5. Jet Skiing in Mooloolaba
If you are not a big fan of getting in the water, maybe powering along the surface on a jet ski is more your style. There are jet ski tours which leave the Mooloolaba Wharf every hour.
These tours will give you a quick introduction to these ocean motorbikes and take you out in front of Mooloolaba Beach for an action-packed hour.
There you have an expansive area where you can ride on the waves, spin 360 degrees, carve the waves, accelerate to the maximum, and let out your inner free spirit.
Up to two people are allowed per jet ski but having your own is more comfortable than holding onto the back. Make sure to bring proper sun protection in the form of sunglasses, hats, and reef safe sunscreen to protect yourself from the hot sun.
While riding the jet skis you will be met with the beautiful view of the sunshine coast with the rising hinterlands on one side and often massive cruise ships just past the shallow break.
6. The Surf Club Mooloolaba – Top Thing to Do!
After an exciting day in the surf, there is no better way than to kick back at the Surf Club. This Surf Club is positioned at the end of the beach, with its terrace featuring stunning views of the lapping waves. Here is a great place to have a drink with your family and friends with many beers and champagnes available. This surf club is well known of its fish and seafood platters, so indulge in the local fresh caught delicacies.
The whole esplanade in Mooloolaba has an extensive range of restaurant and cuisine options. On one of your evenings, plan a stroll to find the location with the best atmosphere. Frequently, there will be live music playing, some celebration events, or happy hour specials. Top Activities recommended by Sunshine Coast locals 2019-2020 – where the locals hang out!
7. Glass House Mountains
To balance out all the waterfront activities, the perfect alternative is to explore the ancient volcanic peaks of the Glass House Mountains. These mountains can easily be spotted when you’re out on the water or driving along the highway. They rise sharply above the treetops forming impressive spikey peaks.
Challenge yourself to hike Mt Tibrogargan Summit, which is a strenuous, but thoroughly rewarding walk. The trail is only 2.2 km long; however, it ascends steeply so make sure to bring enough water and good sun protection for the two-hour hike. Once you reach the peak, you will be astonished by the panoramic view of the coast. The best time to summit is early in the day, to avoid the heat of midday.
Another, easier hike is the gentle summit to Mount Ngungun. This 2.8km return hike takes a quick hour and a half. It features dense forests at the base ending with a few steep sections. Part of the way to the top, you will be able to see Mt Tibrogargan through a small rock overhang.
There is a spot to picnic at and relax before heading back down the 225m walk. You can have a Top 10 Activities Sunshine Coast 2019-2020 without the famous Glasshouse Mountains.
The picturesque town of Maleny is located amongst a landscape of cows, rainforest and sea views. Maleny is a little village which provides a cooler, rainforest getaway for solo retreats or romantic weekends. There are many charming market style shops, quaint cafes, beautiful bookstores, trickling creeks, and a historic hotel. There are art galleries, live music events, craft workshops, along with rainforest walks, nearby lakes, and stunning wildlife.
Hiking trails abound so check them out! Pair it with a night of luxury in a secluded rainforest glamping tent.
9. Buderim Forest Park – Awesome Thing to do on the Sunshine Coast
In the warm Sunshine Coast weather you will find yourself drawn to the salty beach. Buderim Forest has a waterfall, a mere kilometer away from Buderim Village.
The waterfalls are known as Serenity Falls. This is not surprising as the surrounding area and its natural sounds provide the ultimate rainforest relaxation. There are no dogs permitted in this park, and visitors are requested to take all their rubbish with them. A little known gem – Top 10 Activities Sunshine Coast 2019-2020 must include this easy walk!
10. Australia Zoo – A must see on the Sunshine Coast.
Of course, no list about the Sunshine coast could be complete without the legendary Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo. The home of the crocodile hunter is a leader in conservation, animal encounters, expansive exhibits, and research facility. Become a Wildlife Warrior for a day and see animals roam in their natural habitats. Learn about endangered species, and become part of the solution! There is an animal hospital which you can donate to.
Steve’s techniques are considered to be among the world’s best. His family, Terri, Bindi, and Robert continue to work at Australia Zoo to keep Steve’s Legacy alive and preserve a powerful force in animal conservation.
Head on out to the Sunshine Coast!
So grab yourself a rental car and head up north of Brisbane and Explore the Sunshine Coast.