The best things to do on the Sunshine Coast

Where glorious beaches meet tranquil hinterland, the Sunshine Coast offers a dream getaway for sun worshippers and nature-lovers alike.

Aerial photograph of Main Beach and the surrounding forest in Noosa National Park, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. Image credit: bmphotographer/
  • Jetstar
  • June 2021

Take a bunch of glorious beaches and lush rainforest interior, mix it with cosmopolitan dining and family fun, and you’ve got the ingredients for the ultimate coastal holiday. Welcome to the Sunshine Coast, a destination best served hot, and preferably with a sunset and cold drink in hand! And with 100km of pristine coastline, there's no shortage of places to do just that. Grab a board for a paddle, or laze on its sun-kissed sands, before heading inland to experience the magic of its hinterland hills.

Revel in the relaxed vibe of Noosa

No discussion of the Sunshine Coast can exist without mentioning the beaches, and more specifically, Noosa. Long the poster-child of the region, Noosa's string of idyllic white beaches and sparkling aquamarine waters remain its main selling point. But don't underestimate the lure of its laidback vibe, local seafood and classy beachfront dining. Add in some cool bars, microbreweries and boutique shopfronts, and it's clear this resort town has got everything you need. And with a pretty backdrop of pristine rainforest, you won't want to miss out on those magnificent vistas, best viewed from walking its coastal-hinterland trails.

People on the sand at Main Beach, Noosa. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
Noosa's beaches beckon. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Come to chill out in Caloundra

A Sunshine Coast classic, Caloundra's free-spirited take on beach culture makes this a place all about good times and endless summers. A destination where everyone fits in, here you'll find families tucking into meals alongside surfers sipping craft beers. And coastal hipsters rubbing shoulders with backpackers at music festivals in between catching waves and yoga classes. Its beaches are the highlight, of course, with a mix of sheltered bays and big wave breaks. And only a short drive from Australia Zoo, it's very popular with kids and wildlife lovers too.

People on the sand and in the water on a hot, sunny day at Kings Beach Calundra, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. Image credit: Martin Valigursky/
Unwind on Caloundra's white sands. Image credit: Martin Valigursky/

Go hiking in the Glasshouse Mountains

Once you're done lazing by the beach, shake off that towel and strap on your boots to check out the stunning Glasshouse Mountains. Offering some of the region's most memorable scenery, its craggy volcanic peaks rise dramatically from the lush hinterland plains. And there's no better way to experience these ancient landscapes than to hike to the summit to enjoy the stunning, sweeping views. And while you're out this way, drop by its charming townships to say g'day to the locals with a feed at a country pub.

Two hikers take in sunrise views after hiking up Mount Ngungun, Glasshouse Mountains. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
Take in memorable views at the Glasshouse Mountains. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Hit the beach for a memorable drive through the Great Sandy National Park

For a very different way of enjoying the beach, head to the Great Sandy National Park and trade in the towel for a 4WD and plenty of adventure. Cruising the golden sands of this long, rugged beach is an unforgettable journey. The sense of freedom, stopping at will for leisurely swims, fishing and walks, is exhilarating. You'll pass the coloured sand cliffs at Teewah, all the while keeping an eye out for humpback whales. At the Cooloola section of this spectacular beach drive, you'll reach Rainbow Beach, a jumping off point for Fraser Island – a whole new adventure in itself.

Family camping on the beach with their 4WD, Double Island Point, Great Sandy National Park. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
Take the 4WD for a spin on the beach at the Great Sandy National Park. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Pick up some artworks at the Eumundi Markets

Another reason to journey inland is to visit the famous arts and crafts market at Eumundi, the largest of its kind in Australia. Come by Wednesday and Saturday to browse some 600 stalls set beneath the sprawling fig trees. Here you'll find handmade jewellery, clothing and artworks produced by talented locals. Food's also a great reason to drop by, with everything on offer from hemp burgers to aromatic Thai curries, all matched beautifully with local craft beers and fresh juices. The town itself is also worthy of exploration for its historic pub, brewery and theatre.

People walking among stalls at the Eumundi Markets, Sunshine Coast. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
Go for a browse at the Eumundi Markets. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland