The Sunshine Coast

Drive from Brisbane to Noosa Heads and prepare yourself for natural splendour and any number of short break indulgences. The Sunshine Coast region, from Caloundra to Noosa, offers a huge range of options for relaxing and having an adventure.

Enjoy a gourmet meal with stunning sea views, relax in a day spa, browse for the latest fashions, tee-off at a world-class gold course, go diving, game fishing, swimming and kayaking or discover the local wildlife on an eco-cruise.

Paddle the Pumicestone Passage or the Noosa River, swim with playful seals at UnderWater World, cuddle a Koala at Australia Zoo, dive the HMAS Brisbane and dine on gourmet cuisine along Hastings Street.

The Sunshine Coast also plays host to a range of great festivals, from the Noosa and Mooloolaba triathlons and Coolum Kite Fest, to the Noosa Long Weekend arts and food festival, the Noosa Jazz Festival and many more.

Trip length from Brisbane 3 days Total distance 287km Road conditions All sealed roads Segment distances: Brisbane to Caloundra – 92km, 1hr 50mins; Caloundra to Noosa Heads – 55km, 1hr 10mins; Noosa Heads to Brisbane – 140km, 2hrs 30mins; Suggested overnight stops: Caloundra, Mooloolaba or Noosa Heads

Must-see sights on the Sunshine Coast, include...

Noosa Heads

Discover why Noosa is one of the most popular holiday and honeymoon destination in Australia.

Regarded as one of Australia's most fashionable resort towns, Noosa's lush, low-rise centre backs onto pristine subtropical rainforest and the typically calm, crystalline waters of Laguna Bay. The result is a relaxed, intimate and exclusive atmosphere.

The town lies within the Noosa Biosphere Reserve, a Unesco-recognised area known for its highly diverse ecosystem.

Here you can find pristine beaches, turquoise bays, lush national parks and the fashionable tree-lined boutique shopping district of Hastings Street.

If you are looking for fun and adventure, there’s plenty to do and see in Noosa. Learn to surf or try stand-up paddle-boarding, sail the sheltered waters of Laguna Bay, kayak the Noosa River Everglades, join a sunset cruise or go swimming with humpback whales in season.

Hike along a choice of cliff top and forest trails in Noosa National Park, kayak or sail along the Noosa River or just bask in the sunshine on golden sand that stretches and sparkles for kilometres.

Later indulge in a spa treatment, followed by a gourmet meal at an award-winning restaurant on Hastings Street.

While the Noosa River and headlands of the Noosa National Park form the town's main boundaries, the residential and commercial suburbs of Noosaville, Tewantin and Noosa Junction create a continuous urban area along the river.

Noosa is actually a collection of villages each with their own unique style. There's the upmarket and beach-front Noosa Heads with Hastings Street and extending to Quamby Place; the more relaxed Noosaville (photo) fringing the Noosa River; Noosa Junction with it's buzz of bars, eateries and live music venues; and Tewantin – the administrative hub of the Noosa region.

To the southeast, Sunshine, Sunrise and Castaways beaches are all considered part of Greater Noosa.

Both Sunshine and Peregian have their own distinctive and friendly beach-side atmosphere, with boutiques, cafés, restaurants and accomodation options.

Venturing west into the Noosa hinterland brings you to country villages, such as Eumundi, where you can expect a warm welcome, laid-back atmosphere and scenic views.

More about Noosa Heads...

Sunshine Beach

Just over the hill from Noosa Heads, lies the exclusive beach-resort town of Sunshine Beach, famous for it's surf as much as the multi-million dollar houses overlooking the Coral Sea.

With consistent pounding surf, this beautiful beach is a favourite for surfers.

Sunshine Beach Surf lifesaving club also welcomes non-members for a nominal fee.

A dog-free exercise area is located at the northern end of the beach beneath the headland.

Only 4km from Hastings Street, the small township offers a choice of friendly restaurants, bars and cafés.

Between Sunshine Beach and Peregian Beach, the 15km (9.3mi) long beach front is divided into Sunrise Beach, Castaways Beach and Marcus Beach.

Sunshine and Sunrise beaches are patrolled on weekends and during school holidays, Castaways Beach and Marcus Beach are not patrolled but are the place to go if you want plenty of space or a long walk on the sand.

The stretch around Castaways and Marcus is also a designated dog-walking beach, where you can let them off the lead, and is also popular with kite-surfers.

Sunrise Beach: Located just south of Sunshine, this beach is patrolled on summer weekends and during peak school holiday seasons. It’s also great for fishing and surfing.

Castaways Beach: With easy access this beach is popular with local surfers. An area between Castaways Beach and Marcus Beach is a also dedicated off-leash dog area.

Marcus Beach: While there is no patrolled swimming area, this beach has popular surfing breaks and is excellent for beach fishing. Located close to Peregian, the beach offers an off-leash dog area at all times.

Peregian Beach: Located along the scenic coastal road about 10km (6.2mi) south of Sunshine Beach, Peregian is a patrolled surf beach.

Peregian has a great village feel with plenty of shops and cafés when you’ve had enough of the sand.

Coolum Beach: Coolum Beach is just 15km (9.3mi) from Sunshine Beach and boasts one of the best beach-side boardwalks on the Sunshine Coast.

Surf the waves, learn to kite surf, walk the long white beaches, climb to the top of Mount Coolum or tee-off at the Hyatt Regency Coolum or Peregian Springs golf courses.

Coolum is also perfectly positioned for panoramic views up and down the coast from either Point Perry or Point Arkwright Lookout – one of the best whale watching spots on the Sunshine Coast.

Noosa National Park

Discover some of South East Queensland's most picturesque coastlines.

From the scenic headland at Noosa Heads, heath plains and high dunes around Lake Weyba – a large, shallow, salt-water lake in the Noosa River system – to Emu Mountain and the coastal lowlands extending south towards Coolum Beach, there's something for everyone to admire.

Noosa National Park is a wildlife sanctuary protecting stands of eucalypt forest, melaleuca wetland, colourful wallum heathland and pockets of dense vine-strewn rainforest.

Open woodlands and low wallum heath cover most of the park. Hoop and kauri pines tower above small rainforest pockets growing on sand in sheltered sites away from the sea breezes.

Look out for endangered wildlife such as the glossy black-cockatoo, ground parrot, koala, red goshawk, wallum froglet, swamp orchid and Christmas bells.

The best way to explore the national park is on foot, an easy walk from Noosa Heads. At the park entrance, an information centre offers trail maps and information on the park's flora and fauna, as well as a blackboard listing the morning's koala sightings.

The centre also sells provisions, including water, snacks and sunscreen, and the adjoining kiosk brews coffee.

Noosa Everglades

Formed by the passage of the Noosa River into the Cooloola region of Great Sandy National Park, the Noosa Everglades is one of only two everglade systems in the world: the other is in Florida.

Quiet, serene and full of native wildlife, the Noosa Everglades is a must-visit for visitors. The river's entire upper catchment is protected, making this one of the most pristine wetlands in the world. The waters are a known habitat of the elusive dugong, a gentle, vulnerable water mammal.

Lake Cootharaba is the gateway to both the Upper Noosa River and the Noosa Everglades. The relatively shallow lake – 5km (3.1mi) in width and 10km (6.2mi) in length – is the largest lake in the Cooloola region of Great Sandy National Park.

Here, the natural wild landscape of ancient tea tree forests and lilly pads floating in crystal, clear waters has remained unchanged for thousands of years. The ecosystem is home to more than 40 per cent of Australia’s bird species.

Discover the beauty of the Everglades by joining an eco-safari cruise for the ultimate day trip or go it alone on a self-guided kayak experience. Boats of various sizes can be hired from Tewantin and Noosaville as well as Boreen Point and Elanda Point on Lake Cootharaba.

Look out for some of the Everglades’ native residents such as pelicans, cormorants, eagles, osprey, and the rare jabiru and glossy black cockatoo are all found here.

Located around 20km (12.4mi) north of Noosa Heads, the sleepy hamlet of Boreen Point sits on Lake Cootharaba's western shore and is home to one of Queensland's oldest and most atmospheric pubs, the Apollonian Hotel.

Noosa North Shore

Soak up coastal views on a 4WD-drive adventure from Noosa North Shore along Teewah Beach to Double Island Point, and then along Rainbow Beach to the small township of the same name.

The 60km (37mi) one-way Cooloola beach drive is part of the Great Beach Drive – a spectacular coastal touring route linking Noosa and Hervey Bay – and is accessible to 4WDs with a vehicle permit only, available from

Allow one hour 30 minutes to drive the entire length, however with several campsites along the route this a multi-day camping favourite.

Note: A camping permit is required. Capacity is limited, so book early to avoid disappointment during peak periods. Rangers may visit camps during the day to check permits and answer questions.

Cooloola Recreation Area – Extending from Lake Cootharaba north to Rainbow Beach, the Cooloola Recreation Area of Great Sandy National Park covers an area of around 540km² (208mi²).

Here you can experience long beaches backed by high sand dunes, tranquil waterways, wildflower heaths, freshwater lakes, woodlands and forests – a vital refuge for coastal wildlife.

There are no bridges crossing the north side of the Noosa River, instead, access is via the Noosa North Shore Ferry, located at the northern end of Moorindil Street in Tewantin.

Once across the Noosa River, it's around 7km (4.3mi) by way of Maximillian Road, Beach Road and the Wilderness Track to the 4WD-accessible third beach cutting. You must enter and exit the beach via this sand track.

About halfway along Teewah Beach, you’ll pass the 200m-high sand cliffs of the Great Sandy National Park. The sand cliffs are in a range of colours, created through natural combinations of iron oxide and vegetable dyes.

Noosa Hinterland

Explore the Noosa Hinterland along the Noosa Trail Network, a series of scenic trails that meander through country villages, mountain lookouts and national parks.

Situated around 30 minutes from Noosa Heads, the Noosa hinterland is a patchwork of lakes, lookouts, scenic trails and quaint country towns waiting to be experienced on foot, horseback or bike.

Along the way discover the villages of Eumundi, Pomona, Cooran and Kin Kin. Here you can find cafés, galleries, farm gates, blacksmith’s gardens and markets. Accommodation options include lake-front cottages, B&Bs, health retreats and glamping under starry skies.

There are also great village markets right around the region – from Eumundi, Pomona and Kin Kin in the hinterland to the Noosa Farmers Markets, Peregian Beach, Noosa Junction and Noosa Marina. Each has their own great vibe and specialties, whether its fresh fruit and vegetables, hand-made fashions and art, street food or unique gifts.

Eumundi Markets – Located just 21km (13mi) from Hastings Street lies the quaint country town of Eumundi.

Normally a quiet place, the town comes alive with every Saturday and Wednesday morning with the Eumundi Markets, the biggest and arguably best artisan market you’ll find in the region.

Here you’ll find a staggering array of boutique stalls selling a variety of handicrafts and all manner of bric­a­brac. It’s a melting pot of local ingenuity with over 350 stall holders coming back week after week.

Magnificent poinciana trees and large fig trees providing ample shade while you peruse the wares of this captivating market.


It’s not surprising that Caloundra has a reputation as a great family destination. The calm waters at the river mouth area of Pumicestone Passage are ideal for swimming, kayaking or taking an eco-cruise to Bribie Island and spotting wildlife in Moreton Bay Marine Park.

The playgrounds nearby are made for families to enjoy. Head to Bulcock Beach for a fish and chips lunch and then stroll along the boardwalk or try the outdoor saltwater pool at Kings Beach.

Australia Zoo

Take in some wildlife action at Australia Zoo, located at Beerwah, in the hinterland behind Caloundra. Check out the crocodile show, cuddle a koala, hand-feed an Asian elephant, take a Tasmanian devil for a stroll, wrap a snake around your shoulders or walk alongside a Bengal tiger.


Browse the Sunshine Coast’s biggest shopping centre, Sunshine Plaza. Watch a movie or pick out a new swimsuit and then head to the nearby beaches of Cotton Tree and Maroochydore on the mouth of the Maroochy River.

Choose between still water or the surf beach off Alexandra Headland. Later enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the nearby barbecue areas and playgrounds.


Choose from a selection of al fresco dining options along the Mooloolaba Esplanade overlooking white sands and a stunning bay.

Browse the strip of boutiques along the Esplanade then cross the road to the beach and you’ll discover rock pools, a good beach break and clean white sand.

Head into the bay aboard a game fishing charter to fish for marlin, coral trout and snapper or scuba dive the Gneering Shoal or HMAS Brisbane, a spectacular wreck lying in the warm clear waters just north of Mooloolaba.

For great balcony dining try the Mooloolaba Surf Club, built right on Mooloolaba Beach, or stroll down to Mooloolaba Wharf for more dining and entertainment options.

While on the wharf, admire the boats or duck into UnderWater World, Queensland's largest Oceanarium and Aquarium, and be surrounded by more than 25,000 weird and wonderful sea creatures.

Where to stay in Noosa

Noosa offers an ever-growing range of luxurious accommodation options for couples celebrating a honeymoon or romantic getaway including the Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort, Peppers Noosa Resort & Villas and the RACV Noosa Resort.

You can even charter a houseboat and stay on the Noosa River with Luxury Afloat Noosa.

Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort
Location: 14 - 16 Hastings Street, Noosa
Rating: 5-star
Prices: from AUD370 per double room
Description: Get the celebrity treatment with world-class service at Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort, which features a central location on Hastings Street, just 1.6km (1mi) from Noosa National Park. Each studio provides a private balcony with views of either Noosa Village, the resort’s pool, Noosa River or the beautiful Laguna Bay. Studios include a flat-screen TV with cable channels and kitchenette with fridge and tea/coffee making facilities. The hotel offers an on-site restaurant, a day spa and a heated outdoor pool. Contemporary cuisine can be enjoyed at Noosa Beach House Peter Kuruvita.

RACV Noosa Resort
Location: 94 Noosa Drive, Noosa
Rating: 5-star
Prices: from AUD331 per double room
Description: This 5-star family-friendly resort is located just three minutes-drive from Hastings Street. Nestled between the iconic Hastings Street and the pristine Noosa Hinterland, RACV Noosa Resort offers a choice of modern appointed suites or 1, 2 and 3-bedroom fully self-contained apartments and 3-bedroom private precinct villas, which include either a rooftop spa or plunge pool. For those who want an exclusive, luxury experience, the 3-bedroom Enclave Luxury Villas are available. All apartments include prestigious fittings and fixtures throughout, including kitchen facilities with European appliances and stone bench tops. The Resort offers a luxurious day spa with 6 treatment rooms, a heated lagoon swimming pool with man-made beach entry, heated pool with 2 water slides and a splash park, outdoor heated spa, heated toddler’s pool, restaurant and sunset bar with wood-fired pizza. At RACV Noosa Resort there is also a fitness centre, flood-lit tennis court, playground and bike hire. A 24-hour reception, in room dining and a free hourly courtesy bus to Main Beach/Hastings Street are available. Free WiFi, wheelchair access facilities, in-house/DVD movies and complimentary car parking are all included.

Peppers Noosa Resort and Villas
Location: 33A Viewland Drive, Noosa
Rating: 5-star
Prices: from AUD189 per double room
Description: The 5-star Peppers Noosa Resort and Villas offers luxurious accommodations with a private balcony. Located next Noosa National Park just a 500m walk from Laguna Bay beach, Peppers Noosa Resort and Villas offers free transfers to and from Hastings Street. Each of the air-conditioned apartments and villas feature a lounge area, a fully equipped kitchen and laundry facilities. All include a dining setting and a lounge area with cable TV. Some villas offer views over Laguna Bay and exclusive access to a private pool. The day spa offers massages, facials, manicures and pedicures. View Restaurant features a relaxing and welcoming environment, and an extensive international menu. Free on-site car parking and a 24/7 reception desk are also provided. The resort offers a restaurant, a bar, two swimming pools, a fitness centre, a games room, and a day spa. Free WiFi is available in all areas.

Tingirana Noosa
Location: 25 Hastings Street, Noosa
Rating: 5-star
Prices: from AUD272 per double room
Description: Located directly on Hastings Street opposite Noosa Beach, Tingirana Noosa features an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness centre. It offers self-contained accommodations with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen cable TV. The air-conditioned apartments feature a kitchenette or kitchen with a microwave and a refrigerator. Each apartment provides bathrobes, a hair dryer and free toiletries. Some apartments offer a private balcony overlooking the beach and pool.

Best time to visit the Sunshine Coast

Anytime. The Sunshine Coast is a year-round destination. For hot-weather activities, the best time to visit is from mid-December to mid-March; and anytime from mid-September to late-April is good for a range of outdoor activities.

The Sunshine Coast has a temperate climate: summers are warm, partly cloudy with occasional rainfall; winters are cool and mostly clear; rainfall occurs year-round.

More information about Sunshine Coast weather

Holiday Seasons

High season: December to January and March to April are Noosa's top holiday season when bookings should be made in advance.
Shoulder season: October to December, February to March.
Low season: April to September.

Holiday periods are typically based around school holidays, with availability and prices fluctuating accordingly.

Latest update: The Sunshine Coast: 12 July, 2024