FEATURE: Great Unwinds
Looking for something different to do this weekend? Try some hidden secrets on the coasts, local wineries, markets and more
THERE’S more to the Sunshine Coast than the beaches, shopping and great food. The best part is just when it feels like every nook and cranny has been thoroughly explored, it tosses up yet another treasure trove of goodies to sift through. Finding things to do on the Sunshine Coast certainly isn’t hard; it’s one of the most visited destinations in Queensland for good reason. But discovering off-the-beaten-track alternatives to the usual suspects is just so much more satisfying. We all like a hot top, right?
ANY Sunshine Coaster worth their salty hair has spent many a sun-drenched day at Sunshine Beach. Both the patrolled and dog beach sections are popular with beach-goers looking to escape the hubbub of Hastings and Noosa Main Beach. So if you’re after even less crowds with the same surf-pounded shores, then Mudjimba is your jam. Just north of Maroochydore, and flanked by the Maroochy River Conservation Park, the patrolled beach is pure Pacific Ocean glory, combining ultra surfable swell with plenty of family-friendly options.
WHILE there are plenty of places to lay out a beach towel and get your fix of vitamin D, finding a rock pool to soak in – like it’s some kind of natural spa – involves a little more effort. The flat, easily accessed, tidal rock pools at Kings Beach in Caloundra are the obvious choice for rock pool hoppers but head just one hour north to find the Fairy Pools in Noosa National Park. Consisting of two deep, sparkling, bottle-green pools (the smaller of the two is only visible at low tide), the Fairy Pools sit past Tee Tree Bay and Granite Bay, about a 30-40 minute walk from Little Cove.
STUMBLING upon the occasional honesty box is one of the most pleasant surprises of driving on Queensland’s rural roads. And the Sunshine Coast hinterland as its fair share of these micro-markets dotted along the winding, hilly backroads from Kenilworth to Maleny and Montville. From avocados to pumpkins, corn, mangoes and tomatoes, the produce is super fresh – well worth the short stop.
The Other Hinterland
THE Sunshine Coast Hinterland of Maleny, Montville and Mapleton behind Caloundra, Buderim and Maroochydore holds many a time-honoured treasure, it’s true. But just a short zip up the motorway towards Noosa and you’ll find the ‘other’ hinterland brimming with lesser-known sights to be seen. Quaint towns like Pomona, Cooroy and Kenilworth are having their time in the sun with cafes, microbreweries and all manner of things to do popping up regularly. Check out Bonsai Brewhouse in Pomona, The Kenilworth Cheese Factory in, you guessed it, Kenilworth, and Fox and Hound Espresso or Dhom’s Kitchen, both in Cooroy.
THERE’S nothing like a good trip to the markets to make you feel a) very hungry; and b) full of that community spirit. And while the Sunshine Coast’s most famous offers, Noosa Farmer’s Markets and Eumundi Markets, are definite must-dos there are plenty of alternatives to fill a basket and grab something locally-made to munch on. The Kawana Waters Artisans and Farmers Markets is a less-busy, just as impressive option where friendly local producers share their wares every Saturday from 7am to 12pm.
The Great Aussie Pub
THERE’S nothing like perching yourself at the bar of a classic old-style Australian pub, pot of beer in hand, pub grub on the way. And while the Sunshine Coast’s pub stalwart, The Pub at Aussie World (previously known as the Ettamogah) still draws the crowds, there’s a few more old charmers just waiting to be experienced up and down the Sunshine Coast. Try Palmwoods Hotel in Palmwoods (duh), Apollonian Hotel in Boreen Point, or the Royal Hotel Gympie or Yandina Hotel for a step back in time, Sunshine Coast style.
Try a new view
FROM Caloundra around to the Glass House Mountains, the view is most spectacular at sunset when the sun lights up the landscape with a warm golden glow, throwing rays out from behind the jagged and ancient mountain formations. To get here, take the Wild Horse Mountain Lookout. Hugged by wallum heath and tea trees on either side, Currimundi Lake is a tidal lake running adjacent to the surf beach of the same name. With its inland reaches dyed brown by the forest which surrounds it, it’s a locals secret from way back. A favourite with families thanks to the calm, shallow waters for splashing, swimming and canoeing, it’s great to visit any time of year but in winter and spring, the heath flowers come out to play.
THERE’S vintage, pre-loved treasure just begging to be taken home in Nambour’s nifty thrift stores and quirky-cool op-shops. A rummage never felt so good when you hand your hard-earned cash over for new found gold, and help one of the charity organisations that operate the stores. Trawl your way through Margie’s Place, Hospice Shop, Bloomhill Op Shop, Endeavour Op Shop and Lifeline. The Old Ambulance Station is also a can’t-miss; the former emergency service hub has been transformed into a creative arts space and incubator filled with pop-up shops and gallery exhibition spaces.