Looking to visit the Sunshine Coast? Here's 13 things you need to do
If you’re looking for a holiday destination that has sun, salt, sand, shopping, and loads of eat and drink experiences, the Sunshine Coast is for you.
Now only a hop, skip, and a jump away thanks to Bonza Airlines flying direct twice a week from Newcastle Airport to the Sunny Coast, getting there is a breeze.
Stretching for more than 60km along the Queensland Coast, the region is vast which means you need to work out what to do in the short time you have. Whether it’s getting active, eating out, shopping, or heading to the beach, it’s difficult to know what to leave out. That's why we’ve put together this list of top 13 things to do starting with that all important question of where to sleep.
1. Essence Peregian Beach
Coastal destinations don’t get any better than Peregian Beach, and if you’re planning on jumping on a Bonza flight to the Sunny Coast, make sure your accommodation of choice is Essence Peregian Beach.
Featuring 22 luxurious hotel suites and architecturally-designed holiday homes plus a private resort pool and bar, Essence Peregian Beach very quickly gives you that 'home away from home' feel. Only walking distance from Peregian Beach, boutique shopping, cafes, bars, and restaurants, once you arrive you won’t need your car – just park, relax and soak up the joy that is Peregian Beach!
2. Shop The Village at Peregian Beach
If you love shopping, then be prepared to have your mind blown at The Village Peregian Beach. The tight knit community is committed to ensuring the town stays true to its village roots. The result is a truly beautiful village atmosphere that’s complemented by a smart collection of boutiques, cafes, bars, and restaurants, which all encapsulate that classic sand-and-salt-meets-sophisticated beachside village vibe.
Whether it's clothes, kids goodies, books, antiques, jewellery, gelato, even stunning mid century and modern living furniture, you’ll get lost wandering The Village.
A highlight from our Sunny Coast visit was BASK. Located within The Village at Peregian Beach, BASK was a dining delight. Brought to you by Jess Coolican and Jack Madden, who relocated their award-winning BASK Restaurant from the Sunshine Coast hinterland beachside in 2023, Jess and Jack have continued the same approach to the menu, that is being inspired by the region’s hard working growers and producers.
We were delighted to see a particular emphasis placed on cocktails with a flavour curated to match each stage of your dining journey.
The ambience of BASK is as much a highlight as the menu itself with diners spilling out under the restaurant's extensive awning area, alfresco-style, soaking up the balmy Queensland temps, festoon lighting and vibrant outdoor mood.
What we ate: half shell scallops, brown butter & roe; burrata, Sicilian olives, smoked almonds, sumac; Zaburton 9+ grade waygu, spring onion, duck fat roasted potato gratin; roasted pineapple, ginger marmalade, ginger nut crumb.
4. Eumundi Markets & Eumundi
No doubt you’ve heard of the Eumundi Markets – operating since 1979, the beautiful open-air market has built a reputation not only for its quality crafts and local artisans, but the fabulous array of street food. Whilst the markets may be your reason for visiting, Eumundi’s main street is well worth a lap.
Browse the eclectic range of shops, bakeries, cafes, street art, and drop into the stunning Imperial Hotel to taste their brewed-on-site beer and gin. In 2024, Eumundi will also welcome Matso’s brewery to the old Joes Waterhole Hotel, with a phenomenal renovation taking place as we speak.
5. Visit the 3 Ms (Mapleton, Montville, and Maleny)
Located along the Blackall Range are the 3 Ms — Mapleton, Montville, and Maleny. Take the stunning tourist drive that has you cruising through the Sunshine Coast’s most scenic mountain range. Regardless of which direction you go in, you’ll find yourself discovering boutique shops, taking in magnificent views, and wandering through some of the hinterland’s most delightful towns.
6. Have lunch at Mapleton Public House
Try to arrange your visit to Mapleton around lunch time so you can dine at the historic Mapleton Public House. The old Queenslander tavern is a stunner, offering sweeping views from the Sunshine Coast Hinterland all the way to the ocean.
Owners Ben Johnston and Jess Huddart are passionate about fresh quality produce taking a root to tip approach to each dish they create.
The couple are committed to sustainability, going as far to purchase The Falls Farm, located just down the road. Each dish that comes out of the kitchen is made from scratch, working with produce taken from the ground each day.
What we ate: The Falls Farm vegetable pate; black Angus burger; vegetable burger; almond-fed pork rillettes; chocolate mousse.
7. Mapleton Falls lookout
After lunch, take the 15 minute drive to Mapleton Falls lookout which delivers spectacular views of Obi Obi valley, and in the wet season, a flowing Mapleton Falls. Peaceful is the first word that comes to mind – standing on the platform, as you look down the valley, take some time to soak up the magic that is the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. If you’re wanting to walk off lunch, take the 1.3km Wompoo Circuit trail that will have you winding through the rainforest and eucalypt forest.
8. Peregian Beach Hotel
Coastal beach vibes is what Peregian Beach Hotel was built on. Located just a short stroll from Peregian Beach it’s ideal to drop into after a day spent shopping at The Village, or straight from the beach, sand still between your toes.
Whilst daytime is chilled, evenings are when Peregian Beach Hotel is at its best with the fire and festoon lighting perfectly complementing the balmy night temps. The classic but elevated pub menu presents what the Sunshine Coast grows best. Changing seasonally, it’s hearty and delivers some seriously good flavours.
What we ate: cauliflower popcorn; Southern Ocean calamari; Apvaki and Lot 51 Peregian Beach woodfired pizza
9. The Doonan
Wow! The Doonan isn’t just a place you visit to eat and drink at, it’s a destination you want to linger in for as long as possible. Situated in the Noosa Hinterland across two hectares of land, the dreamy garden-inspired interiors have you feeling as though you’ve entered some fantastical wonderland.
Much more than a pretty face, the Italian-inspired menu caters to all with the paddock-to-plate focus showcasing the region’s best produce and flavour combinations.
With space galore, multiple dining areas that each have their own unique feel, spectacular bar area, and a dedicated kids’ playground area, which includes trampolines and a football size field to kick the balls around on, it’s a venue for all occasions and the whole family.
What we ate: black mussels; chargrilled local stone fruits; fresh Mooloolaba prawn roll; Caesar salad with chicken.
10. Amaze World
If you have kids in tow, you have to schedule a couple of hours at Amaze World. This enchanting little business is run by Adam and Robyn, who have breathed new life and energy into the popular attraction. Best known for the Bellingham Hedge Maze, the perfectly manicured greenery will have you running around in circles for longer than you expect.
Amaze World has the little, and big, kids occupied with activities including mini golf, loads of interactive puzzles, augmented reality, a playground and water play to help keep you cool in the warmer months. Beautifully landscaped, the raised platform behind the maze makes for some entertaining viewing of those taking the maze challenge.
11. The Big Pineapple
Whilst The Big Pineapple may not be as you remember as a kid, if you happen to be in the area, you can’t not stop. Standing loud and proud, The Big Pineapple is an icon of the Sunshine State. Fingers crossed it returns to its roots someday soon.
12. Sunshine Beach Surf Club
If you’re familiar with the surf club scene in Queensland you’ll be aware of just how good it is. The clubs are big and buzzing and Sunshine Beach Surf Club is one of the stars of the show.
The exposed concrete ceilings and timber facade has you feeling like you’ve entered a lavish restaurant, not your local surf club. Saturday nights bring the crowds who spill out onto the balcony which offers spectacular 180-degree views of Sunshine Beach and beyond.
What we ate: pork gyoza; crispy fried chicken wings; lamb, oregano, onion, garlic, tomato, olives, fetta pizza; signature nasi goreng pork belly, shrimp, coriander salad.
13. Drop into Noosa
A trip to the Sunshine Coast wouldn’t be without a visit to the very beautiful and iconic Noosa.
Whether it’s to stretch your legs around the coastal walk in Noosa National Park, take a dip at the beach or have breakfast, lunch or dinner at any one of the many eateries along Hastings Street, it’s always a pleasure to visit and we'll be back no doubt very soon!
This article was created in partnership with Visit Sunshine Coast.