Easily earning its name, the Sunshine Coast receives an average of seven sunshine hours per day! An iconic part of Queensland and a popular holiday spot for Australians, being only 45 minutes from Brisbane, it's especially popular over the summer months when many people from Brisbane escape the city and head north.
What do I love most about the Sunshine Coast? Compiling this list was not an easy task! There are so many things to love about this beautiful part of the world, so here are my top reasons to go and visit!
Australians are such friendly, welcoming people – this is especially true of the Sunshine Coast. My first impression of Caloundra (located at the Southern end of the Coast) was awkwardly asking directions to a man wearing an Akubra hat. He reassuringly smiled at me, touched my arm and in his almost stereotypical accent said "Well Darl, ya hav'ta go down this road for about, ah… about five minutes and then turn left at the servo and yer'll be there!"*. The laidback, outdoors lifestyle, friendly people and stunning landscapes will put me in holiday mode immediately.*Translation:
Well friend, just follow this road for about five minutes, take a left turn at the service station and you will arrive at your destination.
The Glass House Mountains:
The impressive Glass House Mountains can be viewed along much of the coast. With 16 uniquely formed 'volcanic crags', their dramatic silhouette was like nothing I'd seen before. Named by Captain Cook in 1770, the shape of the mountains reminded him of glass factory furnace stacks (glasshouses) in his native Yorkshire. Also featuring heavily in Aboriginal legends, they are part of aboriginal "songlines", navigational landmarks once used by Aborigines to find their way.
Home of the Crocodile Hunter:
Steve Irwin may have died, but his legend certainly lives on! Australia Zoo is still run by his family and a team of passionate conservationists. One of the biggest conservation parks in Australia, young and old will be captivated by crocodiles, snakes, kangaroos, koalas, Tasmanian devils and a range of other Australian wild-life. Their love of animals is evident from the moment I walked in the door. With over 100 different animal species, their teams work tirelessly to educate, conserve and protect!
Pristine, white sand beaches stretch for miles along the coast line. Arguably, some of the best beaches in the world, I had to choose between surf beaches or tranquil bays. The tropical climate ensures the water is warm, even in winter! With cafes scattered along the shore-line playing local music, I'd definitely recommend an afternoon on Kings Beach with dinner at the Coffee Cat on Kings! Not only is the food delicious, the local musicians are good and the staff are extremely helpful and friendly. Not to mention,
Amazing food is plentiful on the Sunshine Coast.. Whatever the occasion, - picking up some local fare for the family picnic, eating at one of the incredible restaurants in Noosa, or grabbing a bite to eat at a café overlooking the beach, your taste-buds will be tingling the entire time. If you're a seafood lover like me, make sure you at least order one or two seafood dishes – Moreton bay bugs or prawns are a must for any foodie!
Located along the 'Whale Highway', taking a whale and dolphin watching cruise out into the bay should be included in your itinerary. If you're lucky, you won't even need to don your sea-legs and might capture them playing in the bay along one of the various viewing points scattered around the region. The Sunshine Coast is also home to Underwater World where you can view aquatic life up close and personal. Alternatively, go for a walk at one of the many national parks and see what other native wildlife is around!
Cute little villages:
The Sunshine Coast is home to lots of markets, cute villages and quirky places to visit. I was captivated by hinterland villages like Montville and Maleny, get lost in the Eumundi Markets and lost track of time strolling along the streets in Noosa and Noosaville. These cute little villages all support the local community. I found lots of home-made delights, gifts and more to pack into the camper! In Montville we visited the clock factory, with an impressive collection of cuckoo clocks and other knick-knacks and snacked on home-made lemon cheesecake fudge from Fudgyboombahs.
What are you waiting for? Pack your bags, stock the camper and head across to the Sunshine coast! You won't regret it!