We recommend you choose a town or Sunshine Coast accommodation on the coast and make it your base for the duration of your stay. There are plenty of choices for every taste and budget, so check out our selection of excellent properties. For a quick comparison of prices across all accommodation providers, please browse our Sunshine Coast Hotels list.
For useful general visitor information see our Sunshine Coast Holidays page.
The road runs past Sunrise Beach and swings left at Sunshine Beach to take you into Noosa Heads, the star of the Sunshine Coast. The township of Noosa, has the only major beach on the Queensland coast which faces north bordering the south side of the broad Laguna Bay. A big, high headland (Noosa Head) protects the beach and creates ideal conditions for swimming and surfing. Hastings Street is the main strip which boasts a vast range of restaurants, cafes, boutiques and luxury holiday apartments.
The village of Coolum Beach, 23 kilometres north of Mooloolaba and 135 kilometres from Brisbane, is a pretty large town of 18000. Some see it as an up and coming Noosa. It has a fine beach and a rapidly growing range of apartment-style accommodation. Nearby, Mount Coolum juts out of the coastal plain offering superb ocean views for those prepared for a long, but relatively easy walk, of several hours. Coolum provides a tranquil escape from the bustle of major cities and other major beaches on the Sunshine Coast.
Just 5 minutes north of Alexandra Headlands is Maroochydore, the heart of the Sunshine Coast. Maroochydore is the business centre of the Sunshine Coast, but still has the charm of a seaside village. Situated half way between Noosa and Caloundra, Maroochydore offers the holiday maker access to a variety of restaurants and shopping as well as access to some of the best estuary fishing on the Sunshine Coast. With a blend of safe patrolled surf beaches, and the calm waters of the Maroochy River, Maroochydore is a great central base for exploring the coast's attractions on your next holiday.
A five minute drive north brings you to Alexandra Headland, which surfboard riders from all over Australia discovered years ago to have some of the best surf on the Queensland coast off its rocky headland. The headland has a spectacular view north up the long, sweeping beach to the Maroochy River and beyond to Mount Coolum. The beach is great, buffered by the road and a wide expanse of parkland from the apartment blocks on the rise behind. A beautiful spot on what is known as the Sunshine Strip between Mooloolaba and the largest city on the coast, Maroochydore.
Just 16 kilometres north of Caloundra, the thriving township of Mooloolaba sits on a spit of land between a pretty boat harbour and beautiful ocean beaches with great surf. Wander around the Wharf complex on the river with its holiday boutiques and cafes, relax over a drink at Friday's tavern and take in the view. Stroll the long esplanade which skirts the surf beach. Mooloolaba (pronounced ma-loo-la-ba) has a lot of appeal if you like a bit of nightlife, people-watching, and good food in a place which is not super-sophisticated or trendy.
The southern gateway to the Sunshine Coast, Caloundra is set near a headland with four top surfing beaches on one side, including Kings Beach and Golden Beach at the northern entrance, to the Pumicestone channel on the other. Caloundra is very popular with families and there are plenty of places for youngsters to swim safely and good surf for mum and dad. Caloundra is a big town with plenty of cafes and restaurants. You can hire an outboard boat and go fishing in the Pumicestone Channel, rent a sailboard, hire a surfboard, or just take it easy.
The Sunshine Coast Hinterland offers stunning views of its surrounds including the Blackall Ranges. The area offers many art galleries, restaurants, cafe's country markets and comfortable bed and breakfast guesthouses. There's another side to the surf and sand of the Sunshine Coast which can be just as relaxing and is a little more low key. Why not visit Montville and Maleny or take a picnic to Mary Cairncross Park where beautiful views of the Glasshouse Mountains await.
Not too far from the mainland are two islands, both offering something very unique. Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world, and was World Heritage listed in 1993, it has 200 lakes, most of them perfect for swimming. Fraser Island is great for 4 Wheel Driving, and whale watching during the winter months. Lady Elliot Island is famous worldwide for its Green and Loggerhead turtle rookery, along with its extensive Manta Ray population and bird nesting grounds. At Lady Elliot Island guests can step right off the beach to snorkel, swim and dive in the Great Barrier Reef.