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By Visit Sunshine Coast 

Imagine a summery beachside retreat with the added bonus of lush rainforests and fresh air and you have the perfect mix of the Sunshine Coast. You'll probably want to stay longer than a week but here's a seven-day itinerary that ticks all the boxes.

Coolum Beach
Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

Day 1. Explore the Sunshine Coast Hinterland

Fly directly to the Sunshine Coast Airport in Maroochydore or fly to Brisbane International Airport and pick up a hire car and drive to the Sunshine Coast.

Pick up a hire car or take a transfer to your accommodation to drop of your bags and get ready for your Sunshine Coast adventure!

From the minute you enter the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, surrounded by the peaks of the Glass House Mountains, you will instinctively slow down to take in the view.

On your way through the rolling hills of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, stop in for a light takeaway snack at Maleny Food Co. The team at Maleny Food Co offer delectable cheese, dried fruit, cracker, and chilled drink picnic baskets, perfect to pick up and enjoy at a nearby waterfall.

Just a short drive from Maleny Food Co, Gardner’s Falls is an easy stroll from the carpark. With a wonderful bush setting complete with rockpools and rope swings for the more daring, this is the perfect place to set up a picnic, pop in for a quick dip and enjoy lush greenery.

After exploring the lush rainforest, head to Brouhaha to try their locally crafted beer featuring flavours of the Sunshine Coast. Brouhaha are famous for their Strawberry Rhubarb Sour Beer which features delicious Sunshine Coast strawberries.

For a spot of shopping, stop in at Montville, a quaint Sunshine Coast Hinterland town where you will find chocolate shops, small boutiques, and beautiful views.

If you are feeling the need to stretch your legs, The Glass House Mountains’ peaks are calling you. Mount Ngungun is one of the most popular and easy hikes. It is a spectacular place to watch the sunset as it offers views all through the Hinterland. 

Suggested overnight: Narrows Escape, Sunshine Coast Hinterland

Mount Ngungun, Glass House Mountains 
Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

Day 2. Experience the Coastal Lifestyle

Start your day with a coffee and breaky from The Pocket Espresso Bar in Moffat Beach, Caloundra. We can’t go past the savoury muffins! Take the beautiful Coastal walk from Moffat to Caloundra and Golden beach, where it is time to hit the water.

With stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, and jet skis to hire, you’ll be all set to explore Pumicestone Passage which is the body of water between Bribie Island and the Queensland mainland. You will want to keep your eyes peeled; the passage is teaming with wildlife.

For lunch, stop off at the newly opened Greedy Gringos’ for a taste of Californian style tacos and a margarita or two before driving to Australia Zoo. Spend the afternoon with some of Australia’s most iconic animals. Get up close to koalas, kangaroos, wombats, and many more native animals. Australia Zoo is also home to an array of African and South-East Asian animals.

Head back to Alexandra Headlands to catch a stunning Sunshine Coast sunset. As the sun sets in red and gold, enjoy watching local surfers lap up the last waves of the evening.

In the evening, discover Mooloolaba Wharf, which boasts a variety of dining options, bars, and pubs. Local's favourite, Rice Boi, features delicious Asian fusion meals and fresh cocktails. The Dock is also another restaurant loved by Sunshine Coast locals which has waterfront views and relaxing vibes.

Suggested overnight: Mantra, Mooloolaba Beach

Mooloolaba Beach

Image credit: Visit Sunshine Coast

Day 3. Delve into Coolum Beach and Noosa

Start the day off with an early morning hike up Mount Coolum. It is a short 20-25 min walk to the peak of Mount Coolum and is a great spot to spot whales in the distance towards Mudjimba Island. Featuring sweeping coastal views, this walk is not one to be missed!

Pop into the Coolum Surf Club for some breakfast or a takeaway coffee. This iconic surf club features some of the best ocean views on the Sunshine Coast.

Head north towards Noosa, to the beautiful Habitat Noosa property, where you can experience the Noosa Everglades, the only Everglades in Australia. Join an Everglades Eco Safaris tour which offers an unforgettable wilderness cruise into one of Australia’s most pristine regions. Swim in tea tree infused waters, canoe through the mirrored waterways or simply relax in this unique natural environment.

In the evening, explore Noosa’s Hasting Street - home to fairy-lit walkways, boutique shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars. Make dinner reservations at Bistro C; where the menu is inspired by the amazing local produce of the Sunshine Coast and include favourites such as succulent steak, locally caught fish, oysters, and signature dishes such as the caramelised pork belly and a coconut chicken salad, as well as calamari that will melt in your mouth.

Suggested overnight: Culgoa Point Beach Resort or Noosa Blue

Noosa Everglades
Everglades - Sunshine Coast_
Image credit: Tourism & Events Queensland

Day 4. Head out on the Great Beach Drive

A trip to Queensland's Sunshine Coast is not complete without indulging in a unique once in a lifetime four-wheel drive tour experiencing the Great Beach Drive from Noosa to Rainbow Beach with Great Beach Drive 4WD Tours. More than just a drive, this tour is an unforgettable experience of the natural beauty and rich history of this unique coastline, with knowledgeable and passionate guides. Explore idyllic National Parks, the Great Sandy Biosphere, the coloured sands at Teewah, and stunning views at the Double Island Point lighthouse. Travel on more than 70 kilometres of iconic beaches so you can soak in the scenery and wildlife, such as dolphins, manta rays, turtles, soldier crabs, bird life, and whales (whale season is June to October). This is a full day activity so be prepared to relax in the evening!

Take in the unparalleled sunset outlook of the stunning Sunshine Beach from The Surf Club as you enjoy your dinner with a view. From the spacious Ocean Deck and Seaside Deck with unencumbered views to their unique dining areas and booths where diners can taste the best the sea has to offer, their seafood dishes are not to be missed!

Suggested overnight: Culgoa Point Beach Resort or Noosa Blue

Great Beach Drive 

Great Beach Drive
Image credit: Tourism & Events Queensland

Day 5. Relax and Rejuvenate

Throw on your trainers and head to the Noosa National Park. Nestled on the doorstep of Noosa, this popular park features some of South-East Queensland's most picturesque scenery. Discover secluded beaches, rugged coastal features, and views from the iconic headland at Noosa Heads. Spot dolphins frolicking in the ocean at Boiling Pot and Dolphin Point and be thrilled as thunderous waves crash into the rocks below Hell's Gates. Wind through lush rainforest, fragrant open woodlands and heathlands exploring 15 kilometres of walking tracks. Walk along clifftops boasting unforgettable coastal views before leaving your footprints on pristine sandy beaches.

Spend your afternoon relaxing at the award winning Ikatan Spa. Massage and treatments created at Ikatan are based on wellness and stress-relief for body, mind and soul using Balinese traditional techniques as well as spice and herbal recipes for body treatments. Bali village style, where life is at a slower pace and your therapist has ample time to prepare and care for you with packages, massage, facials, body treatments, pedicures, manicures, and head massage treatments. Unlike other day spas, the tropical gardens at Ikatan are part of the relaxation experience for guests. Enjoy high tea, platters, light lunch, or taster plates in their garden and let the afternoon drift away.

When the sun has gone down, drive to Spirit House in Yandina. Clustered around a tranquil pond, the restaurant setting is magical - a temple style main building with covered courtyard tables nestled amongst lush tropical gardens with towering palms and stands of bamboo. Their menu focuses on local ingredients creating amazing Thai inspired dishes. A visit to the Spirit House is a treat for all your senses, sight, sound, scent and of course, taste.

Suggested overnight: Culgoa Point Beach Resort or Noosa Blue

Noosa Main Beach 
Image credit: Tourism & Events Queensland

Day 6. Discover Rainbow Beach

Start your day with a coffee and breakfast at Thomas Corner Eatery in Noosaville. The café has a bright modern ambience and a relaxed holiday vibe. The menu changes regularly, taking full advantage of what the Sunshine Coast region produces from the sea and hinterland.

Head onto the Bruce Highway and start the drive to Rainbow Beach. Rainbow Beach is nestled between Fraser Island, Great Sandy National Park, and the expansive Pacific Ocean. Here you will discover an adventure playground with striking natural beauty, including Carlo Sand Blow, the coloured sands, and Double Island Point.

Join Epic Ocean Adventures for a Dolphin View Kayak Tour or Stand-Up Paddle Eco Tour at Sunshine Coast's hidden tropical paradise, Double Island Point. Double Island Point is the Sunshine Coast’s best kept surf and wildlife secret. Featuring tropical, warm waters all year round, long empty surf and a buzzing hub of wildlife are some of many of the National Park’s highlights. Bottlenose dolphins, Humpback whales, turtles, rays, and many different bird species are all frequently experienced in here.

When the sun starts to set, head to Carlo Sand Blow. Carlo Sand Blow is a unique "moonscape" sand mass covering over 15 hectares and overlooks the towering coloured sands and the coastline from Double Island Point to Inskip Peninsula and the southern tip of Fraser Island. Bring along a picnic and a bottle of wine and watch one of the most stunning sunsets in Australia.

Suggested overnight: Rainbow Ocean Palms Resort or Plantation Resort 

Rainbow Beach

Image credit: Tourism & Events Queensland

Day 7.

Stroll along the beach and have a quick dip in the ocean before breakfast. Rainbow Beach has a selection of cafes, and our recommendation would be Café Jilarity.

Once arriving back to the Sunshine Coast, if time permits, drive to Cotton Tree and get a takeaway to eat on the beach for one last chance to feel the sand between your toes.

Start your journey back to the Sunshine Coast Airport in Maroochydore or Brisbane for your departure.

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