Even the name ‘Sunshine Coast’ is enough to evoke images of blue skies, soft golden sand, and shimmering water. And this is exactly what you get when you visit but that is just the beginning.
If you are driving from Brisbane it can take around 2 hours to get into the heart of the Sunshine Coast. Noosa is probably the most popular holiday destination, especially among families, and to be honest it is a good place to start. If you are feeling adventurous you can join one of the many surf schools and give riding the waves a go. Otherwise if you don’t enjoy being hit in the face by a surfboard or having a black eye for a week, (yes this happened to me once, and yes that ended my non existent surfing career) you can also lay out a towel and get some much needed vitamin D. Always remember to as the Australians say ‘slip slop slap’. The sun here is no joke and Australia has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world.
Another Sunshine Coast highlight are the Glasshouse Mountains. You can actually drive through part of the Glasshouse Mountains National Park on your way up from Brisbane where you will be treated with sights of pine forests and vast expanses of greenery (or brownery especially in the summer when there is little rain and the grass turns a bristly shade of brown). You can do a hike to the peak of several of the mountains with an accredited company. Unfortunately we were limited in time when we visited and missed out which is one of our biggest regrets.
One of the Sunshine Coast’s biggest tourist attractions has to be Australia Zoo. Steve Irwin invested a lot into Australia Zoo and it is now home to a number of creatures great and small. It is a great chance to get up close and personal with some slimey, scaley and even furry natives Australia is famed for. The Zoo does put a lot of time and money back into conservation projects around the world, which is good to know especially because I have very mixed feelings about the purpose of zoos.
Animal lovers can also head to Mooloolaba to visit Queensland’s largest oceanarium at Underwater World. The highlight definitely has to be the 80m long tunnel you can walk under whilst gazing at sharks and stingrays. It’s a truly captivating experience and well worth a visit.
Above all the sunshine coast is a brilliant place to visit and just relax. There are lots of trendy shops and cafes in places such as Noosa. There are also a lot of smaller beaches with a lot less people than say at coastal areas such as the Gold Coast. One of my favourite beaches has to be Dicky Beach. It can get quiet especially during off season and it is so easy to feel like you have the beach to yourself. And that in itself is worth visiting alone!
The Sunshine Coast really is Australia at it’s finest, with Sun, Sand and Sea. It definitely should not be missed!