Best things to do on the Sunshine Coast

Are you planning to visit the Sunshine Coast?  This article covers the best things to do on the Sunshine Coast, including tourist attractions, activities and places to visit.

The Queensland Travel Guide acknowledges the Kabi Kabi people and the Jinibara people, the Traditional Custodians of the land on which the Sunshine Coast is situated. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continued spiritual and cultural connections to Country.  Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.

There are plenty of Sunshine Coast things to do!  Known, of course, for being home to stunning beaches, sought-after surf breaks and the type of laid-back lifestyle Australia is known and loved for.   It’s easy to see why the Sunshine Coast has been crowned the Most Loved Destination in the World!

Among the top Sunshine Coast attractions include some of Queensland’s very best beaches, Steve Irwin’s world famous Australia Zoo, the beautiful hinterland with quaint small towns, numerous beer and gin distilleries, fabulous markets where you can buy souvenirs galore, plenty of restaurants where you can feast on freshly caught seafood and much much more!

Whether you’re a foodie, a sun-seeker or someone with a thirst for the great outdoors, the Sunshine Coast has something for everyone. So whether you’re after things to do on the Sunshine Coast with kids, a loved one or on your own, it’s the ideal place to spend a few days or even a few weeks.

This must do Sunshine Coast guide will help you decide what to add to your itinerary.  It covers a broad range of Sunshine Coast activities, including all the popular attractions on the Sunshine Coast, the best Sunshine Coast places to visit, and all the essential information such as locations, opening hours and ticket prices.

In addition, this visit Sunshine Coast guide includes tips on the best day tours and where to stay.

So let’s get into it and check out the top attractions and activities on the Sunshine Coast!

This post may contain compensated links.  Please refer to our disclaimer here for more information.

SUNSHINE COAST THINGS TO DO MAP

Before we get started on all the great Sunshine Coast tourist attractions to help you plan your itinerary, check out the map below.  This map shows the location of all the top Sunshine Coast tourist spots covered in this guide.

I recommend you make a short list of all the attractions you want to see and then use this map to plan your day to day Sunshine Coast sightseeing itinerary, so you’re not travelling back and forth all over town.

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BEST THINGS TO DO ON THE SUNSHINE COAST

Below we cover the Sunshine Coast top things to do and see.

1 Go to the beach!

The top of your Sunshine Coast must dos list has to be a day at the beach! Some of Australia’s best beaches are located on the Sunshine Coast, making it the ideal holiday destination if you’re looking for free things to do on the Sunshine Coast. 

Sunshine Coast’s top beaches include the dazzling sand of Marcoola Beach, which offers great surf breaks; Noosa’s iconic Main Beach, which runs parallel to the classy Hastings Street, Moffat Beach, which is quieter with beautiful scenery, and Dicky Beach, which offers unspoilt sand and great opportunities for families.  

There are beaches for every occasion! You’ll find sheltered waters that are perfect if you’re looking for things to do with the kids on the Sunshine Coast – Currimundi Lake is an idyllic spot with shallow water for wading and paddling. 

There are dog-friendly beaches if you want to take your best friend for a swim, as many beaches offer off-lead sections (sometimes this is during restricted times of the day). In addition, beaches such as Coolum, Buddina, Wurtulla and Marcus Beach have sections where dogs are welcome.

Plus, there are secret gems if you’re looking for peace and solitude. Don’t miss the secluded Point Cartwright Beach, as it’s the perfect place to sit under a tree and watch the waves lapping the shore.

Spending a day at the beach is one of the best cheap things to do on the Sunshine Coast. Parking is free, so just pack yourself a picnic and you can start exploring. Don’t forget your beach shade, sunscreen and hat. 

2 Australia Zoo

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Australia Zoo is one of the best day trips! Sunshine Coast is home to the iconic attraction made famous by the late Steve Irwin, also known as the Crocodile Hunter. 

It’s a big day out where you’ll be treated to live shows (the daily Wildlife Warriors show is not to be missed) and presentations throughout the day. The crocodile show and tiger show are very popular, so ensure you get in early for a good seat.

Come along and see koalas, crocodiles, red pandas, giraffes, tigers, dingoes, snakes, birds, lizards and so much more. 

Australia Zoo also has a waterpark perfect for giving the kids some downtime between seeing the animals (don’t forget to pack swimmers and a towel!)

You can easily spend a full day exploring Australia Zoo and not see everything, so wear comfortable walking shoes. If you’ve got little ones, it’s a good idea to bring a pram with you, but you can hire one or even a pull along wagon (which is handy if you’re bringing a picnic) when you arrive. 

Australia Zoo is definitely one of the top attractions Sunshine Coast has to offer.   

Location: 1638 Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah

Hours: Daily 9 am to 5 pm 

Cost: With hospital sneak peek: $61.95 Adults | $41.95 Kids (3 – 14) | $190.95 Family (2A+2C) | $214.95 Family (2A+3C) – Click here to book tickets online

3 Take a surf lesson

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Given how fabulous the coastline is, it’s no wonder Sunshine Coast water activities are a popular holiday attraction. 

Surfing is definitely one of the cool things to do on the Sunshine Coast. Whether you’re a beginner or a more experienced surfer, it is up there in the top ten things to do on the Sunshine Coast. 

Beginners (8 years old and over) can take a surf lesson to build their confidence in the ocean and learn the basics of surfing. Everything you need is usually provided; you just need to bring your enthusiasm.

You will quickly find that surfing is one of the most exciting things to do on the Sunshine Coast. By the end of your surf lesson, you’ll be able to stand up and you’ll be hooked! Intermediate and advanced lessons are also available for more experienced surfers. 

A range of operators offer surf lessons – Click here to see what’s available.

4 Maleny Botanic Gardens and Birdworld

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Image Credit – Tourism and Events Queensland

The Maleny Botanic Gardens and Birdworld is a fantastic day out if you’re looking for fun things to do on the Sunshine Coast! It’s two attractions in one. So dedicate a morning or afternoon to enjoy one of our favourite Sunshine Coast hinterland attractions.

These privately-owned gardens cover an area of 18 acres and they’re surrounded by lush rainforests with fantastic views across the Glass House Mountains. Enjoy meandering along the walking trails as you take in the stunning plant life, lakes, waterfalls and colourful flowers. You can also hire a golf cart, which is the perfect solution if you aren’t as mobile or have kids with tired legs.

After enjoying the spectacular hinterland views and tropical gardens, you can explore the adjoining attraction: Birdworld. Walk through the aviaries that are home to hundreds of native and exotic birds from all around the world and laugh as the birds peck at your shoelaces (don’t forget to remove jewellery as some of the birds are partial to shiny things!) 

The guided tour teaches you all about the birds in a truly immersive experience, and there are plenty of photo opportunities so you can capture these precious memories. 

This is one of the Sunshine Coast hinterland tourist attractions not to be missed!

Location: 233 Maleny-Stanley River Road, Maleny

Hours: 9 am to 4.30 pm daily 

Cost: $40 Adults | $25 Kids (3 – 14) | $105 Family (2A+2C) – Click here to book tickets online

5 The Ginger Factory

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One of the best things to do with toddlers Sunshine Coast offers is to visit The Ginger Factory! Here you’ll find a variety of things to explore, depending on the ages of your family. 

You can also just pop into the shop, playground and restaurant to enjoy lunch or ice cream without booking in for one of the tours or experiences, making it a great option if you’re looking for free things to do on the Sunshine Coast to fill a bit of time.

To get the best out of The Ginger Factory, it’s worth booking some of the tours. You can enjoy the 116-year-old historic sugar cane train that chugs through 9 hectares of lush tropical gardens, the Live Bee Show and honey tasting, and the Overboard Boat ride, where you board a boat and follow the gingerbread man on an adventure. 

The Ginger Factory is one of those great kid-friendly things to do on the Sunshine Coast. 

If you’re travelling without kids in tow, the bee tour and factory tours are still worth a look and the cafe offers some delicious options that showcase the best of the Sunshine Coast’s regional produce – plus, you can buy plenty of treats to take home.

Location: 50 Pioneer Road, Yandina

Hours: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

Cost: Entry is free | Tour prices vary depending on the bundle – Click here to book tickets online

6 Enjoy a canal cruise

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After a day of exploring must see Sunshine Coast attractions, it’s time to unwind, grab yourself a sundowner cocktail and set sail to enjoy a sunset cruise along the Mooloolaba River. This is one of those special things to do on the Sunshine Coast at night that will create a memorable end to your day. 

Treat yourself to a delicious food platter and enjoy the expert commentary as you sail the canals and enjoy the sights of Millionaire’s Row. Maybe you’ll spot your dream home!

You can also take a morning or afternoon cruise (some tours even include a lunch option).

It’s a relaxing experience where you can soak in the views and enjoy the serenity of exploring at a gentle pace from the water. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife and see how many pelicans you can count!  

There is a range of tour options available – Click here to find out more

7 Stand up paddle boarding

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If you love outdoor activities, Sunshine Coast canals, lakes and the ocean offer a great opportunity to get out on the water for fresh air and exercise. Paddle boarding is the perfect way to escape the crowds and enjoy the calm and serenity of the Sunshine Coast.

Suitable for a wide range of ages, whether you’re looking for things to do for couples on the Sunshine Coast or family things to do on the Sunshine Coast, you’ll have an incredible time learning to balance and paddle while you take in the spectacular Sunshine Coast scenery.

There are opportunities to hire a paddle board at various locations. Alternatively, join a paddle boarding lesson like this one at Noosa. 

8 Maleny Dairies

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Image Credit – Tourism and Events Queensland

Maleny Dairies is among the best things to do in the Sunshine Coast hinterland for all ages. Join a guided 1.5-hour tour where you’ll see how the farm operates and meet some of the animals. You can even try your hand at milking a cow! 

During the tour, you’ll find out how the milk is bottled and processed, see some of their fascinating machinery and you might be lucky to see the line of cows being brought in for milking.

At the end of the tour, you can sample lots of their milk-based produce. Delicious.

Don’t forget to pack a cool bag and ice blocks, as you’re sure to want to stock up on some of the products in the shop. 

Location: 70 McCarthy Rd, Maleny 

Hours: Tours usually take place regularly but they’re currently on hold while the experience is redeveloped. In the meantime, you can still purchase their delicious dairy products from the office Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm

Cost: $18 Adults | $15 Kids (3 – 14) | $65 Family (2A+3C) 

9 Eumundi Markets

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If you love food, art and a vibrant atmosphere, you must add Eumundi Markets to your list of Sunshine Coast things to do and see.

With over 600 stalls, Eumundi is said to be one of Australia’s biggest art and craft markets. It’s a great place to find local makers selling everything from jewellery and toys to prints, metalwork and clothes.

The best part is (in our opinion) the huge selection of fragrant food stalls selling everything from skewers of satay chicken and fresh, organic salads to freshly pressed fruit juice and gourmet coffee. So add this to your list of Sunshine Coast day trips list, and make sure you go along hungry. 

Location: 80 Memorial Drive, Eumundi 

Hours: Saturdays 7 am to 2 pm | Wednesdays 8 am to 2 pm

Cost: Entry to the market is free | Parking fee applies in the main car park 

A range of operators offer transfers or tours to Eumundi Markets – Click here to see what’s available

10 Go strawberry picking

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Image Credit – Tourism and Events Queensland

If you’re exhausted from doing all of the Sunshine Coast tourist activities, there is no better way to chill out than to go strawberry picking. Strawberry picking gets you out in the fresh air to enjoy some peace and quiet in nature. 

You can often treat yourself to delicious treats like strawberry ice cream, strawberry jam, cakes and scones too (in addition to the crate of strawberries you get to take home at the end of it).

Strawberry picking is one of those things to do on the Sunshine Coast for kids AND adults – everybody will love it. 

Location: Multiple locations available

Hours: Check with the farm for seasons and opening times

Cost: Depends on how many you pick!

11 Find a scenic viewpoint

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Not all activities have to be expensive; free things to do on the Sunshine Coast are often the best and the most memorable. The scenery around the Sunshine Coast is absolutely breathtaking and there are so many scenic viewpoints offering you panoramic views of the mountains, rolling countryside and sparkling coastline. 

Go for a sunrise hike and enjoy your breakfast with a view, or take some nibbles to watch the sunset. Exploring the scenic lookouts is one of those great things to do in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. 

12 SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast

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Looking for Sunshine Coast rainy day activities? When you’re on holiday on the Sunshine Coast, wet weather activities don’t need to spoil your fun – SEA Life Sunshine Coast is the perfect attraction. It’s also great if you’re looking for indoor activities. Sunshine Coast weather can get HOT in summer, so enjoy being inside with the air conditioning. 

SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast allows you to get up close with marine life. Kids will love dunking their hands in the touch pools, and everyone will enjoy the fun seal show. 

There are lots of displays where you can learn all about sea creatures. The main feature is the Ocean Tunnel, where you can walk through a series of glass tunnels with sharks and rays swimming over your head!

For a little interlude, there is also an indoor play area so parents can rest their feet for a few minutes while the kids play. 

Check out their school holiday activities – you can even enjoy a sleepover with the sharks!

Location: Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba

Hours: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm, last entry at 4 pm

Cost: $47 Adults | $33 Kids – Click here to book online

13 Go for a coastal hike

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If you’re looking for things to do on the Sunshine Coast for free, why not take a walk? 

The Coastal Pathway stretches 73 km from Bells Creek in the south to Coolum in the north. It’s the best way to enjoy the coastal views, and walking it with your partner is one of those perfectly romantic things to do. 

Sunshine Coast beach walks are a great place to take photos and create memories with your partner, your kids, or alone so you can really enjoy the serenity of the experience.  

Location: Tackle as much or as little of the Coastal Pathway as you like!

Hours: Always

Cost: Free – Plan your route here

14 Big Pineapple and Wildlife HQ

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Image Credit – Tourism and Events Queensland

Did you know that Australia is full of ‘big things’? For example, the Sunshine Coast is home to the Big Pineapple – a national tourist attraction that features a 16m tall fibreglass pineapple structure. 

If you’re looking for free activities on the Sunshine Coast to fill a little time, The Big Pineapple is fun and free to enter. Unfortunately, the Big Pineapple Train is currently closed and the area is being reinvigorated with a new master plan, so keep an eye on developments.

If you have more time to spare, Wildlife HQ is located on the same site as the Big Pineapple and is part of the attraction. It’s worth a visit if you’re looking for things to do on the Sunshine Coast for families. 

Go along to see native wildlife and exotic animals from around the world, including koalas, dingoes, snakes, crocodiles, red pandas and meerkats. It’s a very different experience to Australia Zoo – much more compact and intimate, so it’s great for little ones.  

Location: 76 Nambour Connection Rd, Woombye

Hours: Big Pineapple daily from 8.30 am to 4 pm | Wildlife HQ daily from 9 am to 4 pm. 

Cost: Free to enter the Big Pineapple | Wildlife HQ entry fees: $39 Adults | $25 Kids (3 – 15)  | $109 Family (2A+2C) 

15 Climb Mount Coolum

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One of the best Sunshine Coast free activities is climbing Mount Coolum. It’s definitely one for your bucket list. This incredible volcanic dome dominates the Sunshine Coast landscape and the views from the 208m high summit are spectacular. 

You’ll need to be reasonably fit to tackle the 1.5-hour return climb as some parts are rocky and steep, but the views across to Double Island Point down to Caloundra make it all worth it.

Don’t forget your hat, water, snacks and your camera. 

Location: Begin at Mount Coolum Car Park, Tanah Street West 

Hours: Only attempt during daylight hours
Cost
: Free

16 Sunshine Castle

The Sunshine Castle is one of those slightly quirky but fun family activities. Sunshine Coast Castle is a Norman castle complete with a moat and drawbridge built in 1972 by a Scottish couple and it has since been turned into a medieval museum. 

Unfortunately, some parts of the castle are no longer open to the public, but there is still much to see. Kids love the self-guided treasure hunt through the atmospheric great hall and the castle courtyard. There is also a doll museum and toy shop to explore.   

Location: 292-296 David Low Way, Bli Bli 

Hours: Monday to Saturday, 9.30 am – 4.30 pm | Sundays, 10 am to 3 pm

Cost: $8 per person

17 Go fishing

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Image Credit – Tourism and Events Queensland

The Sunshine Coast offers diverse fishing experiences for all ages and abilities. So whether you’re looking for things for kids to do on the Sunshine Coast, you’re looking to throw a line in from the beach, or you’re looking to get out on a boat to enjoy some ocean fishing, there are all kinds of fishing opportunities waiting for you.

If you’ve got your own fishing gear, you can grab some bait and set up wherever the mood takes you. However, if you haven’t brought your gear or are a new hand at fishing, you can book a fishing trip where everything you need is provided. 

A range of operators offer fishing trips – Click here to see what’s available

18 Aussie World

Aussie World is one of those great things to do on the Sunshine Coast for kids. Aussie World is more compact than the Gold Coast theme parks, the lines are shorter and the ticket prices are much cheaper, making it an ideal Sunshine Coast attraction for families. 

There are over 18 Aussie World rides and attractions spread out over 15 acres, so there is plenty to entertain you all day long. Rides include a water flume, Ferris wheel, carousel and teacup rides, but there are also some thrill rides for those daredevils amongst you! 

Because of the wide range of rides, it’s perfect for toddlers, teens, parents and grandparents alike. 

Location: 1 Downunder Drive, Palmview

Hours: Daily from 10 am to 4 pm (around Christmas this can be reduced to 10 am to 3 pm)

Cost: Online Adult or Kids $46 (on the door, $49.95) | Online Group of 4 $166 (on the door, $199) | Online group of 5 $208 (on the door, $248) + booking fee

19 Shopping on Hastings Street, Noosa

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You can’t visit the Sunshine Coast without enjoying a shopping trip along Noosa’s Hastings Street. It’s one of those iconic activities. Sunshine Coast shopping streets don’t come any more cosmopolitan or stylish than this. 

If you’ve got little ones in tow and you’re looking for things to do on Sunshine Coast with kids, there are lots of opportunities to buy ice cream along Hastings Street that will keep them entertained while you enjoy some window shopping for beachwear, coastal decor and chic day wear.  

Visiting Hastings Street is also one of the best things to do at night on the Sunshine Coast, as all the trees that line the main street are lit with twinkling fairy lights. Stop off for dinner at one of the cafes or restaurants that line the street and enjoy the sights and sounds of this vibrant beach town. 

Location: In the heart of Noosa

20 Rainforest walk at Mary Cairncross Reserve

Mary Cairncross scenic reserve is close to Maleny and offers a range of walks through the lush rainforest. The reserve encompasses 55 hectares of subtropical rainforest overlooking the Glass House Mountains. The region is teeming with plant and animal life. 

If you’re looking for Sunshine Coast things to do for families, there is a comprehensive (and free) discovery centre with lots of hands-on educational activities for the kids. 

Plus, outside is a fantastic wooden playground that will entertain little ones for hours, along with BBQ facilities so you can cook up a treat and make a day of it (there is a cafe if you prefer to buy your lunch). 

The rainforest walks vary from 1.3km to 1.7km, and if you prefer, you can book a guided walk conducted by volunteers with extensive knowledge of the landscape and forest.

It’s another example of the fun things to do on the Sunshine Coast for free.

Location: 148 Mountain View Road, Maleny

Hours: Rainforest Discovery Centre daily from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm | Rainforest walks daily from 7 am to 6 pm

Cost: Free

21 Go skydiving

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Image Credit – Tourism and Events Queensland

Looking for fun activities on the Sunshine Coast? Enjoy the ultimate rush by jumping free-fall at 15,000 feet eight over the stunning Noosa coastline on a tandem skydive. Plunge at 220 mph over one of the most beautiful parts of Queensland, and what a rush it will be! 

A range of operators offer skydives on the Sunshine Coast, such as Skydive Australia – Click here for more information

22 Jet boat ride

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When it comes to Sunshine Coast must see and do activities, it’s always about the epic coastline. One of the fun activities on the Sunshine Coast is exploring on a jet boat for some adrenaline-fuelled entertainment.  

You’ll enjoy this dramatic adventure that takes you out into the ocean, where you can enjoy the thrills of the ocean swell with salt spray in your hair. Some boat rides stop to give you time to enjoy the views and look for wildlife, so it’s not all fast-paced fun. 

It’s an activity where you’re guaranteed to get wet, so this can also be a good activity to book when you’re looking for things to do on the Sunshine Coast in the rain. 

A range of operators offer jet boating on the Sunshine Coast – Click here to see what’s available

23 QCamel Dairy Farm

One of those unique attractions near Sunshine Coast is QCamels Dairy. This working dairy farm is a premium supplier of certified organic camel milk and milk products. Known for its nutritional and medicinal properties, camel milk is a delicious alternative to cow or goat milk. 

It’s fascinating learning more about these gentle giants and on your farm tour, you get to experience some camel cuddles and get a behind the scenes tour of how the farm operates. It’s educational and fun!  

Location: Address is confirmed when you book a farm tour ticket 

Hours: Tours operate every Saturday plus more dates during school holidays

Cost: Camel Cuddles Tour $35 Adults | $20 Kids | $110 Family 

24 Bathe in the Noosa Fairy Pools

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If you love discovering hidden gems, you’ll love Noosa’s Fairy Pools! Visiting them is definitely one of the Sunshine Coast best things to do. 

Noosa’s Fairy Pools are accessible on foot from town by following a track at the end of Main Beach. It’s best to tackle the hike early in the morning before it gets too hot.

The walk to the Fairy Pools will take you at least an hour each way, as you’ll want to stop and marvel at the view as you go. When you get to Picnic Cove, you’ll see a bench and the pathway bends. It’s here that you need to head down over the rocks. At the bottom of the slope, there are some larger rocks to climb over to the Fairy Pools, which are pretty rock pools that fill with seawater. 

Wear closed shoes for the hike and don’t forget your sunscreen, hat and water bottle. A travel towel is also handy, so you can dry off before walking back. 

Location: The pathway begins at the end of Main Beach
Hours: This hike is best tackled in daylight

25 Noosa Everglades

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For a true wilderness experience on the Sunshine Coast, visit the Noosa Everglades – one of only two everglade systems on the planet. 

You can explore this breathtakingly beautiful landscape in a specially designed eco-boat and some of the tours include a paddle in a canoe through the famous River of Mirrors. You’ve never known tranquillity like it – it’s one of the most calming water activities. 

The Sunshine Coast Everglades in Noosa are the only everglades where you can safely swim too (you’ll find alligators lurking in the other!)

This activity should be on your Sunshine Coast top 10 things to do, as it’s a privilege to be able to explore such a rare ecosystem. 

A range of tour options are available for the Noosa Everglades – Click here to see what is available

26 Mary Valley Rattler Train

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Jump on board the Mary Rattler Train – one of those historic, fun family activities. Sunshine Coast journeys don’t come more nostalgic than this!

This scenic railway chugs its way through the picturesque Mary Valley from Gympie to Amamoor, where the train turns via a turntable and makes its return journey. 

This is a must-do for any train lovers in your family. 

Location: Gympie Train Station

Hours: Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays

Cost: $65 – Click here to book tickets online

27 Visit a waterfall

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When you visit the Sunshine Coast, don’t spend all your time at the beach- there is so much to explore inland too. One of the best Sunshine Coast hinterland things to do is to visit some of the Sunshine Coast’s waterfalls. 

You won’t be short of beautiful waterfalls either, as there are plenty to fill your trip. The most famous are Kondalilla Falls, Buderim Falls and Gardiner Falls. 

Pack your swimmers and a picnic and discover some of the best natural tourist attractions in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. 

28 DownUnder Submarines

You no longer need to be a qualified diver to explore the underwater world! This unique activity is Australia’s first ever submarine tourist attraction. 

The tour begins with a 20-minute cruise to the dive site so that you can enjoy the sights of the Mooloolaba River. Then, it’s time to head into the secure, air-conditioned cabin as the submarine descends 30m below the ocean, where you can enjoy the incredible underwater scenery through your viewing window. 

A guided commentary talks you through the experience, so you know what is happening at every stage and can learn about sea life outside your window. 

Location: Depart from DeBrett Fisheries, 21 Parkyn Parade Mooloolaba 

Cost: $253 Adults | $143 Kids 

29 Maleny Cheese Factory

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Image Credit – Tourism and Events Queensland

Cheese fans will love visiting Maleny Cheese Factory! You can sample a wide range of delicious cheeses and creamy yoghurts and take a peek at the working dairy factory. 

Order yourself a shared cheese board and sit outside to enjoy the rolling views of the Sunshine Coast hinterland as the afternoon slips by. If you’ve been so busy looking for things to do around the Sunshine Coast constantly during your holiday, this is your chance to stop and enjoy being in the moment with some fabulous local produce and great views. 

Location: 1 Clifford St, Balmoral Ridge

Hours: Daily from 10 am to 3 pm

Cost: It depends how much cheese you buy!

30 Explore a national park

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There may be many Sunshine Coast tours and attractions, but it’s the national parks and forests where you can really experience the best of what the region offers. 

The lush forests, trickling rivers and epic waterfalls need to be in your top 10 things to do on the Sunshine Coast, as the landscape is really at the heart of what makes this region so special.

Sunshine Coast’s national parks are of cultural significance, and they are the best opportunity to reconnect with nature as you venture deep into the lush forests. There are walking trails to suit all ages and abilities, including boardwalks and paved pathways if you are looking for an accessible way to explore. 

31 Swim with whales

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If you’re lucky to be visiting the Sunshine Coast between July and October, you can join this small group Eco Tourism Certified tour to see majestic humpback whales in their natural environment. This tour takes whale watching to a whole new level! 

On tour, you’ll head out into the ocean to find the whales, and then, when a pod is spotted, you’ll be able to enter the water with a qualified PADI Divemaster and Instructors for the most incredible experience.

This is one of those epic things to do up the Sunshine Coast – it’s a once in a lifetime experience you’ll never forget.

The small group swim with whales tours from Sunreef Mooloolaba are limited to groups of 15 and under – Click here to see what options are available.

32 Visit a distillery, brewery or winery

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There are so many Sunshine Coast fun things to do that involve food and drink, so this region is perfect for you if you’re a foodie. In fact, the Sunshine Coast considers itself Australia’s craft beer capital.

A tour is the best way to explore the region’s distilleries, breweries and wineries so you get to enjoy a curated journey while being driven around so you can sample the best the region has to offer from the comfort of an air-conditioned minibus. 

You’ll also get to enjoy a grazing platter as you sip. Be prepared to bring some bags home with you! 

A range of operators offer tasting tours – Click here to see what’s available.

SUNSHINE COAST DAY TRIPS

While there are so many things to see and do on the Sunshine Coast – if you’re keen, there are a few nearby places that make great day trips. It is recommended you stay at least a few days in each of these areas, but if you only have a day, then a day trip is possible.

Brisbane 

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Laid back, clean and vibrant, Brisbane makes a great day trip from the Sunshine Coast. Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and it boasts everything from lush parklands and gardens to modern galleries and cosmopolitan waterfront dining. 

There are so many attractions to choose from in Brisbane. For culture seekers, there is the Queensland Museum, QAGOMA (The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art) and the National Maritime Museum. 

For wildlife lovers, there is Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. For lovers of gardens, there is Roma Street Parkland and the tranquil Southbank Parkland. For thrill seekers, there is the bridge climb, rock climbing and kayaking

You can’t beat a simple stroll along the river or a swim at the iconic Streets Beach. 

Thanks to its year-round sunshine, Brisbane is the perfect destination at any time of the year and it’s a great opportunity to combine your Sunshine Coast stay with a city break.  

Click here for our full guide on things to do in Brisbane.

Gold Coast

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Queensland’s Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast offer such different experiences (the Sunshine Coast is laid back and leafy, and the Gold Coast is known as being more lively and glamorous). So if you get the opportunity, it’s a great idea to take a day trip to the Gold Coast. 

Both regions are beautiful beachside havens packed with fun things for tourists to enjoy, and there is also the beautiful hinterland to explore. 

The Gold Coast is the place to go if you’re looking for fast-paced theme parks like Wet ‘n’ Wild, Warner Bros. Movie World, WhiteWater World, Dreamworld and Sea World, so it makes a great day trip from the Sunshine Coast. 

There’s also surfing, hot air ballooning, kayaking and plenty more to keep you entertained.

If you can only spare one day for a Gold Coast day trip, you’ll have difficulty deciding how to spend it as there is so much to see and do! 

Click here for our full guide on things to do on the Gold Coast.

K’gari (Fraser Island)

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North of the Sunshine Coast is K’gari, the largest sand island in the world – it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers.  While it’s a big day, a day trip from the Sunshine Coast is possible. 

While you won’t see all of the awesome attractions on K’gari during a day trip – you will see some of the island’s highlights.  You can swim in the crystal clear waters of Lake Mackenzie and Eli Creek and spot the island’s iconic dingos as you cruise up Seventy-Five Mile Beach.  You’ll also have time to explore the ancient rainforest of Central Station.

Click here to find out about K’gari tours from the Sunshine Coast.

Click here for our full guide on things to do on K’gari.

Rainbow Beach

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Rainbow Beach is a pretty, sub-tropical coastal town named after its iconic rainbow-coloured sands. 

While you can do some walks in the area to appreciate the stunning scenery, you really need to experience the incredible coloured cliff faces and sand dunes on a 4WD beach drive. A tour is a great way to do this as you’ll also learn about the region’s history and the Aboriginal legend about how the coloured sand was formed. 

Make sure you visit Carlo Sandblow while you’re there. A walkway from the car park leads you through the rainforest to an impressive sand dune where you can look out across the water to K’gari (Fraser Island). 

There are private tours to Rainbow Beach departing from the Noosa region, or if you have a vehicle, you can drive to Rainbow Beach to pick up a tour from there.

Click here to find out what’s available.

BEST HOTELS ON THE SUNSHINE COAST

Looking for somewhere to stay on the Sunny Coast?  We recommend booking through Booking.com as they offer a wide range of hotels, most with free cancellation, which is ideal for last minute changes.

However, if you want our hotel recommendation, we’ve listed our top pick for a luxury hotel, family hotel, mid range and budget hotel.

Best Luxury Hotel: Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort

Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort is perfectly located on Hastings Street in the heart of Noosa. The greatest benefit of this hotel is that you can leave your car at the resort, as everything you need is just a walk away. This 5-star luxury hotel has exceptional facilities, including an on-site restaurant, a day spa and a heated outdoor pool. 

A range of air conditioned accommodation options include apartments, suites, villas and rooms. All studios offer contemporary furnishings and have a private balcony (choose between village, pool, ocean or river views) and a kitchenette with fridge and tea/coffee making facilities, along with a flat-screen TV offering cable channels.

Indulge your senses in the Aqua Day Spa (the most perfect of rainy day activities Sunshine Coast!), laze under an umbrella beside the sprawling pool and then savour the seasonal menu and enjoy some of the best seafood in Noosa at their Noosa Beach House restaurant. Afterwards, stroll along Hastings Street to enjoy the sights and sounds of this iconic coastal town.   

Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort combines convenience with sheer luxury for the perfect Noosa stay.

Click here for more information or to book

Best Family Hotel: Oaks Sunshine Coast Oasis Resort

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Oaks Sunshine Coast Oasis offers family-friend accommodation close to the beach in Caloundra and features everything you need to entertain the kids. You might even find it difficult to pull your little ones away from the resort to try some of the fun things to do with kids on the Sunshine Coast, as there is so much on offer here!

With air-conditioned accommodation ranging from rooms and studios to family-sized apartments and villas, there are plenty of options no matter how large your family group. Rooms include a bath or shower, refrigerator, tea/coffee maker and a TV with cable channels. Larger rooms have a kitchenette and balconies. Free Wi-Fi is included across room types.

Oaks Sunshine Coast Oasis Resort is set in tropical gardens with an incredible water park, resort-style pool, putt putt golf course, sandpit, climbing frame and giant jumping pillow. There is an on-site restaurant and a bar with poolside access. 

This is a great hotel for families looking for a comfortable resort with plenty of entertainment on site for the kids. 

Click here for more information or to book

Best Mid Range Hotel: BreakFree Alexandra Beach

BreakFree Alexandra Beach is in Alexandra Headland, opposite the beautiful, patrolled Alexandra Beach. 

Air-conditioned apartments come in various sizes, which suit singles and couples through to large families. Apartments include laundry facilities with kitchenettes (some have full-sized kitchens), dishwashers, Foxtel TV and internet (fee applies). 

The highlight of this resort is the sprawling lagoon-style pool that stretches the length of the resort. Two small waterslides and two spas are at either end of the pool. There are BBQ facilities set within the gardens and a playground making it another great option for families.

This resort is a comfortable, great value base for your Sunshine Coast stay.

Click here for more information or to book

Best Budget Hotel: Noosa Flashpackers

Noosa Flashpackers is a large, stylish and affordable backpackers resort welcomes all travellers.

Accommodation options include air-conditioned double rooms with shared en-suites, deluxe rooms with private en-suites and dormitory-style accommodation. You can even get a queen room with a private en-suite and its own courtyard if you want private outside space.

Noosa Flashpackers has an outdoor pool, multiple chill-out spaces and an outdoor BBQ. Free breakfast is included, along with free surfboard hire, free Wi-Fi, free boogie boards and free use of the computers.

Noosa Flashpackers is a highly rated backpackers resort suitable for all travellers on a budget looking for a sociable place to stay.

Click here for more information or to book

ENJOY THE SUNSHINE COAST!

Hopefully, this guide has given you lots of inspiration on things to do on the Sunshine Coast.

If you’re planning a trip to the Sunshine Coast, I highly recommend you check out our guide to the Sunshine Coast, which provides links to everything you need to know to plan your trip.

I’d also recommend you join our free Queensland Travel Guide Facebook community, where you can ask all your questions and find even more great trip suggestions.

If you’re heading to the Sunshine Coast, you might also be interested in the following nearby destinations: