The Best Sunshine Coast Spots For First Time Visitors

Sunshine Coast’s laid-back lifestyle revolves around its serene beaches, subtropical forests and warm weather.

Self-driving a campervan or motorhome from Brisbane is the most convenient way to go around, but it can be overwhelming to decide which places to go especially if you’re visiting for the first time. So to help you get the most out of your self-drive vacation, we’ve listed some of the best Sunshine Coast spots you can check out with your friends or family.

1. Mooloolaba Beach

Mooloolaba is one of Australia’s top rated beaches. With stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and patrolled waters, the place is perfect for swimming, surfing, snorkeling and marine life watching. All year round it has near perfect weather conditions and the water temperature is ideal for aquatic activities.

Mooloolaba Beach

"Alexandra headland / Mooloolaba" by texaus1 available at under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic. Full License terms at BY texaus1

The coast is full of restaurants, cafes and shops so you will never go hungry, if you didn’t bring food with you. The beach is also near the Underwater World Sea Life Aquarium where you can see and sometimes even touch their collection of aquatic creatures.

How to get there:

Just like the previous destinations, take Bruce Highway. When you reach Sippy Down, turn right to Sunshine Motorway. Continue driving and turn left to Brisbane Road. The beach front is at the end of this road.

2. Stumers Creek

The dog-friendly estuary of Stumers Creek is just a  kilometre north of Coolum. The creek is shallow, making it ideal for children to swim in the waters. You can take the leash off  your pet here and let them frolic in the sand.

The nearby shaded grassy bank area serves as the picnic area. Stumers also has showers, toilet facilities and dog washing areas. The nearby shore is also ideal for kite flying. In fact, it used to be the venue of the Coolum Kite Festival which attracted kite flyers all over the world.

Make sure that you arrive early because the place is quite popular with locals and it’s difficult to find a parking space, especially during hot days. There are also nearby pet-friendly accommodations that charges $650 to $750 per week.

How to get there:

From Brisbane, drive north via  Bruce Highway. Turn right to Sunshine Motorway and when you reach a roundabout, turn right to Yandina Coolum Road. Continue driving until you reach the coast. Stumers Creek is just a bit up north.

3. Noosa Everglades

The Noosa Everglades is a must-see destination for any nature lover. Its assortment of flora and fauna is unparalleled in all of Sunshine Coast. Nestled in the Great Sandy National Park, this place is also a fave spot among canoers and kayakers. The Everglades also has access to Lake Cootharaba, Queensland’s largest natural lake.


"Everglades kayak" by eGuide Travel available at under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0. Full terms at BY eGuide Travel

Cruise deep into the dark and tranquil waterways of the Everglades when you go on a wilderness tour. It also includes a meal at “Harry’s Hut”, a logger’s camp where they serve fish, steaks, salad and beverages.

Don’t miss walking on the elevated mangrove walk, and experience the beauty of the Everglades up close. You can camp at Cooloola Recreation Area along the upper Noosa River for $5.45 per person or $21.8 per family. Generators and open fires are prohibited on the site.

How to get there:

From Brisbane, drive northward via Bruce Highway. Take the turn-off at Eumundi and simply follow the Eumundi-Noosa Road. Exit at Gympie and turn off at Cooray. Continue following the signs along the Cooroy-Noosa Road. Average travel time is less than two hours. When you arrive in town, you can rent kayaks for as low as $55 per day.

4. Kondalilla National Park

Hiking enthusiasts will love Kondalilla for all the right reasons: the park has a challenging trail, dense forest, the backdrop of Mount Everglades, a swimming hole and a 90-metre waterfall. The place is a great stopover on a road trip and is perfect for picnics. So whether you want to spend your holiday relaxing and swimming or hiking and playing a game of golf, Kondalilla National Park has everything you need.

The park’s trails are also grouped into different categories. The walking circuit is about 4.7kilometres long and takes 2-3 hours to finish. There are parts that are easy enough for children, making it perfect for family bonding. If you don’t have food, there are plenty of stores at the nearby towns of Maleny and Montville you can go to for supplies.

How to get there:

From Brisbane, drive 54 kilometres northward via Bruce Highway then exit through Steve Irwin Way, Exit 163. Travel 22 kilometres north and head to Landsborough, following the signs to Montville. Near the top of the range, simply turn right to Maleny – Montville Road. About 2.6 kilometres of Montville, turn left to Kondalilla Falls Road and drive another 700 metres to the park entrance.

5. King’s Beach Foreshore

The stretch of Kings Beach has lots to offer in terms of water activities, from kayaking to boogie boarding. Children would also love its interactive water fountains and flying fox playground. The coast is also swarmed by cafes, shops and restaurants to satisfy any food craving. There are also barbecue and picnic facilities if you brought your own food.

The highlight of the beach is its salt water tidal swimming pool where people can swim for free. The facility is also equipped with shade sails and wading area with disabled access.

How to get there:

From Brisbane, just head north via Bruce Highway. Turn right when you reach the intersection with Caloundra Road. Follow this route and turn left to Sugar Bag Road which changes its name to Queen st. Continue on this road until the waterfront is on the horizon.


6. Mary Cairncross Reserve

Sunshine Coast is not just about its beaches. It is also famous for its lush mountains. The Mary Cairncross Reserve has 55 hectares of subtropical rainforest that any nature lover would feel right at home in. The hinterland’s walking tracks are wheelchair and stroller-friendly. The reserve also overlooks the famous Glass House Mountains, so make sure you take lots of photos.

The reserve is also home to  native Red-legged Pademelons, Regent Bowerbird, Southern Angle-Headed Dragon, Brush Turkey and a forest of giant trees like Blue Quandong which can reach heights of 40 metres.

How to get there:

From Brisbane, take Bruce Highway and turn left onto Steve Irwin Way. When you reached Landsborough, head left to Railway Street and then turn to Maleny Street. Switch to Landsborough- Maleny Road and head straight until you reach Mountain View Road. From here the reserve is just a walk away.


This post barely scratched the surface when it comes to naming some of the greatest destinations in Australia’s Sunshine Coast. Whether you’re visiting for the first or tenth time, it’s best to rent a campervan or motorhome when you are travelling in groups to these places, so you can stop any time to enjoy the great views along the way.

To get competitive deals on your next motorhome hire, call Salamanda Travel right away. We look forward to helping you plan your Sunshine Coast holiday!