Sitting scenically on Queensland’s aptly named Sunshine Coast, Noosa Heads is a relaxed seaside resort town with superb beaches, stylish bars and restaurants, and unbelievably good weather. Besides its obvious aquatic attractions, the surrounding region boasts ancient mountains, charming hinterland towns, some great national parks and…the Big Pineapple!
One minute you’re lazing on a dreamy beach, basking in the sun’s golden glow as you listen to the gentle lapping of the waves. The next, you’re climbing the Glass House Mountains, or hiking a wilderness trail, or riding the famous surf at Maroochydore…yep, it’s just another day on the Sunshine Coast.
Day 1: Living La Vida Noosa
A little over two hours’ drive north of Brisbane, Noosa Heads is a popular weekend getaway. Spend a day soaking up its sun-drenched lifestyle: swimming in its protected coves, surfing or kayaking the Coral Sea, people-watching in one of its many cafes, or exploring Noosa National Park. Amp up the fun factor by timing your visit to coincide with one of the town’s festivals, such as Mayfiesta (dedicated to food and wine) or the Beach Car Classic in September. For family-friendly good times, head south to Caloundra, a quiet resort with a curvaceous shoreline, good fishing and pleasant surf beaches; or Mooloolaba, home to the entertaining UnderWater World.
Day 2: Just How Great is the Great Sandy?
Of all the Sunshine Coast’s national parks, the Great Sandy is arguably its most popular. And no wonder: there’s so much to do here. Marvel at the incredible colored sand cliffs of Teewah in the park’s Cooloola section, cruise the lush Noosa Everglades, or check out World Heritage-listed Fraser Island’s gigantic sand dunes. Spot native animals (including a veritable bonanza of birdlife) or simply kick back on one of the pristine beaches for the day. In fact, it’s so darn gorgeous around here, you may well decide to pitch a tent and stay awhile…
Day 3: Mountains and Pineapples
Renowned for its delicious tropical fruit, nuts and spices, the fertile hinterland of the Sunshine Coast is a great place to come with an appetite. Learn more about the region’s fresh produce at Nambour’s Big Pineapple Complex. Besides being a joyously kitsch landmark, this 16-meter (52ft) fiberglass pineapple serves an educational purpose, housing exhibits on the local fruit industry! To the southwest, lie the ancient Glass House Mountains, a series of craggy extinct volcanoes, set in spectacular forest. Itching for action? Walking trails for every fitness level, and some serious abseiling and rock-climbing opportunities will challenge even the toughest adventure-nut.