Coolum sits between Maroochydore airport and Noosa. Most interstate visitors touch down, rent a car and program the GPS for Noosa. Quiet, classy little Coolum so often gets overlooked.
Only two or three high-rises sit on Coolum's beach. The majority of the main road is dotted with restaurants, cafes and clothing stores (catering to both surfers and stylists). The pick of the restaurants is My Place. The stunning ocean views are hard to beat, but the menu comes close. A mix of seafood and vegetarian dishes are available, as are devilish desserts.
Coffee lovers should head off the main drag, around the corner to Birtwill Street. The Caf is a favourite with locals. Polite dogs are welcome outside and indoor/outdoor dining offers plenty of room to move for those with toddlers. For the decaffeinated, there's a range of fresh juices and herbal teas on offer. The Caf caters for full breakfasts and lunches too.
Beside the Caf is a quaint florist, Flax Flower, that offers stunning window displays. Imagine an evening gown entirely fashioned from bark leaves. The creativity inside stretches beyond bouquets. Sometimes local jewellery designers display their latest work alongside a range of vintage tops and dresses.
Birtwill Street is also home to Watermelon Red. Not all the stock is red, but it's definitely unique. Essentially a homewares store, Watermelon Red has everything from bedding to books and beyond.
For families enjoying an extended stay, a new Coles and bakery have all the essentials you'll need. Although your stay might not be long enough for a haircut, it is worth making a stop at Ursin.DK Hair Salon. Its Denmark-born owner, Kathrine, stocks a range of casual clothing from local label Boom Shankar.
Back at the beach, you can enjoy a drink at the Surf Club with uninterrupted views along the coastline. During summer, surfboards can be hired just underneath the club. When the water's too rough or too cold, the kids can play in the nearby surf side playground. The range of equipment is huge and it's all well placed on a sandy floor to cushion any mishaps.
The beach facilities have just been upgraded. The new amenities block looks like a five-star hotel. As do the newly fitted barbecues and picnic tables.
The beauty of Coolum is its casual feel. A day stay or a longer holiday offers a relaxing alternative to its better known neighbours.