A freelance writer with an interest in just about everything.
Published January 8th 2013
Sun, surf and seafood
If there's one thing Brisbane lacks, it's a great beach. Sure, Southbank is nice for the kiddies and there's plenty of lovely waterfront suburbs, but the one thing missing is a stretch of golden sand fronted by the rolling swells of the ocean.
Happily, of course, you don't have to travel too far from Brisbane to find one. The Sunshine Coast, with its kilometre after kilometre of sun-drenched beaches, is little more than an hour away. Whether you're looking to spend a day on the sand or planning a longer getaway, the Sunny Coast offers all sorts of experiences to keep visitors coming back.
Starting at destinations like Caloundra, Mooloolaba and Maroochydore, you find yourself in perfect family holiday territory. Boasting many stretches of beautiful beach to explore, the area is also home to some good shopping at Sunshine Plaza.
Over the Christmas/New Year period I spent a few nights relaxing in Mooloolaba. Home to Underwater World, Mooloolaba offers surf beaches and calm, sheltered swimming. There's also plenty of great eateries to check out, either at one of the many restaurants and cafes along the Esplanade or tucking into some any-fresher-and-it'd-still-be-swimming seafood at the Mooloolaba Spit.
Further to the north you find Coolum, which is promoted as the region's surfing and golfing mecca. From the ocean swells to the landscaped greens of the Palmer Coolum Resort, there's plenty to keep you occupied.
Continuing a few kays further north takes you to cosmopolitan Noosa, which has long been a popular holiday haven. Combining pristine natural surrounds with an arty feel and some great restaurants, Noosa is the sort of place where you can easily lose yourself for a few days.
If you feel like taking a break from all this coastal bliss, take a drive into the quiet beauty of the Sunshine Coast hinterland and towns like Maleny, Montville and Mapleton. Montville has a quaint, quirky European feel and is home to art galleries, cafes and gift shops. It can get pretty busy during peak times, so don't be afraid to move on to Maleny or Mapleton if finding a park in Montville looks like being a pain in the proverbial. The View Cafe and Restaurant in Mapleton serves up great burgers and, as the name would suggest, some enviable views. Check it out if you're in the area.
When you're looking to head to the beach, the official Sunshine Coast tourism site is the perfect place to start planning your Sunshine Coast getaway. It features information on accommodation, attractions, dining and everything else you need to plan your next holiday.