Do you need some sunshine over the winter weekends? Sunshine Coast National Parks reconnect you with nature. Discover Aussie wildlife, rainforest canopies and peaceful picnic nooks in some of these scenic locations.
Glass House Mountains National Park
Coo-ee! Yodel your head off on the Tibrogargan Circuit if you feel the urge. Indigenous cultural landscape named by Lieutenant Cook as the Glass House Mountains in 1770. Old volcanoes can be spotted from the Mountain View lookout. Forest and casuarina groves adorn the underparts of Mt Tibrogargan, overlooked by craggy peaks. Birdwatcher's delight, yellow-tailed black cockatoos and peregrine falcons.
Where: Bruce Hway, 70km north of Brisbane, Glass House Mountains tourist drive, then signs to the park off Barrs Rd.
It's a steep climb from the beach to Hell's Gate in the Noosa National Park. Views towards Alexandria Bay and Cooloola. It's possible to spy dolphins and whales (June to November) offshore. Pandanus shrubs are plentiful and you may even spot a manta ray. Bushwalks around the Alexandria Bay area in the sunshine can reveal big goannas.
Rainforest walks under hoop and kauri pines and palm trees on the Palm Grove Circuit. Tea Tree Bay and Laguna Bay ocean views plus the Boiling Pot. Lace Monitor lizards, scrub turkeys and pittas add a touch of the wild. Up to two hours walking tracks. Picnic spots.
Rainforest plants provide a cool canopy. Wallum heath and sand dunes surround en route to the Currimundi Lake beach. Birdwatching among the wildflowers from late winter to early spring. Wide open space and scenic views towards Caloundra and Moreton Island. Begin your walk at the eastern end of Coongarra Esplanade. The first 140 metres is wheelchair-friendly.
Where: Wurtulla, 4km north of Caloundra, off Nicklin Way into Gaylandi St, right into Mandara Dve, left into Coongarra Esp.
Lush rainforest guides you to Mapleton Falls and Peregrine Lookout as fruit-doves and many other birds call overhead. Eucalpyts, scenic views over Obi Obi Valley, boardwalks, picnicking. An easy walk of ess than two kilometres, return. Families and birdwatchers love this spot.
Where: West of Nambour, 11km to Mapleton, Obi Obi Rd, right into Mapleton Falls Rd.
Kondalilla National Park
Shady streams and rockpools for the lovers of winter. Skene Creek pours out into Kondalilla Falls to the valley below. Majestic bunya pines, piccabeen palms, vines and rainforest ferns. Lots of stairs to warm up the muscles for a few hours. Baroon lookout views over Obi Obi Gorge, plus Narrows lookout. Rare hip-pocket frogs. Picnic area, barbecues, shelter shed, Kondalilla Falls lookout.
Where: via Montville-Mapleton Rd, west to Kondalilla Falls Rd.
Booloumba Falls is an invigorating walk which can get muddy. Rockpools captivate among the bold crags. Fresh air aplenty, turquoise cascades, Booloumba Gorge, verdant magic.
Where: Landsborough exit to Maley off the Bruce Hway. Maleny-Kenilworth Rd, turn off to Booloumba Creek past Conondale.
Other parks are Woondum National Park (towering turpentine trees) and Tewantin National Park (views of Glass House Mts). Camping at Glastonbury Creek in Brooyar State Forest. Locations.
Sand, Sunshine & Spooky
Great Sandy National Park, Cooloola. Gulls cry as you wend your way over dunes that slope to the sea. Rainbow Beach, coloured sands, views of Fraser Island and Double Island Point. Orchids, coral ferns, creek and paperbark woodlands. Rainbow Beach Rd, Double Island Dve, Cooloola Dve.
Dularcha National Park takes you on a rail adventure, following a narrow-gauge steam train rail. Eucalpyt forest, rainforest, disused historic railway tunnel and myotis bats. Mountain bikers' and horseriders' haunt. Off Glass House Mts tourist drive onto Steve Irwin Way to Landsborough.