Have you been water glamping? Ridden the Rattler? Trekked through a 500,000 year-old sand mass? Spanked a chook? The world is out about the Sunshine Coast with a record number of visitors in 2017, but 2018 is offering even more reasons to return.
This region between Brisbane and Fraser Island has been blessed by nature with the majestic Glass House Mountains, lush hinterland heights, long stretches of white sand beaches and plenty of friendly people with easy smiles.
Here are ten tempters.
Noosa local celebrity television chef Peter Kuruvita brought the Sunshine Coast’s produce to television screens around the nation last year. This year sees the launch of the first Sunshine Coast Asian Food Festival at Spicers Tamarind in Maleny on February 11. Come May, and you’ll be heading for Noosa Food & Wine from May 17 to 20.
Brewers are smart people. Their preference is to live in a great spot and create special brews for happy folk to drink them. If it sounds like a good job you are most likely right and the list of boutique brewers who have established themselves in this part of Queensland is growing longer every day. Think Eumundi Lager, Brouhaha Brewery, Moffat Beach Brewing Co and Your Mates. To find all these gems take one of the new craft beer tours. sunshinecoastcraftbeertours.com.au
It’s a long time since this former epicentre of Sunshine Coast dining was top of the list. A $10 million revival has changed all that. Three new restaurants – Asian street style Rice Boi, classic fish and chippery Saltwater and The Dock, joining established restaurants Chances and Sea Restaurant to create a dining precinct you’ll want to explore. Even the old yacht club, which was sadly in need of some love, has been decked out Hamptons style by the co-owner of Rick Shores on the Gold Coast and renamed Pier 33.
Rattling down the Mary Valley
One of the sleepers of the Sunshine Coast, the Mary Valley is rich in produce, history and adventure tourism. A bit of that history comes back to life in 2018 with the reopening of the 100-year-old Mary Valley Rattler. Not an ancient snake but rather a snaky railway which winds between Old Gympie Sation and Amamoor with regular trips on Wednesday, Saturdays and Sundays. I’ve been promised a café full of regional bounty at the restored Old Gympie Station plus a retail shop and museum.
That’s not drinking water while you are glamping but a floating campsite. It’s the brainchild of Bruce Boucaut of Caloundra & Bribie House Boats. Flinders is an eco-friendly luxury pontoon is the shallow intertidal flats of Pumicestone Passage where dugongs graze on the seagrass meadows. Think pull out beds, heated shower, fishing rods, yabby pump and beach umbrellas. Most importantly, a flushing toilet! caloundrahouseboathire.com
Moolies move in
The Sunshine Coast is all over schoolies (thank goodness) and is now a haven for moolies, the long-suffering mothers of aforementioned school leavers. It’s all about escaping children and husbands and getting together with the girls for a weekend of cooking schools, craft classes like spanking the chook at Fried Mudd, spa treatments and winery visits.
If you don’t want to drive to the Sunshine Coast, you can now make it a stop off on your next cruise. An additional 12 ships are stopping at Mooloolaba in 2018 where passengers transfer to tours to hinterland villages, Australia Zoo and other local highlights.
If you are looking for a quiet Sunshine Coast weekend, check the festival calendar first because this place is a festival hot bed. From February’s Grape Stomp to the Time warp Festival and Sunshine Coast Ukulele Festival in April to the Mary Valley Scarecrow Festival in October, there’s something for all tastes. Visitsunshinecoast.com/events
You only need to take a drive up the Bruce Highway to see the amount of growth happening on the Sunshine Coast. The one that captures my attention is Habitat Noosa which promises onsite camping, motorhome, RV sites and glamping on a 65-acre site with 500 metres of Noosa River beachfront.
Disclaimer: Nothing to declare here except a love of the Sunshine Coast.