We’re pretty lucky here in Brisbane to have two nearby coasts with beautiful beaches. Unfortunately it be difficult to find time to visit, but it’s important to remember the amazing locations we have right on our doorstep. So when I saw that Easter was early this year and my work project was pushed out, I jumped at the chance to back some of my annual leave onto the Easter break. This gave me 17 luxurious days off for the cost of only nine leave days.
After spending a few days up in Mackay visiting my parents, we decided to spend a week in glorious Mooloolaba – one of the more lively locations on the Sunshine Coast.
The Sunshine Coast isn’t the easiest place to get to without a car, however if you’re coming from Brisbane public transport is workable. Once you’re in Mooloolaba, there’s buses that travel between the towns, otherwise if you’re staying on the Esplanade like we did, most things in the area are within walking distance.
Where to stay
You’ll be spoilt for choice accommodation-wise at Mooloolaba, with many self-contained apartments right on the esplanade looking over the water. It can be noisy on Friday and Saturday nights though with restaurants spilling over with weekend visitors. If noise bothers you there are hotel options a street back or towards the quieter ends of the esplanade, alternatively you can always request a upper level apartment.
We stayed at Mantra Sirocco with a spectacular seventh floor view in a two bedroom self-contained apartment. All rooms have ocean views and if you’re staying for longer than a weekend, a self-contained apartment is the way to go. There’s also a grocery store one street back within walking distance.
Things to do
One of the major reasons to visit the Sunshine Coast is purely for the beach! There’s plenty of surf and swimming locations (swim between the life saving flags for safety) and you can also hire boats, jetski and other water sport equipment.
If you’re looking to change up your beach location, there’s plenty of others up and down the coast, two of my favourites being Dicky Beach and Shelly Beach.
If you’re into education and looking at pretty fish and seals, Underwater World Sea Life is a great place to visit. Weekends get pretty busy, but during the week it’s less hectic. They also have shows throughout the day and a cafe on site if you need a break part way through your visit. It’s bigger than it looks, so take some comfortable walking shoes.
If you’re staying in Mooloolaba, Point Cartwright is the closest walking track, stretching out to the lighthouse point with ocean on one side and river/habour on the other. This is an easy walk for all abilities and the top gives you beautiful views back to Mooloolaba Beach.
Down on the harbour is One La Balsa Cafe, conveniently located at bottom of the hill with views over the harbour and La Balsa Park. The cafe serves breakfast and lunch, making it the perfect way to start your morning and to reward yourself for your bit of exercise.
Buderim Forest Waterfall
A 45 hectre rainforest filled with walking tracks, bridges, waterfalls, rivers and plenty of bird life, Buderim Forest Waterfall is challenging enough to get your heart rate up. There is a short walk from Quorn Close entry that brings you out to the falls and then you can loop back around. Or there’s a longer walk which will bring you out to Harry’s Restaurant.
The walking tracks are probably suitable for most fitness levels, but there are stairs at some sections and most of the path is natural, so good walking shoes would be advised.
About a 30 minute drive inland to Montville, is a beautiful rainforest trek at Kondalilla Falls. There are different walks to suit your fitness level and timeframes and also a picnic area and facilities for when you’re done.
You’ll be able to see a variety of native animal and plant life if you keep your eyes peeled. And if you feel like more than a picnic, Elements on Montville Tea House is just a short walk up the road and serve both lunch and delicious buttermilk scones.
Unfortunately it was pouring with rain the day we wanted to climb Mount Coolum, so I can’t testify for this one myself. But it gets good reviews as being a solid 30 minute walk with 360 degree views, along with other local walks.
Where to eat
You’ll be spoilt for choice on the Mooloolaba Esplanade for places to eat. Here are some of my favourites:
If you love Italian (and I do), you can’t go past Augello’s. They’re right on the corner so you get a view of all the foot traffic and also the ocean. The service is really friendly and fast, there’s a great selection of wines and you’ll want to come back more than once because the menu choices all look so good (we went back twice).
Don’t underestimate this little pocket rocket, it packs a punch when it comes to tapas food. They’ll tell you it’s small serves of everything, but the servings will definitely leave you feeling full and in need of nap. Hot Pipis has a lot going for it with it’s ocean views, comfortable atmosphere, good food and friendly staff. The lunch crowd on weekends will be enough to convince you to give them a try.
Lemon and Thyme
Looking for a simple but good breakfast? Lemon and Thyme won’t disappoint. It has a bit of a focus on the healthy and organic, but it’s really good simple foods. We ate here for both breakfast and dinner and were very happy with both the food and the price.
Do you have a favourite Sunshine Coast location, restaurant or hiking trail?