Once you've had your fill of the beaches of the Sunshine Coast, it's time to start exploring all the region has to offer. From Noosa to Yandina, we've found the best things to do for adults and for kids, all the best restaurants to eat at and unique accommodation to make your stay even more memorable.
Eat at the famous Spirit House
It sounds improbable but one of Australia’s best Thai restaurants is located deep in the countryside, within two lush hectares of tropical gardens. At Spirit House, the main restaurant sits in a pavilion with courtyard tables overlooking a limpid pond. Diners can feast on local Mooloolaba leader prawns with tom yum spices and prawn butter and mango pudding and coconut sticky rice with Thai basil and macadamias. Chef Aaron Tucker also runs classes in the purpose-built cooking school.
Follow the Sunshine Coast Art Trail
Galleries, studios and co-ops proliferate in the lush hills of the Sunshine Coast hinterland, alongside the wineries, cheese producers and scenic walks that make this part of Australia a best-of-all-worlds escape. Begin in Buderim at sleek Art Nuvo before heading to artsy Montville’s Main Street galleries. Neighbouring mountaintop Maleny is home to Art on Cairncross, a longstanding gallery with a carefully curated selection. Aim to arrive in Eumundi in time for its famed market, held every Wednesday and Saturday, and wrap things up in cosmopolitan Noosa, where a wander down Hastings Street offers rich pickings for art-lovers.
Stay in a hotel in the treetops
High in the hinterland, just 14 well-appointed rooms and villas nestle amid the trees at Spicers Tamarind Retreat, with views over verdant forest. Rooms feature fireplaces and large decks, some including an outdoor spa or daybed. They are so comfortable, in fact, that it’s easy to remain ensconced. After all, there’s the luxurious Spa Anise, with treatment rooms that look out to the forest and The Tamarind restaurant where local produce is given an exquisite Asian spin by chef Dan Jarrett.
The best coffee
The beans roasted at Montville Coffee are from small, Fairtrade cooperatives around the world. Buy a bag of beans from the roastery or try a cup at the café located at nearby tourist attraction the Big Pineapple (two birds, one stone).
The best fish and chips
Fish and chips is a meal best eaten hot, fresh and outdoors at the riverside Noosa Boathouse. Squeeze some lemon over your catch of the day while you watch the ducks.
The best things to do with kids
Situated on Steve Irwin Drive, Australia Zoo does the Crocodile Hunter proud. Native creatures are the majority represented here and you’ll find both saltwater and freshwater crocs.