Gold Coast to Sunshine Coast Road Trip

Gold Coast to Sunshine Coast Road Trip: 13 Epic Stops

Embarking on a Gold Coast to Sunshine Coast road trip?

Feeling the call of adventure but puzzled about the best spots to stop along the way? Look no further, because I have the 13 best places to stop on a Gold Coast to Sunshine Coast drive all here.

How do I know these are the best places to stop? I have recently done this very road trip, and with some free time, I extensively researched the best places to stop on my way up to the Sunshine Coast – and then travelled the route with my family!

With this insider guide, you’ll bypass the stress of endless choices and navigate this iconic road trip with confidence, From beach-hopping in Coolangatta to exploring the quirky Ginger Factory in Yandina, you bet I know exactly where is worth a stop-off!

The Gold Coast to Sunshine Coast road trip is perfect for families and individuals who like to do a diverse range of activities along the route.

Planning Tips for a Gold Coast to Sunshine Coast Road Trip

Distance and Drive Time Gold Coast To Sunshine Coast

🚘 The drive from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast spans 186.3 kilometres via the M1, and if you’re the kind to drive without stopping, you could zip through it in about two hours.

But, honestly, where’s the fun in that? You are here to make the most of the journey and get the full east coast experience and that involves spending some time stopping off and some Gold Coast icons and secret spots only locals know about!

Start with a detour to Tamborine Mountain. Walk through ancient rainforests, enjoy a view of the Gold Coast skyline, and maybe even sip some locally brewed coffee.

Head north to Mooloolaba, where the beaches are fantastic and the seafood fresh. It’s the perfect place for both surfers and foodies.

And if you’re feeling creative, visit the artsy village of Maleny. Meet local artisans, explore their crafts, and enjoy some exceptional cuisine.

Renting a car on the Gold Coast

Embarking on that unforgettable Gold Coast to Sunshine Coast road trip means you’ll need a trustworthy set of wheels, doesn’t it?

Through my countless journeys along Australia’s stunning coastline, I’ve found to be completely reliable. It’s not just about their wide range of budget-friendly options; it’s about how they simplify the entire process, from booking to driving the hire car.

But here’s what really seals the deal: their remarkable customer service. Ever had a change of heart at the last minute or a niggling question about your reservation? Need a child seat included? No problem.

They’re right there, ready to assist, making your road trip experience smoother and more enjoyable. Give them a whirl on your Gold Coast adventure, and you’ll see what I mean!

The Southern Gold Coast

The Southern Gold Coast is a captivating starting point for any road trip, seamlessly blending lively Coolangatta with its renowned surf culture and bustling markets, and the tranquil beauty of Currumbin with its fascinating wildlife sanctuary.

This region not only presents an array of experiences but also convenience, especially for those looking for a more contained adventure.

Gold Coast Airport is right there, providing an easy gateway for travellers who want to explore the Southern Gold Coast without embarking on a longer Sydney to Gold Coast road trip.

Currumbin Beach Gold Coast

Beyond the convenience, what truly sets the Southern Gold Coast apart is its blend of excitement and relaxation, adventure and leisure, culture and nature.

Imagine surfing iconic waves, exploring local art, indulging in gourmet meals at beachside cafes, or simply basking in the coastal views. The possibilities seem endless.

Things to do in Coolangatta

Coolangatta is the southern gateway to the Gold Coast and the official starting point of your unforgettable road trip. With its casual coastal culture, If you’re the kind of traveller who’s drawn to the laid-back coastal vibe, then Coolangatta is going to feel just like home.

Greenmount beach during sunset on Queensland's Gold Coast, Austr

Lady Elliot Island Great Barrier Reef Tour

Ever dreamed of snorkelling or diving in the Great Barrier Reef but thought it was out of reach?

Coolangatta’s got you covered with a Great Barrier Reef Day Tour to Lady Elliot Island. That’s right, you can start your road trip with a day amongst colourful corals and exotic marine life, right from the Gold Coast. 

Right here lies your opportunity to experience one of Australia’s most famous landmarks, and you can finally tick this unforgettable adventure off your bucket list.

But if you’re looking to stay closer to shore, the beaches in Coolangatta are nothing short of spectacular. Grab a surfboard, a towel and a good book, and spend a day soaking up the sun. The waves are friendly, the sand is soft, and the vibe is pure relaxation.

Soar Above Paradise with Tandem Skydiving

Feeling a bit more adventurous? Go skydiving during your visit to the Gold Coast for an incredible thrill paired with spectacular views of the city, coast, and the Pacific Ocean.

Imagine jumping in tandem with an expert instructor, savouring a heart-pounding freefall before floating gently down to Kirra Beach in Coolangatta, one of the stunning spots that make the Gold Coast famous.

Coolangatta’s Art and Craft Market

And don’t worry, if you’re more into arts and crafts than skydiving, Coolangatta still has something special for you.

Meander through the local art and craft market, where you can find everything from handmade jewellery to unique home décor. It’s a great place to pick up a one-of-a-kind souvenir from your trip or enjoy the local community’s creativity.

The market takes place every 2nd Sunday of the month & 4th Sunday in five Sunday months, from 8 am until 2:00 pm.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

As you pull away from Coolangatta, it’s time to head over to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Trust me, you won’t want to miss this stop, especially if you have a soft spot for animals.

The Lost Valley is a must-see, with its 5-acre rainforest and unique creatures like red pandas and capybaras. It’s a place where you can truly feel connected to nature, whether you’re with family, a partner, or just exploring on your own.

But it’s not all about looking; join in on the daily keeper talks or wander through habitats with koalas, wombats, and exotic reptiles.

Unwind and Explore In Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Heads

Ever found yourself caught between the hustle of city life and the call of the ocean? That’s where Burleigh Heads come in, right at the southern end of the Gold Coast.

Positioned between the glitz of Surfers Paradise and the cool ease of Coolangatta, Burleigh Heads has carved out its own identity.

Imagine a place where surf culture meets urban chic, where you can ride world-renowned waves in the morning and browse boutique shops in the afternoon.

So, what’s the plan in Burleigh Heads? If that’s the question on your mind, read on, and you’ll find that whether it’s your first visit or you’ve been here many times, Burleigh Heads never loses its charm.

Best Things to Do in Burleigh Heads:

Wander Through Burleigh Heads National Park

Picture strolling along a path where ancient volcanic columns reach out to the sea, and every step leads you deeper into the very soul of the Gold Coast.

Starting from the southern edge of Burleigh Heads township, the Oceanview track takes you on a comfortable 30-minute journey, winding around the rocky headland. Starting from the southern edge of Burleigh Heads, you’ll wind your way to the park entrance near Tallebudgera Creek.

Along the way, why not enjoy a picnic at Echo Beach? Here, you can settle down with a packed lunch. Depending on the season, you might spot whales breaching the surface (in winter and spring) or catch a glimpse of white-bellied sea eagles and stunning birdwing butterflies dancing through the air (in summer).

You’ll move through diverse landscapes like pandanus groves, tussock grasslands, coastal heath, and mangroves before reaching southern Burleigh.

If you’re looking for a detour, you can return via the Rainforest circuit and Tumgun lookout.

❗️Just remember to check for any Park Alerts, as sections may close due to weather conditions, and stick to the marked paths for safety.

Burleigh Beach: Surf, Sand, Soul, and Sunday Markets

Burleigh Beach is the heartbeat of the Gold Coast, where surf and sand mingle with a laid-back atmosphere that’s uniquely its own.

But wait, there’s more to this beach than just waves and sunsets; it’s also home to the quintessential Sunday morning experience: the Burleigh Heads Markets

Located at the picturesque Justins Park, right on the beachfront, these markets pop up on the last Sunday of every month.

They’re the original Gold Coast markets, proudly showcasing the best and most original Australian-made products for over 30 years. Large, colourful, and brimming with a welcoming atmosphere, you’ll discover over 100 stalls that feel like a celebration of creativity.

And what’s on offer? Everything from handmade jewellery, skincare, fashion, and homewares to fresh produce and delicious food. Imagine browsing through the finest local creations with the sound of live entertainment in the background, all with a view of the ocean.

Discover ArtVo in Robina

Just a 10-minute drive away from Burleigh Heads, there’s something extraordinary waiting to spark your imagination. It’s ArtVo in Robina, and trust me, this isn’t your typical art gallery.

You will be stepping into jaw-dropping, hyper-realistic, life-size murals painted by skilful hands, where you’re not just a spectator but a part of the art itself!

Spread across 8 themed zones and stretching over 1400 meters, you’ll find a plethora of ‘larger than life art pieces that are just waiting for you to bring them to life.

Strike a pose, snap a pic, and surprise your family and friends with your creative flair. ArtVo is not to be missed if you’re looking for Insta-worthy pictures.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a family looking for fun, a group of friends seeking something different, or on a quirky date; ArtVo is an immersive experience for everyone.

Experience Dracula’s Cabaret Gold Coast in Broadbeach

As we approach the bustling heart of the Gold Coast, it’s time for an experience unlike any other. Just before we reach Surfers Paradise and the central Gold Coast, make a stop at Dracula’s Cabaret on Broadbeach.

Dracula’s Cabaret isn’t just a theatre restaurant; it’s an iconic Gold Coast experience that’s been entertaining and mesmerizing guests for over 35 years.

You’ll be greeted at the door by quirky characters, guiding you to the Graveyard Cocktail Lounge where the adventure begins. And yes, you’ll actually board a Ghost Train to be whisked away to your seat in the Theatre of the Vampyre!

Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just seeking a night out that’s a cut above the rest, Dracula’s Cabaret promises a 3.5-hour 3-course-dinner show that’s likely to sell out – because, honestly, who wouldn’t want a taste of this unique blend of cocktails, canapés, and cabaret?

❗️Worthy of note, the children must be over 15 years old to attend.

Central Gold Coast

Surfers Paradise Gold Coast Road Trip

Surfer’s Paradise

If you’re thinking Surfers Paradise is all about the nightlife, think again. Sure, it’s famous for its vibrant energy when the sun goes down, but there’s so much more to this iconic Gold Coast destination.

As one of Australia’s most recognized spots, it’s been a tourism magnet since the 1920s.

Its history is rich, going back to when Brisbane hotelier Jim Cavill saw something special in this stretch of land and transformed it into what we now know and love.

The skyline, dominated by eye-catching skyscrapers, has become an unmistakable symbol of this surfside suburb.

And let’s not forget the famous bikini-clad meter maids, a quirky addition to Surfers Paradise’s unique personality!

But beyond the waves and the towering buildings, you’ll find a place that’s bursting with offerings for all ages. It’s a place that invites you to explore, relax, dine, shop, and of course, surf.

Best things to do in Surfers Paradise

Surfer in Surfers Paradise Gold Coast Queensland Australia

Feast Your Eyes on a Scenic Buffet Dinner Cruise

To kickstart your adventure in Surfers Paradise, how about booking a buffet dinner and sightseeing cruise?

Imagine yourself gliding along the serene waters of the Nerang River, venturing north to the Broadwater, and indulging in the vibrant sights and sounds of the Gold Coast.

You’ll enjoy panoramic views from the spacious upper deck that showcase some of the city’s famous landmarks such as the glamorous Palazzo Versace, one of Australia’s most extravagant 6-star resort hotels, and the glitzy Marina Mirage resort complex.

The buffet lunch offers mouthwatering delights, including locally sourced king prawns, succulent roast chicken, and freshly baked ham off the bone, all paired with crisp salads. Feeling fancy? Treat yourself to a glass of wine, a craft beer, or maybe even a cocktail.

It’s a taste of Surfers Paradise you won’t want to miss. Fun, food, and fabulous sights – what a way to start your journey!

Feel the Thrill of Jet skiing on the Gold Coast

Feeling a need for speed? There’s no better place to embrace your inner thrill-seeker than the beautiful Gold Coast and jet skiing offers the perfect adventure.

Book a 1-hour guided Jet Ski tour, and you’ll get to explore sights like South Stradbroke Island, Couran Cove, and the Sovereign Islands. Zip through mangrove forests and glide along the coast, all under the watchful eye of our experienced guide.

The best part? You don’t need a license or any prior experience! Your guide will provide all the instruction you need, so you can enjoy a thrilling ride, whether it’s your first time or you’re a seasoned pro.

Come Face to Face with a Gentle Giant

If you find yourself on the Gold Coast between June and November, don’t miss the opportunity to witness the magical dance of the humpback whales. They come to these subtropical waters to give birth and play, and it’s a spectacle you’ll never forget.

Book a Whales in Paradise tour, and in just three hours, you’ll enjoy incredible views of these majestic creatures breaching and splashing.

Worried you might miss out? They maintain a 100% daily sighting record, so you’re in safe hands. Don’t spot any whales? They’ll offer you a free cruise.

Glide along the Gold Coast canals, past luxurious homes, and into the Australian Whale Sanctuary. This protected part of the ocean is a haven for humpback whales during their annual migration, and you might even catch a glimpse of orcas, loggerhead turtles, dolphins, or seabirds.

Best Places To Stay in Surfers Paradise:

Luxury Option: Peppers Soul Surfers Paradise

Mid-range Option: Surfers Aquarius on the Beach

Exploring the Gold Coast Theme Parks

Ready to start your day with a heart-pounding roller coaster ride and end it with a swim alongside dolphins and sharks?

The Gold Coast is calling, where theme parks offer everything from the world’s tallest and fastest thrill rides to close encounters with native Australian wildlife.

Superman Escape in Movie World Gold Coast Queensland Australia

Here you can meet your favourite movie characters and superheroes, splash around in water slides, or just soak up the vibrant atmosphere. With each park filled with its own unique excitement and entertainment, there’s something for everyone.

So grab your adventurous spirit, and let’s dive into what makes these parks the epicentre of fun on the Gold Coast

Choosing a theme park on the Gold Coast


Got a family of thrill-seekers? Dreamworld is the spot for you.

From roller coasters that will leave you breathless to gentle rides for the little ones, and even a wildlife park where you can cuddle a koala.

Whitewater World

Love the water? Whitewater World is more than just slides and pools. It’s a place where you can conquer waves, laugh your way down winding water slides, and relax with friends and family in the lazy river.

From wild to mild, it’s the perfect place to splash around and beat the Gold Coast heat.


Wet’n’Wild is where you can get your heart pumping on water rides that defy gravity or chill on a float in a wave pool with a cold drink in hand.

It’s more than just a water park; it’s an adventure that leaves you smiling, soaked, and satisfied. A must-visit if you love the water as much as the thrill!

Warner Bros. Movie World

Ever dreamt of rubbing shoulders with Batman or taking a roller coaster ride with the Joker? Warner Bros. Movie World brings movies to life in ways you wouldn’t believe.

Whether you’re into high-flying stunts or exploring fun-filled family rides, this park lets you live the Hollywood dream for a day.

Sea World

Now, if you’ve ever been curious about what goes on under the sea, Sea World is your gateway to the deep blue.

It’s not just a place to watch dolphins jump or shake hands with a seal. It’s where you learn, laugh, and fall in love with creatures you didn’t know you cared about. It’s a park with a heart, perfect for families and animal enthusiasts.

Mount Tambourine

Nestled in the picturesque hinterland, just an hour from Brisbane and the Gold Coast, lies the enchanting Mount Tamborine.

It’s a place where the world feels a little softer, the air a little fresher, and the views simply breathtaking. But Mount Tamborine offers more than just a stunning backdrop; it’s a vibrant hub of creativity, culinary delights, and natural wonders.

Curtis Falls Waterfall in Mount Tambourine
Curtis Falls Waterfall in Mount Tambourine

Some of the best things to do in Mount Tambourine include:

  • Explore Curtis Falls: Take a 1.5km walk through the forest to the tranquil spring-fed falls.
  • Visit Cedar Creek Falls: Enjoy spectacular views or descend to the base for a swim in the rock pools.
  • Indulge in Coffee and Tea: Visit the Tamborine Mountain Coffee Plantation or enjoy high tea at Tea and Niceties.
  • Discover Local Art: Explore studios, stores, and markets filled with unique art and crafts.
  • Picnic by the Falls: Pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic near the accessible Cedar Creek Falls.

Uncover the Vibrance of Brisbane

Ah, Brisbane, or as some affectionately call it, “Brisvegas”! As you make your way along this incredible road trip, you’ll find this vibrant city beckoning from the banks of the winding Brisbane River.

Gold Coast To Sunshine Coast Brisbane

If you’re wondering why this city deserves a spot on your itinerary, let me give you a hint of what makes Brisbane so special.

Known for its dazzling energy, Brisbane perfectly blends the spirit of a bustling urban centre with the laid-back charm of a subtropical paradise.

Located between the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane’s fame isn’t just for its strategic location but for its unique personality, earning it that playful nickname.

With a thriving arts scene, a blossoming food culture, and a love for all things outdoors, Brisbane has a vibe that’s hard to resist. Think of it as the cosmopolitan cousin of the coastal towns you’ve been enjoying.

Best things to do in Brisbane:

Story Bridge Brisbane
Story Bridge Brisbane

Capture (or climb!) Story Bridge

The Story Bridge climb in Brisbane isn’t just for the thrill-seekers among us; it’s a must-see for anyone who wants a unique perspective of the city.

With a guide leading the way, you’ll find yourself at the top before you know it, gazing out over the Brisbane River and the city skyline. It’s a view like no other, and one you won’t forget in a hurry.

And hey, if climbing isn’t your thing, that’s perfectly okay. Just taking a leisurely walk across the bridge or snapping a photo from the riverbank is enough to feel part of Brisbane’s vibrant spirit. Either way, it’s worth checking out.

Explore South Bank

South Bank in Brisbane is a haven for travellers seeking a blend of culture and leisure. Wander through the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, and then treat yourself to some culinary delights at the renowned Stokehouse Q.

The Wheel of Brisbane offers stunning city views, while the man-made Street’s Beach provides a refreshing dip for everyone.

If you’re with kids, don’t miss the interactive playgrounds scattered throughout the Parklands. South Bank truly brings together the best of urban living with a relaxed, family-friendly vibe,

Visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Brisbane
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Brisbane

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary’s story is both heartwarming and historic. Opening its doors in 1927 with just two koalas, Jack and Jill, it began as a mission to protect wild koalas from being culled for the fur trade.

Thanks to the vision of founder Claude Reid, it has grown into the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary, and its noble cause continues to this day. But that’s not all, friends; you can actually hold a koala here!

That’s right, this is a chance to not just see but feel a connection with these iconic creatures.

Best Places To Stay in Brisbane:

Luxury Option: Crystalbrook Vincent

Budget Option: Brisbane Skytower

Sunshine Coast: The Coastal Route

Aerial view of Pumicestone Passage, Bribie Island and Caloundra,
Aerial view of Pumicestone Passage, Bribie Island and Caloundra, Sunshine Coast

The Sunshine Coast’s coastal towns are perfect for beach enthusiasts, surfers, and those looking to soak up the sun by the sea.

Families will love the gentle waves at places like Caloundra, while thrill-seekers might find their adrenaline rush at Noosa’s famous surf breaks.

Feeling peckish? Coastal towns like Mooloolaba offer fresh seafood straight from the trawlers. Walk along the esplanades lined with cafes and shops, or join in the local festivities during various seasonal events.

Whether it’s a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo adventure, the coastal towns provide a charming and lively atmosphere, making them a perfect choice for many travellers.


MOOLOOLABA, AUSTRALIA, JUL 22 2018: People enjoying summer at Mo

Mooloolaba, a dream destination on the Sunshine Coast, offers a variety of experiences for all ages. From the thrill of whale watching to the joy of tasting the freshest seafood, it’s a place that promises beachside bliss.

Highlights of Mooloolaba

Mooloolaba Beach

Ranked as the fourth-best beach in Australia, Mooloolaba Beach is perfect for a morning swim, a relaxing read under an umbrella, or watching a breathtaking sunset.

The Wharf

The Wharf houses Sea Life Mooloolaba, where you can meet little blue penguins, watch seal shows, and explore the ocean tunnel.

For the adventurous, there’s scuba diving, whale watching, and deep-sea fishing. Dining options are excellent, from Asian cuisine at Rice Boi to classic Italian at il Vento.

The Esplanade

Stretching across 600m, the Mooloolaba Esplanade offers waterfront cafés and stores for shopping and dining. The legendary Surf Club Mooloolaba is a great spot to unwind with oceanfront dining and a cold beer during sunset.

A Seafood Lover’s Dream

Enjoy fresh-caught seafood straight from the ocean. The wholesale seafood markets by the Spit offer everything from famous Mooloolaba prawns to other ocean delights.

Coolum Beach

Coolum Beach, a serene paradise on the Sunshine Coast, invites you to unwind and unplug. With golden sands and fresh sea air, Coolum offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle.

Highlights of Coolum Beach

Coolum Beach

Known as the home break of pro surfer Julian Wilson, Coolum Beach’s consistent waves and glassy waters make it a favourite for surfers and bodyboarders.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, Coolum Surfing School’s professional instructors are ready to share the joy of surfing with you.

Coolum Surf Club

A proud part of the town’s culture since 1919, the Coolum Surf Club is a must-visit spot. Enjoy fresh, locally caught seafood on the deck while watching the locals ride the waves.

Mount Coolum National Park

This 26-million-year-old volcanic rock is the second largest in the world. A hike to the top rewards you with breathtaking 360-degree views. Pro tip: reach the summit just before sunset for a magical transformation of the sky.

Oz Ski Resort

This world-class water ski facility offers adrenaline-pumping wakeboarding and lessons with professional coaches. For a fun twist, try a banana boat ride that will leave you in stitches.


Luxury Hotels In Noosa

Located in the heart of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Noosa is the epitome of a dream luxury getaway. Filled with natural beauty, unique experiences, and a community passionate about preserving its clean and green environment, Noosa is a destination that enchants visitors, whether for a day, a weekend, or longer.

Best things to do in Noosa

Noosa National Park

Pack your hiking boots and camera, because Noosa National Park is calling your name! Wander through coastal trails, discover hidden beaches, and maybe even spot a koala or two.

Whether you’re chasing the perfect sunset at Hell’s Gates lookout or dipping your toes in the Fairy Pools, this park is your personal playground. Nature’s beauty is all around, just waiting for you to explore.

Kayak with Dolphins and 4WD Great Beach Drive Day Trip from Noosa

Ever dreamed of kayaking with dolphins? Here’s your chance! Paddle through crystal-clear waters, and keep an eye out for those playful dolphins.

And that’s just the beginning. Buckle up for a 4WD adventure along the Great Beach Drive. Feel the wind in your hair and the thrill in your heart as you cruise along the beach. Dolphins or no dolphins, this day trip is a 5-star adventure you’ll never forget.

Noosa Quad Bike Tours

Noosa Quad Bike Tours offers a half-day thrill ride through Woondum National Park, a place brimming with subtropical rainforests and off-road trails just waiting to be explored.

Ride through the lush park, feeling the thrill of the open path and the beauty of nature all around you.

Midway through, you’ll arrive at natural rock pools. Take a refreshing swim, relax, and enjoy some snacks. It’s a perfect pit stop to soak in the surroundings.

Sunshine Coast: The Hinterland

Looking for something a bit different? The Sunshine Coast isn’t just about beaches; its hinterland is a treasure trove of natural beauty and cultural richness.

Ideal for nature lovers, artists, and those in search of tranquillity, the hinterland areas such as Maleny and Montville offer something truly magical.

Walk through dense rainforests, discover cascading waterfalls, and enjoy the panoramic mountain views.

Explore art galleries, indulge in locally-produced cheese, and stay in cosy bed-and-breakfast establishments.

The hinterland is an excellent option for couples seeking a romantic escape or anyone looking to disconnect and be surrounded by nature.

Glass House Mountains

Glass House Mountains Sunshine Coast Hinterland
Glass House Mountains Sunshine Coast Hinterland

The Glass House Mountains in South East Queensland are calling your name, and oh, what a call it is! Picture this: 11 majestic peaks rising from the earth, each one with its own personality, its own allure.

Formed from volcanic activity over 25 million years ago, they stand as guardians of the Sunshine Coast, a place of deep cultural significance for the Kabi Kabi and Jinibara peoples and brimming with natural beauty.

Whether you’re an avid hiker, a nature lover, or simply someone looking for a peaceful retreat, the Glass House Mountains offer a place to lose yourself in adventure.

So, if you’re planning a visit to the Glass House Mountains, here’s what awaits you:

  • Hiking: Explore various hiking trails, including the 4km circuit around Mount Tibrogargan’s base and the 2.8km trail to Mt Ngungun, offering 360-degree vistas of surrounding mountains.
  • Sunrise and Sunset Views: For a breathtaking experience, hike Mt Ngungun at sunrise or sunset to watch the sky transform into a technicolour rainbow.
  • Picnics: Enjoy a picnic in the lush surroundings of Mount Tibrogargan, with tables dotted along the way.
  • Dining: Savor local produce at Everything Good and have lunch at The Lookout Café, Glass House Mountains.
  • Bankfoot House: Visit this state heritage-listed property, the oldest surviving residence in the area.
  • QCamel: Experience something quirky by having canapés and cuddling-friendly camels at QCamel, the world’s only Certified Organic camel dairy overlooking the Glasshouse Mountains.

Interested in the Ultimate Luxury Experience at Glass House Mountains?

How about a serene seaplane tour that takes elegance to new heights?

Board the Wilga Warbird Seaplane and glide above the Sunshine Coast. This private tour for two isn’t about adrenaline; it’s a peaceful journey offering panoramic views of the Glasshouse Mountains, beaches, and ocean.

Your knowledgeable local guide will share Noosa’s unique history and wildlife as you soar through the sky. And to make this extraordinary day last forever, you’ll take home a luxury photobook filled with perfect memories.

The Wilga Warbird Seaplane awaits; are you ready for the journey?


If the Glass House Mountains aren’t quite calling your name, or if you find yourself with a little more time to explore the captivating town of Beerwah, I’ve got the perfect alternative.

The world-renowned Australia Zoo, right in Beerwah’s backyard, is famous as the legacy of the legendary Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin.

This isn’t just your typical zoo; fancy cuddling a koala or walking beside a wombat? How about witnessing the jaw-snapping action of saltwater crocodiles during a heart-pounding Wildlife Warriors Show? It’s all here, and so much more.


If you’re cruising through the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, there’s a little town that’s calling out for a pit stop, and that’s Maleny.

Located high in the Blackall Range, about 30 kilometres southwest of Caloundra, Maleny is a little slice of heaven renowned for its lush surroundings and scenic spots. But it’s not just the views that will steal your heart; it’s the experiences that await you.

Things to do in Maleny

Gardners Falls

Now, who doesn’t love a hidden gem? Gardners Falls is exactly that. Leave your vehicle in the car park, take a short walk downstream, and voila! You’ll find yourself at a series of shallow rock pools leading to a larger pool underneath the falls.

Whether you’re up for a refreshing swim or just want to dip your toes in, this spot is pure magic. And if you’re in the mood for a picnic or a snooze under a giant water gum, well, Gardners Falls has got you covered.

The Cheese Circuit

Calling all cheese lovers! Maleny’s Cheese Circuit is a dairy dream come true. Start at Maleny Dairies, where you can taste Australia’s best full-cream milk, yoghurt, and ice cream.

Join a farm tour, ride a tractor, and see the cows being milked. Then head to Maleny Cheese for tastings, and don’t forget to pop into Maleny Food Co for more cheesy indulgence.

Maleny Mountain Wines

Fancy a tipple? Maleny Mountain Wines is the place to be. Step inside a giant barrel filled with a treasure trove of wines from Australia and around the world.

The friendly staff will help you find the perfect wine for your palate, whether it’s a robust red, a crisp white, or something in between. And the views? Let’s just say they pair perfectly with a glass of your favourite wine.


Lastly, we couldn’t forget about a trip to Eumundi, and particularly the Eumundi Markets. If markets are your vibe, then this is the place to stop!

Eumundi Markets in the Sunshine Coast
Eumundi Markets in the Sunshine Coast

The Eumundi Markets are open on Saturdays from 7 am to 2 pm and Wednesdays from 8 am to 2 pm. Rain, hail, or sunshine, they’re always open, always welcoming, and always filled with something new to discover.

The Original Eumundi Markets has been a vibrant hub since 1979, growing from just three market stalls and eight customers to a bustling gathering that welcomes over 1 million visitors each year.

Nestled in the heart of the historic town of Eumundi, these markets are guided by a strong ethos of “Make it, Bake it, Sew it, Grow it.” It’s a mantra that celebrates the unique talents and passions of local artisans, growers, bakers, and makers.

As you wander through the stalls, you’ll discover a treasure trove of locally made artworks, fashion, jewellery, homewares, and woodwork. And the live music? It adds a beat to your step as you explore.

But let’s not forget about the food. Oh, the food! From mouth-watering pastries to sizzling street food, the variety of delicious offerings ensures that you won’t leave disappointed.

Best Places to Stay on Sunshine Coast

Luxury Option: Tingirana Noosa

Mid-Range Option: Oaks Sunshine Coast Seaforth Resort

Best Time to Go On A Gold Coast To Sunshine Coast Road Trip

You might want to circle your calendar around the Australian spring, which spans from September to November. The weather’s pleasant, not too hot, and you’ll catch the landscapes blooming to life. Plus, the crowds are smaller, so you’ll have those stunning beaches and coastal spots more to yourself.

Summer, from December to February, can be fabulous if you’re all about that beach life. Just be prepared for a bit more heat and humidity. The holiday season might bring in more travellers, but the vibrant atmosphere and bustling coastal towns add to the fun.

Autumn, running from March to May, is a sweet spot for travellers keen on mild temperatures and fewer crowds. It’s an ideal time for exploring outdoor markets, enjoying the local seafood, and soaking in those fiery sunsets.

Now, winter from June to August might not be the beach weather you’re dreaming of, but it’s hardly a chilly affair. If you’re someone who prefers cooler weather for outdoor activities, this could be your perfect window.

Festivals, surfing competitions, and local events happen all year round, so no matter when you go, there’s something special waiting for you.

Gold Coast To Sunshine Coast: FAQS

Should I go to the Sunshine Coast or the Gold Coast?

The choice between the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast depends on what you’re looking for in your trip. If you prefer bustling nightlife, theme parks, and a wide array of dining and shopping options, the Gold Coast might be the way to go. On the other hand, if you’re after a more relaxed vibe with stunning natural landscapes, beautiful beaches, and a focus on outdoor activities, then the Sunshine Coast may be more appealing. Both destinations have their unique charms, so consider what experiences align with your interests.

Is Sunshine Coast worth it?

Absolutely, the Sunshine Coast is well worth a visit! It’s a haven for those seeking a more laid-back atmosphere, filled with beautiful beaches, scenic hiking trails, and quaint coastal towns. The region offers an array of outdoor activities, including surfing, kayaking, and exploring the hinterland. With a unique blend of natural beauty and local culture, the Sunshine Coast provides a rewarding experience for both relaxation and adventure seekers.

Is Sunshine Coast warm in winter?

Yes, the Sunshine Coast enjoys a mild winter, making it a lovely destination even during the cooler months. Average daytime temperatures in winter typically range from 17°C to 23°C (63°F to 73°F), so you’ll still find plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. While it’s not as warm as the summer months, it’s certainly comfortable for exploring the beaches, hiking, or simply taking in the scenic coastal views.

Before you go…

Before you set off on your Gold Coast to Sunshine Coast road trip, make sure you’ve got all the inspiration and information you need.

If you’re drawn to the picturesque coastal roads and looking to extend your trip, consider exploring the Sydney to Gold Coast road trip. From breathtaking views to iconic towns, our detailed guide will take you through every twist and turn.

And if you’re still hungry for more, why not venture further to Brisbane? Our Sydney to Brisbane road trip article will lead you through vibrant cities, hidden spots, and unforgettable experiences that define this incredible stretch of Australia’s coastline.

With the planning tips and inside knowledge we’ve got waiting for you, your journey through Australia’s east coast will be nothing short of extraordinary

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