If you can’t stand winter, it’s time to start planning your escape route and there’s no better place to warm your cockles than Queensland’s glorious Sunshine Coast. Water temperatures average a balmy 21C, even in the depths of winter, but if that’s still too cool to dip your toe in, there are plenty of other ways to escape the chill.
Our friends at Tourism & Events Queensland have helpfully created a list of 100 things to do on the Sunshine Coast and we’ve hand-picked some sure-fire ways to heat things up.
First stop is a hot cuppa while you plan your next move – and if you have a sweet tooth to add to your caffeine addiction, roll up to Sunshine Sunshine Espresso at Currimundi. It is run by creative couple Aaron and Bec, who roast their own green beans on site – try the signature Sunny Boy Original blend. Pair it with an injectable doughnut – yes inject your Nutella, caramel or condensed milk into the doughnut of your choice.
If you need something a little stronger to take the chill off, check out Nambour’s The Bison Bar – an Art Deco-inspired cocktail and coffee lounge offering tasty beverages, live music, games, films and more. The Tiramisu Martini gets good reports.
Out & About
It wouldn’t be a trip to the Sunshine Coast without a visit to the Eumundi Markets, open Wednesdays and Saturdays. Take a stroll in the sunshine, and pick up some stunning photos, handmade cards, glass designs, or quirky ceramics from the more than 600 stalls. Taste test some Asian street food, a fresh juice, gourmet calamari, or some old-fashioned baked treats. And it's all locally made.
Meanwhile, the Ginger Factory in Yandina is just the spot to soak up the sun in the tropical gardens, tour the factory to learn the story of ginger from paddock to plate, follow the Gingerbread Man around the world on a water adventure ride for all the family, and ride Moreton, the historical train. Pick yourself up some warming ginger products in the Ginger Shop before you leave.
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Spice It Up
Add some heat to your kitchen repertoire with Thai cooking classes at the Tamarind Cooking School at the Spicers Retreat in Maleny. Learn how to make such dishes as Geng Jeut of fish and prawn; roasted tomato and soft bean curd relish; and chicken glass noodle salad – with plenty of chilli, of course. If that sounds too much like work, head instead to the famed Spirit House restaurant in Yandina for contemporary Thai cuisine in tranquil surrounds – how about some Crunchy pork scratching with satay dipping sauce, followed by whole crispy fish with tamarind chilli sauce?
Work up a sweat climbing the 208-metre Mt Coolum – time it to see the sunrise and you won’t be sorry. The 360-degree views of the coast and the hinterland will warm your heart, as will the waterfalls, craggy cliffs, eucalypt forest and winter wildflowers.
If mountain biking is more your style, feel the burn along the new and upgraded trails of Tewantin National Park, 10 kilometres west of Noosa Heads. There are options suitable for all skill levels. Keep an eye out for echidnas, koalas, swamp wallabies and wallum froglets, and an ear out for the unique sound of the whip bird.
Motion On The Ocean
If you simply can’t resist the sea, take a cruise out of Mooloolaba to see humpback whales on their yearly migration up the coast to breed and mate in tropical north Queensland waters. You might also spot a dolphin or two. Back on land, splash through the shallows of Teewah Beach on horseback for an exhilarating ride along Noosa North Shore.