Apollonian Hotel at Boreen Point by the shores of Lake Cootharaba. Just a 20 to 25 minute drive north of Noosa this truly historic hotel has become famous for its wood-fired roasts at Sunday lunchtime
Australia Zoo. Steve Irwin’s creation gets bigger and better every year. It’s only a 40-minute drive south from Noosa – half that time from Maroochydore and Mooloolaba – on the Steve Irwin Way that links the Bruce highway with Beerwah. There’s so much to see allow a full day.
Eumundi Markets are world famous and only a 20-minute drive from Noosa and not much more from Maroochydore, Mooloolaba or any Sunshine Coast resort. The main market days are Wednesday and Saturday and it pays to get there by 10am.
Ginger Factory at Yandina, just off the Bruce Highway between Eumundi and Nambour. Fun for the family but a serious destination for serious foodies.
Golfers can have a ball on the Sunshine Coast. A number of Australia’s top-rated courses are just a short drive away. At Coolum there’s the acclaimed Twin Waters course. Closer to Noosa, in fact just minutes away, is Noosa Springs and the Noosa Golf Club’s championship course and then, just a little further down the Coast, Peregian Springs, the new Maroochy River course, Headland and the Greg Norman-designed Pelican Waters course at Caloundra.
Kenilworth, an easy 45-minutes drive from Noosa takes you into the lush low Hinterland and the opportunity to taste a wonderful range of specialty cheeses at the local cheese factory.
Maroochydore has developed into the Coast’s main commercial centre and at the Sunshine Plaza, the Coast’s largest shopping centre, you find Myer, Target and all the big-name boutique stores found in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. All this, and just a 25-minute drive from Noosa.
Montville and Maleny are hinterland towns set high in the Blackall Ranges. After wandering through the quaint art and craft shops that have made Montville famous, lunch is a must at a restaurant or cafe that provides panoramic views of the whole Sunshine Coast. Drive on to Maleny with more breathtaking views of the Coast and the Glasshouse Mountains and drop into the Maleny Cheese Factory for a fascinating tasting session.
Mooloolaba has its fine surf beach but if you continue on down the Spit from the Mooloolaba Wharf with its shops, bars and restaurants, you come to the local fisheries and their dockside cafes which offer the freshest fish and prawns on the Coast.
Spirit House at Yandina is possibly the Coast’s most revered and awarded restaurant along with its renowned cooking classes. It’s less than 30 minutes’ drive from most parts of the Coast but bookings are essential.
Tin Can Bay, which is out on the coast from Gympie, is where dolphins come to feed each day
Underwater World (just south of Maroochydore at Mooloolaba Wharf) is a favourite for families, especially if the weather has turned sour,