Just north of Brisbane’s mighty CBD and the always-on lifestyle of the Gold Coast, a charming collection of seaside towns and country villages awaits on the Sunshine Coast. A world of serenity a mere hour and a half away from Queensland’s biggest city, you needn’t travel far to rest and recharge in one of the state’s most spectacular sub-tropical landscapes.
Tired of the day-to-day grind? Take things down a notch and explore the most relaxing spots on the Sunshine Coast with a car hire from Brisbane.
For a taste of the island life without taking to the skies, set you sights on Bribie Island. Connected to the Sunshine Coast by the Bribie Bridge, this offshore oasis is riddled with secluded beaches, lush parklands and pristine waters – all less than 2 hours from Brisbane. Admittedly compact in size, this 148-square kilometre island has more than enough to keep visitors busy, from the highly acclaimed Bribie Island Seaside Museum to the 18-hole championship golf perched on the island's south end.
If your idea of relaxation is more grounded in the great outdoors, opt for a stay in the Glass House Mountains. Only 30 minutes from Bribie Island once you're back on the mainland, this expansive inland wilderness is teeming with eco-retreats, bushwalking trails and clean mountain air. One of Australia's most significant natural and cultural sites, these once active volcanoes offer an idyllic setting in which to reconnect with nature, whether you’re scaling the rugged cliff sides or simply taking in the spectacular views.
North of the Glass House Mountains, the winding roads of the Blackall Range will lead you to Montville – a quaint country town as well-known for it's charming colonial architecture as it is for its good old fashioned hospitality. Hidden away amongst a forest of towering eucalyptus trees, this rural village is a dream for art collectors and creative types, with authentic antique shops, home-style bakeries and art galleries uncovered at every turn. Far enough from the coast to get away from it all but close enough to keep the view, this mountainside retreat truly is the best of both worlds.
A mere 25 kilometres east of Montville, Maroochydore beckons travellers with all the trademarks of an idyllic holiday destination. Endowed with some of the region's most sensational beaches and the Sunshine Coast's largest shopping complex to boot, this coastal town was practically made for escaping the stresses of city life without leaving its cosmopolitan comforts behind. Known as the official centre of the Sunshine Coast, this sun-drenched shopping mecca has enough trendy restaurants, stylish bars and high-street boutiques to rival Brisbane – all without the hustle and bustle.
Home to the best market in the Sunshine Coast, the population of this tiny town multiplies when the kiosks of artisan producers, local bakers and regional farmers spill into its main street. Not just a weekend affair, this twice-weekly bazaar sees friendly stallholders displaying everything from original artworks to just-picked seasonal produce every Wednesday and Saturday morning. Planning an escape outside of the market days? No problem – this seemingly simple hillside village is brimming with modern art galleries, one-of-a-kind clothing boutiques and a bounty of charming cafes 7 days a week.
Undoubtedly the most sought-after destination on the Sunshine Coast, there's little one can do to deny the allure of the region’s northernmost city. Nestled between Noosa National Park and the Noosa Spit Recreation Reserve, this bona fide tourist town is a top choice whether you want to explore Queensland’s native wilderness or settle in beachside with a good book. If you’d rather indulge in a little bit of luxury, you won’t need to venture far from Noosa’s legendary Hastings Street, where 5-star resorts, celebrity chef-headed restaurants and high-fashion storefronts meet the sea.
Ready for a little R&R? The beauty and tranquillity of the Sunshine Coast is only a car hire away.