The Sunshine Coast lies north of Brisbane in southern Queensland, Australia. It is the much less commercialized version of the Gold Coast and without the nightlife or theme parks. The Sunshine Coast has some of the most beautiful white sandy beaches in the world. In fact, their beaches span an impressive 75 miles long. Along with their beaches, the Sunshine Coast offers 7 national parks, the most of any other region in Queensland. In addition, their hiking trails are scenic with valleys, mountains, waterfalls and caves. There is even a mountain within the glass house mountain range that looks like a gorilla, Mount Tibrogargan. You will be able to spot the gorilla formation when you approach the mountain range from the Bruce highway.
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The weather is pretty great all year round, although the Sunshine coast experiences 4 seasons, they are quite mild. It often is sunnier in the winter months. In addition, summer in Queensland is the thunderstorm season. If you are wondering how to get around, the public transport on the Sunshine coast isn’t as developed as say Brisbane or the Gold Coast. However, there is a train line and a few connecting buses. If it is the hikes you are after, you may be best hiring a car.
The Sunshine coast is definitely the destination for someone wanting to enjoy the pristine scenery and wildlife that this part of Australia has to offer. This region is overflowing with natural beauty that would appeal to the lover of the outdoors. After a hike, cool off with a dip in the ocean and enjoy some of the best snorkeling spots in Australia. Of course this region was also home to the world famous Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin. You can visit the amazing zoo he built, Australia Zoo which was also his residence. The Sunshine Coast is a great destination for the nature lover.
Kicking off our custom top 10 is none other than gorilla mountain. Mount Tibrogargan is a mountain that resembles a gorilla and is a part of the Glass House mountains range. This is the steepest and most difficult of the Glass House mountains to climb. This 2 mile out-and-back trail may seem short but it sure is tough because it is so steep. You will gain about a thousand feet in elevation on rocky and uneven ground. Ensure to be wearing comfortable hiking shoes with good grip. Do not attempt this climb in wet weather or after dark and finally, in summer, look out for snakes. The best time to hike this mountain is in the Australian Autumn months from March to May. This has to be one of the best things to do on the Sunshine Coast for the outdoor adventure lover.
Australia Zoo is one of the most iconic places in Australia. It isn’t just a zoo or wildlife sanctuary. It was the home of the famous Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. His family now proudly live on his legacy at this must-see attraction. Visiting Australia Zoo has to be one of the best things to do in Queensland. A vacation to Australia is not complete without a visit to this fabulous zoo. To be honest, it is more like a wildlife sanctuary. Don’t miss out on seeing the crocodile show, something Steve Irwin made famous.
Download the Tripio app now and add this to your travel bucket list. Australia Zoo allows you to travel around the world and experience wonderful animals without leaving Australia, it is a pretty special place when you can feel the passion that was put into developing this zoo and the efforts of the Irwin family into conservation.
King’s Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on the Sunshine Coast. Australia has some of the best beaches in the world period. Either rent a surfboard nearby at one of the surf shops that line the beach, take surf lessons at the nearby ‘learn to surf school’ or use your own surfboard if you have one. The best time to catch the big waves is during the winter months, which in Australia is June through to August. August usually produces the biggest swells up to 5 feet!
Tangalooma island is just off the coast of Queensland. It is a stunning island home to Tangalooma island resort. The best part about a vacation to Tangalooma is getting the amazing opportunity to hand feed wild dolphins. These dolphins are playful and intelligent. This is bound to be a bucket list ticking adventure. If you haven’t already, why not download the Tripio app right now and add this incredible experience to your custom itinerary. Tripio is a wonderful travel pocket guide. Create and share your own custom itinerary with your friends and family. If you still aren’t sure, you will also get access to travel professional’s own personal custom itineraries and you can follow them step by step. That’s your next vacation sorted! Being able to hand feed wild dolphins has to be one of the best things to do in Australia for an animal lover.
Smack bang in the middle of our custom top 10 is a jeep safari tour. North Stradbroke Island, locally known as Straddie, is an island off the coast of Brisbane. Take a safari tour of this pristine island with this award-winning, family-run business. The tour runs for approximately 11 hours with pickup in Brisbane. Explore this beautiful island in their air-conditioned 4 wheel drive for an adventure of a lifetime. Don’t forget to bring your camera as you are bound to see some incredible native Australian wildlife like kangaroos and Koalas.
Crashing into our custom top 10 at number 6 is rock climbing. Climb Mount Tibrogargan, a gorilla shaped mountain, it is the hardest and steepest mountain to climb within the glass house mountains. This gorilla mountain sneaks in again but this time with an even more intense activity. Bring your gear and set up correctly, only attempt to climb this mountain if you are an experienced climber. Bring a spotter with you and try not to attempt to climb on your own. The view is amazing but please take extreme caution. Do not attempt this climb in extreme heat, wet or windy conditions. Be sure to perform all necessary safety checks on your equipment as climbing is at your own risk.
Whale One offers an incredible, once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with Humpback whales out in the open ocean. Humpback Whales go on a fantastic migration past the eastern coast of Australia between the months of June through to October. Most people will go whale watching during these months which Whale One also offers, however, being able to swim with these magnificent creatures is just that much more incredible.
Each swim with the whale’s experience is completely different from one another. Whales are intelligent creatures and sometimes they want human interaction while other times, they don’t. The professionals will take you out on a boat to get you as close as they deem safe where you will then jump into the ocean and swim alongside them. I am jealous already.
Thank goodness for Tripio because I lived on the Sunshine Coast for 14 years and I never knew this experience existed. Do yourself a favor and download the Tripio app now. Select this activity and add it to your bucket list by touching the heart. This should be on everyone’s itinerary! Swimming with wild humpback whales out in the open ocean, that has to be one of the best things to do in Australia….period. This would be my personal number 1 in my own custom top 10.
Australia has some of the most diverse landscapes on the planet. However, I bet you didn’t expect to hear that they have their very own everglades tucked away in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. There are only two everglades on the planet, one in Florida and one in Noosa. Everglades Eco Safaris offer a wonderful experience of cruising along these everglades. There is even an option to add on a canoeing segment if you so wish to paddle through the everglades. Your cruise is inclusive of morning or afternoon tea dependent upon the time of your departure. Don’t worry, unlike the everglades in Florida, there are no crocodiles here!
The famous big pineapple in Woombye is home to the highest treetop challenge in Australia. Fly through the air on 12 flying foxes- this is what the Aussies call a zipline. Their longest one stretches over 460 feet! Partake in over 100 challenges across 5 courses and all while being high up in the rainforest canopy. Parents with children, there are age and height restrictions on different courses. This adventure park is suitable for children aged 8 and upwards.
Rounding out our custom top 10 is none other than swimming with sharks. Sunreef Mooloolaba offers the amazing opportunity to go scuba diving with grey nurse sharks off the coast of Moooloolaba. Dive to depths of up to 72 feet. Dives operate during the nurse shark season which is between July and October. This amazing dive is a fantastic opportunity to get up close and personal with these ancient and very misunderstood creatures. This dive is available only to divers with an open-water diver certificate. If you haven’t been on a dive in over 2 years then you will be required to complete a scuba refresher course. Please ensure that you bring copies of all your relevant certification and all that’s left to do is enjoy this incredible dive. The dive itself lasts for about 50 minutes.
All that adventure got you feeling hungry? Check out: 10 Places A Foodie Must Try In Brisbane
And craving more of Australia? You’ll love: The Top 10 Uniquely Sydney Attractions
-Gemma Winchester, Tripio Guru
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