• best sunshine coast drives

Sunshine Coast Scenic Drives

Hit the road and enjoy a Sunshine Coast scenic drive along the stretch of coastline that extends for 60 kilometres, or into the lushness and greenery of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

There are plenty of options with spectacular scenery, golden sandy beaches and estuaries, thundering waterfalls, ancient rainforests and diverse wildlife to see. Scenic Sunshine Coast day trip itineraries include:

Sunshine Coast Coastal Strip

Head south and drive all the way down to Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast Motorway and check out this family friendly town boasting six spectacular beaches. Spend the morning strolling along the boardwalk that fringes the beaches, stopping for coffee at a cafe or a picnic in one of the beachfront parks.

Jump back in the car and get on Nicklin Way that takes you all the way to Mooloolaba and Maroochydore, where you can check out the beautiful beaches, stop for lunch and maybe drop a line in the Maroochy River.

Once you leave Maroochydore turn onto David Low Way and head back to Coolum, but don’t stop yet, as there are plenty more beaches and beach towns to be explored north of Coolum. There’s Peregian Beach, Marcus Beach, Castaways Beach, Sunrise Beach, Sunshine Beach, until you reach the resort town of Noosa Heads. You can easily wile away several hours here in this trendy little town.

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve

Just outside of Maleny in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is a remnant of the rainforests that once covered the Blackall Range, The Reserve is a living museum of diverse plant and animal life which will delight with its tranquillity and beauty. The forest is home to a wide array of Australian flora and fauna and is perfect for bushwalking. Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is located at 148 Mountain View Road, Maleny, a distance of 51 kilometres from Coolum.

Maleny & Montville

One of the most popular day trips is to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and the charming towns of Maleny and Montville. With an average elevation of 450m, the cooler temperatures in the hinterland offer a cool change from the coast.

Maleny, Montville and surrounding areas, are mainly lush green farmlands and are rich with skilled artisans. There is a huge arts and crafts industry in both villages that is a big drawcard to the area, with galleries, markets and shops selling the unique pieces of art.

Kondalilla National Park

Head out to the scenic Blackall Range and the Kondalilla National Park. The park is named after the spectacular Kondalilla Falls, where Skene Creek drops 90 metres into a rainforest valley.

Kondalilla, an Aboriginal word meaning 'rushing waters', describes this park's waterfall during the summer wet season. More than 107 species of birds have been seen in the park, and 70 species of reptiles and 32 species of frogs have been recorded from the Blackall Range.

Here you can take a hike on one of the several short walking tracks provided in Kondalilla National Park, 40 kilometres from Coolum.

The Glass House Mountains
For some of the most dramatic mountain scenery, discover the scenically abundant Glasshouse Mountains, 57 kilometres south west of Coolum. The scenery will unfold before your eyes as you drive into a series of 14 mountains, including Mt Tibrogargan, Mt Beerwah Mt Coonowrin and Wild Horse Mountain. Stop off at the Visitor and Interpretive Centre then head out on a series of walking trails with scenic lookouts such as the Glass House Mountains Lookout Circuit, Trachyte Circuit and Wild Horse Mountains Track. Or for the adrenalin junkies there are rock climbing adventures at Mt Tibrogargan and Mt Ngungun.

Mapleton National Park Forest Drive

Mapleton National Park is 49 kilometres west of Coolum. Take a drive to the northern end of the Blackall Range, to a forest reserve that is responsible for protecting diverse forest species such as bunya pines, tall open blackbutt forests and piccabeen palm groves.

On your way through Mapleton Forest Drive, stop at Poole’s Dam and take a walk to the top of the waterfall to get a beautiful view of the forest valley. There are a number of short walks (400 to 800m) in the National Park. The Forest Drive ends at Point Glorious where you will be treated to a spectacular view of the coastal area and the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

The Sunshine Coast region boasts lots of opportunities to get out on the road on a scenic day trip. Drive along the coastal or mountain roads, and take in the breath taking views.

Discover more of the Sunshine Coast on a scenic day trip!