Your essential Sunshine Coast accommodation guide

From Caloundra in the south to Rainbow Beach in the north there are countless places to lay your head on the aptly-named Sunshine Coast.  Get prepped for your next visit with this need-to-know accommodation guide.

Caloundra to Kawana

Ramba Resort | Sunshine Coast accommodation

Photo by @rumbaresort

It’s easy to see why the southern end of the Sunshine Coast is a favourite with families. Make some furry friends at Australia Zoo, picnic on the banks of Currimundi Lake or BYO inflatables and float along on the lake’s gentle tidal current.

Where to stay:

You can’t get much more of a prime position than Rumba Beach Resort on the esplanade at Bulcock Beach, Caloundra. Expect to find all the facilities you’d want in a resort, from the heated pool through to the on-site bar and restaurants. Crew up and bring the whole family: with one, two and three bedroom options there’s room for everyone.

Stay beachfront without breaking the budget at Dicky Beach Holiday Park. Step from your campervan (or tent) straight on to the sand and head south along the Coastal Pathway to explore nearby Moffat Beach. Travelling with kids? Let them burn off some energy in the resort’s purpose-built games room and outdoor swimming pool.

For uninterrupted views across Pumicestone Passage, endless waterfront parklands and a blissful lack of hustle and bustle, get yourself to the Ramada Resort on Golden Beach. Start your morning with breakfast on your private balcony, followed by a kayak up to the northern tip of Bribie Island.  If you’re feeling adventurous, head west for a hinterland hike through the Glass House Mountains.

Mooloolaba to Marcoola

If swimming with whales, diving underwater wrecks and eating prawns fresh from the trawler sounds like your dream holiday, pick a spot on the map between Mooloolaba and Marcoola.

Where to stay:

Stay at the heart of the action at Breeze Mooloolaba, opposite Mooloolaba Beach, and choose from a one or two-bedroom apartment with either beach or hinterland views. (There’s  also a stylish communal BBQ and pool area for afternoon get togethers.)

Just beyond your front door you’ll find the lively Mooloolaba Esplanade – home to trendy cafes, fashion and homeware boutiques and independent galleries. Bringing the kids? Check out the Sealife Centre on the Spit where you’ll encounter blue penguins, seals, sharks and more.

If camping and caravanning’s more your style, head further north to reach Cotton Tree Holiday Park – one of the most idyllic waterfront spots on the entire coast. Spend your days paddleboarding and swimming on the Maroochy River side or surfing and bodyboarding the breaks on the ocean side.

Just five-minute’s drive from the Sunshine Coast Airport is the Novotel Sunshine Coast Resort, where you’ll feel as though you’re on a retreat from the moment you arrive. Sail and kayak around the resort’s private lagoon by day, while the kids blow off steam at the inflatable Aqua Fun Park. Then at night, sip authentic Italian granitas at SOLA, the resort’s Sicilian-inspired bar and restaurant.

The Hinterland

If you prefer the sounds of a whip-bird to the crash of the ocean, head for the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and take your pick from boutique B&Bs and luxury homesteads through to eco lodges.

Where to stay:

If it’s romance and seclusion you seek, head straight to the Spicers Tamarind Retreat in Maleny, an Asian-influenced oasis set among 18 acres of hinterland and just a short walk from the Gardners Falls.

Tuck into a modern Asian degustation dinner at the retreat’s award-winning restaurant, sip champagne in your outdoor cedar hot tub, or slice and dice your way through a Thai cooking class. If you’re visiting in summer, cool off with a freshwater swim in the nearby rock pools.

For Sunshine Coast accommodation that’s as charming as it is quirky, spend a night (or five) at the Glasshouse Mountains Eco Lodge – an old church with a collection of turn-of-the-century train carriages.  Kick back on a swinging chair with a cup of coffee grown, processed and roasted on-site, or sample their Jaboticaba Jam or port, made with fruit grown on the property.

It’s not just honeymooners who’ll enjoy a stay at Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat in Montville. Book into one of the property’s six pavilions (each come complete with spa bath, fireplace and hammock) and spend your days chasing waterfalls, sampling local cheese, chocolate and wine and searching for the elusive platypus.

Coolum to Noosa

netayna noosa

Photo by @netanyanoosa

It’s time to get acquainted with the beachside locales between low-key, laid back Coolum and bustling, stylish Noosa. Expect top notch dining and shopping, vibrant cafe culture and countless opportunities to connect with nature (the National Park is right on your doorstep).

Where to stay:

Book into Coolum Holiday Park for a low-key escape that revolves around plenty of surf and sandcastle-making time and happy hour at the surf club. Grab your morning coffee at Compound Surf & Espresso where they serve secondhand surf clothes alongside your piccolo.

For a little more luxury (ok, a lot more) keep driving up the coast until you reach Noosa’s Hastings Street and your beachfront accommodation at Netanya Noosa. There’s plenty to love about their studios, apartments, and penthouses, but it’s the view from your private balcony that will have you wishing you never had to leave.

Order a hamper of local produce from the on-site deli and start your day with breakfast on your private balcony as you take in the sweeping views across Main Beach and the curving headland.

Perched high on the hill, just a few minute’s walk from the centre of town, is the eco-friendly Peppers Noosa Resort – a mix of well-equipped self-catering apartments and spacious villas all of which run on solar energy. Destress with a rain therapy ritual at Stephanie’s Ocean Spa, where the rain shower is made from reclaimed 100 year old cedar from Australian rainforests, or cool off in the lagoon pool as you drink in the soul-stirring views out across the national park.

Never heard of Boreen Point? You’ll want to keep this secret to yourself when you discover this great value campground on the pristine shores of Lake Cootharaba.  Try your hand at kite-surfing or paddle boarding, or venture beyond the lake and explore the nearby Noosa Everglades by kayak.

Gympie to Cooloola

Whether you opt to take the highway or the Great Beach Drive, continue driving up the coast to discover the coloured sands of Rainbow Beach and the fertile farmlands of the Mary Valley. This is a place where it’s still completely possible (and encouraged) to ditch the WiFi connection and get back to nature.

Where to stay:

Drive 40 minute’s north of Noosa to find yourself in the Mary Valley: home to Imbil Bridge Farm, a beautifully-restored 1920s Queenslander farm house set on 30 acres.

After breakfast on the veranda, take the stairs down to a natural creek to spend the day in or on the water. Swim, fish and kayak as you keep an eye out for the local wildlife – platypus, turtles and waterbirds all call the creek home. If you’re a more serious angler,  pack your rod and head upstream to Lake Borumba to catch bass, perch and saratoga.

If you love camping but you’re not a fan of the set up, head to Rainbow Beach Ultimate Camping, overlooking Fraser Island, and let someone else do the hard work for you.  All you need to do is select your preferred campsite at Inskip Point and roll up at your destination. They’ll even come to service your outdoor toilet and shower each day.

Still seeking more inspiration? Check out this list of alternative things to do on the Sunshine Coast.