Exploring the Sunshine Coast

The Sunshine Coast is a region of coastal land situated north of Brisbane that encompasses beach resorts, surf spots, and national parks. During a weekend trip in May, my friends and I drove two hours north from Brisbane to Noosa Heads on the Sunshine Coast. If you want to visit the Sunshine Coast I recommend flying into Brisbane and renting a car. You can rent a car at age 21 in Australia and reach the Sunshine Coast much more directly and efficiently than you would by taking public transportation.

Noosa Heads, Queensland

Noosa Heads is a can’t miss destination on the Sunshine Coast. Noosa has a small downtown full of unique restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and Noosa National Park, which is one of the most beautiful and relaxing beaches that I’ve visited. This area is mostly populated by families and retirees, making it feel like a true getaway.

Noosa National Park

There is a coastal walk beginning at the beach that will take you past several scenic lookouts and ends at the famous Fairy Pools. These pools aren’t marked but are easy to find because of all the people swimming in them! The Fairy Pools are essentially just large tide pools, but are so refreshing and fun to swim in! The coastal walk took us about two hours round trip.

Exploring the Fairy Pools
Soaking up the Sunshine (Coast)

Since Noosa is located two hours away from Brisbane (and up to 4 hours if you’re taking public transportation), I recommend staying a night! We stayed at the Noosa Heads YHA and loved it. This hostel has a beach vibe, parking, an awesome happy hour, and is located within a 5 minute walk to the downtown and beach!

Restaurant recommendation: Cafe Le Monde on Hastings Street for dinner

Beerwah, Queensland

Crickey! You can’t leave Australia without visiting Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo- Home of the Crocodile Hunter! The zoo is located in Beerwah, Queensland, which is exactly an hour from both Noosa and Brisbane. Since my group had rented a car, a stop here fit perfectly in our schedule as we made our way from Noosa to Brisbane.

Crickey!
Did anyone else watch Bindi the Jungle Girl as a kid???

If you are studying in Australia there is a concession on admission! We paid $47 AUD which I thought was a good price for all that the zoo had to offer. Regular adult tickets cost $59 AUD. I would set aside at least a half day for the zoo.

The zoo is spread out over 1,000 acres; No animals are in cages and the zoo is designed like an animal sanctuary. I was most impressed with the Africa area as there was a Savannah “exhibit” that literally looked like the wild. Giraffes, Rhinos, and Zebras were all roaming freely together in a giant field that you could take a safari through!

Savannah exhibit

The Australia Zoo also offers several animal encounters. For example, some of my friends paid to hold koalas and feed giraffes.

Did you know that koalas sleep for 18 hours a day?

Lastly, everyday at noon the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors Show takes place in the Crocoseum. This show is still run by the Irwins and showcases their massive crocs! Don’t miss it!

I hope this post inspires you to one day visit the Sunshine Coast, or if you are planning on studying abroad in Australia, I hope you find this post helpful as you prepare for the semester of a lifetime!

Up next will be a similar post covering all things Gold Coast, Queensland.

Until then!

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