From the iconic Glass House Mountains just north of Brisbane, to Noosa and the coloured sands of Rainbow Beach, the Sunshine Coast covers over 100kms of pristine sandy beaches surrounded by coastal and hinterland villages.
The Sunshine Coast offers a unique blend of relaxed beach lifestyle alongside its reputation as a major events capital of regional Australia. With its triathlons, marathons, and now Velothon, it has built itself a reputation as a mecca for the athletically-inclined.
The Sunshine Coast has always had a love for all things food and wine. It’s home to fresh seafood, plucked straight from the oceans, farmers markets with home-grown organic produce, and dairy products and wineries tucked away in its lush, green hills. Dine by the ocean at one of the many beachfront surf clubs which epitomise Queensland’s surf culture, or a languid riverside eatery.
NOOSA NATIONAL PARK
Noosa National Park features spectacular coastal scenery, and is an important refuge for native wildlife like the koala, glossy black-cockatoo, and wallum froglet. There are kilometres of walking tracks of all grades, including a coastal track that leads to Tea Tree Bay where you can spot koalas in the trees behind the beach (best spotted in the mornings). There are numerous lookouts along the coastal track, affording spectacular coastal views where you may be able to spot dolphins, whales, or sea eagles.
Mount Ngungun (pronounced ‘noo noo’) is the sixth tallest of the Glass House Mountains at 253m, and you can climb to the summit along a well-maintained, scenic 1.1km-long track. It’s an easy hike to the top – beginning with an open forest, the trail affords a great view of Mt Tibrogarga as it passes a small rock overhang. Near the top is a steep, rocky scramble, and from the summit there are 360 views of nearby Mt Tibrogargan, Mt Coonowrin and Mt Beerwah.
4WD FROM NOOSA TO RAINBOW BEACH
The Great Beach Drive from Noosa to Rainbow Beach is a road trip through stunning beaches, idyllic National Parks and land steeped in Australian history. The 380km-long drive connects the Sunshine Coast with the Fraser Coast, a region of abundant wildlife including kangaroos, whales, turtles, dingoes, dugongs, and platypus. Highlights include Rainbow Beach for coloured sands, Honeymoon Bay for secluded lagoon swims, and the Carlo Sand Blow for breathtaking sunsets.
CANOE IN NOOSA EVERGLADES
Recognised as one of the most spectacular canoeing adventures in Australia, the Noosa Everglades is hidden within the Cooloola section of the Great Sandy National Park. The upper reaches of the Noosa River and the Everglades represent an ancient waterway that has existed unchanged for thousands of years, and is home to many endemic and endangered wildlife.
You can explore the waterways on kayak tours, ranging from half-day to 3 days, through Lake Cootharaba, Kinaba, Fig Tree Lake and the Upper Noosa River, or the river of mirrors.
This wildlife conservation is part of Steve Irwin’s legacy. Attractions include the Crocoseum, a state-of-the-art wildlife hospital, as well as enclosures reminiscent of tropical islands or African savannahs. You can also feed its resident wallabies, kangaroos, and koalas.
Velothon Sunshine Coast
Velothon Sunshine Coast is coming to Australia for the first time from 13 – 16 July, 2017. This is a road cycling experience for both professional and amateur riders, with the option of a 1-day or 3-day course.
The course offers dream riding conditions with the perfect mix of sprints, hills, flats and distances, with King of the Mountain and Sprint stages. The stunning Glass House Mountains continually appear at different points along the course, making the Velothon a feast for the eyes as much as it is for the legs.
Velothon is a global series of events, that in 2017 will span across Germany, Wales, Sweden, Canada and Australia. It is the first Australian edition of the Velothon, bringing a fresh Gran Fondo, or mass participation, experience to the southern hemisphere.
Every ride starts and finishes in and around the Mooloolaba area, with a dedicated Velo Clubhouse right on the Mooloolaba beachfront.
1-DAY VELO COURSE (16 JULY)
The Sunshine Coastal Stage offers two distances to choose from: either 95km or 155km around the northern area of Noosa and into the hinterland.
The 155km distance (with a total elevation of about 2,073m) heads west through the Hinterland, starting with a section along the beach from Mudjimba to Noosa before heading inland toward Kenilworth where more challenges await. The inland section of this course will be the highlight or the bane of your Velo. Before you make the exciting finale finish near the Velo Clubhouse in Mooloolaba, you’ll need to conquer the beast known as Obi Obi Hill. It’s a little less than 4km long but with a maximum gradient of 27%.
The 95km distance heads south through Eumundi, with a total elevation of about 1,037m. The two distances re-join with 13km to go for a finale finish near the Event Velo Clubhouse.
3-DAY VELO COURSE (14-16 JULY)
The 3 Day Velothon is not for the faint hearted, with its epic climbs and challenging descents. King of the Mountain sections will include some of the Sunshine Coast’s best road cycling climbs with sublime views of both the coast and hinterland. Fast and winding descents make the climbs all the more worthwhile. There are half a dozen sprints to choose from, with dedicated sprint sections through the Sunshine Coast’s best-loved towns.
Rde solo or in a team of four – the first three riders across the line will count towards the team classification.
Stage 1 (118km; 2,182m total elevation)
The brutal day starts from Sippy Downs, winding its way into the hilly hinterland and finishing at Buderim, with views over the spectacular Glasshouse Mountains. A King Of the Mountain in the final kilometre will keep you grinding until the last moment.
Stage 2 (88km; 1085m total elevation)
Starting at Moffatts Beach, the route finishes in the lovely town of Woombye in the hinterlands. This sprinters day has some blissful rolling flats and engaging climbing, with a sprint finish, all with stunning views of the Glass House Mountains.
Stage 3 (155km; 2,073m total elevation)
This final section follows the 1-day 155km Velo course, and by this stage, you’ll be ready to (possibly) walk on the laid-out carpet – the organisers are anticipating riders walking up this climb – for the punishing Obi Obi Hill.
The Velothon Sunshine Coast is held in Mooloolaba, which is located right in the heart of the Sunshine Coast, and only an hour’s drive from Brisbane’s Airports, or 20 minutes from the Sunshine Coast regional airport. Entry fees start from AUD99). Check out velothonsunshinecoast.com.