Typically, the name ‘Sunshine Coast’ conjures visions of white sandy beaches and beyond-blue water, and while we are blessed to have an embarrassing number of gorgeous beaches at our doorstep we have a lot more to offer than just beaches.
The Sunshine Coast region is also home to lush rainforests, quaint country towns, award-winning restaurants and cafes, markets, national parks, and some seriously good cheese factories and wineries.
The best way to take it all in is to get out on the open road and explore.
Here’s a look at some of the most scenic drives around the Sunshine Coast where you can explore the best of what this region has to offer.
Head for the hills
The Sunshine Coast hinterland is full of hidden treasures that, given the chance, will rival the beach for your valuable holiday time.
As you ascend the winding roads amidst rainforests and farmland you will find yourself marvelling at the impressive view across the countryside towards the coastline. The Sunshine Coast hinterland is full of outstanding natural beauty and the scenery is just the beginning.
The hinterland does charming like nowhere else in the region. Dotted with quaint townships, the hinterland is a haven for those seeking a dose of rural charm. Montville, Maleny, and Flaxton are among the better known and more popular towns to explore. Each town offers up something unique along with an assortment of delectable cafes and restaurants to boot. Montville takes the award for cutest small town, Maleny has an art edge, and Flaxton is home to some fantastic wineries.
While visiting the area you can spend your time wandering around art galleries, sampling award-winning cheeses, strolling through vineyards, and exploring the walking trails and waterfalls that are hidden within the hinterland’s national parks.
After your wanderings be sure to take your wine, cheese, and weary bones and drink up the gorgeous views from a picnic table during sunset. You won’t regret it.
Views are the Sunshine Coast hinterland’s specialty. In fact, here you will find the prime viewing area for another of the Sunshine Coast’s most scenic areas, the Glasshouse Mountains.
Which leads us to our next ‘best’ drive on the Sunshine Coast…
Get your hinterland driving map here.
The Glasshouse Mountains
Rising dramatically from the Sunshine Coast tableland, the Glasshouse Mountains are an impressive sight. Visible from select locations on the Coast the mountain range is hard to miss, but this impressive natural wonder is most appreciated from within a close range.
The Glasshouse Mountains were formed over 20 million years ago as a result of volcanic activity. The area has a long history and many stories associated with their creation that stem from local Aboriginal legend. You can visit the learning centre within the park to learn about the Mountains’ history as well as the local legends that surround their creation.
This scenic drive will take you right into the thick of the Glasshouse Mountains, literally. There are a number of off-the-beaten-path back roads in and around the mountains that you can explore for an even more up close and personal view of these impressive peaks.
While in the area be sure to make use of the plentiful walking and hiking trails that are available to truly experience the Glasshouse Mountains. Many of the walks lead to lookouts that offer up outstanding views of the mountain group and their surrounds.
Get your Glasshouse Mountains driving map here.
Beach to beach along the coast
Take a drive down the coast from beach to beach along the Sunshine Coast’s stunning coastline.
Peppered with eye-catching beaches and cute coastal towns, the Sunshine Coast’s coastline is a sure highlight of any trip to the region. You can drive the entire coast from Caloundra to Noosa virtually right next to the beach, enjoying ocean views right from your car seat in some sections. From Coolum to Sunshine Beach the road hugs the coastline providing epic views of the Pacific and all its glory.
There are ample cafes and restaurants along the way to tempt you in for a bite to eat or a cup of coffee. Or, if a picnic by the ocean is more your cup of tea there are plenty of parks right by the beach that offer a shady spot to spread a picnic blanket.
Like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow Noosa sits pretty at the northern end of the coast. Famous for its boutique shops and elegant restaurants, Noosa is everything they say it is and more. Here you will find more restaurants and cafes than you can poke a stick at and one of the most beautiful natural wonders on the Coast, Noosa National Park.
Be sure to stop and immerse yourself in the park and take a walk along one of the trails that crisscross the headland. The most scenic, and most popular, is the Coastal Track. As the name suggests, the trail hugs the coastline offering generous views across the bay towards Noosa North Shore. At the end of the trail you are rewarded with the impressive Hells Gates viewpoint, which sits atop a dramatic cliff top and boasts gorgeous views from the Noosa North Shore to Sunshine Beach.
Get your coastal driving map here.
Did our article ‘The Sunshine Coast’s Best Drives’ make you want to hit the open road on the Sunshine Coast?
Contact our reservations team on 1300 468 268, or via our contact page, for information or to book your Sunshine Coast holiday.