Monday, April 30, 2012

The Sunshine Coast

It appears from my last few posts that I'm doing a Queensland theme, so I thought I'd stick with it and give my opinion on the Sunshine Coast.  Located just north of the capital city, Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast stretches roughly from Caloundra to Noosa, approximately 60km (37 miles).  There are 5 national parks contained within this area, so obviously it not completely developed and covered with concrete and buildings.

The coast is a great centre for tourism, and there are plenty of attractions and points of interest to keep everyone happy.  One of the most well known would be Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo, located at Beerwah, at the foot of the Glass House Mountains.  The Zoo is laid out well, with plenty of wildlife to see and of course the crocodile shows at the Crocoseum.  You know you can't miss that!  They also have elephants and tigers and such, in addition to the native Australian critters that you'd expect to see.

Glasshouse Mountains
Not far from Australia Zoo is Aussie World and Ettamogah Pub - a structure that has to be seen to be believed.  Filled with lots of fun rides for the kids, or a paintball park for the big kids, there's lots to see and do.  Also close by is the Buderim Ginger Factory, where you can do a tour of the working plant, enjoy other exhibits, shops and restaurants or rides for the kids.  To get an intriguing view of some ocean life, you can visit Underwater World, at the Spit in Mooloolaba.  (How are you doing wrapping your tongue around some of these words??? J)  I have to say, it's an awesome feeling standing in a clear tunnel, surrounded by huge sharks, stingrays, eels and all sorts of brilliantly coloured fish, close enough that it feels like you could reach out your arm and touch them.

Moving further up the coast you have a wide selection of beaches to choose from.  One of the things that many Australians take for granted is how lucky they are to have relatively uncrowded, beautiful beaches.  I guess that's one of the best parts of travelling; seeing how your country differs to others.  Some of my favourite stretches of beach are located near Coolum.  It's a smaller, quieter area than Caloundra or Noosa.  However, if it's nightlife and culture you're after, then Noosa is the place to see.
In the hinterland, you have a very different atmosphere.  There are a couple of scenic towns, Maleny and Montville, set up on the Blackall Range overlooking the Sunshine Coast.  These quaint little townships are almost like artist retreats, so there are lots of galleries to peruse and craft work to admire.  For the wine connoisseur there are some boutique wineries to stop and sample at along the way.

For the sports fans, there's horse racing at Corbould Park in Caloundra, more than 10 golf courses to choose from, and the Big Kart Track (Go-Kart racing) in Landsborough.

All of the places I've mentioned are possible to visit as a day trip from Brisbane, but to really see and enjoy the area, I would suggest spending a couple of days on the coast in one of the smaller towns so that you can get a real feel for the place.

Noosa Heads

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