Sunday, September 10, 2023

18 new reasons to visit the Sunshine Coast this spring

From barrel aged beers to boutique hotels, there's plenty of new reasons to visit the Sunshine Coast this spring

Here we've rounded up what's new in where to stay, play and eat – giving you 18 reasons to plan your next Sunshine Coast escape. Sunshine moments guaranteed.


An energy-neutral hotel powers into Caloundra

From the magicians who introduced Loea Boutique Hotel and Maleny Lodge after complete transformations of former motels, Andrew & Lucy Pink have turned their attention to a hotel in the heart of Caloundra that will re-open on 29 November, offering a haven of tranquility and style. Motel Caloundra ( aims to be totally energy self-sufficient with an array of solar panels and storage batteries installed. Located opposite the Events Centre and in an area designated as Caloundra's arts and culture hub, the hotel offers nine rooms, including a two-bedroom family suite and a fully-equipped two-bedroom apartment. Guests can enjoy use of the hotel's bicycles to explore Caloundra's stunning beaches and coastal cycle path.

Cabin in the (rising) woods

Through a partnership with Queensland-based Reforest, Visit Sunshine Coast has banded the local tourism industry together to identify and regenerate areas of land across the region.  One of the first sites earmarked for regeneration is in the Noosa Hinterland town of Cooroy, and perched in its centre is a newly opened cabin that looks like it's been ripped straight from the pages of a storybook. As well as a heated plunge pool, private deck and fire pit, the architecturally designed Kurui Cabin offers sweeping Hinterland views of the Cooroy Mountains Wildlife Corridor. This piece of land – once used for cattle grazing – will be regenerated through the Sunshine Coast Sustainability Program into the sub-tropical rainforest it once was.

The Cove Noosa reopens after refurb

What do you get when you combine a million-dollar view with a $4 million hotel refurbishment? Book a stay at the newly reopened The Cove Noosa to find out. This iconic Noosa resort, that overlooks Little Cove Beach, has reopened its doors after a 6 month renovation that includes a new external reception facility, a complete rebuild of the resort pool and poolside decking, replacement of the all the apartments' balustrades with glass, replacement of the dated terracotta tiles and refreshed resort grounds.  

Sleep in the heart of Montville

Known as the creative soul of the Hinterland, Montville is a must-visit for any art-lover on the Sunshine Coast. And a new accommodation offering is giving visitors the chance to fully immerse in its creative heart with a stay in one of the town's most recognisable buildings. Montrose Apartment has opened in the stone-clad building home to the large water wheel, offering a perfect escape for couples with stylish furnishing, a large modern bedroom with king bed, spacious living room, luxury bathroom and fully equipped kitchen.

Essence opens at Peregian Beach

A new boutique hotel is offering a fresh take on coastal resort luxury - just 15 minutes from Noosa. Essence Peregian Beach is a three-story 32-room boutique hotel comprised of studios and two-bedroom apartments along with 20 luxury three, four and five bedroom houses. Three of the houses have private pools. The resort also features two guest pools, one with a pool bar, a state-of-the-art conference and events facility for up to 80, a boardroom/private dining room, guest gym, lobby shop, room service and undercover hotel guest carpark.

Accessible upgrades to BIG4 Caloundra

With 2023 the Year of Accessible Tourism in Queensland, BIG4 Caloundra has undergone an extensive upgrade to their facilities including a wheelchair accessible pool with pool access ramps and handrails. An aquatic wheelchair and a hoist are available on request. Their onsite coffee and pizza van is also accessible by ramp, with two beautifully renovated cabins upgraded to be fully accessible with ramp access, wide doorways, a disability shower and toilet, handrails, elevated bed and accessible cooking facilities. By Christmas, the property plans to open a fully accessible camp kitchen.

Head to the hills

With sweeping views of the Hinterland, it's not hard to see why guests are falling head over heels for Maleny Country Estate. Nestled on 185 acres this hidden gem is the perfect place to not only tie the knot, but book a dreamy Hinterland getaway. Here they offer 1, 2 and 3 bedroom cottages and studios, including their gorgeous stone cottage complete with crackling fireplace, full kitchen and soaker tub.

Attractions & tours

Into the wild after dark

Wildlife HQ on the Sunshine Coast is relaunching their bespoke Night Zoo experience this September to showcase their range of exotic animals 'in action' after dark. The special guided tour takes visitors through the zoo's rainforest gardens to see nocturnal residents such as Tasmanian Devils, African Painted Dogs, Servals, Red Pandas, Binturong and a Maned Wolf, who are at their most active after the sun goes down. The Night Zoo tours run every Friday and Saturday evening from 6.30pm.  

Learn the art of cheesemaking

When it comes to cheese, nobody does it cheddar than Woombye Cheese Company. The Sunshine Coast cheesery was awarded Australia's Best Cheese 2023 at the Australian Grand Dairy Awards for their Blackall Gold – Washed Rind and Woombye Ash Brie, and now they're letting cheese lovers in on their secrets with a cheese making class. Tour company Tasty Tours have partnered with Woombye Cheese for the Tasty Savoury experience, taking brie-lovers on a culinary journey to a local Fermentier to make Kombucha, Woombye Cheese Company for a guided cheese-making masterclass and distiller Sunshine & Sons for a guided vodka, gin and rum tasting. Tours cost $265 per person and run each Saturday from 10am-2:30pm.

Tea and trains

There's always something brewing at the Mary Valley Rattler, so it's only fitting that the historic railway journey has launched the Silver Bullet High Tea Experience. Departing Gympie every Friday at 10am on the Rattler's Silver Bullet railmotor, the experience starts with a glass of bubbles followed by locally made sweet and savoury treats, with unlimited tea and coffee flowing through the two-hour journey. Beers, wine and soft drinks are available for purchase as you wind your way through the scenic Mary Valley.

Accessible cruise all about the Good Vibes

A new Sunshine Coast tourism operator is making the region's waterways more accessible with the launch of Good Vibes Boating Adventures. The vessel is custom built to be wheelchair accessible and is available for any sort of charter, from fishing to whale watching. With more than 40,000 humpback whales expected to migrate through Sunshine Coast waters this season, now is the perfect time to plan a trip out on the humpback highway.

Food & drink

Make tracks for The Doonan

Sitting loud and proud on two hectares of land, newly opened venue The Doonan is adding a whole lot of wow-factor to the Hinterland. This one-stop-shop hauls everything from buzzing bars to beer gardens and indoor/outdoor dining areas where you'll find a pizzeria, ice creamery, cellar door and even an outdoor playground for the kids. With an alfresco area sporting green and white tassel brollies, brick archways, suspended ferns and fairy lights, this is THE place for your next long lunch.

New wine bar opens in Maleny

Bringing nightlife to Maleny's Maple St is boutique wine shop and bar, Spill Wine. The tipple aficionados here (are committed to popping the cork on smaller and independent producers, leaning more towards natural, organic and biodynamic vino from Australia and around the world. The 270-strong line-up of wine is housed on a wall of shelves dedicated to all kinds of juice, and you'll also find the ultimate snack menu riddled with goods from LP's Quality Meats, Saison Meats and Alba Bar and Deli.

Barrel aged beer

Like a fine wine, a Sunshine Coast duo are looking to prove that beer only gets better with age. Wild Barrel brewery is poised to open in the Noosa Hinterland, specializing in 100 per cent barrel aged beer. Made using locally sourced, organic ingredients, before aging in the clean oak wine and whiskey barrels, the team at Wild Barrel aim to prove that by slowing down the process of making beer, you also make drinking beer an activity to savour.

Matso's moving in

Iconic Western Australian brewery Matso's is moving in, having bought Joe's Waterhole in the Sunshine Coast hinterland town of Eumundi. This is the first time the Broome brewery – known for its Mango and Ginger Beers – has expanded into Queensland, so it's only fitting they chose Australia's Craft Beer Capital as their new home away from home. Construction of Matso's Eumundi, which will include extensive inside and outside bar and dining areas, is well underway, with plans for completion in the final quarter of 2023.

New distiller opens on the Range

New distillery – Twelve & a Half Acres – has opened in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland on a former pineapple, banana and paw paw farm. Using ingredients grown onsite like lemon myrtle and wormwood, Twelve & a Half Acres aims to bring a taste of the Sunshine Coast to every bottle with flavours like Citrus & Spice, Lemon Myrtle, Liquorice, Montville Dry and The Commodore Navy Strength Gin.

A taste of Central America

Inspired by his hometown of San Jose in Costa Rica, Sunshine Coast chef Alejandro Soto has opened the must-try new restaurant, Alma by Latinos, on Maroochydore's Ocean Street. Soto found inspiration for the restaurant menu from the meals his mother used to make for his family, as well as his extensive restaurant experience in Australia and abroad. Think a mix of piqueos (snacks) including empanadas, Peruvian salmon ceviche, veal marinated with pickled vegetables and a Coconut inspired Brazilian seafood stew.

Asian fusion delights

The Sunshine Coast is known for its Asian fusion cuisine, with a number of high-profile restaurants like Sum Yung Guys, Rice Boi, The Tamarind and Spirit House cementing the region's culinary credentials. And now new kid on the block, The Rickshaw Restaurant & Bar, is following in their footsteps with a new venue on the banks of the Maroochy River. With dishes like Crying Tiger Beef Tartare, Chinese 5 Spice Char-Grilled Chicken and Kombu Bugs, it's little wonder foodies are lining up to snag a table here.

To find your next Sunshine Moment on the Sunshine Coast this spring, head to


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