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Sunshine Coast - A Tourist Haven

Driving Along the Blackall Range
Driving Along the Blackall Range
Queensland's Sunshine Coast offers such a diversity of attractions and stunning natural beauty that you need to set aside at least a week to explore this tropical paradise.

Start your adventure by picking up your campervan hire Brisbane, then head up the Bruce Highway toward the heart of the Sunshine Coast. There are so many reasons why this is one of Australia's most popular campervan destinations. With some of Australia's best beaches and rivers, tropical rainforests and camping sites, there is something here for everyone.

The climate is one of the best attributes of the Sunshine Coast, being mild in winter and having an average sunshine rate of seven hours in summer. There is no wonder people flock from around the world to visit its beaches, mountains and towns.

If you are driving from Brisbane, the route takes less than two hours, and the scenery is stunning along the Bruce highway to the coastal towns, with the impressive Glasshouse Mountains looming in the distance, and rows upon rows of towering pine trees lining the roadside.

Before you reach the Coast you might want to stop at some of the many attractions which are scattered along the highway. These are a little tamer than the Gold Coast theme parks but just as unique and educational.

Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo has become world famous, and is located at Beerwah about an hour north from Brisbane. Just follow the Bruce Highway until you reach the soon to be named Steve Irwin Way. The variety of over 550 animals at Australia Zoo is amazing and you will be captivated by the displays and demonstrations running throughout the day.

You also can't forget the pineapple and tropical fruit plantations which have made this region famous. The Big Pineapple, located near Nambour, is hard to miss and was one of the first attractions in the region. It also features Australia's largest macadamia nut factory. Entry is free and there is ample parking. Before you leave make sure you try one of their famous banana splits.

The Deer Sanctuary and the Super Bee are also well known attractions located at Forest Glen further along the Bruce Highway.

Just before the Maroochydore exit, you can't miss the Ettamogah Pub, also known as Aussie World, as it has grown into a tourist attraction of its own. Including pub meals and 30 rides and games, plus a myriad of souvenir shops, this venue is worth visiting for the ultimate Aussie experience.

Underwater World, located at Mooloolaba, is Queensland's largest aquarium, with over 25,000 different sea creatures on show. The seal and otter shows are always a favourite with locals and tourists.

Maroochydore is one of those lazy towns that help you ease into holiday mode and put the brakes on for a while. The best Caravan Park by far is Cotton Tree Caravan Park, located on prime position on the beachfront and Maroochydore river. Perfect for any traveller, there is always a space available to set up and explore this beautiful part of the world. Bring your fishing and beach gear as you will end up spending a lot of time by the water.

Noosa is the tourist mecca of the Sunshine Coast. With brilliant white beaches and tourist shops lining the famous Hastings street, plus perfect weather for most of the year, you will be relaxed in no time. There are over six caravan parks in the Noosa area, but they book out quickly. One popular park is the Noosa North Shore Caravan Park. Located further out from the heart of Noosa, it has 15km of prime beachfront land and is a perfect place to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty of this area.

Cooloola National Park should be on your itinerary, with excellent camping grounds, pretty rivers, sandy beaches and walking trails making this a hidden treasure of the Sunshine Coast. It is also known as the Great Sandy National Park.

Just south of Noosa are the famous Eumundi markets which are open to the traveller throughout the week. There are all the local tropical fruits available plus the famous arts and crafts.

The Sunshine hinterland, with breathtaking views and art and craft shops, is a direct contrast to the brilliant beaches that line the coast from Caloundra in the south through to Madjimba further north.

Montville and Maleny are popular for their scenic beauty and restaurants. Situated on the Blackall range and located close to an hour from the beach, the panoramic views are truly exhilarating. You will need time to park your campervan hire and take in the views which sweep down to the beaches and beyond.

Kondalilla National Park, located 2km north of Montville, is worth a visit, especially for the beautiful scenery. There is a 2km circuit which ends with the majestic sight of the Kondalilla falls.

There is something in the Sunshine Coast for everyone, and whether you are a surfer, photographer, wildlife enthusiast, or just need a holiday, you will be back again and again.

Jenny Brewer

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