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From Pelican Waters in the south to Teewah in the north, there is so much to explore on the Sunshine Coast. We’ve picked three top spots to escape to this autumn.

Caloundra
It’s the first stop on the Sunshine Coast when you’re coming from Brisbane, and with so much to see and do, you’d be forgiven for wondering why anyone would want to travel any further.

Eat

Caloundra has a number of great, diverse food options – you could easily enjoy a relaxing lunch at a burger joint, followed by an upper class dinner on the waterfront – but the suburb comes alive every Sunday with the Caloundra Street Fair. Since 2002, the Street Fair has delighted locals and visitors alike with a showcase of around 100 hand-selected stallholders covering everything from food to clothing and homemade wares, as well as a range of talented local performers across a range of genres. And, whether it’s an after dinner treat or a post-beach refreshment you’re after, a stop at Gelataria Milano on Bulcock Street is never a bad idea – the family owned and operated store serves up gelati that transports you to the streets of Italy, the product of over 100 years in the ice cream business.

See

Not only is Caloundra home to some of the most picturesque spots on the Sunshine Coast – it’s steeped in local history, too. The Queensland Air Museum in Caloundra West houses almost one hundred aircraft, with a detailed background about each and every one. Aerophiles could spend days strolling the hangers, but even those without any particular interest in aviation could happily spend a few hours here getting lost in the history of Australian flight. Caloundra is also home to not one, but two lighthouses – the oldest, with its bright red top, dates back to 1896 – which you can tour. Climb up the steep timber “staircase” (which is really more like a ladder) to enjoy the panoramic view of Caloundra and beyond from the top of the signal tower.

Relax

Being situated on a headland certainly has its benefits – the biggest one being a multitude of beautiful beaches to choose from. Bulcock Beach, Kings Beach and nearby Dicky Beach are just a few of the options you have right on your doorstep, but – if white sandy beaches and temperate water isn’t your thing – there is also Currimundi Creek just nearby for you to float around in. With shady trees, plenty of sand to set your umbrella and beach chairs on and calm flowing water – or a nearby surf break, if that’s more of your thing – you’ll be happy to spend the whole day here, refuelling with food from the delicious cafes nearby.

Montville
Perched high on the Blackall Range in the Sunshine Coast’s hinterland (and less than an hour away from Palm Lake Resorts Cooroy-Noosa and Caloundra Cay), a walk down Montville’s Main Street feels like a step back in time.

Play

A rainforest mountain range, a stunning dam and a national park complete with a cascading waterfall – these are just some of the natural wonders that are easily accessible from Montville. Hikers can find adventure along the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk (a range of experiences can be enjoyed along this 58km trail, from half-day walks to three-day walks with camps), day trippers will love Kondalilla Falls, while art-buffs will gravitate to the various Montville galleries.

Wine

Just a short drive north-west from Montville’s Main Street, you’ll spot the bright red Flame Hill Vineyard through the lush green trees before you see it. Taking advantage of the rich soil and native flora, Flame Hill offers fine dining, wine tastings and a cellar filled with wines, condiments and relishes straight from the farm. Other Montville wine options include Mason Wines and Castle Glen, which can be found in Montville Cellars.

Dine

Rich mountainous farmlands and a temperate climate create the perfect conditions for local farmers to grow the freshest, tastiest produce and Montville’s many restaurants certainly make the most of it. Whether it’s breakfast with a view at panoramic Altitude Café or a hearty stew at Gypsy’s Table, Montville’s dining options boast home-grown produce served with a side of small-town hospitality – a combination that can’t be beaten.

Noosa
Ahhhh, Noosa. Whether you visit often or rarely at all, there’s always a little something special about this town. It’s the perfect blend of sophistication and relaxation. It might be the furtherest destination on the Sunshine Coast but it’s definitely worth the effort.

Bites

There is certainly no shortage of great spots to grab a bite along the Sunshine Coast, but Noosa might just have the highest concentration of beachside bistros and funky bars. Miss Moneypenny’s Restaurant and Cocktail Bar has shot to the top of everyone’s ‘Must Try’ list in recent years, competing with the likes of Sails and Bistro C, two long-standing local favourites. But if you’re after a hearty breakfast, The Drop on Noosa Drive shouldn’t be passed up – their haloumi and roast vegetable breakfast bagel is to die for.

Sights

Walk from Noosa Heads to Alexandria Bay and you will understand why people travel for days to visit our sunny coastlines. The aqua water and shady gum trees of Noosa National Park are quintessentially Queensland, and are home to some very shy residents – look up and you just might spot one. If you’re up for the adventure, the rock pools, or fairy pools as the locals call them, are absolutely a sight for sore eyes (or sore legs, as they’re quite a way into the park). Located between Winch Cove and Hell’s Gates, this is the perfect spot to relax and recuperate before making your way back to the car.

Shopping delights

And while we’re on the topic of food, glorious food, add Noosa Farmer’s Markets to your Sunday itinerary. It’s the one-stop-shop for all of the best produce the region has to offer, with everything from locally-grown fruits and veggies to nuts, herbs, home-made marinades and sauces, cheeses and fresh bread. If retail therapy is what you’re after, you can’t go past Hastings Street. This fashion Mecca has it all, from big brands to one-off boutiques. Two of our top picks are Alterior Motif and Bow & Arrow Trading, which both offer a great range of Australian labels and designers.

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