While the sun, sand and surf of the Sunshine Coast are the major drawcards, the Sunshine Coast Hinterland towns offer so much to the intrepid traveller. From the volcanic peaks of the Glasshouse Mountains to the rolling hills and lakes nestled behind Noosa. There are so many hidden gems to explore.
No matter how long you are spending in the region, there is plenty to see and do. From hiking trails to art galleries, heritage pubs to craft breweries and distilleries, the Sunshine Coast Hinterland has it all.
There’s a range of accommodation in the towns of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, suiting all budgets travellers. Park the van up at one of the local caravan parks or campgrounds. Or, perhaps you’d like to indulge yourself at a Bed & Breakfast.
You can even take advantage of the local hospitality at a low-cost RV stopover. Jump online and make a booking at one of the many private properties that have opened themselves up for camping.
Whenever we are travelling through the Sunshine Coast Hinterland towns, we generally find ourselves at a pub and not always for a beer. We’ll sometimes have a meal there, and they are a great place to have a chat with a local to find out the best places to visit. Especially those that aren’t on the tourist brochures.
Sunshine Coast Hinterland Towns
Maybe it’s because we see the billboards every time we drive to the towns of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, but the only thing I knew about Yandina before this trip away was that it was home of Buderim Ginger and the Ginger Factory. Located at the southern end of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, there’s a large caravan park nestled on the banks of the South Maroochy River.
A short drive from town will have you arriving at Wappa Falls, where locals hurl themselves off the rocks, somersaulting to the water below. We were lucky enough to visit after rains, so the falls were in full flow.
Yandina also lays claim to one of the hinterlands oldest buildings. The Yandina Hotel was built in 1887 and moved by a bullock team to its present site in 1891. Enjoy a meal and a cold drink on the wide verandahs of this authentic Aussie pub.
While normally a sleepy little town for most of the week, Eumundi springs to life each Wednesday and Saturday when the world-famous Eumundi Markets kicks opens its doors, or should that be, peels back the canvas. Local artisans ply their trade next to fresh fruit and veggie stalls, as the smell of freshly roasted coffee wafts through the air.
Along the main street are cafes, restaurants and even the oldest bookseller in Australia, Berkelouw Books. There is plenty to occupy your time.
You definitely won’t go thirsty when you visit Eumundi. There are two pubs located within one hundred metres of each other. The Imperial Hotel is also home to the Eumundi Brewery, so book a tour and tasting session. On a weekend, kick back and listen to live music in the beer garden.
If you can’t fit all that Eumundi has to offer in one day, located just behind the markets is the Eumundi RV Stopover. You can stay for two nights and there is power available. There’s a dump point, free hot showers and BBQ’s provided too.
While we were exploring the towns of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland over a long weekend, we chose to base ourselves at Cooroy for a couple of reasons. First, its central location to the other towns in the hinterland. Second, we had found a great private campground only minutes from the centre of town with awesome views and dog friendly. And thirdly, Cooroy is a great little town with everything the traveller needs and then some.
For the art lover, visiting the Cooroy Butter Factory Arts Centre will be high on your wish list. Open from Sunday through to Tuesday, the Arts Centre hosts frequently changing exhibitions, a retail store and a pottery studio. Workshops are also run regularly. Here you can channel your inner Pro Hart or Brett Whitely and create your own masterpieces.
Not far from Cooroy is Lake MacDonald and Noosa Botanical Gardens. The lake is home to many birds and fish, with bass and perch regularly caught. Bring a picnic and relax by the water’s edge before ambling through the grounds of the botanical garden.
With so much to see and do, it’s great to know you can stay at the Cooroy RV Stopover for a maximum of four nights while you explore the region. Just a short stroll from the main street and at only $12/night, this is a ‘no frills’ campsite where the only amenity provided is a dump point. All RV’s must be fitted with their own toilet, shower and wastewater tanks.
Just up the road from Cooroy is Tinbeerwah and the impressive Mt Tinbeerwah. Take the drive up to almost the summit, but be aware that this is not a road suitable for caravans and trailers. For the last 500m, you’ll need to pack your walking shoes.
The first lookout point is accessible by prams and wheelchairs and allows for endless views to Lake Cooroibah, Lake Cootharaba, Noosa and beyond.
Follow the well-worn path across the rocks to the summit for spectacular 360˚ views across the hinterland. For the extra keen, get up early to watch the sunrise, or enjoy a glass of bubbles as the sun sets.
Feeling a little adventurous? The vertical cliff faces of Mt Tinbeerwah lend themselves to rock climbing and abseiling.
Located on the banks of Lake Cootharaba is the township of Boreen Point. As you could imagine, water sports and activities play a major part in daily life. Hire a kayak and take a paddle out onto the tannin-stained waters of the lake. Or perhaps a windsurfer is more your style?
Boreen Point is also home to the Noosa Council operated campground, located only metres from the banks of Lake Cootharaba, where there are powered sites, dump points and a camp kitchen available, as well as hot showers. No need to leave your furry friend at home, as dogs are allowed with prior approval.
Don’t feel like cooking dinner, then pop into the historic Apollonian Hotel for a delicious meal and a cold beer.
Dominating the main road through the small township of Kin Kin is the Country Life Hotel. This grand old pub exudes old-world charm while the large, wrap-around verandahs beckon you inside for a home-cooked meal, a chat and a cold beer. Time it just right and you might find yourself singing along to the live music.
Just behind the pub is the Kin Kin Sports Grounds, which provides a camping ground for users of the Noosa Trail Network. There’s also a number of stalls provided for your horses. The Noosa Trail Network incorporates eight scenic hinterland trails that are suitable for walking, mountain biking and horse riding. They vary in length and difficulty and are very well signposted.
For those seeking out an eclectic gift or a vintage collectable, then a visit to the quiet township of Cooran should be on your agenda. Filled with retro memorabilia and clothing, upcycled furniture and more, the Vintage Junction also sports a coffee shop serving the best brews around, or so I am told!
Want to get a bit of dirt under your tyres? Then head a little further north through Woondum National Park to Mothar Mountain Rock Pools to escape the summer heat via a 4WD ONLY track. On your way back to town, take a detour to Cooran Tablelands Lookout for stunning hinterland views.
I must admit, I have saved my favourite of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland towns until last. My wife and I have been visiting this friendly town for years, and it’s always a struggle when it is time to leave and head home.
Nestled in the shadows of the imposing Mount Cooroora, Pomona is a town that has a natural, easy-going vibe, where people still say G’day to you in the street.
Recently, The Pomona Distilling Co. has opened up a fantastic establishment. Serving up wonderful food and even more amazing locally produced gins, giving us even more reason to continue to visit.
For those that are looking to burn off the extra calories from breakfast at one of the several cafes, Pomona has a fantastic, self-guided heritage trail around the town. Taking in all the old buildings and historical sites, the walk will take you around an hour and a half. Unless you are married to a history nerd, like me, then it will probably take double that!
A highlight of the walk is the Majestic Theatre, the only remaining silent film theatre in the world. The theatre screens silent movies on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month at noon.
If that’s not enough physical exercise for you, the challenging 439m above sea level Mount Cooroora summit hike might be calling your name. It’s a challenging climb, but the rewards are views from one of the highest points in the hinterland.
As you’re walking up the mountain, just think that every July there are people out there who compete in the ‘King of the Mountain’ challenge. A 4.2km race to the top and back!
Looking to spend a couple of days in Pomona, then look no further than the Pomona Showgrounds and Caravan Park. Located only a minute or two from the centre of town, it’s got all the usual facilities like hot showers, camp kitchens and dump points and it’s also pet friendly for those setting up around the perimeter of the oval.
So there you have it, a holiday on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast can offer up a lot more than a dose of sunburn, sand in your swimmers and getting dumped by a wave.
Take the roads less travelled and enjoy a relaxing time exploring these Sunshine Coast Hinterland towns.
About the Author:
Hi, I’m Matt. I camp, four-wheel drive, explore the outdoors and get paid to take photos.
I’m happiest when I’m doing all four at once.
Occasionally, I’ll even tap out a couple of words on my keyboard.
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