There’s a tantalising diversity in the 24 attractions being highlighted on the Sunshine Coast in 2024. From new restaurants and distinctive boutique accommodation through to family-friendly favourites and events, it highlights there’s something for every taste on the Sunny Coast.
As ‘Queensland’s Sunshine Pantry’ the ‘24 in 24’ includes many food-related attractions, but there’s also a stellar line up of arts and cultural events, as well as First Nations inspired activities celebrating the culture and creativity of the local Kabi Kabi people.
Highlighting that the Sunshine Coast welcomes all visitors, new accessible rooms have been added at The Crocodile Hunter Lodge and also at Bli Bli Suites, while getting around picturesque Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World is that much easier thanks to the introduction of new purpose-designed buggies.
Families are well catered for with new activities at Amaze World, while the Sunshine Coast’s enviable inventory of farm stays has been enhanced with a new family-friendly cabin at Sixty6 Acres and another soon to be unveiled at Seven Peaks Farm Stay.
Here’s 24 more reasons to add the Sunshine Coast to the travel calendar in 2024:
Eat (and drink)
- BASK launches its “long, lazy lunch” concept in new beachside venue
BASK restaurant attracted a strong following for its produce-driven menu when it was based in the market town of Eumundi and is set to win even more fans with its new location in the trendy beachside haven of Peregian Beach, just a stone’s throw from the ocean. The seasonal menu is designed to be shared over a long, lazy lunch (or dinner), complemented by a wine list teeming with both classics and eclectic selections from independent winemakers. BASK Peregian is set high off the street in a tropical environment and features a large outside deck for a relaxed dining experience. Visit baskrestaurant.com.
- Popular café adds a new night-time eatery, Pizzeria Sisily
Following the success of Golden Beach’s Café Sisily, owners Paolo Valvoletti and Giuliana Steppa extended their offering of authentic Italian cuisine on the coast with the addition of Pizzeria Sisily – a vibrant new bar and pizzeria. Born out of a desire to share Sicilian dishes and culture, and paying homage to the owners’ Sicilian heritage, Pizzeria Sisily dishes up wood-fired pizzas made from scratch alongside a full a la carte menu. A Sicilian-inspired bar serves traditional limoncello accompanied by a wine list curated by wine master Peter Scudamore-Smith. Visit pizzeriasisily.com.au.
- Sunshine Coast’s newest boutique gin distillery
The newest addition to the Sunshine Coast’s growing list of craft distilleries is Dacelo Distilling – Coolum Beach’s first distillery. Opened in October, Dacelo Distilling is producing a selection of native Australian gins named after the different local kookaburra species that often visit the region. Native ingredients such as banksia and gumbi gumbi create exotically flavoured botanical gins and from the six on offer, four have already taken home bronze medals in the 2023 Australian Gin Awards. Visit dacelodistilling.com.au.
- Woombye Cheese opens for ‘cellar door’ masterclass tastings
Visitors to the Sunshine Coast hinterland can now head to the multi award-winning Woombye Cheese on Saturdays to taste and purchase their fabulous range of cheeses – perfect for platters. Indulge in fresh, handcrafted cheese in one of the Sunshine Coast’s most beautiful regions making sure to sample the funky orange, mild Blackall Gold Washed Rind which claimed the title of Australia’s Best Cheese in 2023. Special masterclass tasting sessions can also be arranged. Visit woombyecheese.com.
- Australia’s Craft Beer Capital brews even more intensely
The Sunshine Coast is widely regarded as Australia’s Craft Beer Capital – based on the number of craft breweries per capita – so it’s little wonder new brewers have chosen to join the fold. Coolum Beer Co, which opened in December in the Coolum Beach commercial estate, is the latest addition to the Sunshine Coast’s craft beer trail. Built with families in mind, the brewery has a large grassy area for children to play while parents can relish the flavours of their Point Perry pale ale or the Beach Days session ale. Located just up the road from the popular Blackflag Brewing, Coolum Beer Co is set to make Coolum Beach a must-visit destination for a local brew.
Popular Alexandra Headland brewery 10 Toes has expanded with the addition of a second location in Buderim. The new site dishes up food from ‘hot’ Gympie restaurant Bunker Smokehouse, which has leased the kitchen at the 250-seat venue. The new location focuses on producing seasonal batches, with a new flavoured brew every week! Visit 10toes.beer.
Famed Broome brewer Matso’s has also decided that its east coast base should be the Sunny Coast – namely the ginger-growing region of Eumundi. Launched in December, Matso’s has brought its rich brewing legacy to the coast, brewing locally out the back of the historic Joe’s Waterhole pub directly across the road from the well-known Eumundi Markets. The new location puts the emphasis on hospitality (and beer, of course) with a range of vibrant dining and entertainment areas including an expansive, family-friendly beer garden. Visit matsos.com.au.
- A cocktail bar with a difference opens in Mooloolaba
Located directly across from the crystal clear waters of Mooloolaba Beach, you’ll find specialty bar WAT Den which focuses on whisky & tequila-based drinks. An elegant new destination bar, the signature cigar lounge interiors house only 40-60 patrons at any given time and promises not only a drink for visitors, but an experience. Taste whiskys and tequilas that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else while the dark and moody setting transports you to another world. Visit watden.com.au.
- Boutique wine experience venue launches in Maleny – Spill Wine Bar
A chic, neighbourhood wine bar and store nestled in the heart of Maleny, Spill Wine Bar is fast becoming a haven for lovers of distinctive wines. Spill Wine Bar’s Wednesday Wine-Down dinners offers a ‘one and done’ style dining experience – with a new dish each week accompanied by $5 corkage on a paired bottle of wine from the extensive collection. Dishes are designed to match the season – think rich and warming Casoulet with wines from the south of France. Perhaps a Risotto Milanese with wines from Piedmonte or even a perfectly balanced bowl of Tonkotsu Ramen with some sharp Australian Riesling. Visit spillwine.com.au.
- Tuck into ‘Queensland’s Sunshine Pantry’
The Sunshine Coast benefits from a terrain crafted from volcanic activity which created rich soils that nurture world class dairy, meats, fruit, vegetables, and herbs. Home to more than 900 producers and over 400 food tourism experiences, it’s no wonder the region has been dubbed Queensland’s Sunshine Pantry. From coastline to farmland, visitors can find an abundance of culinary experiences waiting to be devoured – rustic farmstays, specially curated tours, interactive cooking schools, incredible organic farm stores and a raft of producers who have opened their farm gates for all to enjoy. Visit qldsunshinepantry.com.
- The Station to provide a platform for family-friendly entertainment
Originally opened as a food and entertainment venue called the NightQuarter, The Station is set to open on the same site in Birtinya, with a new family-friendly concept. The entertainment hub will become a six-day, all-inclusive precinct offering live music, food trucks and bars, Alley-Oops Skatepark and retail outlets. The first stage which includes the concert venue, skate park, retail shops and food truck precinct with a bar area will open on 1 March 2024. Visit thestationsc.com.au.
- Leading tour operator launches ‘berry cool’ new way to discover Rainbow Beach
With the Hemsworths highlighting the golden beaches at the end of Rainbow Beach, acclaimed local tour operator Joel’s Journeys has pioneered a new full-day tour that takes the inland route via the beautiful Noosa hinterland and Great Sandy National Park. Rainbow Beach is famous for its coloured sands, and Joel gets his tour guests into the mood on their way to the beach by calling into Cooloola Berries for a brewery-meets-farm taste sensation. Guests then get to freshen up in a sand filtered freshwater creek before continuing to spectacular Carlo Sandblow which offers picturesque views of the distant coloured sands and Double Island Point. Visit joelsjourneys.com.au.
- Indigenous culture and creativity showcased at new First Nations Market – GATHAA
Launched in December, GATHAA First Nations Market is a platform for showcasing the rich cultural heritage and creativity of the Kabi Kabi people. Transforming the centrally located village of Forest Glen into a vibrant hub of culture, creativity and connection, GATHAA celebrates the world’s oldest surviving culture. The markets will take place regularly throughout 2024 in January, February, April, May, July and September. Alongside retail and food stalls, the markets feature a roster of immersive sessions – from bushfood cooking demonstrations to cultural workshops including weaving and dot art painting. Visit mydillybag.com.au/pages/GATHAA.
- New attractions make Amaze World even more a-maze-ing
Amaze World’s new windmill area boasts half an acre of new mazes, puzzles, leisure areas and party pavilions – all connected with fully accessible pathways and beautifully landscaped gardens. Five floor puzzles will challenge and entertain teens and adults alike, as well as a new hedge maze which can only be navigated by turning right. Visit www.amazeworld.com.au.
- Self-guided dirt bike tours take off on the Sunshine Coast
A new way to explore the natural attractions, national parks and coastal trails of the Sunshine Coast, Coastal Gateway Dirt Bike Tours has launched, offering a brand new way to explore the region. Those with a passion for dirt bikes, and a bike licence, can set off on two wheels and discover places most people and 4WDs can’t access. Highlights include Rainbow Beach and Double Island Point, to the Glass House Mountains and the Beerburrum and Beerwah State Forests. Single or multi-day hire is available, with bikes equipped with pre-loaded, handlebar-mounted GPS units full of maps and trails taking guests to places only locals know about. Visit desertgatewaydirtbiketours.com.au.
- Indulge in a gourmet high tea while soaking in a spectacular landscape with the Mary Valley Rattler
The Mary Valley offers some of the most luscious landscapes on the Sunshine Coast – and the Mary Valley Rattler is now offering the opportunity to both view and taste the best of the region in a heritage Silver Bullet rail-motor. The Silver Bullet High Tea Service departs Gympie Station every Friday at 10am and offers passengers bubbles, sweet and savoury treats, and free-flowing tea and coffee as the train winds through picturesque hills on the way to the historic village of Dagun. Visit maryvalleyrattler.com.au.
- New buggies accelerate accessibility at picturesque Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World
A much-loved Sunshine Coast attraction, Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World has a new fleet of wheelchair accessible buggies, ensuring the lush gardens can be experienced by everyone. The venue is home to over 600 native and exotic birds, eight kilometres of winding paths, various waterfalls and lakes and picture-postcard views of the enigmatic Glass House Mountains. A new Indigenous interpretation walk is set to be unveiled in the new year. Visit malenybotanicgardens.com.au.
- Popular farm stays add family-friendly accommodation options
Seven Peaks Farm Stay is set to add a new family cabin to its six luxury cabins. Set amidst native Australian bushland with views of the iconic Glass House Mountains, the popular farm stay is perfect for soaking up the simplicity of country living – choose between getting well-acquainted with the friendly farm animals or finding a picturesque spot for a secluded family picnic. Visit sevenpeaksfarmstay.com.au.
Meanwhile, in the hinterland region of Woombye, Sixty6 Acres has added a new three-bedroom villa, The Acreage. Boasting sweeping views over the farm and its lake, guests have exclusive use of the outdoor bathhouse – complete with original clawfoot bathtub. Visit sixty6acres.com.
- New three-bedroom luxury cabins at The Crocodile Hunter Lodge
The Crocodile Hunter Lodge has expanded its luxury accommodation offering with the introduction of four three-bedroom Emu Cabins, including an accessible cabin. Each cabin can accommodate up to six guests and offers spectacular scenic views of native bushland from the spacious wrap-around decks. Guests receive unlimited entry to Australia Zoo for each day of their stay, complimentary breakfast at Warrior Restaurant & Bar, exclusive access to ‘The Billabong’ – a 25-metre infinity pool overlooking the resident wildlife – and a sneak peek tour of the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital. Visit thecrocodilehunterlodge.com.au.
- A front row seat to a sub-tropical rainforest restoration
Kick up your feet in the heated plunge pool or by the private fire pit on the large outdoor deck and witness a rainforest restoration right in front of your eyes – a product of the Sunshine Coast’s commitment to protecting and regenerating the local land. Gazing out from Kurui Cabin across the lush gardens with a waterfall cascading nearby, it’s hard to believe this area was once cattle grazing land. Kurui Cabin is located on one of the first sites earmarked for regeneration in the Noosa Hinterland town of Cooroy as part of the Sunshine Coast Sustainability Program, with planting set to take place from March 2024.
- New four-star suites with a Mediterranean-inspired rooftop terrace
Located within the recently relaunched Bli Bli Hotel you’ll find Bli Bli Suites, home to eight contemporary rooms, ideal for both leisure and business stays. Bli Bli Suites is easily accessible from Sunshine Coast Airport and is perfectly situated close to the central hub of Maroochydore and many of the Coast’s best beaches. Bli Bli Hotel features a modern bistro and bar, and a Mediterranean-inspired rooftop terrace with an open-air retractable roof. Visit bliblihotel.com.au.
- Misty View Cottages adds secluded hideaway, Ponti Cottage
Ponti Cottage is the newest addition to Misty View Cottages in Montville. Ponti Cottage has been purpose-built amongst the trees with over 1,000m2 of revegetated land for a private getaway. Ponti Cottage offers a beautifully appointed secluded hideaway complete with its own private heated swim spa, a large freestanding luxury bath and couples shower with full glass window overlooking the rainforest below. Visit mistyview.com.au.
- New boutique hotel in Noosa’s newest neighbourhood
Just 15 minutes’ from Noosa, Essence Peregian Beach takes coastal resort luxury to the next level with 32 boutique rooms. Comprised of studios and two-bedroom apartments, along with 20 three, four and five bedroom houses (three of which have private pools) – Essence is the perfect respite for those looking to immerse themselves in the coastal charm of Peregian Beach. Visit essenceperegianbeach.com.au.
- Foodie festivals set to serve up a feast in 2024
The Sunshine Coast’s premier culinary festival, The Curated Plate (thecuratedplate.com.au), will return from 26 July – 4 August 2024. The 10-day home-grown festival is a delicious celebration of the region’s local produce, producers, and chefs. Aspiring foodies can embark on a culinary journey from the seafood hub of Mooloolaba all the way to the rich volcanic soils of the hinterland to discover just why the Sunshine Coast has been dubbed “Queensland’s Sunshine Pantry”.
While Noosa’s signature foodie festival Noosa Eat and Drink (noosaeatdrink.com.au) is set to return from 30 May – 2 June this year after a brief hiatus. Much-loved events are back on the table including a Long Lunch (in a surprise destination), beachfront events and the return of the bustling Festival Village.
- GourMay Mary Valley Food Festival 2024
Returning for its second year, GourMay Mary Valley Food Festival spans the entire month of May, shining the spotlight on the Mary Valley’s local produce. A series of satellite events include farm tours, degustations and cooking demonstrations, culminating in Festival Day on 25 May when the delightful heritage village of Imbil becomes “cooking central” with cooking demonstrations, stalls selling local produce, chefs’ conversations and entertainment. Visit gourmaymaryvalley.com.au.
- Arts and culture are on the horizon for 2024
The Sunshine Coast’s leading contemporary multi-arts Horizon Festival will return with a jam-packed 10 days of visual art, music, theatre, dance, film and creative workshops; all inspired by the stories and beauty of the Sunshine Coast. The festival takes place from coast to hinterland and delights in the natural beauty of the Sunshine Coast, with a program that honours the Traditional Custodians of the region: the Kabi Kabi and Jinibara peoples. Visit horizonfestival.com.au.
Big music events are back on the agenda, so be sure to keep an eye out for more details on two of the most recently announced returns to the coast – The Big Pineapple Music Festival and Groovin The Moo Sunshine Coast.