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The worldwide attention that accompanied Chris and Liam Hemsworth’s visit to Rainbow Beach, and Adam Scott’s live broadcast of a round of golf at the picturesque Maleny village golf course, has seen online searches for the two Sunshine Coast destinations surge into’s fastest-growing Top 10 in Australia.

The survey revealed the top ten searched destinations in Australia with a search-rank increase of over 100 places in July 2020, compared to the same period in 2019.

The presence of the world-famous acting and sporting greats further propelled the destinations’ status as rising stars, with Maleny teeing off to number two and Rainbow Beach beaming at number nine in the fastest-growing Top 10.

Maleny – in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland – hit the headlines when world-champion golfer and Sunshine Coast resident, Adam Scott, used some of his isolation time to play a few games of golf at Maleny Golf Club, including one that he streamed live to his global social media audience. The unheralded club has never been busier.

Rainbow Beach saw the arrival of the Hemsworth brothers and respective families in July, and while they enjoyed a very relaxed and low-key stay, their social media posts against the stunning beach backdrop sent the search engine into frenzy. Rob Gough – aka the Ice Man of Rainbow Beach – became an overnight celebrity for serving ‘Thor’ his favourite salted caramel ice cream.

“The fact that the Sunshine Coast has been able to create so much interest for two such diverse destinations highlights what makes the Sunshine Coast such a special destination,” said interim CEO of Visit Sunshine Coast, Craig Davidson.

“While we have some of Australia’s most exceptional beaches, we also have a lush Hinterland, with its spaciousness and stunning natural attractions.

“The reason why both celebrities and other travellers love the region so much is that it is so relaxed. Even the biggest stars let nature take centre-stage.”

Commenting on the survey, Luke Wilson, Area Manager for Australia at, concluded: “It is heartening to see travellers heading back to iconic coastal QLD and WA destinations for their winter holiday sun fix.

“Our July search trends demonstrate confidence is slowly returning. Queenslanders, conscious of not being complacent of restrictions returning are also looking to travel to traditional coastal destinations mostly within one to two hours’ north drive of Brisbane. This correlates directly with our previous May and June wish list data which highlighted QLD was on the top of Australian travellers minds for the school holiday period.” Top searched destinations with a search rank increase of over 100 places July 2020 v July 2019.

  1. Kalbarri, WA
  2. Maleny, QLD
  3. Exmouth, WA
  4. Mudgee, NSW
  5. Yallingup, WA
  6. Geraldton, WA
  7. Stanthorpe, QLD
  8. Agnes Water, QLD
  9. Rainbow Beach, QLD
  10. Fraser Island, QLD
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