They’re renowned for surf and sun-drenched beaches, and deservedly-so, but take a closer look at our national parks and forests and you’ll find the Sunshine and Fraser coasts have so much more in store!
You’ll discover spectacular coastal views, lush cool rainforests dotted with waterfalls, serene rivers and sheltered waterways, and some of the best camping spots around!
So, on your next weekend away, get ready to explore the parks and forests of the Sunshine and Fraser coasts for a couple of adventure-packed days spent on land or water. Choose your own adventure from many options, including camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing and more. However you prefer to spend your day, you’ll be spoilt for choice!
We’ve pulled together some hot tips for your itinerary to get you started.
To truly escape, you’ve got to stay longer than a day, and that means finding somewhere to bed down for the night. No problem! Our parks and forests offer unrivalled camping experiences, without the price tag of the coasts’ other accommodation options! Here’s a taste of two very different camping experiences to wet your appetite:
- Amamoor State Forest is about 2 hours drive north of Brisbane and a short drive from Gympie. In the midst of dry forests, riverine rainforests and impressive hoop and bunya pine plantations, you’ll discover two camping options—Cedar Grove and Amamoor Creek camping areas, both accessible by car. You can bring your pooch along with you to Amamoor Creek, so long as you keep it on a leash at all times. While you’re here, explore the Rainforest walk, a short distance from the Cedar Grove area. Follow the creek side up the mountain to find a number of secluded rock pools and falls. Beautiful!
- Coochin Creek, in Beerburrum and Beerwah State Forests, is 1.5 hours’ drive from Brisbane and less than half an hour from Caloundra… but it feels like a world away! Set amid open forest and woodlands, you’ll find a pleasant, flat, grassy spot by the creek, suitable for pitching a tent or parking the trailer or van. Settle in for a peaceful night’s sleep under the stars, then launch your canoe or kayak to explore Coochin Creek as it flows into the sheltered waters of Pumicestone Passage.
Head for the hills to discover the cool forests, mountainous views and hidden wonders of the Blackall Range. The Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk traverses the range for 59km, and offers a variety of shorter walks, as well as the 4-day hike. Explore 3 beautiful national parks—Kondalilla, Mapleton Falls and Mapleton— and, if you are hiking overnight, bed down under the stars in Thilba Thalba, Ubajee or Flaxton walkers’ camps.
Here’s a taste of your walking options—half-day walks, which leave you time to browse the shops in Maleny, Montville and Mapleton; full-day walks, which truly immerse you in nature, and overnight walks, perfect for that weekend escape!
- Get into the swing of things with the half-day walk from Flaxton Mill Road to Baxter Creek suspension bridge. Hike through open eucalypt forest and past a pretty waterfall on Baxter Creek before reaching the suspension bridge then retrace your steps.
- Spend a day hiking from Baroon Pocket Dam to Kondallila Falls; or from Mapleton National Park (Delicia Road entrance) to Gheerulla Falls. Both walks are about 5 hours one-way and you need to arrange pickup at the other end.
- Don your overnight pack and hike from Baroon Pocket Dam to Flaxton walkers' camp (Mapleton National Park), traversing open woodland ridges and rainforested gullies, and taking in Baroon lookout and the beautiful Kondalilla Falls. Return via the same track the next day.
Who doesn’t dream of catching the big one? Blue skies, beautiful lakes and rivers, calm seas or tranquil inshore waters, or even long stretches of wave-washed shorelines—the Sunshine and Fraser coasts have all this and more for your fishing pleasure! Here’s a few suggestions for wetting a line:
- Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area (another great camping spot), offers some keen fishing. Get there by 4WD along the beach from Tewantin, or by 2WD by road from Rainbow Beach. A gateway to K’gari (Fraser Island), Inskip is nestled among coastal trees and ringed by both open ocean and sheltered estuary shores. In winter, expect tailor, jewfish and bream, while year round you will see whiting, dart and flathead. The waters around Inskip are part of the Great Sandy Marine Park, so make sure you do your homework and check the zones and designated areas before heading out.
- Coochin Creek, in Beerburrum and Beerwah State Forests, drains into northern Pumicestone Passage, and is a rewarding fishing spot. Throw a line into the creek from the camping area, then cook your catch over a campfire that evening.
Launch your boat from Coochin Creek (or the nearby public boat ramp) and try your luck in Pumicestone Passage. This is a popular spot to catch flathead, bream, whiting, tailor and mud crabs. Just remember to check the marine park zones as the passage is within Moreton Bay Marine Park.
And remember, the fresher the bait the more appealing it is to fish! Don’t use imported, raw prawns from the supermarket as bait, as they may carry diseases which can get into our waterways and harm our prawn populations.
Imagine this—the only sounds you hear are the slop of water against the kayak and the splosh of the paddles as they dip through the water’s surface, breaking up the mirror-like reflections of forest and sky. You’re totally immersed in nature and everyday life feels light years away! Pack the kayaks or hire a canoe and head out on the water—your choices are many!
- Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park, nestled between Noosa Heads and Rainbow Beach, is the place for outdoor adventure. The beautiful, tranquil waterways of the Upper Noosa River offer the perfect opportunity to take the canoe out for a paddle. The section of river past Camp site 3 is only for non-motorised vessels, such as canoes and boats with electric motors—so peace and quiet reigns!
- Bribie Island National Park and Recreation Area close to Brisbane, is a paddlers’ (and fishers’) mecca. On the western side of the island, the sheltered waters of Pumicestone Passage are the best for exploring by paddle-power. Camp at Gallagher Point, Poverty Point, Mission Point or Lime Pocket and glide through tranquil waters against a scenic backdrop of the Glass House Mountains.
Get ready to go!
From rainforest landscapes to mountain terrain, long sandy beaches and pristine grassy camp sites, plan your itinerary around your activity of choice and head outdoors for an unforgettable weekend away.
Remember to always check park alerts before you head off (via the links to the parks and forests above)—this way you’ll be sure you have the latest 'intel' on conditions, access and closures for your destination. Happy exploring!