North of the shiny lights of Brisbane, where long stretches of beach begin and national parks tumble into one another, the Sunshine Coast offers the ideal environment to go slow.
Bustling in some nooks and quietly tranquil in others, it offers an attractive blend of nature, a thriving community, wellness hubs and some of the best restaurants in Queensland.
With plenty of ‘slow’ things to do on the Sunshine Coast, you can enjoy a relaxing escape minus the thumb twiddling. So, pack your sneakers, swimsuit and a fancy dress, flick your watch to “coast time”, and let us guide you on how to slow down on the Sunshine Coast.
Best Of The Great Outdoors
Ever sat amongst a city of trees, gazed up their towering trunks or walked around their traversing root systems…and just felt better? You’re not alone. Forest bathing is a term that originated in Japan and touches on the power of nature. Thankfully, you don’t have to head overseas to experience this version of ecotherapy with a plethora of green spaces dotted across the Sunshine Coast. Clear your head with a breathtaking coastal forest walk through Noosa National Park, where you may even be lucky enough to spot a koala. Or, for a verdant green landscape, a stroll or sit along the Buderim Rainforest and Waterfall Walk or around Kondalilla Falls Circuit is a must.
Hike The Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk
Just because you’re slowing down doesn’t mean you literally have to “slow down”. Clear four days in your calendar, stretch out those legs and get your blood pumping as you set out on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk. Stretching 58.8km across the Blackall Range, you’ll stride through pristine rainforest and past waterfalls and swimming holes before setting up at three bush camps along the way. Can’t wrangle that much time away? There are half and full-day walks offered within the greater route.
Kayak The Everglades
A hidden treasure among the Sunshine Coast’s bounty of beaches and forests, the Noosa Everglades, also known as The River of Mirrors, is a must-visit for anyone seeking solitude and an into-the-wilderness experience. One of only two everglade systems in the world, adventuring by kayak up the river and camping riverside for the night is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. While you won’t want to set your alarm and ruin the serenity of this place, you do want to wake with the sun to ensure you see the incredible stillness of the water in the early morning light. For kayak or canoe hire, try Lake Escapades or Kanu Kapers.
Best Slow Experiences
Find Your Zen With A Yoga Class
Leave your worries at the door and find your Zen with a yoga class at Noosa Flow. Held in a sun-filled studio overlooking Noosa River, opt for the slower-style of Yin Yoga and you’ll be stretching and deep breathing your way to a calmer, less-stressed version of you.
Graze Local Produce At The Farmers Markets
Visiting for the weekend? Hit up a local farmers market to see what the fertile farmlands of the Sunshine Coast has to offer. You’ll come face-to-face with friendly farmers and passionate producers who use these weekly community events to showcase their specialities. Slow Saturdays call for a stop by Yandina Country Markets or Kawana Waters Farmers Market, or if you’re looking for a Sunday jaunt, make a beeline to Noosa Farmers Market. Be sure to arrive with an empty stomach as there are plenty of taste-testers to graze on and delicious food stalls to grab a tasty treat.
Re-Set With A Wellness Treatment
There’s nothing like a day spa to take you from highly strung to a state of utter relaxation. Lavishly sprawled across multiple hours, it is the ultimate way to indulge while also restoring a much-needed sense of balance to your body. If treatment packages with a twist hook you in, then add a visit to the new Tank Bathhouse at Bli Bli to your itinerary. Taking only eight guests a day, Tank’s packages include a body massage, 60-minute session in the bathhouse, entry to the infrared sauna and steam room, plus a gourmet lunch featuring detox juices and a tantalising array of gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and vegetarian dishes. Alternatively, if being transported to Bali without the price tag sounds enticing, then book in to Ikatan Day Spa, near Noosa. Set on acreage, where tropical gardens fringe villa-style treatment rooms, this luxury destination spa has a cult following for good reason. Time slows here, so book in for a Balinese Boreh Wrap & Massage and drift away to your island paradise.
Take A Cultural Sailing Tour
If you’ve ever wanted to discover and connect with the First Nations culture of the Sunshine Coast, Saltwater Eco Tour’s Saltwater Cultural Tour is your ticket to the ultimate sensory experience. Jump aboard traditional timber sailing vessel, Spray of the Coral Coast, and glide down Mooloolaba’s canals for two hours while listening to engaging stories from local traditional owners of the land. You’ll also be feasting on locally-sourced and native bush tucker with a side of fresh Mooloolaba prawns and just-shucked oysters. Topped off with a local craft beer or signature lemon myrtle cocktail, this is one slow adventure you’ll remember for years to come.
Best Slow Food
Dig Into Sustainable Takeaway
Slow food doesn’t mean you have to pull up a chair and devour it over hours. In fact, there’s takeaway slow food options that rival any sit-down menu. Raw + Rice is a Sunshine Coast success story with shopfronts in Caloundra, Mooloolaba and Noosa, and have redefined sustainable takeaway with their mouth-watering poké bowls. Made using locally-grown ingredients and ethically-caught fish, it’s not too much to say you’ll taste the love in every forkful.
Pick Up Produce At Local Farm Gates
If you’re on the go while visiting the Sunshine Coast, you can still enjoy some of the best produce in the region. Keep an eye out for farm gates and roadside stalls as you travel the winding roads through the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Noosa Hinterland or Mary Valley. You’ll be grateful you’ve been holding onto all those coins.
Bask In A Long Lunch
For a long, lazy lunch hidden away in Eumundi, reserve a table at the chic, cottage-style Bask Eumundi. Brought to us by owner and chef Jack Madden and his partner interior designer, Jessica Coolican it boasts an ever-changing menu that is curated weekly depending on seasonal produce. Expect to have your tastebuds blown with dishes like chargrilled octopus with limoncello, local figs with buffalo mozzarella, local honey and seeded mustard, and the most divine house-baked country loaf with a sultry whipped almond cream.
Pack A Picnic And Dine Al Fresco
Gather your produce haul, a fresh loaf of sourdough from the nearest bakery and a hot coffee in your keep cup and lay a rug down for a morning picnic in the sunshine. Head for the hills and breathe deep amongst greenery at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve in Maleny or enjoy mountain vistas from Cooran’s James McKane Lookout Park. If the beach is calling, then you can’t beat snagging a timber platform along Noosa Main Beach, watching the waves from the hill at Alexandra Headland or laying on the grass at Happy Valley in Caloundra.