- Coastline Blissful beaches, mighty mountain ranges
- Coast life Splashing, shopping, people-watching
A tropical playground for Australia's style set, the Sunshine Coast offers a swoon-worthy line-up of sun-kissed beaches, lush hinterland havens, chic stores and a stellar restaurant and bar scene.
Australia's answer to the French Riviera, the Sunshine Coast has become a destination du jour for designer-clad city folk seeking sun, sea and free-flowing champagne. The region's hedonistic heartland, Noosa serves up a sassy mix of soft-sand beaches, riverfront retreats, flashy eateries and bijou boutiques. If you need to detox after all that decadence, escape to the hinterland, where the towns of Maleny and Montville and the majestic Glass House Mountains offer a host of wholesome pursuits, from walking to wildlife spotting.
Do go/Don’t go
The name says it all, really. The Sunshine Coast is blessed with balmy days year-round. In summer, the mercury edges towards 30°; in winter, it happily hovers around 20°. Food lovers should time their visit for May, when the Noosa Food & Wine Festival (www.celebrationofaustralianfoodandwine.com.au) gets into full swing.
- Planes Domestic flights land at the Sunshine Coast Airport (www.sunshinecoastairport.com.au) in Maroochydore. For international journeys, Air New Zealand (www.airnewzealand.co.nz) now flies to the Sunshine Coast, but if you're arriving from any where else you'll need to fly into Brisbane Airport (www.bne.com.au). From there, it's a 90-minute drive up the Bruce Highway to the Sunshine Coast.
- Trains You can travel by train from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast. The Tilt Train and the Sunlander depart regularly from Roma Street Station. The 90-minute trip will get you to Nambour – from here it's a 20-minute drive east to the coast, or south to the hinterland. Visit www.queenslandrail.com.au for details.
- Automobiles Unless you plan to bask on the beach the whole time you're in town (not that we'd blame you), you're going to need wheels to explore this region. Hire a car from the airport when you land – you'll find all of the usual suspects there.
- Taxis A stay on the Sunshine Coast is all about indulgence, so keep these contacts handy: Suncoast Cabs (+61 131008; www.suncoastcabs.com.au) for seaside jaunts; Range Taxi Service (+61 (0)418 711 989) for hinterland journeys.