With a focus on nature and chill coastal vibes, the Sunshine Coast is the place to be to get the best of both worlds. While driving past the mountains, the plains, the forest and the beaches is a fun and quick way to view the landscape, it’s not the most gratifying way to explore a place.To really get a feel for a place, it’s best to get on foot and head out into nature. Luckily, the Sunshine Coast is awash with incredible trails to walk. From dramatic shard-like mountain peaks with stunning panoramic views to rainforests with picturesque waterfalls to coastal hikes with dramatic ocean cliffs, this region north of the state’s capital is sure to satisfy your wild, wild heart.
If you see a national park right next to a town, you wouldn’t be wrong to assume that it’s not going to be the most scenic place in the world. They are usually a pretty area to casually stroll through but have nothing to make the jaw drop. Noosa National Park challenges these notions and raises them tenfold.
The Coastal Walks is the highlight of the park and follows the ocean taking you past spectacular rugged cliffs with treacherous names that sound like they were named by God-fearing pirates. Monikers such as Hells Gate and Devil’s Kitchen paint an image of swash-buckling thieves looking to make land on the beautiful, golden secluded beach between the headlands to stash their haul who were well all too aware that they could dash themselves to pieces on the dangerously beautiful rocky landscapes on either side if they weren’t careful.
Reenact your own Pirates Of The Caribbean ship-to-shore moment on the beach or lay back and dream of days gone by as your body rekindles its energy from exploring a spectacularly rugged and dramatic coastline.
There’s a lot to explore in Noosa National Park on one walk, and you could easily spend a whole day slowly wandering it and its dramatic and alluring coastline. Being within walking distance from the main street of an idyllic, modern, and laid back town is a bonus making Noosa and its spectacular national park a fantastic location for tourists looking for a relaxing oceanside getaway without needing a car.
For another beautiful walking trail in the Sunshine Coast’s north, one that’s open, airy and has a great many oceanic viewpoints, then you can’t go past the ass-cheek workout that is Mt Coolum. The ascent to the top isn’t very long, a meagre 800m, but for the uninitiated, you’re going to feel every one of the many steps.
But the reward is worth the effort, and you needn’t scale the entire height of the isolated peak to benefit. Much of the walk takes you up the side of the oversized rock giving you broad views of the coast down to Maroochydore and Mooloolaba and across the vast ocean plain.
Up until the end of the trail, the peak other directions in which to view the landscape. Nearing the top, you can see across to the idyllic town on Noosa and all that lies in-between. At the end, there’s the Maroochy River and the Sunshine Coast Airport to the South, and to the west, there’s Mt Ninderry, another isolated peak. It’s breathtaking from one-third to finish and well worth the slow, steady ascent.
Glass House Mountains
In the southern half of the Sunshine Coast lies a series of spectacular rugged peaks that rise sharply from the landscape collectively known as the Glass House Mountains. The jewel of the region, these incredible natural wonders are a sight to behold no matter where you view them.
One place, in particular, tops them all. Mt Ngungun forms part of the iconic mountain range, but its central location between the scattered peaks means that the view from the top is second-to-none.
Mt Tibrogargan, Mt Beerwah, Mt Beerburrum and Mt Coorowin are some of the more distinctive mountains you’ll see in the breathtaking, almost 360-degree uninterrupted panoramic view at the height of Mt Ngungun.
Not only is it the best place to view the Glass House Mountains, but it’s also one of the prettiest walks in all the (Sunshine Coast) realm. (The cave halfway up is neat too.)
Wild Horse Mountain
Another Glass House Mountain walk that ends views the Glass House Mountains is that of Wild Horse Mountain. That’s a lot of mentioning of mountains in one sentence! This peak doesn’t stick as much as being a part of the collection of massive shard-like mountains that dominate the southern parts of the Sunshine Coast, but the views from here are spectacular.
The walk itself is not of particular beauty, as it’s mostly treelined, but it will help carve you a beautiful butt as this puppy is steep, relentlessly so. But the 360-degree, uninterrupted panoramic views of the Glass House Mountains, Pumistone Passage and Bribie Island are well worth the buns, sweat and tears that it takes to reach its heights.
Luckily for you, steel buns, there is a fire tower at the top for you to rest and recuperate while the day calls it a night, and the sun dips below the iconic horizon.
Kondalilla Rock Pool
Upon learning that the meaning of the word Kondalilla is Aboriginal for the land of rushing water, it conjures up images of rivers, creeks, streams and waterfalls. All of which sounds very picturesque. And it is.
Kondalilla National Park is brimming with natural beauty. No more is that realised than when hiking to the spectacular Kondalilla Falls. Taking you to two viewpoints and past two smaller tranquil waterfalls on the way to the main waterfall, this trail is unquestionably one of the most varied and scenic walks on the Sunshine Coast.
As with many tracks in this region, though, it’s steep and there is an ass-numbing amount of stairs. Like 100. Times 2. Plus 100… But, unlike some of the other trails on this list, it’s not a leg murderer from start to finish. It’s only after you get to the second small waterfall that things start going downhill, literally.
Luckily, it’s only one side, so to save yourself some thigh burnage, head down in an anticlockwise way, or if you want to live life with regrets, follow the clock in chronological order. The view from the bridge and the access to the bottom of the falls is well worth it either way.
Not only are there numerous pretty spots along the way to gaze out at the landscape or enjoy some little waterfalls, but Kondalilla Rock Pool is also swimmable. That’s right, on top of all the beauty and the working out, the Kondalilla Falls trail also has a wild swimming hole you can swim in to cap off a beautiful, scenic adventure condensating.
And because Kondalilla National Park is awesome, it also has another beautiful walk that’s equally worth the time and effort like its namesake trail.
Baroon Lookout starts at the southern end of the park near Baroon Dam. And you guessed it, Baroon Lookout overlooks Baroon Dam. But it’s not just the beautiful view of the lake in the distance and the valley and river that leads away from it that makes this walk lovely. It’s also got numerous other picturesque places to see along the way.
Between the rocky Obi Obi Gorge, the sheer cliffs of The Narrows, a hidden waterfall and the trickling crystalline creek that you follow for part of the way, the walk to Baroon Lookout makes for one of the prettiest walking trails on the Sunshine Coast from start to finish.
The Sunshine Coast is a region brimming with natural beauty. But it’s only when you delve deep into its stunning walking trails that you uncover how incredible, complex and geographically fascinating it is. Which tracks appeal to your sense of adventure? Is it the ones by the sea with expansive ocean views and rugged cliffs? Or is it seeing the spectacular jagged shard-like individual peaks that make up the Glass House Mountains? Or do you prefer the more sheltered treelined walks that take you to numerous other natures features on route to the headliner attraction? Sound off the comments.
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