A blissfully laid-back region with so much for couples to savour, Queensland's Sunshine Coast is perfect for both weekends away and extended stays. Whether you're chasing adventure or you're wanting to just relax, there's an idyllic spot here for you. Ready to escape to where the sun shines? We've got plenty of ideas to inspire a Sunshine Coast sojourn...
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Within two hours' drive north of Brisbane, Queensland's Sunshine Coast locales have all the makings for a romantic getaway – stunning scenery, amazing dining and fabulous accommodation. Whether you're dreaming of escaping to golden sands and crystalline waters or whimsical hinterland, you'll discover it all here.
With a collection of captivating spots (Noosa, Maleny, Montville, Mooloolaba and Maroochydore are extraordinary options) just a short distance from each other, enjoying all that this gorgeous region has to offer seems almost too easy.
What to do
Escaping to the beach the first thing on your mind? You're spoiled for choice in the aptly named Sunshine Coast, with a slew of postcard-ready pockets of sand scattered across the region. Ninety minutes' drive north of Brisbane, Maroochydore and nearby Mooloolaba will have beach-lovers in their element. Hit the main beaches here (Maroochydore Beach and Mooloolaba Beach) for a little sand and sunshine before toasting your romantic getaway with a refreshing brew at one of the many local surf clubs. Simple, perfect!
On the hunt for Queensland's most Insta-ready beaches? There's a reason why Noosa (just under two hours' drive north of Brisbane) is such a popular option for couples seeking a coastal getaway. Here, you'll find a spectacular beach (Noosa Main Beach) just steps from high-end boutiques and world-class dining hotspots. Want to go beyond the golden shoreline? Explore the magnificent Noosa National Park while in the region, take a dip in its romantic Fairy Pools and hit the surf at Boiling Point Lookout.
There's more to the Sunshine Coast than sun-kissed beaches, though. Romantics, head into the lush hinterland and prepare to be totally enchanted. Beloved for their charming cafes and boutiques, relaxed atmosphere and breathtaking valley views, Maleny and Montville a must-visit any time of year. From wandering along their main streets to wine-tasting and brewery tours, there's so much here to enjoy. Adventure-seekers, be sure to also check out the picturesque Gardeners Falls and take a cooling dip (depending on the temperature) or experience the 'country life' and meet the sweet-faced residents of Maleny Dairies for a marvellous day out.
Haven't yet had your fill of delightful hinterland locales? Nearby Mapleton and Flaxton are also worth visiting, with lovely dining spots and more sensational views. Or, make your way to Mount Coolum (30 minutes' drive east of the hinterland) and get your heart racing when you climb to its impressive peak. Trust us, you'll want to get out of bed early – overlooking the azure coastline, the 208-metre-high mountain (the track here will take around 45 minutes to climb) is one of the best spots in Queensland for watching the sun rise.
Where to dine
With such verdant hinterland and fantastic coast, the Sunshine Coast offers truly outstanding produce – gourmands, you're in for a treat.
A go-to foodie destination that's home to an array of acclaimed dining spots, Noosa and nearby Noosaville should definitely be on couples' itineraries. Top spots here for seafood and water views include Wasabi Restaurnt & Bar, Noosa Boathouse, Ricky's River Bar & Restaurant, Bistro C and Noosa Waterfront Restaurant & Bar. Cherished for its delicious Italian cuisine, Locale also promises a wonderful meal, while Paradise Arcade and the original Betty's Burgers are great for something casual.
Before leaving Noosa, pull up a chair at funky Asian eatery Sum Yung Guys at Sunshine Beach (under five minutes' drive from Noosa Heads). Co-owned by MasterChef season eight runner-up Matt Sinclair, it's a winner for mouthwatering dishes and excellent drinks. Thirty minutes' drive southeast of Noosa Heads, Yandina should also be on gourmands' radars. A beautiful country town with friendly locals and a relaxed vibe, it's where you'll come across the renowned Spirit House. Spoil yourselves with one of its indulgent banquets if you're (very!) hungry, or join one of its cooking classes to get clued-up on making exquisite Asian fare.
Basing yourselves in Mooloolaba? Don't miss lunch at Rice Boi or visit the multi-award-winning Augello's Ristorante & Pizzaria for irrisistable Italian and dreamy beach views. Backlane Tapas & Wine Bar is also perfect for a romantic dinner, while trendy Pier 33 will win over couples with its chic style, beautifully presented share plates and marina setting. Maroochydore top of your list? Set your sights for local foodie gems Junk Maroochydore, Tome and The Silva Spoon.
If you're heading into the hinterland, you'll also find a vast range of brilliant dining options. For something a little bit special, book a table at the hatted Long Apron at Montville's Spices Clovelly Estate. Another notable offering from the Spicers group, The Tamarind Restaurant at Maleny's Spicers Tamarind Retreat is cherished for its Thai-inspired cuisine. After something a little more casual? Maleny's main street is blessed with a number of remarkable eateries, including Maple 3 Cafe and local treasure Maleny Food Co. – you can't come here without trying its multi-award-winning gelato. In fact, eight of their flavours won gold at the DIAA Queensland Dairy Product Competition. Our pick? The hazelnut sorbet is real 'desert island dish' material.
Dreaming of a romantic short break? Find beautiful Queensland accommodation here...
Image credits: Tourism and Events Queensland and Ming Nomchong