Swim in the surf, fish from the Maroochy River, dive a sunken warship, or just relax with the pelicans at this laid-back beach town.
For a taste of Australia’s original 1950s coastal lifestyle, Maroochydore is the place to visit. Friendly locals, rolling surf, fibro holiday houses, caravan parks by the water and boats with on-board barbecue facilities for hire make Maroochydore the perfect place for a relaxed family holiday. All this is less than 30 minutes’ drive from the stunning rainforests of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, where hiking trails lead to waterfalls and natural pools. Maroochydore is also just under half an hour’s drive from Australia Zoo, the wildlife park established by famous Crocodile Hunter, the late Steve Irwin.
If you have little ones, head for the protected mouth of the Maroochy River, in the suburb of Cotton Tree. Here, you’ll find calm swimming waters, a playground, the esplanade and plenty of grassy areas for the kids to run around. Learn to surf at the main swimming beach in front of the Maroochy Surf Club, where consistent novice-friendly sets roll in.
Throw in a fishing line from the banks of the Maroochy River, or hire a small boat for the day to venture up and down the river. Even if you’re not into fishing, a river cruise is a must! Pack a picnic lunch or take a boat outfitted with a barbecue up the river to the beautiful Dunethin Rock picnic area at Yandina.
For an underwater adventure, join a dive trip to the sunken guided missile destroyer HMAS Brisbane. Scuttled 5 kilometres (3 miles) off the coast in 2005, the ship has already become a thriving marine habitat and is a great introduction to wreck diving.
To reach Maroochydore from other parts of Australia, fly into either Brisbane, which is about 100 kilometres (62 miles) south, or the Sunshine Coast. From either airport get a shuttle bus or rent a car to get to Maroochydore. Once there, it’s easy to get around on foot or by bicycle or public bus, but you’ll need private transport if you want to explore the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.