Now that we are able to explore our beautiful state once again, where do you head with your family? We all have our favourite spots, and we love to holiday in Caloundra at the southern-most end of the Sunshine Coast. It’s close proximity to Brisbane is also a big plus (especially at the moment with travel limitations in place).
When people think of the Sunshine Coast they often think of iconic Noosa, but it’s definitely Caloundra that we keep returning to. I think it’s a combination of great waterfront accommodation, magnificent beaches, stunning coastal paths and a laid-back vibe that keeps drawing us back time and time again.
Caloundra is a truly relaxing destination without the hassle and stress of other popular spots – it doesn’t have the same glitz, the crowds or the parking problems as some of its neighbours. This is a low-key place you can truly de-stress, unwind and re-group as a family. So, check out our 20 Reasons You Should Holiday in Caloundra. There really is something for everyone.
1 Stay on the Waterfront with a Kick Ass View
Part of the allure of a truly relaxing holiday is your own balcony with an unbeatable view (in this case from the Glasshouse Mountains, across Bribie Island to Happy Valley). From dawn to dusk a great view is a moving kaleidoscope of sights and sounds, allowing you to relax in your own comfort and watch the world go by. From warm croissants and coffee on your balcony at sun rise, to kite surfers putting on a show, to sipping a cool wine with a cheese platter as the rosellas come to roost and the sun goes down. You can’t beat it!
And for a magnificent view, you can’t go past Rumba Resort. We kept coming back year after year. So much so, that we purchased one of the units. Putting all bias aside, Rumba is such an easy place to stay.
The only 5* accommodation in Caloundra, Rumba boasts bars and restaurants at your fingertips, street markets at your door, wonderful facilities and Bulcock beach right out front – you can’t go wrong. Rumba has 1, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments and pricing has never been so good so, get in quick.
HIGHLIGHTS A SHORT STROLL FROM RUMBA
2 Enjoy the Spectacular Caloundra Coastal Walk
My morning and evening walks are a highlight of any holiday in Caloundra. The Caloundra Coastal Walk starts at Golden Beach in the South and continues for 25km. You can walk for hours from Rumba in either direction with beautiful ocean views to soak in at every turn (although we think north is way better). Keep an eye out for turtles, birdlife and dolphins in Pumicestone Passage and from any of Caloundra’s magnificent headlands.
3 Jetski Pummicestone Passage
Recently, we were lucky enough to experience this adventure which was right up there at spot #1 on my Holiday in Caloundra bucket list. Pumicestone Passage has 35km of pristine water channels stretching from Caloundra in the north to Deception Bay in the south. With Caloundra Jetski you can ride into Moreton Bay Marine Park, home to dolphins, dugongs, turtles and more than 350 species of birds, and the best bit – you get to drive (and you don’t need a licence). We took the 1.5 hour Glasshouse Twister. Just a word of warning, this is an adrenaline adventure that requires speed whilst twisting through narrow, shallow channels. Not for the feint hearted but so much fun!
4 Paddle out on Pumicestone Passage
If something tranquil is more your thing, BYO or hire a kayak or paddleboard through Bill’s Boat Hire to explore the pristine waterways off Golden Beach. The most southerly of Caloundra’s beaches, Golden Beach is east facing and located on Pumicestone passage. This is a calm area protected by Bribie Island and the mellow conditions make for crystal clear water ideal for safe swimming, snorkelling and an assortment of water activities. This is also the perfect place to relax, read a book, picnic or walk out to a huge sandbank a low tide.
5 Enjoy F&C at Bulcock Beach
Grab some freshly cooked seafood from the Sandbar Kiosk and sit on the grass headland or at one of the many picnic tables overlooking Bulcock Beach. This is another calm beach, south facing and protected by Bribie Island. If you’re lucky and the conditions are right, it’s also the ideal spot to watch the wind and kite surfing in the channel nearby. There are also rocks to fish from and surf fishing at low tide. With plenty of playgrounds and parkland further north, Bulcock is paradise for the young and young at heart.
If you want to venture further afield, Caloundra Seafood Market is also popular, but it does involve a drive.
6 Experience the Twilight Market
On the last Friday of every month between 5 and 9pm are the scenic twilight markets adjacent Rumba on the waterfront. With 70 food and artisan stalls these markets are the largest in the region and there is something for everyone. A great place to enjoy live music, delicious food, unique arts and crafts and a lively atmosphere.
7 Devour Home Made Gelato
A boardwalk spans the coastline near Bulcock Beach beside the sparkling blue waters that lead into Pumicstone Passage and a variety of cool cafes and restaurants line the waterfront. If the words ‘Home Made Gelato’ set your tastebuds tingling, then head to Gelato Rumba. It is seriously good with an awesome range including my favourite, salted lime. Yum – I am drooling just thinking about it!
8 Brush Up Your Surf Skills
A beginner’s surf break sits nearby at Happy Valley for those who want to try their luck on a surf, boogie board or paddle board. This is the perfect spot to learn on small waves or for children to practice their skills in a safe, shallow area. We’ve had lots of laughs catching waves in this spot when the tide is just right.
9 Dive Into Some Waves At Kings Beach
Kings Beach is a popular surf beach with a promenade bustling with cafes and restaurants. This sea beyond is a shipping channel, so huge cargo ships pass on the horizon while you relax and take in your surrounds. Kings Beach also offers a playground, interactive water feature and a free heritage listed saltwater pool.
10 Enjoy A Sunrise from a Headland
No holiday in Caloundra is complete without a picnic. BYO picnic blanket and pick one of the amazing spots along the headland that I keep raving about and watch the sunrise (or, if like me, nothing is going to get you out bed before 6:00am) then aim for a sunset fiesta.
11 Browse the Caloundra Street Fair
No holiday in Caloundra is complete without a visit to the Caloundra Street Fair. If you’re a lover of a handcrafted goods, arts and crafts and delicious food, don’t miss it. These art and craft markets operate just behind Rumba under the canopy of the tree-lined main street surrounded by cafes, boutiques and specialty stores. Open from 8am to 1pm every Sunday.
12 Take in Some History
Most people are unaware of the cool, colourful murals hidden away in Caloundra’s laneways and avenues. These quirky and colourful artworks capture the areas identity and history and can be admired by following the Caloundra Mural Trail.
OTHER BEACHES & HIGHLIGHTS IN CALOUNDRA
13 Experience Some Solitude
Shelly Beach is a charming scenic beach with lots of rock pools to explore. Head here for a relaxing stroll or some solitude. If you time it right, you might just be the only person around.
14 Enjoy a Craft Beer & Take in Some Wipe Outs
Moffat Beach and headland has a great playground and large grassy area. There are plenty of cafes and even a beachside microbrewery – Moffat Beach Brewing Co. This beach with its consistent swell is popular with surfers and is a great spot to catch a wave or relax on the headland with views to Mt Coolumn. Moffat Beach also boasts a protected inlet, Tooway Creek. A great spot for young children to splash in the shallows.
15 Tantalise Your Tastebuds
Nestled behind Moffat Beach completely off the beaten track you’ll find One Block Back. An open, rustic style cafe complete with herb gardens and a funky atmosphere. If you’re craving breakfast, lunch, coffee or cocktails, they have it all. You can’t go past The Big Buddah with Sticky Soy Karaage Chicken – a mouth watering japanese inspired plate that will absolutely tantalise your tastebuds, but everything we’ve tried on the menu has been absolutely delicious and great value. A great venue for foodies in Caloundra, open seven days, 7am to 3pm. I will be back again, and again and again.
16 Explore Some Rock Pools
Dicky Beach is a hidden gem. The surf is not as active as King Beach so it’s great for families. There is a playground and skatepark and shops and cafes nearby but if you walk south you will likely have the beach all to yourself. We have picnicked on the shady headland here and love to explore the rock pools or play with our dog off-leash (check out permissible times). Other great rock pools are located at Shelly Beach & Between Happy Valley & Kings Beach.
17 Visit Currimundi Lake
A 10-minute drive from Rumba Resort and you can get back in touch with nature at Currimundi Lake Conservation Park. This is a favourite spot of the locals. Explore the flora and fauna in this coastal heath habitat and cool off with a dip in the lake itself. The lake is a picturesque expanse of shallow water that has become a haven for kayaking, fishing and swimming. It is also connected to a long, unspoilt stretch of surf beach. Check out the native wildflowers in early Spring.
18 Cool Down
Yes, ice skating is a pretty cool (pardon the pun) thing to do on a hot summer day in Caloundra and come winter it turns back into a roller dome. So, if you’re feeling some 80’s nostalgia coming on, this could take you there.
19 Take A Drive
Just over 30-minutes’ drive from Caloundra are the quaint mountain villages of Montville and Maleny. We love to take a picturesque drive into the hinterland and some our favourite things to do include:
- wandering the main street and enjoying homemade scones and fudge in Montville
- picnic and swim in the freshwater holes at Gardner Falls
- take a 2.5 hour return trek through the rainforest valley to Kondalilla Falls
- get up close and personal to exotic parrots at Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World
- have a picnic with magnificent views from the Glasshouse Mountains to the coast
- milk a cow and tour Maleny Diaries
ICONIC TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
20 Try Something Different
If you feel like getting out and about, less than 30 minutes’ drive from Caloundra are some iconic attractions. Some of our favourite activities include:
- experience Spirit House Cooking School or dine at the renowned restaurant
- pick your own Strawberries at Strawberry Fields (check for seasonal opening hours)
- discover the wonders the underwater world at Sea Life, Mooloolaba
- explore the world-renowned Australia Zoo
- visit the Ginger Factory
There is so much to do on holiday in and around Caloundra and that’s without exploring what the other towns on the Sunshine Coast have to offer. Where is your favourite local holiday spot? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below and I hope you get to experience mine.