My favorite way to see a new place is with the locals. Their knowledge of secret spots and ability to add color to a destination make them the best travel guides. So now that my boyfriend and I are visiting his relatives in Queensland, I’m spending 3 days on the Sunshine Coast in Australia with the experts. And I find 4 places that I can’t help falling in love with.
3 Days on the Sunshine Coast in Australia
After a great trip to Singapore, we hopped on a flight to Brisbane. It’s the capital of Queensland and a great starting point for a trip to the Sunshine Coast. Our plane touches down at dawn as the spring sunshine kisses the jacarandas awake.
My boyfriend’s cousin picks us up from the airport and drives us straight to Paddington. This part of Brisbane is full of colorful houses and independent shops, and is a great place to get a feel for the local side of the city.
We stop for breakfast at Anouk Cafe, where an outdoor table offers a warm place to sip Australia’s famous flat whites. The food is just as good as the coffee, and I’m grateful for such a lovely introduction to the city.
Our time in Brisbane is shorter than we’d like, but we have places to go and the remainder of our 3 days on the Sunshine Coast awaits. We hop in the car and drive north for an hour and half until we reach Maleny.
Maleny is a town in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. It’s a favorite not only because it’s the most local of all the towns in the area (some of the others cater more for tourists), but also because my boyfriend’s other cousin runs a shop full of beautiful gifts here called Giddy and Grace. It has a great selection of her artist sister’s creations from her Twigseeds line. They make perfect presents for friends back home, and we’ve left extra room in our suitcases for them.
After visiting Giddy and Grace, we continue exploring Maleny’s Maple Street, which is so full of laid-back coffee shops, yoga studios, bookstores, and markets that I can’t help feeling like I’m in the Australian version of California’s Berkeley.
We have coffee at Rosetta Books, take in the live music and funky decor at the outdoor Maleny Village Artisan Food Market, and end up at a local brewery called Brouhaha for lunch. By the the time we leave Maleny, I’m ready to move here.
But there’s more of Australia’s Sunshine Coast to see, and the next stop on our itinerary is Eumundi. Famous for its sprawling open-air markets, this town showcases more of the area’s artisan highlights.
We arrive early on Saturday morning, ready to explore. After a quick coffee at a cafe and bookstore on the main street, we set off into the maze of stalls. Everything from paintings to jewelry dances in front of us as we wind our way through the market.
After a couple of hours we all emerge with bags full. I’ve picked up a dress made from colorful Indian fabric, and wear it for the rest of the day.
Which is good, because the rest of the day involves a trip to Noosa. A chi chi resort town on the Sunshine Coast, Noosa is part beach, part shopper’s paradise, and part national park.
We start our excursion with a walk in Noosa National Park, where a seaside trail takes us along rocky beaches and atop high cliffs. Wales breach off the coast of Dolphin Point, and it all feels like paradise.
Back in town, we take in the beaches and do a bit of shopping at Noosa’s many boutiques before settling in for lunch at one of the waterfront restaurants. It’s a great introduction to this part of the coast, and I wish we could stay longer.
But our 3 days on the Sunshine Coast are drawing to a close, and back to Brisbane we go. I’ve had an amazing time exploring this part of Australia, which I knew relatively little about before. But Queensland has impressed, not least because I’ve been able to experience it with locals.
Have you been here? How would you spend 3 days on the Sunshine Coast in Australia?