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It’s famous for surf breaks and stunning national parks but we have a little secret to tell you; the Sunshine Coast has adventures fit for all types of adrenaline-chasers.
I’m talking ‘jumping out of a plane one day before swimming with 30 tonnes of humpback whale the next’ type adventures. Or maybe cruising 380kms of beach highway and testing out your scream capacity on thrill rides is more up your alley?
To satisfy your thrill-seeking cravings, we’ve rounded up eight of our favourite Sunshine Coast adventures that’ll make your heart beat that little bit faster.
1. JUMP IN WITH THE WHALES
Slipping into the water, a combination of nerves and the initial chill create a lump in your throat. You gently move towards the line, gripping on like a koala joey to its mother.
Then she appears. All 16 beautiful metres of her, rolling beneath you and showing as much curiosity in you as you do in her. Congratulations, you’ve just swam with a humpback whale.
Coming face to face with a humpback whale and sharing eye contact is a life-changing experience for many and Sunreef Mooloolaba were the pioneers of whale swim experiences in Australia.
Most importantly, they show the upmost respect for the whales to ensure longevity of the experience. Sunreef are also working with the University of the Sunshine Coast on a coordinated research project that enables guests to get involved as citizen scientists by jotting sightings on whale-spotting sheets.
Whales swims are seasonal, operating from July to October. Our top tip is to visit earlier in the season before the mothers give birth.
2. SEE THE SUNSHINE COAST FROM ABOVE
You may have walked on Sunshine Coast beaches, swam at them, potentially even driven on them. But have you ever seen them from a bird’s-eye view at 220kms an hour?
Enjoy a whole new perspective with Skydive Noosa, hurtling towards earth from 15,000 feet before soaking in the panoramic views for the final seven-minute descent towards your landing spot on Coolum Beach.
If you’re going to tick skydiving off your bucket list, it might as well be somewhere beautiful!
3. DO AUSSIE WORLD LIKE NEVER BEFORE
Aussie World is undergoing a big change, with new rides and attractions already open and many more to come in the near future.
On top of the newbies list is the Typhoon SX 360, which will open early 2019. The ride will be the region’s first ever ‘tier 1’ attraction (think Dreamworld-scale rides) and will be Australia’s tallest, fastest, 360-degree swing ride.
Add to this the Wasp, Redback and the Mayhem Maze (if you have a fear of clowns I wouldn’t recommend this one!) and you have some serious heart-pumping action.
After you’ve checked out all the new rides and the old classics, The Pub is the perfect spot for a quick coldie. The watering hole has transformed to include a more modern, tropical feel with a strong emphasis on local produce, art, culture, sports and iconic symbols of Australia.
4. GO HARD OR GO HOME AT DOUBLE ISLAND POINT
Operating out of Noosa and Rainbow Beach, Epic Ocean Adventures will whisk you by 4WD to the pristine and diverse paradise that is Double Island Point.
Double Island Point’s remoteness (only accessible by 4WD) makes for spectacular natural beauty and a provides a hub for diverse wildlife, with bottlenose dolphins, humpback whales, turtles, rays and many different bird species regular visitors.
Now for the adventure. Jump on a Dolphin View kayak tour to meet the marine locals, take a surf lesson on Australia’s longest wave, stand-up paddle on an eco tour or challenge yourself with kitesurfing lessons.
5. WE’LL BE RIDING ON THE HORSES
If you haven’t been to Rainbow Beach before, do yourself a favour and add it to the top of your must-visit list.
The combination of crystal-clear water, white sandy beaches, the towering coloured sands and the Carlo Sand Blow (epic sunrise spot) make it one of the best Sunshine Coast adventures you can do.
To top it off, Rainbow Beach Horse Rides will take you cantering down the beach and even into the ocean (if you have riding experience) offering a completely unique view of this slice of paradise.
6. A PLANE ADVENTURE YOU WON’T JUMP OUT OF
If jumping out of a plane is a little too extreme for you, but aerial sightseeing remains a priority, then Paradise Seaplanes offer the adventure for you!
If you’ve done a scenic flight before – forget about it. The Wilga 80 seaplane (the only of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere) offers an experience like no other.
Taking off from the Maroochy River (yes river, not airport) you’ll fly doors-off over the coastline and depending on the tour you pick, all the way to the magnificent Great Sandy National Park at Double Island Point.
7. PADDLE THE EVERGLADES
Snaking through the Noosa Everglades, keeping an eye out for turtles catching a breath or cormorants chasing a meal is more chill than thrill, but the sensory overload of this experience makes it one an adventure-seeker can’t miss.
As one of only two Everglade environments identified on the planet, The Noosa Everglades are protected by the Great Sandy National Park and included in the Noosa Biosphere to ensure the pristine and unique natural environment is preserved for generations to come.
Basically if serenity had a picture in the dictionary, it would be this place.
Join Kanu Kapers for a guided day trip, or tackle the Everglades DIY-style on a self-guided one or three-day kayaking adventure. The longer version includes camping on the banks of the Noosa River and a walk up the Cooloola Sandpatch.
Looking to plan your own kayak adventure to the Everglades? Be sure to check out this post.
8. TACKLE THE GREATEST DRIVE OF THEM ALL
The Great Beach Drive is 380km of pristine natural environment supported by a triple threat of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, a World Heritage Marine Park and the largest sand island in the world. Trust me, it deserves to have great in its name!
As you can guess, you need a 4WD for all this sandy goodness, which is where the legends at Great Beach Drive 4WD Tours can help you out. They bring the wheels, the expertise and all the knowledge you’ll ever need for the this epic road beach trip.
If you have the wheels and want to tackle the drive yourself, be sure to check out this post before you go.