The state of Queensland kind of has the monopoly on Australian beach holidays (sorry, New South Wales and WA). But as it turns out, swimming and snorkelling aren’t the only things to do on your next holiday to the Sunshine State. As we discovered on our last trip to the Sunshine Coast, there’s a tonne of other ways you can break a sweat, stay fit and explore the region. Here are our top choices for your next fitness-inspired holiday!
1. Stand Up Paddle boarding is king
Whether you jump (carefully) on a board on the calm waters of Pumicestone Passage, on the North Shore, or even at the lagoon at Novotel Twin Waters Resort, the region’s mild weather and almost year-round sunshine (hence the name) make it a SUP-er’s dream destination. We chatted to local Kat Harding, who just happens to be Australia’s first certified SUP yoga teacher, about her favourite places to cruise. “I may be a little biased, but Little Cove at Noosa. With warm water temperatures, crystal clear turquoise water and gorgeous views of the bay and the national park entrance you honestly can’t beat it. Plus, Noosa has the only national park headland of the Sunshine Coast so it’s a pretty special place to be!”
2. The coastline is perfect for kayaking for the first (or 80th) time
It seems that just about everyone is a pro on a board or a kayak these days, but what if you aren’t? Or what if you have young humans who want to learn? Well, the Sunshine Coast offers some of the best coastlines to learn on and the guys at Ocean Adventure Sea Kayaking are who you need to speak to. They offer half day trips to Bribe Island and multi-day trips to Stradbroke and Peel Islands. We tried out their half-day Bribe island adventure, and ended up having nearly the whole island to ourselves. Leaving from Golden Beach, you paddle across the calm waters to the island, spotting rays, dugongs, dolphins and a huge amount of birdlife too. Morning/ afternoon tea is included and you can add on a bit of snorkelling if you want to be under the water, not just on top of it.
3. One of our favourite running tours is near Noosa
Noosa has been a family-favourite for decades but few holiday makers make it further than the main street. That’s were Nicola from Noosa Running Tours comes in. According to her, the jagged cliffs, hidden beaches and dramatic views around Noosa are best explored on foot while you sweat a little: “My running tours are not about running faster and harder, it’s more about just moving and being in nature.” So don’t worry if you’re not as fit as you’d like, she can cater for that, but if you do want to push yourself hard and run for a full hour throughout the national park, she can do that too. When we were there, we ran up cliffs, stopped to enjoy the view, puffed down rallies and across beaches and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
4. The love for Yoga is strong here
Love yoga? To get your namaste on, sign up for a little yoga on a SUP, or feel the sand between your toes with beach yoga. If a beautiful new yoga and Pilates studio is more your thing, Noosa Flow opened just a few months ago. It’s small, boutique and very instagrammable – because, you know, that is important… For those wanting waaaay more yoga, put Wanderlust in your diaries right now. It’s a four-day festival filled with great music, markets, organic food and world-class teachers leading lots of yoga classes. It’s open to everyone, even if you’ve never done yoga before. You can camp, stay at the Novotel Twin Waters Resort where the festival grounds are or stay nearby in an Airbnb. Basically, it’s like a music festival, only more yoga-ish!
5. Healthy food and damn nice people.
So we all know fitness is one part sweating and five parts nutrition, luckily there’s a bunch of great restaurants throughout the Sunshine coast that serve up heathy, fresh food. Our favourites? You can’t go past the delicate antipasto and fresh seafood at Sandbar Cafe at Caloundra. Order the Chef’s Tasting plate as a starter and then decide between the salmon and kaffir lime potato cakes or the pear and parmesan salad. Or maybe just get the freshly cooked fish of the day with raisin pearl couscous, fetta, roasted fennel and pickled cucumber, and beurre blanc. *drooling* Another firm favourite is closer to Noosa, Mooshka located in the tiny collection of shops at Sunshine Beach. Small, retro and eclectic, these guys serve up delicious healthy meals with a quirky touch. Try the barramundi & asian greens spring rolls with Japanese mayo and sweet chilli, followed by the super food salad (mixed quinoa, roast sweet potato, brocolini, baby spinach, field mushrooms, noosa reds, rocket pesto). Perfection. Also, if you’re from the big smoke you’ll notice the chilled atmosphere and relaxed, chatty waiters. There’s no rush-hour here. And that’s just how we like it.