The Sunshine Coast of Australia is a truly stunning coastline which stretches over 120km from Bribie Island in the south to Rainbow Beach in the North. It is less commercially developed than the Gold Coast and although you will find many shopping malls and high rise apartment towers, you will never be too far away from a relaxing expanse of golden beach.

The Sunshine Coast offers so many fantastic opportunities for road trips and explorations off the beaten track. Many travellers exploring the Sunshine Coast will start their trip from the Gold Coast, the drive between the two being just over 2 hours long. Along the drive, you will find Underwater World and the Australia Zoo, two great attractions that are fun for the kids and can take all day to explore.

If you are looking for adventure, here are some great ideas for Sunshine Coast road trips:

The Glass House Mountains Tourist Drive

Glasshouse Mountains
If you are heading north from Brisbane on the Bruce Highway, you can turn left after approximately 56km and you will find the Glasshouse Mountains Tourist Drive. This scenic route is also known as Steve Irwin Way, in honour of the late Crocodile Hunter. This stunning drive will offer you great views of the Glass House Mountains, which are strange volcanic formations that were the result of lava eruptions approximately 20 million years ago.

Make sure you stop for a while and take one of the excellent walking tracks to one of the lookouts, where you can enjoy the gorgeous view over the dramatic mountain landscape.

Take In a Handful of Adorable Towns

Small town house
If you turn left at Landsborough, up the hill and follow the winding road towards Maleny, you will enjoy lovely views of rolling hills and patchwork farms and a series of picture perfect welcoming little towns. The first is Maleny, which you will reach when you continue on the same road for around 18 km. The township of Maleny is full of quaint colonial architecture and it is occupied by lovely craft shops, galleries and boutiques with one of a kind pieces by Australian artists.

Head east on the Maleny-Landsborough Road and take the left turn to Montville, which has even prettier architecture than Maleny and also plenty of great restaurants and cafes. The next scenic town on the route is Eumundi, which you can find by travelling 15km east on the Bruce Highway and then turning left towards Nambour and driving another 26 km. This is another charming town, with lots of artwork and sculptures by local artists. Make sure that you go shopping at the Eumundi Markets, which are open on Saturday and Wednesday mornings and offer everything from homemade jams to organic soap to original artwork.

The Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve

Mary Cairncross scenic drive sunshine coast
Take a detour on your road trip to explore the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, 55 hectares of lush and dense subtropical rainforest with views of the Glass House Mountains. Once you step into these lush forests you will feel like you are walking back in time – they are a living museum of diverse animal and plant like. There are plenty of wheelchair and stroller friendly walking trails as well as an Educational Education Centre with plenty of exhibits about the area. You can even stop for lunch at the Mary Cairncross Café, with an incredible view over the Glasshouse Mountains – don’t forget your camera!

These are just a few of the amazing road trip adventures that you can have while exploring Australia’s Sunshine Coast. Take a look at Accor’s Sunshine Cost hotels here so that you can find the perfect place to rest after a full day of road tripping this beautiful part of Australia.