We’re all aware of how lush, biologically diverse and beautiful the Sunshine Coast is, so it was no surprise to us to learn that this area boasts more national parks than any other part of Queensland. Understandably, the parks are an integral part of life here – the locals can’t get enough of them. Well, who wouldn’t love being outdoors exploring all the time when you’ve got that unbeatable Aussie weather and some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world on your doorstep? Basically, no trip to the Sunshine Coast is complete without a foray into some of the region’s best National Parks. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of our favourites so you can spend less time researching and more time exploring. You’re welcome.
Conondale National Park
Located within the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Conondale National Park boasts astounding forests, beautiful waterfalls, vast gorges and a diverse array of wildlife. It’s one of Queensland’s most popular parks due to its beauty and accessibility. You can explore this 35,500 hectare park on foot or by 4WD; each of these modes of transport offering a completely different experience. By foot, you can embark on any number of trails of varying difficulty, passing shimmering streams and towering forests. The 4WD, on the other hand, is much more of an adventure. Drive along steep, winding tracks and splash through watery creeks. How fast you go is down to you.
Glass House Mountains National Park
Only an hour’s drive north of Brisbane, this national park is so incredible it’s even been added to the Queensland and National Heritage Register as a landscape of national significance. The Glass House Mountains themselves are the remnants of a number of volcanoes dating back around 25 million years and for more than a century, the hills and mountains within the national park have been enjoyed by climbers and bushwalkers. What’s more, these mountains hold a special significance to the local aborigines, whose legends explain how the mountains are one big family, with the mother being Mount Beerwah, the tallest mountain in the park. So, whilst the Glass House Mountains National Park is as stunning as you’d expect, it also holds a deep cultural significance and to the aboriginal people and the history of Australia. It’s not just a pretty face after all.
Noosa National Park
An intriguing wilderness that juts out into the clear blue of the ocean, it’s no wonder that Noosa National Park is incredibly popular. There’s even some resident Koalas that enjoy a quiet life within the park’s boundaries. Beach, forests and Koalas. Sounds like the quintessential Australian destination, right? And ultimately, it is. Boasting the lush flora and fauna, indigenous wildlife and picture perfect beaches that we’ve all come to associate with Australia; it’s at Noosa National Park that you can fulfil your preconceived image of this vast country. Easily accessible from all parts of the Sunshine Coast, be sure to make a trip here and indulge in the best of Australia’s nature.
Kondalilla National Park
Located in the Blackall Range of the Sunshine Coast, Kondalilla National Park is home to a variety of rare plant species as well as the spectacular Kondalilla Falls. The name is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘rushing waters’, and when you first lay eyes on the 295-foot waterfall, you’ll realise just how apt this name is.
A cool retreat that provides the perfect habitat for over 100 bird species, head out to the park on a hot day and cool off at the swimming hole located by the upper falls. You can take one of two trails to reach the hole, and the journey can take up to two hours, so you’ll be just about ready to immerse yourself in the cold water by the time you get there.
For a fascinating (and educational) day out, The Sunshine Coast boasts two adjoining Biosphere Reserves that are well worth exploring .These reserves have been introduced to highlight the balanced relationship between humans and the biosphere. The Noosa and Great Sandy Biospheres display some of the most unique and unparalleled selections of wildlife and vegetation in the whole of Australia. Take a ferry cruise through the Noosa Reserve and you will come across rainforest, eucalyptus forests, heathlands, sand dunes, wetland and mangroves, each playing host to a variety of animal species, including platypus and dugongs. The Great Sandy Biosphere offers further beauty and diversity, holding more species of fish than the Great Barrier Reef and half of Australia’s bird species.
The Sunshine Coast offers the great outdoors at its finest; we’ll race you there.