Coolum Beach, Coolum Beach
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Relatively compact by Sunshine Coast standards, Coolum Beach is as much about its surrounds as the beach itself. At the halfway point between Mooloolaba and Noosa, the township’s laid-back, no-frills atmosphere belies its size. Float out of the surf and into a café or boutique, or explore the surrounding suburb, including Lows Lookout with its expansive views north and west.
Mudjimba Beach, Mudjimba
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Just one of dozens of undiscovered beaches between Mooloolaba and Noosa, Mudjimba is undergoing a slow transformation with the arrival of a couple of slick cafes that service the flaxen-haired surfers and cyclists who appear around daybreak. But it’s still a relatively untouched paradise. The beach packs decent waves for surfers — particularly in the mornings — but some of the more serious heads are known to paddle out to Mudjimba Island (or Old Woman Island, as the locals call it), a kilometre offshore, which boasts a bigger reef break.
Alexandria Bay, Noosa Heads
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The infamous Alexandra Bay is typically associated with nature of a different kind – the long sandy length of Noosa Headland is a favourite of those who enjoy their sun sans swimmers. But if that doesn’t bother you (and the hike through the national park to reach it means it’s often deserted anyway), this is a dramatic, wind-swept bit of beach wedged between two rocky promontories. Take a dip rather than a swim — there are no lifeguards here — and only the more experienced surfers need apply. But if you simply need some time away from the world, Sunshine Coast beaches hardly come any better.
Moffat Beach, Moffat Beach
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The more urbane feel that has started to emerge in Caloundra itself has yet to reach over the town’s large promontory to the northern suburb of Moffat Beach. It lends the spot — with its winsome curve of coastline, bright, accessible beach and fringe of Norfolk Island Pines — a village-like atmosphere. Whether you’re walking the coast from George Watson Park to Sir Leslie Park, or dipping into the turquoise waters, you’ll soon be mixing it with the locals.
Kings Beach, Caloundra
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Caloundra, once a retiree’s paradise, is in the midst of an almighty sea change and Kings Beach is the focal point. Actually a suburb of the wider township, this neat strip of sand is a family-focused destination, with a playground, bandstands and a saltwater swimming pool. A terrific boardwalk that meanders west around the headland is best experienced at sunset.
Main Beach, Noosa
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Main Beach is one of the few east coast beaches that face north, and of course the only one where you can wander out of the surf and straight onto Hastings Street — a pleasant tourist strip that manages that rare trick of actually boasting decent boutiques and restaurants. East of the breakwater, the beach itself is what you make of it. The waves tend to be relatively sedate — great for swimming — but you can always join the surfers out at the point if you’re game.
Little Cove, Noosa Heads
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Little Cove almost has the feel of a private beach, it’s that tiny and intimate. And it’s surprisingly easy to get to, by Noosa standards. Just park on Pandanus Street and wander down the stairs on the corner. What you’ll find might not seem like much — at higher tides, Little Cove’s sand disappears completely. But bathing in the luminous salty waters at sunset while watching the surfers glide in off the point makes for a beguiling afternoon.
Peregian Beach, Peregian Beach
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Noosa’s development has continued to creep south along David Low Way over the past 15 years; the once-sleepy Peregian Beach is now a bustling community populated with cafés and boutique shops. The beach itself is typical of this stretch of coast – that is, it’s wide, immaculate, runs forever and is rarely overcrowded. It’s patrolled 365 days a year — good thing, because despite those looks it packs a relatively strong rip.
Tea Tree Bay, Noosa National Park
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Tea Tree Bay isn’t easy to get to. You’ll need to hike into Noosa National Park and negotiate your way around koala-spotting tourists. But it’s worth it: the gently curving beach is a favourite of surfers and those who don’t mind swimming without flags. There are plenty of private, shady spots to drop a beach towel and the nearby bathrooms mean you can turn it into an all-day affair if you pack a picnic.
Yaroomba Beach, Yaroomba
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Another beach where the only company you’ll likely have is a local resident or two, Yaroomba is a wide belt of sand tucked in on the southern side of Point Arkwright, accessible by a suburban cul-de-sac. Surfers will probably want to paddle up to the point, but otherwise there’s typically plenty of room on the main part of the beach. If hiking, wander north around the point to First Bay or, if you feel like something more adventurous, head south and climb Mount Coolum.