Sunshine Coast

Living on the Sunshine Coast

sunshine_coast_bannerThe Sunshine Coast has a population of around 330,00 people and is an area of Queensland situated on the eastern coast, about one and a half to two and a half hours drive north of Brisbane. As with the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast is an area with beautiful beaches and stunning hinterland, all in one.The Sunshine Coast Location

So what is the difference between the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast? People in these parts can argue all day long about which is best but they’re both great. But they are different.

In a nutshell, the difference is that the Gold Coast is more commercial, it’s busier and it is the home of many theme parks. But if you like your beaches a little quieter, although not too quiet, go Sunshine Coast.

Right in the middle of the Sunshine Coast is my favourite beach, Mooloolaba. The towns of Mooloolaba and Maroochydore are so close together they are almost one. Between them they offer beautiful beaches, plenty of cafes and restaurants, large shopping centres and the beautiful Maroochy River.

Nearby, the “world famous” Eumundi Markets are open each Wednesday and Saturday morning until around 2 PM in the afternoons with over 1000 arts and crafts stalls selling their wares. Described as more than just a market, fabulous food and world-class music.

Another world-class attraction not quite within the area, probably about 15 km outside, is the Australian Zoo, probably one of the best zoos in the world.

The real beauty of the Sunshine Coast is when you’ve had enough of the beach, you are literally 10 to 20 minutes drive away from stunning hinterland. The scenic drive from Maroochydore to Mapleton via the Bli Bli Road is breathtaking. When you arrive, you can enjoy a relaxing beer in the historic pub whilst taking in the rolling hill views looking back towards the sea.

You could continue your scenic drive by taking in Montville and Maleny and even push on about 20 km outside the Sunshine Coast area to see the Glass House Mountains.

The Sunshine Coast may not be as popular as the Gold Coast but it is less expensive and still has plenty to offer.

What’s the weather like?

Sunshine Coast Annual WeatherAgain, being so close to Brisbane the weather is very similar to the climate in the city. So no need to worry about winter and like the Gold Coast, you can use the beaches all year round.

And it will come as no surprise that possible severe weather that may affect the area from time to time is also as it is in Brisbane; cyclones and flooding. Those looking to move to this area and concerned about flooding should take a look at the Sunshine Coast Council’s Flood Information Map.

Here’s a map of the Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast Map
The Sunshine Coast can be broken down into three main areas:

  • North Sunshine Coast – Includes Noosa and the Hinterland
  • Central Sunshine Coast – Is the region of Maroochy
  • South Sunshine Coast- is the area around Caloundra

Questions about Sunshine Coast?

If you have any question about living in Sunshine Coast, please please feel free to ask them in the comments below. Or if you know this city well, why not tell us what you think of it or maybe even help out by answering some of the questions people have about the area. I’m sure anybody thinking of moving here would be very grateful for any help you can give them.

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{ 485 comments… add one }
  • Leann Murray November 26, 2018, 11:17 pm |

    Hi there ,
    Your information and knowledge is so helpful to read . Myself my husband and our two children ages 3 & 13 are looking to emigrate from Dublin Ireland to Queensland. I myself have lived in Perth before and loved it . My husband works for BMW cars and has the opportunity to transfere over . We are looking at the area of Calhundra at the moment but any advice you have would be so much appricated . We are looking for a costly suburb with good schooling and family area , a good place to bring up your children. Where would you suggest would be a good place ? Thanks Leann

    • BobinOz November 27, 2018, 8:59 pm |

      Sunshine Coast is a great place to bring up kids, so I do highly recommend your choice. Caloundra is not bad, and of the three main towns in Sunshine Coast, it’s probably the cheapest for property. The further north you get, the higher the prices.

      In the middle is Mooloolaba, and I just love that place, and would highly recommend it. Property is a little dearer than Caloundra, but in my view, worth paying the extra. At least check out Mooloolaba for yourselves if you can.

      Furthest north in SC is Noosa, probably the most expensive for property and also it’s very touristy, to the extent where it can get quite crowded during holiday periods.

      So my choice would be Mooloolaba, and as for schools, I don’t know which would be best, but you can research it on my page called Which school?

      Hope that helps and good luck with your search. Cheers, Bob

      • Leann Murray November 28, 2018, 7:31 pm |

        Thank you so much Bob for your reply & advice it’s much appricated I will be sure to check out all the info you mentioned . Just another quick one for you we are having a total head spin with seeing which visas we need to apply for lol I read your link on the mara emergration agents on helping you with your visa application etc you think this is the best way to see which visa that we need ? And to go with the one you recommended on your page? Thanks

        • BobinOz November 29, 2018, 8:32 pm |

          Yes I do, definitely. As you have found out for yourself, it’s a bit of a minefield and it can be very difficult to work out which visa or visas you might qualify for and which is best to go for.

          A MARA registered migration agent can work that all out for you.

          I do highly recommend my MARA agent, he is very good and you will get excellent value if you go through the Visa Assessment Service.

          Good luck, Bob

          • Leann Murray December 3, 2018, 10:37 pm |

            Thanks so much Bob
            Your help has been great 🙂

  • Russ October 26, 2018, 9:34 pm |

    Hi Bob! Russ from the USA back again! I wanted to let you know I have been in Australia for 6 weeks now. I landed in Brisbane, but stayed briefly in Surfers Paradise. I was told to check out Byron Bay and headed there for a week. I really liked it there but school holiday made it impossible to stay longer. On a side note, if anyone reads this, you really must go check out Nimbin. Very friendly people.

    From there I headed to Mooloolaba and stayed on the esplanade by the wharf. I went swimming with the wales! I’ve done all sorts of things, but can say the weather has been on the cool side and rained quite a bit. I was told told to head north….
    I am now in Port Douglas. This is a fantastic place, not to mention the Daintree in your backyard! And snorkeling in the Great Barrier reef. The weather has been magnificient! I will report back but can say this area has been my favorite.

    I still like Mooloolaba, and am very greatful I found your site.
    I have been told flat out that buying an investment type property in ALL the places I have visited is never going to make money and the payback will be decades at least. That’s ok. If I come back to Australia, I would most likley return to Port Douglas and spend a fraction of the cost of buying for a nice 6 week rental. This area is definately a vacationland / retirement destination and tourism is the main job provider. I know they are looking hard for younger people to work in service type jobs up here.

    • BobinOz October 29, 2018, 5:41 pm |

      Hi Russ,

      Well, I’m not surprised you are having fun, you’ve pick some absolutely beautiful spots to visit.

      Firstly, Byron Bay, I absolutely love it there. I have been many many times, and I’ve written quite a few articles about it, is one of them…

      A couple of years ago, I did a road trip up the Queensland coast, from Brisbane up to Port Douglas. Only spent three days in Port Douglas, fell in love with it. I can easily see myself retiring there. Must be great having places like Cairns and Daintree on your doorstep…

      And Mooloolaba, we go there at least twice a year, maybe three times for a long weekend beach break. So in Byron, Mooloolaba and Port Douglas you have probably picked my three favourite towns in all of Australia. And then there’s Nimbin, what can I say about Nimbin? This…

      Interesting what you say about property prices, because recently I’ve been looking at prices in Mooloolaba, and whilst historically they have been very steady, rising about 25% in nine years, in the last year they have risen by about 17%, according to my research. Sounds like they are going through a property boom, so it does happen. Probably fuelled by people escaping Sydney and Melbourne 🙂

      Glad to hear you are having fun, it’s made me think that perhaps I need another road trip myself. Take care, Bob

      • Russ December 14, 2018, 3:30 pm |

        Hi Bob, I finally made it back home to the USA after a 2 month long vacation! So, the very first thing I learned the day I arrived in Australia: Lite beer in the USA means reduced calories… Australia it means reduced alcohol! I had 4 of them at the pool before I realized the problem. Why Corona and Peroni are so big there I do not understand? Lastly, beer is damn expensive. The fact that you don’t have to tip 20% for meals and drinks makes up for it though.

        Regarding the real estate and the payback, I am hamstrung by the Foreign Investment Review Board, so I can only purchase a brand new property. If I could buy ANY property then that would make things easier… I had no interest in Brisbane or Surfers Paradise, but was told Broad Beach was the place to invest. That area was also not of interest to me as I want what ended up being like a Port Douglas setting. Byron Bay is built out, and unless you are Thor and have his $$$, that too would be a problem. I did see his mansion/estate being built while in town.
        Mooloolaba was by far the most built out on the waterfront / esplanade. I also found out that I had been mispronouncing it for 6 months as well. Moo-loo-laba is NOT the way to say it….lol But there were so many little restaurants and cafes. Char has a great steak, but also some really great Italian places as well.
        Port Douglas was also built out and it looks like they are playing smart and restricting new growth. As you know, the weather was amazing the entire stay. They have amazing restaurants there as well, especially seafood. I had a Thai style, wild caught, whole baby baramundi at a place called 2Fish. I went back and got it 3 more times over a month it was so good.
        On a not so nice note, there was a young woman murdered on Wengetti beach between Port Douglas and Cains when I was there. Looks like there hasn’t been any progress on finding those responsible. I think it’s the first murder there in modern times. Other than that, I could not be happier with my vacation. Weather was a little off for the first part around Brisbane area, but headed North cured that problem. Upon my return I have been seeing a lot of clouds on the horizon for the World economy. I am glad I was able to get over there and would love to return someday.
        Thanks again for your site!

  • Paul bennett October 23, 2018, 8:42 pm |

    Where should we retire too
    We visit WA a lot and love a suburb south of Perth called Mandurah. Canal type homes
    But we’ve been told MOOLALOOBA or NOOSA across east are the places to retire too
    I did visit Brisbane some 30 years ago and loved surfer paradise and Noosa. But I’m guessing in the 30 years there have been changes we’re looking for beaches safety canal type home with jetty. Coffee shops nice bar. Restaurants

    • BobinOz October 24, 2018, 7:43 pm |

      I’ve been to Mandurah, only passing through on the way to Margaret River, but if I remember it would be quite a place to kick back and relax. We stopped for a snack there at lunchtime on the boardwalk’s overlooking the sea. Very pleasant.

      Noosa would be a lot busier and more commercial these days, I’ve been there quite a lot and it can get very busy with tourists. Property in Mooloolaba is cheaper, but prices have risen quite substantially in the last 12 months. We love Mooloolaba, but I couldn’t really say how it would compare to Mandurah.

      It’s really difficult to say which would be best, if possible though, maybe you should visit Mooloolaba and Noosa for a two or three week break to check it out over here? Then you can compare it with Mandurah which, by the sound of it, you know pretty well.

      Pretty sure any one of them would be a great place to retire though.

    • Bernie October 27, 2018, 8:23 am |

      Hi there
      I live at the moment in Bendigo.
      Thinking as well where to retire.all depends on what you like and how much money you have.
      We like the sun and hate the cold.
      So for us we will buy a place in north queensland and another place in Europe.we have a house in vegas already which is rented out.but we will have possession when we retire.
      North queensland is too humid and hot for us in summer.but 6months of the year, march to sept it will be great to live there

      • BobinOz October 29, 2018, 5:51 pm |

        Port Douglas would be worth looking into, beautiful town on the coast.

  • Juliet October 15, 2018, 3:02 am |

    Hi, I will be migrating to regional Queensland in some months time but the truth is I don’t know the city to migrate to. Am a health promotion officer, married with 3 kids(5,3,1).

    I would like an inland, access to train, airport and parks. I would really love a city with job opportunities.

    Please which regional area would best suit me?

    • BobinOz October 15, 2018, 9:05 pm |

      Queensland is a massive state, and as far as I’m aware, the only place with a train network of any real use to the general public would be Brisbane, and that’s not regional.

      May I suggest you have a look at my page about Queensland and the list of towns and cities I have on there and try and narrow down your search from the list of cities that you are allowed to go to under your visa?

      Also, have a look at the comments on that page as there is some chat about what these towns are like. You could also look for the words ‘road trip’ from my tags menu (see the very bottom of the page in the orange bit) as I have written quite a bit about some of the towns and cities on the Queensland coast.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Tan August 9, 2018, 10:10 pm |


    I read a ton about Noosa and it sounds like a great place to live in but looking at the population, there are almost no chances of meeting anyone. I will be honest, I want to live somewhere that is near the beach, relaxed but not abandoned and where I can actually meet someone to date.

    I don’t want to live in a huge city with millions of people but Noosa and other small places seem too small and perfect for families but not for people who are single and actually want to meet someone before they are 30.

    Any advice where on the Sunshine Coast (or Gold Coast, I am open to both) I can find a place that has nature, is safe and has beaches but is also perfect for someone in her twenties that doesn’t want to retire and abandon all chances of meeting anyone because she doesn’t live in Sydney?

    I hope you or anyone else on this website has any advice.

    Thank you a ton,


    • BobinOz August 10, 2018, 7:07 pm |

      Yes, it’s true, Noosa only has a population of around 4000 or so, but the population of the whole of Sunshine Coast is 280,000. It’s full of lots of small suburbs, for example Mooloolaba is one of my favourites, and that has a population of about 8000.

      But they all kind of merge together and the beaches are fantastic.

      That said, given your age and the kind of thing you want to do, I would not go to Sunshine Coast, there is very little nightlife and it’s not a place for young people really.

      I would definitely go to the Gold Coast which has a population in all of 570,000.

      Surfers Paradise is the busiest suburb, but given as you prefer quiet and safe, I wouldn’t go there. I would check out some of the suburbs a bit south of there if I were you, and if you look at my page about Gold Coast and in particular the comments, your see lots of talk about the suburbs and what they are like.

      Good luck, I hope you find somewhere and someone here in Australia that you very much like.

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