Top 13 Sunshine Coast Beaches

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Sitting just to the north of Brisbane is the Sunshine Coast, a 60km stretch of perfect sandy beaches backed by more national parks than any other region in Queensland. I have to say I am a little biased about this slither of the East Australian coast as it is one of my favourite places in the whole of Oz.

Whilst there are comparisons to be made with the better known Gold Coast, it seems the Sunshine Coast just gets everything right. Instead of the excesses of Surfers Paradise you have the low-rise, classy boutiques and bars of Noosa nestled into the rainforest. There are plenty of similarities though, with world-class surf and plenty of attractions including Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo and the Big Pineapple!

Living up to its name, the Sunshine Coast has some of the best beaches in Australia. So whether you are looking for a buzzing town beach, pumping surf break or secluded spot to bare all we have a few suggestions.
  • 1. Rainbow Beach

    Rainbow Beach
    © Daniel Jurin

    Situated a half hour drive north from Noosa, Queensland's Rainbow Beach offers a world of attractions beyond its light-coloured sands stretching on seemingly to infinity beyond the bay's natural curve.

    Its name comes from the mineral rich cliffs that surround the beach forming an array of colours, which local aboriginal folklore says is the result of a rainbow spirit crashing in to them during a mighty battle.

    Marketed as one of… read more »

  • 2. Alexandria Bay

    Alexandria Bay
    texaus1

    On the opposite side of Noosa Head's famous headland, Alexandria Bay is a quieter location for soaking up the tranquility and rays on this golden sandy beach. The only way in is on foot, either from Noosa Heads (3.5km through the Noosa National Park) or 20 minutes on foot from McAnally Drive on Sunshine Beach (1.3km).

    Away from the crowds on Noosa Main Beach, its remoteness does attract… read more »

  • 3. Noosa Main Beach

    Noosa Main Beach
    Kgbo

    With Noosa National Park to one side and the boutiques, cafes and bars of Hastings Street to the rear Noosa Heads Main Beach is in a prime spot. An expansive stretch of sun-soaked pale-golden sand this is one of the finest beaches on the Sunshine Coast.

    Despite being one of Australia's favourite holiday destinations Noosa manages a perfect balancing act with the beaches here remaining unspoilt by over-development. The beachfront is… read more »

  • 4. Kings Beach

    Kings Beach
    thinboyfatter

    Marking the southerly limit of the Sunshine Coast is the town of Caloundra. Home to a number of great beaches, Kings Beach is the pick of the bunch.

    The beach here is a good sized stretch of soft, golden sand backing onto a well-manicured park complete with bandstand and fountain. There's also no shortage of eating options with a choice of cafes across the road.

    Although somewhat sheltered the surf here still… read more »

  • 5. Little Cove - Noosa

    Little Cove - Noosa
    © alizadastudios

    Located just a stone's throw from Noosa's Main Beach is the aptly named Little Cove. Far more secluded and intimate than it's bustling neighbour the beach here has a completely different vibe to it.

    With crystal clear turquoise water and backed by the steep, lush pandana and palm lined slopes of the Noosa National Park, Little Cove beach exudes natural beauty. Despite its proximity to one of Australia's most popular… read more »

  • 6. Coolum Beach

    Coolum Beach
    Aerutopian

    The small, laidback beachside town of Coolum Beach is set towards the northern end of Queensland's Sunshine Coast. The name refers to both the town and the beach, but that's not a problem as pretty much everything about Coolum is geared towards the beach.

    There are actually a few beaches at Coolum Beach; the main beach and then, just around the headland, a trio of small bays. These are imaginatively named… read more »

  • 7. Mooloolaba Beach

    Mooloolaba Beach
    Jussarian

    Mooloolaba Beach sits at the heart of Queensland's aptly named Sunshine Coast. 

    The pure white sands here are matched in their beauty by the crystal clear waters, which are often dotted with surfers from the Mooloolaba Surf Club. It's bang in the middle of the beach, and you'll find the lifeguard tower here too - it's manned by volunteers 365 days a year, so as with most Aussie beaches,… read more »

  • 8. Sunshine Beach

    Sunshine Beach
    © Bernd Müller

    Named Sunshine Beach and set on the Sunshine Coast this spot has quite a lot to live up to. With the mercury rarely dropping below the 20s and clouds conspicuous by their absence, we think it does! As such, it has an all-year-round lifeguard presence, such is its popularity at all times. 

    There's a real laidback vibe to the powdery white sands here, and plenty of space to spread out, with… read more »

  • 9. Marcoola Beach

    Marcoola Beach
    Andy Hay

    Marcoola beach forms part of a long continuous stretch of sand between Maroochydore and Coolum. Pretty much always uncrowded, this is a favourite with  sunbathers, surfers and anglers looking to get a spot to themselves.

    The beach here only has fairly basic facilities but is popular with families. There's heaps of room to spread out and there are a number of BBQ and picnic areas.

    Lifeguards are on duty throughout the year… read more »

  • 10. Alexandra Headland Beach

    Alexandra Headland Beach
    Martin7d2

    Known simply as "Alex" to the locals, Alexandra Headland is a laid back, surfy town in the heart of Queensland's Sunshine Coast. Set just north of Mooloolaba the sandy beach here forms a continuous stretch with Maroochydore up the coast.

    This section of the Sunshine Coast is quite built up but you don't really notice that from the beach. The backdrop is mainly grassy banks and trees. Just behind the… read more »

  • 11. Moffat Beach

    Moffat Beach
    Tim Bateup

    Not as well-known as neighbouring Sunshine Coast beaches such as Kings Beach and Dicky Beach, Moffat Beach has an altogether different ambience. Popular with locals, it is rarely visited by international travellers, who have historically stuck to the beaches nearer to Brisbane 90 minutes away.

    The distinctive feel of Moffat Beach comes from its blend of luxurious accommodation options, crowd-free reputation and local start-ups such as the craft brewery. The beach… read more »

  • 12. Golden Beach

    Golden Beach
    thinboyfatter

    Protected from the Pacific swells by a long thin spit of sand forming Ocean Beach, Golden Beach has some of the Sunshine Coast's most sheltered waters. Surfers will probably want to look elsewhere to catch the best breaks as a result. However, it makes Golden Beach an excellent choice for anyone seeking out a family-friendly swimming beach.

    Boating and fishing are also popular past times at Golden Beach, with boat ramps… read more »

  • 13. Noosa North Shore

    Noosa North Shore
    texaus1

    Just across the river mouth from Noosa Main Beach is a different world altogether. You won't find any beachside bistros or boutiques here, just mile after mile of pristine sandy beach.

    The beaches of Noosa North Shore form an unbroken stretch all the way from the Noosa River to Double Island Point over 50 kilometres to the north. Given the vastness of this beach it isn't surprising that the most… read more »