Boost Australian Tourism on a Budget

10 Cheap Things to do on Sunshine Coast, Australia — less than $50

Over the next few months you will see a lot of advertising enticing you to holiday in Australia. The tourism industry has lost an estimated $4.5 billion dollars due to the fires and thousands of cancellations. This week the government launched a campaign to get more of you over here.

One area that had some fire damage was the Sunshine Coast, but most of was left unharmed. It is a beautiful place of sand, sea and surf among National Parks.

Coolum Beach, a beautiful seaside town on the Sunshine Coast

Quick Facts:

  • It covers 1,633 square kilometers.
  • The urban area spans about 60 kilometers
  • Population 346, 522
  • It has several coastal hubs, not just one
  • There are 17 main beaches, some with unbroken coastline
  • It has more National Parks than any other region in Queensland.

It is a region rather not a single place. The Sunshine Coast runs from Noosa to Caboulture, how far inland it goes depends on who you’re speaking to. It seems to be reaching further and further inland and more towns lay claim to being a part of it, some even hundreds of kilometers from the coast. Noosa is the more exclusive end of the Sunshine Coast to the north, and as you head south it becomes progressively less exclusive.

Although known for its beaches and surf, the Sunshine Coast has lots of other attractions and activities. Unfortunately, many of these cost premium dollars, which many of us are trying to conserve, so here’s some cheap, fun times to choose from. They are listed in no particular order and all prices are Australian dollars.

Nutworks and Chocolate Factory

Beautiful nut and chocolate products for tasting and purchase

Just about everyone goes to the Ginger Factory in Yandina, and it is worth having a look, but this one is free and has free tastings as you learn about the crafting of the amazing array of things they can do with nuts and chocolate. They also sell handmade confectionery and other products. There’s a café to enjoy as well. It’s open 7 days a week. Click here to visit the website.

Eumundi Markets

If you want to avoid crowds and parking fiasco’s, go on a Wednesday, rather than a Saturday. Even then it’ll be fairly crowded as these markets have become very popular. Also, don’t eat before you go. There’s much to choose from. Click here to visit the website.

These ‘artisan’ markets open from 8.00 am and goes by the mantra of “make it, bake it, sew it, grow it.” However, the gender bias of products available is skewed towards women. There’s mixed view on these markets, but maybe it just depends if you’re a market person or not.

The town itself is worth a wander around too.

Hats for sale at Eumundi Markets

Montville Winery — Flame Hill

A gorgeous spot with stunning views where you can have a few free tastings: what’s not to love? There’s fine dining too, but if your budget isn’t up for that, there’s sharing platters or brunch. It is a farm to table restaurant. This place is a day time venue only, except for accommodation guests. Accommodation is pretty expensive at $300-$530 per night.

Free wine tastings are always a good idea

Cruise for Lunch or Sunset

Image: www.cruisemooloolaba.com.au

There are loads of cruises on offer around the Sunny Coast, but the best value for money is Coastal Cruises Mooloolaba. They offer a seafood lunch cruise runs for 1.5 hrs for $39 pp or a 2-hr sunset cruise at $35pp. Food on the sunset cruise is optional and both cruises have full bar service. Both cruises take you through the harbor, river and canals. The tranquility of sailing and the stunning coastal views are worth far more, but we won’t tell them. You can check out the offerings and also book here.

Sea Life

Jellyfish at the Sea Life Aquarium. Source: Gaye Launder, Flikr

At $39 per adult and $27 per child, it could get a bit expensive, but it still is worth a visit. Not only are there the underwater views of everything you’d expect, there’s also beautiful seals, a touch pool and a reef. Book online here and save.

Maleny Botanical Gardens

Views over the Glasshouse Mountains

The Gardens only price here is $17 each, or $33 per person if you choose the gardens and aviary. To be honest the gardens are worth more than the birds. The aviary, although as large as an aeroplane hangar and hold quite a few different types, including blue Macaws, it is quite a stark space which left me feeling a bit depressed for our feathered friends. There’s also an animal enclosure. I’m not sure if that’s included in the garden only package, but no one chased us out. You can get close and personal with sheep, goats and a llama if that’s what you’re into.

The gardens though are large and beautiful offering lots of little pockets that feature different types of garden and the views are magic. There’s a café serving Devonshire teas, but I think a picnic would be perfect here.

There are many different styles throughout the complex

Whale One Cruises

Watching the whales migrate each year is a much-loved event for sunny-coasters. There are loads of whale watching cruises available, but this one is one of the better priced. You can choose a sunset, no whale cruise for just $25, or for $49 you can go out looking for these majestic beasts. Obviously, there’s no guarantees, but at the right time of year your chances of seeing one or two is pretty high. Click here to find and book your cruise.

Photo by Todd Cravens on Unsplash

The Majestic Theatre — Pomona

Step back in time

Every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month, at 12 noon, you have the chance to step back in time and watch an original silent movie as intended, with live music playing. The theatre is run by volunteers who bring this old theatre back to life. Tickets are around $30. To see screenings, click here.

Barefoot Bowls

One of the only sports you drink beer while you play

This is the relaxed version of lawn bowls. There’s a lawn bowls club in every town on the Sunshine Coast and most have a barefoot bowls, or party bowls night. For less than $15 you get to play bowls for 90 minutes, often with guidance from an instructor. The other good thing about bowls clubs is the food and drinks are very cheap. You may have to pay a small joining fee, but in many cases, this will allow you to access the courtesy bus too. Click here information about where to find bowls clubs on the Sunny Coast.

Noosa Ferry

An easy way to see both wildlife and mansions

The Noosa Ferry runs a few different cruises. The casual sunset cruise is only $25 per person for an hour cruise in Woods Bay, past the waterside mansions and Lake Weyba wildlife. It is BYO. For $49 you can experience the Eco-Cruise, which includes a short walk. Alternatively, grab an all-day ferry pass for $25 and spend the day hopping on and off on your own adventure. Book here.

The Point Is . . .

Australia, like all burn victims needs support and care to heal, and the healing process will take years. However, it is with little steps and small actions that we can build the country back to her potential.

There will be some excellent holiday deals around soon, so why not start planning your Aussie getaway? It will be the most selfless holiday you ever had.

If you enjoyed my article please let me know with lots of clapping. I live for applause. For more nomadic tales and experiments come see me at Coolfooting where life is a journey not a race.

A teacher, writer and traveller, but not necessarily in that order. Writing on life, both real and imagined.

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