What does the Sunshine Coast have in store for 2015?


Touchdown on Maroochy River
Paradise Seaplanes offer three new adventure flights on the Maroochy River, that showcase the unique Wilga80 aircraft. Wilgas and Seaplanes are rare in Australia and Paradise Seaplanes have the only Wilga80 on floats, in the country. The seaplane is operating for a trial period over summer www.paradiseseaplanes.com.au

Bindi has a Zoo … and now her own Island
A jungle treehouse on its own island is the newest attraction at Australia Zoo. The treehouse is based on Bindi’s childhood TV series, Bindi the Jungle Girl, and the film Return to Nim’s Island and overlooks another new feature, Lemur Island. Bindi’s Island is included in the Zoo admission price. www.australiazoo.com.au

Illusions and Bugs
Following the launch of new ride, the Ballroom Blitz and the Platypus Ponds Mini Golf attraction in 2014, Aussie World will launch a further two new rides in March 2015. The Illusionarium will contain ‘time travel’ like optical illusions and the Bug Run is a caterpillar style rollercoaster designed for the little ones.www.aussieworld.com.au

Under a full moon, through the country or swimming in the ocean 
Ride a horse along the picturesque Rainbow Beach or choose from a variety of tours including a Beach Full Moon Ride, Country Day Ride and Swimming in the Ocean Ride.  Rainbow Beach Horse Rides also take photos on every ride, which are available to all customers for free. www.rainbowbeachhorserides.com.au

Maze Balls of Fun at Bellingham
Bellingham Maze will relaunch on 21 March following a major replanting exercise over the past 18 months. The new lush maze is now ready for visitors again.www.bellmaze.com

Sea Life Seal Island
Something ‘fishy’ is happening on Seal Island at UnderWater World! Seal Island has three presentations daily and now you can get even closer.  Discover the true sight, smell and sound of the seals through the all new fun and educational interactives. www.underwaterworld.com.au

The Bubblemaker
Making waves around the country last year, Sunreef Mooloolaba introduced Australia’s first swim with Humpback Whales experience. Now, Sunreef has introduced a Bubblemaker experience, where the kids can learn how to dive. The program has been created by PADI for kids 8 years and over.www.sunreef.com.au


Top 5 new tasty hang outs
– Little May Espresso has opened in Main Street Montville by Rich Hayes, former Sous Chef from Spicers Clovelly.
– American style diner, Betty’s Burgers and Concrete Co is a newcomer to Hastings Street Noosa and is serving up tasty burgers and custard ice creams in 28 flavours!
– Greenhouse Café is organic vegetarian and located opposite the famous Lamkin Lane coffee house and just off Bulcock Street, Caloundra.
– Lemon and Thyme is the newest addition to Mooloolaba’s dining scene and serving healthy modern Australian.
– The Lionheart Imperial Hotel has undergone an impressive renovation including a new menu and superbly appointed Green Room (pictured below) function space upstairs with fittings sourced from around the world.

Oceans Eleven
Explore the burgeoning Ocean Street precinct in Maroochydore that has seen 11 new restaurants open over the past 12 months. The Post Office Bar and Restaurant is the latest to open their doors. It is situated in the old Maroochydore Post Office building and proudly maintains the feel and character of the building’s history by retaining its name and presenting a rustic decor and menu.www.thepostofficebar.com.au

Food Tale Tours
New weekend walking tours of Maleny commenced late in 2014, plus three new week-day Gourmet Sunshine Coast Day Trips connecting visitors directly to local food producers in their farms / kitchens. There is also a special Gluten Free trip.http://foodtaletours.com.au

Blessed are the cheesemakers – the Sunshine Coast dairy region is making the most of its curd and whey… 
– A Sunshine Coast dairy, QCamel has received accreditation to sell pasteurised camel milk to the public from their farm. Only the second dairy in Australia to do so, the creamy milk tastes similar to cow’s milk, but has a slightly saltier aftertaste, and is higher in vitamins C and B6 as well as iron. Using the milk, Maleny Cheese is producing Australia’s first camel cheese curd and has plans for a ‘camelbert’. The tricky part is milking the camel!

– From working in corporate positions in Singapore, Graeme Paynter and his wife Karen (pictured below) planned on retiring to the Sunshine Coast to dabble in cheese making. Starting out from scratch, they didn’t expect their cheese to be so popular. Just 18 months later, Woombye Cheese now produces eight varieties and stock restaurants, retail and wholesale outlets from far North Queensland through Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra.

Asian cooking paradise turns 20 
The Spirit House Restaurant has played an instrumental role in changing the impression of the Sunshine Coast from a sleepy beach side place to a sophisticated cuisine destination and this year celebrates 20 years of operation as a restaurant and cooking school. The Spirit House, Spicers Tamarind, Amytis Gardens, Kitchen Carnivale, Phon’s Thai all offer Asian-inspired cooking classes, and a fascinating question is why the Sunshine Coast has captured such a distinctive touch of Asia in the midst of an Aussie Hinterland?www.spirithouse.com.au

Talking Turkey
Santosh Walunjkar provides exclusive Private Chef services and cooking classes for corporate functions, events, parties, and personal catering. He works with locals and visitors to the region to create extraordinary menus. From planning the menu, shopping, preparation, cooking and cleaning up afterwardshttp://talkingturkey.com.au


Shhhh… Did you know a group of tattlers is collectively known as a ‘whisper’
In late 2014, Sunshine Coast Destination in conjunction with Tourism and Events Queensland, launched a new campaign called ‘Vacation Migration’ using state-of-the-art drones to tell a story of discovering the region’s natural icons, through a birds-eye view of the Wandering Tattler migratory bird.

Each year, more than two million waders, otherwise known as shorebirds, migrate to Australia from the northern hemisphere. Some of them travel over 13,000 kilometres, navigating through extreme weather from places as far away as Mongolia, Alaska and Siberia.

Every year, the Wandering Tattler travels to the Sunshine Coast for its warmth, sunshine, natural beauty and plentiful food. It’s for the same reasons that travelers from all around the world holiday in the region too. The first phase of the campaign has been seen by 6 million Australians including 120,000 online views. Phase two will be rolled out locally next month and in New Zealand in April 2015.

To see the advertisement go to: www.visitsunshinecoast.com.au

Naturally Abundant
Australia’s Nature Coast (ANC) was launched in 2013 and is a partnership between Sunshine Coast Destination and Fraser Coast Opportunities to promote a world class eco-destination. Following, huge interest and success in the German market in 13-14, ANC was launched late last year in the UK market and is having massive appeal not only amongst the travel trade, but also consumers. It’s no surprise as ANC represents the best of Queensland’s, and arguably Australia’s natural attractions and experiences. This is the only place in the world where two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves exist side by side – the Great Sandy and Noosa Biospheres; World Heritage listed Fraser Island; Lady Elliot Island; 47 State and National Parks, Reserves and Forests and over 200 kilometres of pristine beaches, calm rivers and waterways and an abundance and diversity of flora and fauna.www.australiasnaturecoast.com

Australia’s Great Beach Drive
There are not many places in the world where you can drive along a white sandy beach surrounded by the sparkling Pacific Ocean and Australian bushland. Located from Noosa North Shore on the Sunshine Coast, the drive connects with World Heritage listed Fraser Island. With over 100 kilometres of beach driving, visitors can experience a once in a lifetime journey, escaping the bitumen highway where the company includes kangaroos, whales, turtles, dingoes and rare bird species. The touring route is steeped in culture and etched in Australian history and covers two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, a World Heritage Marine Park and the largest sand island in the world. The Great Beach Drive requires a four wheel drive vehicle and is subject to tide times. www.australiasnaturecoast.com

Bird World 
Recently celebrating one year of operation, Bird World aviary located at Maleny Botanic Gardens spans over 1000m2 with a wide variety of most species of birds. You can walk through, photograph up close and personal, feed or just take a seat near the waterfall and watch and listen. www.malenybotanicgardens.com.au


Dance with the Waves
At one with Mother Nature, there is a new surfing activity making waves on the Sunshine Coast. Surfdancing incorporates costumes, choreography, synchronized surfing, gymnastics, percussion, yoga and innovative progressive boardriding. Surfdancer Surf School based in Noosa has qualified ballet and yoga teachers as well as Academy of Surf instructors. www.surfdancer.com

Another new business – Silky Surf is connecting visitors with the spectacular Sunshine Coast waves and water life. From grandmothers to the popular Rugby League team – the Broncos, backpackers from Iceland and beyond, Ben Silk and his team of qualified surf coaches have been operating a surf school, coaching and surf tours for just over 12 months. Silky Surf is located at the southern end of the coast in Dicky Beach, Caloundra. http://silkysurf.com

Forests of ideas
The Hinterland has become the Sunshine Coast’s secret weapon because:
– The Hinterland Great Walk, is a 58 kilometre circuit along the Blackall Range through some of Queensland’s most scenic wilderness. You can do the full four-day walk, or just take on a short section of the track.
– The launch of “luxe trekking,” has combined the Great Walk with luxury accommodation at Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat, indulgent spa baths, and fine food and wine. www.narrowsescape.com.au
– Off Beat Eco Tours offer a unique half day guided tour to view Andy Goldsworthy’s iconic sculpture – entitled Strangler Cairn and have also packaged a specialised sunset tour. www.offbeatecotours.com.au
– New operators coming in and the opening up the National Parks for events, such as the Blackall 100.

Mountain reopens
The summit route on the western face of Mt Tibrogargan reopened in late 2014, almost nine months after it was closed for safety reasons. The work had included the use of helicopters to move large bags of loose rock to the base of the mountain. New signs have been installed to better inform visitors of the route’s risks and ways to improve their safety and enjoyment while climbing Mt Tibrogargan. Recommended as suitable for experienced, fit and well-equipped climbers and best attempted in the cooler months. www.nprsr.qld.gov.au

Cool things to do on Fraser Island
Kingfisher Bay Resort is now offering laser skirmish in the dunes and bushland, scavenger hunts for the kids and four-wheel-drive training for the adults.

Did you know?
2015 marks 100 years of the renaming of Mapleton Falls (formerly Baroon Falls).


Rainbow Beach Ultimate Camping are now offering a ‘Pitch & Pack’ glamping package. They set your camp up for you and then pack it up when you are finished. They make camping THAT easy!  They will do all the things you don’t like about camping, so you can enjoy all the things you love. Rainbow Beach Ultimate Camping is also now offering Women in Nature Glamping Retreats.www.rainbow-beach-hire-a-camp.com.au

Nap under the vines
Now you can stay at Flame Hill Vineyard in Montville and don’t have to worry if you have indulged in a few too many vinos. Sinclair Cottage is a quaint 1927 period cottage with 3 bedrooms and functional kitchen due to open on the weekend of the famous Grape Stomp event (21 February).  All guests staying will receive the Flame Hill Wine Club discount on all wine and dining at Flame Hill Vineyard. Two night midweek stay from $500. www.flamehill.com.au

Bed & Breakfast
Nestled midway between Kenilworth and Kandanga at Imbil, the brand new Mary Valley Views guesthouse offers modern accommodation positioned to take advantage of impressive views of natural bushland, Imbil village and the Mary Valley. Ideal for couples, business travelers or groups with special events or family celebrations, the modern pavilion-style design has not sacrificed comfort while incorporating environmentally conscious and energy efficient materials. As part of the Mary Valley hospitality, a bountiful breakfast featuring local produce is included during the stay. Rates start from $170 per night mid-week or $180 over a weekend. www.maryvalleyviews.com.au

Innistaigh Mountain Retreat
A centre for relationship and spiritual awakening, Innistaigh is a transpersonal retreat, purpose built to assist and facilitate relationship development beyond self. Set on forested mountainside bridging the Glasshouse Mountains and the Blackall Range in the scenic Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Innistaigh caters for group workshops, relationship renewal for couples getaways and self-contained bed and breakfast accommodation, ideal for families. www.innistaigh.com.au


You never have to lose it on holidays when you pack a TracTAG
A Sunny Coast business helps holidaymakers keep track of their precious items…with a new gadget that keeps track of your belongings. Just launched, tracTAG allows you to label your goods and the unique codes and online account makes it easy for everyone to be confident that valuables are easy to return when found. www.tractag.com

Big Top Market Fresh
The former Maroochydore Big Top shopping centre is being redeveloped and will open in April 2015, as Big Top Market Fresh. The new centre located as part of the Ocean Street revitalisation project will feature specialty stores, plus local growers with over 100 market stalls (on market days, twice a week). Restaurant Australia Ambassador, Shane Stanley, who founded Noosa Farmers’ Markets 13 years ago and built on its success to establish Kawana Waters Farmers’ Markets three years ago, has partnered with the Reed Property Group to operate the new farmers’ market. www.bigtopmarketfresh.com.au

World-class discovery centre on the horizon
The potential for Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve’s world-class view of the Glasshouse Mountains to be matched by a world-class discovery centre is on the horizon. Sunshine Coast Council has approved a concept plan that will include a new Discovery Centre, cafe, gift shop, elevated viewing platform, meeting theatrette, conservation research area and offices and amenities for the volunteers and staff. Project construction costs are estimated to be about $4.5 million and council’s forward capital works program provides $1.97m for the design and upgrade. The community based Management Committee has also committed $200,000 towards the project out of the donations funds. http://bit.ly/1sCD3o9

Tee off on the Sunshine Coast
With over 17 courses on the coast, including an organic course in Lake Cootharaba and PGA Qualifying events held at Noosa Springs, Sunshine Coast Destination has formed a golf industry group with representatives from five of the region’s championship courses. The group will attend the New Zealand Open this year to promote the Sunshine Coast. They are also working on a new website with bookings functionality and are creating a new event to be held in July. Stay tuned for more details.

Other developments
– State Government is currently assessing proposals for the Obi Obi Zipline project for Kondalillia National Park.
– Feedback for the EIS of the Sunshine Coast Airport expansion project has closed and is currently under review.
– A new Skyrush Aerial Park located in Forest Glen offers adventure education and is due to open in April/May.
– New Zealand’s 300 metre long Monster Slide application is being assessed by Council to visit Caloundra.
– A proposed $90 million water theme park with the world’s largest wave pool has been granted preliminary approval by Sunshine Coast Council.


2015 Calendar

A range of local, national and international events celebrate the true essence of the naturally refreshing Sunshine Coast lifestyle.www.visitsunshinecoast.com.au/events

Line up of lycra and global events
The Sunshine Coast will host a slew of state and national events in 2015 as a prelude to large scale events in 2016. The Queensland Surf Lifesaving Titles in 2015 will serve as a warm up to the Australian Titles to be held on the coast in 2016. The Australian Outrigging Titles will be held this year and World Titles next year. Finally, the World Ironman will be officially handed over to the Sunshine Coast in Austria later this year, for the 2016 staging.

Tag…you’re it! 
Continuing to bask in the sporting spotlight, the Sunshine Coast has won the right to host the 2015 Tag World Cup from 3 to 6 December, 2015. Over 2000 players are expected from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand, South Pacific countries and Australia. The Tag World Cup is only played every three years.

Goyte artist revamps Body Art
The Body Art Festival (29 – 31 May), will this year be extended to three days and incorporate hair, fashion and art.  Led by internationally renowned featured artist, Emma Hack, known for her body art painting for Goyte’s  film clip, “Somebody That I Used to Know.” http://australianbodyart.com.au

Twilight Markets 
The rising popularity of Twilight Markets has been met by Sunshine Coast businesses with markets operating during peak holiday periods at Bulcock Beach, Coolum, Mooloolaba and Eumundi. ‘Nights on Ocean’ in Maroochydore are held on the second Friday of the month and new to join the trend is ‘Tastes of Noosaville,’ held on the third Friday of the month from 5.30pm in Thomas Street. http://noosavilleassociation.org.au

Hottest food and wine event
The 2015 Noosa International Food & Wine Festival (14-17 May) will again feature internationally renowned chefs and there will also be a new Wild Food Dinner and Seafood Trail to the Mooloolah River.www.noosafoodandwine.com.au

Pineapple Music Festival
The Big Pineapple Music Festival will be back for a third year and will be held on Saturday 30 May, subject to council approval on the Woombye site, opposite the heritage-listed pineapple. The line-up will be released on February 5 with national and local artists performing on two stages. National radio broadcaster Triple J and the Sunshine Coast Daily are once again on board as sponsors of the festival.www.bigpineapplemusicfestival.com

Please note, the above list is just a sample of what’s new in 2015 for the Sunshine Coast.

For more information visit: www.visitsunshinecoast.com.au and www.scdl.com.au.