The Best Things To Do in Maroochydore 2022

beach on a cloudy day

If you’re looking for something to do on the Sunshine Coast, then you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place than Maroochydore. With its wide range of activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

We stayed in Maroochydore as part of our Sunshine Coast road trip.

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Things to do in Maroochydore

We mainly use a mixture of Viator, GYG, and Klook for tours due to their low prices and free cancellation policy on most experiences.

Maroochy River Golf Club

Maroochydore Golf Club was awarded one of the Top 100 Golf Courses in Australia for its spectacular 18-hole, par 72 championship course. Visitors are welcome to play and dine afterwards in its Cane Cutters Bar & Bistro. You can hire equipment from the Pro Shop.

Book online.

Lawn Bowls

Club Maroochy’s barefoot bowls is open to guests, provided you sign in at the entrance to the club. The price in June 2022 was A$12 for an adult and A$10 per child. Children must be over 10 years old to play, but they have large tennis balls for the younger ones to use. Children must be supervised and, if not playing, are to remain off the greens.

Paradise Seaplanes

This incredible ten-minute seaplane adventure takes off from the Maroochy River and heads over the river mouth for an aerial view of the beautiful coastline, including Cottontree, Point Cartwright, Mudjimba, and Mudjimba Island (also known as Old Woman Island).

See prices with free cancellation here with Viator, but compare with Paradise Seaplanes direct (it was much cheaper to book direct when I checked).

view of coastline from seaplane
View of coastline from Paradise Seaplane

Sunshine Plaza

Sunshine Plaza is the largest shopping centre on the Sunshine Coast with over 320 specialty stores and David Jones, Myer, Kmart, Target, Big W, Coles, and Woolworths.

Parking is free for under three hours, if you spend over A$150 and validate your purchases, if you arrive after 6 pm and leave before 2 am, or have an authorised disabled parking permit and register with Customer Service.

The Riverwalk, along Cornmeal Creek, has a variety of restaurants, a cinema, and paddle boats for hire.

Sunshine Brewery

Since opening in 2017, Sunshine Brewery has won nineteen awards for its beers.

Visit them at 28 Fishermans Road, Kuluin, Maroochydore on Wednesdays to Sundays from midday to 7 pm.

Private Maroochy River Eco Cruise 

This eco-certified river cruise lets you experience the Maroochy River while tucking into morning tea of homemade hot scones, jam, and fresh whipped cream and learning about the culture and history of the area.

At the Wetlands Sanctuary, you have an hour to stroll to the visitor center and see mangrove forests before continuing your cruise around the Wetland’s Islands while enjoying a BBQ lunch.

white and brown sea eagle sitting on a tree branch
White Breasted Sea Eagle photographed by Cruise Maroochy Eco

Things To Do in Maroochydore for Free

Maroochydore Esplanade

Maroochydore Esplanade is a popular spot for locals and tourists to relax and enjoy the sun. It features several restaurants and cafes, as well as parks. Take a scenic stroll with views of the Maroochy River and stop for a drink or something to eat at one of the cafes (our coffee was great from Café 37).

people sitting outside cafe 37 drinking coffee and eating breakfast
Café 37 on The Esplanade Cotton Tree

Chambers Island

Chambers Island can be accessed by boat or the footbridge across the Maroochy River. There are sandy beaches around the small island, a playground, toilets, and picnic tables.

As you can see from our photo, the weather wasn’t very nice, so we had a quick walk around the island and returned to the mainland. I’m sure it’s a lot different on a warm, sunny day though.

a picnic shelter on green grass overlooking river on a cloudy day
Chambers Island

Maroochydore Beach

This popular sandy beach is patrolled by Maroochydore Surf Life Saving Club with toilets and showers. Due to the number of rips along this stretch of beach, it’s best to swim between the flags in the patrolled area.

The best surfing is the break off Alexandra Headland, but there are also beach breaks all the way up to the river mouth.

There’s a playground and grassed area by the beachfront too.

long sandy beach with large waves on a cloudy day. People surfing and walking along the beach.
Maroochydore Beach

Fishing

The best fishing spots in Maroochydore are mainly around the river and headland, with beach fishing into the rip holes when present.

In the Maroochy River, you may catch Mangrove Jack, Bream, Flathead, Whiting, and Trevally.

small boat on the sand by a river
Boat on riverfront, Maroochy River by Tourism and Events Queensland

Cotton Tree

Cotton Tree, named after the native cotton trees along the river, is a popular holiday spot, especially with families. The calm conditions make it perfect for water sports, and kids enjoy the Cotton Tree Playground.

Spend a few hours there and stay for a picnic or BBQ.

You can hire a boat and go to Pincushion Island, a tall sand and rock formation famous for its fishing.

Be aware that bull sharks can be in the Maroochy River, especially after heavy rain.

Cotton Tree Pier is a perfect place for photos, especially at sunset.

On Sunday, wander around the markets open from 7 am to 12 pm with stalls selling fresh produce and local arts and crafts.

For more shopping, Duporth Avenue has a host of boutiques with a range of fashion and homewares.

a long concrete pier extending over river on a dark stormy day one of the things to do in maroochydore
Cotton Tree Pier on a dark stormy morning

Coastal walk from Cotton Tree to Alexandra Headland

This hour-long walk (3.6 km one way) provides stunning ocean views and is popular with early morning walkers, joggers, and cyclists. Return along the beach for a different perspective.

There are plenty of places to stop along the route for coffee or food.

This coastal trail is part of the 96 km Sunshine Coast Coastal Pathway that stretches from Pelican Waters to Tewantin.

aerial view of crystal clear ocean and a long sand beach on headland
Alexandra Headland by Tourism and Events Queensland

Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens

This Maroochydore botanic garden sits on 112 hectares near the Tanawha Golf Course. It’s the perfect spot for a walk or picnic with natural forest, manicured native gardens, nature play spaces, and art installations.

You can participate in one of the free guided walks available most Thursday mornings from the Arts and Ecology Centre at 9 am.

The garden is open from 7 am to 5 pm (April to October), and 7 am to 6 pm (November to March).

Mudjimba Beach

Mudjimba Beach, 3 km south of Marcoola, is a potentially hazardous beach with persistent rips and strong currents. It would be best to swim in the patrolled area near Mudjimba Surf Club watch tower.

There are some excellent surf breaks along the beach and great fishing spots.

The grass area near the surf club has a kids’ playground, picnic tables, and BBQs. Across the street, you will find places to eat.

Dogs are catered for as well, with the North Shore Off-Leash Beach at the southern end of the beach.

large expnase of sandy beach on a cloudy day
Mudjimba Beach

Marcoola Beach

Marcoola Beach is a long, potentially hazardous beach with persistent rips and strong currents. You should swim at the area patrolled by the Marcoola Surf Life Saving Club.

Marcoola Markets are held every Friday from 4 pm to 8 pm and is a great place to have something to eat.

Family Things To Do in Maroochydore

Maroochydore Rotary Park

An excellent park for the kids to play in while you enjoy the scenic views of the river. Large trees provide shade on grassed areas where you can throw down a picnic rug. There are also barbecues and shaded picnic tables available.

The two playgrounds have a range of play equipment for all ages.

kids playground
One of the playgrounds at Rotary Park

The Big Pineapple

This 16 m fiberglass pineapple, once had a million visits a year, making it the most popular tourist attraction in Australia at that time.

Unfortunately, the Big Pineapple site is currently closed, so you are unable to climb inside the structure or ride the train. 

If you’re passing, it’s good for a photo opportunity though.

a big pineapple structure
The Big Pineapple

Maroochydore Zip Line

TreeTop Challenge high ropes and zipline course, located at the Big Pineapple, is the most elevated, largest, and most thrilling high ropes adventure park in Australia, with 120 challenges.

There are six courses to tackle, from easy to Black Diamond extreme, set amongst 10 acres of spectacular rainforest.

We didn’t do this course, but had a lot of fun on something similar in Busselton WA.

Buy Tickets here.

Maroochydore Zoo (Wildlife HQ)

Wildlife HQ is a privately operated zoo at the Big Pineapple.

When Alma Park Zoo closed in March 2014, Julie Seabrook and her team moved over two hundred animals to their new home at Wildlife HQ. In July 2021, they received their ZAA Accreditation, meaning they are responsible for ensuring high animal welfare for all their animals.

This zoo offers feeding encounters and photo sessions with some animals (prices vary).

We don’t usually visit zoos, but this one receives good reviews on Tripadvisor.

Mini Golf

A fun family activity in Maroochydore is mini golf at Maroochy River Mini Golf.

Open:

Sunday 9 am to 7 pm
Monday & Tuesday 9 am to 6 pm
Wednesday 9 am to 7 pm
Thursday to Saturday 9 am to 9 pm

mini golf course at sunset
Maroochy River Mini Golf

Hire Paddleboat

Head to Sunshine Plaza and rent a paddleboat from the Plaza Pontoon.

Rush Adventureland

Rush Adventureland in the Sunshine Plaza provides unlimited playtime in the adventure center if you’re looking for kids’ things to do in Maroochydore when it’s raining.

There’s a multi-level soft-play indoor playground, Rush Coaster (the first indoor air coaster of its kind in Australia), high rope courses, climbing walls, bumper cars, and a virtual reality simulator.

Things To Do in Maroochydore at Night

Nights on Ocean Night Markets

Unfortunately, these markets don’t seem to be operating at present.

On the second Friday of every month, stroll the markets showcasing local produce and enjoy the atmosphere with live music and entertainment.

Holy Moly Maroochydore

A fun idea of combining a game of mini golf with drinks. We enjoy the one in Perth; it’s something different to do at night. Kids are welcome until 9 pm if an adult supervises them.

The limit of the number of shots per hole is six, so the games are fluid. A round of nine holes will take around 25 to 40 minutes.

The venue is fully accessible, with ramps on all courses.

Although Holy Moly accepts walk-ins, it’s best to book online.

You can also play a game of bowling at Strike Bowling or try karaoke or the escape room while there.

inside bowling alley
Holey Moley & Strike Bowling Maroochydore

Maroochydore Accommodation

We use Booking.com for most accommodation bookings as they offer free cancellation on most rooms, have a loyalty program (Genius), a price match guarantee, the site is user-friendly and they have great customer support. We also book through Stayz for private accommodation as they are often cheaper than Airbnb.

Click on the photos for prices on Agoda.

Maroochydore Hotels

Loea Boutique Hotel $-$$

361 Bradman Avenue

The Best Things To Do in Maroochydore 2022

This boutique hotel offers ten stylish rooms decorated with natural coastal colours.

Facilities include:

  • Outdoor Pool & Sun Loungers
  • Free WI-FI
  • Free Parking
  • Garden
  • Bar
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Air Conditioning & Heating
  • Soundproof Rooms
  • Free Bike Hire

Holiday Inn Express & Suites $$

42 First Avenue and Fairway Drive

The Best Things To Do in Maroochydore 2022

This Sunshine Coast hotel is Australia’s first Holiday Inn Express & Suites branded property, designed to offer a convenient and comfortable stay.

Facilities include:

  • Outdoor Pool & Sun Loungers
  • Free WI-FI
  • Free Parking
  • 24 Hour Front Desk
  • Fitness Centre
  • Bar
  • Luggage Storage
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Air Conditioning & Heating
  • Fridge, Kettle & Pod Coffee Machine
  • Blackout Shades
  • Breakfast included

Nightcap at Waterfront Hotel $

2/46 David Low Way, Diddillibah

The Best Things To Do in Maroochydore 2022

This lakefront budget hotel, less than 5 km from the centre of Maroochydore, offers rooms with a small deck overlooking the lake.

Facilities include:

  • Free Parking
  • Air Conditioning & Heating
  • Bar & Bistro
  • Fridge
  • Tea/Coffee Making Facilities
  • Daily Housekeeping
  • RV Friendly
  • Kids Playground

Maroochydore Luxury Accommodation

Maroochydore offers luxury accommodation in the form of modern apartments featuring quality appliances and amenities.

Sitka – Absolute Waterfront Luxury Penthouse $$$

1 Duporth Avenue

The Best Things To Do in Maroochydore 2022

This luxury penthouse takes up the whole top floor overlooking the beautiful Maroochy River with direct access to the water from the private jetty.

Facilities include:

  • River Views
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Garden
  • BBQ facilities
  • Free Parking
  • Air Conditioning
  • 3 Bedrooms
  • Kitchen & Laundry
  • Free WI-FI

The Duporth Riverside $$$

6 Wharf Street

The Best Things To Do in Maroochydore 2022

This luxury accommodation has stunning views of the Maroochy River and ocean in a quiet location.

Facilities include:

  • River & Ocean Views
  • Outdoor Pool & Hot Tub
  • Garden
  • Air Conditioning
  • Kitchen & Laundry
  • Fitness Centre & Sauna
  • Free Parking
  • Free WI-FI

Beach on Sixth $$$

65 Sixth Avenue

The Best Things To Do in Maroochydore 2022

These luxurious beachside apartments offer contemporary living at its best.

Facilities include:

  • Ocean Views
  • Outdoor Pool & Spa
  • Fitness Centre
  • Air Conditioning & Heating
  • Kitchen & Laundry
  • BBQs
  • Free Parking
  • Free WI-FI

The Dunes Cotton Tree $$$

27-29 Cotton Tree Parade

The Best Things To Do in Maroochydore 2022

Centrally located in Cotton Tree, most apartments have views of the river and beach. There’s a choice of 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms.

Facilities include:

  • Beach & River Views
  • Outdoor Pool & Spa
  • BBQs
  • Air Conditioning
  • Restaurants
  • Free Parking
  • Free WI-FI
  • Soundproof Rooms
  • Foxtel
  • Kitchen & Laundry

Verve on Cotton Tree is also highly rated and offers luxury apartments in Cotton Tree – see more here.

Maroochydore Motels

Wunpalm Motel & Holiday Cabins

This is where we stayed – fantastic value for families in a clean room with kitchen facilities.

Facilities include:

  • Outdoor Pool
  • Free WI-FI
  • Free Parking
  • Air Conditioning & Heating
  • Free shuttle to the local RSL and Surf Life Saving Club
  • Fridge, Microwave, Toaster, & Kettle
  • Daily Housekeeping
inside motel room with beds table chairs and kitchen
Wunpalm Motel

Private Holiday Accommodation

Stayz (part of the VRBO group) have a wide range of accommodation options in and around Maroochydore.

Maroochydore Caravan Parks

Maroochydore Best Restaurants & Cafes

Maroochydore’s Ocean Street is lined with restaurants and bars for you to choose from, and both the Maroochydore RSL and Maroochydore Surf Club offer good value meals.

Some of the best places to check out for food or drink are:

  • Pum’s Kitchen $
  • Uptown Gastropub $$
  • Orleans Restaurant & Bar $$
  • Cala Luna Italian Restaurant $$
  • Red Sea Steak & Seafood Restaurant $$
  • Marrakech $$-$$$

Maroochydore Weather

The average maximum temperature in Maroochydore ranges from 21°C in July (winter) to 29°C in January (summer).

The coldest time of year in Maroochydore is winter (June to August), with average minimum temperatures of around 10°C, and the warmest is summer (December to February) at about 21°C.

The wettest month is February, while September is the driest.

For more information, see the Bureau of Meteorology.

How to get to Maroochydore

Sunshine Coast Airport

Sunshine Coast Airport, also known as Maroochydore Airport, is ten minutes by road.

Public Transport

Bus route 622 travels from the airport to Noosa and Maroochydore.

Plan your journey with Translink.

Road

The best and easiest way to get around the Sunshine Coast is by car or campervan. The roads are easy to navigate, and routes are well signposted.

You can drive from Brisbane to Maroochydore in under 90 minutes via the M1 (tolls apply).

Maroochydore Car Hire

It’s best to hire a car from one of the rental companies at Brisbane airport or Sunshine Coast Airport, depending on where you fly into.

Car Hire – To compare rental car company prices, I use Discover Cars, an award-winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are have a high rate of customer satisfaction.

Tip: The earlier car rentals are booked, the cheaper it is with more choice of vehicles.

Save Money 728x90

Bus

Several bus companies provide services between Brisbane and Maroochydore.

Greyhound runs a coach service from Brisbane to Noosa, stopping in Maroochydore. Prices start from A$30 one way, with a journey time of around 100 minutes.

Compare and book your trip with Busbud – read their tips on how to find cheap bus tickets here.

Transfers

Coast to Hinterland Tours offers a transfer service from Brisbane Airport to the Sunshine Coast using a pre-booked fixed price. The door-to-door meet and greet service with drop-off at your chosen destination includes luggage, airport parking, and tolls in the all-inclusive affordable transfer prices.

If you’re heading up the Sunshine Coast, these guides will help you plan your itinerary:

Heading down to Brisbane? Check out these guides:

Travel Tips and Information

To help plan your holiday, use this Queensland Travel Guide which includes helpful information.

pin for maroochydore travel guide

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