Bush-tucker-fuelled cruises and hinterland art trails – discover the top five arts experiences on the Sunshine Coast
Time spent immersed in creative endeavours is a fantastic means of switching off and relaxing. No screens, no meetings, no message notifications. Just you, the art and a chance to let your mind wander. The Sunshine Coast is undoubtedly one of Queensland’s best locations when it comes to immersing yourself in the colourful web of creative pursuits, making it the perfect place to unwind and explore to your heart’s content. The picturesque landscapes and colourful locals have woven together a vibrant tapestry of experiences. This means the creativity extends beyond the confines of four walls and is instead just a way of life for many. Here tourists have a plethora of arts and culturally inspired experiences to enjoy, from meandering art trails to bustling artisan markets and peaceful cruises. If the prospect of a weekend spent wrapped in a creative bubble makes your heart soar, consider adding these five experiences to your Sunshine Coast bucket list.
Saltwater Eco Tours
Find the perfect symphony of sweet coastal sailing, Australian Indigenous culture, live music and locally sourced bush tucker feasts with Saltwater Eco Tours. Based on the peaceful waterways of the Mooloolah River, Saltwater Eco Tours works to connect culture to the coast during sailing tours onboard the century-old traditional vessel, Spray of the Coral Coast. There is a range of tour options to suit all interests, each offering a unique way to educate passengers through storytelling, music and entertainment. You can choose between the flagship Cultural Experience cruise, the Sunset Tour with live music or, our personal favourite, the Native Bushfoods and Seafood cruise. This relaxed lunchtime experience will treat you to a three-course lunch bursting with native flavours and fresh produce. You can indulge in bush-tucker-infused canapes, fresh Mooloolaba prawns and oysters, and the signature lemon-myrtle cocktail. Saltwater Eco Tours are the perfect chance to unwind, enjoy the ocean’s gentle lull, and learn a little more about the local Indigenous culture.
Sunshine Coast Hinterland Art Trail
If you dream of days spent wistfully wandering through art galleries, then the Hinterland Art Trail is right up your alley. Over the years, many an artist has settled in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland inspired by the local landscapes adorned with rolling hills, lush rainforests, country havens and pristine coastlines. As a result, quite a few local creatives have opened up a gallery or workspace, paving the way for the kaleidoscope of colour that is the Hinterland Art Trail. We recommend setting aside a few days to meander through the bespoke galleries, artist ‘open’ studios, exhibitions and events throughout Maleny and Montville. You can follow a gallery trail or explore at your own pace, popping into marvel at the creations of locals. Some of the must-see galleries include David Linton Furniture & Timber Works, Maleny Art Direct, Peace of Green Gallery, Ben Messina Landscapes Gallery, Secrets on the Lake Art Gallery, Art on Cairncross and more.
No Sunshine Coast itinerary would be complete without mentioning Eumundi Markets. These iconic markets are held in the centre of Eumundi’s historic township every Wednesday and Saturday and feature a treasure trove of handmade fare. Travellers trek from near and far to visit the unique collaboration of talented locals seeking to share their gifts with the world. Located just over an hour north of Brisbane and 20 minutes from Noosa, we recommend putting aside a few hours to browse the many stalls that feature arts, crafts, fashion, jewellery, fresh produce, health and wellness products, and plenty of creations for the house and garden. Oh, and did we mention the food? Think bagels, coffee, ice-cream, doughnuts, crepes, vegan wraps, juice, poffertjes, acai, fudge, artisan baked potatoes, calamari, momos … the list goes on. Regardless of your tastes, we can guarantee you will leave the markets with a full belly and more than a few handmade treasures for home.
Cooroy Butter Factory Arts Centre
Perched in the Noosa hinterland at Cooroy is a converted old butter factory turned arts centre. Initially built in 1930, the Cooroy Future Group runs the historic building that now hosts a range of exhibitions, events, pottery classes and workshops. The friendly and collaborative environment provides a sanctuary for new and established artists, and the Cooroy Future Group is committed to aiding artists in their experimentation and growth. Here art enthusiasts and the general public are treated to a range of exciting works and a space to speak with the dynamic artists. If you are keen to dive into some creative pursuits of your own, check out Cooroy Butter Factory’s range of workshops, including watercolour, abstract painting and totem sculptures. You can also channel your inner Patrick Swayze by attending a pottery workshop, with options available to suit every level of pottery experience.
Caloundra Street Art Trail and Regional Gallery
Tie up your laces and get your camera ready to pound the pavement around Caloundra searching for the myriad of murals that adorn local streetscapes and laneways. This laid-back beachside town located at the southern end of the Sunshine Coast gives Melbourne a run for its money, playing host to countless murals, graffiti artworks and sculptures, all within comfortable walking distance. Your best bet is to start at the top end of Bulcock Street and make your way down, weaving through laneways and streets to find colourful creations (and the perfect Insta backdrops). We recommend strolling with a local coffee and bite to eat before heading to the Caloundra Regional Gallery on Omrah Avenue. The local galley features a continuously evolving and exciting exhibition program from leading local and national artists. It is the perfect way to round out a day exploring the creative gems hidden throughout Caloundra.
Art and cultural experiences are an incredible way to tap into a local community and learn more about their unique landscapes, origins and idiosyncrasies. If you’re in desperate need of a chance to switch off and soak up some creative serenity, then pencil in your trip to the Sunshine Coast today.
This article was created in partnership with our friends at Visit Sunshine Coast.