The best times to visit the Sunshine Coast

This article is part of our comprehensive guide to the Sunshine Coast, your guide to where to stay, eat and the must-see highlights.See all stories.

Discover the sunniest time to visit the Sunshine Coast, as well as some of the countless annual events the region hosts – from food festivals celebrating local chefs and produce to triathlons, surf competitions and ocean swimming contests that make the most of its stunning natural assets.

SUMMER

Sunny mornings at Main Beach.Credit: Suppied

It doesn’t get much better than summertime on the Sunshine Coast, when holidaymakers flock to its beautiful beaches, including Noosa Main Beach, Kings Beach at Caloundra and Mooloolaba Beach, to go swimming, surfing and stand-up paddleboarding. It’s the warmest time of the year, with temperatures ranging between about 20°C and 29°C. But it’s also the busiest, with families making the most of the school holidays. If you’re not into crowds, it’s best to book outside this period when accommodation rates are also more affordable.

Don’t miss: The rainforest canopy flowers during summer, and colourful Richmond birdwing butterflies can be spotted fluttering around creeks in national parks in the hinterland, including Conondale National Park, Mapleton Falls National Park and Kondalilla National Park. Flame trees, lacebark trees and bower vines are among the flora that blossom over the summer months.

Christmas celebrations in Hastings Street.

Christmas celebrations in Hastings Street.

Key events: Admire Mooloolaba’s twinkling waterfront mansions on a Christmas Lights Cruise, go full-festive at the Christmas Street Party and Twilight Market in Caloundra or Noosa’s Hastings Street, where roving entertainers join Santa among trees decorated with fairy lights. Yes, there are loads of fun events throughout December. Come New Year’s Eve, you can catch the fireworks at Mooloolaba Esplanade, over Kings Beach in Caloundra or exploding above the Noosa River.

Glide through the water alongside Noosa National Park at the Noosa Summer Swim in February and immerse yourself in Indigenous culture at the Bunya Dreaming festival, which celebrates the significance of the Bunya Pine and offers the chance to try bush foods, have a yarn with an elder and join in a corroboree at Landsborough.

AUTUMN

Doggos getting in on the surfing fun during the Noosa Festival of Surfing.

Doggos getting in on the surfing fun during the Noosa Festival of Surfing.Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

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March is the wettest month of the year on the Sunshine Coast, with an average of 12 days of rain. But it’s still warm, with temperatures ranging between 20°C and 28°C, before dropping to about 14°C to 24°C in May. It’s a great time to get out and explore, with lots of fun festivals and events to entice travellers outside peak season.

Don’t miss: Seeing dogs riding the waves during the Noosa Festival of Surfing is a sight to behold. Joined by their humans on stand-up paddleboards, the canine competition is one of the highlights of the 10-day event, which has been running for over 30 years. There are also plenty of surf pros and an atmospheric beach bar with live music.

Key events: Swim, run and ride along the coastline at the two-day Mooloolaba Triathlon in March, or hit the trails through Beerwah State Forest at the Sunshine Coast MTB Festival, which also includes a Mud Rats Bike for kids in April. Surfers also congregate at Caloundra over the Easter long weekend for the Pa and Ma Bendall Memorial Surfing Contest. Named after a couple considered the father and mother of surfing on the Sunshine Coast, the event has been running since 1974. The GourMay Mary Valley Food Festival (held in May, of course) celebrates local farmers and producers with cooking demonstrations, presentations and food competitions.

WINTER

Sunny winter days and delicious food at Curated Plate.

Sunny winter days and delicious food at Curated Plate.

This is the sunniest time of year to visit the Sunshine Coast, with just five days of rain on average in August. Temperatures drop as low as 10°C overnight but are a pleasant 21°C to 22°C during the day. Winter is a surfer sweet spot, with favourable winds leading to epic swells. It’s also the prime time to take a journey on the vintage steam train Mary Valley Rattler from heritage-listed Gympie Railway Station, as it can be a little on the warm side without air-conditioning at other times of the year. It’s also peak season for festivals and events.

Don’t miss: Snorkelling alongside majestic humpback whales as they pass by on their annual migration is an experience you can only have at a handful of places in Australia, and one of them happens to be the Sunshine Coast. Sunreef Mooloolaba, Whale One at Mooloolaba and Noosa Wave Boating Adventures run whale snorkelling tours from July to mid-October.

Restored vintage steam train, The Mary Valley Rattler.

Restored vintage steam train, The Mary Valley Rattler.

Key events: Attention foodies: if you’re considering a visit to this part of the world, this is the window to do it. Partake in long lunches, see celebrity chefs in action and soak up the buzz of the Festival Village at the Noosa Eat and Drink Festival, on from late May to early June. The Curated Plate showcases local produce and producers, with a range of events held across the region in late July and early August. There’s also the Sunshine Coast Asian Food Festival at Spicers Tamarind Retreat, part of Curated Plate, celebrating the offerings of local eateries, including Spirit House, Sum Yung Guys and Rice Boi.

Swim alongside ocean giants with Sunreef tours.

Swim alongside ocean giants with Sunreef tours.

NOOSA alive! (previously Noosa Long Weekend) is the passion project of playwright David Williamson, AO, and his wife, Kristin. Held in July, it features music, theatre, comedy, dance and literary events. The 10-day multi-arts event Horizon Festival also takes place throughout the region in August. Music lovers are well catered for with the Noosa Jazz Festival and Gympie Music Muster in August, which encompasses a mix of country, roots, blues, folk and rock, plus bush poetry. You can also run alongside the ocean at the Sunshine Coast Marathon and be wowed by the amazing designs at the Australian Wearable Art Festival.

SPRING

The Noosa Everglades is home to diverse native fauna.

The Noosa Everglades is home to diverse native fauna.

Temperatures start to climb quickly when spring hits, with the mercury rising from 13°C to 24°C in September and 18°C to 27°C by November. It’s a great time to go hiking, with colourful wildflower displays in Noosa National Park, Great Sandy National Park and Mooloolah River National Park.

Don’t miss: The Noosa Everglades sees the most species of migratory birds visiting between late August and early October, making it the ideal time to do an Everglades Ecosafari Serenity Cruise. Located about 15 kilometres north of Noosa, the everglades are one of only two such ecosystems in the world, the other being in Florida. Birdlife includes azure kingfishers, white-cheeked honeyeaters and red-capped robins, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot a koala snoozing in one of the gum trees as you float along the reflective tannin-infused waters.

Participants don their bubblegum-tinged best for the Noosa Triathlon Breakfast Fun Run.

Participants don their bubblegum-tinged best for the Noosa Triathlon Breakfast Fun Run.

Key events: Spring is a challenging time to be in the region – literally – with the Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast beginning at Mooloolaba Beach in September and the Blackall 100 trail run, which starts and finishes in Mapleton, taking competitors on a scenic route through the hinterland each October. The biggest Olympic-distance triathlon in the world, the Garmin Noosa Tri, also takes place in November, with events including an ocean swim, Noosa Superkidz Triathlon and a breakfast fun run in which participants are encouraged to dress in pink to raise money for the McGrath Foundation.

The quirky Mary Valley Scarecrow Festival is held throughout hinterland towns in September and early October, and you can celebrate Halloween aboard the Mary Valley Rattler Ghost Train.

The Caloundra Music Festival is also held in late September and early October, and you can have your funny bones tickled at the Sunshine Coast Comedy Festival, which includes a comedy cruise with Saltwater Eco Tours and shows at craft breweries in November. Some pretty impressive artworks can also be seen at Flaxton Gardens during the Sculpture on the Edge competition in late November and early December.

Have your funny bones tickled at the Sunshine Coast Comedy Festival.

Have your funny bones tickled at the Sunshine Coast Comedy Festival.

The writer was a guest of Visit Sunshine Coast and Visit Noosa.

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Source: smh.com.au

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