A typical modern Queensland coastal resort town which has seen continuous development of high rise tourist resorts, units and housing since the 1950s, extending south to Caloundra. Maroochydore has become the geographical and commercial heart of the Sunshine Coast.
Located only 98 km north of Brisbane, Maroochydore is a pleasant and easy day trip from the state capital and a good base for exploring the region. It has kilometres of golden beaches, fishing, boating and other aquatic possibilities, small shopping centres geared to the tourists (notably the Big Top Shopping Centre in Sunshine Plaza which spans Cornmeal Creek), some small industrial development in the hinterland, and a sense of holidays in the air all year round.
Plan And Book
The Maroochy River enters the Pacific Ocean ay Maroockydore, The extension of small peninsulas over the mouth of the Maroochy River ensure calm waters for boating, waterskiing and boat fishing. A boat ramp is located on the southern riverbank, just west of the Sunshine Motorway (adjacent David Low Way).
The beach at Maroochydore is a well established, popular beach offering all facilities for tourists and the added safety of two surf lifesaving clubs. Maroochydore beach is patrolled by the Maroochydore Surf Life Saving Club; one of the oldest in Queensland, being founded on New Years Day in 1916. Rips are common along the beach, so stay in the patrolled area. While waves are usually 1 metre or less, care need be taken on these beaches owing to the common presence of rips and the rocks on the headland beach. The northern end of Maroochydore Beach also contains deep tidal channels and shifting bars and is particularly hazardous. Likewise, there is a strong permanent rip against the rocks at the southern end of Alexandra Headland Beach.
The best surfing spot is the break off Alexandra Headland. It works in a moderate to high swell and can provide some good right-handers. There are also beach breaks all the way up to the river mouth. The river mouth and the headland are the most popular fishing locations, together with beach fishing into the rip holes, when present.
Mudjimba, to the north of Maroochydore and 3 km south of Marcoola, is primarily a residential area. It has a long, relatively natural beach offering a range of facilities, including three resorts. A large beachfront reserve provides good parking and access to the Mudjimba Beach. This is a long, potentially hazardous beach with persistent rips and strong currents. You should only swim in the surf at the patrolled Marcoola Beach, or under the supervision of the lifeguards at Coolum and Twin Waters resorts. Always check for rips before entering, stay on the attached inner bar and clear of the rip channels and deeper outer trough.
There are beach breaks the length of the beach, with better banks usually at Point Arkwright. Best conditions are produced by a moderate swell and westerly winds on a high tide. If you have a boat, there is a good left point break on Mudjimba Island. There is excellent beach fishing in the numerous rip gutters, together with somewhat more hazardous rock fishing at Point Arkwright and the river mouth south of Twin Waters.
Ninderry beach extends south of Mudjimba for 1.5 km. It is backed by a residential area and caravan park, and paralleled by the Esplanade and a foreshore reserve. This is a long, potentially hazardous beach with persistent rips and strong currents. You should only swim in the surf at the patrolled Marcoola Beach, or under the supervision of the lifeguards at Coolum and Twin Waters resorts. There are beach breaks the length of the beach, with better banks usually at Point Arkwright. Best conditions are produced by a moderate swell and westerly winds on a high tide. If you have a boat, there is a good left point break on Mudjimba Island. There is excellent beach fishing in the numerous rip gutters, together with somewhat more hazardous rock fishing at Point Arkwright and the river mouth south of Twin Waters.
Twin Waters Resort is built around a large artificial lake, 1 km north of the Maroochy River. The Esplanade runs the length of the beach with a car park on the southern spit. The resort has an access track to the beach at the northern end of the resort, together with an amenity block. Rips persist right to the river mouth, where there is a deep tidal channel and strong tidal currents so stay under the supervision of the lifeguards. There is excellent beach fishing in the numerous rip gutters, together with somewhat more hazardous rock fishing at Point Arkwright and the river mouth south of Twin Waters.
The suburb of Marcoola, located just north of Maroochy River and 10 minutes' drive south of Coolum, boasts quiet uncrowded beaches, which are best suited for serious surfers and walkers. Apartment style accommodation, as well as a range of hotels are available with eateries within easy driving distance. Sunshine Coast Airport is located within the suburban boundary of Marcoola. West Marcoola is largely composed of Mount Coolum National Park and remnant sugarcane plantations.
This small sand island in the Maroochydore River is a popular spot for families to gather and relax with a grassed area, fishing locations, children's play equipment and a rowing club. Enjoy the beautiful sunshine coast weather as you take a short walk across the bridge, around the island and back across the bridge again. Take a dip in the sandy shallows,but watch the current which can at times be swift. Parking can be difficult on the weekends. Location: Cnr Bradman Ave and Thomas St, Maroochydore.
Cotton Tree Markets
A great way to spend Sunday morning enjoying all the local stall holders' artistic designs and creations, from jewelry, cakes, biscuits, bags, leather, ornaments, plants, health goods, shoes, music, babies clothes, clothes. The market is on the main street which is aligned with many cafes to sit and enjoy. Toilets are in the park nearby. Location: King Street, Cotton Tree, Maroochydore. Ph 0409 611 675.
Nights On Ocean
Ocean street has become the most trendy hub on the Sunshine Coast so it is an appropriate place for a night market. On the 2nd Friday evening of every month Ocean Street is transformed into a pop up food, art and craft market. It's mostly food stalls of various cuisines lined along the edges of the ocean street, bordered by the numerous local bars and restaurants. Each market night has live music played by a different feature band. As well as this, there's always music flooding into the street from the restaurants and bars. Machu Picchu Restaurant has live Latin Dance during Nights on Ocean too, where patrons practice and show off their skills. It's a great night out, which can extend into the early hours of the morning for those who want to party on in the clubs such as Old Soul and Soul Bar.
An independently owned microbrewery, where you can view the full brewing process and taste the final products. This is a family friendly venue, with visiting food trucks on the weekends. Cellar door Beer tastings as well as wholesale sales. Location: 28 Fishermans Road, Kuluin, Maroochydore. Ph (07) 5443 3881.
HMAS Brisbane was affectionately known by those who served on her as 'The Steel Cat'. Huge crowds watched as the HMAS Brisbane was ceremoniously sunk at 10am on Sun 31 July 2005, just off the coast of Maroochydore and Mooloolaba to create an artifical reef. Divers can explore the 133 metre, former warship through large access holes that allow passage into the forward engine room, boiler room, and the ship's interior including sleeping quarters used by the crew during the ship s service from 1967 to 2001.
Mount Coolum National Park
A steep and rocky walking track departs Tanah St, within the suburb of Mount Coolum, which is located a little to the north of Maroochydore. The walk to the top of Mount Coolum is not difficult. There are concrete stairs from the base to about 2/3 of the way up. The final assent is not difficult with solid rocks under foot. The summit offers outstanding views over the Sunshine Coast. This is a very busy walk in a national park - remember your water bottle. The walk takes about thirty minutes. Location: Corner of Tanah Street West and Jarnahill Drive, Coolum Beach.
The first European 'tourist' to visit the Maroochydore area Irishman John Graham, a convict on the run from Moreton Bay prison. He escaped in July 1826 under the delusion that he could row to China from here. He began living with Aborigines where Maroochydore now stands. Three years later he featured prominently in the rescue of Eliza Fraser from Fraser Island. He was given his ticket of leave a year later and disappeared off the pages of history.
Andrew Petrie's exploration stimulated Gov. George Gipps' Bunya Proclamation of 1842. This prevented settlement or the granting of cattle or timber licences in the Bunya Country which covered much of the Maroochy district. When the Proclamation lapsed, Tom Petrie explored the coastal area for timber resources in 1862. Brisbane sawmill owner William Pettigrew established a depot and wharf at Mooloolah Heads in 1864, and it became the dominant port. He established a timber depot at Cotton Tree. The township of Maroochydore did not develop until the early 1900s and even then, it remained an isolated backwater for beachcombers and fishermen until the 1960s. Extended history.
Origin of name: The name 'Maroochydore' was first recorded by Andrew Petrie during his exploration of the coast in 1842. Derived from 'murukutchi-dha' in the language of the Brisbane River Aboriginal people, who accompanied Petrie, it literally means 'the place of the red bills' (i.e. black swans). The name came into general use in 1884.