A beachside resort city to the north of Brisbane at the southern end of the Sunshine Coast resort area. Once a major Qld retirement town, it has now home to a mixture of young commuters from Brisbane and retirees, as well as being an increasingly popular spot for holiday makers.

Where is it?: Queensland: South East. Caloundra is 91 kilometres north of Brisbane.

Events: Caloundra Music Festival - first weekend in October

Things to see and do

Though there are a variety of attractions and recreational activities in and around Caloundra, the main attraction is its wide, unspoilt beaches and crystal clear waters.

Surrounding area

The Glasshouse Mountains are a series of spectacular volcanic plugs that rise dramatically from the coastal plain and dominate the landscape of the Sunshine Coast hinterland. They are formed of rhyolite and trachtyte, lavas which hardened inside the vents of tertiary volcanoes that have been greatly reduced by about 25 million years of erosion. The Glasshouse Mountains offer some spectacular walking tracks through open woodlands and heaths to panoramic lookouts and mountain summits. The walks range from easy to challenging grades.

Bribie Island

Bribie Island, separated from the mainland and Caloundra by the Pumicestone Passage, was named by Captain James Cook, who noted small floating pieces of pumice. Much of the island is national park, so it offers non-polluted, unspoiled forests and white beaches. Centuries old natural bush, which is growing at the water's edge, is home for more than 350 species of birds. The waters provide protection to dugongs, turtles and dolphins as well. Cruises are operated along the passage by tourism operators to allow visitors to have a look at this wonderful scenery.

Blackall Range

Australia has more than 20,000 km of coastline but there is just 200km of that vast coastline on escarpments that combine panoramic views of the hills and the sea. 20kms of that special escarpment is in the Blackall Range, in the hinterland of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. The Range, as it is locally known, was created by 200 million years of constant interaction by volcanoes and water which left behind a mass of hills, valleys and waterfalls. In summer the rainy season fills the rivers and creeks making strong powerful waterfalls. A trip through the Blackall Range along the most scenic drive on the Sunshine Coast is a great day out. As the Blackall Range is just over an hour's drive from Brisbane, it's just as easy a destination to reach if you are based in Brisbane as on the Sunshne Coast.

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Brief History

The name Caloundra derived from Caloundra Head, which from the Aboriginal word "cullowundoor", taken from Kabi language "kal-owen" indicating beech tree (Gmelina leichhardtii) and "dha" place.

The Blackall Range was occupied by the Gubbi-Gubbi people prior to European investigation. They gathered once every few years on the banks of Obi Obi Creek at Baroon Pocket to feast on Bunya nuts. The first European settlers arrived in 1862. With a £2000 reward from the Queensland government, explorer William Landsborough purchased 2372 acres of what is now Golden Beach, on Pumicestone Passage, in 1882. It was during the 1880s that Caloundra began to acquire its reputation as a seaside resort. The first hotel was built in 1885 on Shelley Beach.

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