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.
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).
HMAS Brisbane Dive Site
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, & the
ship’s interior including sleeping quarters used by the crew
during the ship’s service from 1967 to 2001. Website
View Larger Map
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. It leads to the top of Mt Coolum, offering outstanding
views over the Sunshine Coast. The walk takes about thirty minutes.
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.
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.