Maroochydore

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.

Maroochy River

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


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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.

Brief history

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.

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