Caloundra used to be the Sunshine Coast’s quiet little sister. She’s no Noosa yet, but this southern (Sunshine Coast) belle is getting her groove on. You just have to know where to look.
1. Grab a Beachside Fish and Chips at the Sandbar Cafe & Kiosk
Snap up greasy takeaway beer-battered fish and chips (and maybe a crumbed garlic prawn or two) from the Sandbar’s kiosk, directly across from Bulcock Beach. Spread out on the tables under the giant pine trees across the road and drink in views across Pumicestone Passage to Bribie Island.
Go for a meal in the cafe and get your fix of some of the freshest seafood in Caloundra.
If it’s a windy day, settle in at the licensed cafe for a slightly pricier but more refined dish such as the smoked Atlantic salmon and Hervey Bay scallop orecchiette pasta, served with pea puree. And maybe get a side of chilli salt and aioli hand-cut chips to treat yourself.
Address: 26 Esplanade, Bulcock Beach
2. Get your Adrenaline Fix with Caloundra Jet Ski
Ken Jeffreys takes the Bogan out of jet skiing with his tours along Pumicestone Passage. The Caloundra Jet Ski trips follow Bribie Island into Moreton Bay Marine Park where you’ll be floored by a rarely-seen aspect of the Glasshouse Mountains from your ‘ski.
It’s not just noisy splashing about either; Ken shares local legends and indigenous history with infectious enthusiasm. If you’re lucky, you may even spot dugongs and dolphins. No licence is required when you’re under the supervision of a qualified guide. If you have got a licence, then rent a jet ski, grab a map and get exploring.
3. Climb up to the top of the Caloundra Lighthouses
Only $5 admission to walk up to the Caloundra Lighthouses (the oldest building in the town).
The best views of both Bribie Island and the Glasshouse Mountain is from the top of the Caloundra Lighthouses. One is the oldest building in the town and the area only costs you a fiver to get access to (when it’s open). Only opening every second and fourth Saturday of the month.
Both lighthouses are accessible to the public, with the newer having a more relaxed and lazy climb to it, and the 1896 building being a little more of a trek (and not for the faint-hearted). If you want a history lesson and a guided tour, it’ll cost you around $40 per person and it’s worth it.
Address: 8/10 Canberra Terrace, Kings Beach
4. Order a Coffee at Lamkin Lane Espresso Bar
Always drink where the locals do. In this case, that’s at funky espresso bar Lamkin Lane, which you’ll find on a cosy little laneway; a nice respite from the main drag, Bulcock Street.
There are single origins from Nicaragua, Brazil and beyond. The piccolo is recommended if that’s how you take it. The handful of outside tables and one communal one inside make for an intimate vibe.
There’s no big array of food options, but it’s all about the dark stuff; Lamkin Lane is in the mix for the best cup of coffee on the Sunshine Coast.
Address: 3 Lamkin Lane
5. It’s Smoothie Time at Coco Loco Club
Heat-beating treats with health credentials: Coco Loco Club, Caloundra.
If you had a hankering for a smoothie or fresh juice in the past here, it was best to traverse the few kilometres to Coco Loco Club, Moffat Beach. It’s all very Instagram-worthy: loud furniture, hanging plants, light and airy.
And a big bunch of bonus points go to these guys, grab one of their Coco Loco buckets, pick up some litter (like the good citizen you are) and hand it back in for a free cup of coffee.
The great taste generators here are the acai bowl (topped with granola, seasonal fruits, coconut flakes, chia seeds and honey) and The Fresh Prince (mango, kale, lime, ginger, mint and coconut water).
Address: 3 Roderick Street, Moffat Beach
6. Go Shopping for a Pressie at Villa Verde Living
Villa Verde drags a little bit of Noosa boutique shopping south. There are local and global selections of homewares, jewellery, knick-knacks and fashion with an overarching beach house aesthetic.
If you’re on holidays, you might ignore the cane furniture but there are plenty of things to spoil yourself with. Cute pair of Miz Mooz shoes anyone?
Address: Shop 1/10 Ormuz Avenue
7. Book a Room to Stay at the Rumba Beach Resort
Relax by the pool at the Rumba Beach Resort in Caloundra.
There are a plethora of holiday lets in Caloundra but Rumba Beach Resort is the pick of the all-inclusive. Aim for a sea-facing one- or two-bedroom spa suite, which have long, flowing living spaces larger than you could ever need.
The low-key five-star resort is packed with the long-holiday essentials such as complimentary Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs (plural), iPod docks and Nespresso machines.
Overall it’s a compact family-friendly resort with a lot of pools to cool off in and an outdoor hot tub to do the opposite. It’s close to beach-front food options and off-street parking and bike hire are available.
Address: 10 Leeding Terrace
8. Clink Glasses over a Dinner at Amici Restaurant Pizzeria
This Caloundra locally-renowned Italian eatery, Amici Pizzeria is a treasure in the community. The drinks list is lengthy and the food tasty (an understatement), this is the perfect end to a Caloundra vacation. Order up a glass of La Vis Pinot Grigio, direct from Trentino in Italy and cheers.
The food menu has enough choices to last you a lifetime, so we recommend that you go along the motto ‘sharing is caring’ and try one of everything. Get a few gourmet pizzas, a couple of plates of pasta (might we suggest the linguine boscaiola?) and a plate of cured meats and marinated olives. Also, side note – they have an Oreo sundae and choc fudge caramel brownie on the dessert menu. Now that’s amore.
Address: 16 Bulcock Street