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Things to see and do in Caloundra, QLD

Overlooking the calm waters of Pumicestone Passage and surrounded by a string of brilliant beaches, Caloundra screams memorable seaside break…in a gentle way. 

Keen on a waterfront break? Head to Caloundra. Credit: Visit Sunshine Coast.

Where is it?

Caloundra is 95km north of Brisbane (1hr 20min drive) in the Sunshine Coast region.

Why go?

For its front-door access to glistening waters, laidback but vibrant city centre, and proximity to a bucketload of star-studded attractions for young and old.

Smashing scenery is close at hand. Pictured: Glass House Mountains National Park. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

The essentials – things to do in Caloundra, QLD

Caloundra beaches

This city oozes sparkling strips of sand, often backed by grassy areas ripe for picnics and play. Here are some highlights:

  • Bulcock Beach: Central and southern facing with a nice arc of soft sand.
  • Dicky Beach: Hotspot for surfing and swimming.
  • Golden Beach: Popular for families with its calmer waters.
  • Kings Beach: A sparkling stretch of sand is joined by rockpools, a kid-friendly water fountain, and a saltwater pool.
  • Moffat Beach: Favoured by surfers; boasts a vibrant foreshore area. Nearby inlet with shallow, calm waters earns points with parents.
  • Shelly Beach: Swimming not recommended, but beach strolls and rock-pool play certainly are! 

Royally good: Kings Beach. Credit: Visit Sunshine Coast.

Caloundra markets

There are two buzzing markets to get amongst…

Caloundra Street Fair, Bulcock St: Features 100-plus stalls, live entertainment, street theatre, and more. Held Sundays from 8am-1pm.

Twilight Markets Caloundra, Bulcock Beach Esplanade: Tasty treats, live music, arts and craft, and more. Held last Friday of each month.

Caloundra Coastal Walk

The largely boardwalk-style path hugs the coastline for 25km from Golden Beach to Mooloolaba, so naturally it’s eye candy overload. Predictably, the walk nudges the city’s superb beaches for easy hop-on, hop-off access. In addition, nearby cafés, restaurants, and the like create tempting pitstops. 

A path paved in gold...at least for the eyeballs. Credit: Visit Sunshine Coast.

Caloundra RSL Military Display

Most places have an underrated attraction – this is Caloundra’s. The well-presented mini-museum retraces significant battles from World War I onwards, as told through an Australian lens. Compelling and moving. Note: limited opening times apply.

Queensland Air Museum

The museum is a beauty, displaying dozens upon dozens of aircraft from decades gone. The collection has rich variation and visitors have excellent access to the winged machinery. Guided tours conducted by passionate volunteers amplify the experience and deliver great insights into Australia’s aviation past.

Sky-high appeal: Queensland Air Museum. Credit: Visit Sunshine Coast.

Caloundra Regional Gallery

Inject more colour into your Caloundra visit with a step inside this vibrant space. The gallery presents a dynamic exhibition program featuring leading national and local artists, complemented by engaging public programs and events.

Head indoors to the gallery for more colour. 

Must-visit attractions near Caloundra, QLD

Aussie World, Palmview

Variable rides from the hair-raising to the family-friendly are paired with engrossing activities that ensure this theme park is a magnet. Expect entertainment for hours.

Distance: 15km northwest of Caloundra.

A world of entertainment. Credit: Visit Sunshine Coast.

SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast Aquarium, Mooloolaba

Come face to face with hundreds of marine creatures, including sharks, stingrays, and turtles. Viewing ops are at their prime throughout the 80m-long ocean tunnel, or splurge on special encounters that include a thrilling shark-dive experience.

Distance: 15km north of Caloundra.

Tunnel time is tops. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Australia Zoo, Beerwah

There are zoos, and then there’s Australia Zoo. An absolute treasure trove of native and exotic creatures is dotted around a whopping 280ha. Witnessing the Wildlife Warriors Show at the Crocoseum is arguably the highlight of a general admission entry. At an extra cost, a thrilling tiger walk and the rare chance to pat a rhino lead the memorable intimate encounters.

Distance: 20km west of Caloundra.

Fortunately, not real. Credit: Visit Sunshine Coast.

Bellingham Maze, Tanawha

A whopping 80m x 80m hedge maze is the headline act within these gorgeous, green-filled surrounds. This pioneering puzzle has since been joined by several other mazes and an 18-hole mini-golf course, creating abundant outdoor entertainment.

Distance: 20km northwest of Caloundra.

Get lost. It's fun. Credit: Visit Sunshine Coast.

The Big Pineapple, Woombye

The jumbo fruit structure has a few sweeteners beyond an obligatory selfie op at another of Australia’s ‘big things’. It’s also home to a treetop rope and zipline course and a zoo with 200-plus species that include an extensive primate collection.

Distance: 25km northwest of Caloundra.

There's a few layers to this pineapple. Credit: Visit Sunshine Coast.

The Ginger Factory, Yandina

Spice up your Sunshine Coast getaway with a stop at this multi-faceted attraction, complete with pretty gardens. Train and boat rides, live bee shows, factory tours, and a wander around a heritage-style village are among the fun-filled activities. And there’s plenty of chance to indulge in tasty treats.

Distance: 35km northwest of Caloundra.

A buzzing experience. Credit: Visit Sunshine Coast.

Glass House Mountains National Park

Striking, jagged peaks are the stars of these sensational surrounds. The colossal volcanic creations dominate the landscape and can be marvelled on a network of highly variable walking tracks. Summit climbs reveal spectacular panoramas, while abseiling, rock climbing, and mountain biking are among other popular park pursuits.

Distance: 35km southwest of Caloundra.

From bottom to top, these peaks are fascinating. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Random fact

The earliest of Caloundra’s two lighthouses first operated in 1896, making it the city’s oldest building or structure. It moved locations when it was replaced by a new lighthouse but has since returned to its original site. Now, both lighthouses sit side by side. Guided tours of the structures are available.

The historical lighthouse even gets a mention at one of the local playgrounds.

Caloundra accommodation

Looking for somewhere to stay in Caloundra? We’ll sort you out…

BIG4 Caloundra Holiday Park

Park type: Holiday

Nudging the city’s heart and directly overlooking Pumicestone Passage, BIG4 Caloundra immediately ticks the boxes.

Waterfront villas are highlights of its accommodation range; ample sites are spotted among pleasant surrounds. A large pool and BBQ area/camp kitchen are signature in-park features. 

Take us there: BIG4 Caloundra.

Yet the biggest drawcard is the foodie precinct. It features a pizza van and coffee cart delivering tasty meals and beverages for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at selected times – check with the park for the latest opening hours.

Couple that with ample shaded seating, live music, and a waterside positioning that conveniently neighbours the Jumping Pillow, and you have the perfect setup for hassle-free family breaks.

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