Save the gruelling hikes for cooler weather and join Tilishia as she shares the Sunny Coast’s best cruisy hikes, complete with salty swimming spots and suitable for all fitness levels.


We Are Explorers acknowledges that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Kabi Kabi and Jinibara people who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.


Just thinking about attempting a hike on a balmy Queensland day can throw me into a brow-dripping sun-soaked heap. But a breezy stroll near quiet swimming spots? That’s just about the best combination to tempt me to venture outdoors. 

These five coastal treks within two hours of Brisbane’s CBD always manage to convince me to leave my comfy air-conditioned home. These gorgeous hikes, located conveniently close to soothing, salty swimming spots, will make your drive worthwhile, provide a much-needed nature break, and are easy enough for Explorers of all fitness levels. 

Pack your swimmers, sunscreen, hat, and towels, and hit the trails for a relaxing day out.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace

1. Coastal Track to Tea Tree Bay

Location: Noosa National Park
Distance: Approximately 4km (return)
Duration: 2 hours (return)
Difficulty: Intermediate (has some inclines)
Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 2 hours

Tea Tree Bay is a well-known surfer stop along the iconic Noosa Coastal Track but it’s also an amazing place to catch a few waves without the board. The bay is perfectly calm and it’s easy to cultivate a super-relaxed zen vibe here! This is a gentle but intermediate hike with panoramic ocean views and plenty of spots to sit and take in the vistas along the way. 

Start the walk from Noosa Main Beach by following the boardwalk toward the eastern end of Hastings St. There’s ample parking available from the hinterland section onwards, and on Hastings St.

Best spot for a swim

After your hike, unwind at Tea Tree Bay. This beach boasts pristine sands and crystal-clear waters for a rejuvenating swim. I always treat myself to a little ice cream from the equally iconic ice cream van on the way back!


Tea Tree Bay sunrise

2. Point Arkwright Track

Location: Mount Coolum National Park
Distance: Approximately 4km (return)
Duration: 1 hour (return)
Difficulty: Beginner
Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1 hour 45 minutes 

Swap the usual beach scene for a picturesque coastal perspective by tackling the stunning Point Arkwright walk along Coolum Beach. This hike promises spectacular postcard-worthy views of the surrounding beaches and beyond. The walk is conveniently close to ice cream shops and cafes, making it the perfect pick for a spontaneous day out if you don’t feel like packing a picnic. 

An added bonus of this walk is its position along the migrating whale path during the months of June – October. It’s an extra special adventure if you get to catch sight of one of the majestic animals breaching!

Best spot for a swim

If you’re up for a longer walk down the beach, reward yourself with a post-hike splash at Marcoola Beach. Parking is also plentiful if you prefer to drive, and the golden sands stretch as far as the eye can see. It’s an ideal spot to relax and cool off. Just don’t forget your hat and sunscreen!

Read more: Staying Safe Around Swimming Holes and Waterfalls


Point Arkwright Lookout

3. Caloundra Coastal Path

Location: Currimundi Lake Conservation Path
Distance: approximately 6.5km (one way)
Duration: 1.5 hours
Difficulty: Intermediate (has some inclines and beach walking)
Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1 hour 30 minutes

The Caloundra Coastal Path is a local favourite for Sunshine Coast residents thanks to its easy access and incredible display of coastline. It stretches from Currimundi Lake to Kings Beach, offering plenty of diverse beach scenery and rocky terrain. At approximately 7km point-to-point, it showcases breathtaking ocean vistas, inviting visitors to walk amidst nature’s beauty.

It’s a relatively easy stroll with a mostly paved path and some beach walking along the way. This walk passes many cosy coffee shops for an added weekend pick-me-up. As Caloundra Coastal Path is mostly exposed with little shade, I highly suggest bringing ample water to keep you hydrated.

Best spot for a swim

A delightful swimming spot awaits at Moffat Beach with inviting calm waters and golden sand, perfect for a refreshing dip or sunbathing session after your morning stroll. There’s plenty of parking along the way near Currimundi Lake or Kings Beach amphitheatre to make your adventure that much breezier.

5 Lesser-Known Beach Hikes on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, moffat beach

4. Lighthouse and Coastal Walk

Location: Point Cartwright Reserve
Distance: 3.5 – 4km (circuit)
Duration: 1 hour
Difficulty: Beginner
Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1 hour 30 minutes

Discover a coastal haven at Point Cartwright Reserve. The Lighthouse and Coastal Walk provides a mix of scenic landscapes and breathtaking ocean vistas. The walk is well traversed by locals and attracts many photographers hoping to capture the incredible sunsets from the many viewing spots along the trail. 

An easy stroll along this beautiful track will treat you to breathtaking views of Mooloolaba Spit, Mooloolah River, and the outstretched ocean beyond. Pack your camera and head out for a magical afternoon as the golden light sets over this often-overlooked section of the Sunshine Coast

Best spot for a swim

Cap off your hike with a visit to Kawana Beach. Abundant parking awaits, and the long stretch of sand offers a perfect setting for a leisurely beach day. The far end of Kawana Beach also provides plenty of rock pools to explore at low tide if you’d like to add something a little different to your ordinary beach hiking day!


Coolum Point, Arkwright

5. Serenity Falls Circuit

Location: Buderim Forest Park
Distance: 2km
Duration: 30-40 minutes (return)
Difficulty: Beginner
Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1 hour 25 minutes

Escape to the hinterland adjacent to the Sunshine Coast with the Serenity Falls Circuit – also called Buderim Falls – in Buderim Forest Park. This trail combines rainforest enchantment with the soothing sounds of waterfalls along an easy tarmac boardwalk that’s suitable for all Explorers.


Beautiful Buderim Falls


Wandering through Strangler figs accompanied by the sounds of birds singing, the Buderim Falls circuit is the nature reset everyone needs after a long week. Though this is a short walk, I’d recommend it to locals and visitors as the beauty of these falls is timeless, especially after some rain. Falls really do come alive after the wet weather! 

Best spot for a swim

Conclude your adventure with a visit to Mooloolaba Beach. It’s just 15 minutes away with convenient parking. The vibrant beach atmosphere makes it an excellent choice to relax and switch up the hinterland vibe from your earlier hike. It has an array of cafes and shops along the esplanade too, making it a prime spot for lunch or an early dinner.


Mooloolaba Beach


The Sunshine Coast is packed with plenty of beach adventures to enjoy at your leisure. Simply pick one of the spots above, pack your sense of adventure, and have a gorgeous day out. Happy hiking!

FAQs Beach Hikes on the Sunshine Coast

Where’s the best place to view the sunrise in Queensland?

The above beaches are a great place to start, but we also like getting up high for a spectacular view! Check out the view from Table Top Mountain, Mount May, Mt Maroon, or Spicers Peak — which are all a couple hours from Brisbane.

Where are the best waterfalls on the Sunshine Coast?

This area has so many fantastic waterfalls to enjoy! Start with our list of the 11 best waterfalls on the Sunshine Coast.

Which of the above walks has the calmest place for a swim?

Tea Tree Bay is the calmest place for a swim on this list of short walks. Remember to always assess any water you plan on swimming in for hazards and potential risks before you get in. This includes waterfalls, lakes, rivers, pools, and the ocean.

We’ve shared these recommendations because we genuinely rate them and want you to enjoy them too. Our writers use a mix of personal experience and research to compile these lists, and they’re also encouraged to be honest when things aren’t up to scratch. For more information on our approach, check out our Editorial Standards.