Sunshine Coast Walking Adventures

by - March 08, 2016

Mount Coolum looking East

Usually when friends visit from interstate there's a cafe or restaurant catch-up followed by a short stroll to dessert...which is probably why Little Sissy Pham got me a Fitbit for my birthday now that I think about it. Anyhoo, I have one friend who's an exception to this rule. B is a circus trainer and roller derby athlete. She therefore eats like a teenage boy going through puberty and is constantly active. The longest time she sits still is on a plane to another part of the world where she will go mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, kayaking and whatever else nature and sport have to offer.

Below is a list of places we visited for walking adventures. I don't have any photos other than Mount Coolum pics because another thing about B - she's the only person I know who doesn't own a mobile phone. When we hang out, I a) have to be punctual because I can't text to say I'm running late and b) ditch my phone too and just talk like we did as kids and teens - no googling things, no pausing conversation to show photos or look up social media. It's nice. You should try it sometime.

If you're wondering what fitness level you need for the below - if I can do it, you can. I am able bodied but no where near fit. I can walk in parks for hours but my cardio (staircases, hills, mountains) is average. I can maneuver over and around trees or rocks in the pathway, but nothing that requires skill or agility. Basically, B takes me to easy walks because any tricky climbing sections = stuck Jade.

Me punishing my knees on the rocky steps down Mount Coolum.

Buderim Forest Park Harrys Lane or Quorn Close, Buderim
A very zen park that can cater for families, tourists and walkers. I'd recommend starting at the Harry's Lane end. The path cuts right across the park to Quorn Close on the other side. At Harry's Lane there is a restaurant and a gorgeous, large grass park that's perfect for a picnic and frisbees and cartwheels. Then the first part of the Buderim Forest Park is a boardwalk and easy walk for kids. Though, once that boardwalk ends it's no longer wheelchair friendly the rest of the walk to the waterfall. The day we went it was raining heavily - there's a part of the path where you cross the river on rocks to get to the waterfall, but the rocks were flooded and we weren't game to do the crossing.B's heard too many stories about people getting their feet stuck and drowning in shallow waters, and I am simply inept so need sure footing.

We walked back to the car and drove to Quorn Close then walked down to check out the waterfall up close. You can swim at the waterfall but it was too cold and dreary the day we went. Still a very nice, chilled out walk with the soothing noise of a river running as your soundtrack. Leave your iphones and ipods in the car.

Maroochy Wetlands Sanctuary Sports Road, Bli Bli
I loved the walk through Maroochy Wetlands Sanctuary because while I love trees and shrubs and anything life, I adore animals...except for maybe mosquitoes. The whole walk is boardwalked so you don't damage the beautiful sanctuary making it easy and family friendly.

 Definitely stop by the visitor centre to spray on a heap of insect repellent or BYO Rid. B and I wandered in without repellent and the first stop-point we took to check out fig trees mosquitoes chased us out. We went sprayed ourselves head to toe before doing the rest of the walk. Also, wear sunscreen and a hat - there are sections of the walk that are in the open without tree shade.

Pick up visitor fact sheet too - it will tell you about different parts of the wetlands along the way. You'll see lots of birds and crabs and fish along with a really diverse range of plants. At the end we ran into some locals illegally fishing on the pier on the Maroochy River. Hmph. They scampered off fairly quickly once we arrived. We circled back and went the paths we skipped earlier - there are 2 or 3 circuits on the boardwalk where you go off the main track and eventually loop back somewhere up ahead. So on the walk back take the path you haven't covered earlier to get the full experience. So beautiful.

Ewen Maddock Dam Off Steve Irwin Way, across the road from Big Kart Track on Armigh Rd
We randomly stumbled across this walk on our way between places. B spotted it driving past and we circled back to see what this random wetlands had to offer. It turned into quite a pleasant, short and easy walk with many tadpoles and dragonflies and frogs to entertain us.

Mount Coolum looking West

Mount Coolum Off Jarnahill Drive, Coolum
We saved the best for last because it was stinking hot the day before and we didn't want to die from sunburn or dehydration. Instead we left the hotel early to climb up Mount Coolum before the sun became too intense, and used that as an excuse to eat like pigs for breakfast.

The path starts out as a footpath, then turns to man-made steps before it turns to natural rock formation that is somehow the perfect height and stride length so it doesn't kill your thighs. Honestly, I only needed two breaks on the way up to catch my breath from poor couch potato cardio. The climb doesn't hurt at all... except for my bad knee that got punished on the way down, but I've always had issues with stairs and that knee from an old netball injury. For this chubby office-worker, Mount Coolum is totally achievable and not painful at all. The view is gorgeous and the breeze so nice once you reach the top.

A lot of locals in their gym year use this walk / steps for training. I was one of the few tourists not in activewear. Don't feel bad if a 60 year old man jogs past you up and down the steps while you're still making the slow and steady climb up. Each at their own pace. The only person I beat up Mount Coolum that day was a 4 year old boy.


In between each of these walks we stopped off at a different beach to do a beach and/or swim. Seriously, so many beautiful beaches from Kings Beach up to Coolum Beach and beyond - but I told B to come back for another weekend to explore further North.

When B comes to town I have no trouble getting my (un)Fitbit step count up. See this peak in January? That's a weekend with B.

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