Australia is a massive country to explore and being surrounded by a glittering blue ocean and never-ending beaches, it goes without saying that a beach holiday is high on many holidayer’s List.
Coolum Beach is located centrally between Caloundra and Noosa in Australia’s Sunshine State. It is a favourite place for a relaxing beach holiday and a great stepping off point for exploring Noosa National Park on the Noosa Coastal Walk which I count as one of the best things to do in Noosa.
Coolum Beach can be incorporated into Noosa Romantic Weekend Getaways.
This posts however concentrates on what to do in Coolum and things to do Sunshine Coast style.
What You Will Find in This Post
Imagine the best things to do in Coolum
Swimming in Cool blue water. on sizzling hot summer days. crashing in white foaming waves. getting sandy toes. licking salty lips. fish & chip beach sundowners. year round drinks on the deck. my favourite Coolum things.✅
Read on for our Coolum Beach Holiday insider tips.
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About Coolum Beach Queensland
Coolum Beach is a friendly beach community where life naturally revolves around the beach lifestyle. Every back yard harbours a surfboard or two and every laundry room a mish-mash of body boards. Beach-combing and bicycles are as common as tans, sun-bleached hair and bare feet.
Coolum Beach has produced world class surfers like Australian professional surfer Julian Wilson.
I was always going to be a Surfer. Julian Wilson
During School Holiday periods Coolum is bustling with families having fun and in Summer it is a favourite destination for the residents of Brisbane.
Although a week-end or longer is the ultimate, Coolum Beach is also totally doable as a day trip from Brisbane if the traffic is flowing well.
Where is Coolum Beach Australia?
Coolum Beach is located north of Brisbane in South East Queensland and mid-way on the Sunshine Coast.
Brisbane to Coolum Beach is an easy 1.5 hour drive and there are direct flights into Sunshine Coast Airport at Marcoola, a mere 10 minutes from Coolum Beach.
The 20 minute drive north from Coolum Beach to iconic Noosa Beach can be broken at the popular beach communities of Peregian and Sunshine Beaches with their markets, restaurants, cafes and bars. The most spectacular coastal views are to be found on the return Noosa to Coolum journey.
Main Beach Coolum (shown below) is the home of Coolum Beach SLSC. Immediately to the south of Main Beach are First, Second and Third Bays Coolum Beach. These bays are separated by rocky headlands, surf breaks and overlooked by Point Perry and Point Arkwright.
We have a history of finding holiday accommodation, so let’s find you somewhere to stay.
Coolum Beach Accommodation
Whether looking for a Coolum Beach resort, apartment or that little quirky something, the following link will help. We like the Beach Retreat for it’s close proximity to everything Coolum and those sea views. Click on the following link and it will show other properties as well as the Beach Retreat.
Click Here for Coolum Beachfront Studio
Be the envy of all with this Coolum beachfront Studio apartment across the street from Coolum’s patrolled beach and Surf Club, with Canteen Bar and Grill out the front. Also opposite the boardwalk, great for leisurely walks up to Point Perry with fantastic views back to Coolum.
With an enviable rating of 8.4 stars from a whopping 2356 reviews, this place is a fun place to stay. Visitors vote it 9.4 for Location and as a local I totally agree.
The resort’s features include shared heated pool, spa, wading pool for under 5’s, sauna, BBQ, restaurant and free parking. Couples will enjoy this hotel style apartment with King Bed, kitchenette and cosy deck with ocean glimpses.
This stylishly appointed apartment has it’s own corner spa bath, Smart TV, Air-conditioning, Fridge, Microwave and Kettle.
Don’t forget unlimited WiFi.
Click Here for Clubb Coolum
Clubb Coolum is a high rise block of apartments on the central corner of Coolum diagonally opposite the Surf Club. As you can see this apartment has more comprehensive ocean views, but specify you want ocean views on booking.
Clubb Coolum has a rating of 8.4 stars from 46 reviews.
Click Here for Coolum “Seaside” accommodation
With a top rating of 9 stars, albeit from only 10 reviews, Coolum Seaside (short distance behind foreshore) is an amazing place for families to stay. The Pool area is great and the apartment spacious. There is even a tennis court.
Coolum Caravan Park
Exclusive beachfront access at Coolum Beach Sunshine Coast – Pet Friendly Coolum Beach Holiday Park.
We’ve holidayed in our Coromal Caravan at Coolum Beach Holiday Park many times. Wedged between the waves, Tickle and Norrie Job Memorial parks and David Low Way Coolum Beach and opposite the Coolum Beach Hotel, this caravan park holds prime position. With four direct beach accesses to the patrolled surf beach you can literally be in the water within a couple of minutes walking from your site.
The amenities blocks are security coded, clean and spacious with loads of toilets and showers. No matter how busy the park is you won’t have to wait and there is always hot water. The undercover camping kitchen has a ton of space and cooking appliances, a fridge and the capacity to charge multiple electronic devices at the same time.
In peak times the park hosts food vans like pizza and pasta.
A pricier option is the self-contained units within the park, but we love Coolum camping.
A popular holiday activity for us is browsing real estate windows and it just so happens that across from the caravan park is a shopping strip where every second shop is a real estate agent. During an unusually rain filled holiday we stepped up our viewing and put in an offer on a house – I’m sure there’s a moral there somewhere.
Coolum Holiday Accommodation
Coolumholidays.com has a comprehensive range of holiday apartments and houses for rent in the Coolum area. Last year we rented a family apartment through them. It was in a three storey block with ocean views and only 100 metres from the beach. We had to book last minute and even so everything worked out well.
Housesitting is alweays an option but not an instant one. First Join a housesitting site. We use trustedhousesitters.com both as a housesitter and a homeowner. It’s an excellent way of staying for free while looking after the homeowner’s pets. There is an annual charge with Trusted Housesitters but there are others that are free to join.
The community here is very pet friendly. You and your housesitting pet will be welcomed with open arms, no more so than at Stumers Creek off-leash area. Join the housesitting site well before you need accommodation as it takes time to get your profile and references organised and find a housesit.
Check Out things to do in Coolum Beach Australia Below
Coffee and Cake Time.
I’ve written about Dog Friendly Cafes on the Sunshine Coast. Caf, our favourite, is situated right here in Coolum, away from the main strip with a good mix of locals and visitors. Most if not all of their cakes are gluten free. They know how to brew their Merlo coffee, the menu is interesting and it’s licensed too. For those who have their coffee made with soy milk, Caf uses Bonsoy. Dog Friendly with water bowls provided.
Some Caf Treats.
One of the most scrumptious things to do in Sunshine Beach (a gorgeous village just south of Noosa) is visit Costa Noosa (now renamed Entity), a coffee roaster with large deck and even larger array of sweet goodness. It rates as my favourite place to go on a Sunday morning. A spot of Sunshine Beach real estate window shopping is always in order.
Information Hut in Tickle Park.
Sadly a recent government initiative or non-initiative has closed down most information centres on the coast. Thank goodness blogs like ours help fill that gap.
Shop for beach gear at Coolum Beach Shops
The main strip of Coolum Beach Shops on David Low Way has a friendly village vibe. The other morning we found a sunny spot at a Coolum Cafe (it’s cool in the morning now), ordered our coffee and hummed along with the nearby busking duo. I couldn’t help thinking how awesome life is here.
Ghanda Clothing isn’t exclusive to Coolum, but it does embrace the beach scene with clothes for the whole family. It’s my 30 year old hippy daughter’s favourite place to shop and is affordable too. My favourite is a Pop Up Shop that popped up and never went away. It’s near The Shop Convenience Store 1778 David Low Way and stocks floaty beach wear and casual glitzy sandals.
For more upmarket shoppers there are Red Zoo and Rip Curl Surf Shops and Sea Elements Swimwear. All of these are on David Low Way in the main shopping area.
Go Shopping for Plant and Homewares at Cedar and Vine Yandina
Cedar and Vine is a garden and homewares store on the Coolum-Yandina Road. When coming from Coolum cross the Maroochy River and it’s on the right in a little old house.
This is the place for plant lovers, especially if you’re into succulents and there are unlimited crafty ideas on display. The outside areas are full of plants, quirky arrangements and gardens while inside is a coffee bar and interior home decorations. Sit outside in the garden with a coffee while fluffy bottomed bantams roam around. Cedar and Vine also run creative craft classes including macrame.
Cedar and Vine is a good spot to find gifts close to Coolum on the Sunshine Coast.
The Coolum to Maroochydore trip is a mere 15 minutes if you take the Sunshine Coast Motorway.
I use the motorway when I want to get somewhere quickly, like to my Gym near Sunshine Coast Airport, or on a shopping trip to Sunshine Plaza Maroochydore.
David Low Way is the coastal road or highway. It leads through all the individual villages and is more picturesque but time consuming.
Go Beach Walking.
When it comes to beach walks, the choices are endless. Try Sunshine Beach, Peregian, Yaroomba and Marcoola and our favourite Coolum.
Stumers Creek north of Coolum Beach.
Stumers Creek at the northern end of Coolum is off-leash dog friendly, with parking, amenities, dog washing facilities and wave-free fun for kids and dogs.
The car park side of the creek has a wide sandy shore that reaches out to the beach. The mouth is normally blocked by sand which means you can walk both ways on the beach without getting your feet wet. North to Peregian is one of the prettiest beach walks around, while a relaxing walk south passes the Caravan Park to main beach.
South of the Main Coolum Beach are First and Second Bays separated by rocky headlands and connected by a paved walkway on the hills.
Stumers Dog Friendly Off Leash Area… Rocks on the Coolum/Peregian walk… View of Coolum Beach from Point Perry
Yaroomba Beach south of Coolum.
Yaroomba Beach is a beautiful quiet beach best for beach walking, shell and rock collecting and whale watching from Point Arkwright. It has several surf breaks but there are rips and it is not safe for swimming.
There is an undercover picnic area and amenities block on the Point Arkwright headland with access down to the beach. Yaroomba is where the proposed $900 million Sekisui development is proposed to take place.
Enjoy Water-sports at Coolum.
Stumers Creek is popular with kitesurfers except when the wind blows from the shore. The mouth of Stumers down toward the patrolled beaches of Coolum is popular as is down-winding from Sunshine Beach.
I’m fascinated by these colourful kites both in the water and when training on the beach.
I’m happy relaxing on the beach, body boarding or beach-walking but if you want to try surfing, sign up for a group or private surf lesson with Coolum Surf School. They offer tuition for all levels directly off Main Beach.
Experienced surfers congregate at Points Perry and Arkwright immediately south of Coolum. Two lookouts on the ocean walking path are good vantage points for watching surf action in First Bay.
Blast Aqua Park Coolum Water Park
If you’re wondering what to do in Coolum for fun in the water minus the salt, Coolum Water Park is for you.
Located at 60 Junction Drive Coolum, Blast Aqua Park Coolum is located in a fresh water lake. Kids from 3 to 6 y.o. must be accompanied in the water by an adult.
Aqua fun park Coolum is also a popular birthday party venue.
The lake course includes a variety of walkways and floating tracks, complete with slides, trampolines, blast bags and chill out areas. It is seasonal and bookings should be made. The naturally brown water is due to the Tea Trees in the area.
$20 per person.
Coolum Beach Bowls Club
Situated in Elizabeth Street beside Morgan Park and Coolum Library, the bowls club is an integral part of Coolum Beach life. Wednesday is the only day without a regular bowling event of some description and Friday Night’s are set aside for the local’s favourite $2 bare foot bowls.
Home to Cracker Jacks Kitchen with $10 lunch deals, the club also hosts regular live music events.
Eat at Coolum Beach Restaurants
Lunch at Coolum Beach Surf Club.
It’s a no brainer. Recent winners of the Best Club Dining 2017, their kitchen is the only Australian Surf club with a genuine wood fired char-grill. Steaks cooked over iron bark coals have a delicious smokey flavour and their gourmet pizzas more often than not end up on our table.
Coolum Surf Club prides itself on it’s fantastic food and a menu that changes with the seasons. The large shaded deck, unrivalled views, comfortable seating and relaxed vibe makes this the obvious place to meet up with friends and while away the afternoon after a morning on the beach.
Tuesday is Rump Steak Day. $16.90. These med/rare and medium steaks were cooked to sweet smokey perfection.
More great places to eat at Coolum Beach.
Charcoal Chicken Coolum Beach is a favourite casual cafe with locals and tourists. This establishment has been around forever and flourished selling take away BBQ chickens (and more) even with Coles Supermarket doing the same close by for many years. They have now moved to larger premises in the same row of shops and are both eat-in and take-away. They have a good range of salads plus seafood, burgers and rolls as well as their trademark charcoal chickens (gluten free).
Castro’s Coolum Beach is a special occasion place, but with a lovely relaxed atmosphere. They offer Australian/Mediterranean cuisine including pizza and local grass fed beef.
Si Suphan is a personal favourite. Situated at 1796 David Low Way, it is named after the owner’s Thai Village and offers very affordable and tasty dishes from China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and Thailand. I like that the menu includes a little from each country and is not run of the mill. Although their website says you can bring wine, I’m sure I ordered an Oyster Bay Sav. Blanc from the menu on our last visit. Phone 07 5473 9835.
Bombay Bliss Coolum Beach is where our family of curry lovers congregates. There are some unique seating options and the food is tasty. Although they don’t have a designated vegan menu as such, they do cater for Vegans willingly.
My Place Coolum Beach is an open style bar and restaurant overlooking the boardwalk to Point Perry featuring Modern Mediterranean cuisine. My Place is popular for afternoon Tapas and Cocktails and at times big water dragons sun themselves on the deck. There are ocean views when seated at the front high bar at the front. DOG FRIENDLY
Canteen Kitchen Bar Coolum Beach is beside My Place with an open courtyard at the front attracting an afternoon crowd. In winter they feature a courtyard brazier fireplace. Ocean glimpses depending on your table seating. DOG FRIENDLY
Coolum Beach Pub is super popular especially in school holidays. It is a favourite birthday party venue with a fantastic open sided sports bar with tall ceilings, lazy fans, lounges and big screen televisions. They quite often feature live bands and have kids eat free days.
READ OUR DOG FRIENDLY CAFE POST HERE
Picnic at Coolum Beach
If you are in Picnic Mode, read this comprehensive post on Coolum Picnic Spots.
It gives the nitty gritty details of all picnic spots at Coolum and where to buy picnic ingredients.
Hardly a beach day goes by without Tandem Skydivers floating down from on high. There are two Coolum venues:
– Coolum Main Beach (next to the Surf Club), or
– Stumers Creek Inlet (400m north of the Surf Club),
Contact RACQ for member discounts.
Visit a Coolum Beach Day Spa
This is not something I myself do, but holidays are for splurging are they not? I tend to splurge on day tours but if Day Spas are for you then Coolum Beach has it’s very own day spa. Asante Day Spa is at Coolum Beach Resort just 50 metres from Coolum Main Beach.
This is no fly by night operation with the same owner founding and operating it for 20 years. They provide the full range of beauty treatments as well as hot stone massages, Moroccan milk spas complete with champagne and candle light and my favourite foot pampering.
Walks and Hill Climbs near Coolum Beach.
Anywhere along the beachfront is a good place for a sunset walk. Even though the sun sets over land, reflected colours fill the sky over the ocean.
Coolum Beach walks are one of the best popular free things to do in Coolum.
A good spot to see the sun set over land is from Emu Mountain.
A walk to the summit of Peregian (Emu) Mountain stretches the legs a little, but not too much. The walk starts from Havana Road opposite Coolum High School and only takes half an hour return. If you take a lot of photos, like we do and you want to linger at the summit for sunset, allow an hour. These photos are taken in late Autumn when the wattle flowers are about to burst into golden bloom. At the summit there are views to Coolum township, Peregian Springs and the hinterland. In October, peak whale watching season, this is a great spot to watch the whales breach off-shore.
The boardwalk Coolum Beach, is a gently sloping timber boardwalk from Coolum Surf Club to Point Perry (sometimes known wrongly as Point Coolum). Ocean views from the boardwalk are captivating and from the top there are views down to First Bay and back to Coolum. Halfway along the boardwalk is the grassy knoll – an incredibly popular place for a sunset picnic. Wilkinson Park on Point perry has recently been re-vamped with new toilet amenities and picnic tables.
Climb Mt Coolum
The summit of Mount Coolum in Mount Coolum National Park, is 208 m above sea level. One of the Sunshine Coasts volcanic domes (like the Glasshouse Mountains), Mt. Coolum is a Laccolith. This is fancy speak for a dome of magma that cooled beneath the surface 26 million years ago. The walk is 1.6km return and takes about two hours. There are lots of steps and the track starts off in forest and ends in low heathland. For many people climbing Mount Coolum is a must do activity of their Coolum holidays.
Things to know before climbing Mt. Coolum
- There are no toilets or drinking water.
- At times there is a coffee/drinks van at Mt. Coolum carpark.
- This climb should not be attempted in wet weather as the rock faces turn into waterfalls and the natural steps become slippery.
- In summer it is best to climb during the cooler parts of the day.
- There are awesome views from the top – North to Noosa and South to the Glasshouse Mountains and East over the ocean.
My husband is always trying to get me to climb Mount Coolum, but I prefer Mt. Ninderry near the cute little town of Yandina. The turn-off is located on the Yandina-Coolum Road. Things to know about the climb:
- No toilets or drinking water.
- Great Views from the top looking across the sugar cane fields to the coast and from a second view point looking over Yandina and the hinterland.
See more Australian Sunsets here.
Coolum Markets on the Sunshine Coast
Coolum things to do should include Coolum markets. Most markets on the Sunshine Coast are within 20 minutes of Coolum Beach.
We suggest you try:
- Saturday Yandina Market, for plants, farmers market, bread, meat, seafood, cheese, olives, food vans and second hand.
- Sunday Fishermans Road Market at Maroochydore, for plants, produce, second hand.
- Peregian Beach Markets on the 1st and 3rd Sunday, have a beachy vibe with great cafes nearby.
- Eumundi Markets on Wednesday and Saturday (partial on Friday).
- Sunshine Coast Collective Markets are new artisan markets held in the grounds of Coolum Primary School every 2nd and 4th Sunday.
The markets are all different with their own brand of fun.
Sunshine Coast Hinterland Day Trip
If you’re staying longer than a few days at Coolum, a Sunshine Coast Hinterland road trip is the thing to do. Drive through Nambour to Mapleton, one of the cute hilltop villages on the Blackall Ranges. Continue to the pretty tourist town of Montville, take in views of the Glasshouse Mountains from Mary Cairncross Park or indulge in a craft beer at Brouhaha Brewery in Maleny. Read about our recommendations and how to do it here.
Mount Coolum Golf Club
If Golf Club time is more your scene than beach time is, have not fear because Coolum has it’s own golf course. It started operation as Suncoast Beach Golf Club in 1976 as a nine hole course, with another 9 holes added in 1992. Today Mount Coolum Golf Club hosts 75,000 rounds of golf each year.
Coolum Beach Weather – Things to do in Coolum when Raining
The weather is mild in this part of the world. Coldest Month is June with a minimum of 13 and a maximum of 22 degrees Celsius. The warmest Month is December with a minimum of 24 degrees and a maximum of 30+ degrees Celsius. During the Australian Summer School Holiday period Coolum is full with families having fun. In Winter the Coolum Beach Caravan Park is overflowing with Grey Nomads escaping the cold winters in the southern states.
For a more detailed overview of the weather in Brisbane (and the Sunshine Coast) click HERE.
Raining in Coolum? We’ve got you covered.
Yes it does rain in Coolum sometimes. The good news is that often rain squalls come over Coolum from the Ocean. You can see them coming, it will rain and then disappear. Mostly the rain doesn’t settle in for a long time.
- The top thing we like to do in Coolum when raining is go the the Surf Club. With floor to ceiling windows the club provides the perfect storm watching . Another good tip is that if the rain is coming from the South East (and it usually does) you can still sit on the deck. By sitting at the back and southern end of the deck and you will be protected from the rain. This is something we love to do, rather than sit indoors, even at the windows. If sitting inside suits your family better, ring ahead and book a table at the window because they get snapped up quickly.
- Find your favourite Coffee Shop. The coffee shops along David Low Way, opposite the Coolum Beach Surf Club and Tickle Park have plastic blinds which unfurl when it’s raining. You still have that beachy feel without the rain drops bouncing in your cup.
- Visit the Coolum Beach Hotel. It’s huge and has indoor and covered outdoor seating areas and a covered kids playground.
- Go Real Estate Window Shopping (beware because this is how we ended up owning our home in Coolum).
- Head to Sunshine Plaza or just shop up a storm there. In March 2019 a $440 million AUD redevelopment was finished at The Plaza. The total retailer count is 345 including the Sunshine Coast’s first David Jones Store.
- Go to the Movies at BCC Cinemas at Sunshine Plaza Maroochydore or Events Cinema BCC at Noosa Junction.
Coolum Beach Tours and Activities
Book Tours from Noosa only 15 minutes north of Coolum.
Book Underwater World Sea Life Mooloolaba
Book a Sunshine Coast Hinterland Tour
Learn to Surf at iconic Noosa Beach
You can drive from Coolum to Australia Zoo.
Families will most likely be planning to visit Australia Zoo on their Coolum Beach holiday. This is totally achievable from Coolum and takes approximately 40 minutes in your own vehicle or hire car. Set aside a whole day for Australia Zoo. The kids will be worn out afterward so best not to plan anything more strenuous than a swim in the pool or beach after visiting Australia Zoo.
Currently Australia Zoo has a Meerkat Display featuring 4 girl Meerkats, namely Katia, Matilda, Maya and Molly. How cute are Meerkats?
There are shows involving different animals at 10 am, 10.30 am, 11.15 am, 12 noon, and every half hour from 1.30 pm to 3.30 pm.
Budget Tip: Australia Zoo celebrates Robert’s birthday on 1st December in 2019 and kids get in free with paying adults on that day.
I know you will agree that Coolum on the Sunshine Coast is a great beach holiday destination, but there are many more fabulous beaches to explore.
What do you like most about a Beach Holiday?
I knew we had been here when I saw the name Coolum, but I couldn’t remember anything about it until I got to the market. Yes, I loved that huge market.
It sure looks good to me. I love the expansive beach shot. When can I dip my toes in? Bucket list.
Coolum is good all year round!
Ruth | Tanama Tales
This beach town looks so much like the beach areas in Southern California. The wide beach, cafes, markets and beautiful sunsets. That is why I love where I live and I am sure I would love this area in Australia. And, since I am a market junkie, I would no pass up the Eumundi Markets. #TPThursday
Good to know Ruth. I have no idea what California is like, I’d probably like Southern California if it’s like this lol.
You don’t need to convince me of the attributes of Coolum. I love visiting this place, even though I live near a beach on the Gold Coast. It is less hectic and I instantly feel like exhaling when I come to Coolum. It does have a nice easy laid-back vibe about it and the beaches are spectacular. 🙂
I love the laid back feel of Coolum Beach. I always feel totally relaxed there!
I’m with you on Coolum Surf Club – amazing views & a breeze on a hot summer night. I’m yet to try any of those walks, but they’ve been added to my list.
Yep What would we do without surf clubs – especially those like Coolum with awesome views and decks.
We’ve spend many great holidays at Coolum over the years, especially when the kids were smaller. Some great tips here Jan
It’s such a great place for family holidays!
What a fabulous guide to Coolum Beach! So many interesting things to do and see all in one place. As an armchair traveller today, your post has made me want to get up and discover Coolum for sure.
Having just spent some time on the Sunshine Coast I will definitely be back to explore more of these areas. Great information and suggestions Jan!
My brother-in-law and his family live up that way and my wife keeps trying to take me for a visit. Thanks for showing me that there are things for me to do rather than just hanging with the in-laws!