Born in the shadows of a magnificent volcanic dome (the second largest rock in the world), Coolum Beach is a sleepy surfer’s paradise that’s just begging to be discovered. Known for its laid-back village vibe and spectacular natural landscapes, this bustling beachside town checks all the boxes for a relaxing coastal getaway.
Drive just over an hour north of Brisbane and you’ll find yourself surrounded by pristine beaches of white sand and turquoise water, secluded bays, and breathtaking mountainscapes that attract holidaymakers year-round. It’s all about the great outdoors here, from waterfront eateries with uninterrupted views of the coast to the myriad of outdoor adventures on offer, both on and off the land.
This is our round-up of things to do in Coolum Beach for a coastal getaway you’ll never forget.
Things to do in Coolum: eat
Coolum Surf Club
With its stunning ocean views and laidback atmosphere, the award-winning Coolum Surf Club is the epitome of beachside dining. Relax outside on the dreamy outdoor deck and watch the waves roll in or dine inside to contemporary coastal furnishings with panoramic ocean views. Ideal for long lunches, a post-swim snack or casual catchups with friends, diners have their pick of club classics alongside a noteworthy selection of vegan, vegetarian, gluten, and dairy-free options. Think homemade gourmet pizzas, burgers, local seafood, salad and everything in between. Those in the know opt for the steaks which are cooked over an ironbark-fuelled coal pit to give a delicious sweet and smoky taste that will have you hooked.
1775-1779 David Low Way, Coolum Beach
Serving up sumptuous salads, amazing toasties and top-notch coffee, you know you’re in very good hands at Heirloom. Where breakfast is concerned, the smoked leg ham toastie with provolone, sauerkraut and mustard is a simple classic. Come lunchtime we’re ordering one of their colourful Asian-inspired salads – think cabbage, crispy fried noodles, lettuce, cucumber, mint, wasabi peas, proteins, and the list goes on. Pair your main with a raw sweet treat and a smoothie and you have yourself a mighty fine meal. Trust us; no one does salads like these guys do.
6/1776 David Low Way, Coolum Beach
Continuing your culinary tour around Europe, Coolum Beach’s resident Italian joint is the place to head for pizza, pasta, and all manner of comfort classics. With its emphasis on fresh ingredients and authentic recipes, Mr Mancino serves a wide-ranging menu across antipasti, pizza, slow-cooked meats, and desserts, but the star attraction is without a doubt the pasta. Start your night with salt and pepper calamari and mushroom arancini, order your favourite noodle with a homemade sauce of choice for the main (the gnocchi with burnt butter, sage and pumpkin and spicy tomato penne arrabbiata are standouts) and end the night with an assortment of Italian desserts – washed down with a bottle of vino. Naturally.
1806 David Low Way, Coolum Beach
Rock Hop Espresso
If you’re serious about your coffee, look no further than Rock Hop Espresso, a specialty coffee shop on Elizabeth Street. Here, you’ll find the expert baristas pumping out perfectly poured shots of Entity Coffee which lay the foundation for a cup that’s perfectly balanced and meant to be savoured. When it’s time for a treat, opt for one of their delectable locally sourced sweets. Perfect for grabbing on the go, we simply can’t get enough of the Caramilk cookies from Sunny’s Treats. Those with a little extra time on their hands can perch at one of the shaded outdoor tables that are primed for people-watching.
12b Elizabeth St, Coolum Beach
Yiani’s Greek Restaurant
Experience a taste of the Aegean at Yiani’s Greek Restaurant. Adored as much for its lively atmosphere and impeccable service as its sumptuous fare, this Hellenic hideaway serves up authentic Mediterranean flavours to locals and epicurious visitors alike. From sizzling seafood platters to mouth-watering moussaka, Yani’s menu is a true celebration of Greece’s rich culinary heritage. We’re talking meze, share plates, grilled dishes and fresh fresher than fresh seafood. Enjoy it all with a bottle of dangerously smooth Greek wine and finish the night with a serving of decadent bougatsa.
6/7-13 Beach Road, Coolum Beach
Things to do in Coolum: drink
Foxy on Coolum
Coolum’s favourite multi-tasker, this vibey after-hours haunt will fix you a spread, play you some live local sounds and mix you up a cocktail before you can say table for two. Intimate and laid-back, Foxy on Coolum keeps the good times rolling every day of the week. With a curated selection of cocktails, you’ll find classics in addition to a range of custom concoctions specially made by their friendly bar staff (Foxy’s orange mojito is a must). Regularly hosting live music performances, you can have pre-drinks, dinner and catch a gig all in one venue.
3/7-13 Beach Road, Coolum Beach
Coolum Beach Hotel
When you think of pub dining, coastal-cool interiors and a serene beachfront location don’t immediately come to mind, but that’s exactly what you’ll find at Coolum Beach Hotel. Open seven days a week and brimming with atmosphere, this laidback local is the kind of all-inclusive community-minded venue where mum, dad and the three kids are just as welcome as the local surfers and after-hours crowd. Expect quintessential gastro-pub plates like parmas, burgers, and steaks as well as elevated dishes like vegan popcorn cauliflower, pumpkin red curry and poke bowls topped with spicy chicken, Asian slaw and kimchi. Friendly, tasty, and open every night of the week – what more could you want?
David Low Way, Coolum Beach
Coolum Surf Club
Whether it’s a sunset spritz on the terrace or post-meal aperitif in the main bar, this bustling beachfront boozer has your tipple sorted. Transitioning from dinner to drinks flawlessly, Coolum Surf Club ticks all the beverage boxes with 22 draught beers, cider, and alcoholic ginger beer on tap, as well as a wide range of quality wines, cocktails, and bottled beers. And with live music in the bar on Friday and Saturday nights from 8.30 pm, it is the perfect place to bliss out and take the serene surroundings.
1775-1779 David Low Way, Coolum Beach
Things to do in Coolum: play
Climb Mount Coolum
Lace up your hiking boots and get ready for an unforgettable adventure that will have you feeling on top of the world. Rising above the lush scenery of the Sunshine Coast, climbing to the peak of this 25-million-year-old laccolith is an absolute must. You’ll want to spend some time at the top, so be sure to pack some nibbles to enjoy as you soak up the other-worldly views from the summit.
Learn to surf
Live your real-life Blue Crush moment! With its stunning coastline, crystal clear waters and consistent waves, Coolum Beach is the perfect destination for surfers of all levels. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner looking to try something new, Coolum Surf School offers a variety of lessons and packages offering the perfect opportunity to improve your skills, connect with nature and feel the thrill of riding the waves. All equipment including wetsuits and boards supplied.
Asante Day Spa
Indulge in a day of pampering at Asante Day Spa. With its tranquil atmosphere, top-tier treatments and expert therapists, this relaxing retreat is one the best things to do in Coolum for anyone seeking a luxurious spa day. From facials and massages to brow tattooing, premium spa packages and rituals, Asante’s menu offers an array of treatments designed to soothe the mind, body, and soul.
For more destination guides and local travel inspiration, head to Sitchu.