WHEN the daily temperatures are in the mid-20s, the winter sun is bright and the brilliant blue sky invites you outdoors, Queensland's Sunshine Coast is the perfect place to stop and unshackle the caravan.
There are lots of affordable outdoor activities to enjoy across the Coast.
You may laugh at the thought of wrapping your arms around a tree trunk, but studies have shown that people who spend time with Mother Nature are less stressed. There hundreds of walking trails that zigzag their way through some of the most spectacular rainforests and national parks.
It's an ideal place to get back in touch with the earth. Climb one of the many coastal mountains to soak in the breathtaking views or, if you're more of a beach person, sink your toes into the white sand - there's nothing more invigorating than a dive into the ocean on a sunny winter's day.
This year, more than 33,000 humpback whales are expected to make the migration north from Antarctica. The Sunshine Coast benefits from a longer whale watching season as the whales make the 10,000km journey to migrate north from June through Coast waters before coming back south and returning to Antarctica in early November.
You can spot these graceful giants from several vantage points along the coast including:
- Point Perry or Point Arkwright, Coolum
- Point Cartwright, Kawana
- Moffat Headland, Moffat Beach
- Noosa National Park or
- Alexandra Headland.
To head out on the water and get even closer to these fantastic beasts, try a whale watching tour with Whale One or Sunshine Coast Afloat. Both tour companies operate regularly during the season from Mooloolaba. If you want to get up even closer, you can you can even swim with these beauties thanks to Sunreef Mooloolaba. It was the first company to offer swimming with humpback whales in Australia and this experience is a rare and very special one - something people have described as 'life changing'.
Other options to the south include sea kayaking with Ocean Adventures operating from Golden Beach and Moffat Beach or to the north via Epic Ocean Adventures from Noosa or Rainbow Beach.
Let your tastebuds take the lead and discover the new craft brewery scene in the region with Sunshine Coast Craft Beer Tours.
The Hinterland Exbeerience Tour takes you behind the scenes to see how beer is made, meet the brewers - such as Matt from Brouhaha Brewery and sample fresh local beer. The day also includes a tasty lunch, air-conditioned bus transfers, bottled water, and a free stubby holder! As a bonus, all bookings made during July and August will receive 15 per cent off by using the WINTER15 code when booking.
Once reserved exclusively for guests, the elevated pool deck at Caloundra's Rumba Beach Resort has undergone an amazing transformation and the result - a stylish new bar and event space, 26 degrees, offers daily happy hour and live music most weekends.
Recently undergoing an extension, Ikatan Day Spa is set on acreage just minutes away from Noosa. Ikatan is the only luxury day spa on the Sunshine Coast that offers an authentic Asian wellness spa experience with unique treatments and day retreats along with traditional Balinese massage and body treatments. Using organic and environ facials and a garden room for feet and hand treatments, Ikatan is a spa for total relaxation and wellbeing.
Where to stay
Mantra has a swag of winter holiday specials including:
- Stay three nights or more at Mantra Mooloolaba Beach or Mantra French Quarter, Noosa and save up to 25 per cent on selected room types. Conditions apply. Valid for sale until September 30, 2018 and for travel until March 31, 2019.
- Stay 3 nights and save up to 15% at Peppers Noosa Resort & Villas, Noosa or stay 5 nights or more and save up to 25%. Both options are for select room types and include full breakfast daily, WiFi and parking. Conditions apply. Valid for sale until September 30, 2018 and for travel until March 31, 2019.
For more information, go to www.visitsunshinecoast.com