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Staycation season: Rediscover beautiful Maroochy


Staycation season: Rediscover beautiful Maroochy

A getaway right here at home is the perfect stop-gap for avid travellers awaiting their next big adventure.

The world is open, and if like us you have been anticipating the opportunity to once again spread your wings, chances are you have already marked the calendar and booked your next big holiday.

In the meantime, why not feed that travel bug with a small taste of what is to come? One thing the pandemic has given us is a renewed interest in exploring and enjoying the experiences within our own backyard. It is the perfect stop-gap for the travel-hungry and an opportunity to rediscover tourism hotspots, unearth new places and support local businesses.

The best part? It won’t impact heavily on the budget for any larger trips you have planned. Whether it is adventure you seek or perhaps a fun foodie experience, the Sunshine Coast has plenty of offer.

On a recent Friday, keen for a break from the rush of everyday life, we drove the short distance to Maroochydore in the hope of enjoying a relaxed weekend.

We based ourselves at the newly opened Holiday Inn Express & Suites hotel, which is Australia’s first for the brand.

Convenient and comfortable, it is perched in the heart of the new CBD. A short drive to local beaches, the hotel’s location is also close to some of the region’s best restaurants and nightlife precincts, making it a great base for an evening out.

The new-build property features a combined suite/apartment style offering, along with regular hotel rooms.

Following a smooth check-in process, we began the weekend by drinking in the sunset from the pool rooftop terrace before taking a short walk to our dinner location.

In the not-too-distant future, the emerging neighbourhood will boast an array of foodie hotspots, exclusive retail stores, beautiful community parkland spaces and new waterways.

Sunshine Coast restaurant baron Tony Kelly has ensured he is ahead of the game by securing his place in the CBD with two locations – the sophisticated European-inspired Market Bistro and Asian street food restaurant Giddy Geisha – a great place to begin our getaway.

Throw in an early morning dip at the beach the next day, followed by a fun paddle through the Sunshine Plaza’s waterways (you can hire a paddle boat from the pontoon for as little as $8 per person), and our weekend left us refreshed, and with a renewed appreciation for this beautiful region we call home.

The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Sunshine Coast features 181 guest rooms and suites featuring study nooks, wifi, premium bedding and the brand’s signature Express Recharge concept, which includes a pillow menu, black-out blinds and a walk-in power shower.

There are so many fab foodie finds in Maroochydore and surrounds.
Breakfast – The Nines Emporium: Located at Home Co. Sunshine Coast on Maroochydore Road, you need to be quick to secure a table at this local haunt. Inspired by the unique coastal culture, and the sophisticated food scene of Melbourne, The Nines creates fun food for all ages. Our tip? Try the pancakes!
Down time – Wine & Nine: Sister to The Nines, this urban-vibe bar and café overlooks Cornmeal Creek at Sunshine Plaza. For a late brunch, we couldn’t go past the apple pie French toast with poached apple and salted caramel.
Dinner – Giddy Geisha: It is easy to understand why people line the street to score a seat here. Located in Market Lane, the contemporary Asian street-food restaurant has a distinct urban grunge vibe. The team dish up top-notch food. No expense has been spared when it comes to quality ingredients. We recommend sharing a variety of plates to enjoy the entire experience. The yuzu honey chicken and coconut beef spring rolls are a must.

Pack a beach bag and spend a morning on the soft white sand of Maroochydore Beach, or take a stroll through Cotton Tree’s parklands. The popular Cotton Tree Markets along King Street operate every Sunday morning and feature live music, eats, artisans and local designers.
For a family adventure, Sunshine Plaza has fun options including Timezone, BCC Cinemas and Rush Adventure.
If boutique shopping is more your style, head to Mooloolaba Esplanade or The Wharf, Mooloolaba where you will find an array of locally-owned stores selling beautiful coastal-inspired wear.


Candice's passion for journalism led her to the Sunshine Coast 12 years ago where she has worked across multiple media and communication platforms. An avid traveller (she lists Paris, Venice and Vietnam as her faves), this mum of one loves meeting with people from all walks of life and finds inspiration within their stories. Candice joined the team in 2014 and is MWP's editor.

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