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Experience 50 shades of green at the Sunshine Coast

  • Brought to you by Visit Sunshine Coast

How Queensland's Sunshine Coast is making waves in regenerative travel one tree at a time

Gazing out across the lush gardens, a nearby waterfall cascading over glistening boulders, it's hard to believe this area was once well-trodden cattle land.

But 20 years ago, that's exactly what you would have found on this Sunshine Coast escarpment. It took one man with a big dream to transform this barren terrain overlooking the Glass House Mountains into the flora filled oasis it is today, and Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World are not alone in their drive to regenerate local land.

United by a shared passion to protect the place they call home, the Sunshine Coast's tourism industry has banded together to restore pockets of local land to the pristine forests they once were.

Former cane land is now home to sub-tropical gardens, and habitat for threatened wildlife is rising from the ground of old grazing pastures.

With so much natural beauty to be found here, it's not hard to see why the Sunshine Coast is proving action speaks louder than any buzzword when it comes to sustainable travel, and visitors don't have to go far to be part of the action.

Cabin in the (rising) woods

In an age when travelling sustainably can be as simple as ticking a box, it's little wonder many are starting to question exactly where their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint are going.

On the Sunshine Coast, you only need to look out the window to find out.

Through a partnership with Queensland based Reforest, the region's tourism body Visit Sunshine Coast has banded the industry together to identify and regenerate areas of land across the region.

One of the first sites earmarked for regeneration is in the Noosa Hinterland town of Cooroy. Perched in its centre is a newly opened cabin that looks like it's been ripped straight from the pages of a storybook.

As well as a heated plunge pool, private deck and fire pit, the architecturally designed Kurui Cabin offers sweeping Hinterland views of the Cooroy Mountains Wildlife Corridor.

This piece of land - once used for cattle grazing - will be regenerated through the Sunshine Coast Sustainability Program into the sub-tropical rainforest it once was.

This in turn will provide important habitat for several threatened plant species and wildlife, including the Coxen's fig parrot - the smallest parrot species found in Australia - and the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly which call this place home, while improving the water quality of nearby waterways.

Guests can witness this transformation for themselves, with part of the property's appeal the opportunity to watch the rainforest literally rise from the ground around you.

A love for the land

There's a reason why couples flock to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

Here secluded cabins set the scene for romance, and at Lovestone Cottages, you'll quickly find the passion runs well beyond your cabin's four walls.

It's a love for the land, and a deep respect for restoring it, that makes a stay here truly special.

Since early settlers to the region first established the property and old Queenslander in the early 1900s this piece of land - heralded as one of Montville's oldest gardens - has undergone many a transformation.

Today, owners Tamara and Jonathan Large are working tirelessly to restore the land with native species that once flourished in its soil, while removing weeds and creating habitat for wildlife.

One day they hope to have towering Bunya Pines on their property once more, an ancient tree species whose fruit is culturally significant to the region's First Nations people: the Kabi Kabi and Jinibara.

Farming, naturally

With rich volcanic soil that can grow just about anything, the Sunshine Coast is known for its fresh, local produce.

So much so, a Big Pineapple was built in the 1970s to celebrate the golden pineapple fields that dominated the landscape.

Today, just around the corner from where the larger-than-life icon stands proud, you'll find a dedicated couple paying homage to the region's rich agricultural history, while taking steps to preserve the land for the future.

Fourth generation locals Andrew and Jo Pitcher have transformed a formerly rundown cane farm and established six individual luxe 'quarters' overlooking a lake and lawns, each with their own large veranda, from which guests can soak up the wide, open spaces as the sun sets. Importantly, they are also working to replant the land, with more than 2000 native trees planted across the property. Additionally, the Pitchers have planted 7,200 pineapples, in recognition of Woombye's once prolific pineapple industry, with grapes being grown in the mini winery, and citrus, coffee, macadamias and mangoes under cultivation.


A nature lovers' guide to your next green getaway on the Sunshine Coast.


Sunshine Coast Airport is serviced by direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide by Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar.

Bonza has its base on the Sunshine Coast with direct flights from Melbourne as well as regional hubs in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.


Sleep soundly with a stay at one of the properties contributing towards regeneration through the Sunshine Coast Sustainability Program, such at The Point Coolum Beach (thepointcoolum.com.au) or Montville Misty View Cottages (mistyview.com.au).


Holiday makers can calculate the amount of CO2 their Sunshine Coast escape will produce - from the moment they leave their front door to the moment they return - with options to reduce and/or remove their emissions by contributing towards local reforestation projects. For more, go to visitsunshinecoast.com.

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