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Hidden Sunshine Coast seaside gems

summer 11

THERE ARE MORE THAN 27 patrolled beaches on the Sunshine Coast dotted from the tip of Noosa in the north to Golden Beach in the south.
It’s no surprise that holidaymakers tend to stick to their closest beach, a stroll from the hotel room, beach bag slung over the shoulder and moments later the hot sand is squishing between relaxed toes.
But what if salt were to tell you there are a handful of hidden beaches along the Sunshine Coast that are well loved by locals and remain a secret amongst visitors?
These are hidden beaches that are off the beaten track either accessed by a scrubby bush track or zig-zagging through residential streets to find a tucked away car park that sits next to a deserted beach. And they are there for the enjoying. 
Why not step out of your beach comfort zone this summer and explore a new beach? 
Here are six hidden, treasured beaches that are worth finding. 

One of Noosa’s pristine and remote beaches is hidden deep within Noosa’s National Park accessed only by foot. The bay is sandwiched between Hell’s Gate in the north and Lion’s Rock to the south and is a popular beach amongst surfers and nudists.
Crescent shaped, the beach is vast enough for both of these groups, together with togged-up sun-worshippers to co-exist harmoniously.
There is enough umbrella space for beach families to have their own space on the sand and in the sea, unlike Noosa’s Main Beach, which resembles an ants’ nest in the heat of summer.
The x-factor to ‘A Bay’ is its all-natural appearance; when bobbing in the crystal clear, salty waters there are no man-made structures peeking through the dunes.
It’s a beach trapped in time, untouched and remote. 
  • Get with the local lingo. Alexandria Bay is known as ‘A Bay’ amongst locals.  
  • To nude or not to nude. It’s up to you, but be aware that this is a nudist beach so don’t be surprised when you see bare bodies walking up and down the beach.   
  • Settle in. Plan to spend a good part of a day here, bring your beach snacks, a good holiday read and an umbrella. Sink into a languid routine of migrating from your towel to the ocean and back to your towel again.
  • Alexandria Bay can be accessed via Sunshine Beach where you can either park on Parkedge Road and walk to the beach from here, winding through thick coastal scrub along Alexandria Bay path (4.6km return). Or from Sunshine Beach, scramble up the steep stairs and follow the coastal track, which will deposit you at the southern end of Alexandria Bay. If you’re coming from Noosa Heads you’ll park at the end of Park Road and take the coastal track that clings to the point offering spectacular views to Tea Tree Bay, Granite Bay and at Hell’s Gate before dropping down into Alexandria Bay. Don’t stop prematurely; you’ll pass two beaches before reaching Alexandria Bay. 
  • Keep in mind Alexandria Bay is not a patrolled beach. Enter the water at your own risk. 
Yaroomba Beach is often forgotten compared to its popular neighbour Coolum Beach. And that’s exactly what local residents love about this beach.
Not visible from the busy David Low Way that hugs the coastline, Yaroomba Beach ticks all of the boxes for a perfect beach retreat.
With its off-street parking, public toilets, picnic shelters, dog off-leash area and plenty of space to sprawl you’ll feel as if it’s your own private sand pit.
Point Arkwright pokes into the ocean on the north side, providing great rock fishing for keen anglers. Pandanus trees fringe a section of the beach and a fresh water stream drips into the ocean.
This a great place to set up camp under the shade of a tree and watch your kids try and dam up the stream or sail leaf boats on its waters.
At the top of Point Cartwright there is a great view to the south where you can watch surfers take on the swell and watch the waves tumble onto the beach that stretches to the Maroochy river mouth.
And finally, if you love long beach walks where you can deposit your problems in the sea wind, Yaroomba Beach is a great starting point, there are kilometres and kilometres of coastline to stroll along. 
  • Visitors need to turn off the David Low Way onto Dewar or Andrew Street and onto Jubilee Esplanade where there is a car park and access to Yaroomba Beach.   
  • If you have a beach-loving dog, bring them along. Don’t forget to pack your doggy poo bag and a water container. Your pooch will have plenty of unleashed canines to scamper with. 
  • Take your fishing rod. The rocks that jut into the ocean are a perfect habitat for bream, flathead and dart.
  • Pack a picnic. Point Arkwright has picnic tables and offers killer views to the south. 
  • Yaroomba Beach has seasonal flagged patrols throughout the school holiday periods from September to May.

Mudjimba Beach is named after its very own island, resembling the shape of a whale from above: the two-hectare island sits one kilometre off shore and is accessible only by sea.
Mudjimba is a sleepy seaside village with all of the essentials in its main street, Mudjimba Esplanade, bakery, coffee shop, real estate and newsagent amongst others.
A pastel blue surf club sits on the edge of Power Memorial Park, which is also home to sheltered barbecue facilities, a kids’ playground and public toilets.
It’s refreshing to see an old-school surf club still stands rather than a shiny new two-storey building that dominates the park and reaches above the dunes.
On the weekends, locals earmark the picnic tables and barbecue from breakfast to lunch while kids amuse themselves by migrating from the beach to the park, leaving a trail of sand in their wake.
A timber-decked walkway brings you onto the beach, framing the pint-sized island that sits out to sea.
Dog owners will be pleased to know that it’s a dog friendly, off-leash beach. Beach strollers can choose to head south towards the North Shore and the mouth of the Maroochy River or turn the other way and head north towards Marcoola. Depending on the wind, this tucked away beach can offer great swell for surfers or pumping white wash for keen body boarders. 
  • Mudjimba Island is also called Old Woman Island. 
  • Access to Mudjimba Beach is off the David Low Way. Take the Mudjimba Beach Road and turn onto Mudjimba Esplanade where there is off-street parking and access to the beach.  
  • Not only is Mudjimba Beach a secret amongst locals so is Power Memorial Park which flanks the beach. It’s a sprawling, well-shaded park with oodles of barbecues, sheltered picnic areas and a kids’ playground. After your beach play, make use of the excellent barbecue facilities to cook up a storm while the kids amuse themselves with a game of beach cricket.  
  • Mudjimba Beach is patrolled year round. Put safety first and swim between the flags. 
Point Cartwright Beach is hidden within the tangled suburban streets of Buddina and therefore is quite often left off the beaches to visit list. Known as ‘Carties’ amongst locals Point Cartwright is a popular surf spot for experienced surfers and is the home break for big wave surfer Mark Visser. 
The Point Cartwright lighthouse stands sentinel on the headland and has been guiding ships into Moreton Bay since 1897. Gentle sloping parkland at the point provides a great viewpoint to watch the paragliders play in the sea wind and the surfers tackle the swells. 
  • Point Cartwright Beach can be accessed via Nicklin Way. Take Point Cartwright Drive and follow it along turning left onto Pacific Boulevard where you’ll start to smell the salty air and hear the crash of the waves. Find a park anywhere along the northern end of Point Cartwright Drive and point your nose in the direction of the sea. 
  • Point Cartwright Beach is unpatrolled. Enter the water at your own risk.
  • Bring your kite. There is plenty of space to launch a kite and practice your dive-bombing and swoops on unsuspecting family members.
Shelly Beach is one of six beaches that cling to the Caloundra coastline.
Out of the coveted hidden beach selection, Shelly comes up trumps for the best rock pools.
There are more than 20 different marine species that depend on Shelly Beach’s rock pool ecosystem.
Expect to identify blue periwinkles, black sea cucumbers, sea hares and rose barnacles to name a few.  Please remember to let these fragile sea creatures be, no picking up and pocketing.
It’s a great beach to find a deep enough rock pool to wallow in for hours on end. Or if you feel like exploring, you can splash along the rock shelf that fringes the headland where you’ll see the popular Kings Beach in the distance and the shadows of the Glass House Mountains. 
  • Shelly Beach can be accessed via Victoria Terrace where there is a car park, public toilets and barbecue facilities. Alternatively, take William Street into Ocean Court where there is a smaller car park. 
  • Drop into the charming, newly renovated Shelly Beach corner store, which sits on the corner of Albert and Alfred streets. Choose between an ice cold ice-cream to wash the saltwater from your mouth or a takeaway coffee and perch outside and watch the world pass slowly by.
  • If you like running or power walking, there is a superb scenic track that promises to get your heart pumping. Start at Moffat Beach at the end of Seaview Terrace and follow the footpath south ascending to Moffat Headland alongside George Watson Park. Cruise past Shelly Beach, up and around Caloundra headland and down the hill into Kings Beach. If you’re breathing easy at this stage, continue on to Bulcock Beach and beyond. 
  • Shelly Beach is not patrolled, so swim with care. 
words and photos kate johns 

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