Nature lovers flock to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland as it’s relatively unspoilt and offers visitors a wide range of environments to see and enjoy. The area is known for its sub-tropical rainforests, huge trees and many waterfalls, as well as many rare and exotic plants and animals, which are often spotted along the hundreds of kilometres of track and terrain.
The growing reputation of the region has led to many tourism operators specialising in ecotourism. One of the strengths of the Hinterland is that you can land at the Sunshine Coast Airport and be in one of the national parks within an hour, enjoying everything the rainforest has to offer.
One of the reasons ecotourism is being promoted is because raising awareness of the fragility and beauty of the environment is a key factor in future generations wanting to preserve it.
The Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, for example, is home to pygmy mice, echidnas and several species of gliders, as well as rare plants. It’s a popular destination for visitors wanting to take in unadulterated nature.
When it comes to the sea around the Sunshine Coast, there’s Caloundra Cruises, another certified ecotourism operator. The company offers cruises around the Pumicestone Passage, an important marine wildlife park, home to many types of wading birds.
For the slightly less adventurous nature lovers, there is a large selection of walks in and around the area’s many other reserves and parks. Some of the walks are wheelchair and pushchair-accessible – the Obi Obi boardwalk in Maleny, for example. Anyone walking this route might just get to see a platypus if they get up early enough!
As well as walks, there’s the chance to camp out under the stars for a night or two on longer treks through the national parks, as there are several eco-sensitive campsites to escape to. Nowhere else in the world do you get to see koalas, kookaburras and kangaroos in the wild.