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Moving to the Sunshine Coast? Here’s a NEWBIE Guide for Families!

A big welcome to Queensland for the thousands of families making the move to the Sunshine Coast!  The Sunny Coast is our favourite place to visit on weekends – just an hour from Brisbane and full of sun, surf, mountains and wonderful things to do for families.  It’s also home to many of our contributors.  So, here’s our guide to the Sunshine Coast lifestyle for families making their big sea change.

Why are people moving to the Sunshine Coast?

The pandemic has changed all of our lives. But for some, it’s been the kick to make necessary lifestyle changes. Perhaps it was the jolt to our living needs prompting an immediate reflection on whether the home and area we were forced to isolate in was where we wanted to be.

For some, a necessary sea change was put on the cards. As a result, the Sunshine Coast is the go-to sea change destination for both Brisbanites and inter-staters. Why live in an inner-city suburb, when the best of holiday experiences could be encountered a few minutes from home?

The Sunshine Coast offers an escape for city dwellers, with sunny beaches, picturesque hinterland views and soothing rainforests. The warm climate and affordable housing market has certainly made it appealing to Syndeysiders and Melburnians.

Working from home has also become the new norm and the evolving landscape of virtual work environments has meant living in the city is not necessary. Core Logic reported a significant increase in sales during the December 2020 period with Noosa taking out the top spot in Queensland for owner property sales.  In fact, The Sunshine Coast made the “top” sales increases in THREE of the top five areas.  It’s everyone’s new favourite place to live.

If you are moving here from the UK, you may want to know the best ways to transfer money to Australia from the UK.

Moving from Sydney to Sunshine Coast?

The biggest drawcard moving from Sydney to Sunshine Coast is the affordability of housing.  Demand on rentals has skyrocketed, so the stability of owning a home while interest rates are low has seen a rise in property sales in regional areas offering affordable housing. When all overseas and even interstate travel came to a stop, holiday budgets were invested into housing.

The stresses of lockdown for families has seen many move interstate to the Sunshine state for a fresh start, and a place to isolate while the pandemic still roams our shores.

Which areas of the Sunshine Coast are the most profitable and in-demand?

things to do in noosa with kids

Noosa is known as the tourist capital on the Sunshine Coast, but it also took out the top spot for the most profitable house sales in December 2020.  Sunshine Coast and Redlands (Bayside near Brisbane) were also in the top 5, revealing a pull away from densely populated cities, to laid-back suburbs with the beach and peaceful hinterland on their doorstep.

Why you’re going to love living on the Sunshine Coast

What is there NOT to love about the Sunshine Coast? Here are just a handful of places you can experience, right on your doorstep and some of these are free!

Beautiful beaches

Kings Beach Caloundra

From Caloundra to Rainbow Beach, there is a beach to suit your family’s needs. Local favourites are Kings Beach and Alexandra Headland. Noosa and Mooloolaba are tourist hotspots.  Evcryone knows the beaches are some of the best in Australia – and far less “developed” than the Gold Coast counterparts.  Whether it’s surf or calm, you’ll love every beach on the Sunny Coast.

Arty culture, foodie delights and scenic landscapes in the hinterland

Beyond the beach there is the arty culture in the hinterland. Montville is the place to discover local artist offerings and taste testing of farm-produced delights. Rainforest escapes are also part of the hinterland charm with hikes and stunning waterfalls to discover. Eumundi Markets are a tourist destination and a favourite culture shop for locals.  Montville and Maleny offer an array of day trips for cheese and wine tasting, farm stays and an easy trip to purchase organic produce.

Hikes and climbing adventures

Nestled amongst the hinterland are the Glasshouse Mountains which offer a stunning backdrop with hiking and climbing adventures for the more experienced.

Mt Coolum is a popular hike for families, and one locals enjoy as part of an active lifestyle.  But experiences aren’t the only reasons for loving life on the Sunshine Coast.

Schools and shopping

Managig the mid-year blues at school

The variety in Sunshine Coast public and private education gives families the opportunity of choice when selecting education for their children.  The Sunshine Coast boasts some of Queensland’s top performing secondary schools and is among the few regional locations to offer alternative educational opportunities like Steiner Schools. 

Being a coastal town, your children will be exposed to opportunities around life saving and surfing in place of the traditional school sports.  The Sunshine Coast is just big enough to offer something for every family, but small enough to ensure your child can get that “small school” attention.  

Shopping is a highlight for locals with mall pockets in Noosa and Mooloolaba. Noosa’s Hastings Street is the waterfront equivalent of Rodeo Drive and Sunshine Plaza is the go-to shopping destination for Sunshine Coast residents needing a mega-shopping hit.  The Sunshine Coast also offers famous Eumundi and Sunshine Coast Markets, where you’ll find everything to grow, eat, wear and decorate in one perfect day out for families.

Animal encounters

Wildlife HQ Zoo cockatoo

The Sunshine Coast is home to some of Queensland’s best animal encounters including Australia Zoo and Wildlife HQ to name just a few. Read our full article on the best things to do with kids on the Sunshine Cost here.

If you are looking to bring your pet to the Sunshine Coast, check out these pet friendly accommodation options on the Sunshine Coast.

Sunshine Coast pain points

While there is much to love about living on the Sunshine Coast, there are pain points the locals know all too well.  Ask any local what they love about the Sunshine Coast lifestyle and they’ll list off a hundred things.  Ask them what drives them batty and most will list:

Sunshine coast traffic

The eternal roadworks in upgrading highways to accommodate the increased traffic from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast and vice versa can be a downer on traveling times.

Upgrades to exits and with many closed off for roadworks can add extra time to a local trip on a one-way highway with no u-turns. Public holidays can accentuate this traffic.

Unfortunately, these roadworks make traffic a sore point for locals. It can be a car park during the peak holiday season like the Sunshine Coast school holidays – especially during summer over Christmas and New Year’s.  While the highway isn’t awesome, the Sunshine Coast does boast some pretty good local traffic infrastructure.  Just avoid Mooloolaba waterfront at peak time…. or you know, pack a lunch.

Public transport

The Sunshine Coast is a large area and getting from one suburb to another can be difficult if relying on public transport. The vast majority of Sunshine Coast locals believe more public transport should be provided for locals and tourists.  While there’s been some progress on this front, the proposed light rail has met a fair bit of opposition.  Commuting to Brisbane is also a big issue without a car.  The inter-city train line runs through the hinterland, meaning that getting to Brisbane or further afield means a lengthy commute from the coastal suburbs. 

Luckily the Sunshine Coast boasts a healthy ecological approach to life and the public transport available is widely used, clean and generally on time (traffic permitting).  If you’re moving up and need to pick up new wheels (even on a budget), there are plenty of opportunities to find used cars on the Sunshine Coast.

Popular destination for holidays… aka TOURISTS

The Sunshine Coast is a popular destination for city dwellers to holiday during peak seasons and this can make the peaceful lifestyle somewhat chaotic. Families from Brisbane and surrounds will flock to the Sunshine Coast to make the most of the summer weather making the peak season hectic for locals. 

Expect delays on just about everything during the school holiday season, from lines at the supermarket to zero parking spaces.  Mooloolaba and Noosa carry the heaviest tourist load with Caloundra a close runner up, as a favourite destination for younger families.

On the flip side, the Sunshine Coast relies on tourism as one of its major industries.  So, tourists are, a necessary evil. 

Roam online with the locals

If you’re looking for recommendations in the area or want to make new friends on the Sunshine Coast, why not roam with locals online?  Like most smaller communities, there is a vibrant online culture where you can tap all the information you need about moving to the Sunshine Coast.  Our top picks for online communities?

Welcome to our neck of the woods!

As you make your move to the Sunshine Coast, remember to follow Families Magazine on Facebook or subscribe to our newsletter to get updates on things to do in Brisbane, on the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and across your new state.  We’ve got everything you need to know about dining out, getting out and staying in on the Sunshine Coast and beyond. If you are planning on being on the Sunshine Coast for Christmas, check out our Christmas Day lunch restaurant guide.

Thinking about other parts of South East Queensland? Read our guides.

Photo of author

Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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