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Hiking Mount Coolum: Spectacular coastal views

This weekend has been a glorious one on the Sunshine Coast… a balmy 26/27 degrees, blue skies and sunshine, and no wind. Just magnificent! Felt like I was on holidays the whole weekend. May really is the best month up here!

I had tentatively earmarked visiting Noosa National Park for some exploration this weekend but we ended up climbing Mount Coolum: Queensland’s answer to Melbourne’s 1,000 Steps, the Kokoda Memorial Walk at the foot of the Dandenongs in Melbourne.

Panoramic views from the summit

Hiking Mount Coolum

Basic Trail Info about the Mount Coolum Walk

Distance: 1.6 km return
Difficulty: Class 4 (moderate with steep sections)
Time: 2 hours (but easily possible in 1.5 hours or less)
Trailhead: Mount Coolum National Park; car park at Tanah Street, Coolum Beach

It’s one of the most popular hikes on the Sunshine Coast and easily accessible so expect crowds. Lots of them.

Just like in Melbourne, you find yourself hemmed in by hordes of fitness-crazy people, the odd barefooted guy, random ill-equipped looking tourists, but thank goodness, also ordinary people like me.

Whilst most people seemed to be busy with just getting to the top as quickly as possible, I was busy trying to break in my newly acquired hiking boots. And get this… not only have they got pink laces and trimmings but they were also an amazing bargain, I think 85% off or something ridiculous like that?!! Cool, huh?

My awesome new hiking boots. The pink laces are simply made for me.

Mt. Coolum is 208m above sea level and sticks out like a sore thumb in the landscape. It’s oddly attractive as the man-made steps to slow down erosion and the tons of cars at its base can attest.

The 1.6 km walk is supposed to take you two hours return (so imagine my expectations of ‘oh my gosh, this is going to be soooo HARD’), but it took Miss Dawdle-and-Look-Around a mere 1 hour and 10 mins to get up and down. Maybe you’re meant to throw in a few push-ups at the top??

The trail itself is quite manageable though there’s little shade so come prepared and wear a hat. If you’re not good with stairs, then this trail may not be for you as you’ll be climbing a lot of them.

Once you get to the summit, the view is simply spectacular. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Mooloolaba in the south and Sunshine Beach in the north.

Mooloolaba Spit in the far distance… And notice Sunshine Coast Airport in the front.

View of Coolum Beach and all the way to Sunshine Beach

You could also get stuck watching planes as they come in and take off from Sunshine Coast Airport, perfect for plane enthusiasts (not sure there were many though…).

The other place of interest (? hm…) you can see is the Palmer Coolum Resort with its fancy golf course and dinosaur park. Yeah, right, Sunshine Coast is in Mr Palmer’s political hands…

Anyway, there’s a giant T-Rex on the golf course lawn, see if you can spot it below. {Update 2016: Jeff is no longer there, he found as sad explosive end by catching fire some time in 2015.}

Palmer Coolum Resort: Dinosaur attack on golf course!!

And as we drove home, we were presented with a gorgeous sunset over the airport and Mount Coolum…

Attempting to take a photo of Mount Coolum from car. Sort of worked if your eyes are old…

Sunset over Mount Coolum

Sunset over the airstrip, Sunshine Coast Airport. So, so addicted to sunsets…

If you haven’t quite got the stamina or don’t feel like an uphill walk, the Noosa National Park Coastal Track makes for a perfect alternative. The coastal walk is stunning and you only have to walk as far as you want, or you could do the entire 11 km loop.

The other option is to walk up Emu Mountain in Coolum Beach, it’s a much gentler walk and won’t take longer than 45 min. You won’t get the sprawling views south but you can still see all the way to Noosa Heads.

READ MORE: 11 splendid lookouts on the Sunshine Coast


Find more information, including a map of the area, on the Mount Coolum National Park website.

Pin for later.

Hiking Mount Coolum, Sunshine Coast

Hiking the Coastal Track in Noosa National Park
17 Short Walks on the Sunshine Coast
Cania Gorge National Park: Hiking Options
5 fabulous things to do at Bunya Mountains
5 scenic Hamilton Island hikes
10 of our favourite hiking trails in Australia

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