Caloundra's suburbs are in fact a number of different beaches, each with a slightly different local character. Among these are Golden Beach, Moffatt Beach, Dickie Beach and King's Beach.
The easiest way into Caloundra is by road from either the south (Brisbane) or the north (the rest of the coast).
Following the highway north from Brisbane for approximately one hour (depending on traffic) will get you to Caloundra. Be aware that the Sunshine Coast is a popular weekend getaway for Brisbanites, so expect a slightly longer drive on a Friday afternoon. You will also have to pay the toll on the Gateway Bridge as you leave south Brisbane.
Roads within Caloundra and on the Sunshine Coast are easy to navigate with good signage. A range of rental car options is available in Caloundra or from the Brisbane and Sunshine Coast Airport. Contact the Visitor Information Centre for maps and car rental options.
Regular bus services run from Brisbane to Caloundra. The bus terminal is located near King's Beach.
Sunbus provides frequent services throughout the Caloundra coastal area and the Sunshine Coast.
For timetable information:
Sunbus (07) 5450 7888
The nearest train station is located at Landsborough in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, from there a connecting Sunbus service operates into Caloundra, departing a few minutes after each train arrival. Both train and bus operate on the Translink Go card system.
QLD rail operates a regular service to and from Brisbane, which stops at the hinterland townships of Beerburrum, Glass House Mountains, Beerwah, Landsborough and Mooloolah.
Sunbus operates connections to coastal areas. Glass House Country Coaches provide connections from Landsborough station to Maleny on weekdays.
For timetable information:
Sunbus (07) 5450 7888
There is a local airport (CUD) for general aviation (light aircraft). Regular passenger services fly to Sunshine Coast Airport (MCY) which is 30km north of Caloundra.
For a comparatively small city in population terms, Caloundra takes in a surprisingly large area, much of which is quite hilly. Unless all you want to do or see is close to your accommodation (which is unlikely), a car will probably come in handy.
- Choice Car Rentals, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane Airport, toll-free: 1800 028 881. 7 days, 0800 until 1800. from $19 per day.
- Queensland Air Museum, Caloundra Aerodrome, Caloundra Road. 10AM-4PM. Great collection of aircraft, especially considering the nondescript location and good price. $13.
The major attraction of Caloundra is the beaches, some of the state's best. These include:
- Kings Beach, the main patrolled surf beach, even has a webcam. Also features a salt-water swimming pool (fed by the ocean). A number of cafes/restaurants and the Caloundra Surf Life Savers Club are nearby.
- Bulcock Beach, popular with families and is also patrolled by the Caloundra City Life Saving Club, but beware of the strong current along Pumistone passage. Bulcock beach also features a lovely boardwalk with bars and restaurants and also some very popular fishing spots. Accessible via a pleasant and popular boardwalk over the rocks from King's Beach.
- Moffatt beach. Not patrolled, but good for walking.
- Golden Beach, popular with windsurfers and kite surfers. You will find a number of hire places offering kayaks, surf-ski's sail-boards, Hobie-cats, fishing dinghy's and pontoons.
- Dicky Beach, popular with families and adjoins a caravan park with lovely cafes
- Shelly Beach, popular for picnics and exploring the rock pools. Great venue for weddings
- All beach-related activities are more than well catered for. Note, however, that Australian waters can be dangerous with strong rips or unexpectedly large waves. All swimmers are advised to only swim on patrolled beaches, between the red and yellow flags, where lifesavers are available if required. Swimmers in trouble should raise a single hand straight into the air.
- Long walks are possible between various beaches around the various headlands (i.e., along the rocks) if the tide is low enough. Also at low tides, lots of interesting rock pools can be uncovered (but watch for unexpected waves if approaching near the edge).
- The Kings Beach headland is a popular spot for walking and BBQs
- Bulcock Beach (adjacent to Kings beach) is a very popular evening spot for BBQs and fish and chips by the beach
- The main street of Caloundra features a variety of small shops, including some interesting older stores. A cinema operates at the top of the street, and there is a variety of eat-in and takeaway restaurants.
- A popular market operates on Sundays in the main street, with food, crafts, novelties and entertainment.
- Play golf at Caloundra golf course.
- Horse Racing, 170 Pierce Avenue, ☎ . Racing every Sunday.
- Sunshine Coast Skydivers. Tandem Skydiving.
- Bill's Boat Hire, 2 The Esplanade, Golden Beach, ☎ . Hire a luxurious pontoon boat and enjoy the delights of the Pumicestone Passage.
- Caloundra Cruise. Take an eco-explorer tour of Pumicestone Marine Park aboard the "African Queen".
- Day Tours. Is provided by Storey Line Tours. It offers 24 hours booking and door to door service. The service offers the day tours to Noosa, Montville mountain villages & rainforests, Wineries, Eumundi markets, Glasshouse Mountains etc.
- Day Tours. Is offered by SunAir
- Sunshine Coast Skydivers, 1 Pathfinder Drive, Caloundra, QLD, 4551, ☎ 1300 727 313 (local rate). The service won Sunshine Coast Tourism Awards in 2002
- Scenic Tours & Charters Flights, 12 Pathfinder Drive Caloundra West, ☎ . The service is operated via Caloundra Airport
While there are no traditional "tourist purchases" to make, there are a number of shops stocking books and suchlike which are often worth a browse. On Sundays a section of the main street (Bulcock St) is closed to traffic for a market. There are a large array of stalls selling fresh fruits, foods, clothing, and arts and crafts.
As befits a seaside town, seafood is very popular and there are many fish and chip shops around. For the sweet tooth, the Gelateria Milano is highly-regarded in the southeast of Queensland and is actually run by Italians, unlike many other gelato shops.
Parkside Eatery Golden Beach, Shop 3, 54 Landsborough Parade, Golden Beach, (07) 5492 3737 serving delicious home cooked meals, snacks, fine coffee and take away treats. Visit today for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner or anytime in between.
- Cafe by the Beach, 12 Seaview Terrace, Moffat Beach (Up the hill from Moffat Beach). Popular restaurant, especially for breakfasts.
- Caloundra RSL, 19 West Terrace, ☎ . Winner Queensland Club of the Year for the 4th time (Clubs Queensland Awards). Winner Best Food Venue in Queensland for the 5th time (Clubs Queensland Awards).
- Caloundra City Backpackers, 84 Omrah Avenue, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. dorm $18.00, twin (2 persons, 2 single beds) $42.00/room, double (double bed + ensuite) $52.00/room.
- Watermark Resort Caloundra (Watermark Resort Caloundra Queensland), 38 Maloja Avenue Caloundra QLD 4551, ☎ . Watermark Resort at Caloundra on Queenslands Sunshine coast occupies a prime location right on the waterfront. The Resort is a perfect holiday destination for the whole family. With its own private fishing jetty at your back door, the Watermark resort is the envy of many other local Caloundra hotels and resorts.
- Ocean Views Resort Caloundra (Ocean Views Resort - Caloundra Queensland), Bulcock & Centaur Sts Caloundra QLD 4551, ☎ . Check-in: 14.00, check-out: 10.00. Ocean Views Resort can boast one of the best holiday resort locations the Sunshine Coast has to offer. Situated right on Bulcock Street Caloundra, Ocean Views Resort is only metres from the waterfront boardwalk and just a stones throw from beautiful Bulcock Beach.
- Rydges Oasis Resort Caloundra, ☎ 1300 857 922 (local rate). Landsborough Parade Golden Beach. Provides guests with a variety of accommodation ranging from Hotel Spa Rooms to Self Contained Apartments and Villas. Rydges Oasis Resort is located on the southern tip of Queensland Sunshine Coast at Caloundra. Rydges Hotels and Resorts is an Australian owned and operated company.
The usual precautions against theft in a developed nation should be taken. As always in coastal Australia, remember to swim between the flags - namely the red-and-yellow flags erected by the surf lifesavers each day. Between those flags is the safest part of the beach. It may be more crowded, but the risk to life otherwise is considerable. Lifesavers are also often annoyed at having to rescue tourists not following those instructions.