Ah, the Sunshine Coast, famed for its pristine beaches, laidback lifestyle, loveable locals and even a 16-metre tall, heritage-listed, fibreglass pineapple (that certainly does not belong on pizza!).
What’s a little less famed however, is the Sunshine Coast’s emerging queer scene, of which has made huge strides in recent years to grow the region’s LGBTIQ+ offering. From LGBTIQ+ specific accommodation, to ‘Blush’, an ongoing gay takeover of local club favourite Peak, and even its own Mardi Gras. The Sunshine Coast really has become a weekend escape that should be high on your gay-getaway bucket list.
First on the agenda – dancing. If you’re heading to this part of the Sunshine State, you’re going to want to dust off your dancing shoes and warm up the vocal cords, because honey, it’s time to dance.
Although the Sunshine Coast doesn’t have a ‘gay club’ as such, it does have ‘Blush’. Blush is the queer nightclub alter-ego of one of coast’s most happening late-night venues, Peak. Blush takes over Peak each and every Sunday night, and is an LGBTIQ+ forward night, complete with drag performances, an abundance of dancing and of course an ABBA remix or two.
Although not LGBTIQ+ specific, the Sunshine Coast has a number of other gay-friendly nightlife venues, for those looking to get their dancing fix on a non-Sunday night, too.
Conveniently, almost all of the Sunshine Coast’s nightlife is located on Ocean Street in Maroochydore. Once on Ocean Street, you’ll have your choice from Post Office, Old Soul, Soul Bar, Duporth Tavern and Peak – each as LGBTIQ+ friendly as each other.
An insider’s tip: check out what’s going on at each venue ahead of time and use your judgement to guess where the best spot for the night will be.
Finding a decent bite to eat on the Sunshine Coast couldn’t be easier. LGBTIQ+ friendly, delectably delicious and all with amazing atmospheres, here’s three of our queer-friendly favourites.
THE VELO PROJECT
For those craving a café fix, head to The Velo Project. You’ll find this special spot tucked away in the backstreets of Mooloolaba – a touch removed from the hustle and bustle of Mooloolaba Esplanade.
A local favourite that describes their café as ‘simple, honest food, made with true love’ – and they do just that. The café boasts gorgeous décor that really makes you feel as though you’re in a trendy Melbourne laneway, though still keeps with the laid-back coast lifestyle feel. Featuring warm mood lighting, divine brunch options and ever-friendly staff, this is a café favourite you’ll not be soon to forget.
If you’re looking for a distinctively different dinner option, then this one’s for you. Rice Boi is a coast favourite, loved by both locals and tourists alike.
A modern take on Asian street food, the menu features the likes of katsu curry fries, 10hr coconut braised beef and charcoal chicken rice bowl just to name a few. This mid-to-late-night dinner and drinks option is popular among all age groups, though really pulls in the young adult crowd and is increasingly popular among the local queer community, overlooking Mooloolaba Wharf.
TAPS MOOLOOLABA @ THE MOOLOOLABA ESPLANADE
For those craving a later night bite or maybe a night cap to finish it all off, Taps Mooloolaba is the place to be. Getting the name ‘Taps’ from the venue’s pre-covid ability to pour your own beer, this late-night eatery always draws a crowd. Picture giant Jenga towers, retro Mario Kart video games, all the pub classic meals and a playlist with all of your favourites.
The Sunshine Coast boasts an impressive selection of LGBTIQ+ friendly accommodation. From mens-only beachside retreats to hideaway stays in the Sunshine Coast’s hinterland – there’s a queer friendly stay for any gay getaway.
Hideaway Noosa is the Sunshine Coast’s gay and bi specific private resort, for those looking for an intimate, yet discreet, holiday stay with likeminded gay and bi men. Surrounded by towering palms and lush gardens, the private resort is set only a short walk from the fine white sands of the breathtaking Peregian Beach, in the Noosa area. Guests can enjoy free WiFi, an outdoor saltwater swimming pool, an outdoor hot tub and even a men’s theatre room.
For those looking for a more scenic stay, tucked away in the Sunshine Coast’s ever-immaculate hinterlands, then Tunnel Ridge Outlook is the stay for you. Run by a queer Sunshine Coast local, the retreat was designed with the LGBTIQ+ guest front of mind. Although not LGBTIQ+ exclusive, the retreat really works to ensure that queer guests who stay, always feel welcome and accepted.
For those looking for more central accommodation in the likes of Mooloolaba, Alexandra Headland, Noosa or Kawana, there are an abundance of hotels that fall under the ALL – Accor Live Limitless hotel chain. Major accommodation partners of the 2018 & 2019 Sydney Mardi Gras, ALL – Accor Live Limitless are a hotel brand who actively work to ensure that LGBTIQ+ guests feel welcome, safe and accepted whilst staying in their properties.
Being a tourist favourite, the Sunshine Coast has an infinite number of things to do, both for the adventurous and the laidback holiday-goer.
The adventurous should climb ‘Next Level’, Maroochydore’s latest high ropes adventure park, get your real-world Mario Kart fix at the Big Kart Track or conquer Mount Coolum, or Mt Ngungun.
For the more relaxed holiday-goer, why not soak up the sun at Mooloolaba Beach, try your luck at lawn bowls at the Maroochy Bowls Club or be a big kid at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast.
This article was first published online by Tourism Queensland. It has been reproduced here with the consent of all parties.