The perks of the Sunshine Coast

There’s a reason why the Sunshine Coast saw a 9.4% growth in international visitors last year. It’s so much more than just a beach destination, although the 300 days of sunshine we receive each year ensures we can be paradise for delegates looking for some rest and relaxation after an event.

It’s a region where a laid back atmosphere and calm approach to proceedings results in great productivity. Delegates can relax and really focus on the purpose of their business event; we often receive feedback from our international guests highlighting the tangible, positive outcomes generated from their visits.

We have been popular for quite some time with business groups from South East Asia – we are only a five hour flight away from the likes of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The region is also continuing to serve up an increasing number of incredible premium products and experiences, so we look forward to building our profile with the likes of China and welcoming more visitors from there.


Brisbane Airport, the third largest in Australia, is the closest international airport to the Sunshine Coast at under an hour’s drive away and serves 28 incoming international destinations via 23 different carriers. Its top international inbound markets include the UK, USA, New Zealand, India and South East Asia. It also has strong connections with Sydney and Melbourne, as does the Sunshine Coast airport in Maroochydore.

There is a fantastic road network around Brisbane Airport with quick access to the freeway, enabling a seamless journey to the Sunshine Coast for delegates. The airport in Maroochydore is also extremely well placed meaning you are only ever around a 30 minute drive to all areas of the Sunshine Coast, from the beach to the Hinterland.

Event spaces is where we come into our own. There’s no major conference centre, instead we are very creative with our spaces on offer. Thanks to the beautiful weather we have for a large percentage of the year we are able to utilise amazing and inspiring outdoor environments for our business events, where we are not necessarily bound by dimensions but can create something bespoke. The indoor spaces we have on offer are equally unique and can really help to stimulate delegates. For example, the Queensland Air Museum, the largest private air museum in Australia, lends itself perfectly for business events, with its historical contents proving to be a real inspiration.

Sunny climes

The incredible climate of the Sunshine Coast means the area is blessed with a wide variety of high quality and unique tourism activities that have been developed specifically for the business event and incentive market. Additionally, there’s myriad activity and entertainment suppliers who are mobile and can service business groups at any location. There’s a lot of flexibility to what you can do – from water sports, to interactive food trails, bush walks in one of the nine national parks, indigenous activities, private wine blending classes, and even private flights to the natural wonder that is the world heritage-listed Fraser Island – in your downtime there’s plenty of opportunity to try and see something new. And for those who like walking the fairways for either business or pleasure, the Sunshine Coast has 20 golf courses to choose from, including five championship standard courses.

Dining destination

There’s something very special and original about the food that the Sunshine Coast produces – I like to refer to the region as a food bowl. The warm climate, rich soil and abundant water supplies create the perfect conditions for a gourmet paradise. The restaurants and cafés are constantly supplied with an incredible array of produce from any of the 900 or so local suppliers, all working towards the same goal of putting the freshest, cleanest, tastiest food on your plate. There’s also plenty of opportunity for delegates to take part in paddock-to-plate or trawler-to-plate experiences in order to taste the incredible seafood, fruit, nuts and gourmet dairy products the region delivers.

When it comes to restaurants the Sunshine Coast, and in particular Noosa, are fortunate to be home to a number of the finest restaurants in the country. The likes of Spicers Tamarind and The Long Apron in the Hinterland, Wasabi, Ricky’s, as well as Peter Kuruvita’s The Beach House are all extremely highly regarded domestically and internationally. Each one of them highlights the true creativity of chefs in the Sunshine Coast and how they produce incredible menus and dishes that are free from boundaries. For the wine buffs there are plenty of opportunities to indulge and taste award-winning blends at some of the hinterland wineries.

In summary, I would say the Sunshine Coast is a brilliant alternative to the hustle and bustle of Australia’s major cities. The business events industry here always seeks opportunities to demonstrate its creativity and unique ways to provide experiences. Nothing’s too hard.

Simon Ambrose is chief executive officer of Sunshine Coast Destination 

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