It had been about five years since we had been to the Sunshine Coast, Qld, so on our way home to Mackay from the southern states, we decided to stop and spend a few days at the Alex Beach Cabins and Tourist Park at Alexandra Headland, or ‘Alex’ as it’s known to locals.
Alexandra Beach is a patrolled surf beach about halfway between Mooloolaba and Maroochydore, 100km north of Brisbane. There is a surf club overlooking the beach which serves tasty, good value meals and we had an enjoyable dinner there for Denyse’s birthday. There are shops and restaurants along the esplanade as well as a paved walking track, although we prefer to walk along the beach. There is a great surf break and you can watch surfers skimming the waves in almost any conditions.
The old Big Top shopping centre (about 2.5km from the tourist park) has been totally rebuilt and has farmers’ markets as well as specialty shops and a new Woolies supermarket. You can pick up a brochure which details when each of the local markets is held, and the Big Top shopping centre markets are on several times a week. This is the place to buy fresh local produce and stroll through many other market stalls. For more serious retail therapy, visit the huge Sunshine Plaza complex, only 1.2km from the tourist park.
There are bowling clubs, a golf course and many other attractions close by, including Australia Zoo. You may like to take the beachside drive north through the surf beach towns of Maroochydore, Coolum, Peregian and on to Noosa, or south to Mooloolaba, Caloundra and over to Bribie Island.
Alexandra Headland makes a great base for exploring the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, with its amazing rainforest and waterfalls, the scenic Baroon Pocket Dam and some quirky, alternative tourist towns. You will not want to miss this area and it can be seen in a day if time is tight. Make sure you pay a visit to the hinterland towns of Maleny, Montville, Flaxton and Mapleton, returning through Nambour and Bli Bli. We love this tourist drive.
Your first stop should be at the top of the Blackall Range at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve for an amazing view over the Glasshouse Mountains. There are some very large trees in the remnant rainforest in the park and a large variety of birds. We could hear the long melodic calls of the wompoo pigeons feeding in the canopy. There are walking tracks through the rainforest and picnic areas.
Follow the tourist drive to the bustling village of Maleny, which is about 45km from Alex. All through this area are fruit and veggie stalls, so we were able to stock up on exotic fruit and fresh citrus.
Back on the tourist drive, head towards Montville until you see the sign to Baroon Pocket Dam. It is only a few kilometres to a great picnic area beside the dam. We had heard about a place here called ‘Secrets on the Lake’, which offers treehouse accommodation and has a cafe and gallery open to visitors, so we decided to pop in.
There are so many cafes and restaurants in Montville, offering such a huge variety of food that we would have found it hard to choose. However, we had brought a picnic lunch with us, so we drove on through Flaxton to Mapleton, the last village on the Blackall Range. We had our picnic in the Lilyponds Park after doing a rainforest walk at the Mapleton Falls NP. These impressive falls drop 120m over the escarpment and can also be viewed from a wheelchair-accessible lookout near the car park.
Leaving Mapleton, there is a steep descent to Nambour. Instead of taking the motorway back to our base at the tourist park in Alex Beach, we elected to follow the coast road through Bli Bli, Marcoola, Mudjimba and Maroochydore. This loop makes for a wonderful scenic day out and we find it easier to leave the van at the tourist park on the coast.
ALEX BEACH CABINS AND TOURIST PARK
Alex Beach Cabins and Tourist Park is ideally located about 200m back from the beach. It’s a quiet park and is protected from the salt spray and strong winds that you can get in beachfront parks. The tourist park backs on to the scenic lake in Nelson Park, which contains a great diversity of bird life. There are fish in the lake, but fishing is not permitted.
Les and Margaret Woodbury have managed the park, a member of the Top Parks group, for over 30 years. Over this period they have overseen many improvements and have never replaced tourist sites with cabins. We were surprised and very pleased to find that they had removed a number of older cabins and replaced them with 10 new powered sites.
The new sites have concrete pads for your van and annexe as well as your car. There is also power, town water and sullage conveniently located. Our site had a TV cable supplied and cables are being extended to all sites in the park. Wi-fi and mobile phone reception was perfect.
Ensuite sites are available and there is a good variety of cabins, ranging in price. Powered sites are built on a slight rise, so each site has a view, and some back on to the lake, separated by a high wire fence. The amenities are modern and very clean and are not kept locked in this quiet park. We appreciated the fresh new covers on the ironing boards in the laundry and the option to do a cheaper, cold water wash. The camp kitchen, barbecue area and pizza oven are all stainless steel, with aluminium tables and seats, which are very easy to keep clean.
The heated pool is great for the cooler months and adjoining the pool is a children’s play area. The kids also have a substantial games room for wet days. The boom gates at the entrance are operated by a tag, much easier to manage than long codes on key pads. It’s worth noting that this park does not take pets.
The park has a tropical atmosphere with palm trees planted between sites and the grounds are kept very tidy. There were no biting midges and no road noise, although you can still hear the ocean – a lovely sound to nod off to at night. It is only a short walk to the patrolled beach with its surf club and other restaurants. Also within easy walking distance are a bakery, small supermarket, newsagent and bottle shop. The park can get busy and the prices are reasonable, so you should book ahead.
There are many reasons to spend some time on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. The shopping is good and there are many scenic drives and long beaches to walk. Despite a few showers during our visit, the winter days and nights were balmy. We enjoyed our stay at the quiet and neat Alex Beach Cabins and Tourist Park, and were pleased to see the improvements and the addition of those new sites.
Alexandra Headland is 100km north of Brisbane on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
- Excellent shopping, surfing, swimming, beach walks and fishing at Alexandra Headland.
- Explore the stunning coastal drive between Caloundra and Noosa.
- Visit the hinterland towns for waterfalls, rainforest walks, magnificent views and scenery, and interesting, crafty townships.
- Alex Beach Cabins and Tourist Park: email@example.com, www.alexbeach.com.au
- Visitor information centres are located at Maroochydore, Mooloolaba and Montville: 1300 847 481, firstname.lastname@example.org