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Maroochydore, in the heart of the Sunshine Coast, is famous for its golden beaches and azure water; and its close proximity to world-class attractions like Australia Zoo, SEA LIFE Aquarium, the Ginger Factory and Eumundi Markets. However, one of the area’s best kept secrets is Maroochy River, which enters the sea at Cotton Tree, Maroochydore. We’ve put together our top 10 things to see and do, on and near the Maroochy River that we think you’ll really enjoy.

1 – Explore an island 

In the middle of Maroochy River, is Chambers Island, which can be accessed by boat or by walking across a study steel and concrete footbridge. Bring a towel and your swimmers as you’ll find the island fringed by white beaches and the perfect place to relax, swim and enjoy a range of water sports. It’s also a great fishing spot where you can catch flathead, bream, whiting and trevally from the beach. There’s even a children’s playground and picnic area. Chambers Island is a perfect place to spend a few hours and is located parallel to Bradman Ave at the Thomas St corner, Maroochydore.

2 – Discover the magic of wetlands

Maroochy Wetland Sanctuary is the perfect place to discover the magic of wetlands with just under one kilometre of boardwalks weaving their way through eucalypts, mangroves, paperbarks and rainforests. Keep your eye out for the wildlife that call this sanctuary home including over 200 species of birds, butterflies, crabs, lizards and fish, as well as a range of migratory animals. Located at Bli Bli, the Sanctuary is open every day and is just a short 20 minute drive north of Maroochydore. It’s a great place to spend the day with friends and family. Why not pack a picnic and enjoy a day exploring the sanctuary?

3 – Get thoroughly wet at the Aqua Park 

Little and big kids can enjoy the Aqua Park at Bli Bli on the Sunshine Coast. The floating adventure park is on the Maroochy River and consists of huge, interconnecting slides, trampolines, balance beans, blast bags and climbing walls. Located within the Bli Bli Watersports Complex at 367 David Low Way, Bli Bli, the Aqua Park is open every day from 10am to 5pm during summer. If you get hungry there’s a café, kiosk and licensed bar onsite as well as a BBQ area. Why not also try the Wake and Barra Fishing Park, which are also in the Watersports Complex. Bookings are essential.

4 – Relax at the beach

Spend the day relaxing at Cotton Tree beach, near the mouth of the Maroochy River. You can go for a leisurely swim, have a picnic near the river, or take a walk along one of the many walking trails where you can breathe in the fresh ocean air and enjoy the local palm trees and native cotton trees. There are lots of street-side cafes and restaurants along the Cotton Tree Esplanade where you can stop for a bit to eat, or grab some fish and chips to enjoy by the water.

5 – Dine by the water as the sun sets

The foreshore of the Maroochy River is a melting pot of cuisines with everything from spicy Indian food and Thai through to some of the freshest seafood on offer. Take a walk along Duporth Avenue, Maroochydore to see what takes your fancy. Many of the restaurants boast river views where you can enjoy a pre-dinner drink as the sun goes down.

6 – Plaza Pontoon water sports

Plaza Pontoon at the Sunshine Plaza Shopping Centre is your one-stop-shop for fun water sports. You can give your legs a workout on a paddle boat, cruise around in a custom built Startercraft electric mini speed boat, take a single or double kayak around the still waters of the Maroochy River, challenge yourself with a stand up paddleboard (SUP) Pilate’s class, or try your balance on a Hobie Eclipse SUP. If you have the time, why not book several of the activities. You are on holiday after all!

7 – Hire a BBQ boat for the day

There are so many wonderful ways to experience the Maroochy River. Swan Boat Hire has a range of fishing, cruising and boats built just for fun. They specialise in large BBQ boats that come complete with a BBQ, seating, table, side steering console and all safety equipment. There’s even a toilet on-board just in case you want to hire the vessel for a longer period. Depending on which BBQ boat you choose, you can cruise to the middle and upper reaches of the river. Best of all you get to steer the boat.

8 – SUP on calm waters

Learn how to stand up paddle board, or improve your skills, on the calm water of the Maroochy River. Ocean Addicts cater for all levels of experience and will ensure that you paddle safely and correctly. If you can SUP already then this is one of the best ways to experience the beauty and waters of the Maroochy River. Setting off from Cotton Tree you can escape the crowds and find your own little bit of sand to stop on, paddle around Goat Island, or just spend some time exploring the Channel Island inland lagoon.

9 – Use the power of the sun

Eco-tourism has been taken to the next level by Eco River Rides where you can hire a canoe that is powered by an electric motor using the latest technology in lithium batteries and solar cell systems. Cruise the river without lifting a paddle into the water, in a clean, green and sustainable way. The canoes are 20 feet long, and can take up to four adults. Sit back and let the solar-powered motor do all the work as you discover the Maroochy River and Wetlands Sanctuary on either a guided or self-guided tour. There’s even a waterproof storage space of cameras and other stuff you don’t want to get wet.

10 – Take the perfect Maroochy River picture

Nestled on the banks of the Maroochy River at The Cod Hole on Bradman Avenue are a set of old wooden fishing houses lovingly known as the Maroochydore River Boathouses, just a short drive from Elouera Tower. The boathouses have been on the foreshore of the Maroochy River since the 1940s and are in varying states of disrepair. They are silent reminders of a time gone by and make the most beautiful photo subjects especially around sunrise and sunset when they create haunting shadows on the river below. End your photo session with a walk along the river watching the day quietly unfold or the light begins to dip. Travel memories are made of experiences such as these.

Sunshine Coast accommodation 

Book your Maroochydore Sunshine Coast accommodation staying with us here at Elouera Tower where you’ll be perfectly located to explore all that the Sunshine Coast has to offer from coast to hinterland.

Choose from 1, 2 and 3 bedroom fully-self contained holiday apartments as well as a 3 bedroom penthouse for the ultimate stay.  Onsite our guests have access to our outdoor heated pool and spa, sauna, full size tennis court and more.