Bulcock Park to Moffat Headlands Walk, Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Australia
If you like your Sunday scenic stroll with a cup of coffee and a side of fish and chips, the Caloundra Coastal Pathway at the southern end of the coast is a must-do.
There’s no better way to soak up the beauty of the Caloundra region than setting off on this scenic coastal walk. From Golden Beach down south to Mooloolaba in the north, this 20 km stretch of track takes you past some of best beaches on the Coast, estuaries and across bridges and up headlands for spectacular views. From the Pumicestone Passage, with views of the Glass House Mountains to Caloundra’s stunning coastal paths and well-maintained boardwalks that allows daily life to unfold in a haze of fabulous breakfast, sandy beaches, scooter-happy trails and grassy picnic spots. There are a range of fantastic things to do in Caloundra, and it all takes place to the constant soundtrack of surf in the background.
We started our walk from Bulcock Beach which is a popular picnic area for all ages and there is no better place to watch the sun set over the jagged Glass House Mountains. The boardwalk spans most of the coastline here, in full view of the sparkling blue waters that lead into the Pumicestone Passage. There’s a strip of cool cafes and restaurants across the road. The beach is patrolled from September to May, and there’s a great little surf break at the point. One of the best parts of this path is the boardwalk joining Happy Valley to Kings Beach which is probably one of the most popular beaches in Caloundra. It really only takes about 5 minutes to walk along it, or more depending on how many times you stop to admire the view as it clings to the headland and over the rocks.
Between the enchanting rockpools, the child-friendly water fountain with its time-delayed surprise spurts of water, the oceanfront saltwater swimming pool, and the gentle beach break with protected swimming areas, we have now arrived at Kings Beach.
Continuing up the hill to the headlands of Caloundra at Centaur Park there are great views up and down the coast. There’s a memorial here to the AHS Centaur, an Australia Hospital ship from WWII that was sunk off the coast of Queensland by a Japanese submarine on the 12th May 1943. The headland section follows a trail of plaques honouring the lives of those lost in war. On Remembrance Day 1995 the ‘Caloundra Headland Memorial Walkway’ was dedicated as a War Memorial and a monument and plaque was installed.
Following the path we next hit Shelly Beach. Like an uncut diamond, the appeal of the quiet streets and coastline of Shelly Beach lies in its untouched, unchanged state. It’s like stepping back 20 years. Shelly Beach still has its corner store, original fibro and weatherboard beach houses, locals walking their dogs along the beach, or fishing. Wedged between the much busier Kings Beach and Moffat Beach, Shelly Beach has always been a local favourite, escaping attention mainly because it is unpatrolled and the surf tends to suck out inexperienced swimmers.
Head to the southern end of the beach and explore the rock pool ecosystem stretching hundreds of metres along the shore. With easily accessible pathway, a series of viewing decks, perfectly positioned seats, car parking close by and a great view of the open ocean, we now hit Moffat Beach Headland. After spending some time watching the tankers, cruise ship on the horizon and the surfers catching some waves we headed back to Bulcock Park.
I was a tad surprised to see Kings to Moffat referred to in the description as “a more challenging part of the Coastal Walkway” which might put people off! Yes, there’s a wee hill climb leaving Moffatt and another at Shelley Beach, but the rest is easy going. And don’t forget to take in the memorial walkway, and read the plaques along the way, and during whale season they are sure to be out there frolicking about.