The Sunshine Coast’s largest urban area encompasses the towns of Alexandra Headland, Maroochydore and Mooloolaba. This part of the coast has been overcome by high rise apartments and family-oriented resorts, but it still has great beaches and is a good place for fishing, surfing and swimming.
Maroochydore is the busiest spot on the Sunshine Coast with a commercial feel. Although it has some good water sports and nightlife, Maroochydore seems dull when compared to prettier Mooloolaba and the lusher beach towns on the Fraser Coast. Many backpackers use Maroochydore as a base for work during fruit picking season. The business centre here is a succession of shops along Aerodrome Road although the large Sunshine Plaza is the main shopping centre. Families come to Maroochydore to play on the protected beaches, while backpackers come for the skydiving and kayaking.
Mooloolaba is nice beach town with a lively atmosphere, despite several medium-rise oceanfront apartment towers. There are loads of eateries on the Esplanade where backpackers rub elbows with wealthy holiday-makers. The nightlife is good here as well and most backpackers choose to stay here for the combination of fun bars and sunny beaches. Mooloolaba’s big attraction is UnderWater World, an oceanarium and marine park where you can walk through a huge glass tunnel surrounded by sharks, rays and tropical fish.
Bus routes 600, 601, 602, 619 and 622 run between Maroochydore and Mooloolaba. Buses 602 and 610 go to Nambour and bus 620 goes to Noosa.