As a self-confessed shopaholic, I have managed to shop my way around most of Brisbane and the Sunshine coast and therefore feel very well placed to share my favourite places to indulge in a little retail therapy!
Whilst there are plenty of places to shop for everyday items and to hit your favourite chain stores in one of the many large air conditioned shopping malls, this post focuses instead on some of the best places to shop for those one off, unusual, hand made or special items that you never knew you always wanted until you found them.
If it is independent retailers, unique and beautiful items or the perfect high quality holiday souvenir you are after, these are, in my opinion, the very best places to shop on the Sunshine Coast.
Without shadow of a doubt, Eumundi Market ranks as my absolutely favourite place to shop on the Sunshine coast (perhaps even in the world), so much so that the mere mention of the word ‘Eumundi’ tends to bring Stu out in a cold sweat with considerable pain in the wallet department. Eumundi is now a swear word in the Cooper house!
The market is open every Wednesday and Saturday come rain or shine with over 600 stalls occupying the main market place and spilling across two roads into adjoining market areas.
The ethos of the market is ‘make it, bake it, sew it, grow it’ which sets it apart from many other markets as a place where you will find an enormous variety of unique, top quality hand crafted items to suit all tastes.
This is the perfect place to find gifts for friends and family whether you are a visitor to the Sunshine Coast or even a local, or to find that special something you never knew you always wanted.
Stall holders are exceptionally friendly and helpful and the range of wares is unrivalled by any other market I’ve visited the world over. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said I loved the place!
There is live music, with ‘Tribal Groove’ providing the soundtrack your mornings exploration, featuring the haunting strains of the digeridoo with a modern twist, as well as other performers adding to the atmosphere.
If you need a break from exploring the stalls, there is a dedicated food area where you can enjoy a great range of ‘street food’ from around the world; look out for the delicious donuts.
Guest appearances by a macaw from the Maleny botanical gardens is not an unusual sight, nor is that of an adult sized fairy!
If you need a complete break, seek out one of the the stalls offering a relaxing massage to soothe those tired shoulders weighed down by all your shopping bags.
Once you’ve finished exploring the market, there are some interesting boutique shops along the main high street; it’s like a shopaholics dream come true!
Eumundi markets are located on Memorial Drive in the historic town of Eumundi, around 90 minutes north of Brisbane and 15 minutes from Noosa.
There is now a dedicated car park on Napier Road between the main market and the undercover market where you can park for around $6. Alternatively, there is street parking in nearby roads which is free but time limited to 2 hours on several streets which are vigilantly monitored by the local council.
The market is immensely popular therefore I’d recommend attending early to secure a parking space and of course to maximise exploring time.
The markets are open from 07.00 until 14.00 on Saturdays and 08.00 – 13.30 on Wednesdays.
There are toilets either end of the market and a playground featuring a static train for younger market visitors. Dogs on leads are welcomed at the market and there are a few stalls dedicated to canine companions.
Arguably the prettiest town in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, beautiful Montville is a haven for shoppers with a great selection of boutique shops selling local produce, arts and crafts, home-wares and souvenirs along the pretty high street which is lined with flowering trees and blooming shrubs year round.
Be sure to throw a coin into the pool of the water wheel and make a wish (probably to have more money to spend in the shops!)
You can intersperse shopping for anything from Swiss clocks and local fudge to fine art and leather goods with a snack at one of the plentiful coffee shops and cafe’s.
Our favourite re-fuelling stop is the Mayfield Patisserie at the top of the hill which features in our post great places to eat between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. Here, you can enjoy delicious award winning sausage rolls whilst admiring spectacular views over the valley from the balcony.
An Italian style ice cream from Monty’s is a great way to finish your day.
Once you’ve exhausted all of the retail options, take a stroll through the lush parkland behind the high street. Those with children will find a small playground here with plenty of picnic benches and toilets.
Montville is located around 90 minutes from Brisbane. There is a car park at the bottom of the hill as you approach from the Brisbane direction and street parking all along the high street.
Hastings Street Noosa
As if the stunning beaches and the Noosa Costal Walk weren’t enough to entice you to visit the undeniable jewel in the Sunshine Coasts crown, Hastings Street in Noosa happens to have more than its fair share of interesting shops to explore to boot.
Hastings Street is a shopping Mecca for designer devotees with labels a plenty available from Alterior Motif, Bow and Arrow Trading and Who Invited Her. Male fashion fanatics will enjoy a visit to Tommy Bahama whilst pint sized fashionistas can find their own style at Seed Heritage and Noosa Juniors.
Once you’ve re-vamped your wardrobe, visit the art galleries and high-end home-wear outlets to deck your house out in Hello magazine ready style to match.
If your budget doesn’t stretch to all things designer, or if, like me, you prefer something a little more quirky, fear not, Hastings Street has something for everyone.
Pay Uncle George a visit for gifts, unusual jewellery and home-wears; this is my personal favourite Hasting’s Street gem and the origin of my fish bowl earrings as well as our Cockatoo garden sculpture.
Noosa’s beloved bush turkeys have been immortalised on T-towels, T.shirts and togs at Lamington which sells a fantastic selection of Australian souvenirs.
There are a multitude of al fresco dining options all the way along leafy Hastings Street where you can stop and indulge in a spot of people watching over a cool drink and a gourmet feast.
For a more low key and kid friendly dining experience, Betty’s Burgers, tucked at the beach front end of Hastings Street, sells some of the best burgers we’ve ever tasted and is our regular meal stop on a day out.
Noosa wins on all fronts bar one; parking is an absolute nightmare! Arrive early (and I mean REALLY early) to bag a spot in one of the car parks (the spaces at the back of the Noosa Woods car park offer the longest stay) or head up Little Cove Road to find free street parking.
Be respectful of property owners driveways and be mindful that the council are very hot on the enforcement of parking regulations.
If you want to make a day of it, be sure to enjoy the views along the Noosa costal path which features as one of our Best family walks on the Sunshine coast.
You will be spoit for choice for gorgeous beaches along the way.
The Ginger Factory, Yandina
Whilst the Ginger Factory may not immediately spring to mind when you are thinking about shopping, it has, in our opinion, the very best collection of Australian souvenirs of anywhere else we’ve found on the Sunshine coast.
Situated in Yandina in beautiful subtropical rainforest gardens, the Ginger Factory is a much loved Sunshine Coast tourist attraction.
Entry to the site is free and allows you to explore the gardens, check out the climbing frame and enjoy one of the many ginger infused treats from the café and ice cream shop.
Most importantly, it gives you access to the Ginger Town shops!
The main Ginger Shop through which you walk to access the rest of the site has a vast array of high quality Australiana gifts, both useful and beautiful.
Choose from several artists interpretations of Australia’s flora and fauna decorating cups, plates, drink bottles, candle holders and bags to list a few.
There is an extensive collection of Aboriginal inspired gifts both here and in one of the Ginger Town shops where you can buy some pieces of original Aboriginal artwork on canvas or pottery items and boomerangs for pocket friendly prices.
The Ginger Shop stocks an extensive range of ginger foodstuffs and different varieties of local honey.
Younger shoppers will find a good selection of toys in the main shop and traditional toys and bears at Giuseppe’s Workshop in Ginger Town.
We have found the Ginger Factory to be a bountiful source of beautiful gifts for our friends and family and we always enjoy a return visit.
The Ginger factory is better known for it’s tours than it’s shopping; travel around the 9 hectares of beautiful gardens on the 100 year old Ginger Train which has long since retired as a sugar cane train for the Morton sugar Mill to enjoy this gentler pace of life.
Travel around the world by boat with the Gingerbread man to hear his story told with the help of 200 or so handmade puppets.
Tour the ginger factory to learn how it is grown, harvested and transformed into delicious ginger products and meet the bee keepers to learn everything there is to learn about honey. Both these tours include tastings.
There is a cost for all of the tours which can be booked online or in the Ginger Shop and package deals are available.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to have your photograph taken with the giant gingies!
Sunshine Coast Sunday Markets
There is no shortage of Sunday markets between Brisbane and the Sunshine coast and we’ve enjoyed working our way around most of them!
In our early days after moving to Australia, most Sunday’s would see us browsing the stalls, seeking out the calamari and ice cream and with Stu appraising the quality of the coffee bus!
Although our attendance has now slowed down somewhat, we all enjoy a return visit to our favourites now and again and enjoy seeing what’s new.
One thing all of the Sunshine Coast Sunday markets seem to have in common is that they all feature stalls offering unique and high quality handmade or homegrown items, usually at very reasonable prices.
Conversely, stalls selling low quality plastic trash for the kids are mercifully few and far between.
The Caloundra Sunday market is one of our favourites. Bulcock Street is closed to traffic on market day with stalls replacing cars between its intersections with Otranto Avenue and Knox Avenue between 8am and 1pm.
Wonder through the stalls to find jewelley, handmade pottery, plants, paintings and clothes to list but a few, and be sure to claim your free popcorn sample from the popcorn stall.
Half way along the street, the roundabout is taken over by food trucks and seating where you can grab a bite to eat whilst enjoying the live music under the shade of the fairy light strewn tree before exploring the remaining stalls at the far end of the market.
The shops are also open on market day with some interesting boutiques and independent retailers adding to the experience.
The music shop will always be special for Daniel since this is where we bought his first guitar, whilst Ben and Sam can while away an hour in the toy shop (Amazen Puzzles and Games) where the friendly staff will join you for a game of cards or show you how to play a new board game.
There are plenty of homeware stores and shops selling treasures from around the world to ensure that I never leave empty handed!
Make a day of it by heading for Bulcock beach at the end of the road once you have finished your shopping.
Another family favourite is the Redcliffe Sunday Jetty Market held along the waterfront of Redcliffe parade.
The street is pedestrianised for the market which runs from 8am until 2pm most Sundays (do check the website before you attend as there are some exceptions).
Enjoy browsing the stalls where you will find local produce, handicrafts, aboriginal souvenirs and an eclectic mix of other items as well as plenty of edible offerings.
The beach makes a beautiful backdrop to the market and there is a playground where bored husbands can enjoy a coffee whilst supervising the shopping fatigued kids, leaving mum to explore in peace!
Again, most shops are open along the parade as are plenty of restaurants featuring al fresco dining so you can people watch over a snack or meal after you’ve finished your own shopping.
There is a special Good Friday Market a little further along the coast at Suttons beach where live music provides a soundtrack to the market and the Easter bunny skydives on to the beach to join in the fun.
This event is part of the Sails festival where visitors can gaze across the water to watch the competitors of the Brisbane to Gladstone Yatch race start their journey.
The markets are a stone’s throw from the Settlement Cove swimming lagoon which features in our recommendations for the best swimming holes between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, and is a great place to relax after a busy morning of shopping.
There are 52 Sundays per year which gives you plenty of time to check out all of the other Sunshine Coast Sunday markets, and there are plenty to choose from.
Cotton Tree market, open between 7-12 every Sunday on Kings Street, Cotton Tree is small but perfectly formed, selling a selection of handmade items and fresh produce amongst the bric-a-brac and imported goods.
The Bribie Island Vibe markets are held at the Community Arts Centre on the last Sunday of every month and offer a great selection of locally made arts and crafts as well as woodworking and gem fossicking demonstrations.
Foodies should look no further than the Noosaville farmers market for organic produce, baked goods and tasty treats from around the globe to munch on as you meander.
So there you have it, my very favourite places to do what I do best, SHOP!