Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is offering a feast of festivals to spice up summer for families, folkies and fun lovers.
With Australia’s most attractive climate, the emphasis of the 2015-16 summer is on the outdoors, with the Sunshine Coast Swimathon taking place at the Cotton Tree Aquatic Centre on 6 December, raising funds for MS. www.msswimathon.com.au/swim-locations/sunshine
With the sun an almost permanent feature of the Sunshine Coast, a focus on food is natural, with the 6 December Mary Valley Tomato Festival at Imbil a must for any lovers of the ‘big red’. While there are serious prizes for the heaviest tomato and ‘most interesting shape’, the real fun begins with the ‘Tomato Splat’, ‘Tomato Throw’ and Tomato eating relay races. www.mayvalleytomatofestival.com.au
The Woodford Folk Festival (27 December – 1 January) is one of Australia’s premier music festivals and offers a variety of ticket options so that holidaymakers can combine earthy folk with a traditional beach holiday. This year, the Festival’s stellar lineup includes Josh Pyke, Franti, Ed Kuepper and Katie Noonan. More than just a music festival, Woodford showcases diverse acts, including dance, theatre, comedy, film, street performances, visual arts and indigenous performances. Extensive camping facilities and a range of accommodation/festival packages are available at –www.woodfordfolkfestival.com.
January is also the month when one of the world’s most versatile plants – ginger – comes to the fore in the Ginger Flower & Food Festival (22 – 24 January). Ginger or ginger root is consumed as a delicacy, medicine, or spice, and the Sunshine Coast’s Ginger Flower & Food Festival – celebrating its 20th anniversary – will be showcasing the plant’s remarkable role as both an essential ingredient to food and as a beautiful flower. There will be specialist workshops, demonstrations and tastings, and children will enjoy it as much as their parents with a wide range of kids activities, including rides, entertainment and sampling of ginger-infused smoothies, cordials and – of course – gingerbread men.www.gingerfactory.com.au
The Color Run is a fun run that gets very colourful along the way. Staged at the Sunshine Coast Stadium on Saturday 16 January, the Color Run is billed as the ‘happiest 5 kilometres on the planet’ and involves running a course that includes obstacles, dancing and paint. The event is ideal for families and friends. http://thecolorrun.com.au/event/sunshine-coast-2/
Arguably the best way to end the summer holidays and celebrate Australia Day at the same time is by participating in a unique Australian past time – dunny races. The celebration of the old Australian outdoor toilet is held each on Australia Day, January 26, at Aussie World. Other events include keg lifting and mullet tossing. www.aussieworld.com.au
And throughout the summer, many of the Sunshine Coast’s major markets – such as the renowned Eumundi Markets – will hold additional twilight markets to make the most of the warm evenings.
December – January Events on the Sunshine Coast
- 3-5 Dec Tag World Cup (Rugby)
- 6 Dec Sunshine Coast MS Swimathon
- 6 Dec Mary Valley Tomato Festival
- 14-18 Dec Rip Curl Gromsearch
- 15-18 Dec Sunshine Coast Masters Pro-Golf, Twin Waters
- 27 Dec – 1 Jan Woodford Folk Festival
- 16 Jan Color Run
- 22 – 24 Jan Ginger Flower and Food Festival (celebrating 20th year)
- 26 Jan Australia Day –dunny races at Aussie World
- 30 Jan Ocean Swim Festival, Noosa
- 6-7 Feb Gatorade Queensland Tri-Series, Caloundra
For a full range of events and holiday options on the Sunshine Coast – www.visitsunshinecoast.com.au