Visit Popular Local Spots Close To The USC Sunshine Coast Campus

There are many local, but also popular spots just a short bus ride or drive away from campus. Our USC Sunshine Coast (Sippy Downs) campus is lucky to have a bus stop right on campus, and only a 5 minute walk away from our student accommodation options UniCentral, Varsity and The Village.

We have listed some of the most popular spots below that our students often visit when living close to campus:

1. Mooloolaba Beach

If you want to hit the beach, you can take the 615 bus from USC which will take you approx 15 minutes to Mooloolaba. This is a popular spot for students who wants to soak up some sun on the beach but also for students who like to go for walks along the promenade and even do some shopping. Mooloolaba has some great local shops, cafes and restaurants. Not to mention, if you walk towards the Mooloolaba Spit in the arvo, you might be able to see an amazing sunset.

2. Cotton Tree Beach & Holiday Park

If you prefer to avoid some of the more popular, busy beaches, you may want to stay on the bus a bit longer after Mooloolaba and jump off at Cotton Tree, just 5 minutes down the road from Mooloolaba. Cotton Tree Beach is located just to the left of Alexandra Headland, a popular surf spot for many students and not to mention locals. Cotton tree is the perfect spot if you would like to try out Stand Up Paddle Boarding or Kayaking. There are also heaps of cosy local shops along the promenade and we can recommend checking out Cafe Envy that offers locally sourced dishes, in addition to organic coffee and smoothies. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to spot a couple of pelicans who like to enjoy their time down at the beach.

3. The Glasshouse Mountains

We of course won’t forget to mention the beautiful Glasshouse Mountains, located a short 25 minute drive from campus with a car. You will have a lot of mountains tracks to choose from including some of the more popular ones such as Mt Beerwah, Mt Ngungun and Mt Tibrogargan. The Glasshouse Mountains have a lot of history behind them, and we would definitly recommend booking a tour with some local aboriginals, also known as storytelling, as they have a lot of interesting stories to tell which you can read more about here.

4. Noosa National Park + Champagne Pools

Photo: Ali Hannah

A bit further away from USC but also only a short 40 minute drive you’ll find the beautifucl Noosa National Park. This National Park is a favourite amongst the locals mostly due to the prime surf that it provides, especially in the mornings and afternoons. If you’re lucky you might spot a koala on your way to Champagne Pools, an absolute must go-to if visiting the park for the first time. The whole walk around Noosa National park is approx. 5.4 km and you can choose to start at Sunshine Beach and walk all the way to the main street in Noosa, Hasting. We recommend checking out Betty’s Burgers and some of the local Noosa shops while you’re there.

5. Mt Coolum

On the way back from Noosa and approx. 30 minutes from campus you’ll find the popular mountain Coolum. While most people will choose to follow the public walking track that has been set out and recently refurbished, there are a couple of additional but rarely used tracks that are for the more adventurous and experienced climbers. Interestingly, one of these tracks will lead you to two of Coolum’s caves. The trip to the caves starts at he same main track however if you wear off to the left it will take you to the first larger cave which is more of an overhang and is regularly used by rock climbers. This makes for a spectacular waterfall in the wet seasons and well worth a visit.

6. Double Island / Fraser Island

If you have the option to rent a 4WD while you’re here we would definitely recommend you to put some time and money aside to explore Double Island, just a short 5 minute ferry ride from Noosa North Shore. Double Island stretches all the way up to Double Island Point (well known spot for prime surfing) and Rainbow Beach, where you can further (if you’re an adventurous type) take the Mantra Bay ferry over to Fraser Island. Double Island is perfect for a short day trip however we recommend to spend at least 2 nights (camping or housing accommodation) at Fraser to experience most of what the island has to offer. Recommended spots to visit is Lake McKenzie, Eli Creek, Maheno Wreck and Champagne pools. You may also want to drive further north to Sandy Cape if you have some spare time.

We hope you enjoyed reading about some of the more popular places visited by locals and students, and don’t forget to tag us using @USC.International and #USCInternational.

Chelsea Keister from Shippensburg University in the US studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast

AU zoo roosMy name is Chelsea Keister and I am studying Biology at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania (USA). I made the decision to take a semester away from home to go down under at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), and it was the best decision of my life. My university at home offered me a variety of options to choose from when I decided I wanted to study abroad, and right away I knew that Australia was where I wanted to spend my semester. From there, I enrolled directly to USC and my home university helped me with that process whenever I needed it.

I found that my courses here at USC were a lot more relaxed than the courses I had at home. For my science courses at home, I can expect to have four exams throughout the semester along with lab work and other smaller assignments and quizzes. Here, however, most of my courses consisted of one project and a final exam which gave me so much more time to explore.

Before I came to Australia, I made a list of all the places I wanted to see in Australia as well as the other countries I wanted to visit while I was here. Unfortunately, I was unable to do everything I wanted to do because of the corona virus, but that just forced me to dive deeper into the Sunshine Coast and discover all of the amazing things the area had to offer. My favourite things about the Sunshine Coast include:

  1. kangaroosNoosa National Park: This was my absolute favourite place on the Sunshine Coast, and one of my favourite places I have ever been to. The views here are phenomenal and there is so much wildlife to see every single time you go here—I even saw a wild koala! I was lucky enough to skydive over Noosa, and it’s even prettier from the sky which I didn’t think was possible.
  2. The Australia Zoo: I heard so many amazing things about the Australia Zoo before coming here, but my expectations were blown out of the water. Every day I spent at the zoo was a good day, whether I did an animal encounter with a rhino, cheetah or giraffe, watched a croc show at the Crocoseum, or just hung out with the kangaroos at Roo Heaven it was always the best time.
  3. Glass House Mountains: I climbed Mount Ngungun and while it was a pretty tiring hike, the view from the top made it all worth it.
  4. Tim Tams: I don’t think anyone who hasn’t tried one will truly understand how good they are. I am obsessed.
  5. The wildlife: The Sunshine Coast has so many amazing different species of wildlife. I spent so much time taking pictures of all the different animals and I will cherish them forever.

While my time here in Australia is finishing up, I am planning last minute trips to the Whitsundays and Sydney, but the Sunshine Coast will forever hold a special place in my heart.  My experience studying at USC is unforgettable and I am so blessed that I was able to experience this beautiful country.

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Joseph Bautista from the Philippines studying a Bachelor of Nursing Science (Graduate Entry) at USC Sunshine Coast

Image-11Hi, my name is Joe and I am an international student from the Philippines studying a Bachelor of Nursing Science (Graduate Entry) program here at USC Sunshine Coast. I lived in Sydney for one year before coming to the Sunshine Coast in order to pursue my studies.

Here is an interpretation of Joseph’s story here at USC Sunshine Coast:

The tale of 4 queens and a king

Once there was a man who lost track of his dreams. His aspirations were shattered and he found himself wandering offhand. One night, while staring blankly at the sky, he saw an orange falling talking star named Jet. It landed on his palm and asked him to whisper a wish. He uttered to bring him to a place where his “heart desires” then just like that, an hour and a half after, he found himself in a serene kingdom greeted by Queen Beam, the monarch of the sun. She felt that the kingdom from where the man was from has had close affiliation with the tropical sun. He immediately felt the warmth of her welcome, almost feeling like he was back home. The queen gave him a magical faster-than-the speeding-light blue card named Go to take him to places in his quest to find the realisation of his whispered wish. Soon enough, he found himself standing in front of another palace where he was escorted to see Queen Ridge. The queen was kind enough to show him the beauty of her kingdom – Mt. Beerwah, Mt. Coolum, and Mt. Ngungun.  At that point, he could not imagine how that experience would get any better.

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The morning after, he was awakened by the swashing sound of the wave and the cool breeze. On the small sunbed, he was served his brekky, and not long after, he was presented to Queen Beach, the moodiest of the queen sisters but regarded as the most beautiful one. He was warned by the palace guards that she could sometimes be calm and warm, other times turbulent and cold. Meeting the queen, she invited him to walk barefoot to feel the sand where the kingdom rose. Her majesty revealed the beauty of her dominion from the nearby Noosa, Mooloolaba, Mudjimba, and Marcoola to the farther Surfer’s Paradise, Fitzroy Island, and Whitsunday Islands discovering the largest coral reef system in the world. He thought he was having the time of his life, until he met the youngest ruler, Queen Mirth. She was up for all things fun like skydiving, surfing, exploring, or simply basking under the sun. With all these he was told that his true purpose would be revealed once he meets the king.

Image-8Days passed and Go brought him finally to the kingdom where he saw wild kangaroos lying on the grassland, in the middle of lofty structures. There he met King Lore, whose throne is the seat of knowledge and wisdom. The king granted him the gift to pursue his dreams by enriching his mind and develop his skills. The opportunity given came with a supporting entourage while allowing him to explore the kingdoms of the four queens, collectively known as Queensland. At that moment, he realised that the missing puzzle pieces were coming back to make him the person he wanted to be and finally he said, “I’m back on track.”

– Joe Bautista

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Kristoffer Wahome from Kilroy Norway studying a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) at USC Sunshine Coast

Kriss rooftop (3 of 12)Hi, My name is Kristoffer, I am a 25-year-old international student at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). I am pursuing a Bachelor Degree of Social Science (Psychology) and I am currently in my second year of studies.

I am an adventurous, outgoing social person that enjoys photography, sports and just living life. So the fact that the USC offers a range of social clubs to take part in, it has provided me the opportunity to form friendships with people from all around the globe with different backgrounds and culture, which is a huge bonus for me.

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Moving to Australia to study at USC was a decision I pondered about for a while before pursuing it, yet when I arrived on the Sunshine Coast I knew I had made the right decision. The weather is amazing most of the time and I am lucky to live less than a 5 minute walk away from the beach, could anyone ask for more?

As an international student that has spent over a year here on the Sunny Coast, there is still plenty of things left for me to see and experience, I frankly cannot get enough of this place. However, I can recommend some essentials that any new student here should try out;

  • Kriss rooftop grain (10 of 13)A trip up the coast to Noosa National Park where you can relax in the fairy pools, and if you’re lucky, spot a Koala making its way up in the trees
  • Visit Byron Bay, the most iconic little Australian town in my mind, you just have to experience it for your self
  • Some early mornings at the beach watching the sunrise while you’re out on your surfboard in the water
  • Trying to climb any of the nearby mountains for a chance to see a spectacular view over the coast
  • Make your way to any of the waterfalls around the coast, for a fun adventure
  • USC International - Brand Ambassador event 2 (61 of 65)Camping trips to the national forest, bonfires at night while watching the most starry sky I have found on my travels

I recommend anyone to come study at USC if you are interested in pursuing an authentic Australian experience while reviving a great education with like minded students from all around the word.

– Kristoffer Wahome @kristofferwahome

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Nathalie Bergstrom from Kilroy Sweden studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast

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Hi!! My name is Nathalie, I’m from Sweden and I am doing my exchange semester here at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). I study Intro to Film and TV studies, Creative Advertising, New Venture Growth, and Learning in Australian Landscapes. Kilroy Sweden was a great help for me when applying to USC, they answered all the questions I had at the time of applying.

I love the Sunshine Coast, it is just an amazing place to live and I am so happy I chose this school. The school is nice and is located around beautiful nature where you can find kangaroos jumping around which is just amazing to see every time. I enjoy my accommodation, it is just 5 minutes walk to school which is great if you’re running a bit late to class. I have my own bedroom and bathroom which I love so I can have my stuff where I want and clean myself.

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With the course Learning in Australian Landscapes, we go on four field trips during the semester which is just amazing. First trip was paddling at Noosa, it was so beautiful and a fun day trip. Next up was abseiling and climbing at Mount Ngungun which I was a bit nervous about, mainly because I had never climbed before and I am scared of heights. However, I was proud of myself that I did it. The third trip was an overnight trip to Cooloola National Park. The fourth and last trip was to Fraser Island which is about two hours from here. When we came to the island my group started biking on the sand and it was great and so much fun biking on the beach looking at the waves. After that, we changed groups and we got to pick up trash on the beach!

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The next day we went to the rainforest on the island and walked for a bit which was so beautiful! We also learned more about the vegetation on the island. Later on, we went to Lake McKenzie which had the clearest water I’ve seen, it was so beautiful. On the third day we did some stops and then went back home to the coast. I was so tired the days after the trip but it was so worth it!

I have also been to Brisbane and the Gold Coast which are both great places to visit for a more ‘big city’ feeling. Before I go home, I have planned to go to Cairns, Whitsundays, and Sydney. During my time here, I have seen so much already and I have some trips still coming after school. I really think it is worth coming here to study if you’re considering it, as it is just amazing and there’s so much to do and see. I really recommend studying at USC and experience the Sunshine Coast.

– Nathalie Bergstrom @nattisbergstrom

Top 10 Photos from our International Students in 2019

In 2019, we have had a record year with over 500 photos tagged with @USC.International & #USCInternational on Instagram. Here are some of our favourites!

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@maggi95 visited the beautiful Glass House Mountains while studying at USC. Just a 20 minute drive from USC Sunshine Coast, and we assume the view was worth it!

 

 

 

 

 

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@philipppp93 took this amazing photo of a wombat when he visited Tasmania during his study break.

 

 

 

 

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@christiianaaaa went snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef during her semester break and we must say this is a pretty good photo to take away from the experience!

 

 

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Why not cuddle up with the Irwin family’s animals at Australia Zoo? Seems like this kangaroo didn’t mind the company of @haleymahony

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Don’t feel like climbing up a mountain, but would like a good view? @sophi.r0 took this amazing photo from the Glass House Mountain Lookout, located right next to the Bruce Highway.

 

 

 

 

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A place you must visit whilst studying at USC Sunshine Coast? Noosa National Park, only 35 min away from the University! @marcgrazz

 

 

 

 

 

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Surfing is a popular sport here in Australia and the Sunshine Coast is a prime spot in itself. This amazing sunrise photo was captured by @emilie_lie and @johanmarkusm whilst out paddling

 

 

 

 

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@ali_hannah2 enjoying her semester break on horseback – we would not say no to that!

 

 

 

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A very popular trip amongst our international students involves 4W driving up Fraser Island. Looks like @eggrem and his friends had a great time!

 

 

 

 

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@thomas.p.photography’s took some really spectacular photos of the stars, and our kangaroos here on campus. Not to mention, the two kangaroos playing at Cape Hillsborough

8 Places To Watch The Sunset On The Sunshine Coast 🌅

Are you tired of just watching the sunset from your balcony? We have gathered the best sunset spots on the Sunshine Coast for you and your friends to check out!

ngungun1. Mount Ngungun, Glass House Mountains

Mount Ngungun, located in the Glass House Mountain National Park, is the sixth tallest of the mountains at 253 m. It has a well maintained walking trail to the summit and offers spectacular views. The trail from car park is not as steep as the higher mountains and is open to beginners, making it a great mountain for you and your friends to spend the arvo!

2. Mount Coolum

coolum
Photo: SunshineCoast Council

Climbing to the top of this 25 million year old laccolith (a mass of igneous rock) is a must-do when studying on the Sunshine Coast, not to mention the views from the top which provides spectacular views at sunrises and sunsets. 20 minutes away from the USC, Mount Coolum lies between the Sunshine motorway to the west, the shoreline to the east, Coolum Beach to the north and Marcoola in the south.

3. Emu Mountain (aka. Mt Peregian)

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Photo: Malin Gregor

Emu Mountain got it’s name from the local Aboriginal word Peregian and is an easy and approx 10 min walk to the top. Emu Mountain offers a quiet place for you and your friends to sit down and enjoy the sunset. You can park your car and start the walk from Havana Road (next to Coolum High School), and make sure to check out the Queensland Parks and Wildlife information board.

4. Mooloolaba Beach

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Photo: Kristoffer Wahome

And of course, Mooloolaba Beach is one of the easy-accessible spots where you can easily watch the sunset from. If you go down to the beach just across from the Fisheries on the Spit, you’ll be able to see one of the best sunsets and maybe even enjoy an afternoon swim.

5. Noosa River

noosariver
Photo: Instagram @Jbath7

Maybe watching the sunset from Noosa River haven’t crossed your mind yet, but this place is definitely worth checking out! With just a 40 minute drive from the University, the river is also known for its populations of migratory birdlife, so you’ll never be alone while watching the sun set in the horizon.

6. Moffat Headland, Caloundra

moffat
Photo: Instagram @amandalovejoy4551

With its vibrant little strip of alfresco cafes and restaurants full of chatty locals, classy accommodation and a famous surf break, Moffat Beach has its own unique character that sets it apart from other areas of Caloundra (VisitSunshineCoast). Being a spot known for good waves, this might be the place for you to watch the sun set whilst enjoying a good arvo surf. Can you think of anything better?!

7. Alex Hill, Alexandra Headland

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Photo: Instagram @mysunshinecoast

We must not forget Alex Hill (or wall) as we might call it! Located right in front of the prime surf spot in Alexandra Headland, this is the spot if you want to enjoy a sunset with your friends, without having to plan too much or drive too far. You might even decide to go for a surf and watch the sunset from the water!

8. Gerrards Lookout, Maleny-Montville

feThis spectacular lookout located on the Maleny-Montville road has become one of our favourite. This lookout gives you an amazing (almost 360) view where you can either watch the sunrise in the morning, or sunset at night. If you don’t mind the drive and may plan to visit Montville or Maleny, we definitely recommend a stop at this beautiful spot!