Gaze out from our Maroochy River Prize Home on the Sunshine Coast, and you’ll see the lifeblood of the Maroochy region snaking through the fields below.
The stunningly beautiful Maroochy River is the largest river system on the Sunshine Coast with a network of vein-like tributaries spreading across the hinterland. Beginning life high up in the Blackall and Mooloolah Ranges, the north and south arms of the Maroochy River wind their way through the historic towns of Eumundi and Yandina before meeting up on the hinterland flood plains for the last leg of the journey to Cotton Tree at Maroochydore.
The balcony of our Maroochy River Prize Home is the perfect place to kick back and watch river life unfold as it has for hundreds, even thousands, of years. Travel in time back along the river to before European settlement and this natural paradise was home to the Gubbi Gubbi indigenous people. (Gubbi Gubbi describes the language group spoken by the local indigenous people that lived in the region stretching from the Pine River on Brisbane’s outskirts all the way the Burrum River north of Maryborough.)
For the Gubbi Gubbi people, fishing the Maroochy River provided a plentiful source of food. Teeming with fish, from Bream to Bass, the river is still a much-loved fishing destination for Sunshine Coast locals and visitors. But more about that later.
Drift forward in time to the early days of settlement and the river served as an important means of transport. In fact, in those early times, the only way to get from the township of Yandina to the coastal village of Maroochydore was by boat down the river. The river was also used to transport goods (that had been shipped up the coast from Brisbane) inland to Nambour.
As the settlements grew, the flood plains that spread out from the river’s banks were ripe for farming.
In the late 1800s, fields of sugar cane began to spring up along the banks of the river.
Growing cane there was a test. Early pastoralists had tried and failed with sugar cane crops in other areas, but Maroochy with its sub-tropical climate and flat, fertile land was a winner.
Huge loads of harvested sugar cane were carried up the river to the new sugar cane mill in Nambour for crushing.
As production grew a tramway was built to help transport the cane to Nambour.
A remnant of this system is the Tramway Lift Bridge that was constructed in 1921 to enable the cane tram to cross the Maroochy River before heading into Nambour.
The bridge, ingeniously designed to raise so that rivercraft could pass by, is now Heritage Listed and can be found at the end of Store Road. (Come up to see the Prize Home and you can search this one out as well.)
Along with agriculture, a fledgling tourism industry was also taking shape in the early 1900s.
One of the first ‘tourist attractions’ in the area was Dunethin Rock, a naturally-formed rock monolith on the south bank of the Maroochy River.
In those early days, the place was a veritable tourism hot spot for day-trippers and holiday-makers eager to enjoy a splendid day out on the river with a picnic stop at Dunethin.
The Rock, which was added to the Sunshine Coast Heritage Register in 2009, can easily be scampered up for outstanding views up and down the river and across the flood plains to the mountain ranges beyond.
What’s really special is that Dunethin Rock can actually be seen from our Maroochy River Prize Home.
If you make the trip to the Coast to explore the home, don’t forget to play ‘spot the rock’. To give you a helping hand, the pool area offers one of the better vantage points from the home. Look down across the river and you should be able to spy the grey mound of Dunethin Rock poking up above the trees.
While you gaze down there, imagine a ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ type scene – you know, ladies with parasols dressed elegantly in white stepping ashore from charming river boats to explore – and you’ll have pretty good picture of what life was once like at the rock.
These days recreation on the river looks a little different.
Today, you can spot tinnies cruising the river for the perfect fishing spot, water skiers weaving their way through the reaches and kayaks silently gliding with the tide.
With native trees overhanging the banks, and glimpses of wildlife darting into hiding as you pass, it’s easy to feel immersed in another world when you get
Down at the river mouth, it’s a completely different vibe.
Cotton Tree’s Riverside area is a favourite with families looking for calm water swimming and paddling.
It can get quite busy here, but there’s always a spot on the beach and the mood is fun and relaxed.
The area is so popular, in fact, that the famous Cotton Tree Holiday Park next door is booked out by happy campers over a year ahead for school holiday stays.
However, in the low season it’s still possible to snap up a cracker of a spot with just a few days’ notice.
Cotton Tree is another great spot for kayaking, although it does require some caution. The current in the river mouth can be strong from the incoming and outgoing tides so be mindful that, if it’s the kids wielding the paddles, they don’t go out too far.
But what if you’re in the mood for adventure? What could the river possibly serve up to scratch that itch?
How about a once-in-a-lifetime flight in the Sunshine Coast’s only seaplane?
With the Maroochy River as your ‘airstrip’, you’ll take off in the Wilga Warbird for a bird’s eye view of the coast and the turquoise waters of the river mouth.
While the thrill of flying without doors on the seaplane is a slightly crazy optional extra, having your seatbelt on, and heart in mouth, are mandatory.
We promised we’d get back to it, so here we are, bobbing about, waiting for a bite.
But if you’re going to sit around, rod in hand, waiting for something to happen, a beautiful location like the Maroochy River certainly helps.
By all accounts, you won’t be waiting long though.
Fishing the Maroochy River is hugely popular (you certainly wouldn’t describe the Maroochy River as the Sunshine Coast’s best kept fishing secret) but for good reason.
With a huge 26km of fishable waters, there is plenty of river, and fish, to go around.
Flathead and bream are on offer year-round if you know where to look. Anglers also hook Trevally, Whiting and even Mangrove Jack in summer.
The river mouth is popular if you’re chasing big Bream, Jewfish or Tailor.
The legendary ‘Cod Hole’, on the southern bank, just upstream from where the Sunshine Motorway crosses the river, is a favourite with beginners and experienced anglers alike. Just make sure you bring the live bait.
Further upstream, around Eudlo Creek, you could even try to coax an Aussie Bass out of hiding…
If fishing’s your thing, it doesn’t really get any better than this.
The beauty of the Maroochy River region really has to be seen in person. Come and enjoy the amazing views from our stunning Maroochy River Prize Home, at 56 Ocean Vista Drive, Maroochy River, just a 90-minute drive from Brisbane. Why not make a day of it and clamber up Dunethin Rock to see if you can spot our Prize Home across the river or head on over to Cotton Tree or even Coolum to wet your toes. The home is open daily between 10am and 5pm AEST right up until the lottery closes on Wednesday July 17.
Can’t make it to explore this beautiful Prize Home in person? No worries. We have brought the Maroochy River to you. Take the virtual tour of our Maroochy River Prize Home now.
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