Chase the sun with the East Coast's best sunrise spots
Image: Mountain Ash, Flickr
If you're looking for the ultimate vista of green and gold for your daybreak kick-start, the sunrise from the top of historic Mount Coolum (26 millions years old, no less!) is one not to miss. Offering the most stunning view of the Sunshine Coast, the energetic walk (moderate fitness required) to the summit of this mountain is well worth the effort. The prize? An unbeatable panorama as the sun ascends to greet you. Take a packed brekkie, and lose yourself to the wonder of nature in all its glory – just allow 30-40 minutes from base to peak to get there in time for the spectacle.
Where to stay: Noosa Heads YHA
There is little more Australian (and little more rad in my view) than talented surfers doing their thing. To me, it’s one of the wonders of the world, along with… sunrises. So when it comes to combining the two, it would be fair to say that you can almost feel the magic, with the hardcore daybreak surfies matching their turns to each rising ray. With Snapper Rocks renowned on the surfing scene as the place of the Australia Quicksilver Pro, the vista not only promises sun, surf and sand, but an iconic location, too. This is a sunrise definitely worth an early alarm.
Where to stay: Coolangatta YHA - Kirra Beach
My favourite eastern facing beach on Earth is without a doubt Sunshine Beach. Nestled south of Noosa Heads, this stretch of white sand is one of the coolest places to sip your sun-up coffee as you lose yourself to the sound of waves and dashing beauty. Think – fluorescent orb appearing with heart-stopping magnificence over the horizon, and you’re there. Remember those worries you had? Gone. This place is truly a paradise-found representing all that is incredible about our great land. And I'm not the only one who thinks so, as proud locals revel in their wake-up call every morning with a run, swim or yoga session timed for the light hitting their skin.
Where to stay: Noosa Heads YHA
Image: Mike Friederich, Flickr
Situated a little west out of Brisbane city and forming the eastern extent of the Taylor Range, is Mount Coot-tha, 287 metres above sea level. A favourite haunt of mine when in Brisvegas for its immense views, Mount Coot-tha offers the most outstanding sunrise snoop at the city while she still sleeps, with sparkling rays bouncing off the urban landscape like a strobe. Get there before the sun has shown itself and you will be rewarded with the most spectacular display of colours as our nearest star peeks over the horizon.
Where to stay: Brisbane City YHA
There is little more jaw-dropping than the sight of the sun ascending over the rugged unspoilt coastline of Byron Bay, as humpback whales frolic in the azure waters below during their migration north for winter. We have seen and we have swooned. With the vecinity of Cape Byron Lighthouse the perfect elevated spot from which to take a seat (it is the easternmost point of the mainland of Australia), mother nature really does put on a show from the months of June to October as the whales move from their Antarctic summer feeding grounds. And its not just whales you might see. Dolphins and even turtles are on that list too (take or hire some binoculars for greater viewing) – all set against the most breath-taking backdrop basking in a pink dawn. Tempted? You should be.
Where to stay: Byron Bay YHA
Other Great Australian Sunrises
It’s not just Northern New South Wales and South-East Queensland that have the monopoly on sunrises. No, there are also some other incredible spots across Australia, including . . .
- Lord Howe Island, New South Wales – One of the first places in Australia to see the sunrise.
- Uluru, Northern Territory – Imagine a glowing red monolith set against a sandy desert.
- Three Sisters (Blue Mountains), New South Wales – Hang out by these famous sandstone peaks 922 metres above the valley floor.
- Mt Kosciuszko, New South Wales – As Australia’s tallest peak, just be prepared for a bit of a walk out there.
- Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory – With so many lookouts over this stunning ancient land, you’ll get a true taste of Indigenous Australia.
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