Gorgeous Caloundra is just over an hour’s drive north of Brisbane. It’s a relaxed holiday town that offers the perfect family escape.
Laurel Edwards has fond memories of childhood holidays in Caloundra. Now she and husband Troy Cassar-Daley bring their kids, Clay and Jem, to the Sunshine Coast town a few times a year.
Clay’s favourite hangout is Red Door Records on Bulcock Street. Owner Adam sells a massive range of quality original pressings and new vinyl records that will keep everyone from avid collectors to nostalgia-lovers happy.
Beach-lovers have plenty of choice, with not one or two, but six completely different beaches to enjoy on a family holiday.
From Golden Beach in the south, you can explore the gorgeous Pumicestone Passage on all manner of watercraft; the more protected Bulcock & Kings Beaches are always popular with families; and Shelly, Moffat and Dicky Beach offer up a few more waves, spectacular views and their own charm.
But if you step a few streets back from the sand, you’ll find some of Caloundra’s hidden gems…and it’s probably where you’ll find Laurel’s daughter Jem.
In between Ormuz Avenue and Bulcock Street is the tiny Lamkin Lane – wander down and you’ll discover some fabulous little boutiques, cafés, and a favourite spot for Jem and Laurel – Lamkin Lane Espresso Bar. This place is a must-visit on any trip to Caloundra, and for good reason. They’ve won awards for their coffee beans, best café on the Sunshine Coast, third-best café in Australia, as well as having Tilly behind the espresso machine – who’s the best barista in Australia and Queensland (four years in a row).
The laneway has a lovely vibe, and if you wander up a little further, you’ll find another popular coffee shop – Mr Z & Co – where they use beans from Noosa roasters Clandestino and are well-known for their freshly baked treats.
Just next door is another favourite shop for Jem and Laurel. Villa Verde Living would have to be one of Caloundra’s most unique boutiques, located in an original 1950s cottage. There’s a lovely collection of gorgeous gifts, housewares and women’s fashion, as well as a few surprises.
But there’s no surprises when it comes to finding Troy’s favourite shop: He’s usually jamming away at The Guitar Den on Bulcock Street. The hole-in-the-wall shop sells new, used and vintage guitars and offers repairs, services as well as guitar lessons. Troy’s been visiting since the shop opened — 20 years ago! It’s another reminder of how Caloundra has retained its village charm.
Another local secret is the Lifeline store (one of Laurel’s favourite shops) – where you can pick up a bargain and maybe some relaxed beachwear for your lazy weekend.
The town’s laid-back vibes are what keep people (and Laurel’s family) coming back year after year…so if it’s been a while since you’ve visited, start planning a trip.
Tip: Visit on a Sunday for the Caloundra Street Fair, from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Bulcock Street. Meet friendly locals and enjoy fresh food, handcrafted locally made products and art, activities for kids, live entertainment and street theatre. You can watch a glimpse here. Keep an eye out for the Twilight Markets on Friday nights throughout the year.
Here are some other suggestions for your weekend away in Caloundra: