A working hostel in Maroochydore (Sunshine Coast), Queensland, Australia

After Brisbane we knew we had to find a way to save some money, ideally we dreamed to live near the beach and find a job there, so we could enjoy the time and not spent too much money. We were really lucky, I found a flyer in our hostel in Brisbane of a working hostel in Maroochydore – it promised to help finding a job, free surfboards and is close to the beach. We found all this and more, Cottontree Hostel  is a beautiful old wooden building just at the river park. To the main beach it is only a 8 minute walk. It is a very small, family like hostel – they always try to provide a farm job for all inhabitants, depending on the season. As often as possbile we used the surf and SUP boards to have fun in the ocean or on the river or just chilled at the beach. The work was quite hard, working on a farm is not easy. But since we lived as cheap as possible (also working in the hostel for accommodation), after 3 months we succeeded at finally saving some money so we could travel a bit in Australia. Living like that we couldn’t party much or go out for dinner, but we still enjoyed to discover the beautfiul area and had a lot of fun with the hostel family.

The Sunshine Coast seems to be one of the nicest parts of Australia, at least that’s what people told us many times. The people living there are mostly extremely nice and open minded, whenever we stayed in the park we made some new friends, especially when we played the ukuele or practiced some yoga. The weather, in the “winter” months we spent there, was pretty nice too, it is a bit better than german summer. Sometimes it rained or was windy, but we had many beautiful, sunny days. We went for daytrips to amazing Noosa National Park, to Coolum and Mount Coolum, to Buderim Waterfall and to Mooloolaba. For us, this part of the world felt like paradise, so many things you can do here. Surfing was great and if you prefer calmer water, just enjoy the salty end of the river. 3 months was too short, we even missed the Glasshouse Mountains, the Markets and other waterfalls, as always I have to come back one day… 😉


In Maroochydore, the beautiful river flows into the ocean creating the impressive “Black Swan” lagoon. The river is also very beautiful in the upper parts, along it goes a nice walking path and many people go fishing on the sides or on boats. The lagoon next to the Cottontree Park is just mind blowing, long sandy dunes at the sides, shallow, quiet, half salty water, many birds and fishes. With a canoe or a SUP board we went to explore it and enjoyed many sunsets with rainbow colours. Cottontree Park with its beautiful trees is always full of active people, ether going for water sports or doing Yoga or other training on the grass. Or just hang out with friends, have a barbeque, balance on the slackline or go to one of the many events around the year. Every Sunday there is a small market near all the cafés next to the park, buy some local groceries or snacks and listen to a nice live band.


The beach in Maroochydore is great for surfing, depending on the weather of course. It can be wild and windy or clear and flat. There are several surf schools offering lessons and a few surf shops in town. The water is very clean and the sand super soft. In the morning in winter around 6:30 am we observed a beautiful sunrise and a lot of Australians were already active on the beach. At the Surf Life Club you can enjoy free wifi at the beach and go in the water safely.


Next to a little side arm of the river, they built a nice, big shopping centre – Sunshine Plaza. We went there often to enjoy the fast free wifi or to go to one of the many nice restaurants. Target and Kmart are very cheap shops in Australia, where you can get everything from clothes, camping gear, bikes to shoes. No reason to bring too much stuff in your backpack, it’s pretty affordable to buy things here. The cinema offers reduced entry on Tuesday nights and shows a lot of movies at all the times you can dream of. Not far from the shopping centre is Ocean Street, an area with lots of restaurants, bars and cafés, even some nice vegan places and locations where you can go dancing.


Maroochydore seems to be famous for its many Op Shops and yes – it’s pretty amazing for a little town like this. We went to 5 big Op Shops regularly and found amazing stuff: Wetsuit for about 10$, two great bikes for 50$, shoes for 3$, a kick scooter for 5$ and many more things. No idea if it’s everywhere like that, but so far Australia was second hand paradise for us!

The local library is also worth a visit, it is absolutely free and offers free wifi and toilet and a great quiet area where you can work and charge you devices. I loved to spend some quiet, productive afternoons there!


A lot of people from the hostel went to fitness studios in Maroochydore or to Yoga studios, some of them are affordable especially compared to the big cities. I tried a month for about 50$ at Phoenix Yoga Studio, they offer amazing Hot Yoga (Bikram Style) and Vinyasa and Yin Yoga Classes. The teacher team is super nice and I really liked the classes there. Bikram Yoga is definitly something I would love to do every week since I got to know it there, especially in the cold months!


From the beach in Maroochydore it is a beautiful walk along the beach towards the next town Mooloolaba, on the way back you can also walk back along the very nice promenade. There are some nice cliffs, parks, surf spots and special rock formations on the way, very beautfiul. Mooloolaba is great for shopping and restaurants just next to the beach. Of course with free wifi.

One day we took the bus from Maroochydore to Buderim and walked to the waterfall in the jungle a few streets from the main roundabout where the busstation was. It is a nice walk through the jungle and quickly we found the impressive stream going through big rocks and creating small waterfalls. Ideally go early in the morning to be there when the sun stands high and shines through the trees, otherwise there might be a lot of mosquitos. The waterfall is not huge, but the way it flows over the rocks and forms the nice little pool is very picturesque!

So this was our working hostel experience! I really recommend going to Maroochydore, of course every season will be different. I would love to hear about your experience, or maybe recommendations of other places. 🙂


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