How to beat the winter blues – get up there to Dakota Ridge

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Grab your gloves and toque, winter is here and Dakota Ridge is a winter paradise just waiting to be explored. West coast winter rains mean fresh snow higher up on Dakota Ridge, and you’ll find world-class cross country skiing and snowshoeing right here on the Sunshine Coast.

snow shoeing on the Sunshine Coast

IMG_6935This 1,500 acre plateau features 20 kilometres of world class groomed and track set cross country ski trails (classic and skate) and another 8 kilometres of snowshoe trails, plus acres and acres of backcountry terrain. The winding trails pass through old growth forests and open areas in a beautiful subalpine setting.

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Topping out at 1,200 metres, you’ll get amazing views of the Coast Mountains, Vancouver Island, and Georgia Straight capturing the magic of the Sunshine Coast.

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Dakota Ridge is located off Field Road in Wilson Creek, 14 kilometres up the forest service road. The access road is plowed on a regular basis. However, at subalpine elevations, winter conditions should always be expected on the road and access is restricted to four-wheel drive vehicles with chains.

Alpha Adventures is your “go to” place for equipment and shuttle services.  They have a great selection of cross country skis and snow shoes, and can provide a safe and convenient shuttle service to get you up the mountain and onto the snow.

Check out this Facebook link for daily up-dates on road and snow conditions up top… what are you waiting for??

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Walking Holidays on the Sunshine Coast – #11 – Hidden Grove & an amazing set of trails to explore just 5 minutes from Coracle Cove

How good is this… a walk through a beautiful forest and a chance to do some photography – sounds like the perfect outing for me!! Hidden Grove is just five minutes from Coracle Cove and I’ve been spending a lot of time there lately.

Google Map for Hidden Grove1

A series of wonderful trails has been created over the past few years and a second, widened trail with a good smooth base has just been finished by the hard working crew of volunteers. Both are perfect for the wheels of your choice – a wheel chair or a child’s stroller – providing increased access to a broader spectrum of users.

There’s a cultural history component to the trail system as well. Shortly after entering the trails you’ll notice several trees which have undergone bark stripping. The shíshálh Nation who have settled the area for several millennia, continue to harvest the bark of the cedar tree to make traditional baskets, regalia and clothing. The bark is relatively thin and grows back quickly.

The history of Hidden Grove is also one of survival… survival from natural fires of several centuries ago, which left charred bark up to a foot thick on the largest Douglas firs. More recently, the area was scheduled for logging but the local community rallied together  and Hidden Grove has been saved again.

Today these precious 125 acres have been set aside solely for recreation and less than 5 minutes away from Coracle Cove, they provide our guests a nearby opportunity for both solitude and a re-connection with nature.

View from Hidden Grove

The main trail rises gently, passing rocky outcrops and mossy plateaus and I branched off to the yellow trail to take this picture. The trail wound its way around a large outcropping of rocks and the view from the top was outstanding. It shows the very narrow stretch of land upon which the town of  Sechelt sits  and how it got it’s first name “Land Between Two Waters.”    We could just make out Vancouver Island in the distance across the Salish Sea

Hidden Groves near Sechelt

The extensive trail system loops through some interesting micro-climates and vegetation. Coming down from Pine Bluff, I picked up the Red Trail and as I followed it further, the change in vegetation was dramatic with a profusion of low growing ferns and moss covered tree trunks.

Hidden Groves near Sechelt

The network of trails is well marked with signs like this at each intersection, and it’s impossible to lose one’s way. Today,  it seemed as if I had the trails completely to myself, with the exception of a a couple of woodpeckers who kept me company with their rhythmic tapping on the trunks of the trees.

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Favourite Fall Memories at Coracle Cove

Fall Colours at Coracle Cove

I’m celebrating my 100th blog with a look back at some of my Favourite Fall Memories. I call September the “endless summer month.”  Maybe it’s because I’m retired that I have the time to really enjoy and appreciate the blue sunny skies and warm temperatures, but it still seems like a bonus.

September at Coracle Cove

The hot days of August are behind us so there’s less thermal wind during the day. The morning water is flat, creating beautiful reflections.

Fall sunrise 2012 - Version 2

As each day passes, the sun rises and sets a little further south and is lower in the sky. This can result in the most amazing sunrises that make you want to jump out of bed and grab your camera.


Sometimes there’s a little mist in the morning, hanging gently over the calm, flat water.


And then at the end of the day, the low setting sun repeats its amazing colourful display over our western shoreline.

I’ve put together a video of some of my favourite Fall Memories – I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

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Sunshine Coast Annual Art Crawl 2015 – it just keeps getting better

How often do you get to visit an internationally acclaimed artist in their own studio and watch them working at their craft? I’ve got my own dance card filled in for this much anticipated weekend of creativity and I’ll be updating this blog on my Facebook page as the weekend progresses. Follow me as I visit an amazing array of creative talent.

Sunshine Coast ART CRAWL

October 2014 – As a long time resident I’m aware of the large number of artists who are attracted to the lifestyle and beauty of the Sunshine Coast. But last year I was given an insider’s list of the “best of the best” studios to visit during the annual Sunshine Coast ART CRAWL. I had an amazing weekend and came away with a whole new appreciation for the tremendous amount of talent hidden away in this colourful, eclectic community.

Sunshine Coast ART CRAWL

With this much anticipated event  just a few weeks away I decided it was time to update this post.

Sunshine Coast ART CRAWL

Sunshine Coast ART CRAWL

 This is a great weekend getaway where you can take a scenic coastal tour of 135+ galleries, artist studios and more. You’ll have a chance to meet the artists in their studios and experience the vibrant arts and culture community on the Sunshine Coast. There’s no pressure to buy, just a weekend for you to see some new art, talk with the artists and most of all, to enjoy the experience.

Last year there were several opening night receptions taking place up and down the Coast. Goldmoss Studio in Roberts Creek was definitely “the place to be” and  Fresh from the Coast in Sechelt, offering live music and a demonstration by local artist Brett Varney, also attracted a good crowd.

Artist: Brett Varney

Just a few doors down the street, Artworks celebrated with more food and music and a demonstration by contemporary artist Donna Swain. It was a magical experience watching this image emerge on her canvas.

As the evening progressed, a large crowd converged at RockHouse Studio... even the Mayor showed up to help celebrate Art on the Sunshine Coast.  RockHouse, as the name implies features a large granite interior wall which was an intersting counterpoint to the work of impressionist painter Dana Caple Smith.

Sechelt’s Mayor John Henderson with Dana Caple Smith

Saturday morning broke with unexpected sunny skies and I was really looking forward to visiting my “best of the best” list of Arts Crawl participants in the Roberts Creek area.

 This is it. Design, a glassworks studio, is tucked away deep in the woods of Upper Roberts Creek, and this modernistic studio, filled with treats both inside and out, is now on my official visitors’ must see list.

Further up the road, as I drove deeper into the forest I found yet another hidden jewel, just down a roadway behind this interesting street marker.

Andrew Dunkerton came to the Coast in 1975 and has lovingly crafted his beautiful post and beam studio from the trees on his small acreage. Andrew’s love of wood carries on into the studio where he has created beautiful Northwest Coast style masks and bentwood boxes.

My next stop was filled with more surprises. Goldmoss Gallery, with polished concrete floors, high ceilings and large windows offering magestic ocean vistas beyond would not be out of place in an urbane setting were it not for the majestic tall cedars surrounding the gallery. Goldmoss, which opened in 2010 provides a mix of work by local artists Bon and Lee Roberts as well as others from afar, and their goal is “to provide original fine art to established and emerging collectors.”

Artist: Sally Michener

Sunday brought forth another sunny morning. It was going to be a perfect day for a drive up the Coast to visit a special studio in Halfmoon Bay. But first I wanted to re-visit the studio of Laurie Rolland. Laurie’s small tidy studio in Davis Bay belies her status as an artist whose pottery has been displayed internationally and held in both corporate and public collections (as well as my own)

Sunshine Coast ART CRAWL

George Pratt’s studio was the last on my list and I was looking forward to my visit.  Like many artists that I had met this weekend, George was drawn to the Coast as much by its lifestyle as its beauty.  His work is widely collected in North America by private individuals and corporations and several large works have been commissioned for public display in Canada. Some also  have been presentation works for foreign dignitaries including Prince Phillip and Bill Clinton. I was greeted by several of his creations as I walked up the driveway.

His home based studio, set on five acres of rock and trees offers inspiring panoramic views of Welcome Passage and Thormanby Island. More recently, this talented artist has turned to painting and coming inside his studio of vibrant colours was like a fine dessert to end this wonderful weekend.

I’m really looking forward to this year’s Art Crawl. The studio guide has just been published and I know that I’ll be in for a very full  weekend.

Follow this link to return to my website at or to read some of my other recommendations for the Sunshine Coast.


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A guide to the Farmers & Artisan Markets on the Sunshine Coast

Markets on the Sunshine Coast

The relaxed lifestyle and natural beauty of Sunshine Coast has attracted an eclectic mix of people, many of whom are both creative and talented. Coasters also like to know where their food comes from, and a trip to the community market is a regularly scheduled event to pick up freshly picked supplies for a special dinner, and often to see what your favourite potter has just fired in her kiln.

Sechelt Farmers Market

Fortunately for locals, as well as those visiting the Sunshine Coast there are plenty of markets to choose from. Here’s a guide to help you experience the full flavour of Farmers & Artisan Markets on the Sunshine Coast.

Wednesdays Farm Gate Market: until October 28. Locally grown produce and organic food, 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM, Roberts Creek Hall. Insider tip: ask how the ancient Maya used these raw cacao ingredients to treat a variety of ailments.

Markets on the Sunshine Coast




Thursdays  Gibsons Night Market: to Sept 3.   Food, live music, crafts, chocolate, lotions, art, clothing, and more. 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM, 626 Shaw Rd, Gibsons (behind Petro Can),


Friday Farmers’ Market at the Gibsons Public Market:. Pick up locally grown fruits and vegetables, seedlings for your own garden, frozen seafood, fresh flowers, fresh bread, local honey and preserves, local chocolate and other ready to eat foods. Listen to live music while sipping one of Persephone’s fine craft beers. Afterwards, enjoy a stroll through Gibsons Landing. 1:30 PM – 6:00 PM, 473 Gower Point Rd (every Friday until Oct 9th)

Sechelt Farmer's Market



Saturdays  Sechelt Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market:  The original and largest market on the Sunshine Coast – always local – always fresh – and an extensive collection of local artisans.  Insider tip: ask Farmer John for a jar of his hidden supply of Highland Marmalade. 9:00 am – 2:30 pm at the end of Cowrie Street by the Library. Every Saturday to Sept 26.

Sechelt Market










Sundays  Roberts Creek Heart Market: to September 20. Local, organic farm produce, artisan wares and crafts. Live entertainment. A co-operative venture between the Roberts Creek Health Food Store, The Heart Gardens, and Heart of the Creek Holdings, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Markets on the Sunshine Coast

Sundays  Gibsons Landing Sunday Market: every Sunday to end of September. Locally made crafts, baked goods and fresh produce.  10:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Holland Park, across from Winegarden Park in Gibsons Landing


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The Roberts Creek Mandala – an amazing undertaking

The Roberts Creek Mandala Project is an amazing undertaking having evolved from a humble creation of five friends who came together one weekend to paint over some negative graffiti. Eighteen years later it has become a week long community event, bringing together over 500 painters.

The overall design is laid down in white latex paint by the mandala’s crew of organizers and then the community gathers to paint a specific “canvas” and share their artistic vision.

Paint, brushes, and all other necessary implements are supplied and creativity is encouraged in this sacred space of focused intention. Children of all ages bring the Mandala back to life each summer.

There was definitely a festive mood when I visited the mandala a few years back. It was the final day of painting and the sun was shining brightly, music filled the air and several vendors had set up booths. Later that day there would be a celebration with more music and dancing.

You can find the mandala at the foot of Roberts Creek Road, at Chak Chak Point overlooking the gentle waters of Roberts Creek as they flow into the beautiful Salish Sea.

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Festival of the Rolling Arts getting ready to roll out the memories – August 7, 8 & 9

Most of us remember our first car – mine was a ’51 Chev, which I bought for a hundred hard-earned bucks. I worked part time pumping gas and the mechanics in the back were always pretty good about helping me to keep it running. I learned a lot about fixing cars.

1951 Pontiac Chiefton - not much difference between Pontiacs and Chevs back in the day

1951 Pontiac Chiefton – not much difference between Pontiacs and Chevs back in the day

A few years later, after working all summer in a remote fishing cannery, I came home with enough money in my pocket to pay for my next year of university, and became the proud owner of a 1961 Chev Impala Hardtop. It was sky blue and I’ve got lots of great memories of driving around in that beautiful car.

1961 Chev Impala  lots of memories in this baby

1961 Chev Impala
lots of memories in this baby

The Festival of the Rolling Arts, also known as the Sleepy Hollow Rod Run and Show’n Shine is coming up soon. It’s an all weekend event where we get an opportunity to walk down memory lane, remembering the cars we owned and those we once dreamed of owning.

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Old classic cars usually start showing up in our community during the week, and on Friday the Rod Run rolls out at 6:15pm. Last year’s run had 416 classic cars winding their way for 30km, through 3-4000 spectators, lining the highway on both sides from Sechelt to Halfmoon Bay and then along Redrooffs Road.

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The drivers are always amazed at their warm welcome from the enthusiastic cheering crowds. They make signs, dress in costumes and place couches/ lawn chairs in their driveways, with a number of barbecues and house parties in full swing. I’ll be gathering on Redrooffs Road, just before the Halfmoon Bay Fire Hall, where I’ll watch and party with my my son’s in-law’s. One year my two sons from Vancouver jumped in at the head of the parade in their old vintage motorcycles.

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Next morning, in downtown Sechelt, the main street is blocked off and lined with cars parked on both sides, stretching for several blocks. This is definitely a walk down memory lane, where you get a chance to have a closer look at these beautifully restored cars.  Check out this great video by local blogger Duane Burnett

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and here’s a sampling of some of our local entries:

1929 Model A Ford

1929 Model A Ford


1932 Ford Phaeton

1932 Ford Phaeton

1930 Model A Sport Coup

1930 Model A Sport Coup

1947 Plymouth

1947 Plymouth

1967 GTO - one of the first muscle-cars

1967 GTO – one of the first muscle-cars

If you haven’t seen this show then you’re in for a real treat, and if you can’t make it this year be sure to mark your calendar for next year’s event – it’s always the second weekend in August – and that’s always a great time to visit the Sunshine Coast.

Follow this link to return to Coracle Cove Waterfront Suite

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Discovering Sechelt Inlet – a highway of rich history for the shíshálh Nation

the totems of Sechelt

The shíshálh have lived on the Sunshine Coast for millennia, benefiting from the rich resources of the sea and the rain-forest, while enhancing their wealth through strategic marriages to foster peace, goodwill and trade.  With a population exceeding 25,000, their vast territory extended from Princess Louisa Inlet through the waters of Sechelt Inlet to their present community chálich (outside waters)

First Nations -  Pulling Together

First Nations – Pulling Together

The shíshálh were semi-nomadic, travelling between their summer and winter camps, in large canoes much larger than the war canoe pictured above. A journey of over 100 miles would involve many days of hard paddling. During the winter months the clans would gather at chálich where they would celebrate large potlatches, often lasting several weeks and sometimes months, as a means of enhancing their strategic relationships.

Talaysay Cultural Tour

Talaysay Tours and Sunshine Coast Tours, have joined together to offer the Sechelt Inlet Cultural Tour, providing visitors with an wonderful opportunity to learn more about the shíshálh culture and to explore this ancient waterway.  Our tour began with a traditional song of ?imash (welcome) sung in a rich baritone voice by drummer Andy Johnson.

Poise Island - buriel ground

Shortly after leaving the Government Dock in Porpoise Bay, we passed by a small island, a site of significant religious significance to the shíshálh which our guide, Candace Campo, was able to share further with us.

Sechelt Inlet

We soon passed out of the settled areas of Sechelt, enjoying the immense beauty of Sechelt Inlet. We stopped again and were treated to another song, the story of a young warrior, inspired by a vision of a two-headed eagle, singing to the elders as they paddled their canoes toward chálich.

Sechelt Inlet

Candace shared stories of her own childhood, growing up on the shores of Sechelt Inlet, saying “when the tide is out, the table is set,” a reference to the rich marine life available for their food supply. She described how as a child she would be sent out with potato sacks to gather shell fish for the evening meal. As she and her brothers passed other families, they would share which areas had just been harvested to ensure that the habitat was properly managed.

ancient petroglyph

With a keen eye for location, we were treated to a rare sighting of ancient pictographs, like this one, which is actually just around the corner from where I live. I’ve paddled past this cliff face more times than I can remember, without noticing this rock painting which has been there for centuries.

sechelt pictograph

And here’s another one, much more intricate, and hidden to all, except those who know just where to look.

Sechelt Inlet Tour


The shíshálh are currently collaborating with  the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the University of Toronto to unearth the long-term history of their land.  To date, the earliest artifacts recovered date from between 8,000-11,000 years with well over 600 archaeological sites to be carefully unearthed.

It is obvious that will be many more chapters to be told in this rich cultural history and the Sechelt Inlet Cultural Tour is a good place to begin. The tour is offered daily 2:30-4:30 and leaves from the Porpoise Bay Government Dock.

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Writers’ Festival coming up soon – August 13 – 16

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Any festival that’s been happening year after year for over 30 years has obviously found the right formula for success.   The Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts  has been described as “Canada’s longest running summer gathering of Canadian writers and readers.

This year is the 32nd anniversary and another full slate of outstanding Canadian writing talent will be here to talk about their books. If you like reading, then the festival is a great place to hear about new work from your favourite authors, but it’s also a great introduction to others whose names are less familiar and a few about whom you know absolutely nothing.

In fact, in previous years’ festivals some of the new names have often been the best presenters and “in some instances, the hands down biggest hit of the Festival.”

The Festival takes place this summer over a four-day weekend, August 13-16. Jane Urquhart and Camilla Gibb are featured speakers this year and you can check out the full program at

Follow this link to return to our website.

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15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this summer

Does this incredible weather have you thinking about summer plans? Whether it’s a weekend getaway, or a full week of sheer bliss, there’s something on the Sunshine Coast for everyone, and every day. Here’s 15 great ideas to help with your summer planning and five more if you read through to the end of this blog.
15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this summer

There’s over 100 km of coastline, including Georgia Strait, Sechelt Inlet, and its two inlets. The views are great, they never end, and the water is waiting to be explored.

15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this summer

It’s easy to get out on the water with a guided boat tour. Mermaid Tours offers daily tours of Sechelt Inlet and can pick you up right at our dock.

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Sechelt Inlet has it all – fantastic scenery with lots of wildlife, both in the water and on the shoreline, and kayaking is a great way to see it all. If you’ve never tried kayaking before, the protected waters of Sechelt Inlet inlet are the perfect place to get started. Pedals & Paddles have been doing this for over 15 years. They’ll set up with a dryland lesson and all the necessary safety gear, before you even get into the water. Give it a try!!

15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this summer

If armchair kayaking is more your style, and you want a good walk in the woods, then pay a visit to Skookumchuck Rapids. It’s rated one of the fastest tidal currents in the world and that’s an irresistible magnet to white water paddlers. The courage and skill of these kamikaze kayakers, as they try to stay atop the perfect wave, is pretty impressive.

15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this summer

The sand castle competition at Davis Bay produces some incredible sand creations every summer.   But you don’t have to wait for this once a year event. Every day, when the tide goes out, a huge canvas of sand is waiting to channel your inner Michelangelo.

15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this summer

The Sunshine Coast is truely one of the most beautiful places on earth, with vast forested areas, networked with an endless choice of interesting trails, just waiting to be explored. Here’s a list of our favourites.

15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this summer

If you like chasing after a little white ball, on a well manicured grassland, you have a choice of three well established courses surrounded by beautiful forested areas.

15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this summer

Summer offers a great line-up of Music festivals. There’s nothing finer than listening to a jazz quartet playing in front of a scenic ocean back-drop. The Gibsons Jazz Festival is coming up soon.15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast


If you’re looking to de-stress or just want to treat yourself, perhaps a spa day is just what you need. Book a massage or pedicure at the Painted Boat Spa and luxuriate in the therapeutic waters and heat therapies of their outdoor Spa Garden. 15 things to do on the sunshine coast


The Sunshine Coast has a well deserved reputation for nurturing health and well being. Compliment your getaway with a morning yoga class, and then choose either an invigorating hike on one of our fabulous rain forest trails, or a relaxing stroll along the beach.

15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this summer

The Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts is the longest running summer gathering of Canadian authors and readers. The Festival brings together established literary stars and exciting, new voices, in a the beautiful outdoor venue, providing opportunities for writers and readers to mingle and share ideas.

15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this summer The Festival of the Rolling Arts, also known as the Sleepy Hollow Rod Run and Show’n Shine is an all weekend event where we get an opportunity to walk down memory lane, remembering the cars we owned and those cars we once dreamed of owning.

15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this summer

The Roberts Creek Mandala Project is an amazing undertaking. It first started when five friends came together one weekend to paint over some negative graffiti. Fifteen years later it has become a week long community event, bringing together over 500 painters, who come to paint a signature image in the mandala

15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this summer

Persephone’s 11-acre farm-based brewery not only prides itself on fresh beer, but in a short time has also won several awards, putting it on everyone’s list of craft beers to try. My favourite is the Golden Goddess.

15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this summer

The Sechelt Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market  is the largest on the Sunshine Coast, taking place every Saturday morning, and it’s a very popular venue for locals and visitors alike. It’s always inspiring to find locally grown ingredients, picked that morning, to plan  your evening meal.

15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this summer

It doesn’t get much better than this – dining on the deck on a beautiful sunny day at the Lighthouse Marine Pub. It’s one of my favourite places to go and I readily recommend my guests enjoy at least one meal on this gorgeous patio.

15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this summer

Photographers often speak of a magic light that happens just after the sun goes down. With the large expanses of water on the Sunshine Coast, we enjoy a big, wide-open sky, and never tire of the magic.

15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this summer

here’s an extra bonus –  5 more things to do if you’re staying at Coracle Cove. We’ve noticed that a lot of our guests don’t want to leave once they’ve arrived. It’s relaxing, the view is pretty awesome, and you get very comfortable.  So, if you’re staying at Coracle Cove here’s five more things you might enjoy this summer on the Sunshine Coast5 more things to do this summer

Facing south, we enjoy the sun first thing in the morning and all through the day. The covered deck is a great place to start the day, especially with your favourite morning beverage.

15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this summer

There’s a second, larger deck that literally hangs over the water, providing a great place to do some relaxing summer reading, just as long as you don’t mind the occasional interruption of a passing boat or three.

15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this summer

There’s lots of marine life under our dock, so you’re usually guaranteed to get a nibble or two. It’s a great experience for kids to catch their first fish… now who’s going to put that worm on the hook?

15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this summer

Choosing between Adirondak chairs on the dock and the hot tub on the waterside deck may be the toughest decision you’ll make all day.

15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this summer

Then again, who says you have to decide – you can do both!!

15 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this summer

Summer will be here soon, so start dreaming about your magical moments on the Sunshine Coast.

Watch this video and then come back to our website for more ideas and available dates at Coracle Cove

Posted in Bird Watching Holidays on the Sunshine Coast, Favourite Places to Eat on the Sunshine Coast, Festivals on the Sunshine Coast, Getting out on the water on the Sunshine Coast, More about our waterfront suite at Coracle Cove, Six Days on the Sunshine Coast - daily itineraries, Walking Holidays on the Sunshine Coast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment