From the mudflats of our rivers to the basalts of the hinterland to the sandy dunes of Noosa north shore to the volcanic magic of the Glasshouse mountains, the Sunshine Coast region is defined by its geology and it is this variety in geology along with a great diversity of local climates that have provided the rich palette from which evolution has formed the mutitude of species that call the Sunshine Coast home.


The Geology of the Sunshine Coast

The “Sunshine Coast” conjures up images of golden beaches, rocky islands and green mountains of the hinterland, and we could assume that this peaceful landscape results from a stable geological framework. 

Yet if we look at the outcropping rock formations, we have to accept that this has not always been the case, as they reveal a complex and often violent geological history, spanning more than 300 million years. Even in the last 800,000 years, sea levels have fluctuated dramatically, resulting in major changes to the shoreline and coastal scenery.

The oldest rocks exposed on the Sunshine Coast reveal origins dating back to the active growth of the eastern side of the Australian continent, from about 375 to 210 million years ago.

 'Rocks and Landscapes of the Sunshine Coast', written by Warwick Willmott.

This guide details the geological history and rocks of the Sunshine Coast and Gympie districts and their influence on landscapes and human activities. A major section in this publication describes where you can see typical rock formations and landscapes, and includes many maps, photographs and diagrams. It is an excellent publication in a concise format, and can be ordered from the Geological Society of Australia – Queensland Division; their publication catalogue and order form is here. You will find further details and a link to geology books in the ‘Recommended Reading’ section below.

Recommended reading

ROCKS AND LANDSCAPES OF THE SUNSHINE COAST  Warwick Willmott – ISBN:9780975789476 published by the Geological Society of Australia Incorporated, Queensland Division, GPO Box 1820 Brisbane Qld 4001.


Climate

The Sunshine Coast is aptly named, consistently experiencing high levels of sunshine all year round. The climate is generally warm year round with cool sea breezes. 

In the months of summer, December to February, temperatures averaging 17 - 28 degrees Celsius. Unfortunately, due to global warming, temperatures are rising. A study done by 'The Australia Institute' found that the impact of global warming will be a steady increase in the Sunshine Coasts temperature.

Increasing extreme heat will have profound effects on people, industries and ecosystems in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast region.The Sunshine Coast has historically experienced a relatively pleasant climate with only around two to four days over 35 degrees per year. 

CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology projections estimate that the average number of days over 35 degrees celsius in the region could increase up to tenfold without strong climate policies from a current average of three to 32 days by 2090.

Over the last year there were 94 days - concentrated in summer - with a relative humidity of 70% or above and 44 days over 80% or above at 3pm in the Sunshine Coast.

Combined with 70% humidity, conditions over 35 degrees are considered “dangerous”by government agencies such as the US Government National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Temperatures of 35 degrees combined with
80% humidity is considered “extremely dangerous”.

Recommended Reading & Viewing

Watch National Geographic's Video for more information on the causes and effect of global warming.  

Access to the full 'Heat Watch' report by The Australia Institute is provided here

Access to 'An adaptability limit to climate change due to heat stress' is available here.