Cotton Tree Backpackers is a hidden gem located in the heart of the Sunshine Coast, Australia. This section of the coast is often over-looked as Noosa, just half an hour North with it’s breath taking landscapes, surf and exceptional tourist industry brings in all the travelers, who figure they’ve seen enough of the Sunny Coast and move on.

Little do they what they are missing.

The second I walked through the front gate, I knew Cotton Tree would be a place I would love.. With the sparkling fairy lights and couches arranged around a wooden coffee table on the front balcony, it felt like home and that is quickly what it became.

The backpackers itself is an old home that has been converted into a hostel. It holds only 40 people making a very friendly atmosphere, in just a short period you know everybody who is staying. You will find a lot of “long termers” here as it’s a quite spot to settle down and work for awhile and the hostel provides farm work for those looking to get a second year visa. I personally spent three amazing months here and moved just down the road shortly after as it’s a prime kite surfing destination.

Cotton Tree itself is a beautiful town located on the Maroochy River, with so much to offer to locals and travelers alike and more importantly it is KITE SURFING PARADISE. Being located directly on the river, there is something for everyone: flat water, beginner waves in the mouth of the river and expert waves out the front. The Maroochy River is not the only amazing kite spot on the coast, just 20 minutes South is Happy Valley and Golden Beach, Caloundra. Half an hour North there is Noosa River mouth as well as Lake Weyba and just North of Noosa, Double Island Point/Rainbow Beach (See: Kite Surfing on the Sunshine Coast).

If you aren’t a kite surfer don’t worry because the Sunshine Coast has so much more to offer than that and being located in Cotton Tree puts you directly in the middle of it. For more information on water sports, shopping and nightlife, markets, music festivals, Hinterland hikes and more check out: Things to See and Do on the Sunshine Coast and Sunshine Coast Hikes and Waterfalls.

I went into the backpackers a few days to talk to a few people who are staying there now. Only two backpackers agreed to be interviewed on camera, here is what they have to say:

I asked a few others about their experience, here’s what they told me:

“I stayed there 8 months. For me , it was the location that was hard to beat. Plus the people that were staying there when I first arrived kind of became my second family” – Amanda Sutton, Perth, Australia

“I loved it because it has character, being a heritage house it’s more like a place to call home then a sterilized backpackers. 3 months was the length of my stay and have been recommending the place ever since.” – Emma Wetherill, Vancouver, Canada

“Bit of everything really, the people and the location. First place in oz I found to be able to call home. I’d recommend the place for the family feel, the friends I made were second to none….. Great times!” -Daniel Edwards, Haverhill, United Kingdom

“About 2 months Cotton Tree Backpackers was my second home. Being away from the Hectic City life allowed me to reconnect with great people and also made the ocean available on my door step so I could do everything I once loved before leaving the coast lifestyle; kiteboarding, surfing and fishing.” Corey Payne, Brisbane, Australia

“Stayed for about 2 or 3 months, loved every second, it was one of the best hostels I’ve ever stayed in.” – Scott Lesage, Vancouver, Canada

“I stayed for 1 month! It was fun with great people.” Oria Keita, France 

Thanks for the memories Cotton Tree, definitely a place that won’t be forgotten.

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