Big year starts here
  • Friday 12 February 2016
Mooloolaba Spit

The World is Coming to the Sunshine Coast in 2016 and a wave of internationals are on their way this weekend.

Athletes from the USA, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Great Britain will hit the water at Mooloolaba on Saturday in the Australia Open Water Championships event, that’s sponsored by Sunshine Coast Council.

The overseas contingent will be fine-tuning preparations for this year’s Olympics alongside a number of Australians who’ve also qualified or are vying for berths at the Rio Games.

Swimming Australia CEO Mark Anderson said: "On behalf of Swimming Australia, our athletes, coaches clubs and supporters we are delighted to be on the Sunshine Coast for the 2016 Australian Open Water Championships.

"Mooloolaba is a perfect location and I know that everyone in the open water swimming community is excited to be here.

"Our National Head Coach Ron McKeon has worked closely with Surf Life Saving Australia to ensure a venue was chosen as close to the Olympic venue in Copacabana as possible. 

"To have the cream of Australia's elite open water swimmers here, a host of leading internationals from the USA, Japan, Great Britain and New Zealand, and a record number of entries, augurs well for the future of the sport.

"We’re looking forward to an exciting weekend of racing and heralding our next group of champions."

Sunshine Coast Council CEO Michael Whittaker said this weekend was part of an unprecedented year for major events within the region.

“In 2016, the Sunshine Coast will host 60 major sporting, music and lifestyle events that are estimated to contribute about $100 million to the region’s economy. Our community will be meeting, greeting and rolling out the welcome mat to more than 150,000 participants and their supporters from over 40 countries,” Mr Whittaker said.

“This weekend alone we’ll be hosting athletes from six different countries who’re bound for this year’s Rio Olympic Games, along with two NRL teams for a trial match at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

“These events and the many others we host this year will generate fantastic outcomes for our region and strengthen the reputation of the Sunshine Coast as a premier major events destination.

“I really encourage our community to help roll out the welcome mat to our guests - by saying a friendly hello and lending a helping hand where possible.

The Australian Open Water Championships run across three days at the Mooloolaba Spit, involve around 500 participants and deliver a welcome economic boost for local businesses.

Hustle & Flow Espresso Bar Owner Shane Newton said his recently-opened Mooloolaba business was looking forward to a busier than usual weekend. 

“We opened for business underneath the Surf Club Mooloolaba in September last year and we’re in a very competitive market so having a few hundred extra right in front of us on Mooloolaba beach over the next three days will be great for us and I imagine many other local retailers in the area,” Mr Newton said.

“This year is going to be a massive one for major events on the Sunshine Coast and many of them will revolve around the Mooloolaba Beach area and from a business standpoint we say ‘bring on the World!’”

Manager for Newport Apartments in Mooloolaba Bernie Sullivan said council-supported events provided significant benefits for business regardless of where they were held on the coast.

“Events like the ones this weekend are fantastic at bringing new guests to the Sunshine Coast and giving businesses like ours and others additional opportunities to showcase what we can offer,” Mr Sullivan said.

“It shows that we’re doing plenty of things right here on the Sunshine Coast and council always a does a great job in bringing more opportunities to our area and making the place look great which is very much appreciated by all of the local businesses.

“We feel the positives of these major events even when they’re held at opposite ends of the coast like the Caloundra Music Festival and others. The flow-on effects are felt right by businesses right around the region.”

You can get a taste of the events coming to the Sunshine Coast by watching this video:

For more information on the World is Coming campaign and to download the event calendar visit:

Major Events



Est. Guests

11-13 March

Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival


16-24 April

Australian Surf Life Saving Championships


5-15 May

Va’a World Outrigger Sprint Championships


8-10 July

Queensland Garden Expo


4 September

Ironman 70.3 World Championships


30 September to 3 October

Caloundra Music Festival


8-15 October

Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games


Sunshine Coast Tourism Fast Facts:

  • The Tourism, Sport and Leisure industry is a key employer and generator of economic activity on the Sunshine Coast.
  • More than 8.5 million visitors from Australia and abroad travel to the Sunshine Coast each year.
  • Sunshine Coast tourism generates more than $2.5 billion annually for the region and comprises 17% of the region’s economic activity.
  • The tourism industry generates more than 35,000 jobs.