Queensland is packed full of adventure, but if you're looking for a more focused holiday experience, the Sunshine Coast may be your best bet. This iconic destination offers numerous activities that kids and adults alike can enjoy whether your family wants relaxation, adventure or a mixture of both. While the most popular attractions are well worth adding to your itinerary, be sure to consider the local hidden gems that can add more unique experiences to your holiday. Take a look at the top things to do for kids in Sunshine Coast, and discover how you can make your next family holiday unforgettable
1. Find fun in the sun at Point Cartwright
At Point Cartwright, you'll find a more hidden beach away from the popular spots in the area. There's no signage, and it takes about a 10-minute walk to reach it. Because of that distance, it's best to bring all the supplies with you you'll need, as there's nothing available on site. When you visit, you can solely enjoy the beach, and its splendour is more than enough for most families. This sandy paradise has plenty of room to play, and it features a massive sandy rock pool that lets your little ones splash around. If your family can handle the waves, though, the coastal waters are quite inviting as well.
2. Go for a swim at Kings Beach
When your family visits Kings Beach, you'll find everything you need for a family outing. Not only is there a main beach for some classic sand and surf, but you'll also find rock pools and an oceanfront swimming pool that are better suited for younger kids. As if that wasn't enough, this beach also features a playground for kids along with water fountains to play in and admire, adding to the ambiance of the area. Additionally, you can explore several cafes in the area, so you won't have to go far if your family gets hungry.
3. Enjoy calm waters at Currimundi Lake
Currimundi Lake is a popular destination where you can explore a lake that's right next to the ocean. Thanks to its unique location, you can enjoy the beachfront by the calm lake waters alongside the sandy shores by the ocean as well. Kids and adults alike can enjoy swimming along the shores, and you'll also find an extensive network of walkways around the lake. You're free to take a boat out on the lake whether you're just looking to ride around or cast out for a bit of fishing.
4. Take your kids to safe and protected waters at Mooloolaba Beach
No family holiday to the Sunshine Coast is complete without a trip to Mooloolaba Beach. This iconic destination offers popular beachfront fun with safe waters that kids can enjoy without having to worry about strong currents. The beach here is also patrolled, and you'll find playgrounds, barbecues and picnics nearby. If you travel to the southern end of the beach, you can explore The Spit, which is a legendary spot suitable especially for kids, with less crowds and more room to run around. Several eateries are by The Spit as well offering favourites like fish and chips and sushi.
5. Try out water sports at Cotton Tree
Cotton Tree is a popular destination for watersports in Sunshine Coast with a wide range of activities available. Swimming and paddle boarding are popular, of course, but you can also venture out into the water on a boat. In fact, quite a few boat hires are available here if you're looking to travel to Pincushion Island at the river's mouth. There, you'll find one of the best fishing spots in the entire region. Additionally, you can embark on a satisfying hike from Cotton Tree to Alexandra Headland if you're interested in taking in stunning ocean views.
6. Relax in the sand, sun and surf at Noosa Main Beach
Noosa Main Beach has established itself as an ideal destination for family holidays thanks to the gentle surf. You'll find relatively calm waves here making it safe for swimming, but the waves are still strong enough for this beach to offer beginner surf lessons. Plus, this beach is patrolled 365 days a year, so you can visit with peace of mind. In addition to the beach itself, you'll find a well-maintained park complete with serene walking trails through vibrant greenery. The local wildlife is common along the trail as well including turtles and koalas.
7. Explore exotic creatures at Australia Zoo
When you and your family visit Australia Zoo, you'll not only find a wide array of exotic animals but opportunities to get close to them as well. This is one of the most interactive wildlife facilities in the world where you could find yourself cuddling koalas, having a chat with a cockatoo, and sitting up next to a slithering snake. It's all perfectly safe, and you can even spot legendary animals like cheetahs, zebras, and giraffes. Of course, plenty of lemurs and macaws can be found here as well. You can even get your child involved in the Zookeeper for a Day program where they can learn what it's like to take care of the animals here.
8. Find fun and sweet treats at The Ginger Factory
At the Ginger Factory, you'll find a wide variety of activities the whole family can enjoy including actual rides, retail opportunities and sub-tropical gardens. Of course, no trip here would be complete without exploring the food on offer. You'll find sweet treats from a cafe and an ice creamery onsite, but that's just the beginning. You can also take a tour of the Buderim Ginger Factory here that comes complete with delicious tastings that are especially satisfying to travellers who love ginger. Additionally, you can see a live bee show with tastings of high-end honey.
9. Discover fascinating marine life at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast
At SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast, you can explore a massive population of marine life and freshwater animals from all over the world. In total, this aquarium features 11 different animal zones throughout its 3 levels. Your kids can explore it all, but they'll especially enjoy the tidal touch pool and the jellyfish kingdom with their vibrant colours. If your little ones are over the age of 13, they can even go for a seal swim experience, which lets them get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures. Meanwhile, trained experts will explain everything they need to know about conservation.
10. Go bushwalking to Kondalilla Falls
If your family is interested in bushwalking, you'll want to make your way to Kondalilla Falls. The falls themselves are absolutely serene as the water flows down into the calm pool below. Quite a few different trails in the area can get you there, but families with inexperienced hikers or small kids may prefer the Picnic Creek Circuit. It's about 1.7 kilometres in length, and it's easily traversable for most people. Once you finally make it to the falls, you don't have to admire it from a distance. Bring your swimmers, and you can enjoy the water in a more direct way.
11. Enjoy an array of family activities at Bellingham Maze
Bellingham Maze offers fun for the whole family with several different activities available. For the most part, this attraction offers several different kinds of mazes you and your family can try including a rope maze, timber, maze and a tyre maze. The star of the show, however, is the living hedge maze, which features an area of 80 square metres. In addition to the mazes, you'll find a mini-golf course here along with a cafe offering coffee, drinks and food that the whole family can enjoy.
12. See the iconic landmark that is The Big Pineapple
No trip to the Sunshine Coast would be complete without seeing The Big Pineapple. This is an iconic Australian landmark that is awe-inspiring to see all while offering valuable insight into the process of pineapple farming. You can taste the sweet freshness of pineapples here when you finish off your tour with a sundae. Additionally, you may want to hop on the Pineapple Train, which is a heritage-listed attraction that takes riders on one of the steepest and curviest climbing tracks on the entire Queensland Railway.
13. Hit the high ropes at the TreeTop Challenge
If your family is looking for a more adventurous experience in the Sunshine Coast, TreeTop Challenge has everything you need. It's one of the highest adventure parks in the country purely in terms of elevation. When you're there, you'll find treetop obstacle courses you can traverse for a fun challenge. There are plenty of easy courses available, so even younger kids can find fun. Don't worry about the height either. Given how securely every visitor is tied to the support line above the course, the height of the course is more to offer pristine views rather than providing an extra challenge.
14. Shop for local crafts at Eumundi Markets
At Eumundi Markets, you and your family can browse more than 250 stalls with each featuring vendors showcasing the best of local merchandise. A lot of it is local produce, but you'll also find a fair share of handmade crafts you won't be able to find anywhere else. Just keep in mind that these markets are only open on Wednesday and Saturday mornings on the main street in Eumundi. Alternatively, you can visit on Sunday, though it moves to the old Butter Factory that day. Be sure to check the calendar as well, as this market frequently hosts live events including musical performances.
15. View the awe-inspiring peaks in Glass House Mountains National Park
There are several volcanic peaks around the Sunshine Coast, and you'll find over half of them within Glass House Mountains National Park. With 7 unique peaks, you and your family will find plenty to explore with an outdoor adventure. The peaks are quite apparent on the horizon as they elevate suddenly from the low planes on the south side of Caloundra. Several well-marked and well-maintained trails stretch throughout the park, and they're fairly easy to traverse. That means you and your little ones can explore this fascinating natural area and take in the sights.
16. Board thrill rides or kiddie rides at Aussie World
Aussie World is a favoured destination for kids with all sorts of different rides to enjoy. Whether you're looking for a giant slide, a Ferris wheel or mini golf, this theme park has it all. You'll also find a log flume ride that's especially useful if you and your family are looking to cool down during a hot day. Keep in mind that this theme park is primarily designed for younger kids with fairly low-speed rides. Even so, you'll find a handful of faster rides older kids and adults can enjoy along with fascinating live shows.
17. Visit a local oddity at QCamel Camel Milk Dairy Office
Is your family a fan of camel milk? Have you even heard of camel milk? At QCamel Camel Milk Dairy Office, you can get some of the healthiest milk products available. To keep the whole family happy, however, you may want to book one of the camel farm tours available here. On this tour, you'll learn all about the process of producing camel milk. Kids will especially enjoy being able to meet these animals and interact with them directly. The camels are remarkably friendly, and you won't be able to find an experience like these elsewhere around the Sunshine Coast.
18. Ride a piece of history at Mary Valley Rattler
The Mary Valley Rattler is one of the most iconic attractions in the Sunshine Coast. This historic steam train offers rides that make passengers feel as if they're in a different era with all the opulence of years past. Plus, kids who are fans of Thomas the Tank Engine will especially enjoy the experience. The ride itself is 46 kilometres long, and it's a round-trip journey through the countryside beginning and ending in Gympie. You'll pass several stunning bridges and charming villages throughout the ride in addition to the gentle and vibrant hills of the countryside.
19. Enjoy a tranquil stroll through Maleny Botanic Gardens
For a serene and relaxing experience, you can take your family to the Maleny Botanic Gardens. Here, you'll find an expansive array of flora sporting vibrant colours and species both exotic and native to Australia. Of course, your kids will probably be more interested in Bird World in most cases. Bird World is a stunning portion of these gardens that's home to more than 400 birds that your kids can see and even interact with. Don't forget that you can bring your pup along for the visit as well since these gardens are dog-friendly.
20. Hike the trails among the mountains at the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
At Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, your family can enjoy absolutely breathtaking views of the mountain landscape. The reserve itself is focused on conservation and environmental learning teaching kids and adults alike essential information about the natural world. The Discovery Centre section is especially appealing to your little ones thanks to its interactive exhibits and playground area. They won't even realize that they're learning about plants and animals native to the rainforest as they're playing with the displays and exhibits. All in all, you'll find 55 hectares of protected subtropical rainforest here.
21. Pick your own strawberries at Strawberry Fields
If your family likes strawberries, you won't want to miss out on Strawberry Fields. This working farm lets you pick your own strawberries as well as enjoy a wide variety of strawberry-based treats. You'll find plenty of fresh strawberries, of course, but you can also enjoy jams, ice cream, and even specialty drinks. Additionally, this farm offers specialty souvenirs and handmade crafts. Don't forget to check out the playground as well for even more fun for your little ones.
22. Take a fantastical trip back in time at Sunshine Castle
At Sunshine Castle, you'll find an opportunity to step back in time in a replica of a Norman-style castle. The castle's unique design with intricate attention to detail is impressive enough to some, but you'll also find several activities available here as well. Kids can enjoy the onsite toy store and the treasure hunt tour. They will search through displays of armour and other medieval fares complete with the opportunity to dress up in time-appropriate costumes. Don't forget to climb up to the castle turrets and towers for some iconic pictures to capture your holiday.
23. Explore the outdoor adventures at Bribie Island
Located off the coast of Moreton Bay, Bribie Island is a fun family destination if you're looking for thrilling outdoor adventures. Kayaking is the most popular activity as the national park here features several waterways and lakes that are perfect for boating. Even beginners will be able to handle the calm waters here. Additionally, you'll find opportunities for fishing and even skydiving if your family is feeling particularly daring. Don't forget to hit up the shoreline as well for relaxing beaches and 4WD rentals that let you explore the sandy shores in an entirely new way.
24. Dive underwater and spot whales at Sunreef Mooloolaba
If you have older kids with you when looking for family activities on the Sunshine Coast, Sunreef Mooloolaba may be just what you're looking for. It's a diving centre that lets visitors explore local reefs and the wreckage of the HMAS Brisbane. The most iconic feature here, however, is the swimming with humpback whales experience. Of course, you can simply opt for a whale watching tour from June to November which is open to people of all ages. All the gear you need is readily available here including diving gear, small boats and fishing gear.