Located on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Noosa is a popular resort destination that’s known for its stunning beaches, expansive parklands and fun family attractions. You’ll find everything from quiet beaches ideal for little ones to outdoor adventures like rock climbing and 4-wheeling in native bushland, so everyone is sure to have a memorable trip. Noosa is also home to some of Australia’s most famous attractions, such as the Australia Zoo and SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast aquarium, which give you up-close encounters with native wildlife and marine life. No matter how you want to spend your time, check out the top 16 things to do with kids on a Noosa family holiday.
1. See the wildlife at the famous Australia Zoo
Owned by the late Steve Irwin and his family, the Australia Zoo is a must-see attraction on a trip to Noosa. The renowned conservation zoo is home to a variety of native and exotic wildlife species in naturalistic habitats, such as crocodiles, tigers, cheetahs, dingoes, Komodo dragons and echidnas. Many of the animals are available for up-close encounters, and kids have the opportunity to be 'Zoo Keeper for a Day' to go behind the scenes and see how the zoo operates. Another highlight is attending the wildlife shows, which may include watching a crocodile death roll or free-flying parrots and macaws.
2. Find thrills at Aussie World
Perfect for a Noosa family holiday, Aussie World is a family theme park on the Sunshine Coast that offers a range of rides and attractions for all ages. The park has over 30 rides and attractions, including a pirate ship ride, bumper cars, a frisbee pendulum ride, a motion simulator and a maze. You’ll also find tame rides such as swings, a miniature carousel, a vintage carousel, a water play area and a teacup ride. Some other highlights include an 18-hole mini-golf course, a funhouse and an alley of carnival games.
3. Go on a hiking adventure in Great Sandy National Park
Great Sandy National Park is perfect for a day out with older, adventurous kids. The park is home to sand dunes, heathlands, rainforests, creeks, swamps, lakes, mangroves and beaches, so you’ll have plenty to explore. The Cooloola Recreation Area is the first section of the park and stretches from Noosa Heads to Rainbow Beach, spanning 18,400 hectares. The Fraser Island section stands alone and covers 56,000 hectares. The diverse landscape provides natural habitats for an abundance of wildlife, including parrots, buttonquails, catbirds and bowerbirds. Popular park activities include whale watching, fishing, bushwalking and exploring shipwrecks like the Cherry Venture and SS Maheno. You can also hike part of the Cooloola Great Walk, which takes roughly 5 days, or take a boat tour on the Noosa River for unique views.
4. See unique marine life in the Fairy Pools
One of the most popular things to do with kids in Noosa, the Fairy Pools are 2 natural tidal pools near basalt rocks on Granite Bay. At low tide, the pools are great for snorkelling to see coral and sponges that grow on the rocks. A beautiful pebble beach is located just west of the pools and offers swimming and diving, and the bays surrounding the headland are known for spectacular surf breaks. When you’re in the pools, you may catch a glimpse of the koalas that live in the forest beyond the beach.
5. Explore the underwater world at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast
SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast is a popular marine mammal park and oceanarium that offers a range of exhibits focused on the diversity of marine environments. One of the highlights is Sharks Alive, a shark tunnel that takes you along viewing windows to see rays, nurse sharks, eels and zebra sharks in coral reefs, caves and the open ocean. Seal Island is also popular and features the resident New Zealand fur seals, Australian fur seals and Australian sea lions. The aquarium offers wildlife information talks, hands-on marine displays and feeding sessions that are a delight for kids.
6. Swim and sunbathe at Noosa Heads Main Beach
Noosa Heads Main Beach is an excellent beach for families with small children and adventurers alike. The gorgeous beach has calm, gentle waters and a flat shore for swimming and relaxing on the sand while the kids play. With the low swells offshore, Noosa Heads Main Beach is known for being a great destination for beginner surfers to learn the sport. After spending the day by the water, you can visit nearby Hastings Street for shopping and dining.
7. Find adventures for all ages in Noosa National Park
Noosa National Park is a vast national park that’s perfect for some outdoor activities with the kids. Spanning 4,000 hectares, the park offers 4 unique sections with diverse environments for swimming, rock climbing, surfing, snorkelling and fishing. A large population of koalas calls the park home, as do other native species like black cockatoos, brushtail possums, short-nosed bandicoots and satin bowerbirds. Depending on the time of year, you may be able to catch humpback whales on their annual migration. A great spot to go is Noosa Hill, which has a walking track that leads to a towering peak with spectacular coastal views.
8. Cool off at Blast Aqua Park
Blast Aqua Park is a large inflatable water park with floating platforms, challenging obstacles, water trampolines and other fun activities to cool off and have some fun in the sun. Kids will love playing on the slides, balance beams, wobble pads and challenge tracks above the water for a unique experience. Onshore, the park offers shade areas, barbecue spots, changing rooms, picnic benches and sun loungers to relax while the kids play. There’s also a cafe and kiosk on-site for drinks and snacks.
9. Enjoy a relaxing excursion with pontoon boating
One of the best options for a Noosa family holiday, pontoon boating gives you a relaxing afternoon with food, views and fishing. You can hire a pontoon boat and skipper yourself, or opt for a guided tour and let someone else do the work. If you want to fish, you can pick up rods and bait near the tour operators. Many pontoon boat operators have barbecue pontoon boats, so you can have a picnic or prepare a barbecue lunch on your trip. For a more laid-back experience, stick to the river and explore the inlets and sandbanks to see wildlife and take in the views of remote areas.
10. Let the kids burn some energy at Pirate Park
For an attraction that’s all about the kids, visit Pirate Park along the Noosa River. The adventure playground is ideal for young children and features a jungle gym with slides, a rope-climbing area, a small parkour course and a multi-person swing. You’ll also find shaded areas for barbecues and picnics. The park’s beachfronts are on the edge of the Noosa River, so the water is calm and gentle for young children. After spending some time playing, you and the family can hire some bikes to explore the bike paths in the area.
11. Find treasures at Eumundi Markets
Renowned for its artisan treasures, Eumundi Markets is a must-visit attraction on your Noosa family holiday. The small town of Eumundi hosts the large market, which features over 500 stalls of delicious gourmet foods, handmade clothing and jewellery, and other gifts. You’ll find a lot for kids, such as cute toys and educational trinkets. Throughout the day, the market offers performances, family activities and catering.
12. Explore Wildlife HQ
Wildlife HQ is a lovely zoo at the Big Pineapple that offers a range of global wildlife species. The mammal exhibits are among the largest and most diverse, featuring animals like lemurs, marmosets, tamarins, African wild dogs, Malayan sun bears, red pandas and meerkats. You’ll also see native species like wallabies and koalas. Several native birds are on display at the zoo, as well as non-venomous snakes, lizards and tortoises in the Reptile Barn. While you’re here, book a private animal feeding to get up close to some of the zoo’s most adorable resident animals. For souvenirs, book an animal photo session for a one-of-a-kind memento of your trip.
13. Tour the landscape by 4-wheeler
Several of the natural areas and parklands in Noosa are popular for 4WD adventures. Numerous tour operators are available for 4WD tours of the Sunshine Coast and the areas of the parks only accessible by 4x4. The exhilarating experience puts you in the natural environment with the ocean on one side and the bushland on the other. While on the tour, you can stop at places like the Double Island Point Lighthouse and Honeymoon Bay for swimming and snorkelling. These tours are one of the best ways to see wildlife in its natural habitat, such as dolphins, turtles, crabs, whales and birds.
14. Shop at a beachfront market at Peregian Beach
Peregian Beach is a popular destination for locals and a relaxing beachfront area for families. You can spend time on the soft sand while the kids play, or let them swim and wade in the calm, shallow waters. Nearby, you’ll find trendy cafes and eclectic boutiques for dining and shopping. Each month, large markets are held nearby and offer stalls with artisan gifts and food, live musical performances and family activities.
15. Find marine treasures at Tea Tree Bay Beach
Backed by picturesque pandanus trees, Tea Tree Bay Beach is an ideal spot for family beach days and photo opportunities. Located in Noosa National Park, the beach offers golden sand with quiet areas for reading or sunbathing. The waters aren’t ideal for swimming, but the rocks near the shore provide shelter for fish and crabs, so the kids can spend some time exploring. The beach is also popular for beachcombing.
16. Learn about local history at the Noosa Shire Museum
If you want to include some educational experiences on your Noosa family holiday, the Noosa Shire Museum is one of the best places to go. The museum houses an extensive collection of photographs chronicling Noosa’s history dating back to the pioneer days. Along with historical archives and photographs, the museum has displays that illuminate many different facets of life in Noosa, including an exhibit on the Gubbi Gubbi people. You can see artefacts like totems, early tools, historic pottery and more. Another highlight of the museum is the collection of pioneer artefacts that includes carpentry tools, farming equipment, a recreated kitchen with a wood stove and ice chest and antiquated medical equipment.
Family accommodation in Noosa
As a popular destination for family holidays, Noosa offers a wide range of accommodation near all the best attractions. You can book apartments with multiple bedrooms and views of the water, sprawling beachfront villas with luxurious amenities and everything in between. Many accommodation options in Noosa offer convenient amenities for families, such as a full kitchen and laundry facilities, as well as fun additions for the kids. You can find accommodation with a private pool, a hot tub, gardens or yards, beach access and equipment to borrow like canoes and bikes. If you want to bring your pet along, numerous pet-friendly holiday homes can be found all over Noosa.