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Are you wondering what are the best things to do on the Sunshine Coast with kids? Well, you’ve got the perfect destination for a kid-friendly holiday! The Sunshine Coast with kids is always a fun place to be and there are so many Sunshine Coast attractions for families that you will have no trouble finding things to do!
We have visited the Sunshine Coast more times than I could ever attempt to guess since growing up near Brisbane meant that family holidays were often either a choice of the Gold Coast or the Sunshine Coast!
And really, we felt pretty darn lucky with either option!
But the Sunshine Coast does hold an extra special place in my heart. It’s also somewhere we love to stay with our kids too, so this guide is the ‘almost locals’ guide to the best things to do on the Sunshine Coast with family!
Find the best Sunshine Coast family accommodation
Fun Things To Do On The Sunshine Coast With Kids
When it comes to planning the perfect family holiday to the Sunshine Coast, you have no shortage of places to stay and things to see and do! The key to planning your perfect Sunny Coast vacation is knowing what you love to do as a family to help you narrow it down.
To make it a little easier, we’ve split our Sunshine Coast activities into the best paid attractions, best free activities, nature & outdoor activities and day trips.
The Best Sunshine Coast Attractions For Kids & Families
These Sunshine Coast attractions are a load of fun, including plenty of Sunshine Coast things to do that might teach the kids a thing or two as well!
1. Australia Zoo
Quite possibly the most famous attraction on the Sunshine Coast, since it is well known worldwide, Australia Zoo is definitely somewhere you won’t want to miss.
This mammoth zoo made famous by Wildlife Warrior Steve Irwin continues to grow into his vision, with his legacy carried on by his wife Terri Irwin, children Robert and Bindi and her partner Chandler.
A visit to Australia Zoo is a full-day trip where you will see Australian wildlife and exotic international animals and have the chance to watch the crocodile show in the Croccoseum.
There is also a mini water park for the kids if you’re visiting in summer because it can be a really hot day out otherwise!
- Location: 1638 Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah
- Opening Hours: 9 am to 5 pm daily
- Price: $65 per adult | $40 per child (3-14) | $192 per family of 4
Visitor Tip: The Irwin family often run the crocodile show during Queensland school holidays.
2. Ginger Factory
The Ginger Factory is a fun family attraction that is great for all ages. Plus you can learn all about the fascinating world of ginger!
Take a guided tour of the Budgerim ginger factory where you can learn about growing and harvesting ginger before it is made into a variety of different products. You can sample a few while you’re here.
There is also the Ginger Train ride that takes you on a train ride around the 9 hectares of gardens, plus the Overboard boat ride that kids will love, with over 200 moving animated puppets.
You can also watch a bee demonstration and do a honey tasting. Plus there are loads of other fun play areas for the kids.
Don’t forget to grab yourself an ice cream from Gingerlatis before you leave!
- Location: 50 Pioneer Road Yandina
- Opening Hours: 9 am to 5 pm daily
- Price: Prices vary depending on the attraction/tour. Cafe & shop is free to visit. Book discounted tickets online here
3. Aussie World
Queensland is definitely Australia’s theme park home and while the Gold Coast takes the prize for the best theme parks, Aussie World is a fun day out for the whole family too!
Aussie World has grown a lot since we were kids and these days it is home to more than 30 rides and attractions. Best of all, it’s suitable if you’re looking for things to do on the Sunshine Coast with toddlers as there are quite a few rides without height restrictions to suit the tiny tots.
There is loads of fun for the big kids and adults too though, including plenty of thrill rides, restaurants and a beer garden!
- Location: 73 Frizzo Rd, Palmview
- Opening Hours: 10 am to 3 pm on weekdays and until 4 pm on weekends
- Price: Single admission $50, Group admission (4 people) $200
4. Mary Valley Rattler
Discover the Sunshine Coast in a unique way- onboard an old steam train! The Mary Valley Rattler is beautifully restored and leaves from Gympie, taking you past majestic scenery and through historic towns.
Kids of all ages will love this 3-hour round trip journey that even includes a Station Museum with plenty to explore! There are three fully restored heritage stations based on the Mary Valley Rattler ticket option you select, Gympie, Dagun, and Amamoor.
There are different experience options available, depending on the date and time. The Classic Rattler and The Rattler Tasting Train are the most popular, with other special packages also available.
- Location: The Historic Gympie Station, Tozer Street, Gympie
- Opening Hours: Hours depend on the type of tour
- Price: Prices start from $65 per adult | $35 per child (2-12) | $175 per family – Book your tickets online
5. Maleny Botanic Gardens
the Maleny Botanic Gardens are breathtaking privately owned gardens sprawling across 18 acres. Their hinterland location offers stunning views of the Glasshouse Mountains and surrounding rainforests.
There are 6 km of walking paths throughout the gardens, where you will find exotic plants, vibrant colours and waterfalls. There is a cafe or you can bring your own picnic to enjoy in the grounds.
They do have golf buggies for hire if little legs get tired.
- Location: 233 Maleny-Stanley River Road Maleny
- Opening Hours: 9 am until 4:30 pm daily
- Price: Start at $20 for adults & $12 for kids for garden and farm friends access only
6. Bird World
Located within Maleny Botanic Gardens is Bird World where you can take a guided tour to see over 700 exotic birds from all around the world. There’s a chance to have a photo with a bird on your shoulder too.
- Location: 233 Maleny-Stanley River Road Maleny
- Opening Hours: 9 am until 4:30 pm daily
- Price: Start at $36 for adults & $25 for kids or $105 for a family pass – Book your tickets online
7. Maleny Cheese
If you’re anything like us, you have a slight obsession with cheese and always make time for a cheese stop. The Maleny Cheese Factory has some yummy cheese and yogurt varieties and you can either pop in for a meal at the cafe or grab yourself some take-home cheeses instead.
Their club cheddar range comes in some great mini-size versions so you can grab a few to try. The wasabi cheddar was one of our favourites.
- Location: 1 Clifford St, Balmoral Ridge
- Opening Hours: 10 am until 3 pm daily
- Price: Varied
8. Maleny Dairies
A Maleny Dairies farm tour is great fun when visiting the Sunshine Coast with kids! The tour takes around 90 minutes and the whole family will learn all about the dairy processes.
During the tour, you will get to see baby farm animals, see cows being milked (afternoon tour only), tour the factory to see how they process and bottle the milk and sample some of the products made on-site.
They also have tractor rides for something else fun for the kids.
- Location: 70 McCarthy Rd, Maleny
- Opening Hours: Check the website for daily tour times
- Price: Varied
9. Sea Life Sunshine Coast
A popular Sunshine Coast attraction that will appeal to younger kids, as much as older visitors, is Sea Life Sunshine Coast. Previously known as Underwater World Mooloolaba, this Sunshine Coast aquarium is a great chance to see marine life up close.
Aside from the walk-through ocean tunnel aquarium and wildlife exhibits, there is an educational seal show and an indoor play zone for kids. This is best suited to younger kids.
Sea Life is a good option for things to do on a rainy day on the Sunshine Coast as it is predominately an indoor attraction.
- Location: Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba Wharf
- Opening Hours: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm
- Price: $36 per adult | $24.80 per child (3-15) – Book your tickets online
10. Jet Boating
Jet boating is a fun experience no matter where you and the Sunny Coast is no exception! There are several options for jet boating on the Sunshine Coast, with each offering a slightly different experience or route.
Take in the incredible views as you do 360-degree spins in the water. There is typically an age restriction for really young kids but it’s not as wild as it sounds!
- Location: Noosa Marina, Tewantin
- Opening Hours: 6 am to 6 pm daily
- Price: From $82 for adults and $72 for kids – Book tickets online here
11. Aquaduck Sunshine Coast
The Aquaduck is one of the coolest ways to combine a land and water tour in one! The amphibious vehicle will take you on a tour of Mooloolaba and its surroundings, with the water portion including a trip around the marina.
You will see points of interest such as Point Cartright Lighthouse, the fish market and trawler boats, Mooloolah River, Minyama, the mansions along the canals and of course, Mooloolaba! Plus kids get the chance to be the skipper on the boat for a fun interactive experience.
This tour is suitable for all ages, babies included!
- Location: Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba Wharf (departs from the front of Sea Life)
- Opening Hours: Tours run 10 am, 11:15 am, 12:30 pm, 1:45 pm, 3 pm, and 4:15 pm on Monday, Thursday or Friday and 7 days during school holidays.
- Price: $45 per adult, $35 per child (3-15), $149 for a family of 4 – Book discounted tickets online here
12. Sunshine Coast Tree Top Challenge
If your family loves a challenge and the chance to get active, then the Tree Top Challenge is a must-do.
Located at The Big Pineapple in Woombye, it’s an aerial adventure park with loads of fun obstacles, 6 high ropes courses and 12 zip lines all suspended high in the rainforest canopy. Suitable for ages 8+ (and able to reach 160cm with your hand when reaching up), this is a fun way to spend 3 hours.
- Location: 76 Nambour Connection Rd, Woombye
- Opening Hours: Open 9 am until 5 pm daily with sessions starting at 10 am and 1 pm. Bookings are essential.
- Price: $65 per adult | $55 per child (8-14) | $220 for a family of 4
13. Wildlife HQ
Also located at the iconic Big Pineapple is Wildlife HQ. Back in the 90s and early 2000s, Brisbane was home to Alma Park Zoo, which shut its gates in 2014. Many of the animals were rehomed in the new Wildlife HQ zoo facility.
Wildlife HQ is an accredited facility of the ZAA (Zoo & Aquarium Association) and is involved in several national endangered species management and breeding programs.
Here you will find pandas, monkeys, meerkats and Queensland’s only sun bear, along with a wide range of other local and international animals.
This is a good alternative if you don’t have a full day to dedicate to Australia Zoo.
- Location: 76 Nambour Connection Rd, Woombye
- Opening Hours: Open 9 am until 4 pm daily
- Price: $39 per adult | $25 per child (8-14) | $109 for a family of 4
14. Whale Watching Tour
Seeing humpback whales in the wild is a pretty spectacular experience to have! And Queensland is one of the best places in the world to do this since many types of whales flock here to raise their young in the warmer waters each year.
The Fraser Coast is especially popular for this unique opportunity, with Hervey Bay known as the whale-watching capital of Australia. But you don’t have to do a day trip to Harvey Bay to go whale watching.
There are several whale-watching charters departing from the Sunshine Coast each day during whale season from June to October.
Sunreef Mooloolaba even gives you the chance to Scuba dive, snorkel with turtles, swim with whales, or go whale watching. They also have an ocean jet ski tour (suitable for older kids and teens). They were the first company to offer swimming with humpback whales tours.
- Location: The Wharf Mooloolaba, 123 Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba
- Opening Hours: Open 8 am until 5 pm daily
- Price: $85 per adult | $65 per child (8-14) | $249 for a family of 4. Swim with whales experiences are $249 per person. – Book tour tickets online here
15. Hire A Pontoon On The Maroochydore River
The Maroochy River is a great spot to spend a day! And you can hire your own pontoon boat to cruise your way along the river.
We did this just recently with Simon’s extended family, hiring a pontoon boat with a toilet and BBQ on board, plus fishing rods and bait. The whole family had a great day, even though it rained for part of it and was freezing!
But we managed to catch some fish and give the kids their first-ever fishing experience.
You can hire boats for half or full-day blocks. We did 6 hours and cruised along a fair portion of the river, stopping often to cast a line. The 6 hours seemed like it would be a really long time but it went quickly.
Definitely a great way to spend a relaxed day surrounded by beautiful scenery and wildlife!
We have also done this same experience on the Noosa River back when our eldest was a toddler too.
- Location: Swan Boat Hire is located 0pposite 71 Bradman Avenue, Maroochydore
- Opening Hours: Bookings required
- Price: From $180 for 2 hours boat hire.
16. Take An Eco Safari Through The Noosa Everglades
This is by far one of the most unique things to do in Queensland!
There are only two places in the world where you can explore an Everglades system – Noosa and Florida. The big difference, we don’t have alligators in Noosa National Park!
An Eco Safari Cruise and Canoe experience will take you through the narrow waterways where you will spot wildlife and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. It’s often called the ‘River of Mirrors’ due to the impressive reflections off the water.
A canoe tour is a fun way to get really up close and personal with the experience but a scenic cruise might be easier if you are visiting with a baby or toddler. Either way, this is an extremely unique experience that you can’t have anywhere else!
- Location: Noosa Everglades
- Opening Hours: Tour times vary. Check the links below for times and dates.
- Price: Everglades Explorer Canoe Tour from $129 for adults, $99 for kids – Click here to book tickets online | Serenity Cruise from $84 for adults & $69 for kids – Click here to book tickets online
17. Go Karting At The Big Kart Track
If you are looking for things to do on the Sunshine Coast with teens, go-karting is definitely a fun way to spend an afternoon!
The Big Kart Track in Landsborough is the largest commercial track in Australia with karts that go up to 70km per hour.
Drivers need to be at least 12 years old and over 152cm, so this isn’t an activity for the younger kids. But they can enjoy a snack at the cafe and watch older siblings from the viewing deck.
- Location: 2310 Steve Irwin Way, Landsborough
- Opening Hours: Open 9 am to 5 pm Sunday to Thursday and until 10 pm on Friday & Saturday
- Price: Prices start at $50 for 15 minutes per person.
18. Sunshine Castle
Did you know there is a castle on the Sunshine Coast? The formally known Bli Bli Castle is now known as Sunshine Castle and it’s a medieval-themed castle full of historical displays and structures.
You can wander around the castle and grounds areas that are open to the public on a self-guided tour and treasure hunt aimed at kids. There is an Interactive Armour Display, doll museum, Fairytale Walk & Model Train Railway, along with many other attractions to discover.
- Location: 292-296 David Low Way, Bli Bli
- Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 10 am to 4 pm and 10 am to 3 pm Sundays
- Price: $8 General Admission per person
19. Cool Off At An Aqua Park
What better way to cool off than an inflatable aqua park? There happen to be 2 in the Sunshine Coast region! One is in Bli Bli and the other is in Coolum.
This is definitely one of the best things to do on the Sunshine Coast in summer, with a massive inflatable obstacle course to work your way around. There are water slides, climbing obstacles, platforms and more. This is a great way to work up an appetite!
- Location: Blast Park, 60 Junction Dr, Coolum Beach & Bli Bli Park, 367 David Low Way, Bli Bli
- Opening Hours: Open 10 am to 5 pm daily from 10 September until 1 May and weekends only for the rest of the year.
- Price: $25 per person per 50-minute session
20. Queensland Air Museum – Aviation Museum Sunshine Coast
The Queensland Air Museum is a volunteer-run museum aimed to preserve Australia’s aviation heritage. Here you will find a collection of over 80 military and civilian aircraft that have been extensively restored.
There are also rare artefacts and reference materials to make this an interesting look at the history of aviation in Australia. They have free tour guides available most days to enhance your learning experience.
- Location: 7 Pathfinder Drive, Caloundra
- Opening Hours: Open daily from 10 am to 4 pm
- Price: $25 for adults, $12.50 for kids and $60 for a family of 2A & up to 3 kids under 15
21. Mini Golf
Mini golf is one of those attractions you will find in most tourist destinations and while it might not be specific to the place you’re visiting, it can still be a fun way to pass the time with kids. Plus each course is a new challenge!
Holey Moley Sunshine Coast is located in Maroochydore with mini golf and putt-putt. Best of all, it’s all indoors making it perfect for a rainy day activity.
There is also a Strike Bowling Bar here if you want to challenge the family to a round of ten pin bowling too. Or try an escape room challenge, play some arcade games or karaoke.
- Location: Big Top Shopping Centre, 12 – 20 Ocean St, Maroochydore
- Opening Hours: Open daily from 10 am to 10 pm and until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. Kids are allowed until 9 pm each day
- Price: From $12 for adults, $10 for kids
22. Amaze World
Amaze World is home to the Bellingham Maze, a massive 80 by 80-metre hedge maze. The goal is to reach the centre where you will find a lookout to see across the maze and marvel at your accomplishment!
They also have a few other mazes, including Ropes Maze, Tyre Maze, Scrabble Maze and Timber Maze. There is an augmented reality challenge plus a playground and mini golf here too.
The attraction is very busy during the school holidays so it definitely helps to book ahead!
- Location: 274 Tanawha Tourist Drive, Tanawha
- Opening Hours: Open daily from 10 am to 4 pm
- Price: $33 for adults, $27 for kids or $110 for a family of 4
23. Go On A Sunset Cruise
After a day of adventuring, you might be in the mood for something a little slower-paced. A cruise along any of the rivers or waterways on the Sunshine Coast is a lovely way to spend your afternoon.
There are quite a few places you can do this on the Sunshine Coast, but Mooloolaba is a popular option for cruises.
- Location: The Wharf, Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba
- Opening Hours: Cruise times vary
- Price: $40 for adults, $25 for kids or $115 for a family of 4 – Book a sunset cruise online here
24. Strawberry Picking
Who doesn’t love freshly picked fruit? Even better when you pick it yourself! Visit the strawberry fields for something a little different and pick your own fresh strawberries straight off the vines.
- Cooloola Berries – 856 Tagigan Road, Wolvi
- Rolin Farms – 124-190 Rutters Road, Elimbah
- McMartins Strawberry Farm – 105 Sports Road, Bli Bli
25. Hire A Kayak Or SUP
If you love water sports, there’s no better way to enjoy the beaches and rivers of the region than by kayak, canoe or standup paddleboarding. There are plenty of equipment hire places in popular holiday destination areas and these are fun activities to try for the first time I’ve you enjoy a challenge.
26. Learn To Surf
Speaking of a challenge, have you ever wanted to learn how to surf? Personally, it’s not for me but this is definitely a perfect place to learn. One of the most popular places to learn to surf is Noosa, however, there are also surfing schools in Caloundra, Maroochydore, Mooloolaba and Coolum.
Book a Noosa surfing lesson here
27. Dine At The Wharf Mooloolaba
The Mooloolaba Wharf has been a popular dining spot for as long as I can remember and these days are no exception.
There are loads of great restaurants and dining options at The Wharf to suit every taste and most budgets… although let’s be real, anywhere near the waterfront isn’t exactly a cheap meal!
One of our favourites is The Savvy Squire which is a James Squire craft beer restaurant. Rice Boi is always super busy and popular and on our must-try list next visit. And you can’t leave without an ice cream from Fior Di Latte Gelataria!
There’s also a huge lolly shop with heaps of retro and international lollies.
- Location: The Wharf Mooloolaba, 123 Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba
- Opening Hours: Check The Wharf website for individual opening times.
- Price: Various.
Free Things To Do On The Sunshine Coast With Kids
Visiting the Sunshine Coast on a budget? Thankfully there are plenty of free things to do on the Sunshine Coast with kids:
28. Visit The Markets
Exploring the markets is always a great way to get a feel for a new place, pick up some local produce or find some unique souvenirs that are usually cheaper than gift shops. There are some great regular markets on the Sunshine Coast. Here are a few of the best:
The Eumundi Markets are the most famous Sunny Coast markets, open every Wednesday (8 am-2 pm) and Saturday (7 am-2 pm) and offer an array of fresh produce, handmade items, art & craft, clothing and other unique goods. There is often live music and plenty of food too.
Noosa Farmers Market
Noosa Farmers Market is held every Sunday morning from 6 am til midday and is popular with foodies. Here you will find delicious local produce, baked goods and some delicious breakfast or brunch options.
Mooloolaba Sunset Markets
Held on the first and third Saturday of each month from 5:30 pm, you can stroll along the Mooloolaba Esplanade and browse the array of eclectic stalls. Find one-of-a-kind local homewares and art, food and live music.
29. Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
Mary Cairncross Reserve is a lovely recreational reserve near Maleny. There is a discovery centre, BBQ facilities and picnic tables, a playground and a cafe, plus plenty of walking tracks to explore. It’s the perfect place to go for a family picnic.
30. Sunshine Coast Playgrounds
If you’ve got younger kids, you know how much they love the chance to explore new playgrounds everywhere you go. And sometimes kids need a break from the excitement of new attractions and the chance to just play.
There are some great playgrounds throughout the Sunshine Coast and hinterland area. Our kids especially love the Mooloolaba Nature Playground, Kings Beach playgrounds and Russell Family Park in Montville (pictured above), but there are plenty more we haven’t yet visited too!
31. The Big Pineapple
Australia loves their big things! It’s a strange quirk we have and The Big Pineapple is one of those iconic big things.
It’s free to visit The Big Pineapple, including the massive 16-metre pineapple itself. They are in the process of reimagining this former top attraction so it’s getting a little bit of a makeover to become a top foodie destination again. But even in the meantime, it’s still fun to get a photo with the pineapple!
There is also a train ride experience, although this does have a cost, along with Wildlife HQ Zoo and Treetops Challenge that we covered above.
As a kid, my favourite memory was their macadamia ice cream. Yum!
- Location:76 Nambour Connection Road, Woombye
- Opening Hours: Always for photos
- Price: Free entry
32. Wander Through The Banana Bender Pub
Most Queenslanders will remember the former Ettamogah Pub next to where Aussie World now is. Due to branding issues, it was rebranded to the Banana Bender Pub and it’s a pretty crazy place visit.
Inside you will find quirky decor, Australian animal characters and funny scenes throughout. There is also a lot of interesting Aussie memorabilia scattered throughout. It’s a pretty crazy place!
It’s free to visit but of course, if you’re in the mood for a pub meal, you can stay for lunch too!
- Location: 1 Downunder Drive, Palmview
- Opening Hours: 9 am to 6 pm daily or open until 10 pm Thursday to Saturday
- Price: Free entry
33. Go Fishing
If you love fishing, take the family out for a day on the water and see what you can catch. There are plenty of great places to go fishing on the Sunshine Coast and also places to hire fishing equipment from if you don’t have your own with you.
Some of the Sunshine Coast’s best fishing spots include the Maroochy River, Noosa North Shore, Mooloolaba River and Noosa River.
34. Take A Scenic Drive
If it is your first time visiting the Sunshine Coast, a scenic drive can be the perfect way to explore beyond the area you are staying. Jump in the car and take the coastal route, stopping whenever you see something that takes your fancy.
Or head towards the mountains and the Sunshine Coast hinterland for a more scenic inland route with rainforest and beautiful landscapes.
Sunshine Coast Nature & Outdoor Activities For Families
The Sunshine Coast is a beautiful place to visit for natural tourist attractions and outdoor adventures. There are many national parks to explore, walking tracks, waterfalls to chase and mountains to climb!
35. Visit The Sunshine Coast Beaches
The Sunshine Coast has some of the best beaches in Queensland. Perhaps even some of the best beaches in Australia. During the warmer months, you could easily spend a whole day enjoying the beaches – building sand castles, catching waves and having a game of beach footy!
Even in the cooler months, a walk along one of the many beautiful Sunshine Coast beaches is a must!
Some of the best beaches on the Sunshine Coast include:
Kings Beach is definitely one of the most popular beaches along the North Coast. The beach is always really busy on a hot day, plus there’s also a public swimming pool for anyone who prefers swimming without the waves.
The boardwalk is a lovely walk from Kings Beach as well. Plus there are rock pools to explore during low tide.
Noosa Main Beach
Main Beach at Noosa is a really popular family beach with small waves that are great for body boarding and swimming. There are amenities, views of Fraser Island and within walking distance of Hastings Street, for food and drink.
Mooloolaba Beach is one of our favourites simply because there’s always so much happening along the esplanade. The beach itself has lifeguard-supervised areas, plus there is a mammoth and fairly new nature playground further along that the kids love!
Plenty of places to eat and drink too and regular events all year round.
Coolum Beach is easily one of the most beautiful beaches on the Sunshine Coast, looking like it belongs straight off of a postcard with lovely white sand and turquoise water.
While it can get busy during the summer school holidays, it tends to be less busy than some of the other more popular beaches like Mooloolaba and Noosa.
It also has a dog-friendly beach area if you are travelling with your furry friend.
If you’re looking for even more beaches to visit, check out Golden Beach, Dickey Beach, Shelly Beach, Sunshine Beach, Peregian Beach and Moffat Beach. All are great options to visit while enjoying the coastal location.
36. Take A Coastal Walk
If you’re looking for a stunning coast walk, the Sunshine Coast has many! One of our favourites is the Sunshine Coast Coastal Pathway, stretching 73 kilometres from Bells Creek in the south to Coolum in the north.
While we haven’t done the full length (and likely won’t… because that’s a long way), the Mooloolah River to Alexandra Headland section of the coastal walk is beautiful.
You can find details on the full route and segments here.
The Noosa coastal walk is another popular walking trail, with the main route kicking off from the Noosa National Park car park in Noosa Heads and continuing on to Dolphin Point or Hells Gate. This is often a great vantage point for spotting dolphins or whales in the wild.
37. Swimming At Gardners Falls
Gardners Falls is a stunning spot located in Maleny, just a few minutes from the centre of town. Set along Obi Obi Creek, it features a natural rock pool, crystal clear water and beautiful views. It’s perfect for swimming, relaxing and picnicking!
The wall from the car park to the falls is short and relatively easy, plus there are some shallow areas to paddle in with the kids along the way if the deeper pools aren’t your scene.
This is a very popular natural swimming hole during the hot months with families coming to cool off so you might want to head down early to beat the crowds.
38. Explore The National Parks
There are so many beautiful national parks in the Sunshine Coast hinterland that you will be rather spoilt for choice if you’re keen to get outdoors and explore nature. Here are some of the best to visit:
Noosa National Park
Noosa National Park is one of the most beautiful places to explore in Queensland. The park features rainforests, beaches, walking trails and wildlife – all with stunning coastal views. It’s a great spot to visit if you’re looking for a day in the great outdoors!
You can also pop over to Hastings Street after for something delicious to eat and browse through the shops.
Kondalilla National Park
Kondalilla National Park is most popular for its walking trail to Kondalilla Falls. This waterfall is stunning and there are several other shorter walking trails to explore in this Sunshine Coast Hinterland national park too.
Mount Coolum National Park
Another popular mountain climbing experience is climbing Mount Coolum. This popular walking track rewards you with some epic views from the top!
Even the kids will be pretty chuffed with themselves. It is a step walk though, and while not a long track, it does require a good level of fitness.
Other national parks you might like to visit are Mapleton National Park, Conondale National Park, Great Sandy National Park (more on that below), and Mooloolaba River National Park.
Glass House Mountains National Park
If climbing a mountain is on your bucket list, you will find quite a few options in Glass House Mountains National Park.
There is a visitor centre to help you choose the right walking track for your family, however, some popular options include Mount Tibrogargan and Mount Ngungun. You will feel pretty fancy reaching the top of one of the volcanic peaks.
Plus there are trails suitable for bike riding, rock climbing and horse riding too if you want to explore in a different way.
39. See What You Can Discover In The Sunshine Coast Rock Pools
I don’t know about you, but my kids never get bored of exploring rock pools and I don’t think I’ve ever really grown out of it either. It’s always fun to see if you can spot some tiny marine life during low tide. Here are some great rock pool areas to explore:
- Point Cartwright in Buddina – Great place to take younger kids during low tide.
- Kings Beach in Caloundra – Plenty to discover here plus other activities to do.
- Shelly Beach in Caloundra – Lots of shallow rock pools.
- Mooloolaba Beach – Pictured above with lots of exposed pools (don’t slip over like I did)
40. Take A Walk To Point Cartwright Lighthouse
Port Cartwright Lighthouse and Reservoir is a nice short coastal walk with some pretty impressive views. The Reservoir has been painted with some beautiful murals that make the walk even more interesting.
Plus there are a few shorter walking tracks off the main track that loops through the bushland.
You can park at the car park and walk the short distance to the lighthouse, or the full Point Cartwright Coastal Walkway is a scenic 2.34 km seaside trail that takes visitors around the lighthouse with views of the Mooloolah River, the Mooloolah Spit, and the ocean.
Watch our Port Cartwright video here
Best Day Trips From The Sunshine Coast With Kids
If you’ve got a few days to spend in the Sunshine Coast region, you might even like to take a day trip to see more of South East Queensland. Thankfully there are some pretty epic Sunshine Coast day trips:
41. Fraser Island
Fraser Island (K’gari) is a must-see destination in Queensland. There’s so much to explore here, from crystal clear lakes and rainforest trails to sandboarding and 4WD tours and parts of the Great Sandy National Park.
There are day tours that depart from Harvey Bay each day or if you have your own 4WD you can catch the ferry across. Fraser Island is also the world’s largest sand island and is World Heritage Listed!
42. Bribie Island
Bribie Island is a great spot to explore with the kids. There are plenty of beaches and bush walks, as well as swimming spots and picnic areas. You can go fishing from the pier or take a boat out on the calm waters of Pumicestone Passage.
Best of all, you can access Bribie Island easily from the mainland by a bridge.
43. Rainbow Beach
The other part of the stunning Great Sandy National Park stretches from Noosa to Rainbow Beach and this is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia! Rainbow Beach is popular for camping, 4WDing and sand dunes.
44. Hervey Bay
We mentioned above that Hervey Bay is the ultimate place to go for whale watching experiences with many different tour companies offering tours each day during whale season.
If you haven’t visited Brisbane yet, this is a great chance to take a day trip to Brisbane and explore Queensland’s capital city. There are loads to see and do. You can find plenty of inspiration in our Brisbane bucket list guide.
46. Gold Coast
The other popular family vacation destination in Queensland is the Gold Coast and you can certainly head there for a day trip. The home of Queensland’s best theme parks and water park experiences, more national parks and beautiful beaches and loads of family attractions.
Check out our mammoth list of the 100 best things to do on the Gold Coast with kids.
FAQS For Visiting The Sunshine Coast
Ready for your Sunshine Coast family holiday? Here are some things to know before you visit:
When is the best time to visit the Sunshine Coast?
The best time to visit the Sunshine Coast is during the warmer months when you can make the most of the beautiful beaches and water activities, however, there is no bad time to visit and if you are planning to do a lot of hikes, you may prefer to visit during the winter months.
How do you get to the Sunshine Coast?
There are several ways to get to the Sunshine Coast, depending on where you are coming from. The closest airport is Sunshine Coast Airport or you can fly to Brisbane Airport and hire a car.
What is the best way to get around the Sunshine Coast?
The Sunshine Coast is a sprawling region with many attractions and places to explore. The best way to get around the Sunshine Coast is by car. While there is public transport available, a hire car will make it easier to explore at your own pace.
Where is the best place to stay on the Sunshine Coast with kids?
The Sunshine Coast has a variety of family accommodation options to suit different budgets. You can read our guide to the best Sunshine Coast family accommodation here.
How many days do I need for the Sunshine Coast?
It is recommended to spend at least four to five days to get a good taste of what the Sunshine Coast has to offer or longer if you wish to visit all the major attractions.
We hope this guide to the best Sunshine Coast activities for kids and families helps you to plan an amazing stay with your family!
Find More Queensland Travel Inspiration:
- Best Gold Coast theme park accommodation
- Brisbane to Cairns road trip itinerary
- Best Sunshine Coast family accommodation
- How to plan the ultimate camping trip
- 50 best things to do in Brisbane
- Rainy day ideas for Brisbane
- Indoor Activities for the Gold Coast
- Best things to do in Ipswich
- Best things to do in Bundaberg
- Best things to do in Mackay
- Day trips from Brisbane
- Best things to do in Cairns with kids
- Things to do in Mount Tamborine
- 1 week itinerary for Cairns
- Best Cairns family accommodation
- Best Queensland beaches
- Brisbane to Sydney road trip itinerary
- Best things to do in Airlie Beach