7 fun-filled activities for families on the Sunshine Coast
Its coastal cousin on the other side of Brisbane, the Gold Coast, tends to wear the crown of most exciting family destination in Australia, but The Sunshine Coast brings you the same level of adventure and fun in a more relaxed, and humble way.
Who doesn’t want to create family memories away from the maddening crowds?
My eldest daughter was born on the Sunshine Coast, but since we moved away when she was only nine months old we never really experienced what it offered families. Recently, we’ve spent a bit of time exploring the region with our girls and have uncovered a destination full of surprises: sunny weather, great beaches, a stunning hinterland region, as well as great family attractions, some of which are Aussie icons!
1. Aussie World, Palmview
Aussie World is a fun family theme park without the crowds. You’ll have a minimal wait time and the staff treat you like you’re one of the family. Entry price covers unlimited rides – there are no upside down roller coasters, or thrilling rides, but for the younger crowds, it offers vintage family fun!
With old favourites like the Wild Mouse, the Ferris wheel, and the dodgem cars, parents will feel as carefree and young as their kids again! Don’t forget to check out the Illusionsarium, a place of infinite dimensions and possibilities – it’s psychedelic baby!
2. Australia Zoo, Beerwah
One of the best zoos in Australia is located at Beerwah on the Sunshine Coast. Founded by the late, and much loved animal conservationist Steve Irwin and his family. The Australia Zoo offers a fantastic day out with the family where you can feed and pat kangaroos, visit the African savannah and see a wide range of Australian animals. Its famous Wildlife Warrior bird and croc show is held in the Crocoseum every day at 12 pm. Don’t forget to visit the animal hospital to learn about all the great work they do in protecting our wildlife.
3. Sea Life, Mooloolaba
Time to explore the Underwater World at Seal Life Mooloolaba, home to thousands of animals, including sharks, seals, turtles, stingrays, otters, sawfish, and tropical fish. The highlight of a trip to Seal Life is an encounter with Seals! You can either watch the twice daily seal show or pay extra have a photo taken with a seal. For a more in-depth encounter, you can their fur and shake flippers and go behind the scenes area where they live and where all their fishy food is prepared. My favourite was to spend 20 minutes swimming with them in their pool. They are so playful, inquisitive and cute. It was a definite highlight of my visit to the Sunshine Coast.
4. Sunrise Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Caloundra
Yes! It does mean waking up early, but it will be worth it. Golden Beach Hire rent SUP boards and Kayaks from the quiet Golden Beach. Watch the sun rise over Bribie Island while paddling on the calm waters of the Pumicestone Passage. Free instruction is included with your hire, and if you can’t make sunrise, there’s always a couple of hours later. Stand Up paddle boarding is something everyone in the family can do and it’s such a fun, and gentle bonding experience.
5. Kings Beach and Tidal Pool, Caloundra
Kings Beach in Caloundra has recently been included in the Top 10 family-friendly beaches in Queensland. You can choose to either roll around in the waves under the watchful eye of the lifeguards patrolling daily or take the relaxing option in the free tidal saltwater pools. With a 25-metre sea-water lap pool, children’s swimming pool and wading area with disabled access it’s popular for all ages and has a stunning view overlooking the horizon.
6. Gardners Falls, Maleny
If you get tired of beach life, head up to the Sunshine Coast hinterland to a hidden waterhole within the forest. It’s popular spot to cool down, so not so hidden. For the brave ones, there are several ropes to swing off into the water below. There are also a few cascading waterfalls which make the perfect setting for a family picnic.
7. Bellingham Maze, Tanawha
Who doesn’t love racing around a maze with your kids? It’s one of our favourite activities to do as a family and the Bellingham Maze in Tanawaha didn’t disappoint. The star-shaped hedge maze made from lilly-pillies is the main event. Along the way you can search for gnomes and coloured letters on poles to help solve some riddles. Once you find your way to the tower and back out again, check out the other smaller mazes, like the Tyre Maze, the Ropes Maze and our favourite the timber Scrabble Maze. Find the jumbled letters down the dead ends and then solve the riddle!