Perfect for families both young and old looking to escape the daily grind and smell the sea salt, the Sunshine Coast is a destination that is often overlooked when it comes to planning a family holiday, with places like Byron Bay or the Gold Coast typically sitting centre-stage for both domestic and international travellers.
The Sunshine Coast is in many ways a beautifully raw take on the more typical coastal getaway, offering fewer crowds and a less commercialised atmosphere, it’s well suited for families with kids in need of some room to play. In this article, we take a look at 10 of the Sunshine Coast’s best attractions for kids.
Location: 80 Memorial Drive, Eumundi QLD 4562
Well known for its locally made artisan treasures – from handcrafted furniture, home wares, and artworks to ceramics, fashion and jewellery – the Eumundi Markets sit at the top of the list when it comes to market-sourced arts and crafts.
If your kids aren’t jumping out of their seats (more than usual) at the thought of some hand made artwork, however, then maybe the seemingly endless supply of fresh produce and gourmet delights on offer throughout the market will widen their eyes or raise a few brows.
Baked or grown by local farmers and bakers, the markets have a range of delicious and nutritious goodies to fill you up while you browse the various stalls, enjoying live music and performances along the way.
Location: 2310 Steve Irwin Way, Landsborough QLD 4550
Located on Steve Irwin Way in Landsborough, the Big Kart Track is perfect for kids both young and old. Home to Australia’s largest commercial track – along with its very own kids track – the Big Kart Track has something for every age and ability to enjoy on what will innevitably be a fast paced day out.
Kids rides start at $20 for 10 minutes on a junior go-kart, or $25 on a Double Seater (seats an adult and small child), while adults ride start at $45 (15 minutes) or $70 (30 minutes), with $30 for every 15 minutes extra. The ride times are relatively short and explosive, so you’ll be able to pair your day at the track with another activity either in the morning or afternoon if the kids are up for it.
The Big Kart Track is the perfect excuse to let your competitive side run wild with the whole family. For those who love the thrill of racing, this is a can’t-miss experience you’re sure to love!
Adult (15 minutes): $45.00
Adult (30 minutes): $70.00
Adult (+15 minutes): $30.00
Kids (10 minutes): $20.00
Kids (double seater): $25.00
Location: Beach Access Track 11, Noosa Beach
Why not add learning a new skill to the itinerary for your next family getaway? There are few activities more popular than surfing on the Sunshine Coast, and no better place to learn to surf than in the stunning surrounds of Noosa Beach.
A beloved hobby for so many locals throughout the region, going for a morning stroll along any one of the coasts pristine beaches will often include a handful of enthusiasts taking to the waves.
If you’re heading to Noosa with kids, then you have the perfect excuse to book them (and yourself!) in for a lesson! Lasting around two hours and including equipment and some extremely talented instructors, surfing lessons with Go Ride a Wave in Noosa are sure to be a hit with the whole family.
7. Strawberry Picking
Location: 133 Laxton Road, Palmview QLD 4553
When it comes to outdoor experiences that are both entertaining and rewarding for the kids, picking their own strawberries at one of the Sunshine Coasts many Strawberry Farms is hard to beat.
Strawberry Fields in Palmview is one such farm. Run by the Carmichael Family since 1980 and open all year round, the farm offers educational tours to school groups, vacation care outings, and even platter and cake options for birthday parties.
The farm also includes a neat tractor playground for the kids to blow off some steam, with picnic tables for parents to relax and enjoy the peaceful setting.
When you’re satisfied that you’ve picked your last berry, head back to the café to enjoy a selection of strawberry treats, from homemade strawberry ice cream to pancakes with freshly picked strawberries, along with a range of merchandise to remember the day.
Prices: PYO Prices fluctuate, following current wholesale market pricing
6. Great Beach Drive 4WD Tour
Location: Rainbow Beach, QLD 4581
There’s something special about going off-road – particularly driving on the beach – that gets your heart pumping, and the Sunshine Coast has some of the best 4WD beach tours in Australia.
Experience some of the coasts most dynamic scenery, forever changing and evolving in areas that are only accessible by 4X4. The sandy beaches stretching from Noosa to Rainbow Beach feature two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves side-by-side, with the Great Sandy Biosphere and Noosa Biosphere providing the unique opportunity to take the kids on a journey along picturesque sandy beaches and rugged bushland within the one tour.
Highlights of the tour include Rainbow Beach, made famous by the unique colouring of its sand that was once used by the Gubbi Gubbi people for their artworks and boomerang decoration; Honeymoon Bay, Red Canyon, and the picturesque lighthouse at Double Island Point, the perfect spot for a family photo.
In the spirit of going off the beaten track, the tours provided also offer the freedom to explore and stay a little longer in areas, with local guides taking you to the best-kept secrets along the coastline.
Full Day Tour
Child (under 14): $95
Family (2A + 2C): $475
4X4 Wagon: $850 (up to 4A + 2C)
4X4 Mini-Bus: $1495 (maximum 10 people)
Location: 73 Frizzo Road, Palmview QLD 4553
If you’re on the Sunshine Coast with kids and can afford to squeeze a full days worth of entertainment into your itinerary, then you can’t go past Aussie World.
Located next to the Bruce Highway in Palmview, Aussie World is the Sunshine Coast’s leading theme park with over 30 rides and attractions suitable for all ages.
From Professor Boggleworth’s Illisionarium, to Redback, the Plunge or even Ballroom Blitz, Aussie World is packed with brilliantly entertaining rides and attractions to keep both you and your kids entertained for hours.
Located just outside the park, ‘The Pub’ is one of Queensland’s leading tourist attractions and is more than worth visiting for a family photo or two. Open from 9am until late, the pub serves lunch and dinner, specialising in the use of local produce, including a mouth-watering range of grilled steak.
Child (3 – 17 yrs.): $40.00
Child (under 3 yrs.): FREE
Family (4): $144.00
Family (5): $175.00
4. Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World
Location: 233 Maleny Stanley River Road, Maleny QLD 4552
Spanning over an impressive 16 acres (and always growing!), the Maleny Botanic Gardens are a sight to behold for adults and children alike. Situated on a massive 110 acres, the gardens are surrounded by rainforest with spectacular views of the Glasshouse Mountains.
The Garden also features over six kilometres of walking paths meandering through thousands of different plants, from roses, azaleas and annuals through to some of the rarest cycads in the world.
Along with the plethora of plant life, the gardens also feature a number of lakes and waterfalls to captivate the kids, which also make for excellent spots to take a family photo or two.
Open seven days a week from 9am to 4.30pm, the Gardens are a beautiful opportunity to bring the family closer to nature no matter when you visit.
If the plants aren’t quite lively enough for your little ones, the Maleny Botanic Garden also plays host to a 1400 square metre aviary which houses over 400 birds. From finches, Australian cockatoos and lorikeets through to exotic parrots and macaws, you’ll be able to meet hundreds of inquisitive companions, both colourfully feathered and colourful in nature.
Entry to the aviary is available through guided tours offered daily. During the tour you will be introduced to a wide variety of birds throughout the aviary, lasting around 50-minutes.
Adults (15+ yrs.) Gardens & Aviary: $31.00
Adults (15+ yrs.) Gardens only: $16
Children (3-14 yrs.) Gardens & Aviary: $10
Children (3-14 yrs.) Gardens only: FREE
Concession Gardens & Aviary: $26
Concession Gardens only: $13
Family Day Pass (2A + 2C) all access: $72
Location: Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba QLD 4557
SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast is Queensland’s largest aquarium, with one of the most diverse collections of marine life on display both above and below the water.
With a state-of-the-art shark exhibit to go along with 10 other cleverly themed zones, from the Bay of Rays and Octonauts Zone, to the much cuddlier Seal Island and Otter Empire, there’s truly something for everyone.
Beyond the obvious appeal of seeing the oceans most spectacular inhabitants up close, SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast also provides various informative and entertaining shows to captivate audiences (especially the kids!). The Seal Show and Jellyfish Exhibit are some of the attractions most popular highlights, with the seals in particular drawing regular crowds.
Child (3-14 yrs.): $27.00
Infant (0-2 yrs.): FREE
Family (2A + 2C): $99.00
Location: 50 Pioneer Road, Yandina QLD 4561
If you tried to combine delicious treats with a wonderland for kids, you’d end up with something like The Ginger Factory.
One of the Sunshine Coast’s most beloved attractions, The Ginger Factory has been delighting families for over 40 years with its large range of locally made ginger drinks, sweets, spreads and foods. If you (or any member of your family) love ginger, you simply can’t go past The Ginger Factory!
Beyond the ginger, visitors can also explore the beautiful nine-hectare property, which includes a number of exciting rides, boutique shops, a café, ice creamery, lush sub-tropical gardens and of course, the factory itself.
During your visit you’ll be invited to take a tour on Moreton, the 116-year-old ginger train, now retired from ginger deliveries and instead transporting families around the grounds. You will also get to learn about bees in a live Bee Show & Tasting (the honey, not the bees), watch the process of ginger production, explore the beautiful sub-tropical rainforest gardens, and step aboard the Overboard, a water adventure with the Gingerbread Man.
Open seven days a week from 9am to 5pm, The Ginger Factory makes for the perfect family day out on the Sunshine Coast.
Ginger Factory Rides Double Deal Tickets
Family (2A + 3C): $72.00
Infant (0-3 yrs.): FREE
Ginger Factory Super Pass Ticket
Child (4-16 yrs.): $36.00
Family (2A + 3C): $165.00
Infant (0-3 yrs.): FREE
Location: 1638 Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah QLD 4519
Made famous around the globe by the late, great Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, Australia Zoo is one of the Sunshine Coast’s top must-do experiences for first time visitors.
Often referred to as Australia’s best zoo, Australia Zoo is renowned for its balance of both variety of animals and quality of presentations, featuring some of the most passionate keepers in the world.
If your kids love animals and don’t mind a world-class show or two, Australia Zoo is sure to be a highlight of their trip, but even better, it’s likely to be a highlight of yours too! Purchase your tickets with Experience Oz and get additional entry to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, where you can witness the wonderful team of vets as they treat and rehabilitate injured, sick or orphaned wildlife before releasing them back into the wild.
From the Crocoseum – where you’ll be able to see crocodiles quite literally chomping at the bit to entertain guests – to the open-range Africa exhibit, exotic Tiger Temple and many more, there is plenty to keep the whole family entertained throughout your visit.
One-Day Admission and Wildlife Hospital Sneak Peak
Child (3-14 yrs.): $37.00
Family (2A + 2C): $180.00
Family (2A + 3C): $199.00
Child (3-14 yrs.): $35.00
Family (2A + 2C): $172.00
Family (2A + 3C): $189.00
If you’re interested in exploring the Sunshine Coast with your family, you can check out our full catalogue which lists a number of things to do all around the region.