Fun in the sun: Sunshine Coast for families

Get ready for some fun in the sun on a family beach holiday filled with wildlife and outdoor adventure.

Family playing beach cricket at Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
  • Jetstar
  • August 2021

With all that warm weather and all those beaches – not to mention wildlife attractions, theme parks and rainforest walks – the Sunshine Coast is simply made for family holidays. And here it's not a question of what to do, but how you're going to fit it all in. It's a place that strikes a happy balance. The kids are always kept entertained while the adults watch on, book or drink in hand by the pool. Everything's within easy walking or driving distance, and there are plenty of fun ways to mix things up so new adventures beckon each day.

Swims and sandcastles on a family day at the beach

There's no greater Aussie tradition than the family beach holiday, and here on the Sunshine Coast you'll find some of the very best family-friendly beaches. Blissful sand, calm waters and safe swimming – it's no wonder it's so popular for holidaymakers with young ones in tow. Most beaches are sheltered and patrolled by surf lifesavers. And there are plenty of spots with fun little waves for grommets to surf. Noosa's Main Beach is the most popular, but Caloundra's Kings Beach is also sought-after for its rock pools and ocean pool. But with an entire coastline of golden sands, here on the Sunshine Coast it’s hard to go wrong.

Family playing beach cricket at Noosa Main Beach, Sunshine Coast. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
Noosa’s Main Beach is always a hit. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Cuddle a koala at Australia Zoo

Mate, if you're looking to wow the kids with a ripper of a holiday, then add in a few cuddly critters, some of the world's deadliest snakes and a few crocs, and crikey, you've come to the right place! Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo is, of course, where you can make it happen. The Sunshine Coast's main big-ticket attraction, the zoo is a must for animal lovers. Ranging from cute and cuddly to deadly and dangerous, it features everything furry, feathered, scaly and spiky. Australia's native wildlife's the main focus, but in line with its mission of wildlife conservation, there's plenty here from around the world.

Woman and child feed a kangaroo at Australia Zoo, Sunshine Coast. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
Get acquainted with the locals at Australia Zoo. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Get your thrills at Aussie World theme park

In keeping with Queensland's reputation as the theme park capital of Australia, the Sunshine Coast doesn't disappoint. At Aussie World, kids will be treated to thrills and spills on action-packed rides that'll launch them up, spin em around, then plunge them into water. And have them running back for more. There's a heap of rides for the little ones, too, along with all the favourite carnival attractions, dodgem cars and food stalls. Parents will be kept happy at the quirky onsite pub, the Banana Bender, with bar and family-friendly pub grub.

Decorative surfboards and animal décor attached to the ceiling and pillars inside the Banana Bender pub, Aussie World, Sunshine Coast. Image credit: Jackson Stock Photography/
The Banana Bender is fun for the whole family. Image credit: Jackson Stock Photography/

Take in the wonders of life under the sea

With those sweeping ocean outlooks, and system of lakes and everglades, here on the Sunshine Coast wildlife watching doesn't just take place on land. So be sure to keep your eyes peeled for humpback whales, along with dolphins, seals and dugongs, who are all regular visitors to these shores. From June to November, boats run snorkelling tours to get you up close and personal to these beautiful creatures. And for all the other cool marine stuff, don't miss the SeaLife aquarium. Sharks, rays, seals, penguins, jellyfish, turtles, they're all here, along with a heap of colourful fish and exciting hands-on experiences.

Woman and two children looking at stingrays in the ocean tunnel at SeaLife aquarium, Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
SeaLife's ocean tunnel. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Head into the hinterland for family hikes

The Sunshine Coast isn't all about beaches and turnstile attractions, so don't miss the opportunity to take a drive through its lush hinterland. Pack a picnic to enjoy the spectacular Glass House Mountains. Here you'll find plenty of easy walks that lead to stunning lookouts over the majestic volcanic peaks. Nearby at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, kids will love the Rainforest Discovery Centre. They’ll learn all about the subtropical ecosystem, among plenty of birds and cute marsupials. The Noosa hinterland is also home to scenic national parks that are filled with wildlife and wonderful views.

Sunset view of the Glass House Mountains from Mount Tibrogargan, Sunshine Coast.
View from Mount Tibrogargan, Glass House Mountains National Park.