The Sunshine Coast is a very good destination to spend a weekend away or plan an extended holiday. Because of its mild subtropical clime, it is also a year-round destination. It stretches from south Caloundra to North Noosa.
The Sunshine Coast is not only an excellent family friendly destination but also it is a good one to keep it in mind, if you ever can plan a romantic getaway with your partner. Our favourite spot: Noosa Heads. (My advice: Don’t travel to Noosa at its peak season; it loses all its charm).
Top Sunshine Coast Spots
If you have preschool children, Caloundra is probably one of the best destinations of the Sunshine Coast. Caloundra is the only location of the Sunshine Coast that has a beachfront salt-water pool. Kings Beach is without a doubt one of the best beaches. The park also features a water fountain and a flying fox. But our favourite spot is Bullcock Beach. It has plenty of shade thanks to its Norfolk Island Pines, an excellent playground with picnic facilities including barbecues and calm waters for little children. Don’t forget to check the tide times before you go. Paddling pools form on the sand when it is low tide, which is perfect for toddlers. Bullcock Beach has plenty of cafés, too. And from the beach, you can enjoy the beautiful views of Caloundra’s natural attraction, the Pumicestone Passage. Go for a stroll on the updated boardwalk. Your kids will love spotting pelicans.
The best way to explore Caloundra is to do the Caloundra Coastal Walk. The paths go from Golden Beach to Mooloolaba Beach, a total of 25km. The section from Bullcock Beach to Kings Beach is easy to do with young kids. If your children are reluctant to walk, you might convince them with final “reward” of the salt-water tidal pool.
For a change of scenery, you can head to Shelly Beach. There are lots of rock formations and little rock pools. Although there are not suitable for swimming, they are perfect for entertaining the kids; they may easily spend a morning searching for shells.
Our other pick is Currimundi Lake. This is a stunning location. Despite it doesn’t have too much shade, it is the perfect spot for a day out. There are picnic tables and also two cafés. The tranquil waters are perfect for the little ones. If you want some action, walk a little bit and you will find an open beach with world-class waves.
If you want an easy holiday, Dicky Beach with its mentioned holiday park is an excellent choice. Dicky Beach was named after SS Dicky was forced to remain on the beach after several attempts to refloat it in 1893. On Thursday 30th July of 2015, the Council decided to remove the exposed elements of the shipwreck, as it was a hazard due to its deterioration.
According to the Mooloolaba Tourism official web page, Mooloolaba Beach has been voted the number sixth best beach in Australia by Tripadvisor recently. I can perfectly understand why. Mooloolaba Beach is a piece of paradise. It has all the ingredients: a long patrolled beach, with a section of calm waters on the spit, several playgrounds and the cosmopolitan esplanade, with a long strip of world-class cafés and alfresco dining restaurants with sea views and some trendy shops.
Don’t forget to try the famous Mooloolaba prawns meanwhile you are there. The Mooloolaba Fish Markets and The Fisheries on the Spit are very famous because of the range of fresh seafood and fish that they offer. You will not be disappointed!
One of the tourist attractions of Mooloolaba is Sealife Sunshine Coast (formerly Underwater World). Although it is not SeaWorld, it is a good place to take the little ones.
Finally, if you go there in winter, remember that it is whale-watching season. You can find several whale watching tours departing from The Wharf at Mooloolaba.
Noosa, the ultimate beach-chic destination
If you are looking for spending some holidays in style, don’t look further. Noosa is the answer. On Hastings Street, you will find designer boutiques, cafés and restaurants.
Noosa compromises four areas: Noosa Heads, Noosaville, Sunshine Beach and Sunrise Beach. Noosa Heads is the most popular destination and it is usually in high demand. Noosa Heads suits the traveller that wants to stay close to the upmarket ambience of Hastings Street.
Noosaville is perfect if you are looking for more affordable accommodation but still, you want to enjoy spectacular views (in Noosaville you can find some apartments next to the river quite well priced. The shores of the river are excellent for little kids. When they are very young, generally, they are happy with a bit of sand and some water to splash). If you are looking for some calm days and you want to spend quality time with your family, Sunshine and Sunrise Beach are good options.
First timers will want to stay close to the action on Hastings Street, but if you’re a seasoned traveller to the Sunshine Coast it’s worth checking out the hidden gems of Noosaville.
Noosa Heads is one of the world’s most sought-after holiday destinations. It combines all the finer things in life with stunning beaches and the beauty of Noosa National Park, all in one compact area you can explore by foot.
Noosa Main Beach is the standout option of the many quality beaches on the Sunshine Coast and is pretty much the perfect showcase of what the Sunny Coast has to offer. It is a picture-perfect setting with golden sand, pristine waters, waves that are ideal for swimming, is well-patrolled, easily accessible, and rich in both marine and shore-dwelling wildlife. Pods of dolphins frequent the waters just off the beach’s main strip, and whales can even be spotted during their annual migration season. The beach also boasts outstanding surfing conditions around the Noosa Park headland, serving as the home of the yearly Noosa Festival of Surfing each March.
Noosa Main Beach’s north-facing direction means that conditions are far more sheltered than many other beaches on the coast, helping take the sting out of the breeze in the colder months and making it basically a viable year-round option for those looking for some beach-going fun.
Major attractions in the area include Australia Zoo, Aussie World, The Ettamogah Pub, Big Kart Track and the Queensland Air Museum.
Best places to stay on the Sunshine Coast
There are a number of fantastic, family friendly places to stay on the Sunshine Coast. Here are some of our favourites:
Dicky Beach Family Holiday Park
It is located on the beachfront at Caloundra’s Dicky Beach, which is a patrolled beach. It has a playground and a swimming pool. Overall, it is an excellent spot to have a relaxing holiday. Restaurants are at your doorstep, too, including the Caloundra Surf Club.
RACV Noosa Resort
Although it is not a beachfront location, if you want to experience a bit of luxury without the tag price of Hastings St, RACV Noosa Resort is a very good option. We stayed in one of the villas and we loved it.
These apartments are located at the beginning of Hastings St in Noosa, which is slightly quieter than the rest of the street. The apartments don’t overlook the sea, only the pool, but Sandcastles Apartments offer reasonably priced accommodation, considering its beachfront location with direct access to the beach.
Novotel Twin Waters Resort
We stayed in when my children were still quite young, so we could not take advantage of all the activities and facilities. But, if you have primary school kids or even a bit older, and if you like resorts, this is an unbeatable place to have fun the whole family.