10 family-friendly things to do on the Sunshine Coast

Children at Sea Life

Craig Tansley

Posted December 21, 2020


How to find family fun on the coast with the most.

The Sunshine Coast is one of the best destinations in Australia for a family holiday. With more than 60 kilometres of beaches and a green hinterland studded with picturesque villages, the region is brimming with experiences and attractions for all ages. From seeing sharks up close at Queensland’s biggest aquarium, to horse riding on the beach at Noosa’s North Shore or speeding around Australia’s largest commercial go-kart track at 70kmh, here are 10 of the best family-friendly activities to try on the coast with the most. And if you’re an RACV member, you can take advantage of special offers and discounts at a wide range of Sunshine Coast attractions when you book through RACV Attraction Tickets.


10 of the best family-friendly experiences on the Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast Whale Watching

Have a whale of a time with the ocean's most majestic mammals. Board a whale-watching cruise or take the plunge and go swimming with the gentle sea giants. With tours departing from Mooloolaba and Noosa, you can choose a small group experience or up the thrill factor with a jet boat adventure cruises.

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Sunshine Coast TreeTop Challenge

For a whole new point of view on the hinterland rainforest behind the Sunshine Coast, go up, up and away on the 12 massive flying foxes and ziplines that thread the treetops at Sunshine Coast TreeTop Challenge at the Big Pineapple in Woombye. There are ropes courses too among the 100 challenges awaiting daredevil families, with five courses ranging from easy to ‘black diamond’ for those 14 or older. Views from the tree canopy at up to 25 metres above ground level are spectacular.

76 Nambour Connection Road, Woombye
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Aussie World

The kids will love the Sunshine Coast’s biggest theme park. Aussie World at Palmview boasts more than 30 rides and attractions, with something to suit everyone in the family no matter how big or small (and the Banana Bender Pub is a treat for parents – check out the famous Kilcoy steak sandwich). There are rides to keep teenagers terrified, and just as many for the little ones, including the Bug Run kiddie roller-coaster and the Little Beaut Toot Toot family train ride. 

1 Downunder Drive, Palmview

Child touching an interactive aquarium display

SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast.


 

Sea Life 

Come face to face with the most fascinating creatures of the deep without even getting wet at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast in Mooloolaba, the largest aquarium in Queensland. Long one of the region’s most popular family attractions, there are more than 10,000 sea creatures on display across 11 separate zones. Be sure to check out the new shark exhibition featuring seven different species, and don’t miss the popular Seal Island and Jellyfish Kingdom. There’s also an 80-metre-long ocean tunnel and a play area for younger children.  

Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba
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Bellingham Maze

It’s the perfect bonding exercise for the family as you combine your collective problem-solving skills and sense of direction to get through a massive living hedge maze. Bellingham Maze at Tanawha offers something a little different to your normal family holiday activity. Enter through a waterfall and tropical rainforest before testing your wits in the main hedge maze (it’s 80 metres by 80 metres). The youngest members of the family will enjoy the Snow White and Harry Potter challenges. There are also rope mazes, timber mazes, tyre mazes, mini-putt and a picnic area – if you make it through!

274 Tanawha Tourist Drive, Tanawha
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Noosa Learn To Surf

The Sunshine Coast is famous for its surf beaches – so why not learn to ride the waves with the whole family? There’s no better spot than Noosa with its protected right-hand point break – claimed to be the safest and most consistent learn-to-surf location in Australia. Book a lesson for the family with Noosa Learn to Surf, and you might be taught by two-time Australian champion Merrick Davis (he’s the company owner). You’re guaranteed to be standing by the end of your first lesson. 

Claude Batton Drive, Noosa Heads
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Getting close to the wildlife at Australia Zoo.
Riding high at Noosa Learn to Surf.

The Ginger Factory

There’s something for everyone in the family at Ginger Factory. Take a 100-year-old former sugar-cane open-air train through nine hectares of landscaped subtropical rainforest, then treat yourselves to a freshly churned ice-cream at the Ginger Cafe. There’s an adventure water ride for the kids featuring more than 200 hand-made animated puppets, and you’ll also have the chance to sample the best ginger treats while taking a tour of the ginger factory. There are also plenty of kids’ play areas.

50 Pioneer Road, Yandina
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Australia Zoo

Late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin made Australia Zoo one of the best-known wildlife attractions on the planet. Now run by his widow Terri, and kids Bindi and Bob, it remains a must-do for any family visiting the region. It’s easy to spend a full day visiting the various animal enclosures – from the jumping saltwater crocs that made Steve Irwin an international household name, to the open-range African enclosure or the tiger temple. The zoo, in Beeerwah, is also a key wildlife rehabilitation centre, so you can watch vets at work as they tend to injured animals at the wildlife hospital. 

1638 Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah
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Mary Valley Rattler

The Mary Valley – a 45-minute drive west from Noosa – is the Sunshine Coast’s best-kept secret, and the best way to see it is by rail on the historic Mary Valley Rattler. You don’t have to be a train enthusiast to get a thrill out of steaming through the valley’s verdant forests, past tiny towns and across scenic bridges aboard a lovingly restored heritage train. Throw in a grazing-style lunch at Gympie’s heritage station and everyone’s happy. The train turns around in Amamoor – a great spot for a quick shop and a coffee break.

Gympie Station, Tozer St, Gympie
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RACV Noosa Resort

Stay just five minutes’ drive from Noosa’s trendy main street and beach in one of Queensland’s best family resorts. RACV Noosa Resort was voted best accommodation in Queensland and Top 25 Hotels in Australia for Families in the 2019 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards. Stay in family-friendly apartments and villas with fully equipped kitchens, and dine at award-winning Arcuri Restaurant. There’s a day spa, outdoor infinity pool, two waterslides, a splash park, games room and a Kids Club. 

94 Noosa Drive, Noosa
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