Where should we stay for our Family Holiday on the Sunshine Coast?
Where is the Sunshine Coast?
The Sunshine Coast is located 100km north of the Queensland capital, Brisbane, in the south east of Queensland. It is the third most highly populated city in Queensland and taking a family holiday on the Sunshine Coast should be on everyone’s list.
Getting to the Sunshine Coast
Apart from all the amazing offerings the Sunshine Coast has, another great appeal for holiday makers, is the easy access visitors have to the Sunshine Coast.
Brisbane to Sunshine Coast By Car or Transfer
From Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast, by car, it is an easy drive up the Bruce Highway. Although the Bruce Highway can get busy, particularly during peak periods, it is the most direct route from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast.
On route, you will pass the popular Australia Zoo turn off, as well as the Glass House Mountains. Both are iconic to this area and you may like to consider making the time to stop in and explore.
Alternatively, you can book a transfer from Brisbane Airport to the Sunshine Coast – this certainly takes the stress out of getting from A to B.
Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast on public transport
From Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast by train is an excellent choice, as well. From Brisbane’s Central Station, travel by electric train for approximately one and a half hours, to arrive at the end of the line, Nambour.
Nambour is technically in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, however, is centrally located to reaching many destinations within the Sunshine Coast.
Fly to the Sunshine Coast
While you can fly from Brisbane and transfer to the Sunshine Coast, you also have the option to fly directly to Maroochydore, a popular holiday destination on the Sunshine Coast. The flights can be more expensive, however, you will certainly save on time. You can easily hire a car, directly from the airport and head off on your holiday. Alternatively, get a taxi or bus to your holiday location.
Why have a family holiday on the Sunshine Coast?
There are so many things to do on the Sunshine Coast for families, it is truly a great destination for a family holiday. Unlike a trip to Far North Queensland, a holiday on the Sunshine Coast, is much more accessible to families and it offers a wide range of activities, meaning there is something there for everyone.
Sunshine Coast Holidays and Beach Towns
There are lots of towns on the Sunshine Coast, that are definitely worth visiting. The bigger cities, however, are a great place to base yourself, to have a great Sunshine Coast family holiday. The most popular destinations on the Sunshine Coast are Mooloolaba, Maroochydore, Noosa, Caloundra, Coolum and Bribie Island – all unique their own way.
It takes approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes to get from Brisbane to Mooloolaba.
Mooloolaba has a great beach side vibe and is a fantastic location for a family holiday on the Sunshine Coast. The Mooloolaba Esplanade has beachfront views and offers boutique shopping, cafes, restaurants and bars. The Mooloolaba Surf Club has always been a great family friendly place for a meal, be sure to book in to avoid disappointment.
The beach is popular for surfers, body surfing and body boarders. There is a walking track that stretches the length of the main beach and goes beyond; it is popular for locals and tourists, who like to get their daily walks and runs in. The beachfront also houses a children’s playground, toilets, picnic tables and a nice grassed area before meeting the sand.
Things to do in Mooloolaba with kids, big and little
Mooloolaba has a great deal to offer, without leaving the beachfront. However, there are so many great opportunities on the Sunshine Coast, you will have missed out on some amazing sites and activities if you don’t venture out a little.
Below are some popular tours and activities available from Mooloolaba, you might like to consider.
- Mooloolaba Seafood Lunch and Cruise
- Whale Watching without the crowds – small group
- Mudjimba Island Snorkeling Cruise
- Mooloolaba River Sunset Cruise
Underwater World and Sunshine Coast Tour
…and something just for the grown ups
Mooloolaba accommodation is all about location! When you decide where to stay in Mooloolaba, don’t forget to look at the map of Mooloolaba as this will help make your decision. Mooloolaba accommodation on the Esplanade would be a fantastic location, however, prices will be on the higher side.
Mooloolaba camping is a popular low cost accommodation option; Mooloolaba Caravan Parks also have cabins available to rent – Mooloolaba Beach Holiday Park comes highly recommended.
Mooloolaba Hotels and Resorts
There are several Mooloolaba Hotels that are recommended, take a look at these ones as a starting point:
- Mantra Mooloolaba Beach
- Seaview Resort Mooloolaba
- Beach Hostel Mooloolaba
- Malibu Mooloolaba Apartments
- Sandcastles Mooloolaba
- Carribean Resort – Second Floor 2 Bedroom Mooloolaba Escape
- Private Mooloolaba Family 2 bedroom unit
- Jedda 5 – Oceanview 3 BDRM Penthouse with Rooftop Spa
- Renovated Moololaba Unit 100m To Beach
- Riverdance Aparments
- Mooloolaba Beachfront Apartments
- Saltwater Villas – Pet Friendly Accommodation
It takes approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes to get from Brisbane to Maroochydore.
Maroochydore is well known for its spectacular beaches, river precinct, leisure activities, shopping and casual vibe.
Maroochydore is the closest, major tourist town, to the Sunshine Coast Airport. Home to Sunshine Plaza, the big biggest shopping centre on the Sunshine Coast, you’ll have everything you need for a great Sunshine Coast family holiday.
Things to do in Maroochydore
Set on the Maroochy River and around the corner from Cotton Tree, a popular picnic and beach point for families, Maroochydore is a popular location for a Sunshine Coast family holiday.
There is a great coastal walk between Cotton Tree and Alexandra Headland with walking, running and biking opportunities for the whole family. Alexandra Headland is spotted with lovely beaches as well and is a popular surfing location.
Not far from Maroochydore, you will also be able to explore Buderim where you will find the Buderim Forest Park and Buderim Falls. The walk through the Buderim Forest to the Buderim Falls, is a great activity to do with kids on the Sunshine Coast.
From Maroochydore you should venture across to Gympie and visit the Ginger Factory which offers fun rides for kids, tours, and a unique retail opportunity and cafe nestle in beautiful sub-tropical gardens.
There are some great tour opportunities from Maroochydore including the Rainforest, Views, and Montville Day Tour which takes in many of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland highlights; as does this Full Day Private Tour for those looking for something more personal. For those of you who like craft beers, this Half-Day Coastal Craft Brewery Tour may be of interest – alternatively, check out where they’re going on the tour and take yourself!
If you are looking for Sunshine Coast mini-golf, the Maroochy River Mini Golf, is a lot of fun for the whole family.
The Maroochydore accommodation options are endless and certainly not just restricted to Maroochydore itself; Cotton Tree and Alexandra Headlands also offer great choices.
Moroochydore Hotels and Resorts
It takes approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes to get from Brisbane to Noosa.
If you are flying in from Brisbane, you can also get a private airport to Noosa transfer, which may be a more convenient and an affordable option, depending on your group size.
Noosa is an iconic Sunshine Coast family holiday destination. It is known for its great beaches, rain forest walks and National Park, the Noosa River and the infamous Hastings Street.
Things to do in Noosa with kids, Family Friendly Activities
Noosa and it’s surrounds, undoubtedly offer some of the best Sunshine Coast beaches. If you are looking for picture perfect, white sandy beaches, you will find them if you are willing to explore at little. Some would say that Noosa’s main beach is the best beach on the Sunshine Coast.
- Day trip to the Australia Zoo with transfers
- 2-Hour Surf Lesson with Local Instructor
- Self-Guided Noosa Everglades Kayak Trip
- Self-Guided Water Bike Tour
- 500-Horse-Power Thrill-Boat Ride (not suitable for kids under 9)
- Rainbow Beach Drive 4WD Tour from Noosa to Mooloolaba
- Dolphin View Kayak and Great Beach Drive Tour
…and something for the grown ups
Looking for something unique?
For something a little different (and to escape the crowds), you may like to learn to surf Australia’s longest wave at Double Island Point only accessible by 4WD vehicles! Alternatively, partake in a Stand Up Paddle lesson on Double Island.
For those not scared of heights, you could jump from an aeroplane on a tandem skydive from 15,000 feet up!
Go into the Sunshine Coast Hinterland
If you have the time to spare, make sure you get across to Fraser Island, at the very least for a day trip! Alternatively, you can get on an overnight tour to experience so much more of the magnificent Fraser Island.
A Sunshine Coast holiday is incomplete without visiting Eumundi on Market Day! Eumundi itself is lush, hilly and gives you a little taste of countryside in Queensland. If you are in Noosa over a weekend, make sure you get to the Eumundi Markets. They are hugely popular, offer a great range of stalls and have the most delicious food available to buy.
Noosa Hotels, Apartments and Noosa Resorts for families
Lots of accommodation caters really well for Noosa holidays for families. There are lots of Noosa family accommodation choices in and around Hasting St, as well as Noosaville which is also a great location for Sunshine Coast holidays.
- Peppers Noosa Resort and Villas
- Nomads Noosa
- South Pacific Resort Noosa
- Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort
- Nautilus Noosa Holiday Resort
- Sandcastles Hotel Noosa
It takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes to get from Brisbane to Caloundra.
Caloundra is the southern most town on the Queensland Sunshine Coast. Caloundra is a really popular Sunshine Coast family holiday destination for families, due to its proximity to Brisbane, the great beachfront and great beaches.
Things to do in Caloundra
There are endless opportunities on the Sunshine Coast with kids and Caloundra is no exception. For an easy Sunshine Coast family holiday, you could very easily, not look past Caloundra.
The Caloundra beachfront, or Kings Beach Foreshore, would have to be one of the most appealing set ups for families with young children. A beautiful grassed area, playground, picnic tables, BBQ facilities, toilets and a water park for kids to play in. Kings Beach, Caloundra is a popular beach for families, it is small, contained and easily accessible.
Kings Beach Foreshore is home to an Ocean Pool which is really popular and accessible to everyone! Kings Beach Foreshore Ocean Pool has shade sails, a free 25-metre sea-water lap pool, children’s swimming pool and wading area, as well as disabled access.
There are fantastic made and well maintained coastal walking tracks and boardwalks, that extend through the Sunshine Coast. They are really popular for visitors, as well as locals, getting their daily exercise in. Take the time to wander in both directions from Caloundra, to enjoy the sensational ocean views.
If you’re looking for something a little different on your beach holiday, for the kids (big and not so little – 12+), is Big Kart Track.
If you’re looking for somewhere to have lunch with the kids, the Dicky Beach Surf Club, is always popular and very family friendly. Alternatively, the Caloundra Hotel, or for a great burger, Hello Harry’s is recommended.
There are lots of Sunshine Coast family holiday accommodation options in Caloundra, it really is a superb place to take the family. If you are looking for good location, you are best to stay as close to Kings Beach Foreshore. Peak periods can be very busy in Caloundra and sometimes parking can be difficult; a good hotel location will eliminate car parking stress!
Caloundra Hotels and Resorts
Where to go in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland
A trip to the Sunshine Coast is incomplete without visiting the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. You could explore the area for days and still not see everything, so if you have the time, you should consider staying a few nights, to really do it justice.
You will enjoy views of the Glass House Mountains, as you approach from Brisbane, as well as from many points around the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
The two main tourist towns in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland are Montville and Maleny – they are equally as gorgeous and both well worth a visit.
Maleny is known for its undulating hills, artistic community and eco-conscious ways. Maple Stree, the main street in Maleny offers boutique stores, great organic cafes, bookstores and the historic hotel.
Gardeners Waterfalls are close by to explore, as is the picturesque Obi Obi Creek. In Maleny, you must go to the Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird Park. It is truly remarkable and offers exceptional views of the Glass House Mountains. For cheese lovers be sure to stop into Maleny Dairies, this is a place to take the kids who are not only welcome, they are encouraged.
Montville is a gorgeous little town in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Described as a unique shopping village, it is far more than that. Montville boasts great artistic charm with art galleries, trendy cafes and restaurants, boutique clothing stores and gift shops. Montville, ‘The Mont’ to locals, is set on the most wonderfully shady tree-lined street and offers incredible coastal views.
From Montville, you can also head to Mapleton and explore the Mapleton National Park and Mapleton Falls.
Technically Nambour is between the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and the Sunshine Coast Beaches, so if you are doing the trip from one to the other, make sure you stop in for a look. With kids, the highlight is the Big Pineapple and visiting the animals next door at Wildlife HQ.
Nambour has all of your shopping essentials, a plaza and a few quirky little shops dotted around. Rick’s Garage and Bar in Palmwood’s is a popular spot to take a walk down memory lane, while re-energising over lunch.
Accommodation Sunshine Coast Hinterland
- Montville Mountain Inn Resort
- Clouds Montville
- Motel in Nambour
- Tranquil Park Maleny
- Bower63, Where Hinterland Birdsong Welcomes You – entire house
- Kondalilla Eco Resort