Just north of Brisbane lies a stretch of coastline known as the Sunshine Coast. From Caloundra in the south to Fraser Island in the north and out to the scenic Blackall Ranges in the west, this beautiful part of Australia provides a great family holiday destination.
There are hundreds of kilometres of magnificent beaches on the Sunshine Coast, Fraser Island, the world's largest sand island and the beautiful hinterland including the Blackall Ranges.
There is plenty of family friendly accommodation available, from reasonably priced quality lodgings to world class resorts.
Some of the attractions available on the Sunshine Coast include Australia Zoo, Underwater World, The Big Pineapple and Aussie World.
The Sunshine Coast is about 1-2 hours drive north from Brisbane on the Bruce Hwy.
The Sunshine Coast is a one to two hour drive (depending where you're staying) from Brisbane along the Bruce highway.
The Sunshine Coast has its own airport in Marcoola (just north of Maroochydore) and is about 1 hour 20 minutes from Sydney by air and just over 2 hours from Melbourne. The airport is serviced by
Virgin and Jetstar. Bus services run frequently from Brisbane Airport to locations along the Sunshine Coast. The region is also
serviced by Queensland Rail with the Tilt Train from Brisbane or Rockhampton.
Travel to Maroochydore may be harder to secure at the cheap prices than to Brisbane, and with this and the larger number of
flights to Brisbane, it may be worth while flying to Brisbane and hiring a car to drive up to the Sunshine Coast. Work out the price differences and
allow around $50 a day for a car, and it may end up a cheaper alternative, especially when you take into account your transfers to and from the
airport and attractions.
Booking accommodation online is now the norm, with most resorts offering an online booking facility. There are also numerous online travel companies
where you can check resort facilities and accommodation types, check for availability and price, and book your holiday using a credit card.
resorts offer plenty of family friendly accommodation and Mantra also offer a
number of family friendly properties on the Sunshine Coast.
Hotels Combined allows you to search a number of
accommodation providers at once to make sure you get the best deal.
The Sunshine Coast offers a bit of everything if you want to shop - from markets, fashion boutiques and plaza shopping.
A visit to Eumundi markets is a great day out and you can buy clothes, food, artworks, toys, homewares, skincare, crafts.... It can get pretty busy but there is a friendly shuttle bus service from
the carpark at the end of town. There are also interesting shops along the main street. Other markets worth visiting are the Noosa Farmers Market, Peregian Beach Market, Cotton Tree Market and Markets on Bulcock in Caloundra.
Hastings St, Noosa, is an up-market, elegant shopping strip.
For art and craft shops, art galleries, and tasty local produce head to Montville and Maleny in the Hinterland.
Sunshine Plaza in Maroochydore is home to large department stores and familiar fashion stores. It also has a cinema complex.
Things To Do
There are many activities available for families on the Sunshine Coast. Here are some of the most popular ones:
Australia Zoo (Beerwah)
Home of the Crocodile Hunter this private zoo features crocodiles and other Australian native animals. It is the ultimate wildlife adventure with an emphasis on conservation. There is a coach pick-up service from 7 Sunshine Coast
locations. Open from 9am.
Aussie World and the Ettamogah Pub (Palmview)
Have a beer and hearty meal in the iconic pub then visit value-for-money Aussie World with plenty of rides and attractions for kids and adults. Located 1km north of the Caloundra exit on the Bruce Highway. Gates open 9am, rides start 10am.
The Big Pineapple (Nambour)
Find out everything you need to know about pineapples. The kids can visit the animal nursery or feed the kangaroos. A train ride takes you through the pineapple plantation. There are markets on here every weekend. Free entry. Train and animal farm open on weekends and school holidays, fee applies.
Underwater World (Mooloolaba)
Excellent oceanarium well worth a visit. Plenty of marine life to see including face to face meetings with sharks in the underground tunnels. You can swim with the seals or just get kissed by one! Open from 9am.
Sunshine Castle (Bli Bli)
A medieval castle featuring a torture chamber and a doll museum with over 2200 dolls. There are daily kids treasure hunts and a Lord of the Rings display. Climb to the top of the tower (24 metres up). There is a cafe and gift shop. Open from 9:30am.
Ginger Factory (Yandina)
Tour the world's biggest ginger factory. Taste the ginger in the Ginger Shop or visit the Ginger Factory to find out how the ginger products are made. Take a ride on the Historic Cane Train. Free entry. Open from 9am.
Top Shots Fun Park (Maroochydore)
Kids will love the mini-golf, blaster boats, extreme trampolining, and the waterslide. Open from 9am.
Bellingham Maze (Tanawha)
Visit this garden maze and join a maze hunt or try out the rope and tyre mazes. There are lots of puzzles to try and mini-golf. Relax in the garden cafe. Just a 10 min drive inland from Maroochydore. Open from 9am.
Eumundi Markets (near Noosa)
Open every Saturday and Wednesday these markets offer a large variety of stalls from pottery to paintings, clothing etc, etc. Plenty of food stalls available and rides for the kids. It is a must see attraction for visitors to the Sunshine Coast. Eumundi is 20km west of Noosa.
Noosa Marina Markets
Open each Sunday morning these markets are much smaller than Eumundi. Much easier to walk around and plenty of stalls to pick from.
The world's largest sand island with beautiful beaches, rainforests and freshwater lakes. Day tours of Fraser can be arranged from anywhere along the Sunshine Coast with pick up and drop off from your resort.
Located just behind the Sunshine Coast with dense rainforests and majestic ranges. The mountain villages of Montville, Flaxton, Mapleton and Maleny are famous for their local art and craft galleries, restaurants and beautiful scenery.