The Sunshine Coast has been our home for the past almost-nine years. It is one of the most beautiful, laid-back, relaxing places to live and perfect for raising a family. Because the weather tends to be pretty nice all year round, our family outings are usually outdoors.
Here are my favourite 5 Sunshine Coast destinations and activities:
No trip to the Sunshine Coast with kids would be complete without a visit to Australia Zoo in Beerwah. Last year I got an annual pass for me and the boys (kids under 3 are free) and we went about six times over the year. The highlights for use were the free close encounters with the wildlife as you go into the zoo grounds (they take professional photos that are available for purchase, but if you don’t want to buy any, the proofs are free for you to take) and the live show in the Crocoseum at around midday. Try to avoid the weekends and school holidays as it gets really busy. We try to get there first thing the morning to make the most of the day. You need at least one full day to see the entire zoo.
A fun day out in Yandina, about 20 minutes from Maroochydore. There is no entry fee into the Ginger Factory, but there is a cost to go on the train and boat rides, which are the real draw cards for the kids. There is also a small kids’ playground next to the cafe area. You can bring in your own food as well as purchase it. We have an annual pass, which makes it a really cheap activity, especially since we go around once a fortnight.
Another activity which offers annual passes to local families. My boys loved going through the underwater tunnel and there is a seal show each day included in the entry price.
An indoor play centre with a great range of equipment suitable for babies up to primary-aged children. Entry is $10 per child, adults are free. Children must wear socks (and adults need to as well if you’re planning to get on the equipment to help your child). Food and drinks can be purchased at the cafe and don’t allow outside food to be brought in and consumed.
For children with additional needs, The Treehouse Initiative holds a Very Special Playdate on the first Sunday of each month. It is a private play session for children who find it challenging to attend during normal opening hours. All the tvs and music is turned off, there are no age limits in each of the play areas and best of all the entry cost is reduced.
5 Maroochydore Beach
There are so many beaches on the Sunshine Coast. One of our favourites is in Maroochydore, with the access being at the end of Melrose Parade, right next to the caravan parks. The reason we use this particular beach is that there is usually plenty of parking and a toilet block and showers at the access point. It is more of a surfing beach and is not patrolled as our boys love to run in the little waves. If you do want to swim, just head further north and you’ll see the red and yellow flags and lifesavers.