Discover Mooloolaba, Coolum and Maroochydore
This destination review is sponsored by Visit Sunshine Coast
If you are looking for day trip ideas or a holiday to some of South East Queensland’s most pristine beaches then the area of the Sunshine Coast that stretches from Coolum down to Mooloolaba is the place for you. With family-friendly surf beaches and leading attractions like Australia Zoo and Aussie World just a short car ride away, it represents everything the Sunshine Coast is famous for.
Just over an hour’s drive north of Brisbane, this beautiful area offers an ideal day trip destination for beach swimming and family fun. It is also one of the most popular choices for family holidays on the Sunshine Coast thanks to its abundance of 2 and 3 bedroom beachside accommodation options and affordable holiday parks.
Applauded as one of the top 10 beaches in Australia by Trip Advisor in 2017, Mooloolaba is the type of beach holiday destination families dream about.
Step out of your holiday accommodation and onto the pure white sand of Mooloolaba Beach within minutes. Mooloolaba beach is patrolled every day of the year and is surrounded by grassy parklands that feature a playground for the kids. SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast is just around the corner along with the Mooloolaba Marina, home to the popular Yacht Club Bar and Bistro.
Across the road from Mooloolaba Beach, you will discover a mix of different dining options with a range of traditional ice-cream vendors, family friendly alfresco cafes and more intimate dining options. Some of the Sunshine Coast’s best shopping is found along Mooloolaba’s beachfront esplanade with a variety of one-of-a-kind clothing boutiques, art galleries, and locally made wares. Make the most of the glorious Sunshine Coast sunsets and take a stroll along Mooloolaba Esplanade, up to the spit to watch the boats come in for the night. Discover more: www.visitsunshinecoast.com/Mooloolaba
The heart of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore has everything from sensational beaches and a tranquil river precinct, to world-class shopping and an exciting nightlife.
Maroochydore Beach is also patrolled 365 days a year and is one of the calmer surf beaches, making it a popular beach for those with young children or those who are learning surf or body board.
Up towards the mouth of the Maroochy River is the low key family-friendly Cotton Tree. Offering both holiday unit accommodation as well as beachside camping, Cotton Tree is a holiday destination that attracts families with its calm waters and laid back vibe. Those looking for pure relaxation should take a cruise along Maroochy River while they holiday or enjoy a walk from Cotton Tree down the coastline to Mooloolaba. Discover more: www.visitsunshinecoast.com/Maroochydore
About Coolum Beach
The laid-back surfing culture of Coolum has always differentiated this coastal community from its surrounding neighbours. With surfing spots for the experienced surfers and more gentle surf for those with young active kids, there are waves for everyone. 2km’s of beach awaits your holiday enjoyment, with the Coolum beach area patrolled during the Summer.
There are also plenty of things to do around Coolum Beach with golf, mountain climbing, and bushwalking options just a short drive away. Coolum also boasts a long shopping and alfresco dining strip perfect for a lazy afternoon of shopping and relaxation. Discover more: www.visitsunshinecoast.com/Coolum-Beach
Sunshine Coast ideas for families
Mooloolaba, Coolum and Maroochydore
SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast
Get up close with a wide range of sea creatures as you make your way through the 11 unique marine zones. Highlights of this all-weather visitor attraction include the main aquarium’s tunnel, and the 14 fun daily talks and animal feeds, including the popular seal presentation. Younger children will enjoy the tidal touch pool and the iridescent jellyfish, while the more adventurous can dive with sharks, swim with a seal, or even become a ‘trainer for a day’. Join their mailing list to be kept up to date with their special events including their sleepover experience where families can sleep overnight at Sea Life.
Sunshine Coast Afloat: Ocean Jet Boat Ride Thrill
Adventure loving teens will love the high-speed, adrenaline-packed thrills served up aboard the Hela-Va Jet. Strapped into your Recaro racing bucket seat, you will soon be doing spins, figure 8s, ducktails, surfing waves and even doing the odd ‘wave-dive’!
Whale One; Dolphin Discovery Cruise
Join Whale One for a delicious buffet lunch as you cruise the open water in search of dolphins, sea turtles, sea snakes and other marine species. Bottle-nose dolphins are often seen, but short and long-beaked common dolphins are also regularly spotted from November to June. Whale One also gives guests a rare chance to feed some local pelicans, an activity the kids are sure to remember.
Sunshine Castle Bli Bli
In the town of Bli Bli you’ll find a Norman-style castle complete with a moat, turrets, towers and drawbridge that is totally unique in Australia. Sunshine Castle is filled with medieval and historical displays with an impressive 24m lookout tower with panoramic views. There are plenty of fun photo opportunities and a kids treasure hunt to make the most of the castle experience.
Sunshine Coast Surf Clubs
This region has some of the best Surf Clubs in South East Queensland, with Coolum Beach Surf Club, Mooloolaba Surf Club and Maroochydore Surf Club boasting absolute beachfront locations with spectacular ocean views. All offer quality, family-friendly dining that includes delicious, healthy children’s menus and seasonal specials. Courtesy buses are also available to pick you up and drive you back to your accommodation (not suitable for children under 7).
Buderim Forest Reserve
Just minutes from the coast, visitors can explore Buderim Forest Park, a 45-hectare nature lover’s paradise. Enjoy a stroll through the forest along the 600m wheelchair-friendly raised walkway from Lindsay Road, breathing in the forest air, listening to the bird calls and enjoying the tree-filled surrounds. For those keen to continue to the falls, you will need to head further along a rugged bush trail where you will reach the base of the Buderim Falls, also known as Serenity Falls.
Maroochy Botanic Gardens
Maroochy Botanic Gardens is a popular spot for a family picnic. Occupying a massive 112 hectares, enjoy a picnic and bushwalk while appreciating the art and sculptures displayed along the way. Kids should keep a look out for wild koalas, wallabies and the magnificent Australian King Parrot. You can find the entry to Maroochy Botanic Gardens located west of Buderim off the Tanawha Tourist Drive, on Palm Creek Road, Tanawha.
Located on Tanawha Tourist Drive #25, this tourism icon includes a range of maze-themed activities, with the highlight being the impressive star-shaped hedge maze. Families can enjoy the challenge of the timber scrabble maze, an 18-hole mini golf course, and a variety of smaller mazes, before relaxing with a coffee or a light lunch in the garden cafe.
Coolum Beach Surf School
Learn to surf together as a family or give the kids the freedom to learn in structured lessons. The surf school provides all the equipment, including soft, learner style surfboards, wet shirts, and sunscreen. All you need to bring is a towel. Beginner lessons in groups run every day from 10am to noon and private lessons are available by appointment.
Blast Aqua Park Coolum
Aqua Park Coolum offers a range of slides, blast bags, trampolines, swings, challenge tracks, balance beams and wobble pads across its vast 100m x 70m area. Suitable for those aged 6 and above. Onshore the park has a cafe and kiosk, free BBQ areas, change rooms, picnic benches and sun loungers. Be prepared to have a lot of fun, expend a lot of energy and for the kids to reward you with long naps on your return journey home.
To find out more about this spectacular section of the Sunshine Coast head to Visit Sunshine Coast