The Sunshine Coast with Kids on a Budget

buderim falls sunshine coast waterfall

Entertaining the kids needn’t be an expensive exercise on the Sunshine Coast. These are a few of our top ideas on how to explore the Sunshine Coast with kids on a budget.

Strawberry picking on the Sunshine Coast

a boy holding strawberries

From around June to November, strawberry farms across the Sunshine Coast open their gates to the public. With no admission fees, you can choose to buy punnets of super fresh strawberries direct from the farm, or spend a bit of time exploring and pick your own for a per punnet fee. It’s a heartening experience for the kids to pick the fruit themselves and you get to take your container home at the end – yum! There are a few different options on where to go and the experience to expect. Some of the fields have cafes and playgrounds so you can easily make a morning or afternoon of your outing. Read all about strawberry picking here.

Take a dairy farm tour

cow, cow encounter at brisbane farm

Particularly in the Sunshine Coast hinterland areas, like Maleny, there are many working farms. Many of these producers open their doors to the public at pre-arranged times. Maleny Dairies offers farm tours (by appointment) where you and your family can meet the baby animals, see the process involved in producing different dairy products and sample their delicious products. Bring a picnic lunch and admire the views of the green pastures. For a list of other farms and producers in the Sunshine Coast area who welcome visitors, check out The Sunshine Coast Regional Food Directory.

Hit the markets

Eumundi Markets Open

There are dozens of markets around the Sunshine Coast featuring products made by local artisans, fresh produce, delicious food, live music and a variety of treasures and nick nacks to discover.  The Eumundi Markets are well worth a visit on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but there are different markets up and down the coast every weekend. Maleny Lane is open 9am to 3pm Wednesday to Sunday, and also 6pm to 9pm on Friday nights.  Click here for a list of Sunshine Coast Markets

A trip to the beach

Coolum beach sunshine coast

Coolum Beach thanks to Visit Sunshine Coast

The beaches on the Sunshine Coast are world-class and there is something for everyone! From calmer swimming spots like Kings Beach at Caloundra, Mooloolaba Beach (the Spit is exceptionally calm for younger Brisbane Kids)  or Main Beach at Noosa, to exploring rock pools at Point Cartwright or Alexandra Headland, there are seemingly endless options.  Pack some buckets and spades for some sandy fun or head to one of the fantastic playgrounds that dot the coast.  Just remember to always swim between the flags. 

Take a hike

mary cairncross scenic reserve

There are dozens of beautiful walks dotting the coast to suit all interests and abilities – Buderim Falls (see the feature image), Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Noosa National Park – or head to one of the beaches or picturesque hinterland towns for a wander around.  For more adventurous and older Brisbane Kids, the hike up Mount Coolum affords spectacular views of the entire region. 

Burn off some energy at a play centre

indoor playground at the sunshine coast

More and more play centres are springing up on the sunny coast, offering a fun-filled outing for kids and the opportunity for parents to sit down for a coffee while watching them play. For your entry fee, you can stay all day, safe in the knowledge that your children are entertaining themselves in a secure environment. Play centres are just perfect for cold and rainy weather when your kiddies need to burn off some energy.

Visit The Ginger Factory in Yandina

Moreton Train Ginger factory

With free admission and so many different things to see and do, you can’t go past The Ginger Factory for a low-cost day out. Whether you are seeking to relax in the tropical gardens or prefer a tour of the delicious smelling chocolate factory, there is something here to interest visitors of all ages. The Ginger Factory is the perfect year-round destination, with fun rides, educational tours and fabulous shopping. Pack a picnic lunch, take the scenic route and stop somewhere along the way to keep this outing on an even tighter budget.

Free school holiday activities on the Sunshine Coast

free holiday program sunshine coast

It can be difficult on the school holidays to keep your children occupied and amused on a budget. Take advantage of the free events in the school holidays at shopping centres and libraries and you’ll avoid boredom and save money as well! There are some awesome activities provided by shopping centres that encompass everything from craft and cooking workshops to sporting clinics. Best of all, these are usually free or very low cost and, anything your child makes, they get to take home. Check out your local shopping centre or library a couple of weeks before the holidays begin, as most require bookings to secure your child’s place.

Make a splash at an aquatic centre

swimming pool laws Queensland

With a variety of pool types to suit your needs and the ages of your children, the Sunshine Coast’s many aquatic centres provide the ideal spot to cool down on a hot day or to burn off some energy on a cold day in one of the heated pools. For a minimal entry fee, you can stay as long as you like. Many of the centres have shaded pools to protect young skin and a selection of classes and activities available, especially in the school holidays. The Sunshine Coast Council has a list of aquatic centres that can be found here.

 Check our related posts below for more fun in South East Queensland.

We make every effort to ensure all this information is up to date, but it should be used as a guide only. If you know of a change, then please do let us know at [email protected]

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