Where To Eat, Play & Stay On The Sunshine Coast

Updated: Apr 2, 2019

Thinking of booking a family trip soon but not sure where to go? Add the Sunshine Coast Coast to your list! The Sunny Coast is the ideal destination for a relaxing, easy and family friendly getaway. This stretch of Queensland coast is quiet enough to allow you to slow down and switch off yet has enough in the way of restaurants, accommodation and activities to keep the whole family entertained. The best part? It is just an hours drive from Brisbane airport which makes it an affordable and accesible option no matter the time of year.

Mooloolaba Beach


The Surf Clubs offer a great family friendly food experience and all come with beautiful water views - head to Mooroochydore for an authentic, local experience, Alexandra Head to get out of Mooloolaba but not travel too far or the Mooloolaba Surf Club. All have a kids area, kids packs with kids meals and the food is decent. Along the strip, pizza joint Augello's is a big hit, offering delicious Italian meals or for something more relaxed head into Fish & Chippery for classic takeaway options then head down to the beach where 9 times out of 10 there is a guitarist strumming out tunes into the night. For breakfast look no further than CK Coffee Bar & Wholefoods a block back from the esplanade for healthy, nutritious options served in a friendly and chill environment. Another must-see venue is Taps - a bar offering games (Playstations, Checkers, Jenga - perfect during the day when it is quiet and you need to keep the kids entertained!) and a serve yourself system with craft beer taps scattered around the bar.

Alexandra Head Surf Club

Acaci Bowl from CK Coffee Bar & Wholefoods


There are tones of family friendly activities on the Sunshine Coast, with Aussie World, Australia Zoo, Sea Life Aquarium, Bowling, River Cruises and Surf Board Hire available.

Australia Zoo is a MUST SEE! The entire experience is interactive with the opportunity to pat Koala's, be surrounded by free roaming animals and be treated to a show in the stadium which finishes with a croc feeding. The production is incredible and passion of the staff is inspiring, absolutely worth the spend!

Australia Zoo

Sea Life Sunshine Coast Aquarium is another worthwhile experience for the family. The tunnel is an incredible opportunity to be immersed in the wonders of the sea, with Sting Rays, Gropers & Sharks swimming overhead as well as a Seal Show which is entertaining for the whole fam.

Sea Life Aquarium

Hire a board from Alex Surf Shop at Alexandra Head for just $30 a day (the best surfing spot on this stretch of coast), walk up to the lighthouse on the headland or take a stroll down at Cotton Tree for shopping and a peaceful swimming spot on the canals. To escape the sun, head into Strike Bowling in Maroochydore for ten pin bowling, mini gold and pool as well as a bar, the whole family is covered.

Board Hire from Alex Surf Shop

The Lighthouse Walk

Cotton Tree


The Mooloolaba Esplanade is the place to be, being walking distant from beaches, cafes and restaurants. Most hotels/apartments on this strip offer water views and the beach is just across the road. The Penninsular Beachfront Resort is a perfect choice, being centrally located, housing a gym, sauna and pool and sizeable apartments with views of the ocean as well as the hinterland.The apartments feel homely and allow you to settle in, cook in the kitchen or downstairs at the BBQ's and stroll outside to the beach in minutes. There are also baby sitting services available (winning)!

Peninsular Beach Resort

Handy Family Travel Hacks...

-Buy all mini cosmetics or refill bottles, traveling light adds to the sense of ease and freedom of being on holiday. A monster case does not!

-Make sure you leave plenty of time to organise a hire car or airport transfer, they often take longer than expected

-Give your child a "holiday budget" to avoid them chipping into your overall funds and to teach them some lessons in finance. A small and manageable amount of money will provide a sense of independence for your kid and they will soon realise how expensive things are which will create more respect for money and an understanding of the value of things

-Carry a phone charger EVERYWHERE, tissues/wipes and healthy snacks

-Call ahead to find out about kids clubs and baby sitting services. What is a holiday without a little quiet time?

-Accept there will be some arguments and stressful moments. It is almost impossible to go on a family holiday without some low moments, kids are exhausting, your partner might drive you mental or vice versa and there will be some very tired, possibly sunburn, wiped out situations. Ride it out and allow each other some time away. Dedicate solid blocks of time for yourself where you can, whether that be a massage, a workout or time to read quietly by the pool.

-Google the nearest Aldi or affordable supermarket on arrival and do a shop there to avoid an overspend on food on the go. While eating out is half the fun of being away, it can cost hundreds o dollars a day to feed a whole family at restaurants

and cafes. Try to limit eating out to one meal a day and have the other two meals at your apartment.

-Have fun and take photos. These memories will stay with your kids forever, make the holiday as much about them as it is about you. Do this with quality, healthy, outdoor and active times away from screens and typical "entertainment". Kids love nothing more than being in the water, playing on the sand and immersing themselves in nature so provide them as much of that as possible.

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