Best Places to Go On The Sunshine Coast With Kids
By: Amanda Lieber, ellaslist explorer
ellaslist sent an explorer and her family to the Sunshine Coast. Here are some of the best kid-friendly things they did. Their only regret was not staying longer!
Child-Friendly Places to Eat
Spit Seafood: The Gold Coast Fishermen’s Co-Operative was established in the 1970’s, it was one of the first developments on the Spit at Main Beach, you can buy freshly ‘local wild caught seafood’ to take home to cook or eat at one of the restaurants either take away or in a simple setting with a great view of the ocean and docked fishing boats.
The Deck on Parkyn: We ate at Mooloolah Fish and had a fresh seafood experience. We ordered at the counter and a few moment later a delicious plate of fish, beer battered chips and salad arrive at our table. They are licensed.
The Velo Project: At The Velo, they are passionate about the eating experience and pride themselves on sustainability, supporting local farmers by sourcing their produce, so everything is fresh.
The café has a rustic/ hipster vibe. There are large wooden tables for diners to share, alongside comfy couches and smaller tables dotted around the café.
Outside there is a great seating area and a space for children to play complete with a variety of toys. The decorations are complete with chairs hanging from the walls above a bookshelf, an old singer sewing machine and an antique typewriter.
Highlight: I loved the tea pots they used which were all different, giving the whole place an eclectic feel.
The food looked delicious, I say looked as we got there just after 2pm and were told their kitchen closes at 2pm.
Top Tip: Their website says ‘operates between 7am – 3pm, 7 days’ not when the kitchen closes so make sure you get in early!
Parklands Tavern: Parklands Tavern, has a relaxed and inviting environment that ‘reflects typical Australian hospitality and ease’. They use fresh, locally sourced ingredients, including produce from their own vegetable gardens and citrus grove. Gluten free options available.
Highlight: Fifteen different beers and one cider on tap as well as a range of craft and boutique ales.
Kids Will Love: The Yard, a great outdoors space with a sublime atmosphere. They describe it as an “Australian backyard experience”, kids can visit their resident chickens “housed in an authentic chook house”. The Kids Room has play stations, ‘skill tester machines’ (coin operated claws) and a TV screen.
Times and Prices:
Sundays: Kids eat free from 5.30, free face painting from 12noon
Open: 7 Days a week from 10am – midnight
All Day Dining Menu: 11:30am-8:30pm
Prices: Sydney prices. Extensive kids menu is $9.90 with a free paddle pop.
Source: Parklands Tavern
Attractions And Activities
Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens:
If you go here, you must check out WHIPBIRD WALK’S:
It’s called the ‘children’s experiential garden’ and once you’ve been you will know why. Young or old you will discover your whimsical side in this interactive space.
You can explore the Whipbird eggs carved from granite, stepping stones, logs and ‘pods’, and live native plants entwined within the tracks.
It’s a fantastic space to play and learn.
Opening hours: The garden is open from 7.00 am to 5.00 pm (April to October) and 7.00 am to 6.00 pm (November to March)
The Big Pineapple:
Originally opened in 1971, it’s now a heritage listed Queensland Tourism Icon.
You can climb the Big Pineapple and explore pineapple farming and enjoy views from the observation deck.
Take a photo with the Big Pineapple, then hop on the Pineapple Train and go for a ride, visit the café.
Opening hours: The Big Pineapple every day from 9am-4pm.
The Pineapple Train from 9am-4pm, last train leaves at 3:30pm.
Wildlife HQ Zoo:
It’s a boutique zoo filled with native and exotic animals. The zoo owner, Julie Seabrook and her team, moved 200 animals from the old Alma Park Zoo to their new home in 2014.
They provide education for children and families about the animals, environment and conservation.
They offer animal encounters, kids parties and other packages.
Opening Hours: Every day (except Christmas Day) 9am-4pm, last entry 3pm
Cost: $15 Child (3-13) $28 Adult
Getting there: you can take the Pineapple Train or Drive (note there are two different entrances, follow the signs or plan your trip)
Nights on Ocean Street, Maroochydoore:
Started by the Maroochydore Revitalisation Association, to bring fun into the heart of the Maroochydore’s business districts. It has the feel of a Market combined with a Street Festival.
There are a variety of food stalls, restaurants and cafes which serve a wide range of delicious food.
The streets are closed to traffic, making this a pedestrian safe. Entertainment for the whole family including local art works, crafts stalls, music, balloon artists.
Top Tip: It can be very busy but worth it.
What You Need To Know: Only held once a month on the 2nd Friday of every month. Time: From 5pm to 9pm. Parking in the adjoining Big Top shopping centre.
The Sunshine Coast has a range of events including movies, car shows and music festivals.
Indoor and outdoor markets every Saturday: with fresh, locally grown produce, bric-a-brac, potted plants and more.
Markets are open every Saturday from 6:30am till 1pm (Closed December 26 and January 2)
Included with the Saturday market: Bubs & Kids Market, every 2nd Saturday of the month and Car Boot Sale, last Saturday of the month.
You can’t possibly head to the Sunshine Coast with kids and not swing past Aussie World. From arcade games to over 25 rides suitable for all ages like giant slides, carousels and dodgem cars, this will probably be the highlight of the trip for your kids. There’s live shows happening every day with a heap of audience interaction, delicious places to eat (including a Ye Olde Lolly Shop) as well as rides that get you wet, mini golf, and an Illusionarium! Not to be missed. Check out our full guide to Aussie World here.
Maroochydore Rotary Park, The Esplanade at Cotton Tree: You get 2 for one at this playground, with a section for older children featuring monkey bars and a large climbing structure, and an area for young children with a wooden climbable boat and a Liberty Swing amongst many other fun things!
Blue Park, Stockland Bells Reach Estate: This one has an entire sand floor- so bring a bucket and spade! This is a truly amazing space with baby-safe swings, equipment for young children and a huge climbing spider’s web for daring older kids.
Mooloolaba Spit Playground, Mooloolaba: This is a big space with a big boat structure in the heart of it just waiting to be climbed…Its opposite some awesome cafes too so some takeaway lunch and a play is in order. There’s picnic shelters to make this the perfect afternoon family activity whilst the older kids grapple the tough climbing spider’s web.
Bells Reach Playground, Caloundra: Urban Play is making some truly innovative and ground breaking playgrounds, and the new Bells Reach is no exception. The focal point is the stunning jellyfish tower in the centre- tentacles made of rope and balancing cables allow kids to climb, as well as all the other components of the park that allow for swinging, balancing, and just about anything else. This playground experience is a sight for sore eyes, too.
Source: Family Beat/Urban Play
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