The bewildering array of family travel possibilities along the Sunshine and Fraser Coasts presents most parents with one common problem. Where to start? Roderick Eime gives his tips.
Just an hour north of Brisbane we come to the fabulous Sunshine Coast, taking in the coastline from Caloundra to and all the lush countryside of the hinterland. There’s plenty to suit all families here but why not start with an early morning call at the Eumundi Markets in the historic hinterland town. The colourful stalls under giant shady fig trees are laden with just-picked local produce, home-made preserves, funky clothes, jewellery and artworks.
Ride with Rocky, an A-List hand-raised camel movie star, along Noosa’s picturesque North Shore.
Ride with an A-list celebrity along Noosa’s picturesque North Shore. Rocky is a hand-raised camel movie star, who’s appeared alongside Hollywood big names including Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler in movies filmed locally. Today this gentle giant takes passengers for a ride on afternoon bush and beach safaris, run by The Camel Company’s Dave Madden and partner Lyn.
And no family visit to the Sunshine Coast is complete without a trip Australia Zoo– named Queensland’s Major Tourist Attraction three years running. Everyone knows the Irwin family and their larger-than-life media profile, but it’s the two newest hands-on encounters getting attention at the moment. It’s now the only zoo in the world where visitors can get their hands on a live komodo dragon. The Rascally Red Panda Encounter is a far cuter alternative.
One of the newest operators in the region is Liquid Getaway, offering a mix of boat tours including scenic rides, surfing, snorkelling safaris and whale watching tours. Based at Mooloolaba Wharf, Liquid Getaway’s custom-designed 12-seater boat provides a thrilling way to get close to marine life, including a pod of resident dolphins, turtles, rays and other wildlife during the ride.
The newly-refurbished Novotel Twin Waters Resort offers plenty to keep kids of all ages occupied right inside the resort complex. Check out the Cirque Espace, a dedicated circus school that operates six days a week within the resort grounds. Professionals provide tuition on a range of circus skills including juggling, trapeze, tight wire and bungee trampoline. Then there’s Segway tours, a lagoon with catamarans and even a water trampoline.
Alternately, the Hyatt Coolum is a luxurious family resort set among natural bushland and rainforest on 2km of private patrolled beach with self-contained two-bedroom villas providing ideal accommodation for families. The resort offers a great range of activities and facilities, including a tennis centre, arts centre, nine pools and the fantastic Camp Hyatt with special activities for kids aged six weeks to 10 years. Plus, there’s an indulgent day spa and Australian PGA Championship golf course to keep mum and dad happy.
If space, luxury and a water view is your idea of family holiday bliss, then apartment style accommodation is available at Skippers’ Cove, on the Noosa River. The absolute waterfront apartments are perfect for families with two and three bedroom options and private decks over looking Noosa Sound. Poolside apartments with child security gates and a private courtyard are also ideal for parents with little ones.
Shearwater Resort in the heart of Caloundra also offers apartment style accommodation with outstanding views across Kings Beach to Morton Island and the Pacific Ocean. The resort has great facilities for families including a heated swimming pool, spa, children’s wading pool, gym and games room, all just a short 50 metre stroll to the patrolled surf beach.