As it’s name suggests, the Sunshine Coast is the chilled out, more relaxed sister to the glitzier, ritzier Gold Coast. When heading to Queensland, Australia, the seaside towns of the Sunshine Coast are often the local Aussies’ family holiday destination of choice. Stacey Roberts, mama to Abby (2), Pepper (9 months) and The Veggie Mama blog and a resident of Maroochydore tells suitcases&strollers why the Sunshine Coast with kids is a great place and a fabulous family holiday destination. 

So what is the real difference between the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast? 

Noosa could give the Gold Coast a run for its money. Personally, I think the Sunshine Coast is more laid-back and beachy. The Gold Coast is exciting and adventurous.

Why choose the Sunshine Coast over the Gold Coast?

The Sunshine Coast is an excellent place for anybody to visit regardless of where they’re from. We have beautiful hinterland, golden beaches and sophisticated shopping – there’s something for everyone.

If you’re looking for simple, quiet, family fun with a relaxed atmosphere, then you’ll get it here.

Which is your favourite Sunshine Coast beach town?

I love Mooloolaba because it always has a great vibe and Caloundra is good for families.

Which are the best family-friendly beaches on the Sunshine Coast?

Mooloolaba and Noosa are naturally protected so they have calmer waves for the children to splash in. They are vigilantly patrolled and provide plenty of fun for little guys.

What is your favourite thing to do with your kids in the Sunshine Coast?

I love to take them to the rock pools at Alexandra Headland. It’s away from the hustle and bustle, but still plenty of fun. When they’re older I can’t wait to take them to Kondalilla Falls on our usual visits to the hinterland.

What about when it’s raining?

I feel that’s where the Sunshine Coast falls down a little bit. But we head off to one of the local libraries where there are toys, baby rhyme time, story sessions and free craft workshops for kids.

Are the cafes and restaurants in the Sunshine Coast kid-friendly?

Oh yes, and dog-friendly, too! A lot of the seating is outdoors, so there’s plenty of room for everyone. Beach-going, holiday-making families are usually always needing to bring their children to restaurants and there are high chairs and children’s menus in most of them.

We personally love The Velo Project in Mooloolaba – the whole outdoor area is optimised for kids with a sandpit and play area and even a free jumping castle on Thursday and Friday mornings. They also cater to mums who want to get together and there is a regular children’s session with a fairy storyteller and lots of cute cakes to choose from.

When is the best time of year to visit the Sunshine Coast? 

I’m going to say spring, around September to October. It’s not summer yet so the crowds are smaller but the weather is beautiful, sunny and warm to be out and about enjoying the natural beauty.

Can you recommend any family-friendly accommodation?

Oh there are lots! Everywhere from the Cotton Tree Caravan Park to apartments in Caloundra. The Novotel Twin Waters Resort is a Mecca for families. Plenty of fun there.

What are your top 3 things must-dos for that tourists with kids in the Sunshine Coast? 

·  Australia Zoo – it’s such an institution. Amazing wildlife that you can get up close and personal with, fun shows, a strong conservation message and, of course, the crocs.

·  Swimming at Mooloolaba and strolling along the esplanade.

·  Shopping in Noosa and having a good coffee in one of the many cafes.

To read more about the Gold Coast with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story here
Images: Tourism and Events Queensland