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A local's guide to having fun with your kids these school holidays.
I don’t know about you but I LOVE having the kids home for holidays. Summer is way too much fun on the Sunshine Coast to not share with the tribe. I totally get it can be daunting when you’re wondering what to do with the kids each day; so we have collated a list for you of three things a week to do over the school holidays!
If you're heading away, have an awesome break! If you’re holidaying here – welcome! And if you live in this holiday destination like us ... wahoo! Check out your six week school holiday guide on a shoe-string below.
1) Kick the holidays off by cooling down under the water fountain and ocean pool at Kings Beach in Caloundra! The Italian place across the road from the fountain has excellent coffee if you don’t get time to drive through the main shops on Bulcock Street to grab one from ‘Classic Expresso Bar’. Head down towards the beach to the Kings Beach Ocean Pool once the kids are done, it's great for younger kids as its enclosed with varying depths. If you're like me and don’t want to pack any more lunches for at least a few days, grab some hot chips from Kings Depo across the road as a holiday treat.
Kings Beach fountain
2) Head to Cotton Tree park for a refreshing swim and paddle-board. With two different sized parks looking right over the river, there are toilets, bbq facilities, an oval for ball games and you can hire paddle boards if you don’t have your own.When the tide is right, we paddle board over toa little bit of sand in the middle of the lake which the kids call “Sink Island” to play soccer. If the kids still aren’t worn out, head the Cotton Tree pool, they often have inflatables for the kids to play in (small fee). For a quieter beach, keep walking past The Boat Shed and in front of the Cotton Tree Holiday Park and you will find a calm little beach for your kids to enjoy. There are a lot of great coffee shops across the road to choose from too and the calamari at The Boat Shed, right near it down near the water, is a perfect spot for a take-away lunch or dinner.
3) Head to Betty's Burgers in Noosa for some dinner (they really are THE best burgers) then finish the night off with some ice-cream from the convenience store (to save a few dollars) or Nitrogenie - to experience how your ice-cream can be made with liquid nitrogen. Take the ice-cream down to the beach and wander on the beach chasing small crabs. (We keep the chip cups from Betty's chips to catch them in!) If you want to make a day of it, head to Noosa River beforehand to check out the giant pelican and have a play at the awesome park there on the river.
1) Noosa Water Fountain! Next to the Noosa Marina, you will find an enclosed (yes…enclosed!) and free (yes free!) water fountain the kids can run through. It got sail shades so you can sit there on the picnic seats without burning, and the toilets are right there too! When the kids are ready to move, walk over to the Marina to grab some lunch followed by a walk around to the Noosa Art Gallery and see if there’s anything on there that interests!
2) It's gonna be hot… so head to Novotel Twin Waters Resort or Bli Bli water park for some inflatable fun on the lake! Call them to book in to a set timeframe and they will give you a life jacket on arrival. Better suited to older kids as the inflatables can be a bit high to get on, but if your going on with them that will be your workout for the day!
3) Definitely check out the Sunshine Coast Christmas Lights! Last year this free event saw 20,000 people come through, so expect a crowd. It is awesome though, a free walk-through petting zoo, carolers, drama, music, Christmas lights, we even did a camel ride last yr! There is enough to do for free, but there is a market, food and a few extras you can pay for if you wish. Head to Lifepointe Baptist Church, 186 Wises Road, North Buderim. Dec 15-Dec 23rd from 5.30 – 9pm.
1) Landsborough BMX track. It’s free and my kids love it! Take a picnic chair, a hat and read a book while the kids lap around and around. Because it’s dirt it’s only suitable for bikes so if you love riding too, take yours and race the kids! When they are done, there is a skate park a few metres away, or if you didn’t bring bikes or boards on your holiday just drive a minute up the road to Ewen Maddock Dam for a picnic and a cool down.
2) Mt Ngun Ngun, one of Glasshouse Mountains– the reason I chose this hike over the others I love is because it’s mostly shaded, and we will need that in summer! Stop at the Information Centre for a play at the park & a toilet stop & head to Mt Ngun Ngun for a summer hike with the kids.
3) Check out the Christmas lights on Rainsford Place in Buderim! Walk around this culder-sac slowly after a picnic dinner at Mooloolaba beach or some yoghurt from Yoghurt World on the Esplanade. This street does get pretty busy, so you may need to park in a side- street or across Karawatha St and walk over. We often take a few Glow Sticks for some more night time fun for the kids as they walk around.
1) Check out one of our top 10 parks on the coast – Grahame Stewart Park at Currumundi. It has an awesome bike/scooter track around it with mini traffic lights the kids’ love, a wooden train to climb through, swings, plenty of shade, BBQ’s, toilets and it’s fenced. When you are ready to move on, head down to the calm waters of Currumundi lake to cool off, dig in the sand, paddle board or kayak.
2) After a farm-tour at Maleny Dairy Farms, (where you will get to sample the b.e.s.t. dairy on the coast), head to Gardeners Falls in Maleny is beautiful! Its a short walk from the car, and a short waterfall – perfect for short legs…but a very pretty wander. When you are done admiring the fall or cooling off next to the water, head into Maleny town and getting a fresh sausage roll from the local ‘Maleny Hot Bread’ shop or gelato from the nearby cafe 'Maleny Food Co' on Maple Street. I’m no food critic, but its honestly the best we have ever had.
3) Boreen point – seriously so fun because there is basically nothing here but nature. Take a paddleboard or a canoe and head into the knee-waist deep water, the kids can chase you while you explore the lake. There’s a kids park and a few picnic tables. If its a bit of a drive for you there are camping facilities here, and a historic pub close by you can eat at.
1) By now it is definitely time for a waterslide! Head to “Thrill Hill” at Woombye, and let the kids tire themselves out running up and sliding down. An oldie but a goodie.
2) Skippy Park, Landsborough. One of our fave parks – it has a 2.2 km bike track around it, toilets, BBQ facilities, a few picnic seats, a really long slide and a flying fox. It's partly shaded so I would get here early in the morning or later in the evening when it's a bit cooler.
3) Dinner at Alexandra Headlands. Pack a picnic, or take some meat to BBQ and head down to Alex Skate Park. The kids can skate/scooter, and you can enjoy the ocean view. It does get busy at night in school holidays so if your kids are not super capable, an early brekkie BBQ next the skate park may be a better option - because we are all up by 5 am with the early rising sun anyway right? There are a few cafes across the road that will give you a good coffee early morning.
1) A play at Tickle Park, an ocean swim and sushi at Coolum. Enough said. If you feel like venturing further, head out to Maroochy River and walk up Dunethin Rock which has a beautiful view, especially at sunset.
2) Fishing and a tree climb at Chambers Island. I am not sure there are a lot of fish to catch here (or maybe we don’t have the hang of it) but hire some fishing rods if you don’t have your own from the shop across from Chambers Island (next to the take-away store at the lights) walk across the bridge and find yourself immersed in a little island with mangroves, high trees my kids love to climb, a park for the younger ones and for a quieter spot walk through the trees and you will find a quieter side of the river to fish from. We often finish the day with an ice-cream from the take-away store on our way back. There isn’t a lot of shade here, and only a few tables, so a picnic blanket and a tree on arrival can be a good idea!
3) Finishing on the water theme… Buderim Waterfall really is beautiful and a great walk with kids. Who doesn’t love a waterfall? You can't take prams down, so get your ergo ready.
And one more to add on that last week – Mary Cairncross Park in Maleny – an awesome park, a walk through the forest and beautiful views of the Glass House Mountains.
If you have some Christmas money to spend, then you can’t go past – Aussie World, The Ginger Factory (free entry to the cafe and garden – you just pay for the boat ride and train ride), Maleny Botanic Gardens (go to King Ludwigs German Restaurant when you're done for lunch - it has an awesome balcony with a view of the the Glass House Mountains), Australia Zoo, SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast, Ten Pin Bowling at Alexandra Headlands, the Rollerdrome Skate Centre at Caloundra or enrol in a local Surf School.
AND I have to add - The Sunshine Coast Council is putting on a Coast Club for kids 8+! You can book the kids in for half a day or a full day where they will experience caving, a giant swing and high ropes. It looks really fun.
There is just so much to do here, it’s hard to cap activities at three per week. Enjoy!