Mooloolaba is one of the best family beachside destinations we have close to Brisbane. With its spectacularly long, calm beach, lively cafe, restaurants and shops and stunning natural attractions, it is little wonder that so many Brisbane families love to spend time there. If you are heading north on your next weekend or holiday then be sure to check out our list below of some of our favourite family things to do in Mooloolaba.
Visit Sea Life Aquarium
Families love the Sea Life Aquarium attraction that is situation right in the heart of Mooloolaba. The experience allows visitors to get up close and personal with a huge range of underwater creatures and includes eleven unique marine zones to explore.
Highlights of this all-weather visitor attraction include the main aquarium’s tunnel, and the 14 fun daily talks and animal feeds, including the popular seal presentation. Younger children will enjoy the tidal touch pool and the iridescent jellyfish, while the more adventurous can dive with sharks, swim with a seal, or even become a ‘trainer for a day’. Join their mailing list to be kept up to date with their special events including their sleepover experience where families can sleep overnight at Sea Life.
Tips for making the most of your visit: Book online so you can skip the queues on the day
Get surf lessons at Mooloolaba Beach
The beaches of Mooloolaba are magical enough if you just want to play on the sand and swim in the ocean, but if you want to add a bit more adventure to your family holiday than getting some group surf lessons may be a great idea. There are many surf schools in and around the sunshine coast, including Robbie Sherwell’s XL Surfing Academy, which is based in Mooloolaba.
The surf school offers a number of different lesson types and aims to get your family on their boards and tackling those waves at Mooloolaba beach within no time.
Explore the local nature walks
Within only a short drive from Mooloolaba central are a number of gorgeous natural walks and falls that are well worth exploring with your family. Just a few minutes from the coast is Buderim Forest Park,
Just minutes from the coast, visitors can explore Buderim Forest Park and Falls, a 45-hectare nature lover’s paradise with stunning walking tracks and a spectacular natural waterfall. Enjoy a stroll through the forest along the 600m wheelchair-friendly raised walkway from Lindsay Road, breathing in the forest air, listening to the bird calls and enjoying the tree-filled surroundings.
For those keen to continue to the falls, you will need to head further along a rugged bush trail where you will reach the base of the Buderim Falls, also known as Serenity Falls.
Tip to make the most of your visit: All natural waterholes are best visited after rain so that you can ensure the waterways and creek have had a good flush out (especially if it is a swimming hole)
Go beneath the surface in a submarine
This family experience at Mooloolaba is seriously next level. Have you ever wanted to delve beneath the deeper ocean surface with your kids to explore the underwater life? And we are not just talking about the usual snorkelling or even scuba diving experience. Nope, we are talking about actually submerging beneath the surface – oh and with your toddler alongside you too?
Mooloolaba-based Down Under Submarines offer tours that are family-friendly, with children over two years’ old permitted, when accompanied by an adult. What makes the SUBCAT-30 so unique is it is a hybrid vessel, meaning it can both dive underwater and travel on top of the water’s surface like a catamaran. How cool does that sound?
Visit the Maroochy Botanic Gardens
Another beautiful nature-filled escape only a short drive from Mooloolaba main stretch in the Maroochy Botanic Gardens.
A hugely popular spot for a family picnic due to its expansive 112 hectares grounds, families can explore the Sculpture gardens, enjoying a picnic on the lawns and do some bushwalking as well. The gardens offer some fantastic nature play opportunities for kids as well as an Arts and Ecology Centre. Kids may also be able to spot wild koalas, wallabies and the magnificent Australian King Parrot too.
You can find the entry to Maroochy Botanic Gardens located west of Buderim off the Tanawha Tourist Drive, on Palm Creek Road, Tanawha.
Fossick in the rock pools between Mooloolaba and Alexandra Headlands
Off to the Alexandra Headlands side of Mooloolaba Beach is a collection of rock pools that are a highlight for many families who visit this section of the Sunshine Coast. During low tide, the kids can splash in the shallow pools and hunt for a collection of sea life that is left there. Crabs, fish and different seashells are some of the favourites to find.
Tip to make the most of your visit: If you are driving up the coast for the day, time your visit with the tides, ideally earlier in the day so its not as hot out in the sun.
Do a whale watching tour
Every year, thousands of majestic humpback whales pass right by us on their annual migration through Queensland waters from the Antarctic and the Sunshine Coast offers an abundance of opportunities for families to witness this.
From Mooloolaba, there are a number of whale-watching tours that you can book on, with the best time of year to see them being between July and October. September and October are the most popular months, mostly because this is when you are most likely to get sightings of acrobatic mothers and playful newborn calves at the end of the season.
Tips to make the most of your visit: We love Point Cartwright for whale watching which is close to Mooloolaba and an excellent spot for a scenic picnic.
Go for a bike ride along the esplanade to Mooloolaba River mouth
The main esplanade at Mooloolaba is wide and clean and perfect for a family bike ride or walk. The 4.7km stretch along the esplanade to the mouth of the Mooloolaba River is one of the nicest waterfront family rides you can do. Whether the kids take their bikes or scooters or you decide to take a leisurely stroll there and back, there are plenty of places to stop and eat along the way as well as playgrounds to enjoy and beaches to swim in if their little legs want to take a break.
The Council have actually upgraded a large section of the Mooloolaba Esplanade to the Mooloolaba River Mouth walk due to its popularity, with improvements such as new lighting (great for evening strolls); seating and viewing platforms along the route, plus a multitude of new native plants, intended to revegetate the surrounding dunes.
Enjoy lunch with a view
Mooloolaba is famous for its stretch of shops, restaurants, cafes and dessert bars. If you are heading there with your family then finding a spot to eat that will cater for all of their needs is actually really easy. From seafood to Italian to simple take-away options, there are an abundance of great options to be found.
One popular family dining spot in Mooloolaba is the Mooloolaba Surf Club. With panoramic views of Mooloolaba Beach, you can dine in their spacious Boathouse Restaurant or on the outdoor deck.
Have fun getting lost in a maze
High-hedged mazes are actually easily found on the Sunshine Coast, with two options being close to Mooloolaba. A great thing to do with the family while in the area, Amaze World was actually voted the number one thing to do on the Sunshine Coast.
Located on Tanawha Tourist Drive #25, this tourism icon includes an impressive star-shaped hedge maze, a timber scrabble maze, an 18-hole mini golf course and even a water play section. As a family you can solve some riddles and help each other navigate your way through the giant maze before spending some time exploring all the other activities and play options there too. It would be easy to spend half a day here, exploring the mazes, solving puzzles and relaxing in the tropical rainforest environment.
Situated along the Sunshine Coast, there are so many amazing attractions to see and explore if you are up that way that are just outside Mooloolaba. Why not check out the local beaches, mountains and drives too?