This destination article is sponsored by Visit Sunshine Coast
The Sunshine Coast Hinterland is easily one of the most beautiful places in South East Queensland. Eumundi and the Sunshine Coast Hinterland are both ideal for short day trip destinations or equally worth a longer self-drive adventure. Whether you are a local, or visitor from interstate or overseas make sure you find the time to discover the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and all it has to offer for families.
Just an hour’s drive north of Brisbane, this picturesque region of Queensland has something to suit everyone, from the youngest sightseers to more adventurous teens. You will find natural wonders for free-range fun, as well as leading attractions, all within easy reach.
The Sunshine Coast Hinterland ideas for families
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
The new Discovery Centre at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve offers spectacular views of the heritage-listed Glass House Mountains. Enjoy a coffee from the on-site cafe, as you take in the view from the elevated viewing platform and boardwalk. Their recreation area features gas BBQ’s to cook your lunch and there is even a playground for the kids so you can make the most of the fresh mountain air.
Bushwalking at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve also has an abundance of wildlife and some easy walking trails that allow you to enjoy the surrounding 55 hectares of National Estate listed subtropical rainforest. If you’re really quiet and a little lucky, you may even spot a wild pademelon!
Maleny Botanic Gardens and Birdworld
The exquisite Maleny Botanic Gardens boast a panorama of waterfalls, ponds and colourful plantings that overlook the Glass House Mountains. There are 16 acres of garden to enjoy, so pack a picnic or indulge in some Devonshire Tea at their onsite cafe and let the kids enjoy the open space. Before you leave make sure to snap a photo of your little ones on the big chair, which is thought to be the biggest in Queensland.
Birdworld at Maleny Botanic Gardens
One of the best features of Maleny Botanic Gardens is the aviaries, where you will find yourself face-to-face with colourful native and exotic birds as they land on your shoulder or arm as you hand feed them. Over 400 birds occupy the 1400 square metres of aviary, from Central American macaws to native Australian Lorikeets.
Maleny Dairies Farm Tour
NOTE: Maleny Dairies Farm Tours are currently on hold due to renovation work.
Teach the kids about where their food comes from on a farm tour of an actual working dairy, with Maleny Dairies. Learn about the journey of milk, from milking the cows, all the way to bottling and everything in between. You’ll have a chance to meet a calf, feed the animals and taste test the farm’s premium milk for yourself. Make sure to arrive early, as their ‘springers’ are fed at 10am. Youngsters will also enjoy the new tractor rides. Maleny Dairies is famous for their milk and custard so it is worth arriving with an esky so you can take some home with you. We also recommend booking a tour in advance on their website, especially during school holidays when more families are out and about. Find out more about the farm tours here.
Arguably Australia’s best-known zoo, the home of the Crocodile Hunter in Beerwah just keeps getting better. With more than 1,200 animals to see, numerous free shows daily and roaming animals to meet and touch, Australia Zoo has something for everyone. Highlights include the African enclosure with giraffes, rhinos and zebras, along with the new meerkat enclosure. You can also book your family in for a tour of Australia’s busiest and biggest wildlife hospital and give your kids some insight into the important work Australia Zoo does in conserving and helping native animals.
The Original Eumundi Markets
Acclaimed as ‘the biggest art and craft market in Australia’, the Original Eumundi Markets sell everything from handmade crafts to the freshest local produce. Open Wednesday and Saturday, they are a great opportunity to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables, freshly baked breads, locally made cheeses and sweet treats for your holiday kitchen. Local musicians regularly entertain the crowd, while the kids can also enjoy face-painting sessions.
Imperial Hotel Eumundi
In the heart of Eumundi sits this fabulous heritage pub. Mum and dad can enjoy a house-brewed Eumundi Beer and bistro fare, while keeping an eye on the kids in the well-equipped playroom via a camera monitor that is visible from the beer garden. Winning features with the kids include three Play Stations, big screen movies and a rubber ball room.
Gardners Falls is a popular swimming hole in Maleny with shallow rock pools which are ideal for smaller children, while older teens and adults can follow the bubbling waters downstream where the pools increase in size and enjoy a freshwater swim in the largest pool underneath the falls. The rockpools are fringed with grassy areas and because the rockpools are only a short walk from the carpark, it is the ideal spot for a family picnic.
Located beside the iconic Big Pineapple in Nambour, Wildlife HQ is and affordable, family-friendly zoo that’s a favourite with locals and is home to over 100 species of animals from around the world and numerous Aussie favourites. There are more than 20 close-up animal encounters available, including meerkats and ‘zookeeper for a day’ that the kids will love. The train ride that runs to the zoo from the Big Pineapple is also popular with younger kids.
Big Kart Track
Kids (young and old) will thrill to the fun of driving a go kart at Big Kart Track. Racing options for those under 12 years of age include a double-seater kart, so you can drive the kids around, and single-seaters for more experienced young drivers to take the wheel themselves. Find out more here.
Other attractions nearby for families
The Ginger Factory
A favourite with younger children, the Ginger Factory has fascinating tours, boat and cane train rides, and a café which overlooks a fenced playground. It is known for its beautiful sub-tropical gardens, while the attached ginger factory is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of delicious confectionary ginger. Their live bee show is not to be missed with the opportunity to see the inner workings of a beehive and the chance to taste-test their local honey.
The Sunshine Coast’s ‘home of fun’, Aussie World is a theme park for the whole family. Rides range from The new Wasp ride for adrenaline-loving teens, to the classic carousel rides and Little Toot Toot train for the younger family members. If you head there on a hot day make sure you pack swimming gear for their water play areas. Children under 12 also eat for free at The Pub from 5pm on Friday evenings.
For information on these activities and destinations as well as events and accommodation head to Visit Sunshine Coast website and visitor guide to the Sunshine Coast region.