Noosa with kids is a perfect family holiday. Located 90 minutes’ drive north of Brisbane on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Noosa is home to the best Sunshine Coast beaches and in fact some the of the best beaches in the world. In 2017 Noosa was rated in the top three beaches in the South Pacific by the TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards. These postcard perfect beaches are ideal for families with their blue, transparent, calm waters and perfect white soft sand. With so many gorgeous beaches to choose from, many of the best things to do in Noosa with kids revolve around the water.
In addition to its beaches, Noosa also offers fantastic walking paths through the Noosa National Park and is also an easy drive away from some of the top Sunshine Coast attractions. Whether you are off for a Noosa long weekend or a week long family holiday, you will have plenty to do in Noosa.
This post covers everything you need for your Noosa holidays. The post includes the best things to do in Noosa (including the best place for Noosa boat hire), the best Noosa beach, where to stay in Noosa (including the perfect family friendly Noosa and Noosaville accommodation), family friendly Noosa and Noosaville restaurants and how best to get around Noosa.
- 1 Best Things to do in Noosa with Kids
- 1.1 1. Noosa Boat Hire – explore the Noosa River
- 1.2 2. Go Swimming
- 1.3 3. Noosa Surf Lessons
- 1.4 4. Kayak Noosa River
- 1.5 5. Catch a Movie at the Noosa Cinemas
- 1.6 6. Try SUP Boarding
- 1.7 7. Bike Hire – Noosa
- 1.8 8. Visit a Noosa Playground
- 1.9 9. Noosa Everglades Boat Cruise
- 1.10 10. Enjoy Stunning Views from the Laguna Lookout Noosa
- 1.11 11. Jet Ski Hire – Noosa
- 1.12 12. Take a hike through the Noosa National Park (Headland Section)
- 1.13 13. Noosa Shopping – Hastings Street Noosa
- 1.14 14. Visit the Noosa Sunday Markets
- 1.15 15. Visit the World Famous Australia Zoo
- 1.16 16. Noosa Jeatboating
- 1.17 17. Aussie World
- 1.18 18. The Ginger Factory
- 1.19 19. Eumundi Markets
- 1.20 20. Sea Life
- 1.21 21. Big Pineapple
- 1.22 22. Wildlife HQ – Big Pineapple Zoo
- 1.23 23. 4WD Adventure to Fraser Island
- 2 Where to Stay in Noosa – Sunshine Coast
- 3 Best Places to Eat in Noosa with Kids
- 4 Getting to Noosa
- 5 Getting Around Noosa
Best Things to do in Noosa with Kids
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1. Noosa Boat Hire – explore the Noosa River
With so much to explore around the Noosa River, the best way to do it is by boat. This would have to be one of my all-time favourite Noosa activities. It’s great fun taking the family cruising the Noosa River and down the various canals around Hastings Street. Anchor the boat wherever you find a great swimming spot, maybe your own deserted beach.
Why not pack a BBQ lunch and cook up a feast on your boat. There are various sand banks in the mouth of the Noosa River, so find one that looks good and anchor your boat.
As you can see from the photo above, the mouth of the Noosa River is crystal clear. It is also fairly shallow in parts making it superb for the kids to go swimming. Make sure you bring the kids snorkelling gear too so they can check out the various fish.
Don’t have a boat? Don’t worry you can hire one, you don’t even need a boat license– the guys at Jetty 17 will show you exactly how to operate the boat. The guys at Jetty 17 have 2 sorts of boats you can hire – the little polycraft boats or the BBQ pontoon boats. The polycraft boats are great for small families and are perfect little fishing boats. These boats fit up to 5 people and come with a dry compartment for you to put your food and drinks in. The guys at Jetty 17 will even provide fishing rods and tackle at no extra charge! They also sell bait and ice. Prices for the polycraft boats start at $60 per hour and $30 each our after that. There are discounted rates for half or full day hire.
The BBQ pontoon boats are great for larger groups or for those wanting access to a BBQ on board. These boats seat 12, heaps of comfy seating, an esky (bring your own ice) and even a speaker so you can listen to your favourite tunes. You can even take SUP boards out with you, like we did. Everything is provided to use the BBQ too including thongs, oil and a light. Prices for the Noosa BBQ boat start at $80 per hour, $110 for 2 hours and $50 each our after that. There are discounted rates for half or full day hire. There are also some special discounted prices outside of school holidays, public holidays and weekends.
If you are after a more relaxing way to enjoy the Noosa River – hire one of these Fun Cat’s (see picture above). These Fun Cat’s are basically giant sun loungers with a motor and you slowly putter around the river. Grab yourself a coffee (check out Old Salt Coffee just out the front of Jetty 17) or a bottle a wine for an hour or so for the ultimate relaxation on the river. The Fun Cat’s are $50 for 1 hour, $80 for 2 hours or $110 for 3 hours. Make sure you say hi for us to our friends Matt and Bartira at Jetty 17 Noosa boat hire.
These guys are located along Gympie Terrace in Noosaville. You can’t miss them they are in a bright orange building. Generally there is no need to book in advance. Check out their website for more information. Exploring the Noosa River by boat is one of the best things to do in Noosa and I highly recommend you give it a go on your Noosa holidays.
2. Go Swimming
If you visit Noosa with kids, you will no doubt spend a lot of your time swimming. Luckily there is no shortage of gorgeous places to go swimming in Noosa. Here is a quick run down of some of the places to go in Noosa for a swim:
- Noosa River: Don’t make the same mistake I did when I first came to Noosa and automatically think the Noosa River is a brown and murky river – this river is gorgeous! There are numerous sandy spots to enter the calm waters along the banks of the Noosa River. There is plenty of sand for the littlies to build sand castles too. The closer you get to the mouth of the river the more clear the water becomes until it is crystal clear as you can see in the above image. Perfect spot for snorkelling too.
- Noosa Main Beach: the featured image for this post is of Noosa Main Beach. A gorgeous beach with gentle waves, right off the famous Hastings Street strip with the lush green trees of Noosa National Park in the background.
- Noosa Spit Recreation Reserve: If you don’t have a boat to access the mouth of the Noosa River, then your best bet is go reach the beaches from the shore of the Noosa Spit Recreation Reserve. Here you will also find Noosa Dog Beach which as the name suggests is a dog friendly beach – probably the most stunning dog beach in the world! There is also a surf beach within the reserve, just up from Noosa Main Beach.
- Noosa National Park Beaches: the very best beaches in Noosa are found in the Noosa National Park. See below for more information about these stunning beaches.
3. Noosa Surf Lessons
Ever thought about learning to surf? Or perhaps one of the kids are keen? Then how about some Noosa surf lessons whilst you are on holidays. There are a few Noosa surf schools which teach safe surfing on Noosa Heads. Noosa Surf Lessons have qualified surfing coaches and provide everything you need for the lesson. Lessons take place in waist deep water with gentle waves and absolute no prior experience is necessary. Lessons are held daily for 2 hours at 10 am and 2 pm. They also offer private lessons. Lessons start at $59 for 2 hours. Click here for more information or to make a booking.
4. Kayak Noosa River
Kayak Noosa River with the family. It’s a great way to explore the Noosa River a bit closer. Again our friends at Jetty 17 hire out kayaks along the Noosa River, with prices starting at around $20 per hour. You can hire single or double seater kayaks. We usually hire a double kayak, which Myla can easily squeeze in with us. Take the kayaks out to one of the several sand bar islands located around the Spit and enjoy a swim in the beautiful waters only accessible by boat or kayak. The water is calm and not difficult to navigate at all making this a fantastic family friendly activity. For something a little different you could also take out a Noosa water bike, Jetty 17 hire these out from $25 per hour. Check out their website for more information.
If you’r interested in a guided tour with a 90% guarantee of getting up close and personal with dolphins, then check out this tour with Epic Ocean Adventures. I have done this tour and had dolphins swim right under my kayak. However I only recommend this tour families with older children as you are kayaking out into the ocean and the water can be rough. A few people (including me) capsized which would be scary for some kids (and adults). Click here for information about this tour.
5. Catch a Movie at the Noosa Cinemas
People often ask for things to do in Noosa when it rains? Well an option is to head to the Noosa Cinemas at Noosa Junction. These cinemas show all the latest blockbusters. Click here for movie sessions times at the Noosa 5 Cinemas.
6. Try SUP Boarding
If you have ever wanted to try SUPboarding, I highly recommend you give it a try in Noosa. With so many places with calm water, it is the ideal location to give it a go. Even if you are a bit more of an expert there are great spots with gentle waves right up to surf to paddle board. We grabbed a board from SUP Noosa (located right outside Jetty 17 along Gympie Terrace in Noosaville). Boards start at $25 for 1 hour with discounted prices for longer hire. If you want to hire a board for the entire day or week, these guys will even bring it to you completely free of charge!
If you’re interested in joining a SUP lesson – click here to check out a few options.
7. Bike Hire – Noosa
With so many great pathways around Noosa, it is the perfect location to go bike riding. If you are from out of town and haven’t bought your own bike, never mind you can hire a bike. The guys at Bike On have a fleet of various bikes (including kids bikes and baby seats) which you can hire from various places across Noosa. You can even have your bike delivered direct to your Noosa accommodation. Click here for more information.
8. Visit a Noosa Playground
Noosa holidays for families would not be complete without at least one or two visits to one of the playgrounds Noosa has. Unfortunately there are not many great Noosa playgrounds for the kids – but the Noosa River Pirate Playground is an awesome one. Myla just loves it here and its great because you can combine it with a swim in the river. This playground is located at the far end of Gympie Terrace Noosaville QLD, towards Tewantin.
9. Noosa Everglades Boat Cruise
Away from the popular Noosa beaches, take a relaxing Noosa boat cruise through the lakes and wetlands of the Noosa River to the start of the Noosa Everglades. This is perfect if you are looking for Noosa day trips. The Noosa Everglades is part of the Cooloola National Park and home to 44% of Australia’s bird species, over 700 native animals and 1365 species of plants. Tour prices start at $79 per person. Click here for more information or to make a booking.
10. Enjoy Stunning Views from the Laguna Lookout Noosa
The Laguna Lookout Noosa is located at the very end of Viewland Drive in Noosa Heads, not too far from the main area of Hastings Street Noosa. You can drive right up to the Noosa hill lookout or if you are feeling extra keen you can walk. It’s only around a 10 minute walk from the bottom, but it is very steep and remember during the warmer months it can get super hot, so bring lots of water if you are walking. There are spectacular views from the Noosa lookout. You can see across the Noosa River, the Noosa Northshore and right out to the Glasshouse Mountains.
11. Jet Ski Hire – Noosa
As well as hiring out boats and kayaks, there are plenty of places along the Noosa River to hire a Jet Ski. If you want to hire a jet ski you basically have 2 options, ride it around the circuit in the Noosa River or join an ocean tour where you will get the opportunity to ride a jet ski in the ocean. Ocean tours start at $95 per person for 30 minutes and $80 for 30 minutes on the circuit.
12. Take a hike through the Noosa National Park (Headland Section)
If you love breathtakingly beautiful beaches then a visit to the Noosa National Park is a must do in Noosa. In my view the best beaches in Noosa (even the best Sunshine Coast beaches) are inside the Park making it one of the best Noosa attractions and best things to do in Noosa Heads. The official entry to the Noosa National Park is along Park Road, not too far from Hastings Street. Here there is a small car park, picnic tables and toilets, there is even a café here. However be warned this car park is extremely busy and during peak season it will be difficult to get a park. You can also access the park from the Sunshine Beach Noosa end. There is no car park here though, but you can generally easily park along the street. It does not cost anything to enter the park which is fabulous if you are looking for free things to do in Noosa.
In the Headland section of the park there are 5 walking tracks with the coastal track being the most popular. Here’s a quick overview of the walks around Noosa National Park:
- Palm Grove Circuit: 1 km circuit, allow 15-30 minutes – walk through the rainforest.
- Tanglewood Track: 3.8 km one way starting at the National Park entry, meandering through the rainforest and woodlands, finishing at the end of the Coastal Track by Hell’s Gates. Return via the Coastal Track or continue on past Alexandria Bay to Sunshine Beach. Allow 2-3 hours for a return trip.
- Noosa Hill Track: 3.4 km circuit, allow 1-1.5 hours – walk through the woodlands.
- Coastal Track: 2.7 km one way starting at the National Park entry, walking along the cliff face past the gorgeous Noosa National Park beaches, the best beaches in the Sunshine Coast; finishing at Hell’s gate. The first part of this track is paved and so easily accessible for prams and wheelchairs. This walk is absolutely stunning and if you don’t do any other walks in the park, I highly recommend you at least some of this walk; its easily one of the best things to do around Noosa.
- Alexandria Bay: 4.6 km return, starts at Sunshine Beach on Parkedge Road, finishing on the beach at Alexandria Bay Noosa. Allow 1 – 2 hours.
We recently did the Alexandria Bay track from Sunshine Beach followed by the Coastal track, finishing at Hasting Street for lunch. The entire walk took around 4 hours with a few swimming stops. We then took a bus from Hastings Street back to our car in Sunshine Beach. Keep your eyes out during the walk for some native Australian animals. I have heard of people seeing koalas and even echindas during their walk. We were lucky enough to see this giant monitor during our recent walk. You could easily have missed it as it really blends in with its environment. One of these walks is definitely one of the top things to do in Noosa.
Noosa National Park Beaches and other Points of Interest
Little Cove Noosa (technically outside the park)
Little Cove Noosa is technically located outside the Noosa National Park, but it is just outside the park, so I thought I might as well include it here. Little Cove is hands down my favourite Noosa beach. It is a stunning cove with calm crystal-clear water, lined with gorgeous lush trees, making it easily one of the most picturesque beaches in all of Noosa. In my view, the best time to visit Little Cove is at high tide. Unfortunately, at high tide there isn’t any beach here just small rocks, but the cove fills with water and the ocean is completely flat making it like a big swimming pool. This makes it perfect for families as the children can easily swim around without concern for waves. If you are after some good Noosa snorkelling spots for the kids, this is a great spot as there are plenty of fish to check out. It’s still a lovely beach at low tide, with a decent beach and gentle waves.
There is no car parking at Little Cove so you will either have to park around Hastings Street, the National Park or in the residential area of Little Cove and walk. I just love it here at Little Cove, it’s definitely one of my top things to do in Noosa with kids. Pack some snacks, your boogie boards, snorkels and sand toys (if its low tide) and you easily can spend most of the day here.
Tea Tree Bay Noosa
Tea Tree Bay Noosa is also a stunning beach located in the National Park and is a very close runner up in being the best beach in Noosa. Like most beaches in Noosa, the water here is crystal clear with soft gentle waves. Unlike Little Cove, there is a large beach here, perfect for sand play. Tea Tree Bay is around a 10 -15-minute walk from the National Park car park. It is any easy walk as the path is completely paved so easy to bring a pram if necessary. The walk is not steep or anything, but little people may complain about the walk. I saw a few people dragging their kids along in one of those wagons, which is a good idea for the smaller kids. I also like that there is no real steep walk down to access the beach. There are a few different access points, some where you have a short climb over small rocks, but keep walking around until you see the stairs straight to the beach. A day out at Tea Tree Bay is another one of the fantastic things to do in Noosa with kids.
Granite Bay Noosa
Another 15 minute walk from Tea Tree Bay is Granite Bay Noosa – yep another stunning Noosa beach! It will take you around 30 minutes to reach this beach from the Noosa National Park car park. I haven’t personally swam at this beach but I have walked past it and it appears similar to Tea Tree Bay. I have swum at nearby Winch Cove though – see below.
If you want the chance of having a beach all to yourself then take a dip in Winch Cove. The beach is not much bigger than what you can see in the photo above, as to the right is large rock formations with Granite Bay on the other side. Winch Cove is a little tricky to access with a fairly steep climb down and over rocks. I wouldn’t recommend it for very small children. The beach itself is absolutely stunning. The waves are a little stronger here then the other beaches I mentioned but they are still perfect for children. This is also a great spot for snorkelling as we saw a variety of fish in the crystal clear water.
The Fairy Pools are not officially marked on the track, not sure if this is because it is viewed too dangerous – it certainly looks that way to me, however the pools are very popular for snorkeling during low tide. As it is not an official stop in the park, there is no official track down, you will just have to navigate your way down over the rocks. it is around a 35 minute walk from the Noosa National car park, just a little past Winch Cove.
Located about a 40 minute walk from the Noosa National Park car park is Hell’s Gate. This is also the end of the coastal track and usualy where people stop and turn around. You can of course keep going to Alexandria Bay and all the way to Sunshine Beach. From Hell’s Gate there are fantastic views out to Alexandria Bay (see below) and a good place to spot some marine life. With any luck you will see whales (during migrating season), dolphins and turtles.
Alexandria Bay is a stunning Noosa surf beach and apparently an unofficial nudist beach (although in my time of visiting Noosa I have only seen one person in the nudy!) If you are just interested in visiting Alexandria Bay, it is probably best to access it from Sunshine Beach – its only a 15-20 minute walk from here.
13. Noosa Shopping – Hastings Street Noosa
For Noosa shopping, head to Hastings Street Noosa. Hastings Street is right behind Noosa Main Beach and is a high end fashion strip, home to international fashion designers as well as local labels. Shoppers will love shopping here or maybe just window shopping if the wallet doesn’t stretch that far. Along here you will also find some of the best places to eat in Noosa including ice cream parlours, a range of great family friendly cafes and top notch Noosa restaurants too. My other pick for shopping is along the streets of Noosa Junction. They have some funky little dress shops and great cafes too.
14. Visit the Noosa Sunday Markets
If you enjoy fresh local produce, check out the Noosa Farmers Markets which are on every Sunday between 7 am and 12 pm. Here you will find a variety of products including fresh organic produce, freshly squeezed juices, skin care, nuts, freshly caught seafood, cheeses, freshly baked breads and much more. There is also plenty of food to eat, live music and activities for the kids. The Noosa Farmer Markets are located at the Noosa Australian Football Club on Weyba Road.
There are also Sunday markets located at the Noosa Marina. These markets are on between 8 am and 2 pm and are set on a lovely deck overlooking the Noosa River. Stalls include locally made arts and crafts as well as fresh produce. There is also live music and entertainment.
15. Visit the World Famous Australia Zoo
If you are looking for great day trips from Noosa, I highly recommend a visit to the world famous Australia Zoo. Australia Zoo is one of Australia’s most well-known zoos thanks to the late Steve Irwin, who is also known as the Crocodile Hunter. The zoo is now run by his wife and children Bindi and Bob.
Some of the animals on display include Australian Lizards, Freshwater and Saltwater Crocodiles, Koalas, Birds of Prey, Kangaroos, Red Pandas and tigers. There are a variety of animal presentations on during the day including tortoises, otters, koalas, tigers, birds of prey and crocodiles. The main show during the day is the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors. This show is held only a once a day in the Crocosuem and is not to be missed. You will see and learn about giant snakes, birds and saltwater crocodiles. I have seen this show multiple times and I still love it every single time! Check the presentation times on arrival.
For an additional charge, there are a range of Australia Zoo animal encounters you can experience. These experiences include getting up close with either meerkats, lemurs, red pandas, rhinos, komodo dragons, giraffe, cheetahs, dingoes, kolas, tortoise, wombats, echidnas, possums or farm animals; have your photo with a cheetah or an eagle; tour the wildlife hospital; walk with tigers or wombats and ride a camel.
Myla just loves visiting Australia Zoo and seeing the various animals. She particularly loves watching the shows to learn more about the animals and funnily enough one of her favourite things to do is pat a snake!
Australia Zoo is 1 hour from Noosa and is situated at 1638 Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah. Australia Zoo tickets are $59 per adult and $35 per child. Family passes are $172. Click here to purchase tickets online. Australia Zoo opening hours are 9 am to 5 pm daily (except Christmas Day). You will need the entire day to visit all the animals and see the various shows.
If you also plan on visiting Sea Life during your trip to Noosa – purchase your tickets here to save up to $10 per person for a combined ticket.
16. Noosa Jeatboating
If your a thrill seeker wanting to explore the Noosa coastal scenery then this one hour Noosa jet boat ride is a must. You will love it as you fly airborne through the ocean and over the waves, and with any luck you will spot some dolphins. Click here for ticket prices and / or to make a booking.
17. Aussie World
Whilst much smaller than the Gold Coast theme parks, Aussie World – Sunshine Coast certainly makes up for this in the fun to be had, no queue lines and ticket prices are much cheaper! Definitely add this to your list for things to do near Noosa with the kids.
Located 50 minutes from Noosa on the Bruce Highway at Palmview, families are guaranteed to have a fantastic day at Aussie World. As they say “fun is our thing”, and they are not lying! There are over 18 Aussie World rides and attractions spread out over 15 acres. All your family favourite rides are here including chair plane, Ferris wheel, dodgems, giant slides, swimming ship, carousel and tea cups. There are also a few thrill rides for the older rides and gentle rides for the tiny tots.
As well as rides there is roving entertainers, Professor Bogglesworth’s Illusionarium, horror house ( must be over 12 yo), water play area (bring swimmers and towels), mini golf, sideshow alley, crazy mirrors and arcade games. The side show alley games are $5 a go or on entry buy a pass for 3 games for $12. I am not sure if every game wins a prize, but every game Myla had a go at she got a small prize as did other children I saw playing.
Myla absolutely loved Aussie World, and I loved it being that it was so much smaller than the Gold Coast parks. It was easy for us to walk around the park multiple times without being exhausted and having no queue lines Myla could go on rides multiple times. Some rides she went on 3-5 times each. There are heaps of benches and tables under shady trees for parents to relax whilst the kids go on all the rides.
On a hot day, be sure to bring the kids swimmers and towels as there is a small water play area. It’s nothing too flash but the kids in there were having a blast – Myla easily spent close to an hour in there cooling off.
There is a large cafe there and like most theme parks the food is a little overpriced, however there are ways to reduce your food bill. The proportion sizes are fairly large so small children could easily share a meal. Kids meals were $10 which include chips, drink and either nuggets, fish or hot dog. I had a wrap which was huge and came in 2 halfs so could easily be shared – at $8.50 per wrap this is pretty reasonable.
Aussie World opening hours are 10 am to 5 pm daily (except Christmas Day and Anzac Day). Aussie World tickets are $40 per person, under 3s are free and discounted family passes are available. If you want to save a few dollars per ticket, purchase online from Klook where tickets are $34.89 per person.
18. The Ginger Factory
The Ginger Factory is a great way to spend a few hours with the kids. There are a variety of attractions here:
- Ginger Train: take a tour through 9 hectares of lush tropical gardens on the 116 year old historic sugar cane train. Ticket prices are $8 per adult or $7 per child;
- Ginger factory tour: take a guided tour through the Buderim Ginger Factory – see how ginger is grown, harvest and made into a range of products as well has a taste some products. When you first enter the Ginger Factory they guys at the front counter will book you into the next available tour. At the end of the tour you are given a lovely big tasting plate of ginger flavoured products – I was surprised at how delicious these ginger flavoured products were! Ticket prices are $15 per adult or $11 per child;
- Overboard Boat: follow the gingerbread man on an adventure. The ride features over 200 handmade moving puppets. This is a great ride for the younger children – Myla just loved it and insisted we go on it twice. Ticket prices are $12.50 per adult or $11.50 per child;
- Live Bee Show: learn about the workings of a beehive and taste a variety of honey. I think this was our favourite attraction at the Ginger Factory. Learning about the bees was really interesting and of course tasting all the various honey was good too. When you first enter the Ginger Factory they guys at the front counter will book you into the next available tour. Ticket prices are $15 per adult or $11 per child; and
- Playground: there is a basic, small playground here which is only really suitable for small children. It is free to use the playground.
You can purchase bundles for the attractions as well as family passes to save money. Click here to see the full range of tickets available. We spent around 4 hours at the Ginger Factory, exploring all the various attractions. The Ginger Factory is located 30 minutes from Noosa at 50 Pioneer Road, Yandina.
19. Eumundi Markets
With over 600 stalls, the Eumundi markets Sunshine Coast is said to be Australia’s biggest art and craft market, selling a range of handmade crafts and delicious local produce. You will find everything here including jewellery, clothes, toys, coffee, cakes, fruit and vegetables and stacks more. I absolutely love these markets and at my recent visit I bought up big – buying gorgeous jewelry and a new purse. Perfect for your Christmas shopping!
The food here is absolutely amazing as well – so ensure you go with a good appetite – you will want to try it all. Eumundi Markets days are only Wednesdays (8am to 1.30pm) and Saturday (7am to 2 pm), so be sure to plan your day in advance so as not to miss it. Before you head back to Noosa stop at the playground at nearby Dick Caplick Park, just beside the markets.
The markets are located only 20 minutes from Noosa along Napier Road, Eumundi. If you don’t have your own transport you can book a bus transfer – click here to make a booking.
20. Sea Life
For families who want to see marine life up close, then a visit to Sea Life, Mooloolaba is a must (previously known as Underwater World Mooloolaba). The award winning Sunshine Coast aquarium is located at Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba which is only 20 minutes from Caloundra.
Sea Life, Sunshine Coast is fantastic for kids with loads of hands on experiences, displays and shows across 11 themed zones. The main attraction at Sea Life is the Ocean Tunnel. The tunnel allows you to see marine life swim by you and above you as you wander through. The tunnel is full of sharks, sting rays, turtles and fish. The kids will love the tidal touch pool, which as the name suggests allows the kids to touch starfish, sea urchins and sea cucumbers.
Other interactive displays include various touch screen devices where the kids can learn more about the various marine life on display, looking through telescopes and climbing through caves and popping your head up in the centre of the tanks. There are a variety of animal presentations on during the day including seals, sting rays, ocean tunnel tour and jellyfish. Check the presentation times on arrival.
For an additional charge, there are a range of animal encounters you can experience. These experiences include either snorkel or dive with sharks, swim with the seals, camp over night at Sea Life, birthday parties and behind the scene tours. There is also a 3 level playground that is suitable for the smaller kids.
Sea Life is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm and tickets are $39 per adult and $27 per child with family passes available for $132. If you are heading to Australia Zoo also you can save by purchasing a combined ticket – click here to book online.
21. Big Pineapple
At the Big Pineapple you can learn about the process of pineapple farming from start all the way to the factory and enjoy the train ride. The Pineapple Heritage Train explores the rainforest, gardens and bamboo forest whilst passing the animals at the Wildlife HQ (see below) The Big Pineapple is located 45 minutes from Noosa at Nambour Connection Road Woombye and is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm. Entry to the Big Pineapple is free; however the train is $5 per person.
22. Wildlife HQ – Big Pineapple Zoo
If you are visiting the Big Pineapple, stop in at Wildlife HQ, located next door. Wildlife HQ (often referred to as the Big Pineapple Zoo) is home to various animals from around the world including koalas, dingoes, snakes, crocodiles, sun bears, red pandas and meerkats. Open daily (except Christmas Day) during the hours of 9 am to 4 pm. Entry is $29 per adult and $15 for children, with family passes available for $79.
23. 4WD Adventure to Fraser Island
Whilst best visited over a few days, it is possible to visit Fraser Island as a full day trip from Noosa. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage site, drive the scenic roads of the Glass House Mountains and cross to Fraser Island by ferry for a full day of exploration. Click here for tour prices and / or to make a booking.
Where to Stay in Noosa – Sunshine Coast
The area of Noosa – Sunshine Coast includes the suburbs of Noosaville, Noosa Heads, Noosa North Shore, Sunshine Beach, Sunrise Beach, Marcus Beach, Peregian Beach and various hinterland areas. In this post the focus will be on Noosaville and Noosa Heads as they are the most popular holiday spots with families and the closest areas to the Noosa tourist attractions. As to where the best area to stay in Noosa is, really depends on your own families’ individual likes.
The area of Noosaville includes the Noosa River, Lake Weyba and the area referred to as Noosa Sound. Noosaville is a popular choice for families as there is plenty of great value Noosa family accommodation available including a multitude of self-contained Noosa apartments. Please note the prices below as a guide only. Of course pricing changes depending upon when you book.
Noosa River Accommodation
Along Gympie Terrace (and the side streets) on Noosa River there are a variety of shops, places to eat, Noosa River boat hire and lovely parklands. There is an abundant of great value Noosaville accommodation just perfect for families here. See below for some recommendation for Noosa River accommodation.
If you are after something cheap, then check out the Noosa Caravan Park, this is the only place for Noosa camping (there is no Noosa National Park camping available).
- This is a gorgeous spot, located right on the banks of the Noosa River, not too far from the river’s mouth. Great for swimming and kayaking.
- Noosa Caravan Park has a good rating with 88% of people on TripAdvisor rating it as either excellent or very good.
- Noosa camping grounds start at $42 per night or $143 per night for a 2-bedroom villa for 2 adults and 2 children. Click here to check the current pricing or to make a booking.
- Facilities include camp kitchen, swimming pool, playground and laundry. Villas sleep up to 6 people and include self-contained a kitchen and bathroom.
Noosa Lakes Resort
- Located on the far end of the Noosa River close to the Noosa Marina.
- Noosa Lakes Resort has a good rating with 63% of people on TripAdvisor rating it as either excellent or very good.
- 2-bedroom town houses start at $165 per night for 2 adults and 2 children. Click here to check the current pricing or to make a booking.
- Resort facilities include 3 lagoon style swimming pools and BBQs. Choose from 1 or 2 bedroom apartments which include a kitchen and balcony.
Noosa Sound Accommodation
Noosa Sound is a little more isolated but is located on the most picturesque part of the river. Noosa Sound is one of the few areas where you will find absolute Noosa beachfront accommodation. This is also the ideal location if you are bringing your own boat as you can moore your boat right outside your accommodation. See below for some recommendation for Noosa Sound accommodation.
Noosa Harbour Resort
- Located on the absolute waterfront of the Noosa River, Noosa Harbour Resort has 2-bedroom apartments.
- Noosa Harbour Resort has a good rating with 87% of people on TripAdvisor rating it as either excellent or very good.
- 2-bedroom apartments start at $170 per night for 2 adults and 2 children. Click here to check the current pricing or to make a booking.
- Resort facilities include pool, jetty, tennis court, water sports hire and spa. Apartments are self-contained with kitchen and laundry.
Lake Weyba Accommodation
Lake Weyba is inland from the Noosa River and Noosa Sound and refers to the area surrounding the massive salt water lake, Lake Weyba. The area is fairly quiet and certainly away from all the hustle and bustle of Noosa. This area is perfect for people who want to be away from it all. See below for some recommendation for Lake Weyba accommodation.
- This place looks amazing for families who are looking for an awesome family resort with all the bells and whistles. RACV Noosa Resort is highly rated with 93% of people on TripAdvisor rating it as either excellent or very good.
- Rooms start at $452 per night for a 2-bedroom apartment for 2 adults and 2 children. Click here to check the current pricing or to make a booking.
- Facilities include a man made lagoon style swimming pool with beach entry, 2 water slides, splash park, outdoor spa, day spa, playground, fitness centre, tennis court, bike hire, free hourly bus to Hastings Street, restaurant and sunset bar. Families can choose between 1, 2 or 3-bedroom apartments which are fully self-contained, have an ensuite and main bathroom as well as a private balcony.
Noosa Heads Accommodation
Noosa Heads includes the famous Hastings Street, Noosa Main Beach, Noosa National Park, Noosa Spit Recreation Reserve and the shopping area of Noosa Junction.
Hasting Street Accommodation
For those who want to be in the centre of the action, then check out the hotels on Hastings Street Noosa. Hastings Street is the main shopping district of Noosa and you will find shops and Noosa holiday accommodation jammed packed together. Hastings Street accommodation includes Noosa luxury accommodation, with some of the Noosa 5 star resorts being right on the Noosa Main Beach. This is the certainly the place to be if you want to stay in the well known named Noosa resorts for families. Hastings St Noosa accommodation is ideal for those with only a few days in Noosa as everything is right there and you can easily walk to all the main Noosa attractions. See below for some recommendations for Noosa accommodation, Hastings Street.
- Located on the gorgeous Noosa Main Beach side of Hastings Street in the heart of Noosa’s shopping district.
- Seahaven Noosa is highly rated with 89% of people on TripAdvisor rating it as either excellent or very good.
- Rooms start at $740 per night for a 2-bedroom apartment with ocean views for 2 adults and 2 children. Click here to check the current pricing or to make a booking.
- This is Noosa luxury accommodation at its best with facilities including 3 heated swimming pools, a spa pool, children’s wading pool, fitness centre and beachfront BBQ area. Families can choose between 1 or 2-bedroom apartments which are fully self-contained, have an ensuite and main bathroom and private balcony with ocean views.
Mantra French Quarter Noosa
- Located on the entrance of Hastings Street in the heart of Noosa’s shopping district.
- Mantra French Quarter Noosa is rated well with 76% of people on TripAdvisor rating it as either excellent or very good.
- Rooms start at $359 per night for a 2-bedroom apartment for 2 adults and 2 children. Click here to check the current pricing or to make a booking.
- This luxury resort’s facilities include a lagoon style swimming pool, a children’s pool and 2 spa pools. Families can choose between 1, 2 or 3-bedroom apartments which are fully self-contained and have private balconies,
Fairshore Noosa Beachfront Apartments
- Located on the gorgeous Noosa Main Beach side of Hastings Street in the heart of Noosa’s shopping district.
- Fairshore Noosa is rated well with 71% of people on TripAdvisor rating it as either excellent or very good.
- Rooms start at $431 per night for a 2-bedroom apartment with an ocean view for 2 adults and 2 children. Click here to check the current pricing or to make a booking.
- This luxury resort’s facilities include a stunning swimming pool overlooking Noosa Main Beach, fitness centre, games room and spa. 2 -bedroom apartments include a fully self-contained kitchen and private balconies with ocean views.
Sandcastles Noosa Apartments
- Located on the gorgeous Noosa Main Beach side of Hastings Street in the heart of Noosa’s shopping district.
- Sandcastles Noosa Apartments are highly rated with 88% of people on TripAdvisor rating it as either excellent or very good.
- Rooms start at $360 per night for a 2-bedroom apartment for 2 adults and 2 children. Click here to check the current pricing or to make a booking.
- Facilities include a swimming pool, spa and BBQ area. 2 -bedroom apartments include a fully self-contained kitchen and private balcony.
Other Noosa Heads Accommodation
If you want to stay close to Hastings Street but not in the centre of it, then consider staying along Noosa Drive heading towards Noosa Junction. This is a hill though, so whilst it offers some fantastic views, it can be a pain walking back and forth to the beach up and down the hill (see below about Noosa buses). I quite like this area though as it is close to Noosa Junction. Noosa Junction is a great little shopping area (much quieter than Hastings Street) with some great little pubs, cafes, restaurants, supermarkets and shops. See below for some recommendation for other Noosa Heads accommodation.
Noosa Blue Resort
- Located on Noosa Drive, around a 11-minute walk from the entrance of Hastings Street and 7 minute walk to Noosa Junction.
- Noosa Blue Resort is highly rated with 82% of people on TripAdvisor rating it as either excellent or very good.
- Rooms start at $277 per night for 2 adults (rooms only sleep up to 3 people). Click here to check the current pricing or to make a booking.
- Facilities include 2 heated swimming pools, steam room, gym and cafe. Rooms include a kitchenette and laundry.
The Rise Noosa
- Located on Noosa Drive, around a 10-minute walk from the entrance of Hastings Street and 8-minute walk to Noosa Junction.
- The Rise Noosa is rated well with rated with 78% of people on TripAdvisor rating it as either excellent or very good.
- 2-bedroom apartments start at $320 per night for 2 adults and 2 children. Click here to check the current pricing or to make a booking.
- Facilities include an infinity-edge swimming pool and spa pool. Families can choose between 2 or 3-bedroom apartments which include a fully self-contained kitchen and private balcony.
If you are after super cheap accommodation there are 3 Noosa backpackers:
Noosa Backpackers Resort
- Located in Noosaville;
- Offers family rooms (up to 4 people) with private bathroom for $36 per person;
- Free bus to beach and town centre;
- Free surfboards, boogie boards and kayaks available;
- Swimming pool, onsite bar, café and restaurant; and
- 56% of people on TripAdvisor rate it as either excellent or very good.
Nomads Noosa Hostel
- Located in Noosa Heads;
- No family rooms, only shared dorms for 8, 10 or 16 people – from $32 per person;
- Swimming pool; BBQ area, café, laundry and restaurant; and
- 37% of people on TripAdvisor rate it as either excellent or very good.
- Located in Sunshine Beach;
- No family rooms, only private rooms for 2 guests or shared dorms for 4 or 6 people – from $38 per person including breakfast;
- Free surfboards and boogie boards;
- Swimming pool, free courtesy bus, BBQ area, café, laundry and restaurant and
- 93% of people on TripAdvisor rate it as either excellent or very good.
Noosa Holiday Rentals
You will also find some great Noosa holiday rentals on Airbnb across the entire Noosa region. If you are after a nice large gorgeous Noosa holiday house for the entire family, this may well just be your best option. There are also some great Noosa holiday apartments listed here at some of the best resorts in Noosa. If you haven’t yet used AirBNB – use this link to get $50 off your first booking. Click here for more warm holiday escapes in Australia.
Best Places to Eat in Noosa with Kids
No matter what your dining preferences are – cheap eats, cafes, fine dining, pubs or supermarkets to buy food and cater for yourself, there are plenty of options for places to eat in both Noosa and Noosaville.
If you have a self-contained apartment or even if you want to stock up on some cheap snacks and drinks for your hotel room, there are a couple of supermarkets at Noosa Junction and Noosaville. In Noosa Junction there is Coles on Lanyana Way and an IGA on Sunshine Beach Road. In Noosaville you will find a Woolworths on Gibson Road and an Aldi on Weyba Road.
Family Friendly Noosa and Noosaville Restaurants
There is no shortage of casual family friendly Noosa and Noosaville restaurants. Some of our favourite places for casual dining are below:
Zachary’s Gourmet Pizza Bar
Located both along Hastings Street Noosa and along Gympie Terrace in Noosaville, Zachary’s is one of our favourite places to eat in Noosa. These guys claim to make the best pizza on the Sunshine Coast and I must say I agree! Zachary’s have a huge range of traditional gourmet pizzas with over 30 pizzas to choose from.
I have tried a few in my many visits to Zachary’s, but I think my favourite so far would have to be the Sicilian, with gorgonzola cheese, olives, chorizo sausage and sun-dried tomatoes. Pizzas start at $16 for a small and $18 for a large. Other menu items include pastas, salads, breads, dip and a simple kids menu. There are only 3 items on the kids menu (fish and chips, pizza and spaghetti bolognaise) but all the kids favourites are there and for $12 it includes a drink too. They provide gluten free and vegetarian options as well.
Every time we have been to Zachary’s we have found the staff super friendly and the service is super-efficient as well. My favourite Zachary’s is at Noosaville. They have a lovely spot here with seating out on the sidewalk with great views across the Noosa River.
Zachary’s is open daily from 12 pm and I highly recommend a visit during your Noosa holidays. Click here to see their full menu.
Mr Jones & Me
Whilst there are several great Noosaville restaurants along Gympie Terrace, don’t forget to look down the side streets for great options. This is how we stumbled across Mr Jones & Me. Mr Jones & Me is located in a quiet part of Weyba Road not far from where it intersects with Gympie Terrace. You can choose to sit inside the stylish café or for more casual seating you can sit outside on the sidewalk.
The food at Mr Jones & Me is absolutely delicious! And if you love burgers you will love their gigantic burgers – which are big enough to satisfy the largest of appetites. Other menu items include salads, steak and much more. Meal prices range from $15 to $45. The kids will love the menu too with a variety of options on the kids menu. All kids meals are $15 and include a drink and ice cream.
Talking about ice cream, make sure you save some room for dessert. Now I am not a huge dessert person, but last time we visited Andy ordered dessert and let’s just say he was forced to share it with both Myla and I. We shared the deconstructed lemon cheesecake and it was so good!!!! Desserts start at $12.50.
Mr Jones & Me is open daily between 11 am and 10 pm Monday to Friday and 7.30 and 11 pm on weekends. Click here to check out their menu.
Getting to Noosa
Noosa is located in Queensland on the east coast of Australia; 2 hours north of Brisbane. It is part of the Queensland Sunshine Coast. Flights to Noosa arrive at either the Brisbane airport or the Sunshine Coast airport.
You can fly direct to Brisbane from various international destinations, or alternatively you can fly direct from most Australian capital cities. To reach Noosa from the airport you can either hire a car and drive or take a shuttle bus. Brisbane to Noosa in a shuttle bus is around $58 per adult (one way). There are discounted prices for families. Click here to check the prices or to make a booking. You can also get the shuttle from Noosa to Brisbane. You can take public transport also but it is rather expensive and very time consuming. It will cost around $40 to reach Noosa and take around 4 hours via 2 trains and a bus. Click here for more information on taking public transport to Noosa.
Sunshine Coast Airport
The closest airport to Noosa is the Sunshine Coast Airport. As far as I am aware you can only fly into the Sunshine Coast airport from the Australian cities of Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide as well as from Auckland in New Zealand. If you are coming from another city you will need to fly into Brisbane (see above). If you do manage to fly into the Sunshine Coast airport, the good news its only 35 minutes’ drive from Noosa. To reach Noosa from the airport you can either hire a car and drive, take public transport or take a shuttle bus. Prices for a shuttle bus starts at $30 per adult (one way). There are discounted prices for families. Click here to check the prices or to make a booking. A bus will take around 1 hour and costs around $6. Click here for more information on taking public transport to Noosa.
Getting Around Noosa
To explore all the wonderful Noosa attractions as well as the other tourist attractions on the Sunshine Coast I highly recommend you hire a car. This is the easiest way to get around when you visit Noosa. Having said that, with Noosa tourism booming, parking can be rather difficult, particularly during peak season. Even when we have our car with us we do often make use of public transport. Here is a quick overview of the various modes of getting around Noosa:
- Bus: The buses are pretty good in Noosa, with bus stops at all the main attractions and beaches. Find out more about the buses here.
- Noosa Ferry: The Noosa Ferry is a great way of getting anywhere along the Noosa River. There are 7 stops between the Noosa Marina at Tewantin and the Sofitel on Hastings Street. The ferry operates every 30 minutes between the hours of 9.15 am to 5.50 pm Monday to Saturday. There is a different timetable for Sundays. Find out more about the Noosa Ferry
- Walk: Any place you want to go will be between 5 to 40 minutes’ walk away – so you can easily walk to most places within Noosa. Just a word of warning that in the Summer months it can get super hot and pretty unbearable to walk long distances.
Special thanks to Jetty 17, Australia Zoo, Aussie World, the Ginger Factory, Mr Jones and Me and Zachery’s for hosting us during our recent trip to Noosa. Of course all views expressed within this post are entirely mine and not influenced in anyway.
Please note this post contains affiliate links, this means if you book accommodation via my links I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for supporting our website.
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