Budget Sunshine Coast holidays: 7 days with the family for less than $3000
Are you looking for a beach escape for the family without the blow-the-budget-and-life-savings price tag? Say hello to this guide to budget Sunshine Coast holidays; your family’s new best friend.
The Sunshine Coast is a beachcomber’s dream, home to 100km of sparkling coastline, dotted with stunning beaches, stylish villages and bustling coastal towns.
If you’re short on money but long on time, this 7-day guide to an affordable coastal escape is for you (oh, and your mini-me’s too).
AM: HOLIDAY MODE, ACTIVATE!
Pivot you and the fam from Sunshine Coast Airport to the doorstep of Habitat Noosa Everglades Eco Camp, a glamping haven located in the Great Sandy National Park, just a short 25-minute shuttle transfer from Noosa.
Your eyes will be instantly drawn to the green oasis, embellished with the Noosa River as the backdrop and the friendly locals (of the kangaroo kind) wandering through the grounds.
The facilities are inspired to camouflage with the natural environment so you’re sure to feel at one with the natural landscape (while enjoying all the things that will make you feel at home too). Oh and parents, Habitat Noosa produces their own speciality craft beer from the on-site micro-brewery. Not a bad place to spend a week, eh?
Cost*: Whether you’re a camper or a glamper, you can choose a great way to stay without breaking the budget. Unpowered sites are from $44 and powered from $50 per night, while glamping in the Wilderness Tent will set you back $132 per night.
AM: WATER YOU WAITING FOR?
Put down the tech devices! It’s time to disconnect to reconnect and explore the natural surrounds.
Lucky for you, Habitat Noosa Everglades Eco Camp is nestled away from the hustle and bustle of Main Beach, meaning you can explore your own slice of the Noosa River with few in sight.
The best way to enjoy this aquatic playground is by paddle so hire a SUP (aka stand-up paddleboard), kayak or canoe from the campgrounds.
Talk about starting the holiday off on the right foot, erhm, or should we say paddle?
Cost*: Depending on long the kids’ attention span lasts for, you can hire equipment on a daily or hourly rate. A kayak, canoe or SUP will set you back $50 (per day) or $20 (per hour).
PM: DECISIONS, DECISIONS
If relaxation and refuge are what you’re craving on your budget Sunshine Coast holiday, pop your feet up by the river with a paperback. There’s a well-stocked library of pre-loved and lost reads in the reception area of Habitat Noosa to borrow or swap.
Got energy to burn? Take the shuttle bus into Noosa Main Beach for the afternoon and bounce from beach to boutique leaving time for a bite to eat along the way.
Where are the locals at? They’re at the best kid’s park this side of the Caribbean – Noosa’s Pirate Park. Afterwards, stroll the river path to the iconic Noosa Boathouse restaurant where you can grab casual fish and chips from the unique eatery floating on the river. The kids will love the resident pelicans!
Cost*: Budget $50-$70 for noon to night activities in Noosa.
AM: UP AND AT ‘EM
After a sleep in (because, holidays right?), rally the troops and head back to Noosa to explore the Noosa National Park via Park Road’s brand-new widened boardwalk. Recently upgraded to include viewing platforms over Laguna Bay, resting stops for little legs and additional access points to the beach, the National Park is the ideal spot for your budget Sunshine Coast holiday.
For your how-to guide to the Noosa National Park head here.
Cost*: Put aside $40 for a breakfast from Broadwalk Bistro on Hastings Street before you conquer the National Park which is absolutely free.
PM: COOL OFF AND CHILL OUT
Take a dip at Little Cove (nestled at the beginning of the Noosa National Park) to cool off before jumping in the car for your next adventure: a scenic lunch.
Kids love a BBQ as much as anyone, but they’ll love it even more pontoon style! Pontoons are self-drive BBQ boats, including shady overhead canopy and comfy lounge seating all around. No boat licence required!
Check out O Boat Hire who can also assist with fishing gear and eskies.
Cost*: Make sure you have $150-$350 for this adventure to cover boat hire, food and equipment hire.
AM: HIT THE ROAD
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Now, this is the kind of traffic we can handle 😎 Get behind the wheel to #UnDiscoverAustralia on the #GreatBeachDrive, one of the many incredible self-drive experiences that you can have here in Australia. Cruise along this 200 kilometre wave-washed highway for yourself by hiring a four-wheel drive, or booking a private tour with @greatbeachdrive4wdtours. Pack your sunnies, camera, and sense of adventure – and you're good to go! Video: @greatbeachdrive4wdtours in @queensland
Some are born great, some achieve greatness but if you’re travelling along the Great Beach Drive, greatness is pretty much guaranteed.
Located on Australia’s Nature Coast, this is the Beyonce of all road trips and a triple-threat of beaches, national parks and World Heritage-listed areas.
From Noosa, jump in your rented 4WD and board the vehicle ferry to Noosa North Shore to access one of the most scenic highways in the world. We’re talking driving-along-the-beach, hair-blowing-in-the-wind as-you-breathe-in-the-salty-air kinda scenic.
Stop in for a picnic lunch at the coloured sands at Teewah then continue north to Inskip Point via Leisha Track (be sure to check tide times before proceeding any further) before making a U-turn and getting the ferry home.
Pro tip: don’t worry too much about time here; the ferry operates 365 days a year and runs approximately every ten minutes meaning you have time to dawdle.
Cost*: Allow $7 for the ferry, $55 to hire a 4WD from Alpha Car Hire Sunshine Coast and $50 for food – meaning you can experience this Sunshine Coast beauty for next to nothing!
WINE WIND DOWN
Once you’re back at Habitat Noosa, grab your drink of choice from the cootharaBAR and bistro. Sit on the deck and watch the fairy floss sky transition through a palette of orange, pinks and purples.
Grab a board game from reception and relax in the outdoor lounge area, overlooking the Noosa River. The soothing river breeze coupled with a fresh-made wood-fired pizza really hits the spot (and the price point for your budget Sunshine Coast holiday does too).
Cost*: $50-70 for dinner.
AM: HINTER WONDERLAND
With a name like the Sunshine Coast, it’s fair to say the coastline hogs most of the attention. But, it’s about time you and the crew discover the Sunshine Coast Hinterland overlooking the beach action below.
Ditch the sleep-in, jump in your hired 4WD and head south-west to Mapleton National Park. As the coast falls further into your rearview mirror, wind down the car windows and breathe in a big gulp of the fresh air. You’ll feel like you are a world away as you drive through the dense greenery with nothing but your family and good tunes. The drive takes under an hour so you can be sure that ‘are we there yet?’ is kept to a minimum.
Follow the hinterland drive through, take the Obi Obi Road and travel 3km further to the signposted turnoff to Mapleton Falls National Park. After you’ve been mesmerised by this hinterland hotspot, head down Obi Obi Road to the town where you can grab a feed at Elements at Montville in Montville. Not your flavour? Relish in the digital detox and visit Baroon Pocket Dam nearby for a picnic in Mother Nature’s backyard.
Cost*: $55 to hire a 4WD from Alpha Car Hire Sunshine Coast and $50 (approximately) for food.
PM: DO AS THE LOCALS DO
Pristine beaches and lush hinterland aren’t the only things the Sunshine Coast serves up. Try out their true main meal of top-notch bars, restaurants and eateries on offer.
On the way home, make a 30-minute detour to Mooloolaba and eat at one of the hottest spots in town and sample fresh seafood (we’re talking straight from the trawler) at Hamptons-style restaurant, Pier 33. If you’re looking for more tips on where to dine, try our locals guide to bars only locals know about.
Cost*: $50-70 for dinner.
AM: WHO’S WHO IN THE ZOO
We don’t mean to brag, but crikey, going to the Sunshine Coast without visiting Australia Zoo is like having a meat pie without tomato sauce – a missed opportunity.
Round up the crew and head to the zoo (which happens to be one the best in Australia) for a truly wild day.
Cost*: A family admission (2 adults, 2 children) costs $172 + $50 for food and other expenses.
AM: BEACH HOPPIN’
If you’re taking a budget Sunshine Coast holiday, then you can afford to be greedy every now and then.
With 100km of sparkling coastline, it’s only natural that you want to hop from one beach to the other.
The most popular family-friendly options are dotted along the coastline from Moffat and Kings Beach in Caloundra to Coolum and the Mooloolaba Spit with enough playgrounds, cafes and shallow inlets for kids to safely swim in.
Cost*: Sun, surf and sand don’t cost a thing but budget some money out for expenses, $55 for the rented 4WD and $50 for the morning.
PM: JUMP! FOR MY LOVE
Keep the bouncing going and bounce your way around at Big Boing trampoline park, climb the walls at Rockit Climbing Gym, roll your way around Caloundra Rollerdrome indoor skate, or tag it out at Laserzone.
They’re all open 7 days a week and the kids will love you for it. Bonus points!
If you’re looking for more fun activities, check out the best things to do with kids on the Sunshine Coast.
Cost*: $51 for a family pass.
AM: HIT THE MARK(ET)
Fix the “I’m hungry” cries with a visit to Eumundi Markets, one of the region’s best markets, featuring local, seasonal produce and handmade products open every Wednesday and Saturday.
Little ones will love the plant stall where they can pot their own herbs, while you grab yourself a well-deserved coffee.
Cost*: As much or as little as you’d like to spend at the markets + transport to and from. Don’t have your own wheels? Catch the 631 from Noosa and get delivered right to the door.
PM: FAREWELL, FRIEND
All good things come to end and so too has your budget Sunshine Coast holiday.
But, don’t fret! Wave goodbye to this tropical paradise knowing you’ll be back sooner rather than later with all the $$$ you’ve saved along the way.
Craving another budget Sunshine Coast escape? Check out these guides to help you plan your perfect next adventure:
- Things to do in Noosa with kids
- The best kid-friendly Sunshine Coast cafes and restaurants
- The best things to do at night on the Sunshine Coast
- 100 things to do on the Sunshine Coast
- Have kids of the furry kind? Check out these dog friendly beaches on the Sunshine Coast.
HAVE YOU BEEN TO THE SUNSHINE COAST? WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE BUDGET FRIENDLY HOLIDAY SPOTS?
*Actual costs are accurate at the time of publication. For up-to-date information, please contact the mentioned operators to quote directly as prices may increase due to factors not taken into consideration. Meals have been estimated for a family of 3 only.