Budget Sunshine Coast holiday: 6 days with the family
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 6-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?
Whether you’re a camper or a glamper, you can choose a great way to stay without breaking the budget. Unpowered sites are from $33 and powered from $44 per night, while glamping in the Wilderness Tent will set you back $150 per night.
PM: COOL OFF AND CHILL OUT
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.
Take a dip at Little Cove (nestled at the beginning of the Noosa National Park) to cool off before heading back to Hastings Street for dinner.
AM: HIT THE ROAD
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 a hire 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 heading back via the same route or the sealed inland road.
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.
If hiring a 4WD sounds too daunting, jump in with Great Beach Drive 4WD Tours who run trips daily.
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).
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 a hire car 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.
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 grab a family-sized serving of fish and chips to eat on the beach. Or for a slightly fancier option, head to Pier 33 for fresh seafood and excellent views.
If you’re looking for more tips on where to dine, try our locals guide to bars only locals know about.
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.
PM: LET’S GO PICKIN’
A short 20-minute drive from Australia Zoo is the Strawberry Fields at Palmview – a magical place where you can pick your own berries right from the patch.
Keep your eyes peeled for the biggest and reddest strawberries.
Entry is free and you pay for what you pick.
After working up a sweat in the field, indulge in a handmade strawberry ice-cream at the onsite cafe.
Picking season normally runs from June to October each year. Call ahead to check before visiting.
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.
Sun, surf and sand don’t cost a thing.
PM: AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE
After spending the morning playing in the ocean, take some time out in the afternoon to visit a favourite Sunshine Coast spot.
Aussie World is a family-friendly theme park that is packed full of slides, coasters and other attractions suitable for kids (and adults) of all ages.
Make sure you give ‘the redback’ a whirl which is often voted as Aussie World’s most thrilling ride.
If you’re looking for more fun activities, check out the best things to do with kids on the Sunshine Coast.
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.
Pro tip: Dutch poffertjes. Enough said.
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.