What to do in Noosa with kids!
With long, balmy days, spectacular blue skies, and warm waters that barely require a wetsuit in the depths of winter, where better to spend your kid-friendly holidays at any time of year, than Noosa?
So pack your bags and head to Noosa for a mini-break, complete with kid-friendly activities. Enjoy!
1. Wake up early
If the littlest members of your family like to wake up with the sun, you’re in the right place. This time of day in Noosa is bustling with activity and life, and most importantly, cafes are open for coffee. Roll out of your accommodation and grab coffee and pastries at a nearby coffee cart like Tanglewood Bakery or Aromas (many Noosa cafes offer incentives for using your own reusable coffee cup - check here for Plastic Free Noosa cafes) and head for an early morning play and picnic on the beach - where little voices will disturb nobody but the birds. Fossick in the rock pools at First Point, and on low tide, you can walk through the shallows around the headland to Little Cove or even all the way to the National Park Headquarters. To really tire out active kids, hire a stand-up paddle or surfboard from Noosa Beach Surf Hire, located near the Noosa Surf Club.
2. Take a Ferry Ride
The Noosa Ferry is a quaint tug-style ferry that never fails to delight little people. It serves as a means of transport as well as a sightseeing opportunity along the Noosa River, from Hastings Street to its turnaround point at the Noosa Marina in Tewantin. Hop off at the Marina after your first leg and head to Noosa Harbour Fish Market, for takeaway fish and chips, which you can eat at the neighbouring pier. Kids then have the choice of scooting or skateboarding at the skate park, or younger kids will want to head straight to the fenced splash park, where they can run wild under the shaded water fountains, while you relax on the grass.
3. Discover the Noosa Villages
Just a ten-minute drive south of Noosa, Peregian Beach is a playground for families and young children. Relax in one of the kid-friendly establishments that line the village square, like Pitchfork Restaurant, while your littlest family members run free through the green space of the square, then grab a gelato and head for the nearby Peregian Park, where kids can roam the playground, climb trees in the parklands, and up their skills on the skate bowl until their little hearts are content. Look out for regular events like Peregian Village Vibes, with live music and kids’ entertainment, and Village Flicks, a family-friendly outdoor cinema under the stars. Or head to Noosaville and throw down a picnic rug on the grassy space outside the Noosa Boathouse, where live music on Friday nights draws a crowd of young families digging into takeaway fish and chips and playing on the sand. If you’re after a curated experience, Joel’s Journeys offers a range of bespoke transfers and tours with families in mind, to any of the Noos Villages, or further south to some of the region's larger family-friendly attractions.
4. Get Arty
Noosa Regional Gallery hosts an excellent kids’ program, filled with sculpture, painting, and Lego workshops for various ages (bookings required), that happen during term-time and with special school holiday sessions. There's also a monthly Art Play Sunday, where kids can explore their creativity in the inspiring gallery surroundings. Once your messy play quota has been filled, wander the riverside trail to the nearby Tewantin Memorial Park, which boasts a fabulous outdoor playground complete with downhill embankment slides. Before the sun gets too low, make your way back to the Marina and hop back on board the Ferry, for a sunset cruise the length of the Noosa River back to Hastings Street (you can even BYO drinks and snacks.) Or head to Noosa Junction for a unique experience at Frida’s Sip ‘n Paint, where you can bring your little ones along for an artist-led, family-friendly painting session to unleash your inner creativity.
5. Get back to nature
There’s no better place for little nature lovers than the spectacular Noosa National Park. The trails are dotted with walkers, runners and surfers heading for the coves in the mornings and become filled with beachgoers and serious hikers as the day unfolds. Walk the boardwalk from Main Beach all the way the National Park Headquarters, where kids can soak up some local history. A read of the timber information boards will enlighten little minds on local wildlife and indigenous history, and they can even sit in a Kabi Kabi yarning circle. There is a small café for emergency supplies and milkshakes, and a public toilet block close by. As you head into the trails, hug the rocky slopes of the coastal track, and look for whales and dolphins from the Boiling Pot Lookout, before dropping down to your destination- Tea Tree Bay. With a wide stretch of sand, fairy pools for fossicking, shaded spots under the giant Tea Trees, and a beloved little break that draws surfers from far and wide, this stunning natural cove is hard to beat. If little legs are able to go further, there is also good dolphin and turtle spotting from the lookouts at Granite Bay and Hell’s Gates. The sealed pathway ends at Granite Bay- so pram access beyond this point gets difficult.
6. Visit a UNESCO site
K’gari (Fraser Island) is a true natural wonder and it sits within reach of Noosa. A UNESCO-protected site, it is the largest natural sand island in the world, with long stretches of open beach driving, fresh-water creeks for swimming, vast swathes of tall rainforest growing on sand and spectacular freshwater dune lakes to be found inland; and it can all be explored from your Noosa base with local tour company K’gari Explorer Tours. There is a one-day tour on offer, but if you have time to spare, they also offer longer tours of between two and five days, which give you a true insight into the depth of wilderness experiences on offer - there really is no limit to how much there is to see on this incredible island. Bucket-list worthy in every way, this is an adventure opportunity not to be missed while on holiday in Noosa.
7. Explore the Noosa Everglades
Did you know, Noosa is home to one of only two everglade systems in the world? This little-known jewel is just a hop from Noosa Heads and as one of Australia’s most diverse eco-systems, boasts over 40 per cent of the country’s bird species. It is also the only everglades system in which you can safely swim (without threat of alligators!) Known as the River of Mirrors, this is a true wilderness experience, and can be explored by kayak or boat. Local sustainable tour company, Kanu Kapers, offers guided and self-guided kayak tours of the everglades, with kayaks that are suitable for small children.
8. Head for the Hinterland Adventure Playground
Little people (and their parents) will delight in this incredible nature-based play space. The Hinterland Adventure Playground is a brand-new, sprawling park and playground space in the main street of Cooroy, with climbing structures, giant twisty slides, an epic flying fox, a variety of swings, and a winding maze of shallow splash pools, as well as green spaces and barbecue areas to settle in for an hour or a day. In short, this place is a real winner for the whole family! Worthy of a half or even full-day trip, there's plenty to explore in Cooroy, including the nearby Cooroy Library, and the Butter Factory Arts Centre, which hosts a range of local art exhibitions, workshops, and classes for budding artists.
9. Spend a day on the Noosa River Foreshore
Although you’ll probably never really tire of Noosa’s stunning, kid-friendly beaches, the Noosa River Foreshore offers equally stunning scenery and perfect swimming conditions for kids. With long stretches of flat, paved pathways, it’s an ideal place for a stroll, bike ride, or scoot, while the still river waters make for perfect calm swimming conditions for younger kids. Or head straight for the Pirate Park, with its maze of slides, climbing frames, and flying foxes. Choose from one of the many water-sport hire spots, and spend the afternoon on the water kayaking, stand-up paddling, or exploring the Noosa River on a bbq pontoon boat (no boat licence required). Never heard of a Nauticycle? A truly eco-friendly way to experience the Noosa River, these pedal-powered mini-boats are available for hire from Eco Noosa River Adventures and can transport an adult plus a couple of kids. If pedaling sounds like more hard work than you’re up for on your holiday, Eco Noosa also hire stylish eco picnic boats, stand-up paddles, and kayaks.
10. Take a trip to the country
Further afield, the working strawberry farm at Cooloola Berries allows visitors to pick their own berries through the winter months and has an excellent on-site café serving kid-friendly fare like pancake stacks and strawberry sundaes, with ploughman’s plates and strawberry cider for the adults. Or head west to the sleepy town of Pomona to the local favourite, Pomona Distilling Co, where you can book a table in the outdoor arbour or throw down a picnic rug on the grass to enjoy the live music while the kids play, and you sample the small-batch spirits produced on site. In the nearby town of Cooroy, the Noosa Botanic Gardens bestow the beautiful sight of flowering bougainvillea and pretty water views. With native species to discover and winding walking and bike paths to explore, this green space on the edge of Lake MacDonald is the ideal weekend adventure and picnic spot. Look out for regular events and live performances in the picturesque amphitheatre.
Hunt down some kid-friendly eats
Hastings Street now boasts several handy take-away and kid-friendly casual eats. It’s hard to beat the iconic Noosa Surf Club - a family-friendly institution overlooking Main Beach that is perfect at any time of the day or night. Don’t miss a visit to Betty’s Burgers & Concrete Co, a friendly pop-in and-out style place that is bustling with families eating in and grabbing takeout to eat on the beach. Take a wander over the hill to locals-favourite Noosa Junction, a revamped little neighbourhood now bursting with an interesting restaurant and bar scene. Here, you can find family-friendly options like Bombetta, with authentic fuss-free Italian, or next door, Someday’s Pizza is one of the best pizza spots in Noosa, with wood-fired sourdough pizza that you’ll need to try more than once during your visit. In the eastern beaches, try the Sunshine Beach Surf Club, or the Peregian Beach Hotel for relaxed family-friendly eats.
Where to stay with kids
Home to an array of family-friendly stay options, we’re here to help narrow down your Noosa accommodation choices! RACV Noosa Resort is a family haven in central Noosa with spacious villa-style rooms, a giant lagoon swimming pool with a maze of twisty water slides and colourful splash park, and a little shuttle bus to transport you around town. The on-site wood-fired pizza restaurant will please even the pickiest eaters and the kids club takes little guests (between 4 -14 years) during the adult-pleasing hours of 4:30 – 8:30pm during school holidays (hello kid-free dinners). Ivory Palms Resort is a budget-friendly option close to the foreshore in Noosaville. Designed with families in mind, it’s hard to beat this spot; with tennis courts, three different swimming pools, outdoor BBQ areas, a games room, and a giant jumping pillow- your kids will hardly want to leave. Check here for more stay options.
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