Many ingredients make Noosa a famous tourist town that attracts waves of visitors every year. A place that is guaranteed to entertain everyone of all ages, find in this list the reasons why you need to visit Noosa with kids.
A destination that has drawn us back more than once because of the things to do in Noosa for families, this town is filled with natural beauty and coastal delights mixed with a laid-back atmosphere.
Only 2.5 hours north of the Gold Coast, Noosa, is the perfect holiday spot for those living in South East Queensland – close enough to travel in the car yet far enough to feel like a holiday.
Don’t expect to go to Noosa and have the place to yourself. I have created this guide if you don’t mind sharing with other travel-loving enthusiasts. You will find below a list of what to do in Noosa for kids, family accommodation in Noosa and kid-friendly places to eat.
As a bonus, and because Noosa is a fantastic hub for sightseeing further afield, I have included day trips from Noosa that you can add to your itinerary.
Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Visit disclaimer for more information.
Post was updated in July 2020
Featured Image: Little Cove Noosa National Park © Tourism and Events Queensland
- TOP THINGS TO DO IN NOOSA WITH KIDS
- 1. DISCOVER NOOSA NATIONAL PARK WITH KIDS
- 2. MAKE A SPLASH AT NOOSA HEADS MAIN BEACH
- 3. SURFS UP IN NOOSA
- 4. VISIT THE PICTURESQUE NOOSAVILLE
- 5. SHOP ALONG HASTINGS STREET
- 6. STROLL ALONG THE NOOSA BOARDWALK
- 7. CATCH A SUNSET FROM ATOP LAGUNA LOOKOUT
- 8. DISCOVER THE NOOSA EVERGLADES
- 9. SPEND THE DAY AT TEA TREE BAY
- 10. STOCK UP AT NOOSA FARMERS MARKETS
- 11. STRETCH YOUR LEGS BUSHWALKING
- 12. EXPLORE NOOSA BOTANICAL GARDENS
- GETTING TO NOOSA
- WHERE TO EAT IN NOOSA WITH KIDS
- WHERE TO STAY IN NOOSA WITH KIDS
- DAY TRIPS FROM NOOSA
TOP THINGS TO DO IN NOOSA WITH KIDS
1. DISCOVER NOOSA NATIONAL PARK WITH KIDS
Noosa’s true beauty can be found in many of the scenic walking trails in the National Park – one of the top things to do in Noosa Heads. There are 15 kilometres of walking tracks spread out through open woodlands and lush rainforest.
Suitable for all fitness levels, many of the popular walks start and end at the Noosa headland day-use area, which is only 30 minutes from the bustling Hastings Street.
The Noosa Coastal Walk is one of the favourite attractions in Noosa with the path winding its way along the picturesque coastline, where you’ll encounter secluded beaches and incredible views from several headland points.
The first section of the walk to Boiling Point is suitable for strollers, which means it one of the things to do in Noosa with toddlers. Beyond this point, the sealed path continues with some steeper gradients leading to Dolphin Point, where you may be lucky to see a pod of these incredible marine animals in the waves below.
The way out is the same track as the way in, and you can choose to turn around at any stage or complete the walk around to Alexandria Bay, which is 10.8 kilometres return. From Dolphin Point, the track is a mixture of gravel and sand with uneven surfaces.
Tip: The National Park is filled with an abundance of wildlife, so keep your eyes open as you may be lucky enough to spot a koala or a black cockatoo in the trees.
2. MAKE A SPLASH AT NOOSA HEADS MAIN BEACH
Main Beach at Noosa Heads draws crowds of visitors, and it is easy to see why it’s one of the top places to visit in Noosa when you are sitting on the soft white sand overlooking the crystal-clear waters.
Ideally located parallel to Hastings Street in a matter of minutes, you can swap boutique shopping along the esplanade for a pair of deck chairs under a beach shade.
There are many sandy stretches in Noosa for you to throw out a towel and leave your footprints in the sand – Noosa Heads Main beach is one for families. A fully patrolled beach with gentle waves it is ideal for those not confident with big surf conditions or visitors with younger kids.
3. SURFS UP IN NOOSA
With a national park as your view from the water, Noosa offers some of the best breaks and “hot spots” that are blessed with clear water and world-class breaks. Renowned for longboarding, Noosa holds an annual Noosa Festival of Surfing each March with 2020 being its 29th year running.
Noosa offers point breaks for all levels of experience. First Point is the popular location to visit for a longboard break. Located in front of Noosa Surf Life Saving tower, its consistent surf conditions draw many surfing enthusiasts.
Beginners can find idyllic sheltered waters at Little Cove, the next point around, and a short coastal walk stroll from the eastern end of Noosa Main Beach. For those who have mastered the skill of surfing further round the headland, you will come across Tea Tree Bay and Granite Bay, two of the local favourites rewarding you with some of the best swells and magnificent scenery.
If you want to experience surfing in Noosa and known the thrill of standing on a board and gliding over the waves, make a booking for a surfing lesson.
4. VISIT THE PICTURESQUE NOOSAVILLE
For a change of scenery or if you are on the hunt for playgrounds in Noosa, you’ll often find many families are drawn to popular Noosaville. Referred to as Noosa Heads’ little sister, you’ll find this riverside community on a 5-minute drive from Noosa Heads.
The grassy foreshore is the perfect place to relax with plenty of shady trees and picnic benches available or throw down a picnic blanket while you watch the sun fade away over the serene Noosa River.
To burn off some energy, take a bike, or scooter and cruise alongside the foreshore. On those warm Queensland days, the calm river waters are perfect for a refreshing dip or try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding.
When the hunger pangs kick in, make use of the free BBQs that are dotted along the foreshore, or our preference is to grab some fish and chips from the nearby cafes.
Some will say you have not entirely experienced Noosa until you’ve been out on the water. There are many ways to make this happen, including daytime cruises when the Noosa River comes to life, watching the sun fade away on a sunset cruise, and discovering Australia’s unique everglades system.
5. SHOP ALONG HASTINGS STREET
Hastings Street is the beating heart of Noosa Heads with various dining outlets, a range of fashion labels, art galleries, and accommodation. You’ll find everything you need in this one location, which is why it shouldn’t be overlooked on your Noosa holidays with kids.
From casual eateries to fine dining restaurants, International to Australian cuisine, Noosa can satisfy any cravings. Grab a coffee in the morning from the eclectic cafes and return in the evening to watch the fairy-lit street come to life.
You won’t find many places where the main street is only a hop-skip and jump from beautiful beaches and national parks, which evidently adds to its charm and why it’s always a flurry of activity.
6. STROLL ALONG THE NOOSA BOARDWALK
At the end of the bustling beachside strip, find the upgraded Park Road boardwalk. One of the most popular walks in Noosa for kids, the architecturally designed Noosa boardwalk path, incorporates the natural landscape and has been created with timber and stone.
Salty mist lingers in the air as visitors enjoy picturesque ocean views from five viewing areas along the track that connects Little Cove and the entrance to Noosa National Park.
The 480-metre all-abilities boardwalk in one of the best ways to reach some of the popular beach spots or explore the national park, and no matter how many times you may have visited Noosa, you will never tire of the magnificent views along this walk.
7. CATCH A SUNSET FROM ATOP LAGUNA LOOKOUT
Pack your camera on your trip up Noosa Hill to Laguna Lookout. For panoramic views across Noosa that extend out to the Glasshouse Mountains in the distance, Laguna Lookout is the perfect place to witness Noosa from an entirely different perspective.
Amid towering eucalypt trees access Laguna Lookout at the end of Viewland Drive in Noosa Heads, less than a 5-minute drive from Hastings Street. Between June and November, cast your eyes over the ocean as you may spot migrating humpback whales, and watch for kookaburras, and koalas hugging the trees above.
The lookout is particularly popular at sunset, so if you don’t mind sharing, you can witness the colours transforming the sky and creating something special.
8. DISCOVER THE NOOSA EVERGLADES
What is an Everglade I hear you asking, and why is it unique? The definition of an Everglade is a tract of low, wetland characterised by tall grass and branching waterways. What makes the area unique is that there are only two Everglade systems in the world, one being in Noosa and the other in Florida.
Hidden in the Great Sandy National Park, the Noosa Everglades are often referred to as the “river of mirrors” due to the incredible flora reflections that can be seen on the water.
There are several ways to explore the stunning ecosystem from boat tours and walking tracks, which give visitors an opportunity to witness the areas tranquility and natural beauty.
For an up-close experience to this diverse ecosystem that is home to over 40% of the country’s bird species, choose a guided or self-guided kayak tour where you can glide effortlessly through the mirrored waterways appreciating one of Australias’s most pristine natural wonders.
9. SPEND THE DAY AT TEA TREE BAY
If you are travelling with young children, a more accessible alternative to the Insta-famous Fairy Pools is Tea Tree Bay. A 20-minute walk from Laguna Bay in Noosa National Park and surrounded by shady pandanus trees, the popular surfing spot is the ideal place to appreciate Noosa’s magnificent seascape.
As the area is unpatrolled, it is not advised to go swimming, but there is still plenty of fun to be had and a fantastic natural playground for the kids. The basalt rocks close to the water edge have been eroded over time to create natural pools, which are great to explore during low tide, as they are home to countless marine life from crabs, sea anemones, and shells.
Pack a picnic lunch, throw down a rug, and enjoy the tranquillity of the area.
10. STOCK UP AT NOOSA FARMERS MARKETS
Suppose you are visiting Noosa on a Sunday, start the day with a trip to the Noosa Farmers Markets. One of the best places around the area to stock up on local seasonal produce. This market has everything from fresh fruit, marinades and sauces, vegetables, herbs, loaves of bread, cheeses, seafood, and lots more.
Typically, you shouldn’t shop on an empty stomach, but at the Noosa Farmers Markets, it is recommended not to eat beforehand, as the superb range will be difficult to resist.
The markets are open every Sunday from 6 am – 12 pm at 155 Weyba Rd, Noosaville
11. STRETCH YOUR LEGS BUSHWALKING
If you are new to bushwalking, a trek to Mount Tinbeerwah is the perfect place to start clocking up some hiking experience. This walk offers the luxury of minimal huff and puff with a reward of spectacular views.
A short 15-minute drive by car from Noosa, this area is a brilliant place for outdoor enthusiasts as it has an array of activities from hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, and rock climbing. For hikers, Mount Tinbeerwah is relatively easy to climb and very close to the summit being only a 1 km return hike.
Access to the first lookout point over Noosa and Laguna Bay is a 150-metre (one-way) climb up a paved path that is wheelchair and stroller friendly. Beyond this point, the track is for those more adventurous and climbs a further 300 metres over a rhyolite rock surface to reach the summit that offers 360-degree views over the Sunshine Coast.
12. EXPLORE NOOSA BOTANICAL GARDENS
A 30-minute drive to the hinterland town of Cooroy is the Noosa Botanical Gardens situated on the edge of striking Lake MacDonald. Originally farmland, the gardens were officially opened in 1990 to the public and is home to exotic plant species, tropical plants, a lily pond, and natural elements for kids encouraging imaginative play.
Over eight hectares, visitors can walk around meandering paths and past beautiful garden displays. When it’s time to stop for lunch, there are many picnic seats and gazebos strategically placed around the gardens to offer stunning views across Lake MacDonald.
A Greek-style amphitheater is a unique feature inside the gardens and is home to many events held throughout the year. Entry to the gardens is free.
GETTING TO NOOSA
Noosa is located on the Sunshine Coast approximately 1 ½ hour drive north of Brisbane. There are many ways to explore Noosa from a car to a boat or using public transport. If you choose accommodation near Hastings Street, you may find you don’t require a car unless you want to explore the Sunshine Coast Hinterland regions or take one of the day trips mentioned below.
WHERE TO EAT IN NOOSA WITH KIDS
Noosa’s food scene boasts some of the best restaurants and cafes on the Sunshine Coast, and if you would prefer someone to do the cooking for you on your holidays, then you have stopped at the right place.
Some of the kid friendly restaurants in Noosa are:
Betty’s Burgers and Concrete Co | When you are searching for a quick, tasty bite without the fuss, then a good old burger joint will cover all those bases. Betty’s Burgers is located along Hastings Street, with alfresco dining perfectly suited to the balmy Sunshine Coast weather.
ESCO | Casual dining on the Noosa foreshore, ESCO in Noosaville, is open for breakfast and lunch. Nominated by some of the locals to be one of the best breakfasts in town, you’ll need to try it for yourself to find out.
Noosa Surf Club | With views overlooking Noosa Main Beach, the Noosa Surf Club is a popular venue for visitors. Open daily for lunch and dinner; this beachfront dining venue offers a huge a la carte menu along with a kids menu.
Noosa Boathouse | The Noosa Boathouse has received many accolades from visitors, including a “must-do” dining experience, and spectacular sunset views. Situated on the Noosa River in Noosaville, the waterfront dining hub is open for lunch and dinner serving fresh seafood and Australian cuisine.
WHERE TO STAY IN NOOSA WITH KIDS
Noosa has a stellar line up of hotels, resorts and holiday apartments perfectly suited to accommodate a family.
Noosa is separated into different suburbs, and it can be a common question of “where is the best area to stay in at Noosa”?
There are many accommodation options for all budgets, but if you are searching for a place to stay in the thick of the action, then you can’t look past beachfront in Noosa Heads. It is recommended to book early as accommodation along Hastings Street tends to book out particularly in peak times.
For something a little quieter, but only a short drive away, Noosaville also has a vast range of family-friendly accommodation, and tends to be less expensive than Noosa Heads.
Below are some of the best Noosa accommodation for families for travelling with kids to Noosa Heads.
Click on the resort names below to find rates and availability.
Peppers Noosa Resort and Villas | The 5-star resort and villas offer luxury accommodation located in prime position next to Noosa National Park. The apartments can accommodate larger families and have a fully equipped kitchen, lounge room area, and laundry facilities.
RACV Noosa Resort | One of the firm favourites in Noosa is the 5-star RACV Noosa Resort. Located only 3 minutes’ drive from Hastings Street, the resort boasts a wide range of facilities, and the self-contained apartments are perfect for families.
Read More: A Full Review of RACV Noosa Resort
Mantra French Quarter Noosa | The 4-star self-contained apartment has been rated highly by families as it is within walking distance of all the main attractions in Noosa, and has all the facilities needed to make a great vacation.
The Sebel | Located in the heart of Hastings Street, the 4 ½ star apartment-style accommodation is only 100 metres from Noosa Beach.
DAY TRIPS FROM NOOSA
The Sunshine Coast is packed full of family-friendly activities and sights, and if you have more time, use Noosa as the hub for some of the below things to do near Noosa:
1. SEA LIFE SUNSHINE COAST AQUARIUM
Distance – 38 minutes Explore the underwater world, waddle your way into the Blue Penguins zone, and get hands-on with marine animals such as sea stars, and sea cucumbers. There is an array of marine residents to see, fascinating facts to learn, and interactive presentations that the whole family will enjoy. On a rainy day, SEA LIFE is a brilliant wet weather option. Avoid the lines and buy your tickets for SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast here.
2. AUSTRALIA ZOO
Distance – 55 minutes
Australia Zoo is located south of Noosa off Steve Irwin Way and guarantees a crikey fun time. The zoo is far more extensive than I imagined, so make sure you have a full day to become well acquainted with all the feathered, furry, and scaly animals that call Australia Zoo home. Buy your tickets for Australia Zoo here.
3. THE GINGER FACTORY
Distance – 28 minutes
Food mixed with fun, the Ginger Factory is an iconic tourist attraction in Yandina on the Sunshine Coast. Admission is free to allow visitors to wander the sub-tropical gardens, or relax in the café while the kids play on the enclosed playground. If it’s your first time to the Ginger Factory, opt for the full-experience where you can go on a factory tour, ride the train, see a live bee presentation, and take an indoor boat ride to find the Gingerbread Man. Buy tickets and bundles here.
Related: Read our Full Ginger Factory Review
4. BEACH FOUR-WHEEL DRIVING
Distance – 13 minutes to Tewantin
At Tewantin, take the short 5-minute journey across the Noosa River via a car ferry to Noosa North Shore. A popular place for four-wheel driving, camping, fishing, and beach horse-riding with more than 80 kilometres of open beaches and a national park backdrop.
Noosa North Shore is the gateway to the Great Beach Drive, the 50-kilometre drive along Teewah Beach from Noosa North Shore to Rainbow Beach. From here continue to Double Island Point and then to the largest sand island in the world – Fraser Island.
Tip: Before commencing on the beach drive, you’ll need permits for the Cooloola Recreation Area.
5. AUSSIE WORLD
Distance – 44 minutes
Aussie World is the Sunshine Coast’s favourite theme park for all age groups. With over 30 rides and attractions, Aussie World is full of thrills for those brave enough with water rides, a horror maze, and extreme adrenaline rides. The little kids are not forgotten with excitement around every corner from roller coasters, giant slides, and the old favourite carousels. Avoid the queue and purchase your tickets here.
6. EUMUNDI MARKETS
Distance – 21 minutes
If you only have time to visit one market on the Sunshine Coast, the Eumundi Markets are a local institution and “must do” if you are in the area on a Wednesday and Sunday. With over 500 stalls, you can buy everything from local produce to hand-made keepsakes.
Tell me in the comments below, what is going to be on your Noosa itinerary?
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