This Sunshine Coast holiday favourite is known for its picturesque coastline, sophisticated dining and chic shopping but it’s also brimming with kid-friendly activities.
Here we’ve rounded up the best ways to keep your kids entertained in Noosa.
1. Learn to surf
Boasting 300 days of sunshine a year, it’s likely you’ll spend most of your Noosa holiday by the beach. Noosa’s Main Beach, which is a hop, skip and jump from bustling Hastings Street, is not just popular for its white sand and cerulean water, it’s also super safe for families.
Patrolled year-round, it is safe for swimming with moderate waves and is a great spot to learn to surf. Book a lesson with Merrick’s Learn to Surf or – if your kids are really keen – they also offer five-day school holiday surfing programs.
2. Ride a horse along the beach
Swap your surfboard for a steed. Meander along Noosa’s stunning coastline on horseback with Equathon Horse Riding Adventures, which offers private tours for groups and families (aged seven years and older) along Teewah Beach, on Noosa’s North Shore.
If you’re a more experienced rider (aged 10 and above), Rainbow Beach Horse Rides run a bareback ocean ride, where you can ride your horse into the sparkling waters of Rainbow Beach.
3. Visit the Ginger Factory
You don’t have to be a fan of ginger to enjoy The Ginger Factory, located just 30 minutes south-west of Noosa at Yandina. Surrounded by subtropical gardens, The Ginger Factory is a great day out for the family, with a sprawling nine-hectare property to explore.
Ride a 100-year-old sugar cane train, enjoy a boat ride with music and puppetry, browse the boutiques in the heritage-style village, let the kids run wild in the outdoor playground, take a factory tour, and – of course – taste Buderim Ginger products (ginger beer, gingerbread, chocolate, honey and more…).
4. Explore Noosa by bike
Ditch the car and get around this scenic region on two wheels. There are a number of easy cycle paths for families to ride, but the best ones include the flat 6.5-kilometre ride from Noosa Marina to Hastings Street, which passes the Pirate Playground, cafes and Main Beach; a 11.5-kilometre track along the coast from Noosa Junction to Peregian Beach; the 2.5-kilometre loop around the Noosa River; and a six-kilometre path from Weyba Creek to Noosa Farmers Market and Mangrove Boardwalk. Bike On offers hire for $30 a day for adults and $20 for kids, with baby seats and chariots also available.
5. Spend the day at Australia Zoo
It would be remiss not to mention Australia’s most famous zoo on this list! Located less than an hour south of Noosa, Australia Zoo has been operating since the 1990s and is home to more than a thousand native and exotic animals.
Watch saltwater crocs strike in the Crocoseum, wrap a Burmese python around your shoulders, feed kangaroos that roam the grass areas and view exotic animals such as the red panda, meerkats and giraffe. Kids from four years of age can also partake in the Zookeeper for a Day program, which involves helping zookeepers feed animals, clean enclosures and get up close to the animals.
6. Kayak through the Noosa Everglades
Noosa’s Everglades is one of just two everglades in the world and boasts a staggering 1365 species of plant and more than 44 per cent of Australia’s birdlife. Explore this natural wonder with award-winning company Kanu Kapers, which runs self-guided and guided kayak tours through this fascinating ecosystem. The half-day tour is perfect for young kids, who will love spotting the wildlife and, if the wind is in the right direction, the return sail across Lake Cootharaba.
7. Hike through the national park
Home to Noosa Headland, soaring eucalypt forest, pockets of rainforest, quiet beaches and a walk that captures incredible views of the coast, Noosa National Park is a great place to spend an early morning or late afternoon with the kids.
There is five walking tracks, from an easy one-kilometre trail through palm groves to an epic 10.8-kilometre coastal track that rewards you with panoramic views (you can do just part of this if you have small kids). Spot a variety of wildflowers and keep an eye out for kookaburras, koalas and lace monitors. Between June and November you may spot humpbacks cruising along the coast, while dolphins and turtles are occasionally spotted at Dolphins Point and Hell’s Gates.
8. Paddle, fly and cycle on the Noosa River
Noosa River is prime turf for aquatic adventures. Noosa Stand Up Paddle offers stand-up paddle board lessons and hire, as well as the more unique Fliteboard experience, which is an electric surfboard–snowboard hybrid that gives the sensation of flying over water. They also have nautical water bikes, which are easy and fun to use. The river is home to a number of birdlife, including pelicans, white-bellied sea eagles and great egret.
9. Board a classic river boat
If you prefer to take a more relaxed route, this is a great alternative to explore the highlights along Noosa River. Cruising between Hastings Street and Noosa Marina, the Noosa Ferry offers a scenic cruise with seven stops.
An all-day pass for families is just $60, which allows you to hop on and off as much as you like. There is also a sunset cruise, which is BYO, and an eco cruise that runs for two hours and includes a guided walk to discover local flora and fauna.
10. Ride the Noosa Wave
Kids love wildlife and speed, so why not combine them together. Spot the abundant marine life that call Noosa home, including dolphins, turtles and manta rays, on a thrilling zero-gravity ocean ride with Noosa Wave Boating Adventures. Kids from five years can join this 1.5-hour tour, which has you gliding over the waves without any hard bumps. It’s the fastest (and safest) adventure boat.
11. Tackle the world’s largest aqua fun park
Just over half-hour south of Noosa, the Blast Aqua Fun Park in Coolum claims to be the world’s largest aqua fun park and is sure to tire even the most energetic of kids. The inflatable obstacle course comprises slides, trampolines, swings, wobble pads and more to slip and slide along.
There are free barbecue areas so you can bring your lunch for the day or there’s a café to grab food. All day passes are $55, or a single 50-minute session is $20.
12. Noosa Tenpin and Laser Tag
On the odd chance you experience a rainy day in Noosa, or if the kids have had enough sun, sand and sea, head to Noosa Tenpin at Noosaville. Enjoy a good ol’ game of ten pin bowling, chase each other down in the laser tag arena or belt out some tunes with karaoke.