I know I am not alone when I say that if you live in Australia there is a fair chance you love a beach holiday. Generations of families have been loading the station wagon high with bikes, scooters, beach umbrellas, boogie boards & of course the kids, since the beginning of time. With such a plethora of stunning spots to sun oneself we are spoilt for choice here in Australia. My family have been enjoying Queensland’s Sunshine Coast since the kids were tiny babies, now as they are well into the teen years, our holidays have somewhat evolved & changed. However, when it comes to this family pilgrimage each summer, despite there being a whole universe to explore out there, we just can’t drag ourselves away. So what is it about this section of Queensland coastline that is such a winning formula for us & every other sun loving family. The list of repeat offenders is as long as your arm when talking about those that make the Sunshine Coast a family holiday tradition every year. Whether it be Caloundra, Bribie Island, Coolum, Noosa, Mooloolaba, Maroochydore or one of the many other lesser-known but equally perfect coastal townships, you really can’t put a wet & sandy foot wrong.

Our family preference has been Caloundra for quiet a long time now, but I do remember starting that Sunshine Coast love affair back at the tender age of 13 in Noosa. As moody teen girls go, I was probably up there with some of the greats & probably caused my long suffering folks no end of drama when it came to being dragged on family holidays. I am sure this holiday began with the same hormone-fueled-resistance that most family holidays probably began during my teen years. However, once I found myself in the uber-cool Hastings Street, in downtown Noosa, I knew I had found where my not-so-sophisticated teen self wanted to be. I may not have been cashed up at that point, after all I think I was being paid $5 an hour as a checkout chick at my local Coles, but despite my lack of funds & probably style, I wanted to be part of this upmarket, beachy scene.

Fast forward to meeting my gorgeous husband many years later, we had our first holiday together at the surfing mecca of Mooloolaba, just a short trip down the coast from Noosa. We still have a photo of us sitting on the beach front at the local landmark ‘Loo with a view’ hanging on our wall, reminding us of a place we would rather be when we are working our butts off to pay the bills. Once our youngest was old enough for us to load up the then tiny hatchback we called a family car, with cots, prams, change tables, spare EVERYTHING & the kitchen sink, we were off up the coast & across state boarder’s to Noosa once more.

One of the best things about staying in a place like this is the variety of accommodation options for all budgets & styles of travellers. While once I thought of my cool teenage self sipping a latte, shopping till I dropped & being seen at the latest place to be seen in Noosa, my mummy self was slightly less enthused about lugging 2 kids, a pram & the kitchen sink into stylish resort-wear boutiques. I did manage to escape all the madness for a peaceful shop wander at some point but the best part of the Sunshine coast is all the outdoor options for families & so many gorgeous, sunny, agreeable days in which to get amongst it. A family break in these parts can cost you as much or as little as you want. The free activities, walks, awesome parks & swimming spots are endless. In fact one of the nicest things about this style of holiday is that you can pretty much park the car when you arrive & not need to get back into it until sadly it’s time to head home.

Our January family trip to Caloundra has been a tradition that we just can’t & don’t want to break for about the last decade. This large coastal community just an hour from Brisbane has it all. Wedged between the river & the ocean & perched on a headland this place is family paradise. Again the car need not move for your entire stay, the paths & walkways are aplenty. For those into waves, you will love Kings Beach, with its patrolled surf, rock pools to explore with the kids & free tidal pool at the Met’s surf club you can spend forever here. There is a little waterpark for the kids to play in, several awesome playgrounds, an amphitheatre, BBQ’s & the bungie trampolines are also set up in this area. There is a variety of cafes & you can’t go past a cold drink on a hot summer’s day at the surf club while you watch the massive container ships glide past. Another great spot for families is the Bulcock Beach & Happy Valley area, just around the headland from kings Beach, towards the town centre. When my kids were smaller we would spend hours here wading in the shallow water at the Northern tip of Bribie Island known as the Pumicestone Passage. We would collect shells, eat fish & chips, ride bikes & scooters, fish, enjoy ice creams & spend hours playing at the park. All of this is the stuff memories are made of & we have plenty of those! Not to mention all of this cost very little & made us all super happy & relaxed. Other options which are just a few minutes drive away are lake Currumundi, Moffat Beach, Dicky Beach & Shelly Beach, the choice is almost endless. Now that the kids are older, Caloundra is still our happy place but we don’t spend as much time in the pirate park as we used to.

We love going to the fantastic old cinema in the main street, us girls getting the odd pedicure, we love to wander through the shops & markets or ride our bikes around to Golden Beach to use our Stand-up-paddle-board & float in the calm waters. We have been ice skating, trekked up Mount Coolum, had some lovely drives through the hinterland communities of Maleny & Montville, we have sipped champagne while cruising through the Noosa canals on a Venetian Gondola, had surfing lessons, Picked strawberries, dug for gemstones, Kayaked, hired a boat for the day & had many, many delicious meals. We have been to almost every dining option on the coast & the best thing is that they all cater for families & most go above & beyond to keep the kids happy. In fact if you are a budget savvy family you could follow a trail of ‘Kids eat free’ offers at different pubs & clubs every night of the week if you wanted, many places also provide kids meal deals, with a drink, desert & entertainment; Happy kids, happy mum & dad! We also like to think of ourselves as Caloundra accommodation connoisseurs, as throughout the years we have stayed at almost every option, every spectrum from Ritzy luxury with a view to die for to the bargain beach break where you BYO linen.

We are once again booked in to uphold the family trek to the Sunshine Coast again this January & as a family we are all looking forward to it. Lucky for me there is not one snotty teenage protestor in site, but as the cycle of life continues our 16 year old son will be driving us for the first time on his Learner’s licenseā€¦.the tradition lives on & evolves yet again!

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