A fun day at the Sunshine Coast (without the beach)

The Sunshine Coast is not all sand and surf; many exciting activities and experiences await away from the water.

Yes, you can spend your Sunshine Coast break relaxing in the sun and water, surfing or snorkeling to you heart’s content. But you don’t have to be at the beach to enjoy yourself. Head away from the water to discover loads more fun family things to do if you are looking for a day (or two) on the coast. Here are a few suggestions:

Aussie World is a fun family theme park without the crowds. You’ll have minimal wait times and the staff will treat you like you’re one of the family.

Australia Zoo is still run by the family of the late, great conservationist Steve Irwin. It is one of the best things to do on the Sunshine Coast with kids and probably Australia’s most famous zoo. On the right day you might even meet Bindi or Bob Irwin.

Gardner Falls is the perfect setting for a family picnic. It’s a hidden waterhole in the forest at Maleny in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, fed by cascading waterfalls. For those who like a bit of adventure, try your hand at the several ropes that swing off into the water below. Just be sure your swing doesn’t make the Top 20 fails on social media.

Lake Baroon is great for picnics, bushwalking, swimming, fishing and canoeing. It is situated in a secluded valley at Montville and you can enjoy a delicious lunch and beautiful views at Secrets on the Lake.

The Maleny Botanical Gardens provide exquisite views of the Glass House Mountains and coastline. The gardens are surrounded by rainforest, with six kilometres of walking paths through terraced gardens, past secret waterfalls, over ponds and lagoons.

The Bellingham Maze in Tanawaha is a great spot for fun and learning with your kids. The star-shaped hedge maze is made from lilly-pillies. As you work your way through you can search for gnomes and coloured letters on poles to help solve some riddles. Once you find your way to the tower and back out again, you can try the other smaller mazes, such as the tyre maze, ropes maze and the timber scrabble maze. When you’ve found the jumbled letters down the dead ends, you can then solve the riddle.

Yandina is one of the oldest towns in Queensland and its weekend farmer’s market is a treat. Just down the road, the Spirit House is an award-winning Thai restaurant and cooking school.

The Glass House Mountains have panoramic views as well as walking trails. The Mt Ngungun walk is an easy 2.8km return walk up to the peak for spectacular 360-degree views of all four major peaks of the Glasshouse Mountains. You can drive to the lookout, or if you prefer, the sunrise and sunset views are also great from Wild Horse Mountain.

The world-famous Eumundi Markets have something for everyone. People travel from interstate and overseas to visit. The markets are held every Saturday and Wednesday and are one of the largest artisan markets in Australia.

For more highlights of the hinterland, click here.