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Dishing up Sunshine
Knife and fork in hand, Amelia Hungerford ventures beyond the Sunshine Coast’s famous beaches to uncover a wealth of foodie experiences for the whole family.

It has long been established that the Sunshine Coast, stretching from Caloundra to Noosa, is the ideal place for families to get their fix of sun, sand and surf. It’s full of iconic attractions every child should see – the Big Pineapple, Australia Zoo, Ettamogah Pub and Aussie World, to name but a few – spread along a coastline studded with some of Queensland’s most beautiful beaches. But take a tour beyond the water, and this quintessential holiday destination is full of unexpected delights and family-friendly experiences that go beyond the ordinary.

A world of food
The Sunshine Coast is making a name for itself among mini gourmands and the annual Noosa Food and Wine Festival is just the start. For one sumptuous weekend every May, Noosa’s beauty is paired with world-class cuisine from the industry’s most respected chefs. Budding culinary masters can sample dishes from restaurants around the globe, accompanied by live music and entertainment, or learn by watching their heroes with live cooking demonstrations (Adriano Zumbo’s treats were a highlight of 2013). Time your holiday with next year’s festival from 14 to 17 May.

The annual Real Food Festival keeps things local and will be dishing up delicacies from 13 to 14 September this year at the Maleny Showgrounds. While mum and dad sample tasty treats from the stalls, children will be enthralled at the kids’ zone with face painting, a jumping castle, a treasure hunt and baby animals. There will also be interactive displays from Old MacDonald’s Travelling Farm that will get them interested in learning about food and where it comes from, and activities such as potting plants and keeping chooks.

If your holiday is outside the festivals, there are plenty of other family foodie activities. Local strawberries taste all the sweeter after a little work at Strawberry Fields in Palmview, where families can pick their own red-ripe fruit. Entry is free, and you only pay for what you pick so remind little ones not to snack in the fields. The onsite café is stocked with sweet and savoury treats, and the shop is a strawberry-lover’s delight.

For animal adventure, visit Banyandah Alpacas in Gympie, where kids can feed Dawn’s friendly alpacas on Wednesdays and weekends. Or journey inland to Maleny Dairies and discover how delicious dairy products are made with an insiders’ tour of the farm, an old-school handmilking demonstration, and a special encounter with the poddy calves in the baby animal pen the kids will cherish.

While in Maleny, pack a picnic and stretch little legs among the lake-spotted Maleny Botanic Gardens. Feed the resident sheep, Baa Baa and Blackie, and spot the majestic resident all-white peacocks, Prince Charming and Cinderella. Families just stopping by can also enjoy Devonshire Tea with scones in the gazebos while overlooking the property’s gardens and waterfalls.

To market, to market
Nothing gives the feel of a local area quite like its markets, where you will find food, fashion and handicrafts. Visit Maleny on Sunday morning for the weekly Handicraft Markets, where kids can discover handmade toys, as well as books and tasty treats for a picnic in the Botanic Gardens.

Eumundi is home to some of the region’s best-known (and best-loved) markets, guided by the motto, “We make it, bake it, grow it, sew it”. It’s bursting with food from around the world, local produce and artisan creations galore. If little legs get tired, you can sit back with lunch and enjoy live music in the picturesque Hinterland surrounds.

Further south, the weekly Caloundra Street Fair draws thousands of visitors to its beachside locale. There is music, food, wellbeing services and street performers, guaranteeing a vibrant day by the sea. The city’s Twilight Markets in the warmer months are made for families, with lots of special activities for kids among the stalls lining the Bulcock Beach Esplanade.

Although most kids recognise the 16-metrehigh Big Pineapple, set among a working plantation, few will know it’s also been home to flourishing Saturday markets for the last two years. Come for the animals and much-loved sugar cane train but stay for the fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and delicatessen products.

If you’d rather your lunch in a restaurant setting that’s still plenty of fun for kids, the Noosa Reef Hotel is the answer. While mum and dad enjoy views over the Laguna Bay, children will be entertained in the Reef Ranger kids’ club with movies, video games and colouring. Visits from Super Dude on Friday and Saturday nights are always a highlight with face painting and balloon animals for a mealtime experience unlike any other.

If you’d rather your lunch in a restaurant setting that’s still plenty of fun for kids, the Noosa Reef Hotel is the answer. While mum and dad enjoy views over the Laguna Bay, children will be entertained in the Reef Ranger kids’ club with movies, video games and colouring. Visits from Super Dude on Friday and Saturday nights are always a highlight with face painting and balloon animals for a mealtime experience unlike any other.

Make the most of the sunshine with plenty of beach days and child-friendly accommodation. Ivory Palms Resort in Noosaville is an ideal spot for families to relax, with fully selfcontained apartments, villas and townhouses, and games at the kids’ club. Stay in tropical surrounds at the Islander Noosa Resort where kids will love splashing in the lagoon-style pool and holiday arts and crafts. Novotel Twin Waters Resort is another family favourite with special menus just for young tastebuds and the Kidz Cove kids’ club – not to mention the fact that kids under 16 stay and breakfast for free. It’s the perfect way to round out your Sunshine Coast odyssey.

REPORT CARD
Information: www.visitsunshinecoast.com.au

Do: Noosa Food & Wine Festival - www.noosafoodandwine.com.au
Real Food Festival - www.realfoodfestivals.com.au
Strawberry Fields - www.strawberryfields.com.au
Banyandah Alpacas - www.banyandah.com
Maleny Dairies - www.malenydairies.com
Maleny Botanic Gardens - www.malenybotanicgardens.com.au
Eumundi Market - www.eumundimarkets.com.au
The Caloundra Street Fair - www.caloundrastreetfair.com.au
Big Pineapple - www.bigpineapple.com.au
Noosa Reef Hotel - www.noosareef.com.au

Stay: Ivory Palms resort - www.ivorypalmsresort.com.au
Islander Noosa Resort - www.islandernoosa.com.au
Novotel Twin Waters Resort - www.novoteltwinwatersresort.com.au

 

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