IF YOU are looking for a little piece of paradise that has something for every family member, look no further than the picture-perfect Caloundra on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
About an hour north of Brisbane, Caloundra is at the northern end of Pumicestone Passage, looking over the northern tip of Bribie Island. And while the Caloundra of yesteryear may have had that sleepy seaside village vibe, today's Caloundra has a different feel with an array of family friendly public spaces.
Finding holiday places with a true family vibe can be tricky and pricey, but as I discovered on a recent family trip, Caloundra and Oaks Oasis Resort definitely buck this trend.
Parents will love the space and multitude of activities on offer for children at Oaks Oasis. So if you just want to chill and hang out at the resort, there's plenty to keep the rugrats occupied.
The first place my kids wanted to check out was the waterpark. This area is fantastic. Without a doubt if all my kids wanted to do was hang out there, they would have been very happy campers. The waterpark is huge and is open all day with waterslides, fountains and a giant bucket that dumps water all over. And parents can sit back, relax and enjoy a beverage, all while keeping an eye on the kids from the comfort of their sun lounge.
In addition to the waterpark, the resort offers mini golf, a jumping pillow, tennis court and adventure zone. And if you want a more chilled swimming area, there is also a lagoon-style pool with spa.
If, after all of this, you still wish to venture out and explore, Caloundra and its surrounds offers plenty. On our first night we decided to take an afternoon stroll along the Esplanade. There is a convenient path from across the resort to the Esplanade, which is part of Caloundra's Coastal Pathway. The pathway is a breathtaking 9km stretch of paths. Walkers can meander along Caloundra's beaches from Bells Creek in the south to Point Cartwright in the north. We loved walking along the waterfront seeing people out and about, many of whom were sitting along the foreshore watching the sunset and snacking on fish and chips. To end our evening we made sure to grab a gelato from Gelato Rumba opposite popular Bulcock Beach. With a number of traditional flavours like chocolate and vanilla to some interesting combinations like Redskin (as in the lolly) and Ferrero Rocher (as in the yummy chocolate), there is something there to please even the fussiest ice cream lover.
We were up nice and early the following day to begin exploring. Our destination - the Sunshine Coast's beautiful Glasshouse Mountains.
This breathtaking attraction is about a 30-minute drive from Caloundra. The mountains are listed on the Queensland and National Heritage Register as a landscape of national significance. There are many walks to choose from and depending on your experience, you can also climb or "scramble" to the summit of these peaks.
After a morning of trekking the Glass House Mountains National Park, we headed back into Caloundra to enjoy an afternoon at Kings Beach. Named Best Queensland Beach in 2015 by Surf Life Saving Queensland, there is more than surf and sand to keep you and the family happy.
Explore the rock pools with the kids, dip in the oceanfront saltwater pool, or let the kids run-a-muck in the open park and picnic areas with playgrounds and water fountain. You will be kept busy for hours.
Even after all this fun, be prepared for one more request from the kids - another session in the waterpark at the resort. And trust me, you'll be eager to go back, too. While the kids are dumped with bucketloads of water, enjoying the last hour before the waterpark closes for the day, you can sit back and enjoy your own happy hour with a glass of wine.
The writer was a guest of Oaks Oasis Resort.
Your chance to win
PROWLING around for a competition perfect for the whole family?
Get up close to exotic animals from across the world during a holiday at the Sunshine Coast.
An Australia Zoo family day pass is only one part of a prize up for grabs now.
The Sunshine Coast Family Holiday competition winner will also receive five nights' accommodation in a two-bedroom apartment in the Oaks Oasis Resort, in Caloundra, valued at $1200, with breakfast daily for five people valued at $500 and restaurant/bar credit of $200. Also, let the kids loose in the resort's water park.
To enter the competition, and for full terms and conditions, click here.