If you love the sun, sand, and surf, head to the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, specifically to the Aboriginal-named town of Mooloolaba, which I didn’t learn to pronounce correctly until the day we left. At first, my wife and I thought we'd landed in Ft. Lauderdale, just with an Australian accent. But with no offense to anyone from South Florida, it didn’t take long to realize that this beach town was so much more laid-back and less developed than what you typically find in the U.S. Besides, you won’t find kids playing rugby or cricket on an American beach. And instead of dining on lobsters and hamburgers, crayfish and meat pies are the local specialties.
Like the more aggressively built-up southern beaches of the Gold Coast, which offers a host of theme parks like Wet n’ Wild and Sea World, this area is also reputable for being family friendly, which isn’t surprising when you consider that it is Steve Irwin’s home turf. The ultra eco-friendly Australia Zoo, which he founded, is an almost mandatory stop.