When you think of the Sunshine Coast you think beaches and cafes, sun and surf. But on our recent trip, in between our days at the beach and all the “how did sand get in there?” fun, we discovered a hidden gem in a town called Bli Bli, not far from the coast – a castle – Sunshine Castle!
Ok, so maybe it isn’t from medieval times. Kings and queens never actually lived here. In fact, it was only built in 1972. It is a castle though! And regardless of when it was built, it’s history or the fact that princesses never really sat looking out the windows longing for their prince, Sunshine Castle is lot of fun for kids.
Originally built in 1972 by as Scotsman who used the castle to house his wife’s extensive doll collection, Sunshine Castle has seen several extensions and renovations over the years. Since 2006 it has been running as a medieval museum/castle experience and also operates as a function venue for weddings, parties and special events.
After our UK/Europe road trip last year we were all experiencing castle withdrawal so we were super excited to finally be visiting another one. As soon as we entered we were greeted by friendly staff dressed in fantastic medieval costumes and the kids were handed a treasure map leading them on an interactive treasure hunt throughout the castle.
The courtyard in front of the castle is set up with costumes and games for the kids. We spent a little while here and each of us chose something to wear while we walked through the castle.
The kids got a real kick out of crossing the drawbridge into the castle and were keen to start exploring, seeking out the clues for their treasure hunt. There were so many different rooms to explore and many artefacts, displays and informative plaques offering a great educational and historical insight into castle life in medieval times.
The views from the top of the towers were fantastic, however getting to them was another story….. the staircases were very narrow and quite challenging to climb whilst holding two little kids hands. I held on so tight to them and spent about 2.4 seconds outside before heading back down to safe ground!
Sometimes I forget how gullible kids can be and I told the little kids that the dragon’s footprints painted on the floor throughout the castle belonged to a real dragon that lived in the dungeon. Unfortunately for them at that same moment some kids came bolting down one of the metal staircases making a huge racket and Korey and Lucy cowered in a corner thinking the dragon had escaped……Oops!
The banquet hall, which is used for wedding receptions and parties, was one of our favourite rooms and we all agreed it would be an amazing place to have a party in. The big girls had fun pretending to be having a banquet at Hogwarts and the little kids were in awe of how big and spectacular the whole room was.
The dungeon, for some of our kids was awesome, for others quite scary and definitely not a place anyone with claustrophobia (or a fear of dragons……) wants to spend long in!
At the end of our castle tour we looked through the doll museum. There are several rooms displaying many of the original dolls from the castle. The kids loved the International doll display and had a lot of fun counting all of the dolls from countries they had been to.
The castle and doll museum exit leads into a gift/toy shop and cafe. It was here that our kids very proudly handed over their completed treasure maps and were each rewarded with a treat from the King’s treasure chest.
Before heading off we sat outside the cafe and had a lovely coffee. We didn’t eat as we already had other plans, however the menu looked quite appealing and reasonably priced with a real German feel to it.
We spent a great couple of hours at Sunshine Castle. The kids especially enjoyed it, taking great pleasure in following and completing their treasure hunts. The staff were all very friendly and informative and I can only imagine how much fun it would be attending or hosting a party there. Overall Sunshine Castle is a fun alternative to sun, sand and surf on the Sunshine Coast!
For more information and bookings visit www.sunshinecastle.com
Disclaimer: We were sponsored guests of Sunshine Castle. All experiences shared and opinions expressed in this article are our own and are in no way influenced by sponsorship.