M is for Mooloolaba
I bet you thought I was going to say Melbourne…right?
The thing is, I’ve written about Melbourne a lot- just check out the Melbourne category in the side bar. I haven’t written about my other favourite M place much at all- Mooloolaba.
Where is it? On the Sunshine Coast in Queensland- about an hours drive up the super boring Bruce Highway from Brisbane, and about 30-40mins (or thereabouts) drive south of Noosa.
We’ve been coming here most years since Miss 15 was Miss 7 months. Sure, we’ve missed a year here and there, but on the whole our holiday albums show her growing up around this stretch of the coast. Sadly most of these early shots were on film and have been pasted into albums.
It’s sort of that happy medium- a beach town with all the amenities, a glorious, sandy beach, great hinterland to explore, good coffee and restaurants, and few pretensions. It’s one of those beaches where you can walk straight off the beach and into a coffee shop- without having to check that you’re wearing the right label first.
Anyways, here’s just a few reasons why I love it, in no specific order:
In the hinterland, there’s Montville and Maleny to explore, with lots of little knick knack shops (Montville) and local artists and producers (Maleny). We often drop in at the providores at Maleny for cheese and other yummy nibbly things to take up to Mary Cairncross Reserve for a picnic.
Mary Cairncross Reserve
Speaking of which, Mary Cairncross Reserve is the best place to picnic on the Sunshine Coast- and has the best view of the Glasshouse Mountains…just don’t tell anyone…ok?
Both Miss 15 and I are aquarium nuts. We love them. When she was younger we’d wander across here as soon as we could- sometimes on our first afternoon in town. As old and jaded as she is now, she still loves to go. We still queue up to see the otters, giggle at the seal show and try and touch the sharks and rays through the thick Perspex tunnel.
The Ginger Factory at Eumundi
This is seriously naff, but we still seriously love it.
No longer do we catch the ginger express around the grounds, past the ye olde australiana shops, but we still go, do some taste tests, buy macadamias, have a coffee and a ginger macadamia nut ice cream.
Then we go across the road to the Macadamia Factory to do more taste tests, buy more macadamias, some macadamia nut paste…you get the idea.
Spirit House Restaurant
I’ve written before about this place. Just love it to pieces.
So much that I bought the book…and so much that if I was ever to get married again (naturally to the same man) I’d do it here.
In the hinterland out of Noosa, these markets- held on Wednesdays and Saturdays- are an institution, and well worth the drive, the crowds and the trek from wherever you left the car. The produce is amazing, the art is inspiring, and the vibe is pure energy. On a Saturday morning, there isn’t a lot better than grabbing a cup of locally grown, organic coffee, a bacon and egg roll (or whatever), and listening to a steel band.
What can I say? Just check this out…
or even this…
Mooloolaba has some great restaurants, and good beachside coffee places, but very little can beat fish and chips at The Spit.
You see, Mooloolaba is home to a large fleet of fishing vessels, so the seafood (especially the fresh prawns) is seriously good. Eat it there, or take a picnic into the park at the beach.