A major residential and resort centre on the Sunshine Coast, Mooloolaba sits on a spit of land between an international standard marina on the Mooloolah River and beautiful ocean beaches. Maroochydore enjoys the best of both watery worlds and is home to the Mooloolaba to Auckland and Mooloolaba to Sydney Yacht Races. The town – with approximately 17500 residents – is situated in the south eastern corner of the Maroochy shire and approximately 100 km (1 hour) from Brisbane
Location: 100 km north of Brisbane. The Bruce Highway is nearest highway to the coastal town. All major coach lines ervice the Sunshine Coast.
Plan And Book
The Mooloolaba Esplanade is fast becoming a shopping destination and is the perfect place to go in search for the perfect cup of coffee, lunch, bikini or special dress. There’s a variety of clothing boutiques offering fashions from Australia and around the world. There are also speciality jewellery stores, galleries and specialty stores selling gorgeous homewares and gifts. Other areas not to miss are First Avenue and The Wharf which also have several upmarket stores that should not be missed.
Behind Mooloolaba Beach, by the mouth of the Mooloolah River and adjacent Parkyn Parade, is the Mooloolaba Wharf Complex. With its jetty and marina, it is the home base for a trawling fleet, a pilot station for the Moreton Bay River and the home of a yacht club. The complex is used as a base for those interested in coastal, game and deep-sea fishing and it sports a number of waterfront craft, gift and specialty shops, an ice-creamery, cafes and restaurants. The main attractions on the wharf are Games Zone, the Submarine Complex, the virtual dolphin ride, Underwater World and Scuba World. It is also possibe to arrange fishing expeditions, yachting, parasailing and canal cruises at The Wharf.
An quarium which boasts a moving walkway beneath a 2.2 million litre oceanarium full of sharks, rays, sea jellies, beautiful corals, moray eels, turtles, sea horses, octopi, colourful reef fish and larger ocean fish such as gropers. There are educational displays, billabongs containing crocodiles, lungfish and giant barramundi, as well as a touch tank for a hands-on experience of starfish, sea urchins and hermit crabs. For an extra (and quite substantial) fee visitors can take a behind-the-scenes tour and enjoy a 15-minute swim with the seals.
Special shows are held in Underwater World and on The Wharf throughout the day. Location: The Wharf, Mooloolaba. Ph: (07) 5444 8488.
Mooloolaba Beach is one of the most picturesque on the Sunshine Coast with its clean, white sands and azure waters. It is also he safest of the Sunshine Coast beaches, particularly under normal low wave conditions, though rips will form when waves exceed 1m and there is a permanent rip against the northern rocks. The curving beach is backed by a continuous foreshore reserve which, toward the northern end, is the site of the Mooloolaba Surf Life Saving Club (founded in 1923), a beachfront caravan park and a large car park. A road runs behind the reserve and provides access points along the beach, where there are a number of facilities servicing the boating activities on Mooloolaba Harbour.
For surfers, the beach usually has a low beach break that tends to close out with bigger waves. Point Cartwright used to have a great right-hander until the harbour entrance was built. Most anglers head for the harbour side or the entrance walls. Good rip holes only occur following bigger seas.
Mooloolaba Spit is located at the southern end of Mooloolaba beach. The beach changes accordingly, with a shallow rips during and following higher seas, while at other times it is continuous with no rips. This bar narrows and finally disappears toward the harbour wall, where usually low waves surge up the beach. There is a walkway that links Mooloolaba-Main and Mooloolaba- Spit beaches.
Kawana Beach from Pt Cartwright
At the mouth of the Mooloolah River are Point Cartwright and Beacon lighthouse Reserve (access via Pacific Boulevard). This recreation and scenic reserve offers excellent views over the coast and the boat harbour. Dolphins, turtles and whales (June to September) can sometimes be seen offshore. Kawana Beach is the main recreational section of the 9 km long beach that runs due south from Point Cartwright to Curmmundi Creek mouth. The main Noosa-Caloundra Road runs between 1 and 2 km west of the beach. There are six settlements along the beach.
The safest place to swim on this coastal beach strip is at Kawana, in the patrolled area. Keep an eye out for the rips and stay on the inner portion of the attached bars. Be careful if swimming near Point Cartwright, owing to the strong rip, or near the creek mouth where tidal currents can be very strong. Kawana is a popular beach for beach fishing either into the rip holes, when present, or casting out into the deep longshore trough. There is also rock fishing off Point Cartwright and at the creek mouth when open.
Mooloolah River National Park
Adjoining Mooloolah River, this park protects valuable remnants of coastal lowland habitat – rainforest, open eucalypt woodlands, melaleuca forests, wallum banksia woodlands, scribbly gum open forests, wallum heath and sedgelands. Visitors can explore these habitats on walking tracks and fire management trails. The Park is within ten minutes drive from Mooloolaba off Bruce Hwy and Kawana Way. The majority of the park lies either side of the Sunshine Motorway with the Mooloolah River forming its south-eastern boundary. This Mooloolah River section is accessible from Claymore Road, Sippy Downs.
This recreated Norman-style castle comes complete with drawbridge and moat, dungeon, torture chamber, dioramas depicting medieval life and fairy stories, period settings, medieval armour and a very large doll museum (including animated dancing dolls and those in national costume). It is located near the Maroochy River at 292-296 David Low Way, Bli Bli, just west of Pacific Paradise and Maroochydore, and is open from 9am to 4.30pm. Ph: (07) 5448 4477.
Bli Bli Watersports Complex
The Bli Bli Watersports Complex is located on 50 acres of land bordering the Maroochy River and David Low Way and has been operating from this location for over 25 years. Originally built as a Waterski Cable Park the business has grown and evolved over its many years of operation and now, under new ownership and management, continues to service both the tourist and the local market. The park is located on the other side of the Maroochy River to Bli Bli Castle. Open daily 10am – 5pm. Location: 367 David Low Way, Bli Bli. Ph: (07) 5448 7555.
HMAS Brisbane Dive Site
HMAS Brisbane was affectionately known by those who served on her as ‘The Steel Cat’. Huge crowds watched as the HMAS Brisbane was ceremoniously sunk at 10am on Sun 31 July 2005, just off the coast of Maroochydore and Mooloolaba to create an artifical reef. Divers can explore the 133 metre, former warship through large access holes that allow passage into the forward engine room, boiler room, and the ship’s interior including sleeping quarters used by the crew during the ship s service from 1967 to 2001.
The world famous Australia Zoo established by The Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, is a 25 minute drive south west (24 km) along Steve Irwin Way. Australia Zoo offers a full day of wildlife actin and adventure, where you can check out all the amazing wildlife, set on over 70 acres of natural Australian bushland. There are over 10 shows where you can watch the free-flight bird show, snakes slithering, tigers at play and the huge saltwater crocs. Open every day 9am – 5pm. Location: 1638 Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah. Ph (07) 5436 2000.
In 1861, Lieutenant Heath surveyed and chartered the Mooloolah River mouth and harbour. A year later, Tom Petrie explored the area for timber resources. By 1864, William Pettigrew had purchased land at the mouth of the Mooloolah River and developed enterprises which enabled him to dominate the timber trade in the Maroochy District for the next thirty years. He established a timber depot and wharf and in partnership with James Low, he also opened the first store in the district. From 1870-1884, Mooloolah Heads was the port of the Maroochy District. By 1919, Mooloolah Heads was still more of a fruit growing area and fishing port than the seaside resort it is today.
Origin of name: thought to have derived either from ‘mulu’ the Aboriginal word for snapper fish, or ‘mullu’ meaning red-bellied black snake. Originally the name ‘Mooloolah Heads’ was given to the area from the mouth of the Mooloolah River to the site of the present Charles Clarke Park on River Esplanade.