Growing up, I was adamant that one day I would live in Mooloolaba. Catch a ride to work with Steve Irwin in his helicopter and all that. Although that may still be a wee way off happening (unless the zoo needs a lawyer), progress has officially been made as Andy has now visited to see what all the hype is about. My family used to be part of a timeshare in Mooloolaba, but this time, sadly, we had to find our own accommodation.
We stayed at an Air BnB in Minyama, a short bike ride away from downtown Mooloolaba. And bike we did – even with a troublesome flat tyre. We covered an impressive amount of ground, seeing not just Mooloolaba and its surrounds, but also Kawana and the Port Cartwright lighthouse, which had always seemed so far away. We also coasted to Alexandra Heads and up to my family’s old house. Certainly a bit of nostalgia thrown in here.
I was surprised to see how little the commercial side of Mooloolaba had changed: in fact, the shops were virtually the same (meaning lots could actually do with a new coat of paint) and I was amazed that old favourites, such as the Hogs Breath Cafe and Underwater World were still going strong (although the latter has moved across the road and rebranded). We didn’t venture down to Maroochydore – partly because our bikes would never have made it but mostly because we just ran out of time.
One of my favourite activities in Mooloolaba has always been taking a ‘canal cruise’. I don’t think it’s changed at all in fifteen years but this was welcome as I was excited for Andy to see all the extravagantly luxurious houses and hear all the quirky stories about various houses on the canal.
Of course, my favourite part of the tour is going past the Irwin’s house and seeing Steve’s old boat, the ‘Croc One’. Andy also had a great time feeding the pelicans some fish heads!
We were actually in possession of some kayaks with which we were going to explore the canals ourselves: that lasted as long as it took for Andy to almost roll his (admittedly, overly unbalanced) kayak and fall into those shark infested waters! It took us longer to get the kayaks in and out than the time spent in them. But, with Andy being a groomsman in just a few short days, the last thing we needed was a shark attack on our hands!
Frustratingly the weather refused to play ball, meaning our beach time was minimal. If you’ve been keeping up with my recent posts you may have detected that we’ve been suffering from imperfect weather (syndrome?) since leaving Turkey. We still went to the beach (it’s too beautiful not to), we just had to use our towels as blankets and fortunately my chivalrous boyfriend surrendered the ONE jersey we’d brought between us.
Naturally we ate well. Our Air BnB had a pagoda with a bbq, outdoor seating and views of the canals so on our first night (and subsequent breakfasts) we ate lots of fresh produce including pineapple (yum), asparagus (yummier) and mangoes (yummiest!).
We also had a classic old sausage sizzle – we’re in Aussie mate! We had a belated birthday dinner at Phon’s Thai which overlooked the marina and served really tasty curries.
My favourite brunch was at Little Miss Saine, after we’d walked around the lighthouse. An acai bowl done well is one of my favourite meals in the world. It was also a really chilled vibe with cool art and laid back seating. We had another brunch at La Finca down on the wharf. Andy’s eggs benedict were very ‘extra’ (but apparently delicious) and the bottomless batch brew was some of the more enjoyable coffee I’ve had in a while.
All too soon, we found ourselves walking back to the bus stop with our Ben and Jerry’s in hand, ready for our bus back to Brisbane. Bittersweet: for a girl who wants to live there three days is never going to be enough, but excited as hell by Tom and Nichola’s upcoming wedding. I was comforted at least by Andy reassuring me we will definitely come back: next time we’ll hire a car and visit Eumundi, Noosa, Marrochydore and who knows what else! Can’t wait.