The ultimate hit-list for a trip to Mooloolaba

This sunny suburb on the Sunshine Coast offers the ultimate beachside holiday, whether you're in search of fun or relaxation.

Point Cartwright landmarks Mooloolaba's stunning coastline.
  • Sophia Auld
  • April 2019

The coastal city of Mooloolaba has something for everyone. Travelling with kids? Head to the aquarium to get up close to starfish. Looking for time to unwind and take care of yourself? Book an appointment at the Salt Caves for some holistic healing. Meanwhile, water babies won’t be able to tear themselves away from the beach and foodies will love the fresh seafood at the fish market. Here are the activities to add to your to-do list.

Do a coastal walk

If sea breezes float your boat, you’ll love the coastal walk. A 30-minute stroll north takes you to Alexandra Headland. Along the way, you’ll be treated to views north to Mudjimba Island and Mount Coolum as well as south to Point Cartwright with its lighthouse marking the Mooloolah River entrance. You could choose to track south and follow the tree-lined boardwalk behind the beach onto the spit and watch the boats heading in and out of the river. Or hire a bike and pedal your way around to Cotton Tree on the Maroochy River.

Head to the wharf

Celebrating the city’s coastal charms, The Wharf Mooloolaba has been given a new lease of life following a multi-million dollar refurbishment. The marina is now home to a hip collection of restaurants, cafés, bars and clothing stores. Stock up on cool fashion finds at Meraki Thread Co and eclectic homewares at Bedouin Traders, before taking in the sunset over a glass of wine or one of 52 beers on offer at The Dock. You can also grab a burger at Ninth Street, tuck into Italian at Il Vento or catch a gig at the Sunshine Coast’s newest live music venue, Boston Shaker Bar.

Meraki Thread Co. is just one of the trendy boutiques at the newly refurbished The Wharf precinct
Meraki Thread Co. is just one of the trendy boutiques at the newly refurbished The Wharf precinct.

Feast on seafood

Follow a morning at the beach with a picnic, complete with fresh seafood from the Mooloolaba Fish Market, the Sunshine Coast’s largest seafood retailer. The fish here comes straight from the working port, so you know it’s fresh. Grab a beachside picnic table for a view over the long curve of white sand or enjoy your cooked seafood on the deck, watching the boats navigate the river against a stunning backdrop of waterfront homes. For a more gourmet experience, try Pier 33 – the yacht club has been transformed into a casual dining restaurant with a sharing-style menu, featuring sustainably sourced seafood and local produce.

Enjoy fresh seafood straight from the source at the huge fish market
Enjoy fresh seafood straight from the source at the huge fish market.

Cruise in a vintage ferry

Active types can hire a stand-up paddleboard from The Surfboard Warehouse to explore at their leisure but a cruise is a great way to experience life on the water. Kids can try their hand at skippering the 1963 timber ferry MV Mudjimba with Mooloolaba Canal Cruise, which runs hour-long cruises three times a day. Other options with Coastal Cruises include a 90-minute lunch cruise or the more grown-up twilight cruise with sundowner drinks.

Indulge in salt therapy

For a cool, quiet contrast to all the beach activity, head to Salt Caves. Set two blocks back from the esplanade on Smith Street, this holistic healing centre offers salt therapy in a cave-style room with Himalayan salt heaped on the floor and covering the walls. Inhaling the (micronised) salt as you relax on a chair is said to improve respiratory and skin conditions and strengthen immunity. An even nicer treat, however, is a warm organic oil massage in a salt room.

You can relax and revive at the therapeutic Salt Caves.
You can relax and revive at the therapeutic Salt Caves.

Meet marine animals at the aquarium

A trip to Mooloolaba isn’t complete without visiting the iconic Sea Life Sunshine Coast Aquarium. Kids can feel creatures like starfish in the tidal touch pool, go treasure-hunting with the Octonauts and help find Dory, while adults can marvel at the rays, reef fish and eight species of sharks swimming overhead along 80 metres of ocean tunnel. Activities such as seal encounters are also available.