Your Guide to Mooloolaba with Boys
Holidaying with boys is never relaxing, but as far as finding a destination to keep parents and boys of all ages happy, Mooloolaba in Queensland, Australia is one to put high on your list.
With a brilliant combination of beautiful beaches, fun activities, exciting eateries, great shopping and relaxation, Mooloolaba on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is truly a family friendly destination.
We’ve been holidaying at Mooloolaba for well over 10 years but just to make sure we didn’t miss anything, we have enlisted the help of a few locals to make up this insider’s guide to Mooloolaba.
What to do in Mooloolaba
The beach is at the centre of most activities in Mooloolaba. For toddlers and little boys there is the beachside park and the rock pools to explore, for pre-teens a game of beach cricket or football is a hit, and there should be enough action along The Esplanade and on the beach to keep teenage boys happy. For all ages there are long stretches of beach and walking paths and a boardwalk to explore.
Mooloolaba’s beaches are nothing short of spectacular. With white sand, blue sea and usually enough waves on the main beach to make body boarding and swimming fun but not too rough that you spend more time under the water than above.
There are two patrolled beaches at Mooloolaba. One is on the Esplanade in front of the Surf Lifesaving Club and the other about 300 metres south along the beach, where the water is more protected. This beach, which can be accessed via Parkyn Parade or a walk down the boardwalk, is often the best for those with little boys, as it’s usually calmer and more protected.
Remember to always swim between the red and yellow flags. Lifesavers are on patrol every day of the year and do an incredible job keeping swimmers safe.
Want to see what the beach looks like right now? Check out the Mooloolaba live surf cam and surf report.
On the northern edge of the beach you will find striking rock pools that will keep your boys busy. It is great fun to climb over the rocks and discover the sea anemones, hermit crabs and other cool looking creatures in their natural habitat.
If you’ve had enough of the sand between your toes (and every other part of your body) for a while, or the rain starts falling, SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast is a great attraction to entertain the family. You can dive with the sharks or swim with the seals. If you would rather stay dry then our favourite picks are to watch the show at Seal Island, explore the Ocean Walkthrough, and feel sea cucumbers and sea stars in the Tidal Touchpool. New to SEA LIFE are the Octonauts Zone and Shipwreck Shores. We have been a few times over the years and found that around three hours is a good amount of time to look around.
If you and your boys love fishing, then bring your gear and find the perfect spot along the river or beach. If you’d rather get on the water then you can hire a boat (and fishing rods if you need them) or go on a fishing charter.
If you’re into water sports then you can hire ocean jet skis, kayaks and stand up boards, or go extreme jet boating, scuba diving or enrol in surf school. Make sure you check on minimum age requirements before booking.
Whale watching – seeing humpback whales has been on our bucket list for a while and if that’s the case for you then you can get up-close on a whale watching cruise from Mooloolaba. Around 16,000 humpbacks pass through these waters each year, so it is an ideal spot to see them. From June to August the whales come by Mooloolaba on their migration to North Queensland’s warmer waters to breed. Our favourite time is mid August through to November when we’ve seen humpbacks with their calves from our unit balcony as they often rest and play on their way south to Antarctica. Now we just need to get closer to them! Take a look at Whale One tours
Parks and playgrounds – the beauty of Mooloolaba is that the entire length of the beach is surrounded by walkways, parklands, picnic areas and playgrounds. If you have young boys, you’ll most likely want to find the playgrounds which are located next to the Surf Club and a big playground down at the Wharf on Parkyn Parade.
Outside of Mooloolaba
Mooloolaba is a central spot to stay if you are looking to take in the sites and unique attractions of the Sunshine Coast. Here are a few highlights for families of boys.
Australia Zoo, Beerwah (home of the Crocodile Hunter) – experience amazing animal encounters and learn about conservation – it is definitely worthy of a full day
- Big Kart Track, Landsborough – there is a kid’s track suitable for ages 3 and up and the big track suitable for ages 12 and up.
- Aussie World, Palmview – has over 30 rides and attractions to enjoy and is the only theme park north of Brisbane
- Top Shots Fun Park, Maroochydore – indoor rock climbing wall, mini golf course, extreme vertical trampoline, blaster boats, cannonball blasters and more.
- Explore one the nearby National Parks including Buderim Forest Park, Serenity Falls, the Glass House Mountains, Blackall Ranges, Mount Coolum National Park and Noosa National Park.
For other ideas of things to do, take a look at Visit Sunshine Coast.
Favourite Places to Eat and Drink in Mooloolaba
Coffee: The Good Bean, The Esplanade – we love the coffee and the atmosphere and we would love to eat the freckle chocolate that comes on top if the boys didn’t always get to them first.
Breakfast: The Velo Project, 19 Careela Street (about 5 minute drive from the beach) – the avocado smash is the best – open 7am to 3pm 7 days a week.
Breakfast, lunch or dinner: Hot Pipis, The Esplanade – A great restaurant with quality food to suit all ages which has stood the test of time and is gluten free.
Dinner for two: Lemon and Thyme, The Esplanade – we stumbled across this restaurant last time we were there, drawn to it because of its vibrancy. We were not disappointed with excellent service and most importantly exceptional food (and drinks).
Dinner for two – a restaurant we’ve always wanted to go: Fish on Parkyn, Parkyn Parade – one day we’ll make it there!
Family dinner: Mooloolaba Surf Club, The Esplanade – good food at a reasonable price overlooking the beach. Try to book or get there early as it does fill up fast.
Drinks (with boys in tow): Mooloolaba Surf Club, The Esplanade – they have live bands every weekend and reasonably priced drinks, with a sensational view.
Takeaway: Mooloolaba Fish Market, Parkyn Parade – offers beautiful fresh and cooked seafood (we love the fresh Mooloolaba prawns and cooked local reef fish)- open 7 days a week from 8am – 7.30pm except Christmas Day.
No frills Thai takeaway: Thai Seasons, River Esplanade – we have been going here for years and it is great Thai that is tasty, fresh and cheap. We prefer to takeaway and enjoy back at our unit (preferably after the boys have gone to bed!).
Picnic spot: Mooloolaba boosts an impressive set up along the beach where you can picnic or barbecue for free. Our favourite is cooking a barbecue at the main beach, having a few drinks and enjoying the atmosphere. If you are looking for a quieter picnic experience then head along the boardwalk until you find the spot for you. BYO everything.
The one thing I hate about going on holidays is either having to take all the food with you or getting to your destination and having to go shopping straight away. Thanks to the invention of online shopping, I now do most of my holiday shopping online and have it delivered to the unit when we arrive. Both Coles and Woolworths offer this service.
There is also a Coles supermarket on Venning Street open seven days a week which is easy walking distance from the beach.
There are two bottle shops within walking distance of the beach. A BWS in Venning Street (near Coles supermarket) and another BWS off Parkyn Parade near Underwater World.
There are two local pharmacies – the Mooloolaba Beach Pharmacy on The Esplanade and Mooloolaba Central Amcal Pharmacy (near Coles supermarket) 15 Venning Street. If these are closed, the only chemist open every day of the year until 10pm is the Maroochy Day and Night Pharmacy 107-109 Aerodrome Rd, Maroochydore.
Favourite places to stay in Mooloolaba
When staying at Mooloolaba we prefer to stay somewhere central so that we rarely (if ever) have to use the car to get anywhere. Somewhere along The Esplanade or Parkyn Parade is always good, with everything from five-star luxury to camping on offer.
We like staying at Peninsular Beachfront Resort and 84 The Spit. Even though they are both beachside, some of the units on lower floors won’t have beach views, so check first if this is important to you.
How to get to Mooloolaba
Daily direct flights to Sunshine Coast Airport from Sydney and Melbourne, and seasonal direct flights from Auckland are available. Check out Sunshine Coast Airport for more information about flights and transfers.
If you fly into Brisbane, airport shuttle bus transfers to Mooloolaba are also available.
Depending on the time of day you leave and traffic, it takes around 1 hour 15 minutes to get from central Brisbane to Mooloolaba Beach and even less time from the Airport which is on the north side of the city. On long weekends and school holidays the roads can get really busy so allow a lot more time to get there.
Although there is no direct train from Brisbane to Mooloolaba, there is the option to catch a train to Landsborough and then hop on the connecting bus to Mooloolaba. Look at the journey planner on Translink for timetables and costs.
Greyhound Bus offers a daily bus service to Mooloolaba which takes 1 hour 35 minutes from Brisbane city.
We hope you make it to Mooloolaba and get to enjoy the sun, surf and fun.
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