Sunshine Coast on my Shoulder...

Words by Dorian Mode and photography by Lydia Thorpe

Mooloolaba is an oasis of honey-tanned seniors

Mooloolaba is a great senior-friendly destination for those who like the Gold Coast – without the bling!

Like Merimbula, Mooloolaba is one of those names I can’t pronounce after several wines. But what a treasure it is. Mooloolaba has all the glitz and glamour of Surfers Paradise, but without the schoolies, toolies and marauding end-of-season-football monkeys. It’s simply an oasis of honey-tanned seniors power-walking in ill-advised Lycra. Moreover, it’s a place to visit sans car. Everything in Mooloolaba is at your doorstep. And only a 15-min uber from the Sunshine Coast Airport.

The Newport Apartments - right at the beach in Mooloolaba

Our digs for this adventure are the Newport Apartments. Here we have a retina-shrinking sunlit suite on the eleventh floor with nigh on 360-degree views of the Coral Sea and Mooloolah River. Our spectacular apartment is so bright and sunny it makes our eyes water upon entering from the shadows of the lobby. The complex offers a pool and spa, shaded by curling pandanus trees. And only a 60-second walk to the beachfront and shops. Psst, senior readers chary of the surf will be reassured by the mostly iron-flat surf, protected by a long cove from southerly tempests.

The apartments are a 2-minute walk from Underwater World SEA LIFE

Flanking Newport Apartments is a book exchange. Remember when folks used to read on their holidays? We stroll in to find it buzzing with tanned seniors thumbing timeworn novels.

Directly behind Newport is the The Wharf Mooloolaba (more upmarket than calling it The Mooloolaba Wharf, apparently). Built in 1988, this clever initiative was inspired by wharf-side developments such as the Santa Monica Pier and the Freemantle Jetty. Here we discover hip bars and boutiques and a world class aquarium that we visit the following day. The wharf houses scuba diving charters, cruises, whale watching and fishing charters. For lunch we eschew the Atkins Nazis and purchase an old fashioned ‘chip butty’ at the wharf. Remember those? We engorge ourselves with so many carbs our shoes suddenly feel tight.

The view of the wharf complex from the Newport Apartments

That evening – after the word from several uber drivers – we dine at Rice Boi. Here we find tasty, local, handmade Asian-inspired street food. The dumplings are excellent and so too, the spicy curries. Upstairs is a groovy cocktail bar where we imbibe both drinks and views of the gentle river from the balcony.

The following morning, we breakfast at Mooloolaba Surf Club. The views are the best in the strip as you are so close to the beach you smell the kelp. You know it’s good when it’s chockers with canny seniors reading menus at arm’s length. Bacon and eggs are only $9 and, unless you’re a sumo wrestler, you can’t finish it. However, the coffee is appalling but don’t fret, there is a plethora of toe-curling coffee shops along the pretty undulating strip.

Later that afternoon, we discover an excellent senior-friendly bespoke beach-walk along the mangroves and saltbush. Indeed, less mobile readers of this magazine, will find it easy-going, with plenty of rest-stops, shaded by the fake eyelashes of wind-tickled she-oaks. At walk’s end, we find the magnificent breakwater. This would be a great place to drop a line as it’s rather deep water. But I am without rod and reel this trip. Damn!. Done it again.

Rice Boi is the coolest restaurant in town

The following day we explore neighbouring Maroochydore and the famous Sunshine Plaza, the largest shopping centre on the Sunshine Coast. It has wide variety of shops and eateries, a cinema and tranquil walkways along the canal. We then stroll along the Maroochydore waterfront proper and can’t help but compare it with Mooloolaba. It doesn’t quite stack up in our book but being the Sunshine Coast has its own unique charm.

Later that day we explore the nearby town of Nambor – from the Aboriginal “naamba”, the red-flowering tea-tree. Originally called Petrie’s Creek, it was renamed in 1891 after the Nambour cattle station. Here we find the fabulous Bison Bar, tucked away rather innocuously in the bowels of a suburban shopping centre. With its Art Deco vintage vibe and Melbourne bar-scene aesthetic, we listen to great jazz and imbibe a choice selection of craft beers among young tattooed people in flat caps.

Visit Mooloolaba Surf Club for the best value breakfast

Later that evening, with our million dollar views, we simply dine in our apartment. Coles is around the corner and a BWS only a liver replacement away. We soon return with a frozen lasagna and burn it in the oven while we get sloshed. Seniors need to factor in savings on posh restaurants when staying in a suite. But avoid burning those savings in your quest for thrift. However, it’s nice to have a night in with a DVD. From our balcony on the eleventh floor, we watch the sun paint the sky over the sea in coral reds, as sea birds wheel below us. Soon the long hiss of the sea lulls us to sleep.

Footnote:
Newport Mooloolaba Apartments
Set in a high-rise building overlooking the Coral Sea, this apartment hotel is a 2-minute walk from Underwater World SEA LIFE Mooloolaba and 60-secs to Mooloolaba Beach.

Studio to 3 bedroom apartments come with kitchenettes, free Wi-Fi, TVs and balconies (some with sea views). The 1 to 3 bedroom apartments add open-plan kitchens, living/dining areas and additional bathrooms.
The hotel offers an outdoor pool, a hot tub and a sauna, plus tropical landscaped gardens and BBQ facilities. Free parking is available.

For bookings and more information visit: www.newportmooloolaba.com.au

Phone (07) 5444 4833