The sparkling coastline on Queensland’s exquisite Sunshine Coast is the main attraction in Mooloolaba. Long stretches of sun-kissed beaches line the curved coast, and a river filled with fish runs through the region’s heart, making it a water sports paradise.
With its beaming white sand and turquoise ocean, Mooloolaba Beach is one of the Sunshine Coast’s safest options to enjoy for a stunning day out. Stand-up paddleboarding, surfing, swimming, beach volleyball, and fishing are popular beach activities here. Alternatively, you can take it slow and soak in the surroundings of this endlessly impressive destination.
When you need to take a break from the sea and the sand, take a few steps down to the restaurants and shops on the bustling main esplanade. A fresh seafood lunch cruise is also an option.
The Sunshine Coast doesn’t run out of sightseeing options thanks to its vast beauty. You can also join the sun-kissed locals hiking, skating, biking, and strolling in the sea breeze along the walking paths that skirt the waterfront.
So, without further ado, let’s explore Mooloolaba and its top attractions to help you make the most of this Sunshine Coast getaway hotspot.
The curved Mooloolaba Beach is situated in the sheltered area of Point Cartwright, with the Mooloolaba Harbour entrance at its eastern end. At the same time, the Mooloolaba Life Saving Club and Surf Club are located at the northern end.
The beach is known for its low waves throughout the year, making it ideal for swimming. However, be aware of rips that can occur once waves hit a metre high and the permanent rip that occurs in the northern rocks – the patrolled beaches are always the safest option to choose.
Mooloolaba Beach is a fantastic destination for people who want to sunbathe, swim, and fish – the harbourside is the best spot for reeling in a good catch. A caravan park and a shaded car park are also located near the shore, with fine white sand and beautiful scenery, making this a perfect holiday paradise to share with the whole family and friends.
When you’re looking for other things to do in Mooloolaba in the same area, it’s only a few minutes walk from the beach to the Mooloolaba Spit, where you can enjoy sheltered swimming and excellent cafes serving fresh fish and chips and ice cream. In particular, the rock wall is the perfect place to take a relaxing walk and take in the sea views and sunsets.
Meanwhile, the Mooloolah River flows out to sea between Port Cartwright and the Mooloolaba Spit. This creates fertile fishing grounds for a diverse range of species, making it an excellent destination for keen anglers. It’s also a fantastic setting for a scenic cruise, or if you’re more adventurous, there are wildlife experiences in the cooler months when the humpback whales migrate along the coast.
Dining & Shopping on the Esplanade
The Mooloolaba Esplanade hosts one of the most popular seafood ports on the Sunshine Coast and the wider eastern seaboard. With produce pulled directly from nearby fishing charters, you will find some of the finest cuisines on offer, including succulent Mooloolaba prawns, lobsters, swordfish, and spanner crabs.
The nearby beachfront esplanade has numerous restaurants, cafes, and shops to explore, while the Wharf Mooloolaba has alfresco cafes, fashion boutiques, and juice bars. Here, you’ll find an idyllic setting for people-watching or just taking in the beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. With so many things to do in Mooloolaba, it’s no surprise that this beach has become one of the top vacation spots on the Sunshine Coast.
SEA LIFE Aquarium Sunshine Coast
SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast is a multi-award-winning aquarium situated at The Wharf Mooloolaba. This is an excellent option to keep the kids entertained during school holidays when the weather is not great, as there are numerous interactive animal zones spanning three different levels.
Visit the Little Blue Penguins Zone to learn about species that live above and below the water. Meanwhile, Seal Island offers a fun and interactive encounter with this playful species, and you can even book private swim sessions with them, too.
As you wander around the location, you’ll want to roll up your sleeves and feel the shells, plants, and animals in the touch pools with your own hands. See an array of marine life, such as sea urchins, starfish, and sea cucumbers, all living it up in this iconic facility. Alternatively, stroll through the Seahorse Sanctuary to get a closer look at these fascinating, tiny creatures.
And if you’re looking to discover the Great Barrier Reef in a new light, we recommend exploring SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast’s underwater world in a huge tank encapsulating the indigenous coral, crayfish, clownfish, anemones, and clams. Finally, the Coastal Wreck displays the different animals living together in coral reefs and ecosystems.
Ex HMAS Brisbane
Here, you’ll find a 5000-tonne decommissioned guided missile destroyer that once belonged to the Charles F. Adams ship class. The Royal Australian Navy utilised it from 1967 until it was decommissioned in 2001. The grand ship served in the Vietnam and Gulf wars and helped on various humanitarian missions. From the HMAS Brisbane Lookout, you can take in views of this impressive shipwreck.
Today, the wreck makes for a terrific diving adventure. It is located 9km offshore from Mooloolaba and acts as an artificial coral reef. Numerous fish species call the wreck home; these include turtle species such as hawksbill and loggerheads, octopus, rays, and nudibranchs, plus many soft and hard corals that cover its surface.
Lucky divers at the site may come face-to-face with a leopard shark, huge Queensland groupers, blennies, lionfish, anglerfish, red emperor, batfish, yellowtail kingfish, and loads more. It’s unquestionably bucket-list-worthy as Queensland’s largest diveable wreck. It’s equally comforting to know it was properly scuttled: large holes have been cut into the length of both sides so divers can come in and out easily.
Nestled along the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Mooloolaba is a great place to adventure, explore, and make memories in good company. There are so many attractions to keep you busy, but we’ve narrowed it down to those that are bucket list-worthy.
The most exciting things to do in Mooloolaba are:
- Visit SEA LIFE.
- Dine at some of the finest restaurants on the Sunshine Coast.
- Do some whale-watching.
- Roam the HMAS Brisbane dive site.
But if you’re taking a holiday just to relax and enjoy the scenery, more laid-back options for things to do in Mooloolaba include lazing in the sun on Mooloolaba beach, fishing in the river, and dining on the esplanade. The choice is yours!
Planning a Mooloolaba getaway? Sunshine Coast Getaways offers fantastic accommodation options to suit all budgets. Book your beachfront apartment or private holiday home with our friendly team today!
What are some of the best things to do in Mooloolaba for families?
There are many family-friendly activities in Mooloolaba, like going to the beach, visiting the SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast aquarium, dining at the Mooloolaba Wharf Precinct, taking a Coastal Cruises Mooloolaba tour to see marine life, or exploring Australia Zoo.
Where can we go whale watching in Mooloolaba?
You can see whales on tours with Saltwater Eco Tours, which operates seasonal whale-watching cruises out of Mooloolaba. They have BBQ facilities on board, too.
What is there to do on the water in Mooloolaba?
Popular water activities include kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, riding on the Aquaduck Sunshine Coast amphibious boat tours, fishing charters, and scuba diving on the Ex HMAS Brisbane shipwreck site.
Are there any caves to explore around Mooloolaba?
Yes, you can visit the Salt Caves in Alexandra Headland, near Mooloolaba. These man-made salt therapy caves are very relaxing.
What are the best beaches near Mooloolaba?
Some nice beaches close to Mooloolaba are Alexandra Headland Beach, Mooloolaba Beach, Kawana Beach, and Cotton Tree Beach in Maroochydore. They are perfect for swimming and surfing.
Where are the best places to eat seafood in Mooloolaba?
Head to the restaurants at the Mooloolaba Wharf Precinct or on the Esplanade to try fresh local seafood dishes. Rice Boi and Pier 33 are popular spots.
What is there to do in Mooloolaba when it rains?
If it’s rainy, you can visit indoor attractions like SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast and the Salt Caves, or see a movie at the cinema at Kawana Shoppingworld.
Is Mooloolaba good for shopping?
Yes, the beachfront Esplanade is lined with boutique shops selling fashion, gifts, and artwork. There are also cafes and restaurants while browsing the shops.
What tours are best for sightseeing in Mooloolaba?
The Coastal Cruises Mooloolaba tours showcase the coastal scenery, taking you up the Mooloolah River. Scenic helicopter flights also depart from Mooloolaba for aerial views.
Are there cycling paths in Mooloolaba?
Yes, there is a bike path stretching along the Mooloolaba beachfront, with separate walking and cycling lanes. It connects to other paths, like the Sunshine Coast bikeway network.