Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sunshine Coast - Mooloolaba - Restaurants

Mooloolaba has a large selection of restaurants on the Esplanade where it is possible to eat under cover outside or sometimes inside. Although it was usually warm during the week in early September when we were there, there was usually a cool sea breeze at night making it necessary to have some shelter.
The sports clubs provide meals and some members from our cricket team went to the Surf Club for dinner while some of the cricketers stayed for a meal at the Bowls Club, where the opening of the cricket championships was held.
On the first evening we had dinner at Bellissimo, an Italian restaurant on the Esplanade. Robin chose ricotta and sage ravioli while I had a vegetarian risotto - both delicious meals. We therefore had no concerns when that restaurant was chosen as the location for our team dinner the following evening. Robin has chicken parmigiana while I had lasagna - my first choice of lamb shank risotto being unavailable that evening.
Later in the week we visited another Italian restaurant, Bella Venezia, where not only was the food very good but we had a waiter with lots of personality. I chose lamb shanks with mashed potato while Robin enjoyed the fish of the day - parrot fish. I also succumbed to a sticky date pudding - delicious.
There are many fish and chip shops in the Mooloolaba area but we chose to try Beachfront Takeaway Seafood advertised as "the only fish & chips on the beach!!!" They sell a seafood basket with a wide variety of seafood which was our choice one evening when we wanted a quiet, quick meal in our room. On another occasion we purchased takeaway lasagne and gnocchi from Fasta Pasta, just around the corner from the apartments where we were staying.

During the cricket championships lunch was provided. On the rest day on the Tuesday we had lunch at the Coffee Club where Robin had an omelette while I had fruit salad and yoghurt. On the Saturday we returned to the Coffee Club for lunch but left when told that it would take at least 45 minutes for them to prepare / serve a chicken burger and the fruit salad and yoghurt. We had lunch at the Hippodrome Cafe instead.
Although most of the restaurants include fish on the menu it was not until the day before we returned home that we discovered the fish market and fish restaurants on the spit. We had explored the area previously and found lots of boats but did not realise that the continuation of Parkyn Parade eventually led to the restaurants. From the intersection the area looked as if it housed warehouses or factories while the restaurants were further on. The Mooloolaba Fish Market provides a wide range of fresh fish for sale plus a section for cooked seafood to take away or to eat nearby. If we return to the Sunshine Coast we will definitely explore the food options in this area more thoroughly.
The real find was Fish on Parkyn - - a large restaurant specialising in seafood. We made a booking for dinner which proved to be a good move as the restaurant quickly filled with customers. The food was great. We shared entrees of local spanner crab and parmesan pikelets and petuna smoked ocean trout. Both were good but the pikelets were fantastic. My main course of macadamia crusted fresh Cone Bay barramundi on a pumpkin base provided a great combination of flavour.  As it was the final dinner of the holiday we shared the chocolate chip date pudding with ice cream. We partially justified this latter decision as we had walked from the Nautilus to the restaurant (a distance of approximately 1.5 km) and back as well as extending our walk along the Esplanade on our return. Needless to say the pudding was delicious.

Staying in Mooloolaba for a week provided the opportunity to explore only a small selection of restaurants, but it was long enough to conclude that there are some good places to eat. However being used to Port Douglas where the wonderful selection of restaurants is widely promoted, we found it strange that the visitor is left to locate restaurants often by accident.

Sunshine Coast - Sunshine Coast Ironman 70.3

The day we left Mooloolaba the inaugural Sunshine Coast Ironman 70.3 was run so we were able to watch part of this event. This is one of a series of events held throughout the world. The 70.3 in title refers to the distance covered in miles (113 km). The race consists of a 1.9 km swim, a 90 km bike ride and a 21.1 km run (a half marathon) to complete the event.
On the Friday afternoon before the event part of the Esplanade was closed to traffic and the barricades, tents, display boards and other equipment required for staging the Ironman were installed.
On the Sunday we did not get up in time to see the swim that began at 6.00 am but we did watch participants cycling down the Esplanade and some of the runners.
Transition area
The large screen near the finish line provided a view of the race as well as the presentations at the end of the race.
The winner of the event was Pete Jacobs who completed the event in 3:39:59 and when interviewed a few minutes later looked as if he had just completed a light run. Clayon Fettell was second in a time of 3:47:08  followed by Casey Monro 3:50:59.
We were able to stay long enough to watch Gina Crawford from New Zealand cross the line to win the women's section of the race. The race was divided into components including age of competitors plus a team event where different participants competed in each section of the event with combined result going to the team time.
When we drove to the airport we passed cyclists still competing in that section of the event.

The Mooloolaba Triathon is also a regular feature on Mooloolaba's sporting calendar with the twenty-second event scheduled for March next year. The triathon consists of a 1500 m swim, a 40 km bike ride and a 10 km run.

Sunshine Coast - Eumundi Markets

The Eumundi Markets, at Eumundi south of Noosa, have been operating since 1979 and now have 600 stalls for visitors to browse. The market is open on Wednesday 8.00 am to 1.30 pm and on Saturdays from 7.00 am to 2.00 pm. 
We visited the market on a Saturday arriving at around 9 o'clock. We had been warned that parking could be a problem but there is a large parking area with the parking fee going to community projects so this was not an issue. However people who arrived later in the morning would have had problems as the car park rapidly filled.
The market began as a craft market showcasing the work of local crafts-people and continues to do this but it also has a wide range of stalls (some were outlets for shops) selling clothing, food and other items as well as those offering massage, tarot card readings and other alternative lifestyle solutions.
It is a colourful and often noisy environment to explore. With so many stalls they are spread out on more than one location. Buskers entertain and at some points chairs were arranged for the public to listen to speakers or watch a demonstration.
The fruit and vegetable stalls had a good range of products but as we were returning home the next day we could only look. We did, however purchase T-shirts for the grandchildren, an over-shirt for me and some small wooden items including another turtle for our collection, plus a pelican. The stall holder gave us a toy turtle gratis. On the way back to the car we were looking for ice cream and saw a sign that Lief Chocolates sold honeycomb ice cream and Belgium chocolate ice cream, both of which were very good.

Website for Eumundi Market -

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sunshine Coast - Glass House Mountains

On the Friday we decided to explore the hinterland and first stop was the Glass House Mountains. The Glass House Mountains were always a feature of the journey from my grandparents' farm near Villeneuve to the Sunshine Coast each year. The distinct shapes of the mountains always stood out and it was a game to make the first sighting.
After visiting the Glass House Mountains Village we drove to the lookout to view mountains and surrounding scenery.
We then went for a walk on the circuit track.
We then drove through the Blackall Ranges stopping at Maleny to wander down part of the main street. The lady at the Information Centre recommended that we should visit Colin James Fine Foods for an ice cream, which we did. We then continued to the Maleny Cheese Factory where we had cheese pies for lunch while we watched workers in one of the processing rooms.
After lunch we took the road to Woodford and turned off on the Neurum Road just before we reached the town. We drove down Neurum Road to Doyles Road and continued towards Mount Archer, stopping before we reached private property. We then returned to the Neurum Road and continued past the Villenue turnoff until we reached the D'Aguilar Highway and returned to Mooloolaba. The area around Villenue is now flooded as part of the Somerset Dam. Dead trees stand surrounded by water. Images of Villeneuve

Other websites:

Glass House Mountains

Maleny Cheese Factory

Colin James Fine Foods

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sunshine Coast - Alexandra Headland

Tuesday was a rest day during the cricket carnival so in the morning we went for a walk along the coastal path from Mooloolaba to Alexandra Headland. The walk provided great views looking towards Alexandra Headland.
As can be seen from the above photograph the weather was cloudy and in some sections of the path we met a number of lizards keeping perfectly still, probably trying to soak up some warmth.
The buildings lining the road as we neared the headland were not as large as those lining the Esplanade in Mooloolaba.
As we approached the main Alexandra Headland beach we saw groups of surfers trying out the waves.

All along the coast there are warning signs for those proposing to enter the water.
We continued on to the patrolled area of the beach. Many, many years ago Dad and I used to swim here before breakfast with Dad teaching me to body-surf.

One of the features of Alexandra Headland when we holidayed there in the 1960s was the Boolarong restaurant. This was considered a very special place to visit as can be seen by this picture of inside the restaurant. I have special memories of eating fruit salad served in half a pineapple - that was style. We passed Boolarong Crescent named for the restaurant
and also the Grand Palais apartments built where the restaurant used to be located.
The walk brought back many happy memories.

Two websites providing information on the history of Alexandra Headland are:

Alex History - a history of Alexandra Headland

Alexandra Headland - part of Queensland Places (includes photographs of Alexandra Headland in the past including the Boolarong).

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sunshine Coast - Mooloolaba

We used to holiday at Alexandra Headland and Mooloolaba in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Visiting the area again in 2013 it is very different from the quiet seaside location of the past.
The beach is still the focal point but it is now bordered with large buildings overlooking the water.

The beach is not just sand but has a number of rocky areas and pools waiting to be explored at low tide.
Childhood memories include people camped above the foreshore. Today a caravan park is located between part of the Esplanade and the beach.
We used to have swimming lessons in the river. The area is now the home to marinas and boats.
Along the river and system of canals there are some small coves but they are not suitable for swimming.
Along the river towards the spit shipping boats are moored watched over by hopeful pelicans.

A reminder of the dangers of the sea can be found on the spit - a memorial to fishermen who lost their lives at sea.
The breakwater provides a view of modern Mooloolaba.
The changing weather conditions show the different character of the beach. The sea can be relatively calm one day or quite rough when it is windy.
 The Mooloolaba Surf Club is an impressive building and a community focal point on the foreshore.
Revisiting Mooloolaba after a long absence was an interesting experience. I rather miss the atmosphere of the old Mooloolaba, however times change and so do we. As a child a holiday on the beach was swimming three times a day. The beach is still there and obviously still popular and enjoyed by a new generation. Only the surroundings have changed.
It was interesting to go back and visit Mooloolaba again although there were no shops where we could buy a Paul's Have a Heart - a special ice cream treat that we were sometimes allowed to enjoy after a swim at Mooloolabs more than fifty years ago.

Website providing information on history of Moloolaba:

Mooloolaba - Queensland Places (includes postcards and postcard folders with images of Mooloolaba including one of camping sites along the foreshore around 1970.)
A time-line for  Pauls ice cream and other products