Mmmmm Mooloolaba

Mooloolaba (accent on the second syllable) is all about the beach. It’s 100% beachy, with dozens, nay hundreds, of shops selling t shirts, flip flops, swim suits, gauzy cover-ups, hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Here’s where the Australian slogan “slip, slop, slap” really comes to life: slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat. The government makes a point of it, given that Australia has the dubious distinction of being the skin cancer capital of the world. The smell of coconut oil sun creams wafted everywhere.

 I walked down the Esplanade to this rocky outcropping, which reminded me of when I lived in California. It smelled reassuringly like home, because here’s a thing I never realized before. What I have always thought of as the smell of the sea, that briny, pungent fragrance, is really the smell of the shore. Out in the middle of the ocean there’s no smell at all, the air is just clean. It’s the messy convergence of sea and shore, the life and death of seashore inhabitants both animal and vegetable, that creates the smell I love, and I was very glad to find it here.

You can see our ship anchored out there. We had to tender in to shore in our lifeboats, because Mooloolaba doesn’t have a dock suitable for such a large ship.

Once off the beach, this place is a tropical paradise of flowers,

and street after street of vacation homes for sale and for rent.

Mooloolaba is also famous, at least locally, for its prawns, and I walked an extra mile to try them at their best.

The waiter seemed a bit taken aback when I announced that I wanted just prawns, prawns alone, cooked all the different ways they served them. The kitchen made me a plate of all the prawns and nothing but the prawns, although they couldn’t resist giving me four dipping sauces as well. It was pretty much prawn heaven, and I tasted my way through it. The winner? Crumbed prawns with lime and ginger sauce gets my wholehearted vote.

Another thing that gets my vote is the Australian pharmacy system. If you have aches and pains, you probably know Voltaren gel. If you live in the U.S. you have to have a prescription to use it. But I first discovered it in France, where it’s sold over the counter, just as it is in Australia, where my guess is that big pharma does not hold sway.

Speaking of sway, I got to watch as they put the tenders back up onto the ship, something I’d never seen before. The tender pilot has to position the boat exactly under the two hooks that will winch it up,

until it reaches its normal resting place some 40 feet above the water. I was glad not to be in the boat with the crew as they rode it up, although they probably think it’s fun, having done it safely so many times.

As we sailed away the sky seemed perfect for seeing the elusive green flash, which I’ve been stalking most every sunset during this voyage.

But alas, it was yet another flash-less sky, beautiful though it was. And now, time to sail into somewhat cooler waters, heading down south to big-city Sydney.

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3 Comments on “Mmmmm Mooloolaba”


  1. My friends bring me Voltaren from Mexico. I’ve always been afraid to use it because I’ve looked up the warnings. But apparently it’s a “miracle drug.” I heard it even gets rid of those dry keratoses on your skin, but I’ve never tested it out. If millions of people buy it in Europe and Australia, I guess it can’t be all that dire.

    I once had a boyfriend from Melbourne. Peter was an Olympic high jumper who held the Aussie record of 7’4″. His friends used to call him Seven-Foot Peter. When he arrived at Stanford University, he was put immediately on the track and field team. The first time he came out on the field, the announcer said, “Everyone in the stands is rooting for this Aussie champion.”

    Peter looked around in shock. In Australia, “rooting” means “doing the nasty.”

  2. Lise Says:

    Thank you for sharing your adventures! I enjoy reading them and am traveling vicariously through you 😀

  3. Heidi Husnak Says:

    Oh yes! My sister has lived in Sydney for about 30 years and gets so frustrated at the lack of over the counter meds when she visits Los Angeles.


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