EVER enjoyed camping within clear sight of high rise units, but still had the luxury of going to sleep with the sound of the surf in your ears? If not, the Mooloolaba Beach Caravan Park is the place to do it.
Situated right on Parkyn Parade at Mooloolaba, and almost directly opposite the famous Underwater World tourist attraction, this Maroochy Shire Council owned venue is a very surprising camping destination. For a start, there’s absolute frontage to one of the most picturesque beaches on the Sunshine Coast. And while Parkyn Parade is a busy thoroughfare you’re once inside the boom gates to the caravan park, the hustle and bustle of the world outside the fenced-off camping grounds just drifts away.
And with the great beach, river, and offshore fishing right at hand, this is one camping destination that will really appeal to anglers.
Mooloolaba is central within the Sunshine Coast beaches, and you can get there either by travelling north from Caloundra or south from Maroochydore and Noosa. When travelling via the Bruce Highway, turn east a few kays north from the Ettamoogah Pub onto the Sunshine Motorway (well signed) which runs onto a large T junction with Brisbane Road. Turn left turn into Brisbane Road, and head north to where the UnderWater World signs lead to Parkyn Drive. Once in Parkyn Drive, you’ll soon see the neat green sign pointing the way to the Caravan Park.
The caravan park and camping grounds feature 90 powered sites and six non-powered sites. Within the well-shaded grounds there are exceptionally clean amenities (with piped popular music!) neat concrete pads for caravan annexes, electric BBQs, water and sullage points and a laid back, friendly atmosphere that starts at the gate where you’ll meet Bill McLean, the manager.
The beauty of staying at this camping destination is that it's handy to everything. You’re within walking distance of the Mooloolaba surf club and large local shopping complex, and the beach is straight out through the door on the northern side of the park. A keyed pad allows beach access, and at the same time prevents the park from being used as a thoroughfare by other folk.
Just down Parkyn Drive and to the east are the twin launching ramps on the Mooloolah River with their large and popular (on weekends) carparks. These are great ramps to use, and options for the boating angler include casting soft plastics or baits around the many pontoons in the river, or heading out through the training walls in search of pelagics or reef fish. I took my 4.8 metre boat with us last time and didn’t have any problems setting it up next to the camp site. Make no mistake – we were sure on the water early in search of the tuna!
The attraction of launching here is that there’s virtually no bar on the Mooloolah River because the river walls are thoroughly sheltered by Point Cartwright's headland. Only in the worst sea conditions does the bar become unfriendly, and that's usually when the tide is pushing against incoming waves. Leaving the run offshore until the tidal flow reduces will often see the situation change.
Mooloolaba is a great venue for the boating angler. The ultra-light tackle fishing around the river walls and pontoons is excellent, and the renowned offshore grounds offer everything from quality reef fish to marlin – virtually with the boat still within sight of land. And the closer inshore grounds are beloved by sportfishers, particularly those chasing fast-moving mack tuna or longtails with their ever-present attendant flocks of birds. These fish often venture virtually into the river mouth when feeding hard, and during late Summer and Autumn the large bay (created by Point Cartwright) is a big drawcard for spin and fly anglers. Even in strong south-easterly breezes the fish can be easily located and hooked up with the light spin tackle or fly gear.
Be advised that these are open waters once you get past the bar, and you need to carry full safety gear aboard, as required by law. The Transport Department's boating patrol officers are usually out and about within the Mooloolah River where the speed limit is six knots, unless signed otherwise.
While this camping destination is great for shore-based fishos as well. There’s the attraction of beach fishing virtually at the back of the camping grounds, and the large rock wall on the west bank of the river is within walking distance as well. Early morning (or dusk) fishing here can produce anything from tuna through to trevally. In the right conditions, bream, whiting, and tailor are always there for the switched-on angler as well.
And the same goes for the river near the launching ramps. A lot of quality bream hang around here, and a good way to bring them undone is to fish as light as possible at night with a fine line and small sinker. The best baits are whole small fish or chunks of fish flesh. The idea is to let the bream run a bit with the bait. Don't try to hook him straight off or he’ll simply let go.
Whiting on blood worms or wrigglers are another possibility in the river, and there are plenty of places where shore-based anglers can enjoy a session on these fish. The best fishing is at night; the same as for bream.
In all, the Mooloolaba Beach Caravan Park is real surprise packet, given that it’s virtually in the heart of prime residential development. It’s a very popular place to stay, and bookings are essential for major holiday periods. To secure a place, call 1800 441 201 or e-mail --e-mail address hidden--
1) Spacious and well shaded sites are features of the Mooloolaba Beach caravan park at Parkyn Drive. There is plenty of room for the boat. Once you’re past the boom gate the caravan park is a restful and friendly place.
2) Small boats offer great fishing opportunities in the Mooloolah River. Soft plastics around the pontoons and jettys are fun to fish.
3) The western wall on the Mooloolah river is virtually within walking distance of the caravan park. There is good fishing to be had either on the walls or within the river proper.
4) The back gate leading to the beach. Once down the board walk you can sun bake, swim or fish or just take in the view.Reads: 559