Saltwater

I’d like you close your eyes and imagine the perfect chip. Are your eyes closed? They’d be crunchy crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside and every single chip on the plate would be like that. No soggy ones lurking about at the bottom – all of them crispy, crunchy and golden delicious.

Welcome to Saltwater, Mooloolaba’s latest fish and chippery and home of, we think, the best fish and chips in Mooloolaba – and I say that with absolute apologies to The Deck (whose calamari is still my fave, and nothing beats eating a kilo of prawns up there), and that one in the Landmark building whose name I can never remember but that does fabulous fish.

Located on The Wharf – which, incidentally, is gloriously coming back to life as we speak – at Mooloolaba, this Hamptons style fish and chippery is a salty sister to Rice Boi and from the same family as Junk and Hello Harry (in Maroochydore).

And the food?

These guys do a chip butty. Yes, I’m serious. Those fabulous chips in two slices of buttered white bread for just $3…I had one late-ish the other Friday night…and washed it down with a glass of prosecco…as you do. But, I digress. The food. Like Rice Boi, there’s nothing on this menu that’s over $20. It’s takeaway but served at a table with a fabulous view…although you could take it away if you wanted to – but seriously, with views like this, why would you?

Hubby had the fish and chips ($10), Miss 19 had the salmon cakes ($4 each) and I had a prawn roll – essentially a Mooloolaba prawn cocktail in a brioche bun…yummo…also $10.

If you want something a tad more luxe, you can. There’s the full prawn cocktail version of the prawn roll I had, plus a good range of burgers ($10), including an oyster po’boy ($15). There’s also spaghettini, risotto, and swordfish skewers. I could go on, but duck over to the Facebook page for a pic of the menu and whatever other info you need.

Where?

On The Wharf at Mooloolaba, Parkyn Parade

When?

From 11.30 – late 7 days a week

How much? $

Nothing over $20 – unless you go for market-priced fish…

Licenced?

Yep

Vegetarian options?

Not really – the chip butty maybe?

Rice Boi, Mooloolaba

Rice Boi

Let me say this first: I’m in dumpling heaven.

The dumplings

Now that I’ve got that out of the way…actually no, I need to say it again – the dumplings really are that good. In fact, Rice Boi really is that good. This is the street food style eatery that Mooloolaba has been needing. It’s the street food style eatery that I’ve been needing, with the handmade dumplings I’ve been craving.

With a grungey industrial style fit-out that wouldn’t be out of place in Melbourne, fabulous food, a price point that’s affordable for everyone – there’s nothing over $20 on the menu – and that incredible view over Mooloolaba’s canals there’s so much to like about Rice Boi.

The menu at Rice Boi (from their Facebook page)

So, what did we have, aside from the dumplings, of course? here’s another view of them.

Dumplings

The food comes out street food style – as it’s ready – and is designed to share. We nibbled on some lotus chips to start. I first had these in the owner, Tony Kelly’s other restaurant Junk at Maroochydore. As an aside, he also created Hello Harry’s burger restaurant at Maroochydore and Caloundra, and the newly opened Saltwater Fish and Chippery also at Mooloolaba Wharf. This guy really knows his food and his market.

Lotus Chips

Anyways, the lotus chips. If there was ever a snack designed to be eaten with beer, this is it.

We also shared the kung pao calamari and the salt and pepper chicken wings. We’ll be back next week to sample the bao and curries…and the ramen, which looks prettier than any ramen has the right to look. With a couple of drinks each (wine for me, beer for him), we had a great night out for not much more than $60. Next time, though, I’m trying the cocktails.

Where

You’ll find Rice Boi on the Wharf at Mooloolaba, Parkyn Parade.

When

From 11.30am – late 7 days a week

Licensed?

Yes

How much? $

There’s nothing on the menu over $20

Vegetarian options?

Yes

If you want more info, check out their Facebook page.

Update…

Since I wrote this we’ve been back to Rice Boi a few times and sampled so much more. Spoiler alert – the bao are a-freaking-mazing.

 

 

 

Mooloolaba Mornings

It was over the hill to Alexandra Headland this morning. It won’t be long before sunrise will be stupidly early, so I’m making the most of these days.

Back in Mooloolaba, today’s cruise ship was coming in. The barman at the Surf Club yesterday told me that they’ve estimated that the cruise ships coming into Mooloolaba – and people coming down to gawk at the ships – will bring about $1 million into the region. It’s easy to believe. There are markets set up beside the Wharf especially for cruise passengers.

 

 

Whale-watching with Whale One at Mooloolaba

 

There’s a flat part to the water – completely glass-like. It looks almost like an oil slick, but it isn’t. It’s a “footprint” left behind when a whale dives – as the up-thrust of it’s tail drives water to the surface.

See the footprint in the bottom right

It’s just one of the ways that we know there are whales around – another are the blows…and they’re all around us.

We’re on Whale One, about 11- 12 miles off the coast of Mooloolaba and we’re excited. In fact, even the crew is excited. Today is a good day – there are plenty of whales about and they’re having fun.

Miss 19 and I don’t have a great record with whale watching. We had 2 attempts in Kaikoura – both times the cruise was cancelled due to bad weather – and another off Auckland where we saw nothing nada zilch. It happens – and when it does, it’s best just to enjoy the sights and experience of the cruise.

This time we’ve timed (accidentally) our whale watch experience to coincide with the peak time of the Humpback whale’s northern migration – and these guys have energy to burn. Given that they won’t eat again until they’re back in Antarctica later in the year, they probably have more energy now than they will have on the return journey. I guess every road trip needs some fun, and this one – to the Barrier Reef and then back again – is longer than most.

Leaving from the Wharf at Mooloolaba, we cruised up the river – past some multi-million dollar properties – to where the river meets the ocean at the rock wall. On the way out we passed a trawler heading back in with their catch. ‘There’s plenty of them out there,’ the deckie called.

 

From here things got choppy – and more than a few people were pleased to have taken the precaution of sea-sickness tablets. Miss 19 and I, however, were completely unaffected. The crew kept coming around to check on everyone and hand out bags where required.

As we motored out to the main whale highway – an area anywhere between 8-12 miles off Mooloolaba – Shorty, our skipper told us more about the whales and their behaviours. Migaloo, the famed white whale, had been seen off North Stradbroke a day or so earlier and was rumoured to be in the area, so Shorty told us about the day he spent almost 3 hours with Migaloo back in the late 90’s.

At about the 10 mile mark we saw our first blow – and then another. From this point it just got better and better as we witnessed breach after breach and a couple of corkscrews. We even saw a rare double breach – where 2 whales came out of the water at the same time. Sadly I don’t have the photographic proof, but it was epic.

 

As we idled in the water – Shorty explaining how far we needed to stay from them to guarantee their safety and that of any newborns – the whales came to us. One went under the boat, surfacing on the other side so we all had a good look at her. I got so carried away with pointing and cheering that I couldn’t take photos. Thankfully Miss 19 took over and I have her to thank for all the pics in this post.

 

The pictures tell just a small part of what was a completely awesome and breathtaking experience. Just fabulous. Oh, and we didn’t catch up with Migaloo – although we did come across a gorgeous dappled (probably) female that got us awfully excited for a little while.

 

Want to know more?

Whale One runs two cruises a day during the peak whale-watching season – each lasting about 3 hours. They also have a speed boat – the Wild One – which gets you to the whales quicker. Those tours last 2 hours.

Don’t forget, whales are wild animals and as such their behaviour can’t be predicted – nor can sightings. The brochures might show breaches, but this sort of action isn’t guaranteed. Whale One has a very good strike rate – check out their Facebook page for the daily action – but even so, we got extremely lucky.

You can book cruises at their website.

 

Mooloolaba Sea life…Underwater World

We’ve been coming to Sea life (or Underwater World, as we’ve always called it) since Miss 19 was Miss still in a pram. It’s become a tradition – one of the first things we had to do each time we came to the coast.

But it’s been a few years since we’ve been here and, well, the otters have gone – and I can’t seem to find out why. (If you know, please tell me).

Other than the missing otters, Underwater World still delivers.

There’s still the ocean glass tunnels with the massive gropers, rays and reef sharks.

There’s still the billabongs and the river zones, the seahorses and pacific reef. And there’s still the seals – watching their antics is worth the price of admission alone. Make sure that you time your visit for the twice daily shows.

The touch pool out the front is still a source of wonder for little kids, but at the moment it’s also serving as a nursery for a clutch of baby turtles. They’ll be grown in the aquarium until they’re 15cm long and have a fighting chance in the ocean (did you know that just 1 in 1000 sea turtles survives to maturity?). The turtles are tagged, released, and their travels tracked. With luck, they’ll survive to come back to the beach of their hatching to lay their own eggs – many years from now.

The jellyfish are also pretty incredible. Coincidentally, I heard a podcast only the day before we visited Underwater World that was talking about how jellyfish are both an early warning system on an ecosystem that’s failing – and the cause of a failing eco system getting substantially worse. They’re fabulously interestingly weird creatures – and extremely photogenic.

Worth a visit?

Absolutely. Buy your tickets online to save queues – particularly on weekends and at school holiday time.

Underwater World is also the perfect rainy day school holiday activity – not that it ever rains here on the Sunshine Coast…well, hardly ever…

Countdown to a sunset…

another sunset from a different day

The whole time we were deliberating over our sea-change, one song by Dido kept running through my head. The song is Sand in My Shoes and the lyrics :

Try to forget for one more night
That I’m back in my flat on the road
Where the cars never stop going through the night
To a life where I can’t watch the sun set
I don’t have time

Try to remind myself that I was happy here
Before I knew that I could get on the plane and fly away
From the road where the cars never stop going through the night
To a life where I can watch the sun set
And take my time

It said everything about why we were making the change.

Now that we’re living on the Sunshine Coast, I’m making an extra effort to do just that – stop for a few minutes at the beginning and end of each day and marvel that I can now watch the sun set – and take my time.

There was a day last week when the rain had come and gone, and the sky cleared momentarily to a sailor’s delight of a sunset over Mooloolaba. It started with a pale glow, intensified into something pretty special, before starting to fade again.

Good Morning…Mooloolaba

 

Good morning from Mooloolaba….

I’m yet to meet a sunrise that I don’t like, so these morning posts are a way of charting my morning beach walks, and the beauty of a coastal sunrise.

Have a fabulous Friday…