Day 58/138 2022/2023 World Cruise. MOOLOOLABA, Queensland, Australia.
We arrived this morning at the town of MooWHO as I’m calling it since it is so difficult to pronounce! You can see from the photo below that we were anchored quite a ways offshore for this port, and the welcoming party of outriggers were off our port side to greet us!
Mooloolaba has an Outrigger Canoe Club. What a fun thing to do on a Sunday morning at 7am!
The alarm was an early one this morning so we could be on the first tender off the ship. We met up with Sue and Steve, Lyle and Linda downstairs in the Living Room at 7:30am and put our names in with Guest Services to catch the first tender. The tender was to leave at 8am, but it took time to load with everyone else who was going on optional or included excursions.
Ready for the tender ride to Mooloolaba.
The waters heading across the open sea were a bit rocky, until we got to the protected. channel. Our tender had to navigate, between docked boats on both sides and cut the engines to 6 knots and no wake as we entered the channel. We docked in MOOLOOLABA around 8:35am and headed up towards the very narrow dock at the Wharf.
MOOLOOLABA Wharf. A very upbeat looking spot with lots of bars, restaurants and shops! Nothing was open though when we arrived, and we didn’t have time to explore yet since we needed to get a taxi or Uber to the golf club.
Richard found the DMC (destination management company) representative that was working with Viking to send the tour buses out and she was nice enough to call us a taxi to the golf club. We shared a taxi to the golf club with Sue and Steve and Lyle and Linda got in another taxi.
Richard surveying the situation and waiting for our taxi. Doesn’t he look spiffy in his new Cape Kidnappers golf shirt? He loves to watch the goings on of bus arrivals and departures. I guess he was making sure they did things right today!
Another shot of the wharf. The local tourist staff were on the wharf handing out maps to all of us who were coming off the tender boats, with ‘Welcome to MOOLOOLABA’ written on the maps. The map was on a card stock type paper that was quite substantial with all of the shops, restaurants/bars and local services noted on the map. All the websites for the town and local cab company numbers were on the back of the map. The Sunshine Coast Council published the map and their mantra is: Healthy, Smart, Creative! I was impressed! Before we got off the ship this morning Richard was trying to understand why our ship was not docking in Brisbane which was an hour south of us. He found out that Brisbane where we were originally supposed to be docked today had closed their cruise ship terminal in advance of a $20million dollar makeover for Portside Wharf. Impacted cruise lines such as Viking, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and Silversea have all made alternative arrangements and the town of MOOLOOLABA is benefitting from 13 cruise ships arriving between December 2022 and February 2023 which locals anticipate will generate $2million AUD to the local economy! So that’s why we had the little maps at the ready for us today!
The cab ride to the golf course was only about 10 minutes and we had a stunning 28C day for golf! The golf course was located in Buderim Village which is very close to MOOLOOLABA.
Headland Golf Course is a par 72 Championship Course which is a classic 60 year old design. I had paid online when I booked yesterday so it was a very easy check in at 9am for our 9:30am tee time. Steve had rented some golf clubs so he had to get those before we played and of course we needed our golf cart keys.
I brought the cart down from the storage area while Richard minded our clubs.
Driving the cart…but not for long!
The obligatory first tee photo on the putting green. Sue joined us as a spectator and cheered us on today. Just look at that sky!
Bird of Australia. Not sure what it is, but it was on the golf course. The birds sound different in Australia on the golf course! And they sure do make a lot of noise too!
Richard making friends with Russell the Ranger at the golf course, looking down the first fairway.
Getting the correct alignment on the first tee. A downhill 317 metre, 346 yard par 4 from the red tees.
#2. A narrow 452 metre/494 yard par 5 slight dogleg right from the white tees. 433 metre/473 yard par 5 from the red tees. I hit driver, three wood, five wood, to an uphill green and two putt for par. I was pretty happy with that!
We were told that there would be a beverage cart out on the golf course. We just never expected this!
An actual beverage truck that drove all over the golf course! Crazy! I would never have imagined we would see a size truck driving all over the golf course serving drinks!
The 9th hole. An uphill par 4. The bunkers were ‘Ground Under Repair’ all over the golf course today, with free lifts out out of the traps. The club is embarking on a huge bunker renovation project adding over 60 new bunkers and changing the existing bunkers to eliminate the huge lips on the bunkers, which get washed out when they get torrential rains. The new bunkers will have cement bottoms with much better drainage. I was only in 2 bunkers today, but it was nice to be able to take a free lift out of these deep greenside bunkers.
Another view of the 9th hole, wth the holes on the left of the photo being on the back 9. We liked the back nine better because it was more scenic and there was more water holes, which are more tricky, but a nice feature on a golf course.
The 18th hole was an uphill par 3. I forgot to take a photo of the hole, but it was a nice way to end the round as it was one of the shortest par 3’s. We were definitely hot after golf and looking for some air conditioning. Thankfully the restaurant/bar area was delightfully cool inside and we sat and enjoyed some cold beverages with some ‘crisps’ that Steve had bought for us.
A nice view of the course, with the ocean in the background in MOOLOOLABA.
We thought we could see the Viking Neptune in the distance, but they were actually just freighters that I zoomed in on with my Iphone from the balcony of the golf course.
Playing with Steve, who is a ’Brit’ we had to play Stableford today as well as Gross and Net golf. I play Stableford from time to time on the Niagara Women’s Tour that my friend Martha organizes, but not on a regular basis as the Brits typically play. A pretty good round today for never having laid eyes eyes on the golf course before.
Me and Richard tied net, I won the gross and the Stableford points (1 point for a net bogey, 2 points for a net par, 3 points for a net birdie and no points for a net double bogey or worse which is all based on our individual handicaps; with Richard being a 18 handicap and me a 9 handicap).
I had brought my Ipad to the golf course for after golf. Why would I do that? To be able to download photos into the Wix app, while we are on shore with good internet. The internet was blazingly fast at the club house which was very impressive and very welcomed after having bad internet for days now on the Neptune. So now that I know I can upload photos on land and it worked for me again today, it may be something I have to resort to in the future to try and get the blog published. They other day I in Sydney I had the blog ready to publish and just added photos at the shopping centre. Today I didn’t have the blog written but instead, just uploaded the photos into the Wix app ready to be published, once the blog was written.
I thought I would throw in a photo from yesterday when I was organizing the golf for us all.
Me and Steve yesterday checking out tee times in the Explorer’s Lounge before Team Trivia. Steve was great to golf with today with a nice swing and just a fun guy to play with. Hopefully we will get a chance to play with him again on this trip and perhaps in London or Spain where he has also has homes. We do have more Viking cruises booked after all to Europe!
We got a rocky tender back to the ship which was packed with people returning form excursions around 4pm. The back on board time was supposed to be 4pm, but since so many people were still missing around 4pm from late excursions, we decided to spend awhile in the nice, vibrant MOOLOOLABA Wharf while waiting for more people to show up from their various excursions.
Our first order of duty on arriving back on board was to take nice, long showers! The tender boat was very hot and bumpy as we crossed back to the ship and it was so nice to get cleaned up after a hot day.
We met up with our neighbours Mike and Sharon who had been on a tour that was supposed to see a winery after touring somewhere else first, and the driver reversed the trip for them, so they ended up at a winery at 10:30am in the morning which was not at all to their liking. Who wants to be going to a winery to do wine tastings at 10:30am? Mike is going to be giving Viking some feedback on that one. We also heard people complaining on the tender about the included excursion that Viking put on. When we listened to the port talk and learned that the 3 hour included excursion to Noosa was going to be a 45 minute bus ride to Noosa, shopping for 1 hour or so in Noosa, and then a 45 minute bus ride back to the MOOLOOLABA Wharf, to take the tender back to the Neptune, we knew we were NOT going to do that. Remember that Viking does guarantee an included excursion in every port. You might not like the excursion but what we are finding is that in these small towns the excursion is almost created to give the illusion that the place you are going to on the bus for 45 minutes is better than the place you just arrived at. MOOLOOLABA according to our friends Gene and Margaret who spent the day wandering the town was charming! A nice, very walkable beach front town with great shops, restaurants and interesting things to see -for example today was the grade school and high school Surf Life Lifesaving Queensland competitions where the kids were competing against each other in things like running on the beach to a touch a point from lying prone in the sand start; swimming out to sea from a running mass start and touching a floating object and then swimming back to shore to see who could complete this exercise the fastest. Each small town in Australia is responsible for maintaining safety on their shoreline and they do it through these Surf Lifesaving Clubs and the competitions are not just for students, but for seniors too! Mike and Sharon also saw the trophies being awarded after their excursion finished up. So all that being said, sometimes the place the ship takes you, is better than where the excursion might take you. Caveat Emptor. Do the research, read between the lines and make your own decision afterwards. As I said to Richard tonight when we were back on board, this kind of research on these small towns is something you can do before you get on board. We could have researched to the minutiae detail back home and put together a spreadsheet of each town, what to see and do etc etc, but what changes around a few days before arriving to a town or city is what time the tenders will be running, what time is the back on board time, the weather, etc etc. So as much as doing research ahead of time is important, sometimes a ‘Game Day Decision ‘ or a close to ’Game Day Decision’ is what needs to be called on what exactly we will be doing in a port of call. We are learning and getting better at having the best experience on this cruise.
We are so very glad we cancelled our 3 hour included excursion today and instead found another opportunity to golf in Australia at a charming 60+ year old golf course. The cost of golf was $44 AUD each plus the carts which was an amazing value for such a great course. I loved the layout and would play the course again if I could. We had a blast at the Headlands Golf Course. There is something to be said about a ‘Game Day’ decision to change plans, like we did yesterday. We are re-thinking our next port of call too because the included excursion is again very similar to today’s. Get on a bus, go to a slightly bigger town than the one we are being tendered into, and then have 1.5 hours of free time, to get bussed back to the tender town. Included excursions for us are coming more and more looking like a good option for when the weather might be bad, or for people who really don’t want to stray off the beaten path for whatever reason. That is not us, and everyone of us who golfed today at Headlands was so very thankful we were in a MaxI taxi back to the Wharf, instead of being on a bus for close to two hours today!
We have a sea day tomorrow and it is back to the gym for me! Golf and walking around Sydney has been a lot of exercise, but there is nothing like a good workout in the gym for me! We’ll be working on our ship with the team I presume at some point tomorrow and again there will be more calligraphy to test myself in new directions! And we will see how Tiger finishes at the Genesis Invitational on the PGA Tour. I wish I could watch it, but unfortunately we do not have access to regular tv programming on the cruise, so I will have to wait until hopefully the Masters in April (which I sure hope Viking broadcasts) to see how he has progressed since his life altering, ankle crushing, car accident. I don’t condone his lifestyle, but for me he is the GOAT in golf.