If you are on holidays in Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast, you are sure to take the scenic walk across the Alexandra Headlands, to the white sandy beach on the other side. As you make your way up to the headland itself, you find yourself looking up to a spectacular lookout that is shaped like the bow of a navy ship. This is the HMAS Brisbane Lookout, which is one of the best ways to take in the spectacular views over the coastline and to look for whales and dolphins out to sea.
If you visit the lookout early in the morning, you will find yoga groups saluting the sun, joggers meeting there to catch the sunrise, Boot Camp participants waiting to start their drills and if you visit on the weekend, you may even see a wedding ceremony at the end of the bow. It is the centre of the Alexandra Headland picnic area and reserve, with views of the sunrise each morning that will take your breath away.
Locals saluting the sun at the HMAS Brisbane Lookout
Our family discovered this scenic area whilst on a winter holiday in Mooloolaba, from the much-colder winter back in Canberra. We stayed just a short walk from the headland and this picnic area and lookout became a big part of our holidays - it was the perfect place to watch the sunrise, have a sausage sizzle for lunch and also enjoy a coffee and the newspaper in the winter sun. There were plenty of benches and tables to choose from, with spectacular views in every direction. On our visit, Mooloolaba also had a visit from a P&O cruise boat which was anchored out to sea, while the guests were ferried to shore. It created a spectacular sight as it sat perfectly within the sunrise.
If you have toddlers, there was also a small play area with bouncy toys near one of the picnic areas, so they can have a play and a runaround after a picnic. For people walking their dogs, there was also a War Dog Memorial with a tap to fill up the water bowl underneath. Also take a moment to have a look at the Korean War Memorial, which was dedicated to the soldiers who returned from war. A service is held in this location each Anzac Day to pay tribute.
Although the BBQ and picnic areas each had spectacular views, the HMAS Brisbane Lookout itself was also fascinating to walk around, with the significance of the lookout explained on signage around the landscaped gardens. The signs explained that the bow of the navy ship was pointing to the wreck of the real HMAS Brisbane out to sea. It was an 8 story high navy ship that had seen service all around the world for 34 years until it was decommissioned in 2001 and sunk out to sea in 2005, to create an artificial reef for marine life. It is the only purpose-built dive wreck in Australia and divers can actually swim inside the engine and boiler rooms, making it a unique Sunshine Coast tourist attraction.
The HMAS Brisbane Lookout, with the bow pointing out in the direction of the dive site
If you are driving to Mooloolaba or Alexandra Headlands and you want to find a relaxing spot to stop and have a picnic, take in the view and just breathe in the fresh sea air, then ensure you stop at the HMAS Brisbane Lookout and take it all in. It is the perfect location to stand at the lookout and soak up the beauty of the scenic coastline and if you have kids, it is a top spot for them to have a runaround and walk down to the beach afterwards.