I'm a freelance writer, living in the Mooloolaba area, and enjoying the chance to promote its attractions.
Published November 16th 2012
What do BBQs and Maroochydore have in common?
What do barbecues and Maroochydore have in common? Picnickers? Hot spots? Almost rhyming first syllables? More importantly, where does Maroochydore have its BBQ places? There are quite a few, actually, but the best, perhaps, are in its three big parks. There you'll find electric BBQ facilities, free to the public. Each BBQ is a one metre square and high, solid brick or metal bench, mounting one or two hotplates. Each has charms that make them worth a visit.
Cotton Tree Park
Cotton Tree Park stretches, flat and grassy, along the tree-lined sandy bank of the Maroochy River, at Cotton Tree, of course. There are three separate BBQs, one all metal stand at the western end, another one mid-way along the park, and one older type a little further along towards Cotton Tree.
Charm 1: Estuary and river views. Each looks out to the estuary's blue water, sandbank 'islands', and trees on the faraway shore at Mudjimba.
Charm 2: Protection. Each The BBQ is under an open, tin-roofed shelter next to trees, so there's always shade. The shelters of the newer BBQs have high roofs; very airy designs. Sea breezes are generally present and pleasant, when gentle. Southerlies are baffled by buildings on the esplanade, but easterlies and northerlies arrive across the water, and can be blustery.
Charm 3: Facilities: The newer BBQs have accompanying fixed metal tables and benches, under the BBQ's shelter. The older BBQ has wooden tables and benches under its shelter. Taps and bins are nearby. A large toilet block is at the midway BBQ. Parking is on the esplanade and in devoted areas at the eastern end.
Charm 4: Surrounds. A children's playground is at the mid-way BBQ. The river and its sandy shore are easily accessed for swimming, boating and fishing. There's even a little jetty. At Cotton Tree itself is a public swimming pool. Shops and cafes are nearby along the esplanade and at Cotton Tree.
Picnic Point Esplanade Parkland
Picnic Point's park is a secluded grassy strip of tree-lined Maroochy River shore, just past Maroochydore CBD, going north. There are three BBQs spread evenly along its length, reached by a cul-de-sac road.
Charm 1: Classic quiet, green river views. Each BBQ has an uninterrupted northwards view of the river, the tree-lined shore of Channel (or Goat) Island, and past it, Mudjimba. Tinnies and half-cabin boats amble quietly upon the channel.
Charm 2: Protection. Each BBQ stands under its own unwalled, tin-roofed shelter. Nearby, large trees give shade, too. Being virtually on the river bank, the BBQs catch all but Southerly breezes. On occasion, onshore breezes can waft the scent of marine weeds, a low tide event perhaps.
Charm 3: Facilities. Each BBQ has its own nearby fixed metal table and bench under an unwalled shelter. Generous spacing allows for a little 'privacy'. Taps and bins are handy, and a toilet block is obvious mid-way along the park. Parking is along the esplanade, and is usually easily got.
Charm 4: Surrounds. Shops are a 10 minute walk away, north and south. A small children's playground is in a separate park, Adolph Blanck Park, across the esplanade road at the eastern end.
Fishermans Road Parkland
Fishermans Road Parkland has grassy lawns and stands of trees along the bank of Eudlo Creek where it joins the Maroochy River on the western exit of Maroochydore. There are four all metal BBQs - two at the western end, and two midway of its length. This is one of the newer BBQ locations.
Charm 1: Water views. Three of the BBQs have a tree-interrupted view of Eudlo Creek, bearing in mind that Eudlo Creek is little more than a good stone's throw wide. The other BBQ is nearer Fishermans Road and looks out on lawn (or the road).
Charm 2: Protection. All BBQs are under mostly unwalled, high tin-roofed shelters, themselves next to trees that provide shade much of the day. The trees act as windbreaks against all breezes except easterlies.
Charm 3: Facilities. Fixed metal tables and benches accompany each BBQ under its shelter. Bins and taps are close by. A large toilet block is at the midway BBQs. Parking is plentifully available at a devoted car park area midway along the park, along the side of Fishermans Road, and in the car park of the adjacent sports grounds.
Charm 4: Surrounds. There is a large, covered children's playground at the mid-park BBQs. Eudlo Creek's banks are easily accessible for a dip, and there is a boat ramp about mid-park. Shops are a few minutes' drive towards Bli Bli or Maroochydore. Note: Every Sunday, the eastern grasslands are occupied by a large Farmers' market. Good for a morning's look-see, but it means parking becomes scarce.
All in all, Maroochydore has, at least, three good BBQ areas. Each has particular charms, something for everyone.