Trip Report: Two Weeks Down Under
Flight Review: Qantas B747-400 San Francisco – Sydney
Lounge Review: Qantas Business Class Lounge, Sydney
Flight Review: Qantas A330-300 Sydney – Auckland
Lodging Review: Holiday Inn Auckland Airport
Lodging Review: The Pavilions Hotel, Christchurch
Our Time in Christchurch
Lodging Review: Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
Our Time in Queenstown including Doubtful Sound Tour
Lodging Review: Avani Metropolis, Auckland
Our Time in Auckland
Lodging Review: Oceans Mooloolaba
Our Time on the Sunshine Coast
Lodging Review: Brisbane Marriott
Flight Review: Qantas B787-9 Brisbane – Los Angeles
We flew to the Sunshine Coast airport (MCY) from Auckland via Sydney. There is a non-stop on Air New Zealand but we arrived much earlier in the day on a Virgin Australia connecting flight. From there we took a shuttle to Oceans Mooloolaba, which is about a 15-20 minute drive. Although the address is the Mooloolaba Esplanade, you’re much better off entering from the First Avenue side as there will be no stairs to deal with and the street is much less busy than the Esplanade.
The first order of business is learning how to pronounce Mooloolaba. When discussing our trip ahead of time we guessed that the pronunciation was moo-loo-LA-bah but we were wrong. It’s actually muh-LOO-luh-buh. I had to keep drilling that into my head each time I saw the word printed.
At any rate, this is a resort town with lots of condos, many overlooking the water. They’re mostly individually owned but are managed by resort groups. These complexes are stacked one after the other on the Esplanade, which runs along the beach. The benefit of this is that the ground floors of each of these buildings is filled with retail shops and restaurants so you never have to venture too far away for anything you might need. Though the grocery store isn’t on the Esplanade itself, if you go out the First Avenue entrance of Oceans you can see the grocery’s parking garage from there so it’s an easy walk.
We arrived in the early afternoon and were warmly greeted at the front desk. I like the copper touches to the white interior. We were given the keys to the two-bedroom condo we’d booked using Ultimate Rewards. The elevators were big enough to hold the three of us with our one large suitcase, one rollaboard and one carry-on per person.
Our condo was just to the right as we stepped off the elevator. All the condos have an external gate that’s about 4-4.5 feet high and then a small area just before reaching the front door. I assume this is so you can leave the door open, allowing the breeze to blow through, without having to worry about folks just walking in. Unlocking the gate unlocks the front door at the same time.
Just inside the front door was a laundry closet on the right and the second bedroom on the left. Take a couple of steps down the hall and there’s a bathroom on the right side.
Continue down the hall and the kitchen appears on the right as the space opens up into the living area, which has floor-to-ceiling windows. On the left is a pocket door leading to the master bedroom and a sliding glass door onto the balcony. The master bedroom also has a floor-to-ceiling view and its own door onto the balcony.
The predominate color in our condo was white, which does make the space feel larger. The master bedroom had touches of dark wood and the second bedroom, which has only high windows and little natural light, feels smaller with the dark furniture.
In general our first impression was very positive and we agreed the unit looked as good or better than the photos we’d seen. Naturally as our time there wore on we found little things but overall we were very pleased with the condo.
The master bedroom is long and thin, running parallel to the kitchen, hall bath and part of the living room. The king bed is near the door so all one needs to do is to turn their head left to be able to see outside while lying in bed. I’m sure some beautiful sunrises could be viewed from this spot.
Stepping deeper into the room is a free-standing bathtub. Beyond that is the vanity and sink and then the glass-walled shower. The toilet is opposite the sink.
Opposite the tub is a large walk-in closet. I think all three of us could have put all of our clothes in here and we still would have had extra room. The safe is located in this closet.
The second bedroom was very small but, most importantly to us, had twin beds. The full-length curtains give the impression of large windows but in fact there are only small windows running across the top of the room. As those windows are under the walkway of the floor above, it does tend to be quite dark in this room, even with the curtains open. This room also needs more electrical outlets as multiple people in the room mean multiple devices to charge at night.
The closet doors are sliding mirrors, which does help a little in making the room feel larger. There are several shelves and drawers inside and a luggage rack we used since we didn’t want to fully unpack during our 3-night stay.
I liked the colors of the hall bathroom: green with marbled flooring and walls. It wasn’t huge but was a nice large size for two people in comparison to the size of the second bedroom. The shower itself was great but we had issues with water leaking out of it into bathroom. An inch-high lip on the shower would be a great thing!
Toiletries were by Appelles Apothecary with natural scents and worked well.
Across from the hall bath was a utility closet where the ironing board and iron, broom and dustpan and vacuum cleaner were kept.
By the front door was the utility closet with the stackable washer and dryer along with a deep utility sink. Four beach towels were provided, which was nice!
The kitchen was actually a very nice size. Two people could be working in here at the same time with minimal issue. One thing we did note was there was no garbage disposal in the sink.
On the counter we found a welcome letter, a welcome amenity of chocolate and a nice display of shells.
The glass dining table could seat six in comfortable chairs though we had breakfast on the balcony since we had such great weather.
The living room had a sofa and two comfortable side chairs around a large coffee table.
The TV was wall-mounted – and adjustable – on the wall just outside the entrance to the master bedroom.
The balcony had six chairs and a lovely view of the beach.
Gym, Pool, Sauna, Hot Tub
On the second floor there is a tiny gym behind the elevator.
And a small sauna beside it.
Like several of the complexes in the area, the pool is on the front side of the building, overlooking the ocean, though you have to be standing up to see it. I did not get in the pool though it got a good review from my friends.
The hot tub is a walled-off section inside the pool and my friends did report some of the tiles were coming loose.
Our biggest gripe with Oceans? The wi-fi. It was fine in the living room and in the master bedroom but virtually unusable in the second bedroom. On our last day there I did read the book about the unit and it’s even stated there that the wi-fi is not for streaming, which is very unfortunate and very surprising in 2019. Multiple people have mentioned this on Trip Advisor and I recently saw a response from management that is it something they’re looking into upgrading. I hope that’s soon!
In the end
All of that being said, I’d be happy to return to Oceans. All units face the ocean, which is great. I did see on Trip Advisor that if you’re on the second floor where the pool is that it can be noisy. October turned out to be a fantastic time to visit the Sunshine Coast. We had great weather and one night even a front row seat to a thunderstorm over the ocean, which made for spectacular viewing. While we chose to book it with Ultimate Rewards points, it’s also bookable through the Membership Rewards portal or the Thank You Points portal. If you need non-standard bedding configurations this is definitely a way to use your points to get it.