Great Sandy National Park is mainly known for the Cooloola Recreation Area between Noosa Heads and Rainbow Beach… and of course for world-famous Fraser Island. However, on the other side of Great Sandy National Park lies a less sandy, but equally exciting adventure: Kayaking in the Noosa Everglades.
Everglades? You thought they were in Florida? Well, Noosa has its very own subtropical wetlands, tucked away behind 40 Mile Beach. The wetlands are part of the only river system in Australia that has its entire upper catchment protected in a National Park. The extensive system of freshwater, brackish and saline lakes, marshes, heathlands and estuarine wetlands associated with the Noosa River is home to unique flora and fauna, well worth exploring.[vc_gallery type=”image_grid” images=”1954,1958,1962,1966,1970″]There are several ways of exploring the Noosa Everglades, including cruises and guided kayak tours, but we decided to go the adventurous route and chose a self-guided tour. Kanu Kapers are based in Boreen Point, on the shores of Lake Cootharaba. In typical Noosa fashion, it is almost impossible to get there without a car, but once we arrived, everything was organised and ready to go. We were kitted out with double sea kayaks – or, as we liked to call them, floating bananas. After a brief introduction to the ins and outs of paddling and steering, we were off. (Laminated) map in hand, we found our way across the lake, up the river to Harry’s Hut for lunch, with plenty of time (and need!) for breaks in between. It’s a beautiful and serene journey, dotted with discoveries such as water lilies in full bloom, goannas at swim and giant dragonflies…
After a dip in the tannin-infused river, we enjoyed our lunch in the sun, wondering if maybe we should have booked the three-day trip, camping in one of the many riverside sites within the Noosa Everglades. The main attraction is the extended itinerary, which includes a walk on Cooloola Sand Patch, and a peek at the ocean on the other side. However, as we chilled out at our picknick spot, the thought of NOT having to paddle all the way back to Boreen Point also became increasingly appealing.
Hoping for tail winds, we instead faced a stiff breeze and got back absolutely exhausted! Not only had we had a great adventure and explored a lesser-known aspect of the Noosa Biosphere, we would have the biceps to prove it, too!