Noosa has some great activities from the beach to the bush and beyond. From swimming at Main Beach to doing a cooking class or just chilling out, Noosa’s got it all. It even has its own Everglades which you can explore on a self-guided kayak tour. Think of Noosa and beaches, blue water and relaxing with a latte on Hastings Street probably come to mind. But venture out a little and you have an incredible assortment of natural experiences at your fingertips, from Noosa National Park to the stunning Noosa Everglades ecosystem.
It’s the Noosa Everglades that I’m about to explore with Kanu Kapers Australia through some very spectacular scenery. The Noosa Everglades is one of only two Everglades systems in the world and hosts a stunning array of unique Australian flora and fauna in a surprisingly small area. It is also part of the Great Sandy National Park that stretches from the Noosa north shore to almost the tip of Fraser Island along the Queensland Coast. This area includes Rainbow Beach, an undeveloped stretch of beach running from Noosa to Fraser Island that is a big favourite with 4WD lovers.
It’s a crystal clear morning as my teenage son and I make our way to Boreen Point and the meeting point for our self-guided kayak tour with Kanu Kapers. We still have a way to go and I’m already a little lost. This is due to my Sat Nav taking me to a spot a few kilometres from the meeting point and me not preparing properly for the tour. After the tour, a closer look at the confirmation email revealed specific written instructions for how to get to the launch point. Make sure you read all of the email, even if you are a regular visitor to Noosa. Don’t just look at the map and assume you’ll be fine like I did. Fortunately, a phone call soon has us in the right place and quickly joining the assembled group for the safety briefing.
The team at Kanu Kapers have everything ready to go with kayaks, eskies and laminated maps with reference photos to assist even the most navigationally challenged. The couples and groups around me are all on self-guided tours and range from young backpackers to mature adventurers. One group of four from the UK are doing the overnight stay that incorporates kayaking and camping at one of the camp grounds within the National Park.
Depending on your itinerary there are a number of tours available from the one day self-guided one that I’m venturing out on, to a two-day guided tour that has you exploring the many hidden spots throughout the Everglades with a guide and camping at a secluded bush campground. After completing a quick check of our paddling ability and getting accustomed to the kayak’s rudder we are off to explore. My son has the front spot which has the rudder and it seems I’m the outboard. It might be a good idea to draw straws or even change positions half way through the tour if you want to have the front for a while and a break from being the outboard motor.
Following the map and directions given to us by Kanu Kapers, we start traversing Lake Cootharaba at a leisurely pace. It’s important to note that depending on the time of year and the weather you need to have a good idea about where your turn around point should be. Get this wrong and you might find yourself paddling back in the dark which is not a good idea. One surprising thing about the lakes and waterways in this area is the depth of the water. What seems like a deep and imposing stretch of water turns out to be extremely shallow.
Lake Cootharaba can be crossed by foot in most parts with only a few deeper sections available for boat traffic. This is one of the real pleasures of this tour as it is so quiet and peaceful. The best idea for exploring the Everglades is taking the advice of the Kanu Kapers team and stopping regularly to explore a few places and to rest your tired arms. The first spot after crossing the lake is the Kinaba Visitor Information Centre. This is a nice place to rest and refresh and have that all important toilet stop. From here you’re heading into the Upper Noosa River waterway. This is where a vast array of birdlife resides with over 40% of Australia’s bird species making the Everglades their home, and their local food source.
The areas up this river are also amazing for “the serenity” (as they say in the movie The Castle) where the river is a perfect mirror and the only noise to be heard is birdlife. The next place to stop is Harry’s Hut. This camping and day trip area is the perfect turning point for your self-guided trip. This camp ground does have toilets but water needs to be treated before use. If you’re on the overnight camp then you proceed further up the river to one of about four camp sites located along the river with some great walks to do from the camp grounds. Heading back to the drop off point at Elanda Point can seem to take longer than paddling up the river so be sure to be mindful of the time it takes to cross the lake.
Surprisingly, there is mobile phone access through most of the area with Telstra providing the best coverage so if you need to contact Kanu Kapers they are on hand to help. As we pull our kayak onto the shore, my teenage son gives me a high five and is already thinking about what he can eat. Luckily Noosa has some great dining as well. I can really recommend doing this kayak trip in winter as the weather is normally perfect and the days are warm and dry and not as hot and wet as during the summer months. Overall this tour is all about the serenity and finding your own perfect piece of paradise. With scenery this beautiful, it’s very easy to do.
Disclosure: Trevor Templeman visited Noosa as a guest of Tourism Noosa and is impressed that he didn’t fall in during the tour.
If you’re after some things to see and do in Noosa, you could go dolphin spotting, cruise the Noosa Everglades in a vintage wooden speedboat or on a kayaking trip, get fit with some healthy Noosa activities, go on a Kanu Kapers Everglades Tour, a Noosa helicopter tour, or a dolphin spotting adventure with Noosa Oceanrider. Find out all you need to know with The Ultimate Guide to Noosa.