As we travel around Australia on our big lap there are a few iconic trips we want to do and exploring the Everglades in Cooloola National Park was one of them. I had seen amazing photos of the river of mirrors and was dying to jump in a canoe and see them for myself. There are a few different options to explore this area, either self guided or with a tour. We chose The Discovery Company for our experience on their Bar-b-Canoe Tour. It’s a full day trip leaving the jetty in Nosaville at 10am and arriving back at 4pm. There is transport provided from your accommodation, but as we were staying at the Noosa River Holiday Park we walked the 20 minutes to the jetty along the foreshore. As you’re waiting to board there is a small coffee shop that looked nice, but we didn’t try the coffee on this occasion.
When you join a tour like this its always good to have a local guide and Trevor our driver and guide for the day was the perfect man for the job. He has lived in the area all his life and been a guide since 1975 when he joined the family business he later sold to the Discovery Group and has just kept working for them and why not it’s an amazing office.
There were 24 people on our tour of all ages and nationalities and after the safety briefing we headed up the shallow waters of the Noosa river, past the Hillbilly Hilton house boat, the beautiful tradition Queenslander properties on the North Shore before picking up speed until we reached Sir Richard Branson’s heart-shaped private island Makepeace. When I was 12 I wrote to Richard asking for advice on hot ballooning for a school project, he sent me loads of information and his signature. I might try again and ask for a night on his Island, it looks amazing and at $5500 per night for up to 4 guests, it’s the only way I will ever afford it!
This area has a rich history, the Gubbi Gubbi were the Traditional Owners, logging along the river began in 1864 until 1870 and now tourism flourishes in this area. We motored up the man-made channel of large tidal Lake Cooroibah to Kinaba and into Fig Tree lake with the Great Sandy National Park on our right side. The water then started to change colour as we reached the start of the everglades at Kin Kin Creek to light brown, here the water is half fresh and half salt. It’s then up into the Upper Noosa River, which is so peaceful with beautiful bird sounds before stopping for morning tea at Fig Tree Point. We did the 400m loop walk which is a nice stretch of the legs.
After morning tea half the group headed up stream in the Canadian style canoes while the rest of us got back on the boat for a leisurely meander up the river.
We all met up at Harry’s Hut for lunch where you can take a dip in the water if you like. The BBQ lunch was excellent with a choice of steak [Trevor had them cooked to everyones preference] or as we both had the Barramundi, along with a sausage and salads. Icy cold water and juice were also available throughout the trip too.
After lunch it was our turn to paddle the 5km back to Fig Tree Point through the stunning glassy narrows. A cheeky southerly wind made the trip back a good workout with some of our group having a helpful little tow from the boat.
The reflections in the water were just stunning, it felt like you were surrounded by the banksia, grasses and cabbage palms that line the river bank and that your paddle should crash into a paperbark tree branch at any moment.
We spotted an abundance of wildlife on this trip which isn’t surprising as over 44% of all Australia’s bird species live in this region and over 700 native animals. We saw kangaroos, beautiful Brahminy Kites and Darters with their extraordinarily long necks. Trevor even surprised us with some Catfish jumping out the water, as we board the canoe.
The southerly made for a fun choppy ride back for the beginning of the trip until we reached sheltered waters so nobody was grabbing a beer or wine that are on sale on the boat. We rounded off a perfect day by having drinks at the Boathouse’s Sunset Bar, overlooking the river.
What a great day and we would certainly recommend booking with The Discovery Group, an excellent tour, knowledgeable tour guide and all the right safety procedures in place. Don’t miss this on your trip to Noosa!