Hidden within the Great Sandy National Park, the Noosa Everglades are one of only two everglade systems in the world (the other being in Florida, US). The Everglades are a group of tranquil, mirrored waters that have existed unchanged for thousands of years and the entire upper catchment of the river system is protected by National Park so it remains absolutely pristine. They are also one of Australia’s most diverse ecosystems, with over 700 native fauna species coexisting in the area. I wanted to kayak down them. So, we booked onto a kayak tour with a company called The Discovery Group, who are a local business offering day and overnight camping tours of the Noosa Everglades. We opted to do a day tour as we’re not the best kayakers in the world.
The trip began with a cruise through an area of spectacular house boats and island plots, including a huge retreat where celebrities apparently stay to escape the paparazzi. We quickly motored away from all civilisation however, cruising through some magnificent lakes and wetlands, bordered by huge mangroves and eucalyptus plants. We saw a myriad of wildlife, and were told that 8 out of the 10 most deadly snakes live here in The Everglades, and that bull sharks have been known to frequent the river. Pretty sure that made everyone optimistic for their safety in rowing down a river in a flimsy kayak.
We motored across Lake Cootharaba, which although the largest lake in The Everglades, is only 1.5m in depth, so you could walk across the entire lake if you’re at least 5ft 5″. I’m only 5ft 3 so I’d struggle a little there…
We pulled up on the shore of Lake Cootharaba and had a mid morning break of tea, coffee, cake and biscuits. Then, we grabbed our paddles and hopped into our kayaks in pairs. Now, it seems that me and Ellie were inexplicably terrible at kayaking. Our captain informed us that it would take about 45 minutes to canoe from our tea break spot to our lunch spot. It took me and Ellie about an hour and a half. We didn’t mind this though, as it meant after everyone else had steamed ahead of us out of sight, we had the whole river to ourselves and got to enjoy the peace and quiet. We played some music as we gently canoed down The Everglades, and realised how untouched this pristine river is. It also become apparent why this river is dubbed “the river of mirrors”- there were points where the water provided a perfect reflection of the trees above.
When we arrived at our lunch spot, where the captain exclaimed “finally!”, we tucked into a BBQ feast and chatted with the others in our group. We saw a couple of huge monitor lizards lazing about too. It was a beautiful spot by the river called Harry’s Hut, where apparently a man named Harry Spring used to reside, despite the area being a protected National Park. After we’d had our fill, we cruised back towards Noosa for about 4pm. All in all, it was a great day, even though I learned that I am shit at kayaking.