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Nature Walk at Beacon Lighthouse Reserve, Point Cartwright

Home > Sunshine Coast > Beaches | Dog Friendly | Lookouts | Picnic Spots | Walks
by Elaine (subscribe)
Impromptu adventuring, exploring our backyard and then putting pen to paper, hoping to entice you to try one, if not all, of our escapades, is my true reward!
Published September 27th 2018
Picnic spots, walks and doggy friendly
Nature walk, Beacon Lighthouse Reserve, Point Cartwright, Pacific Boulevard, La Balsa Park, dog friendly, paved pathways, picnic areas, Moololah River, spectacular views, fishing, snorkelers, yachts, off-leash, brush turkeys, nature reserve, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, whale watching, beaches, relaxing day out
Great walking paths at Point Cartwright


My readers might remember - what seems to be eons ago - that I wrote about the Point Cartwright Walk and Lighthouse and me diligently promising to return to do the 'bush' walk in this stunning area. Well, to be honest we have been back numerous times as this whole area is still one of my most favourites on the Sunshine Coast, but only recently deliberately set out to walk the 'bush' walk. Imagine my surprise to discover that my long awaited 'bush' walk was really just a throughway, from the Pacific Boulevard carpark, through the bush, to La Balsa Park on the harbour side.

Nature walk, Beacon Lighthouse Reserve, Point Cartwright, Pacific Boulevard, La Balsa Park, dog friendly, paved pathways, picnic areas, Moololah River, spectacular views, fishing, snorkelers, yachts, off-leash, brush turkeys, nature reserve, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, whale watching, beaches, relaxing day out
Start of my 'bush' walk


But, what a lovely surprise! We discovered paved pathways, picnic areas under trees, dogs frolicking in the water and families soaking up the cloudless Spring day.

Nature walk, Beacon Lighthouse Reserve, Point Cartwright, Pacific Boulevard, La Balsa Park, dog friendly, paved pathways, picnic areas, Moololah River, spectacular views, fishing, snorkelers, yachts, off-leash, brush turkeys, nature reserve, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, whale watching, beaches, relaxing day out
Dogs and owners frolicking in the calm water


Point Cartwright overlooks the mouth of the Mooloolah River and can rightfully boast to having some of the most spectacular views of the Sunshine Coast. Once you've 'conquered' the man-made stairs through the bush, you will soon realise that this walk is a perfect addition to my 13 Easy Walks on the Sunshine Coast. Orů..perhaps I'm getting fitter?

Nature walk, Beacon Lighthouse Reserve, Point Cartwright, Pacific Boulevard, La Balsa Park, dog friendly, paved pathways, picnic areas, Moololah River, spectacular views, fishing, snorkelers, yachts, off-leash, brush turkeys, nature reserve, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, whale watching, beaches, relaxing day out
Harbour side


Starting your walk at the base of the headland on the harbourside, walk along the fringes of the Mooloolah River and just enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this area. I know locals will probably want to knock me over the head for letting this secret out, but it truly is an exceptional area and for a Sunday afternoon, was decidedly less busy than other touristy spots.

Nature walk, Beacon Lighthouse Reserve, Point Cartwright, Pacific Boulevard, La Balsa Park, dog friendly, paved pathways, picnic areas, Moololah River, spectacular views, fishing, snorkelers, yachts, off-leash, brush turkeys, nature reserve, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, whale watching, beaches, relaxing day out
Decidedly less busy than other touristy spots


Sons and fathers were out and about fishing in their tinnies, I even found some snorkelers enjoying the rocky areas in the Mooloolah River - somewhat braver than me, I would forever be on the lookout for apex predators - they love river mouths, don't they?

Nature walk, Beacon Lighthouse Reserve, Point Cartwright, Pacific Boulevard, La Balsa Park, dog friendly, paved pathways, picnic areas, Moololah River, spectacular views, fishing, snorkelers, yachts, off-leash, brush turkeys, nature reserve, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, whale watching, beaches, relaxing day out
Graceful yachts on the horizon


On the horizon were graceful yachts, proudly showing off their sleek silhouettes against the azure blue skies. The paved walkway meanders around the headland, leading upwards to an open parkland, with plenty of space and shade for families looking to enjoy a picnic with a view. This area is also an off-leash doggie area, but please note that there are time restrictions for when and where our furry pals are permitted off lead. Please heed the signage (which is plentiful), giving dog owners the necessary time guidelines.

Nature walk, Beacon Lighthouse Reserve, Point Cartwright, Pacific Boulevard, La Balsa Park, dog friendly, paved pathways, picnic areas, Moololah River, spectacular views, fishing, snorkelers, yachts, off-leash, brush turkeys, nature reserve, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, whale watching, beaches, relaxing day out
Plenty of signage for off-leash times


The only fauna that we came across were Brush Turkeys, managing quite successfully to destroy their surrounds, scratching for food or for a spot to start building their nests.

Nature walk, Beacon Lighthouse Reserve, Point Cartwright, Pacific Boulevard, La Balsa Park, dog friendly, paved pathways, picnic areas, Moololah River, spectacular views, fishing, snorkelers, yachts, off-leash, brush turkeys, nature reserve, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, whale watching, beaches, relaxing day out
Very destructive Brush Turkeys


Onward and upward! The Point Cartwright Lighthouse has been standing sentry since 1979, after the New Caloundra Lighthouse was declared redundant, with suburbia's building heights increasing so dramatically as to render the New Caloundra Lighthouse ineffective.

Nature walk, Beacon Lighthouse Reserve, Point Cartwright, Pacific Boulevard, La Balsa Park, dog friendly, paved pathways, picnic areas, Moololah River, spectacular views, fishing, snorkelers, yachts, off-leash, brush turkeys, nature reserve, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, whale watching, beaches, relaxing day out
Onwards and upwards!


The Beacon Lighthouse Reserve is in effect preserving the still-operating lighthouse at Point Cartwright, but is also a nature reserve. The endangered species of butterfly, the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly used to be prolific from as far south as Grafton in New South Wales and all the way north to Maryborough in Queensland. The Richmond Birdwing Butterfly is one of Australia's largest butterflies with a wingspan of up to 16cm in females and 13cm in males. Females have dark brown or black wings with extensive white, cream or in the hindwing, yellowish markings. Sadly, this beautiful butterfly's habitat has slowly been dwindling.

Nature walk, Beacon Lighthouse Reserve, Point Cartwright, Pacific Boulevard, La Balsa Park, dog friendly, paved pathways, picnic areas, Moololah River, spectacular views, fishing, snorkelers, yachts, off-leash, brush turkeys, nature reserve, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, whale watching, beaches, relaxing day out
Always good to see restoration projects on the go!


In order to counteract the shrinking numbers of the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, Caloundra City Council has started a Habitat Restoration project in the Beacon Lighthouse Reserve area, by planting a specific species of vine, called the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Vine. The female butterfly lays her eggs on the leaves of this vine. When the eggs hatch the caterpillars feed on the vine's leaves until pupating into an adult butterfly. It is hoped that when these planted vines mature, adult butterflies from populations upstream on the Mooloolah River, will utilise Point Cartwright as a breeding location.

Nature walk, Beacon Lighthouse Reserve, Point Cartwright, Pacific Boulevard, La Balsa Park, dog friendly, paved pathways, picnic areas, Moololah River, spectacular views, fishing, snorkelers, yachts, off-leash, brush turkeys, nature reserve, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, whale watching, beaches, relaxing day out
Hopefully with time, this nature reserve will become a breeding ground for the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly


Something else I learnt on this walk of ours. There is a weed called the Dutchman's Pipe Vine, Aristolochia elegans, which is totally toxic to the Birdwing butterfly caterpillars, causing them to die before reaching maturity. This weed should be removed from gardens and bushland areas in order to try to resuscitate the diminishing numbers of one of Australia's biggest butterflies.

Nature walk, Beacon Lighthouse Reserve, Point Cartwright, Pacific Boulevard, La Balsa Park, dog friendly, paved pathways, picnic areas, Moololah River, spectacular views, fishing, snorkelers, yachts, off-leash, brush turkeys, nature reserve, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, whale watching, beaches, relaxing day out
One of the best locations for whale watching


Once reaching the Point Cartwright Lighthouse and water reservoir, one might be tempted to take a seat or spread a picnic rug and hopefully sight a whale or two - this vantage point with views to Mooloolaba and beyond, is definitely one of the best for whale watching.

Nature walk, Beacon Lighthouse Reserve, Point Cartwright, Pacific Boulevard, La Balsa Park, dog friendly, paved pathways, picnic areas, Moololah River, spectacular views, fishing, snorkelers, yachts, off-leash, brush turkeys, nature reserve, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, whale watching, beaches, relaxing day out
A great destination for a relaxing day out


With its beautiful beaches, easy walking paths (part of Coastal pathways), great picnic spots and views forever, the Beacon Lighthouse Reserve at Point Cartwright is a great destination to head to for a relaxing day out with family and friends.

Nature walk, Beacon Lighthouse Reserve, Point Cartwright, Pacific Boulevard, La Balsa Park, dog friendly, paved pathways, picnic areas, Moololah River, spectacular views, fishing, snorkelers, yachts, off-leash, brush turkeys, nature reserve, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, whale watching, beaches, relaxing day out
Easy walking paths are part of the Coastal Pathways


All images courtesy of author
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Why? For a fabulous relaxing family day out
When: Any day of the week, seven days a week
Where: Pacific Blvd, Buddina, QLD 4575
Cost: FREE
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Relaxing Sunday afternoon stroll with the family
by Barry (score: 2|919) 77 days ago
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